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Entry # 10 As each layer of darkness began to peel away from me, I began to experience some great new emotions for about a week, things like courage, warmth, safety, value, and even compassion come to mind. I thought, being so new to this, that this was it. I had had my experience back to God, and the rest of my life would be all straightened-out. Little did I know that all this hard work I had done at the Road was just to open-up my heart and give me the tools I needed to begin the real work that was coming just around the corner. However, timing was not with me because it was the Holidays again, and those times have always been the toughest times for me personally even though I always tried to do the best I could for the girls. As I remember, the holidays were always so great, and I still have good memories of those times despite all the darkness that has come into my life. There were trips to Grandma's for Christmas, tons of food and listening to my grandpa’s stories of him growing up while sitting on the porch by his rocking chair. We sang Christmas songs, and each year we got one year closer to being able to leave the children’s table and sit at the grown-up's table when it was time to eat. Then, of course, there was Christmas at home with my parents and two brothers. We always had lots of presents under the tree and stockings full of all our favorite things. All of that was taken away from me, and I was robbed of my children being able to experience it, when my family chose to shut us out of their lives. My father told me that my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins felt the same way, and so my shame became even greater. My girls never, in twenty years of growing up, got to have a Christmas with anyone other than the three of us, home alone and trying to make the best of it. I did manage to keep in touch with two family members through those years of struggle and abandonment. One was my dad’s little sister, my Aunt Billie Jayne. She lives in San Angelo while I live in Mansfield (hundreds of miles away), but we did e-mail a lot, and I spent some time with her and her family when Timmy and I first divorced and before the darkness took hold of me. My aunt has always been a straight-shooter. She told all my family that, while she would not try to bring me back into their lives, she would also not allow any of them to tell her how her relationship with me was going to be. I am so grateful to her for standing up for us. It has helped many times in my battles against my demons just knowing that she was out there in this world, a world that seemed to be so against me and everything I did or stood for. Robyn was a little over three years old when we went down there, and to this day, she still talks about the fond memories she had with them, especially the walks in the pasture with her Uncle Russell. I have not seen my aunt and uncle in years, and I do hope they get to meet Jesse someday and also revisit with Robyn. The other person I have kept in contact with is my older brother's wife Linda. But with her, it was always on her terms, and we were never allowed to come to her house to share in her life with her family. She and I worked together for over ten years, so that made it easy for her to be in a small part of my life. At first, she had to sneak off to see us, and dared not tell my mom or dad of her adventures. As we got older, she became more open about seeing us, but still it was always when she had time for us and in a neutral territory away from any of her family. My dad was a powerful man, and he controlled my brother through what he would give his family in the way of money and gifts. They were always afraid my dad would cut them off like me, and those material things he used to control them meant more to them than me or my two girls. She would also come by to give the girls Christmas gifts and bring $300 that my mom had given her. Never once was there a card or word to go with it, just the money. I always took it, though, because most of the time I was always behind on the bills. I would pay what I could and save a few dollars to at least give the girls a good meal on Christmas. Linda had a big house in the country, and that is where all my immediate family gathered each year for the Holidays. She used to come to work after each Holiday and tell me all their great stories and, while I did cling to every word she said, I can also remember going home many times and sobbing all the way because the girls and I never got to share in any of those memories. One of the hardest things for me the last two years has been trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with this part of my life. I see now that, in order to come full circle with this recovery process, I have to learn to separate the old me that feeds on the darkness from the new me that is trying so hard to build a new foundation for my life and for my girls. I have gone back and taken a real look at my past relationship with Linda. I have seen how unhealthy it was for me to let her make so many conditions on sharing her life with the girls and me. There is no shame in me, and surely none in those two beautiful girls of mine, and so I must let her go to God for right now. I hope someday that Linda can see that having conditions for our two families is wrong, and maybe she can break that chain so that we can have a real family relationship. If she does, then maybe I will re-evaluate all of this. But until then, I am thinking that it may be best for me to put that part of my life on hold for awhile. Entry # 11 I always felt bad for Robyn being ten years apart from her little sister. She was not only dyslectic, and always made fun of due to that, but most of the time she went to school in somebody’s hand-me-downs I had to get from Goodwill. She didn’t even have the basics to go underneath her clothes like panties, socks and later a bra. So not only did she have to deal with fighting for her educational rights at school, she also left the house each morning feeling inadequate about her appearance. The hardest thing about being a mom for me was that, while I did manage to keep a roof over our heads, I couldn’t give the girls the things that most kids take for granted while they are growing up. I made sure that the girls were in school when I did buy what little I could afford for them because I always had to have two lists to shop with. I had a list of things I had to buy that they could not do without, and a list of things I had to steal. Food, clothes and things that could not fit in my purse would be on the list of things to buy. Deodorant, soap, toothpaste and all the little things I could slip in my purse would be on the list to steal. I thought of the girls as I was stealing those things and how my mom and dad threw me away, and never even gave my girls a chance in life. I would make myself believe that, without me doing this, they would go hungry and be even more embarrassed than they already were in school. Putting them to bed at night was also tough for me because, while they did have one mattress on the floor to sleep on, they never had bed sheets, pillowcases or bed covers for that mattress. They would get one blanket each year from the Salvation Army to cover up with. We were lucky to have one good towel apiece to bathe with. Sometimes the girls would use the t-shirts, which they had worn the day before, to dry-off with when their towel wasn’t clean. My kids didn’t have grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins to share their school and life experiences with, only a mom who was mentally abused and living in darkness. My most dreaded times were school functions for the girls because I just could not get the courage to go. They had no one else to take them, so they were always left out. They never