Saturday, December 27, 2014

Here's to 12 years and hopefully many more!

Tomorrow my handsome man and I celebrate 12 years of marriage. I can not even begin to express just how grateful I am to have him! He is a great husband and an amazing father! All of us are better people because we have him!

Tim has chosen to stick by me, support me, love me, and encourage me over the last 12 years even when things were so very difficult. I don't know if I could have made it through the last 4 years without him. When I'm ready to give up he always helps me to get through the struggles. He is steady like a rock (sometimes this drives me crazy), and this helps me because I'm far more emotional. He often helps me to see things from a very different perspective. I'm so glad to have him by my side! We truly are better as a team!

Anyone who knows me knows that music speaks to me in a way that very little else does. I have picked a song to be my husband's ringtone on my phone when he calls because it reminds me so much of him and how he is always right there to love and encourage me. I thought I'd share that song with you all!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas struggles.

Let's get real. Let's be honest. Christmas, and in fact the entire holiday season is a tough time for many people. During this season that is supposed to be full of joy many are often deeply grieving due to great loss. Especially those who have gone through serious trauma.

If I were to be honest that is where I am this year. I have so much to be grateful for, and I truly am grateful for my family and all of the blessings we have. I have been blessed beyond measure, but having a grateful heart for those blessings doesn't take away the pain.

Sometimes when an abuse victim decides to do what is right and works with law enforcement to see justice so that others are protected they lose much. I have lost so much during the process of prosecuting my abusers. To some this may sound odd, but I still grieve the loss of the relationship with my mom. It was gut wrenching to hear her get on the stand once again and side with my abuser over me. The memory is so fresh. The loss and the grief are poignant.

I guess I write all of this not because I want pity (most victims do not), but because if I am real maybe, just maybe it will help you understand someone else who is struggling this holiday season. If you are struggling know that you are not alone! We can all get through this together!

So today I'm going to focus on the things I have to be thankful for. For some reason this song just keeps playing over and over in my head, so I thought I'd share. Don't lose hope! We can be the change that this world needs! There is always something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Today I am broken. I am grieving. I am hurting deeply. There are no winners here. The case is in the hands of the jury and no matter what happens there are no winners. The only potential winners are those who are potentially being saved from a very abusive man.

I sat in the court room and listened to people who should have loved and protected me lie on the stand. I'm not angry. I'm sad. So very sad. I fear that I will never again be able to have a relationship with the mother I still love. Yes, she has repeatedly chosen an incredibly abusive man over me, and as a mom there is NO part of me that understands or justifies that in any way, but she is still my mom, and I will always love her.

When someone chooses to abuse another person they don't just hurt that person. Daniel, in abusing my brother and myself, not only hurt us, but many others too. He took away my mother from me. He took away a grandmother from my children. He caused great rifts within the family. It is heartbreaking.

Your choices will have so much greater impact than you even know. Please love your children. Protect them!!! And God forbid something happen and someone hurts someone you love, PLEASE help bring the abuser to justice as fast as possible.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Trial 2 Take 2

A week from today we go back to trial. The last one ended in a mistrial. I'm really ready for all of this to be over!

It seems like each time I have to go back to trial, or I face something big in life God brings along a song that really speaks to me at a very deep level. This time is no different. So I thought I'd share the song that has been my anthem of late! Hope it encourages you as much as it does me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why do I write?

I have been asked why I choose to write and share my story and share my struggles. There are several reasons why I choose to write and share.

  1. I choose to write because I remember how alone I felt in my darkest hours. I remember feeling like no one else could possibly understand my pain. I hope I can help someone know they are not alone through sharing my heartache.
  2. I choose to write because light must be shone in the dark places. Until people are willing to talk about the bad things and bring to light how damaging abuse is nothing is going to change. I must be a voice speaking light into the darkness. 
  3. I want my life story to help other people. That can happen best if I'm transparent and acknowledge that sometimes working through the messiness of life is tough, but we can all help each other through it!
  4. HOPE!!!! Sometimes all you need is a glimpse of hope to keep going. I believe seeing how God has done such amazing things throughout the nasty parts of my life will bring hope to others going through their own junk. My desire is to speak life and hope to others!
I guess that's what it all boils down to...HOPE! I want people to know that there is hope for healing after extreme abuse. There is hope that life can get better! I want others to catch even just a glimpse of the hope so they can keep going through life's struggles. 

