It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Your Chance to Protect a Child and Win a Prize

Win an autographed copy of Rise and Shine: A Tool for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse (1st Prize) or a beautiful Childhood Abuse Awareness bracelet with earrings (2nd Prize) in April in recognition of Childhood Sexual Abuse Awareness Month.

How? Share our inspiring poster of the week, featured each Thursday, on Facebook (, Twitter (, or Pinterest ( with your friends and write in the comment box “I’ve joined the Rise and Shine Movement to protect kids.” Share as often as you can. Each share enters you for a chance to win. Don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest? Write the above in the comment box on our blog ( and commit to share our blog and/or our website ( via email with at least two friends.

Rules: Sharing begins 6 AM March 28 and ends April 30 midnight. The winners will be chosen at random on May 1 at noon and announced on our blog, Twitter, and FB page. Prizes can be mailed anywhere in the continental US.

This Week’s Poster

Sexual abuse steals children’s dreams.
When we work together, we help the innocent keep their dreams.
Thank you!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tired of Being an Onion? Try Being an Artichoke

Today I would like to invite you to click over to Cec Murphey's blog, Men Shattering the Silence. He has a fresh metaphor for healing that isn't smelly like an onion and won't leave you with bad breath. Whether you're healing from sexual abuse or other losses, I think your healing process will enriched by his new take on an old idea.
Image courtesy of africa/

I Am an Artichoke (click here) 

Let the healing continue. You are worthy of it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Best Laid Plans of Dogs and Mommas

I had to cancel a lunch date with a heart friend today. (Heart friends are friends you can open your soul to, they see the yuck and still love you.) We were headed to one of our favorite spots—Sweet Memories in Emmaus, Pa. It’s a tea room with a whole lot of whimsy and the best coconut cake ever. Don’t like coconut? Sorry. When you can’t eat chocolate, you develop passions for other sweets. Hey, a girl’s gotta have a vice doesn't she? But I digress.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/freedigital

Anyhow, this special pal takes off work almost every year to give me the best Christmas present ever—herself, Sweet Memories, and a little thrift store shopping. I’m as passionate about our girlfriend date as a dog digging up his favorite bone. Nothing will come between me and our special day. But today I had to cancel. Why? 

A sick kid.

Sick kids can change even the best laid plans. And believe me, seven kids and nearly twenty-six years of baring the title, “Momma,” have led to many of my best laid plans stamped “Mission Aborted.” And can I be honest with you? Could you be my heart friend for a minute? Sometimes I've handled the shift in my plans with grace and well, sometimes I've handled them not so gracefully. I’m not going to divulge the details; I don’t want to lose your friendship. Just know that my face without grace ain't pretty, girlfriend.  

But today, I chose grace. I’m not sure why exactly. Perhaps it was because when I told my husband last night about my impending mission to abort, he felt sad with me. He understands the sacrifice we've made, laying down our nearly empty nest in the decision to parent three more kids. No judgment on his part. Sweet grace.

Or perhaps it was the grace granted by my heart friend when I called her to abort the mission. We have years of friendship recorded in our history books. She knows I would be with her if I could and that children get sick. Grace. We felt sad together for a moment, but then searched our calendars for another date.

Image courtesy of John Kasawa/
So I put on my grace face today. I don’t know if I’d call it pretty, pretty sounds cheap pared with a word like grace. But I do know this, to my sick child—it’s beautiful!

And my coconut cake? I’m sure it will taste just as good in a month or two. Today I’m savoring something greater, something lasting. Because sometimes a girl can have her grace and share it too.

Children given grace feel safe and secure. And they are more likely to tell us when something doesn't feel right or they've experienced something inappropriate. We need to strive to be heart parents.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Next Thing

(Originally posted in 2010)

She had buried two husbands. I thought she had something to say about how to survive through grief, so I listened.

"Do the next thing." She said. "That's what you do. Each day you just do the next thing."

Photo courtesy of anankkml/ 
I thought her advice was too simplistic, almost cold to those hurting in her midst. Yet, who am I to argue with a woman who has buried two husbands when I haven't buried one. I'm not that stupid and hopefully not that arrogant. So I humbly tucked her words of wisdom away, but my attitude toward grief remained.

Grief stinks!

I've smelled enough of it in my life to know I don't ever want to smell it again, but I don't have that option. To live life is to encounter grief. Whether it's death, the loss of a dream, or childhood innocence, grief comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. It shows up when I least expect it, makes me want to run for cover, push it away, ignore its existence, or do anything but look into its ugly face.

But through the years, I discovered the other side of grief. It's what happens when the tears begin to decrease and joy comes into view. It’s then I realize that grief, although disguised as a villain, isn't the ugly schmuck I've perceived it to be. The stench of grief dissipates and like the air after a spring rain, it beckons me to take another breath.