complained, but I know all these things had to have had such a defeating effect on their already tormented self-esteem. That was our life then, our reality. Birthdays were also something we didn’t do, because we were too poor, and I was embarrassed by how we had to live, so there were no parties. My biggest fear was that no one would show up if I did get brave enough to give them one. I just knew that if that happened, they would feel even more abandoned than they already did. Only this time, it wouldn’t be by their family but by those they thought might be their friends. I wish I could have trusted their hearts more and hadn’t always tried to protect them. It was my own way of doing just that, which caused so much emotional damage to them. I did try to make things up to them at Christmas the best I could, even though in my heart that was a really sad time for me. Christmas for my two girls was the only time they got new clothes, shoes and one or two of the bare basics. It was always a good learning experience for them, though, because it was just us three against the world. We made it as happy and as wonderful as a family of three could do, I guess. While there were no more than one or two presents under a very small tree for them, we still managed to make memories of a different kind…like cooking their "must-have" Honey Ham for Christmas dinner, baking a peach cobbler for dessert together and always having a special ornament in a somewhat-bare Christmas stocking hanging on the wall for their box of memories. It was special for us to have that time each year to feel good about ourselves as individuals and as a family that had made it just one more year together. We did always manage to beat the odds and overcome the struggles of what the world threw at us somehow. This past Christmas I made some new ornaments and decorations from spare materials and things in the house to replace what was burned in the fire. I actually made enough in my new job that I could at least give them a good meal and one special gift. They had such a good Christmas, thanks to all my wonderful new church family members, that I thought they would be ok with a smaller, but still special one, from me this year. But God had something different in mind for us, and He was setting the plans to leave more spiritual markers on my children’s lives, and in a big way. My sponsor at Celebrate Recovery asked me if her home-team could buy the girls some Christmas gifts this year. She is an amazing woman who is also the smartest person I know. She has also been very influential in my recovery process. I told her that that would be a blessing to us all, and I thanked her for the offer. Home-teams at our church are what most people call adult Sunday School classes at their churches. We just have ours in people’s homes at different times during the week. I haven’t gotten the courage to join one yet. I guess you could say Friday night recovery was my current home-team experience. Right before Christmas, Sharon asked me if we would like to come and share in their home-team's Holiday Dinner night. That way, they could all meet us and give us our gifts. It would be the first actual, formal Christmas party we had ever been invited to as a family. I was excited that the girls were actually going to get to have that experience. When we drove up to her house, the whole front yard was outlined in Christmas lights. As we walked into her house, there was a twelve-foot Christmas tree with all the trimmings towering over the whole entry-way. Her house was so welcoming with Christmas decorations all around and candles glowing on all the tables we would be eating on. Everyone welcomed us with hugs and smiles and made us fit right in with them all. We sat around the table eating a meal with every kind of food you could think of and desserts that took up a whole counter all by themselves. Robyn got tickled at me because Sharon offered me flavored coffee in these very petite china coffee cups. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to hold that cup without spilling the coffee or just dropping it all together. I think Sharon and Jesse both were just waiting for a disaster to happen. Somehow I managed to drink that coffee without any accidents. As I was watching the girls laughing and telling stories with the people around us, for a few seconds I kind of went back in time to my Grandma’s house. I pictured them there having this wonderful new memory they were making. It reminded me of my years with my family at Christmas before all the darkness took over my life. After dinner we went and sat by the tree, and the men brought out the gifts for the girls, and there were even a couple of presents for me. I let them open one apiece before we left while all the men and women sat and watched. It was a tender moment for me, and I believe it was for them too. I am so grateful to all those wonderful people who gave my family such a great memory to keep with us always. We need times like this while we all heal, to let us know we will be a strong family again. All the way home that night, the girls were laughing and trying to guess what was in each other’s boxes. That night was a very peaceful night in our house, something we have had too few of in past times. Earlier that month, my new landlord had asked me if she could have a mission from a nearby town adopt the girls, and I said of course. These girls had gone over ten years without anything at all, and it was so wonderful that they were being blessed at such a critical time in their lives. So, instead of feeling self-pity like I would have in the past, I embraced it for those two wonderful girls of mine. For years, we were always told that we were not even worth the effort of acknowledgment from most everybody that should have loved us, and now complete strangers were just pouring out their time and effort to them to make sure they had a good Christmas once again. It was so sweet to hear Robyn and Jesse tell my landlord what they wanted when she asked them to make a list. They didn’t put down all the things you would think a teenager and a young girl would put down. They put down things like a bed-set with matching sheets for their bed, towels and wash rags in their favorite colors, a lamp for their bedroom, and all the kinds of things they had only dared to dream of having just a few years earlier. I also made sure that panties, socks and bras for both of them were hanging in their stockings. I have to tell you, my heart was overjoyed just watching my two daughters open all those gifts they got. With each new present, their eyes got brighter and their smiles got bigger. I saw little bits and pieces of their missing childhoods coming back to them, making a special place in their hearts for great memories in this new beginning of their lives. I see more and more how God was paying attention to the details of our deepest pains during all those years that we lived in darkness. Now, He is replacing those broken pieces with new blessings for us all. As a mother, it makes me feel good to know that my girls may not have to spend a life in suffering just because of me, and it also gives me hope for my own life.

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About me

  • I'm healing hoves
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  • after 20 years of emotional abuse from my family, I have finally taken the steps to comeback to God's Grace and Love. I have been in recovery at Celebrate Recovery for two and one half years. These journals I will be adding from my first book are my encounters of my first two years of recovery. I am writing a second book Healing Hooves it will be a story about my 12 year old daughter who is wheel chair bound and how she found reached to great elements of success thru horse thearpy
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