Risk Taking Is a Perception

Puerta en Macharaviaya (Málaga)

Some people think I’m a wild girl and a major risk taker. I always giggle when I hear that because I don’t feel like I’m a risk taker. I only take action if I feel comfortable with it. Other people may perceive that what I’m doing is a risk, but I’ve spent time preparing myself for many of the actions. Some actions I leap into because they’re compelling and sound fun.

Let’s take skydiving as an example. Eva Gregory, my BFF, had done a tandem skydive (you’re strapped to an instructor, who does all the flying, and a large parachute) and showed me her video of the event. It looked fun, but I was so scared. I told her I’d never do it. I said if I ever did, I’d have to watch her video a hundred times in a row to get me pumped up and boost my courage.

Skydiving wasn’t compelling to me. Flying like a bird was compelling. I talked a lot about flying. I had always wanted an airplane, but I wanted to float through clouds like I’d always imagined angels did.

Very soon after the skydiving conversation with Eva, my former mate surprised me with a tandem skydive reservation. I literally cried with fear and said I wasn’t going. He said he couldn’t get a refund. (He lied.)

I wound up going but changed my perspective from fear of breaking all my limbs upon hitting the ground at high speeds, to one of floating like an angel.

I ended up loving the experience and did about 300 solo skydives after that. Is it a risk? Sure, I could sustain injuries, hurt someone else, or die. But I do not feel I’m taking an extreme risk or I wouldn’t do it!

I will not jump unless I know my parachute and reserve (backup parachute) are both packed safely. I know the direction and speed of the wind to assist me in choosing my landing pattern. I also make myself familiar with the plane I’m jumping out of and the landing zone. Most importantly, I only jump when I’m inspired and have a clear mind.

I think riding on the back of a motorcycle, as a passenger, is a big risk. Every bone in my body tenses up when I do it. I feel vulnerable on the back. Let me ride my own dirt bike or quad and I’ll go at full speed. It’s all about how I perceive the activity.

I’ve always been fascinated by people who climb mountains. My friend Rich Fettke, author of Extreme Success, is a climber and fellow skydiver. He has climbed El Capitan at Yosemite National Park twice. He’s slept on the side of a mountain hanging from ropes.

I see this as absolutely terrifying! Does Rich get a rush out of climbing? Yes! But he has done his homework and loves the sport. He has two children and a wife that he adores, so he is very conscious of the actions he’s taking.

Rich and I both love to play big. We love to make the most of whatever we’re doing. Playing big is also a perception. Some people consider the things we do as no big deal, as they play even bigger!

We can’t compare ourselves to others when we’re pushing our own thresholds for risk. We have to play big enough to feel ourselves stretch yet not so big that we’ll freak out or resist the process. Playing big can be done in business, relationships, fun, wealth, and more!

Ed Viesturs is considered one of the top climbers in the world. He co-authored his own autobiography, No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks. Ed has successfully climbed the highest mountains in the world with no bottled oxygen!

He’s climbed Everest several times. Ed is someone who plays huge, yet he is so deeply connected to his inner being. He listens to what his heart tells him, and he plays it safe on the mountain.

Ed’s personal strategies for success:

  • Training for his climbs in ways that feel good to him
  • Climbing at a steady pace so he keeps his stamina (many times, fast climbers pass him on the way up mountains only to turn back before they summit from running out of wind or getting themselves in bad snafus)
  • Stopping a climb or turning back because of weather conditions, even if he is only a few hundred feet from the peak of a mountain he’s spent months preparing for!

Because of honoring his values and rules of climbing, he’s succeeded in his goal of climbing the world’s fourteen highest peaks with no oxygen. He’s never had frostbite or major injuries.

He’s led many rescues on the mountain and seen many deaths of climbing friends. Ed’s motto, “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory,” has him make decisions that are in alignment with his beliefs. Therefore, he experiences success and no regrets.

I’d love for everyone to play as big in their life as they can enjoy. Turn perceived risks into fun by doing your homework beforehand and deciding what the rules of engagement are that you’ll follow.

Make sure you’re taking the action because you want it for you. Never do it for someone else, to get approval, or because the experts told you to do so. If the activity isn’t compelling, don’t do it. Going big should be thrilling, not paralyzing.

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The Top Ten Psychics in the World

Untitled (Undated) -  Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (1908-1992)

There are quite a few very famous contemporary psychics in a world, but here are the top ten and in no particular order as each as their own particular set of strengths and gifts.

Sylvia Browne

Sylvia Browne is an internationally recognized psychic who communicates with the dead. She claims to have inherited her psychic gift. She has been running the Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research since 1973. She is one of those psychics who helps the police find killers and solve crimes. She has authored numerous books on psychic subjects, including Contacting Your Spirit Guide and Past Lives, Future Healing: A Psychic Reveals the Secrets to Good Health, and Great Relationships.

