MaCaedyn’s Stand for Her Faith at GCC and How Beautifully She was Received

In this day and age when standing up for your faith can result in being ostracized or cancelled in public
forums, I felt it very important that I write the story of my daughter’s personal stance for her faith at her
school, Glendale Community College, and how beautifully her stance was received and respected.
MaCaedyn graduated from our homeschool program at the age of 16 and couldn’t wait to start college
at the age of 17. She worked so hard all through high school and because of her ambition and excellence
in studies and grades, she was awarded the Presidential Scholarship for GCC. MaCaedyn has been
singing and performing in churches and public stages since she was two years old, so it made sense to us
when she made the decision to become a Music Theater major.

For her first semester she wanted to get as much of the general core studies completed a possible and
carried 21 credit hours (and received straight “A’s” making the President’s List!). Because of her
workload she did not audition for the fall semester play. Instead, she was excited to audition for the
spring musical.

The responsibility for researching the content of a play or musical before auditioning for it, falls
completely upon the actor or actress and I say honestly, MaCaedyn, myself, and her father all dropped
the ball in doing this. We completely admit that it was 100% our responsibility and we did not get it
done. Lesson learned. We will always make sure there is complete understanding of the content of the
play or musical before any of us audition for it in the future.

When the audition dates were posted for the spring musical, MaCaedyn began preparing and was very
excited to audition for her first college production. After her audition she received all the “call backs”
and finally learned that she had been cast in the musical. We were thrilled and so proud of her!
Then, MaCaedyn received a message from the director who kindly and respectfully wanted her to be
aware that there was a song in the musical that mentioned a girl having an abortion. It wasn’t
MaCaedyn’s character who sang the song, but other members of the cast were going to sing backup for
the character who did. The director, knowing that MaCaedyn was underage, wanted her to have the
information about the song so that we could talk about it together and make the decision as to whether
or not she would participate in that song.

Josh and I were very thankful that this director took such steps to make sure we understood there was a
song which had this content. We immediately began researching the lyrics of that song and the overall
content of the musical… which we should have done in the first place.

After we all read through everything we prayed and talked and prayed some more… and God answered.
MaCaedyn knew in her heart that it wouldn’t be enough for her to step down from just singing backup
on that song. She believed that she needed to step down from the entire musical production. She has
worked all her life with the rest of us to assist children in need and stand up for the protection of all
children, those born and those yet to come. She felt that being connected to a musical that portrayed
abortion so casually in just one of the songs was enough to send the wrong message to others about
herself and her work for children. She didn’t want to do anything which would not represent her beliefs
well and could be viewed as hypocritical.

Josh and I were so proud of her for the choice that she made, though we knew she had been so excited
to participate in her first college musical and she had worked so hard to prepare for the audition, we
trusted that God would bless her for choosing to represent Him well.

MaCaedyn wanted to email the director of the musical to let her know about the decision she had made
to step down but didn’t know where to begin to write it. After talking with her about what she wanted
to say, we prayed to the Lord for the right words. I helped her draft an email that she was pleased with,
but before sending it, once again, we prayed and asked God to let the letter land upon the heart of the
director with the Fruits of the Spirit of love, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.
You see, we fully believe that people should stand up for their faith, especially in these days when it is so
imperative that we do, and when we take those stances, we firmly believe it should be done in such a
manner that represents our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Word of God, very well. We believe
that when these stances are taken, the effect upon the people who know about it can go one of two

The first way, if we do not represent Christ and God’s Word well, can make us look completely
hypocritical. If we do not implement the examples and teachings of Jesus Christ given to us in God’s
Word, and we lash out in anger, or in harsh judgement, no one will believe that we represent the God of
Love. Furthermore, if we represent Him in such a poor manner, we will also lose the opportunity to ever
minister to them. After all, who would want to listen to someone talk about the love of Jesus if they are
verbally attacking, degrading, or judging them? We also cannot be blessed by God if we choose not to
represent Him well to others. He cannot pour out His promised blessings upon us if we are not pleasing
to Him and His commands.

The second way, if we do represent Christ well to the best of our ability as human beings can, then we
not only can receive blessings of the goodness of God for pleasing Him by our representation, but we
also have ministered to the people involved in our situation. They may not realize it right away, but
when a person takes a stand for their faith in Jesus Christ and represents Him as we are directed in
God’s Word, we are, through that situation, planting the seeds of Jesus’ love into their hearts. We are
showing them how much Jesus means to us. How much God’s Word means to us, and how important it
is to serve and obey Him. We are showing them the Fruits of the Spirit of self-control by not verbally
attacking, lashing out, or being harsh and judgmental. The judgment seat is reserved for One and One
alone, and that is Jesus Christ. Because He is the one who suffered, bled, and died for our sins, He is the
One to whom the position of Judge belongs. Can we make a judgment about a person’s character? Of
course. Can we judge whether or not we want to allow someone to house sit or watch our children? Yes. Can we
make a judgement about whether or not we should loan someone your car or go into business with someone?
Absolutely. But we never are to judge a person’s soul. Judgement of a person’s soul is a work that only Christ can do.

It was very important to MaCaedyn that she handled this situation with the grace, love and gentleness
that her Heavenly Father gives her. She likes all the people in her department very much and had many
friends who were participating in the musical. She hoped to be able to shine the light of Jesus into their
lives and saw this as the perfect opportunity to do that. Again, she prayed and asked God that He would
bless her email and that His perfect will would be done.
Here is what the email said:

My parents and I wanted to thank you, sincerely, for letting us know about the content of
the “Me and Ricky” song in the musical. We are thankful for you giving us such respect to
let us know about it as you did.
I must apologize to you and my parents want to apologize too, that we did not properly
review this musical before I auditioned for it. That is totally our fault, and we are all very
sorry that we didn’t take the time to do that before I auditioned. We accept full
responsibility for not doing that and we promise that we will take the time to do that before
I audition for anything in the future. 

Please know my parents have raised me to be a person who is not judgmental of anyone
else, but to show love, kindness and respect to others. I wanted to explain that I am a
Judeo-Christian and while I know that I have my flaws to work on, I do try to represent in
my life what I believe in God’s Word.

My family also has a 501c3 nonprofit ministry for children and we serve children
internationally on several continents. Our work has many parts to it, but our main focus is
to assist children in need and speak out for the care and protection of all children, for those
with us and for the unborn.

Please know that I hold no personal judgments of anyone who would participate in this
show and will still show all my friends who are in it the same kindness that I always have.
Having said that, I feel that if I were to participate in the show knowing the “Me and Ricky”
song is part of its content, even if my character is not singing during that song, I would still
be going against what I believe and the work I do for children. So, I wanted to write to you
and quietly step down from the role of Julie that you kindly gave me.
My parents and I have learned our lesson about doing our research on things before I
audition so that I don’t complicate the casting process for you or any other directors that I
may have the opportunity to work with in the future.  I do thank you for giving me the
opportunity and I thank you for your understanding.
Sincerely, MaCaedyn LaFon-Cox

Josh and I trusted that because MaCaedyn was choosing to stand up for God’s Word where abortion is
concerned, that He would protect her, help her, and bless her for it. She sent the email to her teacher on
a Friday, and we spent the weekend praying over the matter. I knew that no matter what happened,
God was with her, and He would bring goodness out of it.

My mind traveled back to a time when I took a stance of faith at ASU over a project that went against
my faith. When I spoke to my teacher, I too had prayed about it and spoke with kindness, gentleness, and respect, yet my stance was not well received by my teacher and the other students involved in the project. I was given the
choice to fail the class for not doing the project or drop the class with no refund. I chose to drop the
class. Yet, God was with me the whole time and He intervened for me. The department chair found out
what happened to me and not only called to apologize to me for it but made sure I received a full refund
for the class tuition. God was with me then and I knew that He would be with MaCaedyn now. We didn’t
ask God to help MaCaedyn with this situation after that, we thanked Him that He already had.

On Sunday morning, MaCaedyn came in to read us an email from her teacher. It was a very kind and
respectful response showing MaCaedyn her full support for her decision and ended by stating that she
“looked forward to working with her on future projects”!

MaCaedyn’s friends who had been cast in the play completely supported her decision and just let her
know how much they were going to miss her.

Not only that, but MaCaedyn was still able to audition for the Glendale Community College play directed
by another teacher and was cast for several parts in it! Some of her friends that are in the musical even
auditioned for the play so they could participate in it with her!

And all was well because of Jesus.

The play MaCaedyn will be in is called “Crazytown” and it opens on Friday, April 7, 2023 and has
performances on April 8 th , 14 th and 15 th . We will be there to support her in every performance we can!
God is so good and so faithful! Standing up for Him and His Word is always the best choice a person can
make. God’s Word and His promises are just as true now as they were thousands of years ago. He will
never leave us nor forsake us, especially when we stand up for Him.

I am so thankful for the hearts of the teachers at Glendale Community College in the music theater
department who teach their students that they never have to do anything that they are not comfortable
with, that is almost unheard of in this day and time and needs to be recognized and celebrated.

I am so thankful to know there are teachers at Glendale Community College who are kind and respectful
of their students’ beliefs. That they do not judge or condemn, ostracize or cancel their students if they
don’t want to participate in something which would compromise their faith.

I felt in this day and age when these kinds of stories are rarely heard, that MaCaedyn’s story was shared
because this is how things ought to be. The pastor of my youth, Brother Diffie, always said, “We should
agree to disagree agreeably”. Simple, yet powerful words for us all to live by.

