About Me

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I have been married to a wonderful man for 19 years. We were blessed with 2 beautiful daughters who are now teenagers. I homeschool my children and work full time outside of my home. I recently opened my Home Business

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Trying Times...Hope Always There!!

This week has been a very hard week for me.  I watched childhood friends bury their oldest son.  Such a tragic loss of a young life, and then I faced  some trying times in my own family.  I won't go into the details but I will say this, there was a time this week when I thought this burden was too heavy and I just couldn't do it any more.  My heart was shattered into a million pieces and I didn't know if it could ever be put together again.  I have buried two children, and this pain I was experiencing was just as devastating to me as those losses. 

I knew there were people praying for me. Some knew what we were going through, others didn't but still prayed.  It was through the power of their prayer and their wise council which helped to turn things around for me.  Have the circumstances changed? No, not completely, but that's OK, because MY OUTLOOK on it has changed! What I thought was hopeless wasn't.  When I cried out to God that this load was too heavy and I couldn't carry it anymore...He heard my cry!  He carried this load.


He showed me that there is still HOPE!  He renewed my strength, my very spirit.  When I was overwhelmed, He calmed me.  When my spirit was troubled, He calmed the storming sea inside of me and brought me peace which surpasses all understanding.

We have a long way to go before we will be on the other side of this, but it will be OK!  We do not have to go through it alone. He is there to carry us through it all.

Friend, when your world is collapsing around you cry out to Jesus to lighten your load.  You have your life, you have your family.  Pull them close to you and thank God for the gift they are!  When someone tries to destroy your family, fight for them!  Let the world outside know that no matter what they are YOUR GIFT FROM GOD and you will not take them for granted and you will not sit back quietly and watch them be hurt.  Hang on tight to those blessings and know that you aren't alone in what you are facing!  Many others have walked a mile in your shoes. They understand how devastating this is to you and they are there to help you.  Don't lose site of the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be dimmed by the tears and the hurts, but it is there!  Pick yourself up, be willing to see the TRUTH even when it hurts, and decide to walk in that truth.

It was through the prayers that went up for me this week that I was able to see that light getting brighter and brighter.  The power of these prayers have shown me that the hurt was dimming my eyes.  Hurt is like a big bunch of briars in the wilderness.  They snag you and can hold you hostage.  Don't hang on to those hurts.  Release them.  As you do, they, too, will turn you loose.  You will walk out with scrapes and bruises, scratches and some scars, but YOU WILL WALK OUT into the LIGHT of LOVE and the arms of your family.

I pray that you will listen to the video below and find the hope buried in you!  Nothing is so big we can't overcome it. We can't do it alone, but we don't have too!  God is there to help us, and He puts family and friends in our lives to help us.  SEARCH FOR YOUR HOPE!  IT'S THERE!

Blessings to you all!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Heart of A Mother Exposed to Horrific Loss

She sits there in her chair.  It's as if she is in a world of her own.  There are people all around her, each one tries to comfort her with a hug and a kind word. No one really knows what to say.  Many cannot begin to understand what she must be going through.  How tragic this is. She has just lost her child. How do you bring comfort in these situations?

The writers, producers, and Sally Field did an excellent job in Steel Magnolias letting the world see what a mother feels when she loses her child.  The rush of emotions all at once. The anger, the lack of answers to the many questions that rush through your head!

This is every mother's worse nightmare.  The 1st few days you are just numb.  The people are surrounding you and you know they are there....then, just as quickly as they came, they are gone.  The funeral is over and so are the visits, the phone calls.  Life goes back to normal for every one except you.  Life can never be normal for you again, because your beloved child has been taken from you.

You have to learn how to live again.  Most people give you a few weeks then they start to think, say things like, "You should be over this by now."  Don't listen to them.  It only makes you angrier.  You don't "get over" something like this.  You do, however, learn to accept it one day at a time.  As I have said in earlier posts, one day at a time is the only way to get through this. One baby step at a time. You will have good days and bad ones and for a while it feels like more bad than good.  But eventually, you realize you are living.  Life is never the same, but it is OK to be happy.  Your child would want you to be happy, be the mom they remember.  Don't try to go through this alone.  Get help! Ask for help!  There are many support groups, there are many people who have faced your tragedy and survived and are there to help you survive.  Lean on them!  That's why God has placed them in your path.