Allison Dubois

Allison Dubois is a psychic who channels the souls of dead pet and people. She has written many books, including Secrets of the Monarch, which is about understanding the caterpillar to butterfly nature of soul freedom. The television series Medium starring Patricia Marquette is supposedly based on the talents of Allison Dubois.

Lisa Williams

This celebrity medium and clairvoyant stars in a show on Lifetime called Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead. The show follows Williams on a typical day, as she communicates with the dead, investigates haunted houses, and does readings. Williams channels many dead famous people including Bob Hope, Princess Diana, Natalie Wood, Marilyn Monroe, and Ray Charles.

John Edwards

Edwards, not to be mistaken for the U.S. Senator with the same name, is an author and television personality. He is best known for his television shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country. On both shows, Edwards attempts to communicate with the spirits of the audience members’ deceased relatives.

Colin Fry

Colin Fry is one of the best-known psychics and spiritualist mediums in Britain. He has hosted many television programs about the Supernatural, including Most Haunted, Psychic Private Eyes, and 6ixth Sense with Colin Fry, produced by Living TV.

Derek Acorah

Derek Acorah is a controversial psychic medium and television personality in the United Kingdom, who is possessed by the dead spirits he channels through his spirit guide s Sam. He is very well known for his appearances on. Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns and Yvette Fielding’s show Most Haunted.

James Van Praagh

James Van Praagh is a best-selling psychic and medium. He has written several books dealing with spirituality and spirit communication and 2002 to 2003, he hosted a syndicated daytime talk show entitled “Beyond With James Van Praagh.” He is currently the co-Executive Producer of the television series Ghost Whisperer on CBS.

Rosemary Altea

Rosemary Altea is a psychic and author. She has appeared on various programs, including Larry King Live and The Oprah Winfrey Show (with Michael Shermer in 1995).

Doreen Virtue

Dr. Doreen Virtue has appeared on many television shows such as Oprah, Good Morning America, The View, and CNN, revealing how psychic angels can help you heal your life. One of her most famous book, Give the Gift of Healing: A Concise Guide to Spiritual Healing, which was published in 2005.

Gillian Kemp

If you are into Tarot, then you are going to like Gillian Kemp. She is author of The Good Spell Book and recently designed a very interesting pack of Tarot Cards called Tree Magick in which there are no negative cards. She talks to ghosts using techniques learned from her ancient Romanie past and her grandmother, grandfather, and aunt who were also clairvoyant. She uses the more old-fashioned divination techniques, such as teacup readings and crystal balls and is one of the most famous psychics in the United Kingdom.

Ruskin Bond’s Short Stories

Laguna di Caorle

Ruskin Bond’s short stories are like photographs. They give us a picture in an instant, almost like the flash of a camera. With Bond, each story is also an experience. There are two ways in which these experiences have been unfolded; firstly through the experiences of Bond as a boy and secondly through his experiences as an adult. The experiences could be of some passing incident of life, uniquely remembered though; or it could be just a vision, a glimpse, a happening or a passing relationship.

In The Woman on Platform No. 8 for instance, it is just a woman who suddenly mothers him as a boy, fusses over him and thus becomes etched in the memory of the child. In The Coral Tree on the other hand, where he is an adult, just the experience of climbing a tree makes him nostalgically think about his grandfather’s house and he suddenly longs for childhood.

There are two categories into which Bond’s short stories could be divided. First are remembrances and memories. Bond pens down the past, when he was a child and which he remembers as an adult. These memories and experiences or childhood remembrances of the past or experience of the present, are such that in them nothing really happens.

The second category are the narratives, where something happens. In both cases Bond is lucid, clear and instant, so that the experiences are transmitted to us in their most original selves. Again, the experiences that he puts down, are at many times universal; like the boys playing cricket in The Photograph, which he recalls when he was a boy of ten.

To take up the remembrances or experiences first; certain features clearly emerge as the author pens them. It is the idiosyncrasies of the old that Bond depicts when his grandmother looks at the picture of a small girl in The Photograph again and refuses stubbornly to reveal the identity of the girl. Nothing happens in the story, except the last remark of the grandmother that keeps us guessing that it could be her own self. This story falls under the first category. Numerous other stories fall under this category. There are some odd sixty five stories of Bond’s from which some selected stories could be commented upon. Under the categories of remembrances especially are stories like The Window, The Man Who Was Kipling,A Guardian Angel, The Prospect of Flowers, A Face in the Dark, The Cherry Tree and so on.