MaCaedyn does not judge or condemn anyone who thinks or believes different than she does and she
handled this situation in a way that I believe made her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, truly proud. She
represented Jesus well in this matter and the teachers of Glendale Community College handled it
beautifully too.

We are thankful to God for His help and we are so proud of MaCaedyn’s heart for Him.

(MaCaedyn says I need to end this by saying…. HUZZAH! And I would like to add HALLELUJAH! Thank
You, Jesus!)


Laying Down This Burden of Darkness at the Feet and Light of Jesus Christ

Before I begin, I would like to provide you with some important information. In my 47th year I learned the meaning of the scriptures of Eph. 2:14-17 “For He Himself is our shalom—He has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah (wall) which divided us by destroying in
His own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form or ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with Himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in Himself killing that enmity. Also, when He came, He announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby. News that through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

I have been studying under the teachings of Pastors Larry and Tiz Huch and Rabbi Jonathan Cahn about the Jewish roots of our faith since 2018 and have learned that when a person quickly and easily understands the verse above, along with understanding all the teachings of the Jewish faith, that means the person is called to teach it to others. I am one of those called to teach the Jewish roots of our Christian faith and to work to fulfill Eph. 2:14-17 because I do understand it quickly and believe it completely.

I stand with Israel, and I stand up for the Jewish people, they are God’s chosen people and I speak out against all antisemitism and a divided Israel state. I also do not believe that we Christians have replaced the Jewish people. Jesus Christ was a Jew who never stopped being a Jew, so were Mary and Joseph and all of Jesus’ disciples. I am thankful that because I have Jesus Christ as my Savior, I am counted among God’s precious children. I believe God’s Word, where the Apostle Paul teaches us in Romans chapter 11 that we Gentiles are grafted into the vine to receive all of God’s marvelous blessings, but the Jewish people are never going to be replaced by Gentiles.

In addition to that I am called to reach the hearts of Jewish people who still do not know Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus Christ, is their Messiah, as well as working to reach the hearts who do not know God the Father or Jesus Christ, as their Savior.

It is because of this calling of God upon my life, and the choice I have made to live my life by the scriptures of God’s Holy Word, you will often see me listing scriptures from the Jewish Christian Bible in this testimony. Though there may be instances where I list other solid translations of scripture, the reason why I like to use the Jewish Christian translation is because it is the closest translation possible to the original Hebrew texts given from God to man thousands of years ago. The Word of God still stands just as true today as it did back then, and it always will forevermore.

With that information being given, I now begin.

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11 (NIV)


June 2022

“Throw all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares about you.”
 1 Peter 5:7
(Jewish Christian Bible)
I have spoken this verse, taught it, sung it in songs and yet… I have had a burden that I’ve continued to carry for the past forty-seven years. I turned fifty-one years old, August 2022, and the time has come for me to lay down this heavy burden of darkness down at the feet of my Savior of light so He can take it from me, continue to heal me, and use me for His specific mission that He has for me.

“Jesus said, ‘I AM the Way—and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6

This is my testimony—part of it anyway. I have many more testimonies to share of God’s great love and miraculous power! But this one is special. It is about me and knowing I will stand before Christ upon Judgement Day, knowing God is truth and knows all which is true, I vow it is the truth. I believe Jesus Christ is truth and all truth stands with Him. He hears and sees all, even thoughts and feelings. Not one single thing is ever hidden from God. The time has come for me to put forward my personal testimony of all that Jesus Christ, my precious Lord, Savior, and very best Friend, has brought me through thus far.

Before I continue, some who are not familiar with the word “testimony” might be wondering what that is. As defined by the dictionary, a testimony is a “formal written or spoken statement especially one given in a court of law.” My definition of the word testimony as it applies to this formally written statement is to tell of the wonders, the greatness, the faithfulness, and the healing power of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ so that others might bare witness to what He has done for me, is still doing for me and will continue to do for me for all the days of my life.

I am starting to write this testimony while still in my 50th year. I am quite sure it will take me a long time before I finish it and I will not be 50 years old when it is done. But I have learned that the Bible teaches about the year of Jubilee, which is only every fifty years for a person, place, or thing’s life. A Jubilee year is a time of return and restoration. So, it makes perfect sense to me why I would begin writing this during my year of Jubilee. Even if I don’t finish it in my 50th year, I know that the work God wants to do of restoration to my heart is beginning there.

There are those who don’t know God who often believe if a person follows Jesus, they shouldn’t have any more trouble in their life. While I believe it is true that a life lived for Jesus is absolutely, positively the BEST life a person can lead, that doesn’t mean a person will stop having troubles, but when we follow Jesus, and give our heart to Him, it does mean that Jesus will be with us, and He promises to help us through our troubles.  

“I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom (peace). In the world, you have trials. But be brave! I have conquered the world!” John 16:33 (JCB)

“Keep your lives free from the love of money; and be satisfied with what you have; for God Himself has said, ‘I will never fail you or abandon you.’ Therefore, we say with confidence, ‘Adonai is my helper’ I will not be afraid—what can a human being do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5-6 (JCB)

The truth is, we live in a beautiful world that is unfortunately also a place where the devil, Satan, our enemy dwells. Quite often, when a person gives their heart to Jesus Christ and devotes their life to serving Him, they may see more hardships come along than others do. It is because Satan is the great deceiver and he hates everyone, especially those who serve Jesus. The truth is, Satan wants to destroy us all.

“Stay sober, stay alert! Your enemy, the devil, stalk about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

I can boldly say, with all confidence, that if we place all our trust in God, study, believe. speak and stand up for His Word, obey what He commands us, and love Him as He longs for us to, God will pour out blessings upon our lives more than we could ask or imagine.

“Now to Him who by His power working in us is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the Messianic Community, the church and in the Messiah Yeshua from generation to generation forever. Amen.” Eph. 3:20

I have learned through my years that God’s great love for us is an unfathomable constant. His love is an all-powerful guiding light to give us help, healing, peace, everything we need, He is. When we reach out to Jesus, Jesus is always there for us, just as He promised.

“I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (JCB)
I hope as you read, you will see that without Jesus being with me, my life as it is now, would look very different. It is because of Jesus, Yeshua, that I am who I am. It is because of God’s Word that I know who He says I am and that is how I define myself. I do not define myself by what people say of me, but by what my Creator, my Heavenly Father God, Adonai, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, say of me. It is because of the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, being with me, leading and guiding me, teaching me through His still small voice that whispers to me which way to go that I have made it thus far on my life’s journey. It is the Holy Trinity, Adonai, God the Father, Yeshua, the Son and Messiah, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that daily seek to please with my life and I know and trust that They will guide me.

“With your ears you will hear a word from behind you: ‘This is the way; stay on it, whether you go to the right or the left.’” Isaiah 30:21 (JCB)

There is no easy way to begin telling this, so I will just say it.
I was a victim of sexual, mental, and emotional abuse that began in my life when I was a little girl of four years old.

When you have suppressed things which wounded your soul, heart, and mind and didn’t get help for those things but placed them somewhere deep down inside you, locking them up in secret places so others wouldn’t know, it is very challenging to suddenly open those doors and let those things out. Just like any other earthly door that remains sealed for many years, things get dusty and rusty, and hinges become extremely difficult to open.

I have kept this information closed off from most people. Only my God knows all that has taken place and few others know some of what I have experienced. I have found that by keeping this closed off in the secret places of my heart, mind, and soul, it has become a hinderance for others to truly understand who I am and why I do what I do, and it has become a hinderance to myself. It is too much weight for me to bare any longer.

It was out of pure fear of what others would say or do to me if I came forward with my story that I have not done so until this time. But I have learned that fear does not come from God.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

“Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I also know that God’s timing is always perfect and so I trust that He has brought me to this place, space, and moment of time, and is blessing me with the courage to write this testimony today because it is all part of His plan for my life and His mission for me in this world.

“For everything there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven…” 
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (JCB)

Thank You, Jesus, I can honestly say that I am a victim of abuse no more!
I used to call myself a survivor but now I am going to start calling myself a Victor. It is through laying down this burden and finally addressing it publicly, to give my testimony of how Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, saved me and brought me through it all that I can claim that victory!

I have heard it said that ‘your pain can be your prison or your platform’.
Although I did not understand the things I endured at the time, mostly because I was so young, I can now clearly see how God is taking everything that happened to me which was wicked, and full of darkness and through His saving grace and power, He is transforming me and is turning my pain into my driving force to do good, holy works of light in this world! He has placed me upon His solid rock. His Holy Word, the Bible, is my platform. God is giving me my voice to teach others that it is okay for you to speak up for yourself when you must. Only God, Adonai could do that! Our God is an awesome God!

“Yeshua (Jesus) answered him, ‘You don’t understand yet what I am doing, but in time you will understand.’” John 13:7 (JCB)

I want to be very clear that I am not writing this testimony as any form of revenge toward anyone. I am not lashing out, being harsh and judgmental or trying to cause harm or damage to a single soul as some may think. If I were a vengeful, harsh, and judgmental person, who lashes out, I wouldn’t have waited as long as I have to come forward with this story and I wouldn’t write it as I am about to now.

I believe you will learn that hatred holds no place in my heart. I do not hate anyone. I hate come people’s actions and some people’s words, but I know I cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven with hate in my heart toward others. I have no roots of bitterness in my heart either. I am sure there are those out there who might accuse me of writing this for other intentions, but I take my comfort knowing God sees and knows my heart inside out. He know all my thoughts, hears all my words and sees all my actions.

