Friday, June 27, 2014

Wonder Woman and My Superhero

My friends and family all know about my love of Wonder Woman. And I see the eye rolls from people when they see a grown woman wearing her Wonder Woman shirt, necklace, bracelet......out in public. I don't care - I love her and I let the whole world know it. What I don't typically talk about is why I love her so much.

Wonder Woman is a link to my dad. I don't have an abundance of joyous childhood memories, and even less with my dad. There is one, however, that has always stood out. One memory that has comforted me over the years. One moment that held me when my dad didn't anymore. One that continues to do so.

I am not even sure how old I was, but I believed I was Wonder Woman. I was bouncing across the sofa in my Wonder Woman underoos, deflecting bullets from the bad guy (played by my dad) off of my bracelets. Finally, I caught him with my lasso of truth.

              "Tell me a truth, daddy", in my most serious Wonder Woman tone.

              "I love you more than you'll ever know." Then he smiled that big smile of his and lifted me high so that I was soaring in my invisible jet. He made me feel invincible. He was my superhero and he loved me.

He left when I was five. And I saw him less than once a year. Every Christmas, I would jump when the phone rang....hoping and praying that he would remember to call that year. Sometimes he did and sometimes he didn't. I would make up excuses to call him, say that I needed something - just so he would pay attention to me. In junior high, I spent an entire chorus concert watching the door because he told me he might make it. He didn't. He never made it to my high school graduation. He met my husband for the first time after we had been married for 8 years because I hadn't seen him in ten.

Over the years, I would resolve to not care. Every once in awhile, something would arrive in the mail from him. Something Wonder Woman. And I would remember that moment, as a little girl, when I believed he loved me.

In July of 2010, I got a call that he was sick. So, I went to Florida to see him. He was his usual charming, funny self and refused to have any conversation that was heartfelt or serious. As I was preparing to leave, he gave me one of his famous hugs. He gave the best hugs. He would hold you really tight, and then just as he would start to let go, he would pull you back in tight again. The hug seemed to go on forever. And he said, "I love you more than you'll ever know". Those were the last words he ever spoke to me.

I was back down there when he died in April 2011. He was already dying and never woke up while I was there. I lay on the bed next to him, holding his hand, my head on his shoulder, telling him over and over again that I loved him through my tears. I left Florida as soon as he passed.

I didn't know if he really loved me. Because, actions speak louder than words, right? I mean, that is what we're taught. I started to believe that he didn't love me. I couldn't see it. He didn't do what dads are supposed to do. I was broken. Gone were my dreams of dad swooping in like the superhero I had, at one time, believed him to be. I would never hear his voice again. I would never have another one of his hugs that I so badly craved. There was no more hope to repair a relationship that had gone so far awry. It was over. And I was left gutted.

My husband did something amazing. He bought me a Wonder Woman necklace and a Wonder Woman shirt, just over a year ago. It was the most precious gift - a reminder of my greatest memory of my dad - and one that I had locked away after he died. And I finally saw it. The actions behind the words. He wasn't capable of being a "normal" dad and he wasn't perfect. But he sent me reminders through the years of that moment when I knew I had his love. It turns out I had it all along.

So, if you see me out in my Wonder Woman gear - it's probably because I was really missing my dad that day. My superhero, who loved me more than I ever knew.


Monday, June 23, 2014

When You Walk Your Destined Path

When walking in your purpose, outside criticisms die away. You are able to distinguish your good relationships from your toxic ones. You are able to see people with clarity - without judgment or prejudice. Why? Because you can see your purpose now. You are living it. When you are fixated on what is good and true.....all of the ugly of the world simply falls away.

Staying on your destined path of purpose is not always easy. The best things never are. There are always temptations along the way. When you are weary and want to slow down or when you are fulfilling your purpose to highest degree.... That is when distractions come your way.

I had a distraction recently. It was a distraction that I wrestled with, on and off, for a few days. It's never fun when you find out someone doesn't like you. Why doesn't she like me? What is wrong with me? Why am I defective? Why? Why? Why?  Oh, yeah, I went there.....thankfully, only briefly. Once upon a time, that would have sent me on a weekend binge of all chocolate within a 20 mile radius.

Now, because I am a woman of purpose, I can see more clearly now. I can ask the right questions. Am I surprised by this? No. Does her opinion really matter? No. Do I like me? Yes. Do I have people in my life who like me? Yes. Do their opinions matter? Yes. Do I know the reason why she doesn't like me? Yes, because I didn't fit into the mold of her ideal of what a Christian woman should be. Should I care then what she thinks? No. Do I want to fit into her mold? No. Then why do I care whether or not she likes me?

Now, it took me a couple of days to go through this internal conversation. I had a choice - to let the distraction become an obstacle on my path or to brush it aside. Was I hurt? Yes, and it's okay to be hurt by someone, but that hurt can affect my path, my walk, and my purpose one of two ways. I could acknowledge the hurt, forgive and move on - making me a stronger person.....or I could hold on to it and let it fester - allowing it to grow and distract until I found myself off of my path and floundering without direction.

