Know what I hate?

I hate when there is a song that I love.... a hidden little treasure that has never made it quite mainstream, so it's like it's all yours to be loved and you feel like you are smarter than the whole world because you know about something great that they don't..... only for it to show up in a romantic comedy for the whole world to hear.

I finally got to watch Bridesmaids today (Loved it!) and I was taken aback when I heard the music for "Paper Bag" by Fiona Apple begin to play.  At first I loved that it was there and also loved that they appreciate the genius that is Fiona Apple (love her), but by the end of the song I was sad because now everyone was going to know this song and it wasn't going to be a little hidden treasure anymore.  Now it will just be a song on a soundtrack cd found in Wal Mart or something.

lurve you, xoxo v.


lurve you, xoxo v.


It's official....

It's broken!
And has a torn tendon.

This scares me because I have been googling,
and although torn ligaments can heal on their own,
torn tendons very rarely do,
and almost always require surgery.

*silently building steam....*


*slamming head into desk*

lurve you, xoxo v.


This is what I'm talking about....

*Okay, gruesome.  You've been warned.*

I took my ambien early last night so that I could go to bed early.  This means it wore off a little early.  What happens with no ambien in my system?  I dream.  I complain about it all the time.  The nightmares.    For those who might still wonder if I'm kidding or ask themselves how serious this could be, here is what happened at about 4am today when the sleeping pill wore off....

I dreamed that I was in the basement and Maddie and Emma were upstairs.  I could see out of the basement windows something driving by the house...big, like a tractor/trailer.  I thought to myself, I hate being underground.  It's creepy down here, being able to see the world and they have no idea I can see them.  And, how would I get upstairs fast enough to save the kids if something bad happened.  And why is that truck so close to my house?  Or something like that anyways.  You know how dream dialogue can go.
Just then, I mean as I'm thinking these things, I hear the back door open and I can see up the stairs a pair of workboots walk quickly by and then my girls start screaming bloody murder.  I run as fast as I can up the stairs and I see Maddie & Emma both bound and panicked.  Screaming.  I can't remember if they were bloody or not, but it's possible.  The workboots belonged to the Evil One, who was getting ready to murder them.

In a panic, I started searching for something to use as a weapon and all I can find is a screwdriver.  I grab it and try to ram it full-force into his stomach.  The problem is that it's not sharp enough to stab him, so I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing for what seems like forever and finally I feel it pop into him and all of this black blood comes flooding out.

He looks at me with huge, wide, surprised and yet disappointed eyes and screams WHY DID YOU DO THAT???  You know how in dreams you can just know things?  Well, I saw the knife in his hands and knew that he wasn't mad that I had stabbed him, he was mad that I had foiled his plan because he had planned to murder the girls and then kill himself with the knife.  He wanted things on his terms and he wanted the girls to be forever linked with his name, etc.

That's when I woke up.  At that point in my dream, I knew that I was dreaming and actually started praying in my dream for God to keep that evil away from my mind.  It was crazy.  Quick but crazy.  This is why dreams = bad.  My faith is buried in the hope that someday they'll be normal and nice.  Blah!  How do you stop this kind of thing???

lurve you, xoxo v.


Little sausages....

My toes look like little sausages!  Last Wednesday I completely bit it and faceplanted in a patient's house.  I missed a tiny little step down into their living room and down I went.  It destroyed my ankle and I have been in a huge Frankenboot ever since.  I've been elevating and icing and yet almost a week later, my foot (especially the left side all around the ankle) is still swollen.  Even my toes are swollen.  In the picture it's difficult to see, but the whole left side of my foot is still bruised.  It's a mess.  I've been approved for light duty... "sedentary only with the ability to elevate and ice foot."  Unfortunately, there seems to be a bit of a shortage of a nursing job that fits that description, so I've been at home.  Normally, that would be a good thing, but my bank account thinks it sucks.  Workers Comp only kicks in after seven days off at my own expense and then only pays like 40% of my normal wage.  O-U-C-H. 

lurve you, xoxo v.


It's in the eyes....