Monday, August 25, 2014


I know I haven't blogged in quite a while. My goal is to get started again. Today my heart is breaking for a sweet 13 year old who was raped and impregnated by a close family member who was a pastor. There just aren't words to express the grief I feel for this child who is undoubtedly experiencing such horrific mental trauma at this point. I decided to write a letter to her. A dear friend of mine asked me to post that letter here, so here it is...

Dear Sweet Child of God,

                I wanted to write you a note to encourage you, to let you know that you are not alone, and to let you know that people who you have never met are thinking about you and praying for you, and already love you.
                Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tina. I too was raped as a child and got pregnant from that rape and had to give my baby up for adoption. I tell you this to help you to know that you truly are not alone. I remember feeling so very alone and like no one could possibly understand the emotions and the pain that I was going through.
                What I know to be true is that rape is NEVER the fault of the victim! I also know that it is ok to cry, the pain is very real. The daughter I gave up for adoption is now 16 and I can honestly tell you God has held true to His promises and has never left me or forsaken me. He has lovingly been with me even at my very lowest points. I know He will be there for you too!
                If you ever want to talk I’d be more than happy to listen.

Please know that you are loved!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is a Broken Heart Worth the Cost?

My heart hurts. We received news recently that my husband and I have been subpoenaed to go back to New Hampshire for another trial. This time they are prosecuting my mother's husband for sexual abuse. He is already a convicted felon and a convicted sex offender. Unfortunately, he decided not to take the plea bargain.

I really have no desire to go through the whole trial process again. I would much rather be home with my children. BUT I know that this is right. So many studies have shown that most sex offenders do not change and will re-offend. If my testimony can help prevent even one child from being hurt, then to me it is worth the pain that is inevitably coming.

So why does my heart hurt so much? It hurts more for my mother than anything else. She is still with this offender. I know that she hasn't spoken to me in years, and has hurt me often, but I still love her. I hate to think that she would believe that in some way I'm trying to hurt her.

What I'm trying to remind myself is that ultimately my cooperation with the police and the prosecutor isn't what caused the pain for her. Her husband has continually made choices to be abusive and manipulative and his actions are really the source of the pain.

I would appreciate everyone's prayers as we walk yet another tough road.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Feeling helpless...

I'll be honest, the past few days have been excruciating! My baby girl is in the hospital and really struggling significantly. I'm exhausted physically and emotionally. My heart hurts. I feel helpless because I can't make everything better. I HATE that feeling.

So with lots of time on my hands while in the hospital with my sweet baby girl I have done a lot of thinking. So many times I have heard and even said something like: "You don't realize the blessing of a healthy child till you have one that isn't".

Seriously, what was I thinking? Yes, it is a blessing to have healthy children, but that doesn't mean that those with challenges aren't a blessing. My sweet baby girl has been through so very much, and yet she brings so much joy to those around her. She teaches me things all the time. She very rarely complains about all of the stuff that she has to endure. So often we complain about little things (for me it is drivers who annoy me), and she pushes on through the pain complaining so little about it that most people would never know she has anything wrong with her.

So while my heart aches, and I wish I could take away her pain I'm so grateful for what an amazing gift I have been given in my precious girl!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yet another surgery....

We had hoped after the last update that our sweet girl would have a break from surgeries and hospitals. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I'm posting an update here so friends and family can know what is going on and can pray.

Over the last few days we noticed that our youngest wasn't acting quite right. She was having a lot of headaches and was tired and had a few other things that just weren't quite right. Tuesday morning I was snuggling with her and I noticed that she had another fluid filled lump on the back of her neck under her incision line. This means that she has yet another spinal fluid leak. I immediately called the surgeon who worked us in the same day. He scheduled surgery for the very next day and sent her for an MRI. We were getting everything set up for her to have surgery again when his nurse called us to say that after looking at her MRI the surgeon had determined that the surgery he was going to do the next morning was too dangerous. They then scheduled an appointment for today and surgery for Monday.