Your heart is shattered into a million pieces...but there is HOPE...one day at a time!


PS - Here is a free gift from one mom who has lost a child to another.  May you find peace which surpasses all understanding in this gift!  Grief, How Do You Deal With It?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SSSSHHHHH! It's a Secret! They Call it Love

The topic I have chosen to write on today can be considered by some to be taboo. It disturbs many people and from my experiences is not one that many people care to think about. Some may find this topic offensive, and if you are one who does, then please use your right not to read it.  However, I feel deep in my spirit that it is one that must be looked at and discussed. We must learn the warning signs and take steps to save ourselves, our children, and our friends.  My topic of choice today is ABUSE!

Abuse comes in many shapes and sizes and forms. Not all abuse leaves bruises on the skin for others to see.  It is harder to detect because there are no outside bruises, but it is abuse still the same! It is EMOTIONAL/VERBAL ABUSE!  It is JUST AS DANGEROUS as physical abuse and can lead to physical abuse!  What is Emotional/verbal abuse? It is your partner doing everything he/she can to retain control over you! It is a form of manipulation that TEARS YOU DOWN! It breaks your self esteem, isolates you from your family and your friend. It is I love you one minute, and we're through the next and it's always YOUR FAULT in his/her eyes. They almost never accept responsibility for their own actions. Even if they apologize, they finish their apology with you made me do it!  They brainwash you into thinking that your family,friends, and co-workers are your enemy and that they are the only person you have to turn to.

It is a cycle which HAS TO BE BROKEN! It is so rampant among teens, and carries on throughout adult life. If ignored, with no intervention, it can lead to DEATH!  I'm not trying to scare you, just open the eyes of everyone around! For too long, people have sat back and kept their mouths shut. They've not spoken out, then when their friends end up dead, they have to live with the regret of being quiet.

Here are some statistics for us to look at:

Dating Abuse Statistics
Adolescents and adults are often unaware how regularly dating abuse occurs.

  • 1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006).
  • 1 in 4 adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse each year (Foshee et al. 1996; Avery-Leaf et al. 1997).
  • 1 in 5 adolescents reports being a victim of emotional abuse (Halpern et al. 2001).
  • 1 in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner (Silverman et al. 2001).
  • Dating abuse occurs more frequently among black students (13.9%) than among Hispanic (9.3%) or white (7.0%) students (CDC 2006).
  • 72% of eighth and ninth graders reportedly “date” (Foshee et al. 1996); by the time they are in high school, 54% of students report dating abuse among their peers (Jafe et al. 1992).
Adolescents in Abusive Relationship Are at Risk for Health Problems
Adolescents and adults often don’t make the link between dating abuse and poor health.
  • 70% of girls and 52% of boys who are abused report an injury from an abusive relationship. (Foshee 1996).
  • 8% of boys and 9% of girls have been to an emergency room for an injury received from a dating partner(Foshee 1996).
  • Victims of dating abuse are not only at increased risk for injury, they are also more likely to engage in binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fights, and currently sexual activity (CDC 2006).
  • Rates of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use are more than twice as high in girls who report physical or sexual dating abuse than in girls who report no abuse (Plichta 1996).
  • Dating abuse is associated with unhealthy sexual behaviors that can lead to unintended pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, and HIV infections (Silverman et al. 2001).
  • Abusive dating experiences during adolescence may disrupt normal development of self-esteem and body image (Ackard and Neumark-Sztainer 2002).
  • Adolescents in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of abuse into future relationships (Smith et al. 2003).
These statistics were found at CDC: Division of Violence Prevention.