In The Window Bond remembers a window simply because of the view it had given; the quizzical encounter with Kipling in The Man Who Was Kipling or simply the sadness of life itself as in The Guardian Angel. In this story Bond presents the grotesque truth of his Aunt Mirium pleasing customers at night, the sadness of her life, and the broken piece of guardian angel that stood as her gravestone. This gravestone is remembered and it remains also in the memory of the reader. Certain features emerge from such stories; there are quite often encounters with little girls, when Bond was also a boy, or encounters with grandmotherly women or doting motherly figures, who could be an aunt or a teacher. In The Night Train at Deoli it is just an encounter with a girl and then as the train moves, she passes as a figure. In The Prospect of Flowers there is Miss Mackenzie and just a talk on flowers. A Face in the Dark is also the tale of a teacher. Little girls figure in Madhu or Binya Passes By. In My Father’s Trees at Dehra, nothing really happens except that trees are planted, and that they will grow constitutes the enjoyment of it. Somewhat similar is the theme The Cherry Tree. As Time Goes By is again the remembrance of a pool in which Bond and his playmates used to play and enjoy as boys. From Small Beginnings has uniquely nostalgic and poignant moments of planting a cherry tree and friendship with Prem Singh. The most striking instance of a story which is the remembrance of experiences is perhaps in The Girl from Copenhagen that has an intimate beginning ‘We made no promises- of writing or of meeting again. Somehow our relationships seemed complete and whole…’

Before passing on to the narrative stories, one could look in passing at some of the longer short stories, there are especially three stories of such a kind: Panther’s Moon, Time Stops at Shamli and Dust on the Mountain with similar features as in the short stories. In the first one a panther is killed by the author’s friend Bisnu, and the sheer excitement of the villagers is depicted; in the second one there is again an experience with trees and nostalgia for childhood. The Dust on the Mountain is a picture of the choking dust of mines and quarries. In these stories too nothing seems to happen, except experiences penned down. The first story however is a narration which brings us to the narratives.

In The Thief for instance the author himself is a thief and his exploit is narrated. The Death of a Familiar is the narration of the murder of his friend Sunil. There is the rather grotesque account of monkeys in The Monkeys who kill to take revenge for the death of one in their gang. A Job Well Done is narrator where Dukhi the gardener murders the Major and in The Fight he gives the account of Ranji’s fight with the villagers on an issue of not obeying orders regarding swimming in a pool. The Tunnel again is just an experience. In Going Home something happens, Daya Ram finds back the lost purse which he had lost or which had been stolen on the train. Some of Bond’s stories revolve round tigers which were his real life experience since he had grown up in Dehra Dun. Eyes of a Cat, and Tiger Tiger Burning Bright, are stories where the detailing of the description of the tigers is worth noting.

Ruskin Bond was also well known for his ghost stories. In The Haunted Bicycle the little girl changes ridiculously into a grown man. The other ghost story is Whispering in the Dark while stories like He Said it With Arsenic are written in the detective story vein.

Whatever it may be after reading the short stories of Bond the reader-author relationship seems to be as quoted before ‘complete and whole.’

Homeschool and Actors

Magical Places and Things -Egypt- The Nile (7)

Everyone has seen the struggles associated with being a child actor or a child star. The nature of this lifestyle causes many of these youngsters to suffer from delays in everything from their academies to their social and emotional development, and as a result, many end up struggling as adults. Because of this, it is extremely important that these children be given every opportunity to develop their skills and talents beyond those associated with the small or silver screens.

One of the most effective and popular choices for actors to use in helping them develop proper academic skills and complete their education is to use homeschooling. Homeschooling is a popular choice because of the flexibility that it offers, both in terms of when and how lessons can be taught. Actors who are being homeschooled can complete lessons online, or they can actually have their "teachers" show up to their work and deliver a lesson personally. Either way, it is difficult to argue with the fact that homeschooling, especially for players, is very convenient.

The acting business being what it is means that student / actors have to teachers teachers work around their schedule. It is mostly for this reason that student / actors and their parents choose to turn to homeschooling or an accredited distance learning school. Some actors are on the road and way from home for months at a time, making it very difficult for them to attend traditional school. Homeschooling can allow academic curriculum to be individually tailor, and designed not to interfere with the requirements of an acting career.

Homeschooling is also an effective way of completing school sooner. Rather than try to complete a diploma or degree in the traditional length of time, meaning 4 to 6 years, a homeschooling curriculum can allow child actors to complete their education faster and more efficiently, as opposed to having it drag on over the course of several years.

Homeschooling actors and stars is certainly not something new. In fact, some of the most famous people in history, including sponsors, inventors, artists, actors, and athletes have all been homeschooled. President George Washington, inventor Thomas Edison, actor Charlie Chaplin, and scientist Albert Einstein are just a few of the famous people who have reaped the benefits of homeschooling.

Things can be difficult enough at work for the child actor without having to add additional stress from having to make time for school. By using homeschooling as an option, parents can provide their children with an effective learning curriculum without having to interfere with their acting career. In addition to the added convenience as well as the obvious flexibility associated with homeschooling, child actors can also benefit from the additional family support that they receive when they are being taught by their parents. There is nothing that can be more beneficial to a young actor than to have family members who are actually involved in an important aspect of their life, and homeschooling is certainly one effective way of accomplishing this, both for academic and emotional purposes.