I have so many reasons why I write tell this testimony and the most important reason is because I cannot tell you about how the amazing power of Jesus Christ is healing me, unless I tell you what injured me. The bad parts must be told for you to understand all the goodness of God and see the evidence of His hand in my life. My hope is that by your reading my story, if you don’t yet know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you may want to.

I do not wish to have the same old aromas of my past on me anymore. I wish to shed the darkness of my past and step fully into the marvelous and healing light of Jesus Christ.

I have read so many times in the Bible where people would set up a stone as a testimony and marking of a place where something important happened. Their story will always be part of their lives, but once they placed that stone as a reminder and testimony of what God brought them through, they moved forward. They moved past it.

I believe for the things that haunt a person’s past which are of darkness, the person must lay the burden down at the feet of light of Jesus Christ. It is then and only then that they can begin to move forward with their life and not carry the darkness with them everywhere they go. Abuse of any kind, but especially sexual abuse is something that a person carries with them everywhere they go. This is my representation of my laying this burden down at the feet of my Savior and setting up a stone as my personal testimony of what God has done in my life regarding abuse. I know there will be more “stones” I will set up as testimonies of circumstances that God will bring me through as I continue my life’s journey, but this one is quite significant for me and the most difficult to tell.

This story is mine and always will be, but the burdens of pain, confusion, and frustration from so many incidents of abuse in my past can remain at the feet of my Savior so I can move forward with His plans for my life and not carry it into my future.

I believe completely and totally in the healing power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. I understand that in order to receive forgiveness of sins from Jesus Christ, we must confess Him as our Lord and Savior, and we must confess those sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (ESV)

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16 (ESV)

I believe we must also forgive others to receive forgiveness. When we forgive, especially the things which have broken us severely, that is when the healing power of Jesus Christ begins to flow!

“And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive your offenses.”  Mark 11:25 (JBC)

This is a story about the healing power of forgiveness, learning to trust God in all things, and taking steps to move forward. Not only that, but my testimony will prove how God can take something– anything which is full of darkness and turn it to light. He brings beauty from ashes and turns mourning into dancing!

“Yes, provide for those in Zion who mourn, giving them garlands instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a cloak of praise instead of a heavy spirit, so that they will be called oaks of righteousness planted by Adonai, in which He takes pride.” Isaiah 61:3 (JCB)

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” Psalm 30:11 (ESV)

And He brings His sweetness to those who are broken.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (ESV)

God works all things together for the good of those who serve Him!

“Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (JCB)

The first reason I write is out of obedience to God who has been speaking to my heart about writing this for some time. Years in fact.

When someone says they were told to do something by God, or they ‘talk to God’, I know there are many people who either think they are crazy, or they mock it and don’t believe them at all. Then there are those out there who think it is God speaking to them, but if what they are being spoken is not in accordance with the scriptures of God’s Word, it isn’t God who is speaking to them. The Word of God is God and what He speaks comes to pass. That is why it is sacred and Holy.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through Him and without Him nothing made had being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not suppressed it.” John 1:1-5 (JCB)

The Bible is God’s voice, it is an extension of Him and one of the most powerful ways He communicates, teaches, and guides us.

“All Scripture is God breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth conviction of sin, correcting faults and training in right living: thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (JCB)

God must be true to His Word and so if the person is saying something which is not in alignment with God’s Word, then it is not from God. God will never go against His Word because He cannot go against Himself. And what is written in His Word, whether it be promises, instruction or warnings of judgement, they will always take place.

“For just as rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return there, but water the earth, causing it to bud and produce, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so is My Word that goes out from My mouth—it will not return to me unfulfilled but it will accomplish what I intend, and cause to succeed what I sent it to do.” Isaiah 55:10-11 JCB)

Of course, a person also needs to know God’s Word and the context in which it was written to identify the differences. People must be careful and ask God for discernment when listening to someone share about what they say God is speaking to them. There are so many false teachers in the world who know a bit about the Bible and often use it to serve their purposes. They like to fit God into their teachings instead of them obeying His teachings. There are so many New Age, self-help programs that are filled with spiritual teachings out there which are not in alignment with the scriptures. The Bible warns us of these things. So, it is so important to have a Bible– of a solid translation, and study it so that you can understand what those differences are.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching but will cater to their passions and father around themselves teachers who say whatever their ear itch to hear. Yes, they will stop listening to the truth, but will turn aside to follow myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (JCB)

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguise himself and an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NIV)

I do understand what it is like to have God speak to you because God does speak to me and how I know it is Him is because what He speaks is always in accordance with His Word. God never speaks anything that goes against His Word. That’s how I know it is God. I also understand what it is like to talk to God because I talk to Him through prayer and singing worship to Him every single day, throughout my days and nights. I don’t say this to bran, I say it to declare that I LOVE it! I love worshiping God so much! It brings me so much peace, joy, wisdom, and healing! Adonai, God the Father, Yeshua, Jesus Christ the Son, and our Friend and Comforter, the Holy Spirit, I love and worship the Godhead trinity. I love Them and need Them all day, every day. I cannot live without them. I won’t live without Them.

Praying to God, is just talking to God. You close your eyes and picture Him there with you, because His Holy Spirit is there, and you can talk to Him like you would talk to a very precious, faithful friend who cherishes you. Because He is.

The truth is, God calls and speaks to all of us because He wants to have a relationship with all His children. The evidence of that is written in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in Him may have eternal life instead of being utterly destroyed.” (JCB)

The difference for those who hear God and those who don’t is because some of us are ready and willing to listen and others are not there yet. According to the scriptures, there are some who never will be.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)

So, the questions a non-believer may ask might be, “How do you know God is speaking to you?” “Do you hear an audible voice?” “How do you know the difference between God and your own thoughts?” Those are all excellent questions, and my answer would be: it all depends upon your personal relationship with God.

For me, God speaks very clearly through His Word, through solid teachings of others in alignment with His Word and Holy Spirit, through worship, in dreams, and at times, He also gives me very clear, detailed ideas while I’m awake. These are ideas that randomly pop into my conscious mind while I am thinking about something totally different which is not at all connected to the idea. I know that is Adonai getting my attention. God also likes to speak to me while I do housework. I have had many scenes for my Intercessors books come while doing the dishes or vacuuming… which makes my housework much more exciting! For example, when I am doing the dishes and scrubbing a pot from cooking dinner that night and suddenly, I see before me a scene between Jace and Rateesh, (characters from The Intercessors) and it brings me to a standstill, I know that’s God! (Yes, that really happened!)

There are also times when God will use people of His choosing to tell me something. Sometimes He speaks through them to give me new information He wants me to know and sometimes he speaks through them to confirm something He already told me. God uses my husband, Josh, for this quite often and some of my precious friends who walk in the Holy Spirit, especially my beautiful friends, Rhona Mullins, and Doug and Shay Patterson. But there are times when God has used people I don’t know very well or know at all to give me a confirmation of something He spoke to me, and I know this is God as well. After all, if it wasn’t God how would they even know about it in the first place?

I wrote a very powerful and true story that is on my blog sit about my name and how God used a woman named Marilyn Leininger, who is now a dear friend, but at the time, I did not know her at all, to give me information about myself and confirm a work that He wanted me to do. If you would like to read this story sometime, you can find it here:

The first way God spoke to me about coming forward with this story was after Josh and I had watched a documentary on Netflix called “The Keepers”. This is a series about a nun who learned about sexual abuse of young girls in a school where she taught and then was mysteriously murdered after trying to help the children.

This documentary is not easy to watch or hear. The stories of abuse are sickening to the soul.
But the women who came forward to tell their stories were so incredibly brave. They impacted my heart and moved my spirit deeply. When we finished the series, I told Josh I was so amazed at their courage and how much they inspired me. After watching the show, I began to pray and ask God to make me brave like the women I saw in “The Keepers” documentary because I wanted to do more to help children who are being abused in any form of abuse.

Josh and I have been happily serving children in need through our organization, unofficially since Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and officially since June 5th, 2009, when The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. received its official stamp of approval from the IRS as a 501c3 organization. Some of those who read this story may be familiar with our work to serve children internationally, but if you are not, I invite you to visit our website at
In addition to that site we also have our family ministry website that you can visit at:

I have happily served, taught, directed musically, and given to children all throughout my life and consider it the greatest work in the world to get to do what I do! I thank God every day for choosing me to do this work and I will do it as long as I have breath.

I believe another reason God wants me to come forward with my story is because He has been revealing more plans for me and has been speaking to me about expanding the work I do for children through HCP in addition to new works for adults that I never imagined possible.

In the month of July, God began speaking to me through dreams. Three times He gave me dreams where I was speaking before a group of people. In the first dream I had the understanding that they were a group of parents. In the second dream, I was speaking before state senators, and in the third dream I was speaking before Congress! In each dream I was speaking out for stronger child abuse laws, creating federally funded counseling programs which are easily accessible for children to receive counseling and professional help, and doing more for the protection of our greatest treasures ever to be found in this world… our children. I also want to do more to assist mothers who choose to give life to their child over abortion.

The dreams were so real and detailed, and I did not forget them when I woke up the next day. This is another way I know when a dream is from God or just a random dream. When they are Divine Dreams, instructing me about something I am to do, they are very detailed and deeply pressed into my memory. They are also felt deeply within my heart, and I wake up motivated to do the work God has placed before me. I don’t forget the dreams and I know that is God speaking to me, literally showing me what He is going to have me do.

After I had these dreams, I wasn’t sure how to begin to do what I had dreamt.

I prayed, “God, I don’t have any experience in this kind of thing. I have no idea where to start, what to do, what to say or who to contact. But I know You do. I trust You and ask You to show me where I should begin.”

