Friday, April 25, 2014

Deafening Silence-- More like deadly quiet.

Fear is the enemy.  That is the common theme.  Honestly I think silence is a bigger enemy.

Later today I will be speaking to how many people I don't know--  A radio station will be there broadcasting, and somehow I am the star.  Something I never wanted to be.  I'm shaking in in my boots--  my very worn ones.

Let me clarify--  I am simply a girl with a dream of writing and someday being published-- perhaps even having my manuscript being popular--that is with a pen name.  The girl never dreamed of speaking in front of anyone.  Never had a desire to give a speech.  In fact she avoided people.  She never dreamed of a radio station being interested in anything she had to say.  Literally  that was NEVER her dream.  She was happy to be a mouse with the name of Cat.

Now the girl has grown into a woman in her mid-forties with battle scars that she would still like to hide, and somehow what she has had to say has become more popular than the manuscript she published.  This woman is still the girl and she still wishes it to be the opposite of what she has become.  Silence is golden--Except she knows that's really not true-- it is a lie that is pretty comfortable.

You see she speaks on behalf of those who have been harmed as she was so many years ago.  She remembers a little too well sometimes what it was like to be the child left to bleed, or the teenager set up by who she thought was her best friend, or the pregnant wife that her husband got off on.

Now she is safe and has healed.  Now she has a wonderful man beside her that loves her, but she remembers the times when that was not so, and she speak on behalf of those that are suffering as she has.  She speaks not so much because she wants to-- she does not-- yet to not speak would be to not do what she can to help--  Speaking is not easy or comfortable or even painless.  Writing is a much better medium, but in order to give a voice to those who are not able to speak for themselves she must break the silence.

Back to I am shaking in my boots.  I am petrified.  Do you think I would be up at almost three o'clock in the morning other wise when I need to be up and showering before eight?  Yet here is the deal.  At one o'clock in the afternoon-- about ten hours from now I will get up and read and speak and somehow not stutter nor let my voice quiver.  I better damn well have a mic because I am only loud when I have to yell at my son to get him to stop arguing!  But I will speak, and every word will come from the deepest place in my soul because every person that has ever faced any kind of sexual assault deserves someone to speak up and out for them. That person right now-- later in Des Moines will be me.

My speech is called The Loudest Silence, and whether I will follow it word for word I cannot tell you, but I will be as loud as I can possibly be because I know what it's like to be a victim of sexual assault and the people around you being deafening quiet.

It's happened to me during three time periods in my life, and it's happened to two of my daughters.  My family has survived and because of that I refuse to be voiceless.

I will speak for the friends that have been victims, and for some of the wonderful people I have met that have suffered.  I will give this all I've got, and hopefully my words will help others, and hopefully there will be donation to The Iowa Coalition against Sexual Assault.

Hopefully some of the people listening will choose to be a support for the ones around them that have been hurt like I was.
Hopefully parents will learn what to say to their teen daughter after she sneaks out to got to a party where she was drugged then raped.
Hopefully friends will know how to comfort their close friend when they have to sit down with her as she tells them what caused her not to catch up to them the night before.
Hopefully they will know how to listen to a hurting wife that talks about the pain her husband went through as a child, and how it is effecting their marriage and their parenting of their children.
Hopefully they learn what to say to the child that has watched her mother be afraid to be alone all their life and just found out why.

You see sexual violence doesn't just hurt the victim.  It hurts everyone around them.  Those people can be a person to give a kick in the booty as needed, a voice to call out for help when the victim cannot, and a shoulder to cry on when requested, or they can tear the person down more.  The Coalition helps train others on how to respond to those that have been harmed.  Different people respond to being harmed different ways, and even some respond different at different times.  Sometimes it paralyzes their will to go on, sometimes they turn into angry souls, sometimes cold, and sometimes it turns them into a perpetrator.

Sometimes after time does it's work along with a few good friends that stand by them, and maybe a counselor or two they grow into survivors.  Then they learn by the goodness that was given to them how to help those that were harmed around them.  Those of us who do survive do not survive without scars, but still we must speak out so that more will be able to move beyond victimhood to surviving and finally helping others.

That is why I speak even while I am afraid--  I am still more afraid of not speaking.  Because of my own healing I was able to talk to my daughters after their own tragedies.  I have been able to listen to friends.  Now I have gained a following, and so here too I have a chance to make a difference.  And I must for the memories of being the victim-- the lost child, the hurt teen, the destroyed young woman, the mother who felt powerless when I learned what happened to my daughter.  I have been all of that.  How can I not speak?

I guess this is Cat out...  I don't have much of a conclusion.  Just needed to talk this out--  In the most comfortable way I have--- Writing.  Hope you don't mind.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Books verses the Internet-- and what to pack and what give away-- both big questions!

Everyone is still sleeping because we all caught some kind of spring cold and outside it looks like December instead of April.  I am up debating on what to pack and what to get rid of.  It's been nine years since we changed houses and I'm not sure how I want to do things.  There is so much to get rid of!  The longest we've been in one house before now was three years and each time we move we move more stuff-- except this time.  This time we are purposefully downsizing.  We just don't need as much as we have.  Clothing is a big topic because we have at least double what we need.  Do we keep our TV cabinet or do we keep the dresser?  How do we organize rooms?  I've written out some lists, but still I know I'm not going to fully have the answers until we are there.  Does anyone else have this problem?  I really can't seem to figure what to take and what to give away (sell, throw out, etc.).  What to part with--  Ahhh! That is the real question.