How To Do Free Background Checks With No Credit Card Needed

Ystad

Many people want to know if it’s really possible to conduct free background checks with no credit card needed. In this article we will discuss why these searches are so popular, as well as some options that are available to you that don’t require a credit card.

Free background checks with no credit card needed are simply a way to find sensitive information about a certain person. You can investigate financial, criminal, commercial and personal records on someone depending on what service you are using.

Here are the main benefits and reasons people are looking to do free background checks with no credit card needed:

#1: Learn more about the person you are about to hire.

Bad hires can be quite costly to a company’s bank account and their moral. This is because by hiring the wrong employee you are likely to waste a lot of resources training and teaching them your business. By conducting an investigative search first, you can save yourself both time and money.

#2: Find out more information about your romantic partner.

As they say: love is blind. In reality it’s more like: love makes people blind. When it comes to dating and love, it’s important to stay safe and keep yourself out of dangerous situations. Your romantic partner may not be the person he or she claims to be which could cause huge problems down the line. While you don’t need to get paranoid about it, you simply need to conduct a few investigations to put your mind at ease.

#3: Learn more about the financial expertise of your future business partner.

When it comes to business, past experience is a good indicator of what you can expect from a person in the future. There’s no reason to believe that a potential business partner will change simply because you start working together. A better solution is to do some investigating before you get financially involved with anyone.

Where to conduct free background checks where no credit card is needed:

While there are hundreds of sites that claim to provide free background checks with no credit card needed, the truth is that they WILL end up requesting payment at some point in the process. Most of them let you spend about 15 to 30 minutes on their website filling in information BEFORE they come clean and request credit card information.

So if you really want to conduct a free background check and not use your credit card then you are going to have to do all the legwork yourself. This means contacting the right government and private agencies to request information.

In the end, the request for services that provide free background checks where you don’t need a credit card has never been bigger. Unfortunately there aren’t any “for profit” companies out there that can help you with this. Don’t lose all hope though, there are several very inexpensive options available as well as ways you can conduct your own investigations using free resources.

Gods of Gambling

Arcobaleno / Rainbow

People like to gamble, they place bets to have fun or to earn extra cash. When they feel lucky or when someone is watching over them, they simply want to take a chance, to prove that fortune smiles on them, and betting / gambling is no exception.

Praying to God for a team to win a specific game in order for you to win a bet is more or less selfish when there are still so many bad things in the world. But what about those ancient gods of the past, people believed in them and prayed to them for fortune. The different mythologies of the world reveal powerful deities that rule over the world of gambling. Here are some of the gods that can influence the outcome of a football match in our favor:

Hermes is the Greek god of gambling, profit, hazard, and gaming. Hermes was the winged messenger of the gods. He was the god of flocks, road, trading, commerce, thieves. He is also known as Mercury in Roman Mythology. His father is Zeus, the ruler of the Greek gods.

Thoth is the Egyptian god of gambling. He had the same attributes like the Greek god, Hermes. He is the creator of magic, the inventor of writing, the messenger of the gods and the divine record-keeper and mediator. According to myth, he earned 5 extra days by gambling with the moon (then known as Iabet) in a game of dice to help the sky goddess Nut to have her children.

Macuilxochitl, (five flowers, also called Xochipilli) is the Aztec god of gambling, music, dancing. He was the god of games, from board games (Patolli) to the Aztec version of football (Ullamaliztli). Generally represented as a god of fun and dancing, Xochipilli could also send venereal disease to anyone who violates abstentions by engaging in sexual intercourse.

Li-Nezha is the Chinese god of gambling. He is probably the only one of the Chinese Gods that can reveal the winning numbers in lottery. Li-Nezha is perhaps more well-known as Nataku or Nata from Japanese anime a half-mortal war god. In ancient times mortals worship him as a God of Lotteries and Gambling.

Lakshmi, is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity and fortune. Lakshmi is the consort of the god Vishnu. Hindus believe that anybody who worships Lakshmi sincerely, and not in greed, will be blessed with fortune and success. After worshipping Lakshmi on Diwali, many Hindus gamble and spend profusely, believing that Lakshmi has bestowed good fortune upon them.

Nohoilpi – The gambling god of the Navajo. Also called “He Who Wins Men”. He is a renegade son of the sun god Tsohanoai. He came down to Earth and taught his gambling games to the various tribes but soon abused his power by overcoming them at all his games of chance and collecting his winnings by enslaving people to build a city to mark his glory. He was defeated at gambling by a Navajo man send by the other gods and was thrown into the sky.

Exciting Words for Your Ads and Promotion Copy

W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood en route to China, 1938.