This isn’t the first time I prayed this kind of prayer. God had spoken to both Josh and me about starting The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. a 501c3 when MaCaedyn was an infant baby. We had no idea how or where to start that… but God showed us and helped us. Then, after God gave me the vision for The Intercessors novels, again, I didn’t know where to start, so I prayed and as always, God answered and directed me to do that too!

It was about a week after having these dreams while I was at the post office one day. I was thinking about what I was going to cook for my family and what project I was going to work on that evening, when suddenly a very clear and precise idea came into my head: the first step I needed to take to speak out was to write this story.

It made perfect sense. If God wants to use me to speak up for stronger child abuse laws and doing more to protection the children in our nation and world, I will hold more credibility by telling my story. By telling this story others would understand that I am becoming a victorious survivor after personally experiencing sexual, mental, and emotional abuse as a child.

In order for me to speak about that publicly I had to begin speaking somewhere.
This story is my somewhere. My starting point.

The second reason I need to write is because when I write a story, it is very therapeutic for me. It’s kind of like the story is directly connected by a thread from my heart, mind, and soul to my laptop. When I write, it’s as if the laptop pulls the story out of me by an unseen thread. The story, of course, will always be mine and part of me, but it doesn’t clamor around inside of my thoughts all the time. In the case of this story, when it clamors around inside, and it clamors loudly, it also brings up very painful memories that surge through my whole being and can cause distraction in my life, as well as mental and physical exhaustion, sadness, and frustration. I believe God gave me the gift of writing to prevent me from battling depression.

I know that once I write to get my thoughts and feelings pulled out of me and get them organized in written word, it helps my healing process continue. God has blessed me with writing as a source of expression and has taught me to use storytelling, musical composition, producing plays, and teaching through our Huggabear Friends YouTube show as my personal release to let out things He wants to remove from me. Then, He fills those places with His glorious healing, love, grace, and strength so I can do more good things for His glory!

I want to encourage others who read this story and may need to know, if you haven’t tried writing as a form of therapy, I highly recommend it.

That leads me to the next reason why I know it is important for me to write this story.
Sadly, I know my story is a much more common story than we may want to believe. In fact, I know there are millions of stories out there that are much, much worse, harder to tell, and harder to hear or read than mine. It is tremendously heartbreaking to know that there are so many children suffering so greatly in this world and knowing also drives me forward.

I was inspired by the amazing, courageous women who spoke out in “The Keepers” documentary, and I have been amazed and inspired by all those, male and female, who have come forward to tell their stories of surviving abuse. I am hoping that if you are taking the time to read this story and you have been struggling to cope with abuse you have endured, no matter what kind of abuse it was, and no matter how old you may now be, that you too will feel empowered to take the first step forward in your healing process. That first step is being able to acknowledge what happened to you, talk, or write about it, and seek professional help so that you can learn how to lay down your heavy burden. My hope is that you will bring it to the feet of Jesus because I know that He has more power than anyone or anything you will ever find in this world to help you. That is not an opinion, that is a genuine fact I know to be true!

Something else that I want to tell you, in case no one else has said it, what happened to you was not your fault. You did not bring it upon yourself, and you did not deserve it to happen. I also want to make myself available to you should you want to reach out and write to me. It is always a good thing to find people who have a similar understanding of what it is like to walk in your shoes and to have traveled similar paths. I am not a counselor, pastor, or rabbi, but I try to be a good listener and I love to encourage and pray for people. So, I just wanted to open that door to you should you need it.

The final reason I write this story, and the reason I believe God has spoken to me and has been nudging me along to do this, is so that hopefully, I can do much more to help children in the world who are suffering with abuse and to tell those who are still dealing with the wounds from abuse about the love and healing power of Jesus Christ.

Take a moment with me as you read this to pause and gain the grim understanding that in this moment while you are reading, millions of children all over the world are being abused, either with physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.

While research varies from study to study, I have discovered that it is believed 1 in 5 girls are sexually abused and 1 in 13 boys are sexually abused every year here in the United States and that over 90% of the time their abuser is a relative or someone close to the family that they know. What I find heartbreaking is that America has one of the worst records of industrialized nations for child abuse or child neglect deaths. statistics list America losing five children a year to abuse or neglect.

For me, it is not just heartbreaking, it is unfathomable and totally unacceptable. It is unacceptable that even one child anywhere in the world should die due to abuse or neglect. When will people learn that our children are the greatest treasures of this world? They are beautiful, incredible, special, irreplaceable rewards from God! They must be loved, cherished, provided for, cared for, constantly in every way, and if need be, fiercely protected. God tells us in Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.

If someone won an Oscar, a Superbowl ring, or a gold medal, they would take excellent care of it, display it with pride and want the world to know that it was their reward. Yet, how much greater are our children than something which cannot love, cannot create, cannot live, move or have its being, cannot laugh, cannot speak, sing, play and touch the lives and hearts of others? I can tell you; our children supersede by far anything else you could possibly win, buy, or have in your life. Children are priceless.

So, if God wants to use me to do more works as a child advocate for safety and speak out in this nation and anywhere else in the world where He may open the doors for stronger laws to protect our precious children, then I will go. And if writing this story is the first step to be taken on that journey… I’m on my way!


July 2022

So now, to tell this testimony from the beginning until now. In order to do that, I must go back to my beginning when I was born… actually, I can go back even farther to the time when my mother was pregnant with me.

My father had given my mother Hepatitis in the early days of her pregnancy with me. She was quite ill and had been hospitalized for it. After many days in the hospital, she was released, and my father took her to her parents’ house. I was told he kissed her on the head, said he was going to get her suitcases and never came back.

As my mother’s pregnancy continued along with her illness, her doctor spoke to her about having an abortion as an “act of mercy” for my life. Her doctor explained that due to the severity of her illness I would be born with serious birth defects, such as my hands and feet being fused together, having possible brain damage and that I would never live a normal or long life.

I’m sure by now you understand by my love for children that I am a ProLife supporter, and this is just one of the reasons why. I am now and always will be thankful to my mother for choosing to let me have my life.

When I was born, I did have some issues to tend to and had to remain in the hospital for a few days, but it was nothing at all like the doctor had warned. I had a hearing condition, which Jesus miraculously healed when I was thirty years old. I had a small heart situation, which Jesus miraculously healed when I was a teenager. I had some trouble with my ligaments being too small, which Jesus healed through time and dance, and I battle asthma. I give praise to You, my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me a strong and healthy body and mind! God had His mighty hand upon me then and He still has it on me now!

Because my mother was still recovering from hepatitis after I was born, she couldn’t work, and because she had been abandoned by her husband and needed help caring for me, my grandparents lovingly opened their arms and home to us.

There were some connected to us who did not like this arrangement. I have many times put myself in their place to see if I could understand why. My grandfather was not the same man in his elderly years that he had been in his youth. Jesus was the difference for him. My grandmother was raised in a home that loved and served Jesus. I don’t know whether my grandfather was raised in a home like that or not. I believe he surrendered his heart to Jesus a bit later in life. I know that he was quite hard and at times abusive to his own children. So, I could understand why it would be difficult for those to have known my grandfather as they did when they were younger and then see him, as a man saved by the grace of God, interact so differently with me.

While I tried to see things from their perspectives, I don’t believe that exchange was made for me. They seemed to have forgotten I was an innocent baby. I could do nothing to care for myself, or choose where I lived, or have any say in any matter whatsoever. I was so powerless for so many years over so many events that took place in my childhood.

For me, my grandfather, Samuel Boone, “Papa” as I called him, was all the father that I needed in my life. He and my grandmother, whom I called “Mema”, had endured a terrible car accident a couple of months before I was born. Papa’s leg was severely injured in the accident. He was stuck at home, could not work, and from what my grandmother told me, he was batting depression over his injury and situation. Then here we come, a baby and mother recovering from sickness and abandonment, needing a home, care, and love… and we found it. One of the most beautiful and precious relationships of my life was with my Papa and although I know there were those who were envious of it, I will for the rest of my days be so very thankful to God for having him in my life.

As time went on and I began to grow and communicate, I always knew there were those connected…related to me who did not like me, and they did not like my mother and I living with my grandparents. The feelings they had were not contained but were openly shared with others and taught to their children who began mimicking the example set before them on how I was to be treated, how I was spoken to, and the place in which I was to be kept… which was always firmly beneath them… like a doormat.

I have had this kind of “doormat” experience with other people through the years. Perhaps I still have to shed old ways of thinking about and seeing myself.  Still, God has given me a heart that loves people and for many years I kept trying to be the person that would please them. The problem with that is, when there are people who just don’t like you, it doesn’t matter what you do, you will never please them. Joel Osteen once said, “Don’t waste your time with people who are determined not to understand you.” So, then you must make a choice, do I keep trying? Or do I move on and pour my love into others who will receive it?

I also learned that when a person places pleasing others higher in their goals of life than pleasing God, that is a form of idolatry for there is no one we should strive to please more than God. I always tell my children, “Strive each day to please God, our Father in Heaven, and by doing so, you will always please me.”

I don’t know what I would do without my Father, God, Adonai. I remember the first time I realized I didn’t have a father. It was Father’s Day. I was at church and all the children were making Father’s Day cards for their fathers. I made one for Papa. I was very young and could only write my name because I hadn’t started school yet. I remember the Sunday School room, the table I sat at, and the chair I sat at.

“Who did you make a Father’s Day card for?” I was asked by one of the children of those who did not like me.