I spent six hours scanning pictures today, and I still haven't even made a dent.  I started out today on a journey that ended up in a different place than I expected.  I thought I would be concentrating mainly on thoughts of Courtney and Darren since they were the real "victims" of what the evil one had done.  He always treated his "own" children very well and they glowed because of it.  Especially Maddie.  She was adored... as every single little girl on this earth should be.

As I sat scanning photo after photo, Maddie would come in and out of the room.  She's so inquisitive and it can sometimes drive me crazy.  Today she would gaze at the photos and ask things like, "Mommy, which one of your babies was the cutest?"  Of course I said that each baby was gorgeous in their own way.  "Well, which one of your kids was the happiest baby?"  Actually, I think that might be Darren.  "Which one of your babies had the fuzziest head?"  All my little raven-haired beauties had lots of hair when they were babies, but I think the fuzziest might be Amelia.

As I continued looking and scanning, I always smiled when it came to pictures of Maddie when she was little.  Hands down, I think she had to be my happiest preschooler.  And I have no doubt that comes from the fact that she felt so loved and so accepted.  Boy was she happy.  If you look at pictures of her, she beamed from the inside out!  She was such a pretty little girl and she was simply joyous.  Is that a word?  I just checked, it is.  She was happy, giggly, and I could never get a picture of her with a clean face because she was just a happy-go-lucky kid that was so confident that she could care less if she just ate a sucker or a piece of barbeque and had sauce all over her face.  She didn't care!  Life was great!

I found my own soul becoming joyful as I went through her pictures.  I thought, there might actually be something to this picture idea!  Maybe I can let some things go.  But as I moved through the photos chronologically, I came to her kindergarten graduation pictures and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  That grief that I'd been stuffing and trying to make all fluffy with happy pictures.  The wave came over me.

I had forgotten, completely forgotten how grief-stricken little Madelaine was when her daddy left.  As he ran down the stair in his boxer shorts toward the front door, she stood at the top of the stairs crying and screaming "Daddy!  Don't leave me!"  But he did.  He left her.  He betrayed us all, including her.  Gone forever for a heinous crime.  This beautiful little golden girl, so joyful and full of giggles and delight was now silenced.

It was half-way through her kindergarten year and her grades, which had been perfect, bottomed out.  Her teacher called with concern because "happy little Maddie" was now quiet and only stared at the floor.  She no longer had quite the same sparkle in her eyes because her heart had been broken.  In the very moment that he ran down the stairs, he changed who she was.  I watched as my buoyant little girl sank.

I had forgotten about that.  Had forgotten that she had been unable to even say the words "dad" or "daddy", substituting instead with "that man."  How long did she do that?  Six months?  A year?  Maybe even two.  A long time, that I do know.

When I looked through her photos, she radiates joy.  When I look at her kindergarten graduation picture?  She's kind of far away and it's not great quality, but if you look at it with knowing eyes, you can see it there.  The grief.  The change.  You can see that her head is down, she is timid and sad, looking at the floor.  She tried so hard to be pretty and go through the motions.  I remember her picking out her pink dress and little hat to match it.  Such a little lady.  But it's the eyes.  If you look at her birthday pictures.... year 3, 4 and then five.  There it is.  That slight change in the eyes.  The sadness.  Not quite the same sparkle.

Seeing this today was the first bit of anger I had toward him all day through this process.  It was the first time  tear came to my eye, and I don't know if it was from anger toward him or from sadness for her.  I'm sure it was both.  I don't know if she's ever been the same again.

Driving home tonight in the quiet car, my thoughts toward him were not quite as acrid as they normally are.  They were more pitiful and sad.  I thought, Shame on you.  You were so protective of "YOUR" children.  When asked if you had hurt Maddie too, you looked at me in horror and said, "OF COURSE NOT!  SHE'S MY CHILD!"  But you did hurt your child.  You not only stole her birth-right of having a father who loves her and is there to raise her and protect her, but you changed the very person that she was supposed to be.  Shame on you for the damage that you have inflicted upon the people who were called your family.  People who were entrusted to you.  Don't worry, I have taken care of my own.  I may not have done perfectly, but I did the best that I knew how and I didn't need you then and I don't need you now.  SHE doesn't need you now.  I loved her back to life like only a mother knows how.  I did that for ALL of MY children.  The damage you inflicted ended that night for all of us.  You may be on the prowl again soon devil, but never again will you hurt one of my children. 