Emotional abuse, which may include:

  • Name-calling, shouting, teasing, or bullying
  • Use of intimidation
  • Use of demeaning or derogatory language
  • Insults or rumors
  • Threats or accusations
  • Jealousy or possessiveness
  • Humiliation
  • Withdrawal of attention
  • Withholding of information
  • Deliberately doing something to make a dating partner feel diminished or embarrassed
  • Controlling behavior, such as dictating what a dating partner can wear
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Texting or instant messaging (IMing) excessively
  • Monitoring e-mail or a profile on a social networking site


Technology and Teen Dating Violence

Teen using a computer
Because teens are well connected through today's technology, cell phones and the Internet have become tools of dating violence through which emotional abuse and sexual violence can occur. More than 80% of adolescents own at least one form of new media technology (e.g., computer, cell phone)1 and they are using this technology with increasing frequency to text, IM, e-mail, blog, and access social networking websites.
Using technology to threaten, harass, or bully a peer is called electronic aggression, and a significant majority of parents are completely unaware that technology such as this poses a risk for teens.

Highlights from the research indicate that2:
  • 9% to 35% of young people say they have been the victim of electronic aggression.
  • A 50% increase in electronic aggression occurred between the years 2000 and 2005.
  • Electronic aggression victims are significantly more likely to use drugs and alcohol, receive school detentions or suspension, skip school, experience in-person aggression, have emotional distress, and have relationship problems with their parents.
  • Victimization occurs through all forms of technology: 25% in a chat room, 23% on a website, 67% with instant messaging, 25% through an email, 16% with a text message.
Consequences of electronic aggression:
  • Electronic messages—good and bad—retain a sense of "permanence." They can be saved and forwarded, and uploaded images cannot be fully deleted.
  • Teens may not realize the farther reaching consequences of posting information or images online.


Recognizing Risk Factors

Dating violence is not about love—it is about power and control. Dating violence involves a pattern of behaviors that one partner uses to try to control the other. These behaviors may include physical and sexual violence and emotional abuse.

Violence is a choice

Perpetrators of violence may feel insecure or uncertain about themselves or their lives, so they may use power and control in their relationships to make themselves feel better. But no matter what excuses perpetrators make to themselves or their dating partners for their behaviors, violence is still their choice.
The following factors may contribute to someone becoming a perpetrator of dating violence:
  • Believing that it is okay to use threats or violence to get their way or to express frustration or anger
  • Problems managing one's anger or frustration
  • Hanging out with violent peers
  • Having low self-esteem and depression
  • Not having parental supervision and support
  • Witnessing violence at home or in the community

If you are the one being abused, GET OUT NOW! Don't let it escalate any further. There are people that can help you!  If it is a friend or loved one that is being abused, don't ignore it! When they try to push you away [and they will because the abused tries to isolate them], stay right there! Report anything you see to their parents or authorities if necessary...but do all that you can to help this person you love!  Don't allow them to become another statistic and don't feel you can't help! You can. Speak up!

It is my prayer that something written here today has been beneficial to you and will help you be more aware of the things taking place around us every day.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Love

A Mother's Love There are times when only a Mother's love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappoints
And calm all of our fears.
There are times when only a Mother's love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we've dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.
There are times when only a Mother's faith
Can help us on life's way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.
For a Mother's heart and a Mother's faith
And a Mother's steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above.
Author Unknown

Praying everyone had a very special Mother's Day! I did. I got to spend in with my beautiful daughter's and their friends! I don't think they truly know how special they made this day for me!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Medicare, Medicaid, Part D Supplemental Insurance and Our Seniors....Update

When I posted this a few weeks ago I promised I would update as soon as I knew something...well, GOOD NEWS! Praise the Lord, my grandmother is being REFUNDED the premiums this insurance company took from her!  I so greatly appreciate your prayers during this time.  God heard you all!

Do Follow Blog

Good morning. I find myself a pit baffled and some what agitated with the way our senior citizens are being treated. Most of them receive a Social Security check each month and for many, this is the only source of income they have. Their Medicare premiums are deducted each month from their Social Security checks. Our government created the Medicare Part D Supplemental Insurance plans to "help" our seniors afford their medications. If the seniors have both Medicare and Medicaid the receive "extra help" covering the premiums on the Part D Supplement...and NOTHING should be taken from their SS checks to cover this particular insurance; however, many Seniors today are being scammed and stolen from by these insurance companies!