“For Papa,” I answered.

“He’s not your father, he’s your grandpa. You don’t have a father,” was the reply I received.

I can still travel back through time to this very significant moment and remember all the curiosities and confusions which flooded into my young mind and heart. I felt that statement with my whole being. I didn’t have a father? Why was that? Who was my father? That is another story for another time—and it is quite a story too! But this that was spoken to me, is a perfect example of a child repeating something they had learned from the adult examples in their life… and it impacted and troubled my heart deeply.

This kind of treatment practiced by those who did not like me laid the bricks to pave the road which led to the beginning of my sexual abuse the same summer as that Father’s Day.

Those who held such disdain in their hearts toward me over circumstances that were totally beyond my control had shared and taught their feelings and thoughts to those around them well. How these adults treated me set the tone for their offspring to not only follow their example, but their tone seemed to give permission to remove all boundaries to take negative treatment of me even farther.

I remember vividly the day the sexual abuse first began. I had not yet started school.

I remember my first day of school so well. At this time in my life, I was an only child, and I couldn’t wait to go to school and make new friends. Plus, I have always had a profound love for learning. I remember getting up at the crack of dawn to get dressed and went into my mother to announce I was ready to go. My mother told me to go back to bed because it was too early. I turned five years old on August 26th and started school that fall. The sexual abuse began in June, the summer before school started. I was still four years old.

My mother was a single parent and at this time in my life, she worked full-time and there were days when she needed help with childcare from relatives who did not charge her for it.

This is how the one who abused me was able to open the door of darkness to my life.

I don’t place blame on my mother for the things which happened to me by this person. She was trying to work to support us and needed someone to watch after me.

I do have to admit that there have been moments when I have wondered what my life might have looked like if I hadn’t been where he could get to me.

I will not go into all the details of what all took place in this testimony. As I wrote before, this is my first public step out of this shadow and at this point in time I am still not ready to write about those specific events. Honestly, as I am right now, I don’t know if I would ever be able to do that. I wouldn’t wish anyone to have to read that either.

What I can tell you is that day, that moment, and all the other moments afterward, changed me– and not for the good. It wasn’t just me, but my entire world changed. I felt like a terrible shadow was constantly haunting me, hovering over me everywhere I went and with it a weight upon my little shoulders that I could not break free from. My eyes had been opened to sexual activities that they should not have been opened to at such a tender age. I felt sick to my stomach, dirty in a way that could not be washed, confused, terrified, and full of shame. I was too young to understand the feelings I had or have the words to express those feelings. I was only a four-year-old little girl, and I wasn’t the one who did the bad things, but I knew what was happening to me was bad and wrong, it felt wrong… and it made me sick.

From that day forward, I carried this burden of wickedness with me everywhere I went, every single day. There was no place I went where I could escape it because you cannot escape the thoughts and memories that are in your mind and heart.

I believe when God creates a child, He gives them an innocence of mind, purity of spirit and tenderness of heart that seems to create a beautiful blindness to the things which are evil in the world. I believe children are created with the same filters that Adam and Eve had in their beginning days in the Garden of Eden. They are not born with the understanding of things which are evil. We are born with an innocent spirit of goodness that comes from God. So, when someone comes to a child, just as the serpent came to Eve, and wicked events begin to unfold in that child’s life that should never take place, their eyes, just like Adam and Eve’s, are suddenly and instantly opened to evil and wickedness, which always, always is attached to darkness. Although the child might not be able to explain what evil or wickedness is in words, they certainly do feel it and their mind, spirit, and heart know instinctively it is wrong.   

In order to keep me silent so I would not tell anyone what was happening to me, fear tactics and threats were placed into my young psyche. This person was over a decade older than I, he was tall, cunning, manipulative, and quite intimidating. I became instantly fearful of him. His very presence filled me with so much pain, confusion, and shame. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t understand why it was happening to me and all I wanted to do was try to figure out a way to make it stop… but my fear held me in the bondage of his control.

I tried to internalize my fear, embarrassment, and disgust inside, to press it all down and hold it there so that no one knew what was happening to me after all he would tell me “No one can know.” But I was so little and didn’t even understand about all the different emotions a person can have much less how to handle them. I was also surrounded by generations who didn’t understand the benefit that crying brings to a person’s health and always heard phrases like, “Now stop your crying”, or “Be brave”, or “Let’s just be happy!” So, my fears and emotions would come out in other forms. I developed a terrible nervous habit of biting my nails, sometimes to the point of bleeding. Nightmares became a constant in my life as well… terrible nightmares that I have battled for decades. I also developed a tactic of biting the insides of my mouth to keep my lips from quivering when I felt like crying. I did this to the point where dentists have offered to surgically remove the large skin tags that have now formed there.

When I had to be around this person, I would tense up from my head to my toes and feel nervousness and sickness in my stomach. I couldn’t concentrate, gather my thoughts, or breathe properly. My hands would tremble, and my legs always felt weak. I tried to keep my eyes fixed downward. His presence literally made my skin crawl.

The abuse took place over the course of the next few years whenever he could get me alone. Sometimes getting me alone was to keep me out in a field behind the mulberry tree after the rest of the kids we were playing with ran inside. This would happen even while my mother and others were right inside his house. Some moments took place inside his house, some in his bathroom, one incident took place in his siblings’ bedroom upon his sibling’s bed.

I remember thinking to myself, maybe if I threw up on him, he would stop and not want to do this to me anymore. Yet even though I always felt sick to my stomach, I didn’t know how to make myself throw up. The fear would overtake me, and I felt totally and completely powerless to stop it. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breathe. I could hardly move. I closed my eyes and tried to think of being somewhere else. It was as if my fear paralyzed me.

Then there was the humiliation by this person that would take place in front of others. I remember one time I was sitting next to one of my relatives who was a very beautiful girl and the one who abused me would complement her and talk about how beautiful she was to other others in the room. Then he would look at me and say, “And look at you! You look like a little old lady!” I was just a child when he said this, but his words made me feel ugly and small.

It was a never ending, constant stream of degradation and humiliation that took place, not just with the one who abused me but those around him as well. Sometimes I spoke back and tried to stand up for myself, but that just brought more mocking, abasement, or chastisement for me being a mouthy spoiled brat and talking back disrespectfully. I knew they believed my place was under their feet, always a doormat—and doormats don’t speak.

This doormat mentality I have battled for years and one reason my counselors have all said is I often say, “I’m sorry” to others, even when I have no cause to do so.

I have learned that for children who have been sexually abused under the age of six, the abuser is usually a relative. While sexual abuse can take place anywhere a child is present, many times the abuse takes place in their own home, often in their own room. This can often make the child come to dread their room and be present in it. This was not the case for me.

My abuse took place at my abuser’s home, and that home was a place I associated with nothing but darkness, fear, confusion, and pain. So, my place of refuge was the place I called home, the home of Mema and Papa. In this home I had a little room with my own bed, belongings, and toys. There was also a wonderful backyard with a swing-set and a playhouse that my grandfather had built for my mother and aunt when they were little girls. This was no ordinary playhouse either. Because it was constructed by my grandfather, it had a porch, a locking door, tile floor and electricity. I loved playing in that beautiful little house. I also loved climbing the trees in my grandparents’ backyard and picking fruit to enjoy while I sat on a branch. This was a home where I felt joy. A home that was full of love. A home where I felt safe. Looking back, I again can thank God for those days and that home.

When I was six years old, I experienced something that helped take my mind off the feelings I had from the sexual abuse. On May 25, 1977, my mother took me and one of my cousins to see Star Wars. It was opening night at the Cine Capri theater on 24th Street and Camelback. I remember it all vividly. The line was wrapped around the building to get inside. People were so excited, but I wasn’t really sure what it was all about. I just knew I loved seeing movies and was happy to be there. Once I saw it, even at age six, I understood Star Wars was like nothing anyone had ever seen before.

Once I had seen it and experienced this galaxy far, far away from a long time ago, and all the characters there, it changed everything—not just for how movies were made, but for how kids my age played. I loved Princess Leia. She was so beautiful and although she was a beautiful princess, she was strong, a warrior, intelligent and not afraid to stand up to the dark side. I loved her, and I loved using my imagination to pretend that I was Princess Leia. That Christmas my mother bought me a lightsaber. It was my favorite toy and I wished at times that it was real so that I could use it to defend myself against the one who abused me. I can laugh now when I tell you that I imagined myself cutting off certain “parts” of him, but back then I was serious.

I am still a Star Wars fan today and enjoy all the stories and movies with my children, but what I learned is that the problem with leaning upon things of the world to help you battle darkness is that the things of the world hold no supernatural power to do that. Things of the world bring happiness that is different from the joy of Jesus Christ. Happiness from things in the world is fleeting. So, when I stopped pretending to be Princess Leia and had to just be me, I was right back to dealing with those same old feelings. I had not yet learned to place all my trust, hope and feelings into the hands of Jesus Christ.

When I was seven years old a great transition came harshly and suddenly to my life, and it happened in the middle of the night.

I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a commotion. It frightened me because I had no idea what was happening. I jumped out of bed and found my mother and grandfather very upset with one another. My grandmother was away, I believe she was in West Virginia visiting her family.

I was still trying to wake up and everything seemed like a whirlwind of motion around me. The next thing I knew my mother was gathering some of our things for us to leave and stay at her friend’s house. Her name was Marilyn.

This moment in my life was so terribly painful, so full of confusion and fear. I remember standing on the front porch in my pajamas in the middle of the night crying, clinging to Papa’s hand, begging not to have to leave. Papa was crying too. As we left, I remember looking out of Marilyn’s car window to see him standing on the porch. I cried all through the night until I collapsed from exhaustion.