So, I chose to acknowledge, forgive, and move on. Why? Because my purpose is more important than someone's opinion.

Love and Blessings!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Search for Body Confidence

I experienced my very first water slide ride yesterday. Thirty-five years old and I had never been on a water slide before. Why? Because I have always hated my body. This has been an ongoing theme for me. And, it is something that I have always worked towards helping others overcome. So, why do I still struggle?

It's all me. It's pure self hatred on my part. It's me holding myself back. It's how I see myself.

A water slide may not seem like a big deal. What the water slide represents, however, is monumental. How many other experiences have I missed out on? How many more will I miss?

I have missed water slides, fun, time spent with my family, opportunities, freedom all because I see myself in a negative way. All because I never wanted to walk around (or be seen) in a bathing suit.

Yesterday, I got on a water slide. I wish I could say it was easy. I bought a new bathing suit that I felt adequately covered my thighs enough so I could walk around the water park with my kids.

There is a quote that I love, that challenges me....and I was reminded of it yesterday. "What is the life you really want, and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problem, your worst failure...your greatest fear?" (Mark Batterson)

I am diving in to my greatest fears, my insecurities, my failures and problems. I want to discover my future. I want to live my life....really experience life. So, I search for my body and in my self. I have seen glimpses of it, and felt it. The struggle, it seems, is the hanging onto it. Keeping it close and before me at all times.

I need to remind myself of those times that I have had body confidence. Many months ago, I had nude photos of myself done. I loved them. I loved me. I loved my body. And then I forgot. I stopped loving me because I am not where I want to be. That perfect goal. I forgot to celebrate how far I have come already though. I stopped celebrating along the way. And I realized that I was paralyzed. And I was missing out. No more.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Switched at Birth?

Sometimes I wonder if my youngest child is really mine. She is the most organized human being I have ever met. I frustrate her to no end. I hear her sighs when she picks up my shoes off the floor, in whatever room I took them off, and puts them away....where they "belong". Her room is pristine and her closet........ Not only are her clothes organized by type, but they are also organized by color. Hangers? Also sorted by color.

There are no real worries that she might have been switched at birth, despite her organizational superpowers. The truth of the matter is, she is a more intense version of her father in that. I drive that man crazy too. He often says that I am a terrific wife but a terrible housewife. It's true. Maybe my pint sized Martha Stewart can teach me something. Maybe I will learn to put my shoes away....where they "belong". Sigh.

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Abortion Story


That is my initial feeling when I hear a discussion about abortion. Especially discussions among Christians. I feel desperate for them to understand. Desperate for them to feel compassion towards the women who have abortions. Desperate for them to love these women the way Jesus does. The way God does. Because these women are desperate to have that see it in feel it. How do I know? Because I am one of these women.

Sixteen years old. I was told that I was having an abortion. As we were pulling up to the clinic, my mom was having trouble turning in to the parking lot. There was a line of people along the sidewalk, holding signs and yelling things. I was scared and they seemed so angry. A man walked up to the car and wanted to give me a paper. I rolled down the window and took it. He told me to see what horrible thing I was about to do to a helpless child. He was so gruff and angry.

We pulled in to a parking space. I wouldn't get out. My mom was so angry. I didn't even look at the paper the man gave me. I already knew what I was doing and I didn't want to do it. I clutched the paper like a lifeline, hoping that maybe it would change my mom's mind. In the parking lot I sat. My stepfather showed up soon after trying to talk me into going in. The security guard even tried convincing me. I wouldn't budge. Finally, they had to leave. I exhaled at the reprieve.

It was a short reprieve. I was then subjected to a private talk with my mom and grandmother. This was my punishment for my sins. I had to commit murder. Too many people would be hurt by the ramifications of being pregnant at 16. My family would hate me. They wouldn't be able to look at me. It had to be covered up. I had to have an abortion.

Numb and resigned, I walked across a cold parking lot on December 9th, 1994. The shouts and curses coming from the sidewalk only added to my punishment.  As I walked in the building, the security guard said not to worry because the protesters would be long gone before I came out.

The counselor I saw inside also tried to relieve what she thought was my fear. She explained that the protesters didn't care about me at all, just their agenda. That was why they aren't outside when we come out. The counselor was right about the protesters. She was wrong about what I was feeling though. It wasn't fear, it was pure desolation. She only compounded my punishment by showing me how alone and unlovable I was in my sin.

I was awake for the abortion. It was part of my punishment. I felt every excruciating moment. I cried for my baby. I cried for me. My legs shook as a nurse helped me off of the table. There was blood everywhere. The nurse helped me dress. She took me to another room, sat me in a chair and gave me crackers and a soda.