Let me give you an example of the type of "fraud" being used by these type of companies. My grandmother is a prime example. She turned 80 yrs old in January. About 25 years ago she had a stroke which affected her speech and the right side of her body.  She is not comfortable talking on the phone because of how her speech was affected. Any way, in 2006 she signed up with a particular insurance company selling the Medicare Part D coverage. Her pharmacist helped her choose a company which covered the majority of her medications. Because she was covered by both Medicare and Medicaid she qualified for the extra assistance for the premiums of the Part D coverage...meaning in short that nothing would be withheld from her SS income for these premiums. Each year by December 31st you have enroll in a Part D plan, or renew your current plan. If you do nothing, your current plan automatically renews.  This is USUALLY OK; however, sometimes the insurance companies make changes to the plan you are on. They may not cover your prescriptions any more or they may raise the premiums of your plan and start withholding money from your SS income!

This is what has been happening to my grandmother! In December she went into her pharmacy and asked about her Part D Supplement. The pharmacist told her it had been paying well and advised her not to make changes. Unfortunately, what the pharmacist did not know is that the insurance company had rate changes which would adversely affect my grandmother. She followed her pharmacist advice and made no changes to her plan. On January 1st, her insurance automatically renewed WITH THE HIGHER RATES! When her SS check was direct deposited into her checking account it was nearly $50 LESS because of this premium! She had NO knowledge they had raised the premium or that they were going to start withholding money from her check! She did not receive ANYTHING in writing, by phone, or in any form letting her know of these changes! She didn't even know that they had taken the money out of her check. She knew what her SS check was supposed to be, and that is what she wrote in her check register. She did not receive notification from the Social Security Administration that her check would be decreased by the nearly $50 each month either. Towards the end of January she received a notice from the bank that an item had been returned. The bank did pay the item, but they charged her their fee. She searched her check register and bank statement, she couldn't figure out why the item had returned. She was showing that she should have still had money in the bank. February and March were the same. She contacted me. I was verifying each item on her statement with her and when it came to her deposit I stated, "Your direct deposit was $x amount." To which, she replied, "NO, it's not. It's supposed to be $XX amount." I said, "Well, here is your problem."  I went all the way back to January and verified her deposits. Each month it was short nearly $50.

Our next stop was the Social Security Administration. We asked them WHY her checks were short each month. They informed us it was because of her Medicare Part D coverage. We asked how they could withhold funds from her checks WITHOUT her KNOWLEDGE or CONSENT! They didn't have any answers. They gave us the telephone number of the insurance company. They were NO help. She instructed them NOT to withhold any more money from her check. They continued to do so. We contacted Council on Aging. They helped her cancel this coverage and signed her up with a new plan. This insurance company is STILL withholding funds from her check!

We were told that she needed to complete a form to apply for extra assistance. I went online and found the online form and was going to help her complete this application; however, the directions for this form state in bold letters DO NOT COMPLETE THIS APPLICATION IF YOU HAVE BOTH MEDICARE AND MEDICAID BECAUSE YOU ALREADY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR EXTRA ASSISTANCE. So, we called the Department of Social Services [Medicaid office] and spoke with a case worker. She did some research and called us back. She informed us that it wasn't the Part D coverage being withheld, it was life insurance. She gave me another number to call for more answers.

I called this number and the nice lady stated she didn't think it could be life insurance. She placed me on hold and called the Governor's Office. They informed her that the only thing that can withhold from your SS check is Medicare and/or Medicare Part D Supplemental Insurance. She redirected me to Council on Aging. I spoke with another very nice lady here. She informed me that they had cancelled the insurance with the company who was withholding the money and signed her up with a different insurance carrier. This new insurance took affect May 1st. The old insurance withheld the nearly $50 again in May! She stated they would refund this amount for the May payment. I asked her about the possibility of getting the rest of the money refunded as well. She stated they probably would NOT refund this nearly $200. She said the insurance company would state that "she had coverage with them during this time". I explained to her again that grandmother did not receive any notification of premium changes or intent to withhold funds from her Social Security Income. I reminded her also that we didn't even know that they were withholding the money until the end of March and that we have been trying for 2 months to get this STOPPED and her money refunded. The Council on Aging stated they would continue to work on this and advised me to contact our Senator's office.
 I immediately contacted our Senator's office. I explained yet again what has happened. I went as far as to tell his assistant that this was nothing short of stealing! I reminded her that credit card companies, banks, finance companies, and the such have to notify you in writing of policy changes which affect you...the consumer; and told her I felt it should be the same for these Part D Supplemental insurance companies. I told her that in my mind it is a CRIME for them to rip off our Seniors who have worked hard their entire lives to live off of pennies a day and then have them stolen by companies such as this! She agreed. I also reminded her that if she or I had taken money from someone in this fashion, WE WOULD BE IN JAIL!