The next day I had to get up and go to school. But before I did, my mother told me that we were going to move to Mesa to live with my Aunt Cookie and her family. I remember when she took me to school, I was so tired, sick to my stomach, totally distraught and confused. I was trying to hide my crying and be brave, but when she was gone and as I walked to my classroom, the tears came flowing down like a flood and there was nothing that could hold them back.

I was in the second grade and my teacher, a lovely lady that I loved so much named Mrs. Nash, came to my table and was trying to find out why I was crying. I hardly knew what to say, but I told her and my friends that something had happened during the night, and I didn’t know why but I had to move away to Mesa. I remember my sweet friends, especially my best friend, Echo Gaffney, and some other very sweet girls came to hug me. They were crying too. I didn’t want to leave school that day. I knew that when I did, I would be leaving all I knew behind. My school, my friends, my home, and Mema and Papa.

When my mom picked me up her car was full of our things. We left and went to Mesa that day.
Inside my heart was breaking. I didn’t understand why these things were happening, but I was powerless to stop them.

My mother wanted me to look at the positive things and not the negative. So, I tried.
The good part of moving to Mesa with my Aunt Cookie were my cousins John and Jeremy. John, Johnny as I called him, was my favorite cousin. He was five years older than I and was always so kind to me. He played with me so much and we had a lot in common. We loved music, art, horses, playing games, and using our imaginations. John constantly would make me laugh, so hard sometimes that I would have an asthma attack! But I was so glad he did. My cousin Jeremy was six years younger than I and oh, how I loved to help take care of him and play with him. He was such a cute and precious baby.

My Aunt Cookie and Uncle Earl were also very loving and very kind to me. Aunt Cookie loved to make me clothes as she only had boys, and my Uncle Earl loved to play and make me laugh. They also had very sweet little dogs that I loved so much, Noel, the mama and her son, Snowball. I am one who believes in the healing help that can come from animals. I have been blessed to have many loving pets in my life and I understand the calming joy that they can bring.

Having John and Jeremy to play with every day helped me so much with this transition and I will always be so grateful to them for their love during these days. Yet, here was another abusive problem that I would encounter at my new school Adam’s Elementary in Mesa, Arizona. I was placed into the second-grade class of a woman, that for this story, I will call Miss Laney.

On the outside, Miss Laney might be described as an attractive young lady. She was very petite and had long brown hair which she mainly kept in a ponytail. Most would say she had a pleasant face, and she wore large, rounded, brown-framed glasses. When I first met her, I thought she was pretty… but that impression changed very quickly. I soon would think her to be one of the ugliest women I had ever seen, because she showed me what her heart looked like.

My second-grade teacher Mrs. Nash, who taught at my previous school, Tavan Elementary, was just like a loving grandmother. So kind, so patient. All her students loved and respected her. Miss Laney was nothing like Mrs. Nash. When I was child, I didn’t think Miss Laney should have been allowed to be a teacher. I still believe that to this day. It wasn’t because she was abusive to me, it was because she was abusive to another little girl, but what I saw impacted my heart even until this day.

One of my flaws in life is remembering names accurately. I want to say the little girl’s name was something like Olivia, or Rosa, maybe Rosalita? I just remember it was a beautiful name, just like the little girl. She was a Hispanic little girl with beautiful black hair, deep brown eyes with long eye lashes. For this story I will call her Rosalita.

Because I came into the class as a new student, I was placed in one of the empty desks in the back of the room which was fine with me. Rosalita sat in the front row in the far-right corner seat, but it also gave me a bird’s eye view of all that would take place in that classroom.

If Miss Laney called on Rosalita to ask her a question and if Rosalita didn’t know the answer, Miss Hany would scream—and I mean scream at her.

“You need to think! Turn on your brain and think! What’s wrong with you? Are you stupid? Use your head!”

Then she would take one of the chalkboard erasers and hit Rosalita on the top of her head. She would do this over and over and every time she did it, the eraser left a chalk imprint on the little girl’s beautiful, shiny, black hair.

I remember gripping the edge of my seat and biting the insides of my mouth because I was so scared of Miss Laney… and at the same time so angry at her for treating the little girl like that. It broke my heart to another child treated so badly. The poor little girl would bury her head in her arms upon her desk and cry. It made me want to cry too, but I would bite down on the insides of my mouth instead to try and “be brave.”

The whole class would become quite silent when Miss Laney would rage like this against the little girl. I often wondered if the other children were as frightened by Miss Laney as I was. I cannot tell you if she ever did this to another student. I only saw her do it to Rosalita and I saw it too many times. Each time it broke my heart. It breaks my heart still. Even now while I am writing this and remembering how scared the little girl was, and how abused she was, tears are filling my eyes.

Here was a precious little girl no more than seven years old, who had come to school to learn, but instead was being screamed at, hit in the head and called stupid in front of all her classmates because she didn’t know the answer to something. And the person screaming, abusing, and humiliating her was someone who was supposed to be teaching her, caring for her… protecting her.

I tried very hard to become friends with Rosalita, but she was so withdrawn and shy. Who could blame her? Some of the other girls in the class were so kind to her and I would see them rally around her when we had story time on the rug or when we played at recess. One girl in particular, I believe her name was Andy, she was so very sweet, well liked, and was so kind to all the children, especially Rosalita. It helped my heart to see others cared about what was happening to Rosalita—and they had experienced much longer than I did.

I also saw strange moments when Miss Laney had some sort of regret for how she had belittled and berated the child and she would take her a tissue and try to clean out the chalk from her hair and dry her eyes. Rosalita was too scared to do or say much. She obviously had no trust for Miss Laney. Neither did I. But Miss Laney’s regret didn’t last long and after a day or two she was right back at abusing the poor girl in front of us all. Miss Laney made me too scared to raise my hand in this class for fear of having the wrong answer.

I told my mother about what was happening to the little girl in my class and how much I did not like Miss Laney. I honestly don’t know if anything ever changed for the beautiful, sweet, brave, and strong little girl. She was so strong to endure all that she did and keep coming back to school every day. But I was only in that class for a few months. My mother found us a little two-bedroom apartment on Portland and 40th Street back in Phoenix. We moved into that apartment, and I was placed back in my second-grade class at Tavan with my sweet, loving Mrs. Nash and all my wonderful friends who welcomed me back with open, loving arms. I hope if they read this story someday, they will have a better understanding of just how much they meant to me and how thankful I am to have had them in my life.

I always wondered if things got any better for the poor little girl who, for whatever wicked reason, be it her race, her wrong answers, or her unfortunate seat in the class, was so terribly treated by Miss Laney. I still have nightmares about being in that classroom and seeing the little girl cry. Some may think that is silly, having nightmares about a little girl I hardly even knew. But what I saw deeply impacted my soul and because of my love for children and desire to protect them, those memories haunt me still. I wanted so much to hug the little girl after those horrible Miss Laney moments and to have the courage to tell Miss Laney to stop being so mean and be kind. I can still see the little girl’s tear-streaked face. I still see and hear Miss Laney bending down to get in her face and yell at her while hitting her on the head with the eraser. It hurts my heart even now.

I want to do as God has directed me and say if that little girl, who would now be fifty years old like me, is out there and somehow through a miracle of God reads this testimony, I want to tell her to please reach out to me. I would love to see you again and hug you. I want to tell you that I’m so sorry I didn’t do more to help you. You never deserved to be treated the way you were. You were then, and I am certain still are, a beautiful person, you are smart, gentle, and so important. Jesus loves you more than you could possibly imagine, and I hope that you have been able to forgive Miss Laney and heal from those days in her second-grade class.

These painful memories and stories are part of why I do what I do though our work with The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. to try and help children whenever and wherever possible. I know I can’t help them all, but I believe what our slogan says,
“When you love a child, you change the world.”

Moving back to Phoenix held so many wonderful blessings for my life. My mother and I now had our own little home. I had some friends in the apartment complex that I really liked to play with and there was a stray cat that like me, I called him “Bo” and I loved playing with him. I was back in my school with all my friends since kindergarten, and I was getting to spend time with my grandparents again. All these things helped me so much.

The one thing which wasn’t a blessing… I was going to be placed from time to time back in the home of my abuser who wasted no time in picking up where he had left off. Only now, I was a little bit older and a little bit smarter. I had learned how he would keep me behind in the field behind his house when we were playing outside, so I tried my best to make sure I was never left behind. I tried to keep myself in the presence of other people or kids anytime he was present. The abuse was only able to continue when his parents would trust him to leave me in his care with no one else in the house… and that I had no power to stop.

During, after, and in-between the moments of sexual abuse I would dive down deep into my imagination to cope with my feelings about it. When I got home, I would sing, play my records and storybook records, dance, draw pretend I was Princess Leia in a galaxy far, far away. I would write stories or plays, and I would always hug my teddy bear, Strapper. This is one of the reasons why I believe every child needs a teddy bear to hug. I hardly ever went anywhere without my teddy bear Strapper or a little stuffy tucked in my arm, whether a bear, an elephant or puppy, I always had a little stuffed critter to hold and soothe me.

I had learned how to pray at that time in my life, yet there was a struggle for me when it came to praying about the sexual abuse. I prayed about many things in my life, but this… well, this was very different. I was so ashamed of it and how it made me feel and I had been conditioned not to tell anyone about what was happening to me. So being a child who was still learning who Jesus is, I didn’t know if I should talk about those things with Him. In my mind I thought, if it makes me feel this ugly, this dirty, sick, and wrong, I should not share it with anyone, including Jesus. I always felt the heavy, dark shadow of shame hovering over me.