So far I've been getting rid of some of my books (ARRRG!) and some old mixing bowls.  I'm packing sparingly--  If I know exactly where it goes and know I want it, but what do I do about that old 1960s/70s era set of science books?  Or the early eighties American history encyclopedias?  I mean the late 1920s encyclopedias there is no way I'm parting with, but then there is the in betweens-- If I was honest with myself I want to keep all of them, but if I am being realistic--  Well that is another story.  My biggest problem is books.  I have a full library, and then at least two closets full of different books.  So I have to part with some of them.  The hardest question is which ones.  The reality side of me says the mid-era research books can go.  After all you can find all of that on the internet--

Ahh but can you?  Books don't change their print and they don't crash.  The internet?  Well lets be honest, it is continuously changing and more than once I've had a very interesting read removed.  When I go back to reference it-- it is no longer there.  Besides to someone who has researched history, books are a best friend.  The closer you get in print date to the actual event the more the story changes.  I'm not saying we rewrite our history-- well not for the most part.  I am saying it is amazing how attitudes change in one hundred years-- and you just can't get that feel from the internet, but I can from my books.  I love to go back to my history books written around 1900 and read about The War Between The States, or even better read the difference in material printed in the South compared to the North.  Then go to the 1920s and read again.  Then the 1950s-- and this is the era you see an amzing change taking place.  Now the 1970s things really get whitewashed, and by the 1990s you almost have a different story entirely.  Think I'm crazy?  Try it.  Use printed material and see how you can understand a subject so much better.  You can get ten different perspectives just depending on the era you choose the reference material from.  Now if you add in actual accounts from the people that participated in the event--  Oh that makes for some really interesting finds!  You don't know where your perspective will end up!

And understanding?  Oh don't get me started!  Let's just say on the topic of The War Between The States, as I researched it this way, there is a reason I cannot refer to it as the Civil War.  Do you realize that that particular war still effects this country?  But that is probably a subject for a different time.  Right now I have to make a decision on my books.  After writing this and thinking it out, I think I'm keeping my research books.  The science books?  That is more of a debate.  But I still do not have an answer!  So maybe I'll just go pack those research books, and label them for my big bookcase that goes in the living room.  At least that's one decision down.  So happy packing days!  This is Cat out.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The beginning of another new adventure!

I know I haven't been on here since the beginning of March, and for that I am sorry.  In that time alot has happened too.  So let me get you caught up.

My Albert Lea event was rescheduled to April 5th-- tomorrow.  I'll be at Cup of Faith from noon-two pm and at Book World from three-five pm.  Since April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month, and as you probably guessed that is one of my big topics I'll be speaking a little about it, and then reading a section of The Key to Her Heart and signing your copy.  I'm really looking forward to meeting anyone who plans to visit with me!  The next event after this is in Des Moine on April 25th & 26th and I believe the details on that one is on my web site.

Last month I needed a break and I didn't even know it at first. I didn't realize how close I was to a melt down until I spent a week in Florida with the most gentle, peaceful people I know--  that would be Todd's parents.  In a matter of eight days they helped me restore a little sanity into my life.  Five months of the year they live in Florida right on the beach and they invited Hope to spend a week with them and to bring a friend.  She decided I, her mom, was her closest friend and so chose for me to come with her, and that also meant Tory since she's linked to my and Hope's hip most of the time.

Eight days of swimming, walking the beach, and soul searching would do anyone good.  For me it was restoration to peace, calmness, and straight thinking.  I needed that more than my words can express.  I spent alot of time in prayer, Tory almost completely potty trained herself, and Hope got a ton of rest and exercise.  It was awesome!

Since Lent started while I was there, I started a spiral of prayer that continued after I got home-- especially when the day after I returned everything went crazy enough that I wished I'd never come home.  That led into an incredible novena (nine day prayer where I spent morning, mid-morning, noon and evening in prayer) which literally change all of the lives in our family.  At the end of that we began a serious house hunt.  We found a beautiful century old house that we all fell in love with, and today we found out it is actually going to be ours!

Now we go a little more crazy for the next six weeks trying to get things packed, sold and given away so we will be ready to move.  I have been praying for ten years to move, and very fervently since October--  Two weeks ago it seemed near impossible.  Today we know we are closing the middle of May!  No complaints-- so don't get me wrong.  It is my dream house!

All the time I was a kid I dreamed of a big old house with a veranda and a wood stove.  It had to have lots of windows and of all things window boxes.  I like to grow things. It has all of that.  Plus about eighteen of my twenty wants, and a boat load of the things we need.  We are all so totally stoaked!  I am dancing inside just thinking about it.  Meg squealed when I told her we got it!  Meg doesn't do that either, so I think she is almost as excited as I am.  Tory for the first time asked to take her nap in her own bed--  She doesn't ever do that!  Peter breathed a big sigh then went around the house jumping up and down.  He may have done his own version of a squeal, but he does do that all the time.  Needless to say we are just a little jazzed. (A little being the BIGGEST understatement of the year!)

So-- well another new adventure is starting, and my publishing adventure is still going, and well this is really the way I like life.  I tell you I am finding an adventure with God too...  That though is a story for another time-- Maybe you'll ask me about it when I meet you in person!  Plug-- Plug-- Plug--  Come visit me at one of my events-- PLEASE!

Right now this is Cat out wishing everybody out there a worthy adventure!