In my article Dump Those Helping Verbs from Your Ads and Promotion Copy (Even if your teacher made you memorize all 23) I told you to not use helping verbs or passive verbs in your ads or promotion copy. They weaken your copy. Few will respond to what you say.

Those “few” are potential or new customers. Is that what you want?

No! You want lots of potential and new customers.

Probably the most powerful word which was included on this list is FREE. Nothing is cheaper than free.

Here are some other suggested words. I’ll bet you can squeeze in a few more:

Absolutely… Amazing… Approved… Attractive… Authentic…

Bargain… Beautiful… Better… Big…

Colorful… Colossal… Complete… Confidential… Crammed…

Delivered… Direct… Discount…

Easily… Endorsed… Enormous… Excellent… Exciting… Exclusive… Expert… Elegant…

Famous… Fascinating… Fortune… Free… Full…

Genuine… Gift… Gigantic… Greatest… Guaranteed…

Helpful… Highest… Huge…

Immediately… Improved… Informative… Instructive… Interesting…

Largest… Latest… Lavishly… Liberal… Lifetime… Limited… Lowest…

Magic… Mammoth… Miracle…

Noted…

Odd… Outstanding…

Personalized… Popular… Powerful… Practical… Professional… Profitable… Profusely… Proven…

Quality… Quickly…

Rare… Reduced… Refundable… Remarkable… Reliable… Revealing… Revolutionary…

Scarce… Secrets… Security… Selected… Sensational… Simplified… Sizable… Special… Startling… Strange… Strong… Sturdy… Successful… Superior… Surprise…

Terrific… Tested… Tremendous…

Unconditional… Unique… Unlimited… Unparalleled… Unsurpassed… Unusual… Useful…

Valuable… Wealth… Weird… Wonderful.

The above list fits many products and services. What if you’re selling candy? Might it be tasty, creamy, delicious, etc.? You will have to add to or delete from this list as you test your ads.

What! You don’t run test ads?

Well, you should.

Try these words suggested by Robert W. Bly in his book The Copywriter’s Handbook: how to… why… sale… quick… easy… bargain… last chance…guarantee, results… proven… save.

Robert W. Bly says in his book that in some copy the word “free” is used over thirty times.

That must be a good one!

I have a classified ad running this week and it starts out with guess what: Free! The word is capitalized and in bold print and the ad is in a box.

That should do it.

I’ll still talk to you when I’m rich.

Roaming Fingers – A Story of A Childhood Sexual Molestation

St Augustines Londonderry

We have all had our “stories” to tell about our lives growing up. Some have had fun loving childhoods in which they had a stay-at-home mom, who had home baked cookies ready for them as soon as they walked in from school, clean clothes ready for the next day, and dinner simmering on the stove. Dads arrived home, everyone sat at the table and enjoyed the delicious meal that mom had prepared, and then while dinner dishes were being cleaned up, the kids could tell their dad about their day. Some had parents that encouraged them, helped them with their homework after supper, and enjoyed spending time with their kids before the next day started. You know, one of those “Leave It To Beaver” type of families. Then there were those who were minus one parents for one reason or another…usually divorce or death. Or what about those that lived with alcoholic or drug addicted parents who weren’t really “parents” at all. Their kids were basically were on their own, raising themselves, fending for themselves, and making the most of bad situations.

I don’t know why I am sharing this right now. I just feel led to let someone out there know that you are not alone! That you can live a normal life. I have been molested by 4 different men between the ages of 8 – 14. But, the LORD GOD Himself, brought me through this all. I have been been redeemed and washed clean by the blood of the Lord. I no longer have to live in life of my molestation taking charge over me any longer.

I was one of those kids who had my own “unique” circumstances when growing up. My parents divorced when I was 7, though my dad moved out when I was 5 ½. I was the oldest of the three of us. We moved to a small town to live closer to my grandparents, my mom’s parents. We moved from the bigger metropolis of Denver, CO, to the small town of Julesburg, CO. At first, when I was younger, I’d made my lifelong friend with the girl who lived across the street from my grandparent’s house. This was the summer before our 2nd grade school year. During the time, our lives seemed somewhat “normal” playing babies, or pretending to be teachers at school, or building ant farms…

But during my lifetime, many things happened that made me who I am today. I cannot begin to tell you what my life was like and do it justice! There are so many more stories I could tell you! For one, we moved and lived in 27 different places from the time I turned 7 – 18. I went to 11 schools in 12 years time. I think that that with us moving so often, I took with me idea that “I better make friends quickly, because sure enough we’d be moving and I’d have to leave.” I believe my sister took the theory that “why bother making friends because we were going to move anyway.” And my brother, well, being a boy, keeping a friend wasn’t that big of a deal, and he made friends fairly easy, but it wasn’t as big an issue for him as it was us girls.