Grief is a healer.

I don't know what you're grieving today. Maybe nothing and that is good. We need days, months, and years like that. But at some point there will be something, maybe something old, maybe something new that deserves your attention. Don't run from the tears. And while you're crying remember—there will be a tomorrow and an opportunity to do the next thing.

The loss of childhood innocence is a deep loss. It is okay to take the time to grieve it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Do We Have to Lose?

I remember the giggles and the gasps shared quietly on the playground. I remember our conclusion as to how babies are made. It was creative, straight from my best friend and my fourth grade imaginations. But we were dead wrong. Not even close. According to our fourth grade wisdom, baby-making involved candle wax and fathers with the skills of master sculptures. I'll just leave it at that.

Image courtesy of Phaitoon/
I’m not sure if either of us truly believed our deduction or for how long. We were two nine year olds with a question and no answer. So we did what children do, we created one.

Children are going to discuss issues of sexuality whether we give them accurate information or not. Pedophiles know that children without accurate information find it difficult to tell when they are violated.

What do we have to lose by giving children the information they seek? What do we have to lose by protecting our kids from those who seek to take away their innocence? I can’t think of anything. Can you?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



It keeps us going.

It breaks into the cold of a long winter day and brushes up against us with the warmth of spring.

It refreshes. Restores. Heals.

When I think of Erin Merryn, and her brave fight to protect children, I have hope.

Listen to hope here.

Thank you, Erin!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Parable about Potty-parts (Part 2)

*The following is the continuation of a fictional story I told you last week that is based on a true life possibility. You were the momma or the poppa in the story. Oh, and remember, you have a daughter named Krista, age 5.

Last week on Tamar’s Redemption:  Krista told you while displaying a mouth-full of chicken nuggets that Brady touched her “potty parts”. In addition she’s revealed that Brady is a big kid and he touched her during recess. Before you could process what she was saying, she told you that her friend Gaby is getting a dog and she wants one.

I gave you a test to see how you should respond to Krista. You were wise. Smart. You chose answer D regarding how to respond to Krista’s disclosure.

 D. You say, “Krista, I’m glad Gaby is getting a dog. We can talk about dogs later. Thank you for telling me about Brady and that he touched you at recess. It’s always good to tell me about things that bother you. Right now, I’d like you to tell me a little bit more about it.” You calmly ask open-ended questions like: “Where were you during recess when this happened? Who was there? And then what happened? And then?

Our story continues.

“Can you tell me how old Brady is?” You ask.

“I don’t know, but he’s in fifth grade.”

“Where were you playing at recess?”

“Near the swing set.” She stops eating her nuggets. “With Julia and Katie. But Brady said he wanted to play a game.” She looks down at her feet.

“It’s okay, Krista. You can tell me. What happened next?”

“Brady said the game would be fun, but we could only play it down over the hill.” She stares over your shoulder.

“Then what happened?”

“He told me to come with him, that I could go first.”

You gently wipe a crumb of nugget breading from her cheek. “Then what happened.”

“I went. I . . . I didn’t like the game.”

“Tell me about the game, honey.” 

“Brady told me that I couldn’t or he would tell everyone that I like him and  . . .”

You tuck a loose piece of hair behind her ear. “And what?”

“He said he would tell everyone that I touched him.”

“It’s okay. Remember, you can tell me anything. I won’t be mad. What happened next?”


I’m going to end the version with the open-ended questions here.

But what if you hadn’t asked open-ended questions? Your conversation may go something like this.


 “Krista, we’ll talk about dogs later,” you say. “How old is Billy?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is he in fifth or sixth grade?”

“Fifth, I think, maybe sixth? I’m not sure.”

“Were you playing with your friends or just Brady?”

She stops eating her nuggets. “With Julia, Katie, and Brady.”

“Well, what were you playing, some kinda touching game or something?”

“No, yes, no. I mean . . . we were playing on the swings and then down over the hill. I don’t like Brady. He makes me mad.”

“Where did he did he touch you, on the front of your bottom or the back?”

“I told you. On my potty-parts.”

Image curtesty of David Castillo Dominici

Leading questions can confuse children. They want to give the correct answer, but when you give them choices they feel they must choose one of your answers. However, these answers may not be the correct answers at all. Keep your questions open-ended, and when you have enough information to know that something questionable happened, contact the authorities. Trained forensic investigators understand how to gently find out what really happened to your child and if further investigation is needed.

Teaching our children the proper names for their private parts helps them communicate clearly. When we listen, ask open-ended questions, and don’t jump to conclusions, we find the truth.
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