When I left, the sidewalks were empty. The silence - more punishment. Where were the chanters from that morning who said that God forgives? They only meant that God would forgive me if I didn't kill my baby. And wouldn't they know best? They were Christians after all. Silence. There was no forgiveness for me.

I wanted to die. For weeks, I contemplated suicide. A few weeks later, on Christmas day, I left the house during the family festivities and walked to the nearby dam. I stood at the spillway and considered jumping over. Thankfully, I didn't go through with it.

I became a pro-choice advocate. It was a way to assuage my guilt. It made my pain and punishment easier to bear. And even though I was pro-choice, I was adamant that I would never have another abortion again.

And then I did.

January 20th, 2000. I am not going to go into the detailed circumstances of this pregnancy. I was in a bad situation and I also already had a little girl. And I felt as if I had no choice. This time as I was walking in, I tried to portray a hardness. I hated the protesters this time. I knew they wouldn't be there when I came out. I knew they didn't care about me. I wanted, I needed someone to care. And the workers in the clinic at least acted like they cared.

As I went through the process of checking in and the counseling and testing, fear set in for the first time. Fear of going through this alone again. Fear of what I was becoming. Fear of what would happen if I just ran out of there before I went through with the abortion. I looked at the other women in the waiting room. We would nod at each other. No one else could understand our pain or the weight of our punishment except each other. Yet, even together, we were still alone.

Once in the abortion room, I was being prepped by a very nice man who gave me hope when I didn't have any. I had paid the extra money to be put out during this abortion. I knew I would never make it through it awake like last time. This man, was putting my iv in. He stopped, patted my arm and said, "It will be alright, you are loved and you can be forgiven". Silent tears rolled down my cheeks and I prayed for the first time in years. I told God I didn't want to be alone and I couldn't get through this. And as I was going under, I felt a man wrap me in his arms and hold me. The entire time I was held by a man I couldn't see, but I knew it was Jesus. I had never felt so loved or comforted or forgiven.

I changed after that. I began searching to feel that again. My life before was no longer good enough. I had hope for the first time. Hope in being loved. Hope in being forgiven. And that hope began in an abortion clinic of all places and not from the people shouting on the sidewalk.

The women going to the abortion clinics know in their hearts what they are doing is murder. The law is written on our hearts. They may try to justify, excuse or even defend. It is their way of coping. These women need to know that God will still love them and that they can still be forgiven even if they go through with it. Of course, the ideal is to save the babies. We must remember, however, that God wants the women saved too. So, if you are going to stand out on the sidewalk of an abortion clinic, please, I implore you to be there when these women walk out of there. They need God's love, compassion and forgiveness more than ever then. And who better to show them that than the very hands and feet of Jesus.

This is why I now counsel women who have had abortions. Forgiveness, guilt, and grief over abortions are so hard to deal with. I know, I've been there.

Love and Blessings!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Sneak Peek of the new book...

I do not have the release date yet for this book (partly due to not having finalized the title). And this book is part of a trilogy. I am really excited about what is coming up and I thought I would share an excerpt from the book. :)


    "He sat on the park bench.  Waiting, just like yesterday.  He was a patient man.  And she was worth the wait.  Oh yes, she was definitely worth the wait.  She was an itch he couldn’t scratch yet.  It wasn’t time.  He reveled in the exquisite torture of looking and not touching.  Wanting to prolong his agony and yet end it quickly at the same time.  He loved her.  He was obsessed with the thought to possess her, to hold her until her very last breath.  She consumed his thoughts, his dreams,  his  fantasies.  She was his.  She just didn’t know it yet.

                At the sound of her shoes hitting the trail, he looked up.  There she was, running toward him.  It was just like in his dreams.  The rise and fall of her glorious breasts with every step.  Her  skin, glistening from her exertion. The need to touch her was overwhelming.  His own love.  His own sweet, sweet love.

                He smiled up at her as she ran past him.  She was so focused on her run, that she didn’t notice him again. He had to admire her focus.  Besides, she would notice him soon.  Very soon.  As she ran out of sight, he closed the book that he pretended to read and rose off the bench to go.  He walked away, whistling a happy little tune.  Jacqueline Elliott was about to meet her destiny."


There have been many nights that I have been unable to go to sleep. I just lie awake and think about regrets. As if ticking each one off of an invisible list. Regrets over what I didn't get done that day. Regrets of memories not made and intentions not acted upon. Sometimes, I reflect on my day and think, 'That's it?'.

So many things get put off. My priorities list is a bit wonky and needs some work. For example, I was supposed to go have a stress echo done two weeks ago. Guess what I still have not called to schedule. It should probably be at the top of my list, but it's not.

Those nights when I lie awake with my regrets, I also cling to hope. Hope that I will have another day to try again, to make more memories, to accomplish what needs done, to live and to love. And that hope is what leads me to peaceful slumber.

Love and Blessings!