When I was 8, my mom began dating a Japanese farmer in our area, quickly becoming engaged, with the last name of Kinoshita. As you can imagine, the 3 of us kids made quite fun of that name at the time by intentionally pronouncing it, Kin-O-Shit-A. Mean, weren’t we? Well this is the first time that I consider myself being sexually molested. After suppers, my mom would go to the kitchen to wash dishes at his house, and the 3 of us kids and her boyfriend would lie on the floor to watch some TV. Well her fiance’ would use this time to “rub my tummy.” Now I was 8, so needing my tubby rubbed after dinner seemed really weird to me, but I thought, okay, I suppose if this is normal? It made me uncomfortable, but my mom said he was only trying to be nice. Okay, so nice it was…I guess?? But then those tummy rubs, turned into “roaming fingers,” and climbed a little higher and a little higher. Soon my tummy rubs became chest rubs. Now mind you, I had barely started developing, but still had just enough that this made me incredibly uncomfortable! My mom had said that she really wanted this marriage because he was financially well off, and so each night that this went on, I tried to keep myself busy with homework so we didn’t have to lie on the floor and watch TV, but one way or another, he coaxed me in to it, and my mom had told us several times that she didn’t want this relationship messed up by us kids. So, I kept my mouth shut, until one day, on the way home from school, I let it all out to my friend. She went home and talked to her mom. I didn’t know what they were talking about, because her parents only spoke Spanish, so I didn’t think much of it. However, her mom, having heard what was going on, assured me that they were there for me, and that this was something that I had to talk to my mom about right away. So with my friend and her mom both sitting there, I called my mom and told her what had been happening. I don’t know much how was actually said between my mom to her new fiance’, but I do know that she broke up with him. However, my friend’s mom suggested that he be turned in to the police, but my mom said that it was pointless to call the police because “he was so rich that he can own the town, so no one will believe you anyway. It would be his word against yours,” she said. So, life went on as “normal.” Okay, normal as normal could be.

Then my mom found a younger guy who could come over in the mornings and stay with us, when she went to work at 6:00 AM at the truck stop, and he got off at 6:00 AM from working the all night shift there, and would come stay with the three of us kids for the day, as our “babysitter.” Oh he was fun, would make us breakfast, take us to the school or the park to play on the playground, and chase us around the house playing tickle monster. However, when he first got to the house each morning, instead of climbing in to my mom’s empty bed to sleep for a while, he would climb in to my bed with me. Why? Well there were those “roaming fingers” again. Except this time, these fingers roamed up, and then down. I was 9, and he was 21. What did I have at that age that was so enticing anyway?! I hadn’t even started physically developing yet for goodness sake!!! At any rate, this went on for weeks. I told my mom, but she she thought that since I had been through this with her ex-fiance’, then “it must me something I was doing to encourage these guys.” So, though he stopped watching us, I remember wishing him dead. I did. I couldn’t help myself. I just wanted him dead so he could never do something like this again! A couple of months later, while he was working at the electric company, and his partner decided to start drinking some beer on their lunch break. Well Curtis had climbed the pole to work on a specific wire that was causing them trouble, and was electrocuted. He fell from the pole, and his partner, having been drinking, wasn’t functional enough to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I knew it was all my doing! I had prayed and asked for him to die, and he had. You see, it was all my fault…I had wished it, and prayed for that. I just knew it was my fault. I held on to that guilt for many, many years after that. Someone was dead and it was all my fault.

Then, we had a family friend, who we’d been friends with he and his wife for years. In fact, most times, we loved going over to their house. She was like an adopted mom to us kids, and we could convince her husband to come play games with us, read us stories, etc. You should have heard him read one of the Dr. Seuss books backwards! It was a riot! And it was a tongue twister reading it from front to back, let alone reading it back to front! And we used to love tricking him in to asking for Big Macs at Burger King! So, needless to say, we would go over to their house quite often. Usually though, I got the big bed with his wife because we always went to bed much earlier than he did, and he slept on the couch when we stayed, or in the spare bedroom. His wife would usually send me in to wake him when it was time for us all to get up each morning. That’s when those infamous “roaming fingers” would start roaming again. I was between the ages of 10 – 12 during most of this time. But, without telling my mom, (remember how she had decided the last time that I must be the one to enticing these “men,”) that sure enough, it must be something about me, and once again, I was at fault.

Well over time, we’d moved again like we had done numerous other times before, and so we didn’t see them as often as we had before. It was in the beginning of our 8th grade year, so I was in one school there in Jr. High, and suddenly we left CO and headed to good ole’ IA. My mom had broken up with a trucker guy she was dating, a real nutty guy who used to set up candles in a circle in our basement, and call on the spirits from the Mojave Dessert. So, we packed up as soon as we got home from school that day, took only our few very important possessions (and I do mean very few), and our cats, and loaded up a small little U-haul trailer, and off we headed out with no where specific in mind. My mom suggested IA, so off we headed West. We ended up in Council Bluffs and out of money. So, this is where we decided to stay.