This is going to be a long journey.

This is how I remember her the most.
Silly little princess always playing dress-up,
laughing and giggling with a sucker in her mouth.

Now, here's her kg graduation pics....

 Can you see it?

Won't even make eye contact with the camera.

Here's her 5th birthday....

By this time, she was trying to be happy again.
But something was still different.
It's in the eyes.

God bless her.
I love you Maddie.
You are beautiful,
you are loved.
You are perfect,
and I am so blessed 
every single day to have you.
I am sorry that you had to ever
feel sadness and loss.
I would have protected you
if I'd known how.

lurve you, xoxo v.


Courtney in Battery Park
in front of the ball statue
from the twin towers.

In Remembrance.
A moment of silence.

lurve you, xoxo v.

Let it begin....

On this journey of trying to figure out how to forgive and have peace, if you've been reading long then you know how I've struggled with this.  Not to forgive everyone, just him.  The Evil One.  Because actually, I'm a very forgiving person and not a grudge-holder at all.  Just him.

Just him because he did such heinous things and there is just SO.  MUCH.  The years and the years of hurtful damage that culminated with the grandaddy of all hurtful damage... the hurting of one of my children... it's just so. much.  It's a chunk that has been too big for me to bite and I haven't known how to wrap my mind around the idea of letting that all go.  And truth be told, do I want to forgive the hurting of my child?  Honestly, no I don't.  I am commanded to.  If I am forgiven, then I am to forgive.  And so I have always been willing to let it happen, I've just been at a loss for it to happen.

So the other day, I heard someone say something, or maybe I read it, I don't even know.  All I know is that it stuck in my mind and started to sink down.  Something about every day forgiving a little something more.  Every day working on just ONE thing.  If I can't forgive him for everything, can I forgive him for SOMETHING?


Yeah, I think maybe I can do that.  I can't forgive him for hurting her yet (or ever?).  But I can forgive him for that one time he called me that one name.  Because he's ignorant and had no idea what he was talking about.  I'm not those things he said I was, so whatever.  I can start to let that go.

This might take years, but at least it's progress.  I was going to spend years not forgiving him, so I might as well spend years chipping away at it.

Paul always says things like, "I'm sure there were at least some good times."  or "I'm sure it wasn't all bad."  At first this used to offend me a little because I'm thinking have you not heard what I've been telling you???  Do you not believe me???  But I think at this point in time, it would behoove me to play into that belief.  If I convince myself that it wasn't all bad, then it will be easier to forgive him for some of the little things.  I get mired down in this false belief that my children experienced NO happiness during that time and that it was all horrible, and that's not true.  Looking through old pictures last night, it almost surprised me to see all of the happy faces and smiles because my brain had started operating under the false belief that there were no happy faces and smiles.  So I think I need to reprogram my brain a little bit.  I mean, don't get it wrong... he was a demon and there were plenty of horrible times.  But if it helps me get over the hurdle and make a little bit of peace, then I want to start remembering some of the happier times...especially where my kids were concerned.  I think at least one of them (*Darren*) needs to remember that it wasn't all horrible as well.

To help with this, I plan to start a major project of scanning and chronicling every single picture I can find from my past.  I want to post as many happy pictures as I can find.  I predict I'll probably get about an hour into this task and give up on it, but I'm thinking positively.  So, I apologize to those of you who check my family blog I Love You More Than Pork Chops on a regular basis, because the plan is for there to be an onslaught of old baby pictures and such, but it is for a good cause.  I'm going backwards in order to move forward.

Off I go!  Wish me luck!

lurve you, xoxo v.


You make me new, you are making me new....


I always love this song when I hear it on the radio and love it even more after it was sang in church today.

lurve you, xoxo v.



lurve you, xoxo v.

Trying to make sense of it all....

I've been doing some writing exercises to try and jump-start my brain when it comes to writing this book.  I would love to forget about writing my memoir and about the things that have happened to me.  Believe me!  The problem is that God has placed this book inside of me as a way of recycling all of the disastrous garbage that happened into something helpful and productive.  And when God places something inside of you, it's not that easy to ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist.  Because if it were easy?  I'd have figured it out.  I've been farting around and trying to ignore this thing for years.  I talk casually about it, maybe do a little bit of writing about it, decide I'm going to write fiction instead... anything that I can to avoid getting to the tough stuff.  Because it is tough stuff.