So, here we...waiting. There is a process in everything that you do. You have to jump through this hoop and that hoop, touch your nose 3 times while rubbing your belly, stand on your head, and flip backwards...and maybe, just maybe in the end you will receive help.

Our Senator's office is mailing me forms to complete and I have to complete a statement of events and the run around we have been on...and hopefully they can help us get her money back. There are no guarantees though. If though don't, do we stop there? NO! If need be, we take a class action lawsuit on behalf of ALL Seniors! This has got to STOP!  

To All Seniors and their families: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

  3. You have a right to CANCEL this coverage and receive it from someone else!
Many pharmacies now offer "advice" on these Part D plans. The downside to this is that often they do not know about premium and policy changes. Get a copy of your medication list from your doctor or pharmacy and schedule an appointment with your Council on Age for assistance with renewing or changing your Part D coverage each year. This is for your protection! If you have questions...ASK them! The only dumb question is one not asked. If you do not understand what is being explained to you, let them know that you don't...it's hard for most people to understand these plans!

May this save someone else the headache and heartache my grandmother has been experiencing this year. I will update you once this is settled on the outcome of her ordeal.  God bless you!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Parents of Teenage Daughters

Good afternoon.  Think back to when you met your spouse and you were dating and getting to know each other, then you decided that you were truly in love. You even had a song that you felt fit your relationship.  You know...that special, mushy love song, that just made you think of your love every time you heard it. It may still remind you of those younger days when you hear it now.  One of those songs for us was "It's Your Love" by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill.

Now we have been married nearly 20 years. We were blessed with 2 beautiful daughters, who are both now in their teenage years. Boy has life changed. It's funny how the cycles of life change things, change your perspectives and their's too! Once they were tiny little bundles of joy who you never knew you could love so much; then they get mobile on their own. They are into everything and you are chasing them around. It seems that beautiful and fitting name you chose for your child becomes changed to "No-No".  Yet, no matter what they do, what they break, you still love them more than you could ever imagine. You would give your life for your child.

They grow into the school years and find a little independence from you. This is hard [harder I think on parents whose children go to public school because you send them into someone else's care].  They have to learn to deal with bullies, choosing friends wisely, and retaining the knowledge we have sent them to learn.
 Sometimes they learn things we wish they didn't, but it is still our role as parent to teach them the way they should go. Our hearts break when their's get broken, but we keep moving on. We spend many hours on our knees praying for their protection and guidance. We are all too often reminded these kids are not like the electronics of today...they don't come with an owner's manual telling you the "right" way to raise them. Sure, there are many good books out there which help. My greatest resource has been the Bible. I try looking at the things the parents in Scripture did and endured and how each of them turned to God for their guidance. This is our road map to life, and our owner's manual for raising kids. Does that mean we get it all right all the time? No! Life is a journey and sometimes we make wrong turns. This doesn't mean that we will ruin our kids, just that we learn with them.

Nearly twenty years into this, and 2 teenage daughters later, I have learned that I have loved a lot, laughed hard, and cried longer and harder than ever...but I wouldn't trade it for one second! My children are blessings to me! We have grown from the mushy love songs, into this: "Teenage Daughters" by Martina McBride:

As we enter May, I come the realization that we are preparing for graduation for my own 17 year old. What do I see?  A very independent young woman getting ready to enter the big bad world. She has been trained, and I believe she will be very successful in life. Does this mean she will monetarily be rich, not necessarily...that doesn't equal success. Her being able to stand on her own 2 feet, being free to live and love...that equals success! I don't know what the road holds for her, but I do know that I will be here to try and catch her when she falls, encourage her in whatever path she chooses, and learn that letting her leave the nest without clipping her wings isn't a bad thing....it is what God has been preparing us for in this journey called life!