Of course, we’d switched schools again, for the umpteenth time, and we started yet another school in Council Bluffs, while we lived in a one room cabin with 2 double beds, one bathroom, a crock pot to cook in and three cats. We started one school, but were the “poor kids” and didn’t fit in well. But, once again, we moved. This time it was a good thing. I was starting in the 9th grade, but at a completely different school. This school was much better, much more acceptable, much less judgmental, and critical, and we weren’t treated as “low class scum” here.

I was finally 14 at this time. My last year before I got to start high school. I was so excited! I was finally growing up, started wearing makeup, fixing my hair, and thinking about the big “B” word…BOYS!!! We were living in a house fairly near the school, so it was in walking distance. My mom was once again working at one of the truck stops nearby. But money was tight, so my mom brought a truck driver home to live with us to help pay the bills. Well this guy was 28. My mom worked the all night shift at the truck stop, and Terry would be home most nights, and on runs during the days for the most part. Well Terry took quite a liking to me immediately. Now mind you, I had just turned 14. My sister and I shared a bedroom, my brother had one to the left of us, and across the hall was Sue’s room (a girl/lady in her early 20s from Indiana), someone that Terry had found hitch hiking one day on his trip out-of-town, and brought to our house to stay with us too. So, that was one more person to help pay the bills. But, to get to the bathroom, we had to walk through a little hallway, and we had to go through Sue’s room to get there. Then to the left was the bathroom, and then to the right was Terry’s bedroom. My mom’s room was on the main floor. In between the bathroom and Terry’s bedroom was a second door. The door locked from Terry’s side of the room, but not from his room into the bathroom. Well at night, once Terry thought all of us kids were asleep in bed, he would come into my room, and once again, night after night, those infamous “roaming fingers” of yet another guy, would start their traveling. He would come in, with a condom on, already ready for whatever I guess he had hopes for. He would ask me to put on something “sexy.” I didn’t have anything “sexy” because I was 14-years-old, and “sexy” was not something I was thinking about at that point in my life. Heck, just getting my makeup to look good in the morning, and curling my hair before school was as “sexy” as it got. His fingers roamed places that I didn’t know existed. I used to pray, “Please Lord, let him think that I’m really asleep and go away tonight.” Or I’d pray, “Please Lord, let my sister wake up so that she’ll make enough noise or something that he’d go away and leave me alone.” He never got to the stage where we actually forced full fledged sex on me, but night after night, we went through this ritual. Night after night he would go back to his room, and I would disgustedly cry myself to sleep. Night after night I wished my sister would please just WAKE UP, just this once. But, she never seemed to, or so I thought, until many years later when I found out that she said that she was afraid to let us know that she was awake, because she was afraid he would come to her next. I can’t blame her for that. I wished I could pretend so he’d leave me alone too, but, that wasn’t the case.

Well one day Sue had asked me to go for a walk with her to talk. So, I did. She started telling me that Terry would come in to her room almost every night and do these “things” to her, ask her to “put on something “sexy,” and his “roaming fingers” would start roaming with her too. That’s when it all came out…I spilled what he had been doing to me as well. I pleaded and pleaded with her not to tell my mom because my mom would say, yet once again, that “it must be something I was doing to entice guys like this.” My fault again. Well Sue, knowing how young I was, ended up telling my mom after all. So, my mom went and confronted Terry. He told her that he did it to me because “He loved me soooooo much that he couldn’t resist wanting to make love to me.” Well my mom told him to pack up and get out of our house. We went to my mom’s friend’s house for a few days while he moved out and because they were one vacation and needed someone to house sit and care for their pets. So, we stayed there 3 nights and 4 days. Once we got back home, Terry was gone, and life seemed to go back to “normal” again. Sue and I felt such great peace having him gone. Then one day, about a week later, my mom said that she had to go to the truck stop because Terry wanted to talk to her about something. So, she left and was gone for several hours. When she came back, she said that Terry had convinced her that he really did do what he had done “because he loved me,” and she said that it was a small price to pay since he offered to help pay even more of the bills we had. So, she let him move back in to our house with us. For the first week or two, he was very polite, pulled out the chairs for me when we would sit down at the table, and insisted on driving me to school so that he could kiss me good-bye each day to “let people know that I was his.” At this point, I tried to convince myself that okay, maybe he did really love me, and that I should be proud and flattered that someone the age of 28 would like me, a 14-year-old teenage girl.