If only I knew then what I know now… that none of it was my fault.

There were good days in between the abusive ones that helped me greatly. My mother worked very hard to always provide me (and later, my brother) with as many good things for our lives that she could provide and I was so grateful for all that she did. In addition to that, she always gave us such wonderful birthday parties, Christmases, Easter Sundays, Halloweens, any holiday that we could plan something fun, she did. This is one of the reasons why I love celebrating holidays so much! They were connected to moments of joy and light. Though there were occasions when I had to be at family parties or gatherings for the holidays which involved the one who had abused me, there were no moments of abuse by him that took place during the holidays. I thank God for that.

After studying about the 5 Love Languages, I believe my mother’s first love language is in giving things. She’s very good at giving to others and enjoys it. She also loved to play games, watch funny movies and from time to time, because it was much more affordable back then, she, my aunt, and one of her childhood friends would all load up their cars and kids and we would head for Disneyland, or Knott’s Berry Farm, or Sea World or the beach. Disneyland became an incredible place for me to visit. Talk about getting lost in your imagination! It was like being in imagination heaven! I found it to be a place where I could totally disconnect myself from the real world and submerge myself in the happiness of imagination and play.

Nature also played a great part in my healing and happiness. The beach also became a very special place for me as a child. Being there and seeing just how incredibly big it was helped me remember how incredibly big my God who made it is and that helped me so much. Whenever we came home from a trip where a visit to the beach was included, I felt like I felt the peace of God washing over me through foamy waters of the ocean’s shore. But the first place in nature I experienced where I could feel this kind of peace was in the woods of the Ponderosa Pines. My grandparents had a place just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona where Mema would take me on long walks and picnics in the woods and pour into me teachings about the love and power of Jesus Christ. I really love to be in the woods where I can also be close to a creek or a stream. The sound of flowing water soothes me. I personally believe God heals me when I can get away from man made things and be in a place of God made things for a while… it makes me smile. (Yes, I’m writing a song about that!) For me, being in a place like a forest where everything which surrounds me was made by the hand of God, I just feel so much closer to Him there. I hear His voice whispering in the wind through the trees. I feel His love towering over me like the tall trees of the forest. I see the works of His mighty hands all around me in all the works of nature and the critters who live there. God created and takes care of them all, and I know He created me and will take care of me.

I was also so grateful to have had such a wonderful church to grow up in.

My maternal grandmother, my “Mema”, always tried her best to follow God’s Word and raise all her children in church, my mother followed that example well. I will always be thankful that my mother took me to church and if she couldn’t, she made sure someone else got me there.

The church we attended back then was the 44th Street Church of God. This was an organization based out of Cleveland, Tennessee. It was a Bible believing, spirit filled, Pentecostal church.
My grandmother began attending the church before my mother was born. She was born and raised in it and so was I.
44th Street was an amazing church planted by an incredible man whom we lovingly called Brother Diffie. Brother Hurschel Diffie truly was a pioneer and a visionary in the ministry, he was man before his time. His wife Hazel, who was always at work by his side, was just a precious as he was. Brother Diffie’s ministry was richly blessed because of his great heart for people and desire to obey God. He sincerely and deeply loved people. He and his wife, Hazel, both showed that love to all who attended the 44th Street church. Bro. Diffie had a gift of being able to see the goodness in a person, even when others couldn’t. I thank God that I was raised in this church and had the honor of being raised under Brother Diffie’s ministry. I have never found a shepherd like him since and even wrote a song, “To Be A Shepherd” to commemorate his ministry and honor his life. I wrote a separate story about Brother Diffie if you would like to learn more about this amazing man of God.

My children’s church minister was also a woman before her time, Laverne McCune. She and her family; husband Phil, a precious, gentle, and kind man, and their three beautiful, loving, patient and cheerful daughters Patti, Nancy, and Becky, all ran the children’s church department, dedicating themselves to educating the children of the 44th Street Church faithfully in the knowledge of the Bible, music, worship and in giving. It was Laverne who planted the love of musicals in my heart. She and her family produced incredible children’s Christmas musicals and we all looked forward to them every year. It is in Laverne’s children’s choir and musicals that I got my start and why I was a Musical Theater major and became a director for musicals and children’s choirs.

Another lady in the church who deeply inspired me was Dorothy Brooks. She was the music minister and choir director when I was young and was a blessing to me throughout my life. God created me with a great passion for music and I found so much comfort in being able to play and sing, especially when I was singing for Jesus. Dorothy allowed me to join the adult choir when I was eleven years old, no questions asked. Her daughter Sandy was one of the most petite and loveliest ladies in the choir and because I was shorter than Sandy, I stood next to her. Sandy took me under her wing, was so kind to me, and taught me many things about being a choir member. Later in life, Dorothy’s torch for directing the 44th Street Choir which then became the Parkway Community Church Choir would be passed to me. An honor in my life and work that I will always praise God for giving me.

It is because of Brother Diffie, Dorothy, Laverne, and her family, among other wonderful staff, and many loving congregation members, that inspired myself and so many others to love being at the
44th Street Church every time the doors were open–and we were! I am so thankful that I learned at a very young age to pray and talk to Jesus about my troubles. Brother Diffie, Laverne, and Dorothy had no idea all that I was experiencing and living with as child, but I am thankful that God placed me in that church and placed them in my life to help me through years which were full of so many difficult challenges. They were great sources of joy and the light of God for my life. I hope that with this story I give them proper, heartfelt thanks and to take what I learned from their ministry and apply it to mine to pass onto the children I will encounter in the years to come.

I have a special story about an encounter I had with Jesus at a church youth camp when I was seven years old, I wrote about it in my story titled:
If you would like to read that to have a better understanding of the beautiful work that God did in my young life during that week. I know that Jesus touched me at that youth camp. I believe he wanted to let me know He is real and to let me know He saw and knew every single thing that had been happening to me and that He was there to listen to me. Nothing too ugly or too wrong is too hard for Him to handle.

I have learned that in the Hebrew language, the number seven represents completion. The youth camp was in June of my seventh year, and I turned eight that August. In Hebrew, eight represents new beginnings. I have also learned that there is no word in the Hebrew language for “coincidence”. It was no coincidence that I felt God touch me in my seventh year. It was divine. I know it was Him and no one will ever change my mind about it. His touch was to strengthen me for the days ahead.

August 2022

I believe I was the age of eight when my mother married again and another door to another kind of darkness would be opened to my life. I knew this man was not good from the night we met him. It wasn’t something I could explain with words, but I felt it in my soul. The night my mother left for Las Vegas to marry him I chose to stay with my grandparents. I cried in my Mema’s arms all night… and she cried with me.

Although I did not like my stepfather and did not want my mother to marry him, a great blessing came to my life from that marriage right before I turned ten years old. That was the gift of my baby brother whom I cherished and adored. There was another blessing for me in the fact that I didn’t have to be left in the presence of the one who abused me anymore after my mother re-married. But I quickly learned, I had gone from one challenging abusive situation to another.

While my stepfather was not physically or sexually abusive to me, the mental and emotional abuse was a constant. There were too many moments when he was abusive to my baby brother and, at times, to my mother. I saw many of these moments and I remember them still. To this day I can still wake up crying with nightmares of things I saw happen to my brother as a baby. I have sought counseling to help me deal with those nightmares and the emotions I still feel which can be overwhelming and I know I still need more counseling. These moments are deeply pressed into my mind and soul. They haunt me.

My stepfather at times could be so calm, so cool, and then would go into a rage over something so quickly. He would literally come at us like a Silverback Gorilla all puffed up and ready to attack with the expression of a snarling monster upon his face. He literally would twist his face and curl his lips into the most hideous expressions to intimidate and frighten us. He was about five feet, ten inches in height and was one of the strongest men I had ever seen. An ex-marine, he hardly wore shirts at home and when he was mad it was like every muscle in his body was tensed up and ready to fight.

My stepfather usually did harmful things to my brother when my mother wasn’t around. He was very sly, calculated, and full of cowardice, after all, only a coward will abuse a child—especially a baby. Whenever I would tell what I saw him doing, he would calmly smooth it all over, manipulating anyone I told and turning it back onto me. I was always lying, exaggerating, or hadn’t seen or heard things right. When I told my mother things I saw, I heard him remind her that I never liked him and was always trying to cause division between the her and him. I was always the problem.

The first time I remember seeing my stepfather doing something inappropriate with my brother, my brother was an infant baby. He wasn’t more than two months old, perhaps younger, still very much a newborn baby. I’m not exactly sure where my mother was, I believe she had gone to the store. We were living in a two-bedroom duplex. I still remember the floor plan of that place perfectly. The baby’s change stand was in my mother and stepfather’s room on the east wall. I had been outside skating on the driveway and came into the kitchen to get a drink. While there, I kept hearing something strange about the baby’s cry from the other room. I could hear my brother crying and then suddenly I wouldn’t, then I would hear it stronger and louder, and then it would suddenly stop. I went toward the bedroom and while standing in the hall, I could see the changing table through the doorway and the baby lying upon it. His father was taking his hand and holding it over the baby’s mouth, then he would release it and say, “Stop it, stop crying, shut up,” as he did this. I watched, bewildered by what I was seeing but quickly realized this was why the baby’s cry was so strange. In the next moment my stepfather would blow extremely hard, as if he were blowing out candles on a birthday cake into the baby’s face. The baby’s body would convulse as he was gasping for air, his little arms and legs paddling the air as if he were drowning, and as soon as he had his air and started to cry again, his father went back to covering the baby’s little mouth with his hand. When I saw the poor baby desperately trying to get air, I shouted at my stepfather, “STOP IT! Stop doing that to him!” Then I ran in and tried to soothe my poor brother whose color by now was a deep shade of red. I remember tears filling my eyes as I nuzzled my face close to his. I remember the beautiful smell of his head and the velvety feel of his skin. I just kept stroking his little red face and head, and my hands were trembling.