Today we went and met with the surgeon. It is really hard to condense all that he said. After a lot of discussion and looking through current and past MRI's the surgeon has come to the conclusion that he has to remove her cerebellar tonsils (the bottom of her cerebellum). He said that this section of the brain controls nausea and balance, and that after a few days there are other parts of her brain that will take over these functions so she can return to normal. They will also have to place another drain, but he isn't sure where he is going to place it at this point. She will be in the hospital for 10 - 14 days this time depending on how she does.

Needless to say, thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated! There is obviously far more to what is going on than what I was able to include in this post, but it should give a general idea of what is going on in our little world.

Monday, February 24, 2014


I have been noticeably absent from writing lately. Things here with our sweet little girl have been pretty rough the last several months, and my focus has been on her. I gave lots of updates when we went to National Jewish Hospital in August, but haven't given many since then, so here is the scoop. 

In October she underwent stomach surgery (Nissen Fundoplication). This was ultimately to help with her breathing issues. Her reflux had gotten so bad that she was aspirating food particles into her lungs which made fat grow in her lungs and made it hard to breathe. 

In November she had to have her 2nd brain surgery (Chiari decompression). She pulled through amazingly well, and we thought we were going to be done for a while at this point. She was sent home from the hospital just before Thanksgiving.

In December we took her to the ER because she had a spinal fluid leak. She ended up in the PICU for several days on IV antibiotics. The incision line healed and we thought the leakage had stopped, so they sent her home. Unfortunately this was not the case. The leakage was just contained inside her body and she started to develop large lumps under the incision site. 

In January she had to go back into surgery to repair the leak. It was during this surgery that we were told she has hydrocephalus and pseudotumor cerebri. The surgeon repaired the leak in the dura (sack around the brain) and placed an external lumbar drain and she was in the PICU for 2 weeks. We were again hoping that this would be the end of her struggles for a while, but it was not.

In February I discovered that she was again starting to build up fluid under the incision line. Within 2 days of calling the surgeon's office to let them know my suspicions she was back in surgery to have a vp shunt placed in her head. Now the excess fluid within her head is drained into her abdomen. 

We are really hoping that our poor sweet girl can get a break from surgeries and hospitals for a while. We really appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers for our family! We are hoping we can get back into a "normal" routine soon! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For the days you wish God had skin on...

This post is about as real and raw as it gets. I'm not usually quite this open, but I feel like I'm supposed to share this...

I typically think of myself as a pretty joyful and optimistic person, but lately that has been so tough. Our family has walked through some pretty big stuff with our youngest daughter (In the hospital 5 times in the last 6 months and 3 major surgeries during that time). We have walked through lots of tough stuff before, but for some reason I really struggled far greater this time.

My emotions have been raw. I have felt so very down. I told one of my closest friends "I never understood how someone could have so many great family members and friends and still feel so very alone". Never that is until the last few days. I know that emotions aren't a bad thing, and sometimes the amount of exhaustion your body is in plays into these emotions, but I was not prepared to be so depressed. That just isn't me. But the last few days it was...I cried...I wanted to be alone...I wanted to have a magic wand that would make everything all better.

At some point I realized that I had to make a choice. So, my choice was to put on good music, allow myself to cry, allow myself to rest, and to call a friend who I knew would love and encourage me through this. Did these things make it all go away? NO! But I'm not as down as I was before, and I have my focus on better things. This has been really hard because I was always taught that emotions are wrong, and that if you worry or are scared about something that means you aren't trusting in God. As I have grown, and read the Bible for myself, I see these things are simply wrong. Even Jesus wept when Lazarus died (even though He knew what was coming); even Jesus got angry enough to throw over tables; even Jesus called people names (Vipers) when the situation was appropriate. So, if Jesus can experience strong emotions, then so can we.

If you are down and discouraged today maybe some of the things that have helped me will help you too. I put on good music, make a list of all the good things in my life, spend time with those who love me unconditionally (even just on the phone), and do activities that I enjoy. What are things that have helped to encourage you?