Well a few more weeks went by and things had gone back to the way they were. My mom would go to work all night, and Terry would once again come back in to my room at nights, with condom in hand, and his roaming fingers would once again, starting roaming up and down, up and down. The words he spoke made me sick. And every night, it was was same, I would sickeningly cry myself to sleep because I could no longer deal with this at my age, and I was supposed to be having fun in school, looking forward to my high school years, dances, proms, sports events, etc. But instead, I wouldn’t see a future at all. One day, I had had enough, and could no longer take it! I know my mom wanted and needed the money, but I couldn’t pretend that I was okay anymore. I wasn’t. I wanted to die. Yes, truly die! If it had not been for the Lord putting in my path a certain girl at school, who I quickly became best friends with, and my Science Teacher, whom I will never forget and always be grateful for, I might have ended it there. But, God obviously had other plans for me. Just when I thought that He had left me all alone, He provided me with a friend, and a man who not only was my teacher, but one who genuinely cared about me, who knew that I was going through something terrible at home, who gave me compassion, extra time when I just couldn’t concentrate on my assignments, and someone who could make me laugh. I needed that. It brought back hope to me that ALL men did not just want me for sex. That older men were not all perverts, and that God had put him in my life, as my teacher, just in the nick of time.

Today, by God’s grace, forgiveness, and compassion, I have been forgiven my the blood of the lamb, the Lord Jesus Himself. The person who died on that cross many, many years ago so that I might have life everlasting. The one who pulled me out of the darkness and back in to the light. The one who took away all my hurts and distrusts in men. I thank God that though I had to suffer through those awful times, that I came to learn that it was not my fault that the one guy had been electrocuted and died. That NONE of the things that these four men did to me as a child, were my fault.

To this day, my mother still says, “IF those thing really happened to Kelly, then I guess I should have protected her more.” IF those things happened? IF?!?! There is no question that they happened me! My sister once told her that she knows it to be fact because most times she was in the same bed with me, as we almost always shared a bedroom while growing up. I no longer expect that my mother will ever take any responsibility for what I went through. I know that now. I know that I have to forgive her so that Christ can forgive me for my sins. But it is truly, and only by the Grace of God Himself, that I am still here today. It is my prayer that maybe, just maybe, this testimony will help someone else who has been through something similar, or worse, that there IS hope in Jesus Christ. You are not alone. It is NOT your fault. Give it to HIM, as His shoulders are strong enough to take it from you and let you now walk freely in His love.

*Names of people have been changed to protect those others who were involved.

An Open Letter To Weis Markets

Full Moon over the Hartshill Wharf

I have discovered that there are many little things that make moving to a new home a rich experience. Simple changes such as finding a new place to get your groceries can be an amazing journey of discovery. This was the case for me when we moved just far enough away from my favorite grocer to require a back up store closer to my new home. Welcome to Weis Markets.

My welcome to Weis was an unforgettable experience. As I stepped out of my car for
that first visit and my foot touched the parking lot it landed in chewing gum. Gum in
a parking lot can really happen to any business, but this lot looked grimi. I guess
with 157 stores though, that is a "lot" of parking lots to keep up with, and I am sure
that Weis is too busy to care about one customer with gum on their shoes.

On my first and subsequent visits, I was amazed to find that all but one of the
cashiers were bagging or teaching customers how to use the self-service scanning
devices at every register coercing any customers not willing to wait for the one and
only human cashier to check out their groceries themselves. I even asked a manager
about this, but was told they could not find enough employees. I was really curious
about the ones that were already working there, but this did not seem to go
anywhere with the manager who seemed to have more important things to do than
talk to customers. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but having a human at a register is
one of the last few services left that I am ready to give up.

So, I wait in the long line with the one human who is paid to run the register. Opps,
Can you help me? I forgot my "Weis Store Card." What? You can not ring it on a
generic store card like my favorite old store use to do for me? I have to wait in line
at customer service so they can look it up? You can not even call them on your phone
for me? Oh, you do not have a phone at your register, do you? Gee that makes it a bit
hard to help customers does not it?

As I wait for ten minutes in the "Customer Service line" staffed by one frazzled
employee, who is providing a whole host of services, I realize that 9000 employees
is far too many to train and besides they will not work for Weis long enough to make
the investment in training worthwhile. What does it matter if you choose loose customers
like me who drop an average of $ 120 per weekly visit into the one register staffed
by a human. Who cares if I refuse, even in an emergency, to go to Weis and instead
drive 12-15 minutes to the Oregon Dairy, where there are always humans who will
ring me up on the "store card" and go out of their way to help me. Once they even
sent me home with several bags of groceries and an IOU when I forgot to make a
deposit and my bank card came up insufficient funds !! How does the Oregon Dairy
do it anyway? They are a single store operation but charge the same prices as Weis
and can actually afford to staff all those registrants with humans? And where do they
find all those employees just 15 minutes away? Something sure is fishy here. It must
be the shrimp sale at the Oregon Dairy. I think I will stop by seafood and pick up a
few pounds.