Lately God has been gnawing at my heart more and more about it.  How long are you going to wait?  It is impossible for you to get to the next stage of where you are supposed to be and what I will have you doing if you do not do this.  This is the baby that must be born before you can move on to the next step.  It is necessary, I will equip you, what are you so afraid of?  It's time.  I bless obedience.

You know, the problem is that I don't know what to do with all of this.  I mean, I do.  In theory.  But, I just don't want it to come off as some self-indulgent poor-me story.  That's not the intention.  The intention is to immerse people in the story, let them feel the depths of it, and then bring them to the other side where there is victory and beauty for ashes.  Teach them about shame and worthlessness, the effects of abuse and then how God can and does handle all of that if you let Him.  Okay, sounds easy enough.  Yeah, you think so?  I don't.  I get stuck in the "but I'm still such a mess!" syndrome, failing to see just how far I've come.  And the fear of someone saying I'm a fraud because they know of some sin that I've committed in my past and how dare I sound like I've got my crap together.  Fears of how do I tell the history of what is true in my life and not offend some people?  How do I treat true situations delicately so as not to hurt people I love who may have played a role?

Ugh.  That's the word I'm best at writing lately.  That's the one that rolls off the fingers so easily.  Ugh.

So, like I was saying, I've been doing some writing exercises to help loosen up my brain because truth is that I pretty much freeze when it comes to writing about those times and events.  I have short little versions of events floating around out there in the universe and when it comes to expounding on them beyond that, I struggle.  With these exercises, I've found that it's much easier for me to work on a subject when it's an organized thought pattern or where can merely free-associate words that fit a given subject.  I can pick the words, feelings, etc and place them in neat little lists.

Where I have discovered I have a major block is when it comes to sense memory.  You know... touch, taste, smell, sight, sound.  A smell that brings back a certain memory, a sound that gives you deja vu.  I had no idea I struggled in this area.  I always thought that was the more natural path for me as I'm usually much more emotional and intuitive.  But no.  When it came to the other exercises, stuff poured out of me.  When it came to the sense memory exercises?  NADA.  No bueno.  I sat there and stared at the paper.  It was total fight or flight syndrome.  I got antsy, wanted to put the book away, get up and clean the bathroom... whatever I could to avoid delving into this.

What I've come to believe is that I have dissected, analyzed and chopped up that series of events so finely in my mind that I have been able to organize them into little bite-sized pieces that my brain can accept and somewhat explain and therefore handle.  But that's only because I have processed and can control those little pieces.  Everything else has been quarantined and locked away in a place that I have trouble getting to.  Sense memory is scary because it's uncontrollable.  You smell something and it takes you back without asking your permission or warning you.  Yeah, that's not okay with me.  That's one of the main reasons that I faithfully take ambien every night.  Because sleep is where I'm most vulnerable.  I have very lucid dreams full of sights, sounds, smells, etc.  Even if I sleep soundly, I know that I will dream and that's not okay with me.  Ambien stops the dreams.  I mean, I still dream, but I remember very little of it.  I have worked diligently to block out the senses because the senses are what make it real.  In the senses lies the danger zone.  That's what makes you relive it.  Sometimes I can't escape it.  Like the sound of a knock on the front door... that's enough to send me into a silent panic.  I don't know if there's a sound I hate worse in the world.  It terrifies me.  It means someone is trying to get in to me and possibly hurt me.  I've gotten slightly better at dealing with this... recently I opened the door to a little boy selling something for school.  That was progress.  Normally, if I don't know you or expect you, that door's not getting opened, I don't care who you are.

So, I never saw this coming, but it looks like this is the next frontier.  Trying to unlock all of the things that I've worked so hard to lock up.  I'm even toying with the idea of doing a 30-day ambien fast just to see how it goes.  Okay, I got palpitations just thinking about that.  But I've come far enough in other areas, that God is telling me I'm now ready for this part.  Ugh.

lurve you, xoxo v.
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