It never entered my mind that anyone could do anything which could harm a precious, innocent baby. I was overwhelmed with so many feelings; sadness for my baby brother, fear from what I had just seen and anger and confusion toward my stepfather as to why he would do such a thing to such a precious baby.

My stepfather scolded me and said he wasn’t doing anything wrong, that he was just playing with the baby. But I knew it was wrong. I knew what I saw, the baby was dark red from crying so hard and struggling to breathe. I knew my stepfather was lying. I knew he was not playing. He was tired of hearing the baby cry, why else would he say, “Stop it, stop crying, shut up?”

When my mother came home, I told her what I saw, but when she asked her husband about it, he turned it back upon me. He said I was totally exaggerating the situation. He was just playing with the baby; everything was fine, and I was just trying to cause problems.

I still have nightmares about this moment. My eyes are filled with tears just writing this.

I remembered the very first time when I tried to tell my mother about things my stepfather did before my brother was born. My stepfather had picked me up from school one day and stopped to check the air in the tires. The air device wasn’t working, and he began cursing, using words I only heard from older kids in school. I told my mother about it, but he blamed me and convinced her that I was just telling her things because I didn’t like him.

It was then I began to realize that my word was not going to be worth as much as this man’s. As time went on, I would learn that I was not going to be listened to.

One of the moments I remember and still have nightmares about didn’t just affect my brother, my mother, and myself, we also had a dear friend, Nancy, who was staying with us at the time. It affected her too as she went through it with us.

My stepfather had gotten drunk and came home to the small two-bedroom duplex that we lived in. My brother was just an infant baby at the time, so I was probably ten years old or so. I remember it vividly. He came home and my mother wouldn’t let him inside the house. He was furious and told her to stand back because he had his gun and was just going to start shooting.

I remember Nancy huddling down in the hallway with my brother and myself trying to keep us away from any of the windows in the duplex while my mother called the police. I was so scared I couldn’t speak. I was trembling and trying to be quiet and hide with Nancy.  My stepfather was arrested that night. The police arrived and he was put on all fours in the street, hand-cuffed and taken away, drunk, angry, violent… yet, after a couple of days, he was right back with us in the duplex like nothing had ever happened. I had struggled to feel safe or at peace with this man before this night, but after this night, I never felt safe with this man.

I wasn’t supposed to talk about these kinds of incidents. I wasn’t supposed to ask questions or talk about how I felt about them, and I especially wasn’t supposed to tell anyone else. I was to press it down, hide it, keep it quiet, and move forward. I’m reminded of Queen Elsa from Frozen when she sings “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show.” I had to pretend like everything was fine… but everything was not fine. So, I turned to my coping mechanisms. I would say a prayer and then would dive into my music, stories, and imagination.

One night I remember being awakened to the sound of a commotion. It took me back to the night that I was taken from my home in the middle of the night and when I heard it, I was always very nervous. My brother was still a baby, and we shared a room. My bed was on the east wall of the room and his crib was on the south side. There were sounds of yelling mixed with other noises. I could hear physical action happening, the sounds of slapping and wrestling noises taking place. I was so scared. It woke my brother up and he was crying. I remember pulling him out of his crib and trying to rock him in my bed. Then I heard an incredibly loud thud like something crashing hard and my mother cried out. When I looked around the corner, I saw my stepfather standing close to her, his body in that gorilla-like attack position. I knew he had hurt her, and she was trying to pull herself up to the couch. I remember her saying something about him putting one of her “rib heads” out of place.

I was terrified. My fear took over and I was scared my stepfather might snap and do something to my brother because I had seen him do that before. Holding the baby in my arms, I ran out of the duplex to our neighbor next door whose name was Gary. He was a retired police officer. I told Gary that my stepfather had hurt my mother. Gary’s wife sat with me while he spoke with my mother. Gary and his wife were so kind. Then we went back home. I was put to bed and told to go to sleep because I had school the next day. Isn’t it interesting how adults think that children can just go to sleep and not have anything on their minds to keep them up, then go to school and keep their focus on their schoolwork and not what had happened in their home the night before?

One of the worst moments that haunts me still is after we had moved into a home located on a street called Roma. Our couch was on the north wall of the living room and the tv was on the south wall in front of the window. My mother had gone to the store, and I had been in the corner of the floor playing with my brother who was over a year old and toddling around. While I stayed on the floor playing and not paying attention to him as I should have, my brother toddled over to an end table and knocked over a large cup of sun tea my stepfather had made. It went everywhere. It was my stepfather’s fault for leaving it on the table within his reach, but he punished the baby. My stepfather jerked him up by his little arm and while the baby’s body was dangling in the air, he began to spank him, over… and over… and over. My stepfather was such a strong man, and he was spanking him with the force of how a person might beat a rug to pound the dirt out of it.

I can still see my baby brother’s body flailing in the air. I can still see the look of terror and pain on his precious little face. His skin turning red as he tried to cry but could hardly find the air to make a sound. I can still hear my stepfather hitting him and I can still hear the baby’s screams. Even now while writing this the tears are beginning to sting my eyes. I hate this memory. I hate that I have this burned into my mind and cannot escape it.

“Stop it! STOP IT!” I screamed. My stepfather looked at me with an expression of surprise, as if he had forgotten I was in the corner of the room playing on the floor. I think that is exactly what his expression reflected. He didn’t think anyone was there to see the wickedness he was doing to a precious, innocent, defenseless baby boy.

When my stepfather had these moments of rage, he absolutely, positively could not control himself. He put my brother on the floor and began cleaning up the spilled tea. I scooped my brother up in my arms and took him to my room. I shut the door and kissed his little head, rocking him in my little rocking chair I had there. I felt I had failed him. If I had been watching him better, he wouldn’t have spilled the glass of tea. I knew who my stepfather was. I knew what he was capable of, and I felt I should have protected my brother better than I did.

Those are just a very few of the moments that took place throughout the years. I don’t know if I can write anymore of them. These memories are so painful to think about, much less to write about. I don’t know if they will ever stop haunting me, coming to me in the night when I try to sleep. I honestly wonder if I will ever finish writing this testimony. And yet, I know that these kinds of things are happening to children right now, in this moment, somewhere in the world.
We must stop it.

These are the moments when I need the supernatural power of healing, love, and peace from my precious Savior, Jesus Christ.

No child deserves abuse. And this was especially true for my brother. He was such a precious baby and such a good little boy. I am not exaggerating anything when I say that as a child, I cannot remember him doing anything wrong. I don’t have any memories at all—not ever of my mother having to discipline him as a child or give him any consequences. If she did, I wasn’t there to know about it. My brother was a very nervous child. He worried so much, and it’s no wonder why. He was full of fear of not pleasing his abusive father. He was such a gentle, loving, kind, and obedient child who tried so hard to please everyone. He was a precious, good, kind boy.

The problem was that his father, my stepfather, had been abused as child and so he was repeating what he knew, he was passing on to his son all that he had learned as a little boy… and all he learned and knew about parenting children was wrong. It was wrong when it happened to him as a child, and it was wrong for him to pass the abuse on to his sweet little son.

My stepfather’s grandmother told us terrible stories about how he was not wanted or loved by his parents. One story I will never forget, she told us that his own mother, in a rage, had thrown a butcher’s knife at him when he was a very little boy, and he was so scared he went running out of the house. I believe she said he was only six years old when that happened to him. His grandmother, whom he called Grannie, did her best to show him as much love and care as she could, but the damage done to him by his mother was deep, how he was raised was what he knew about parenting, and he was repeating the cycle.

Hearing the stories from his grandmother did impact my heart very much and had he stopped his abusive behavior toward my brother it would have been much easier to feel compassion for him. But then I would see him do something else to his own precious son, and I just couldn’t feel sorry for him. I couldn’t feel sorry for man who was abusive to his own child and exploded in anger so inexcusably, so ridiculously. Even if my brother was not a sweet, good, boy, he still would not have deserved to be treated in such a way. But because he was so sweet and so good it made it all so much worse. It was my brother I felt sorry for.

I did tell some people about what I saw happening because I was not afraid of my stepfather hurting me like I had been afraid of the one who had sexually abused me. Some listened and believed me. Others did not. There were a couple of times during different summers, when my mother would pack us up and we would go and stay with her best friend and her family for a several days. I always had the hope that during one of these times my mother would finally make the decision to get us out of that situation for good, but we always went back.

I would see my poor brother trying so hard to please his father, living day to day with fear and anxiety inside of his little body because he didn’t know when he was going to set his father off. My brother had horrific stomach problems when he was a baby, as a boy and into his older years. It’s no wonder why. He internalized his feelings, suppressed what we weren’t to talk about, and tried to normalize what wasn’t at all normal. One thing I know is that feelings will come out one way or another at some point in time or another. You cannot suppress such things forever, internal pain like that takes its toll on one’s body and can manifest itself in other forms, especially through sickness.

This situation of abuse was so different for me. When I was enduring the sexual abuse that happened to me, I tried very hard to disconnect myself mentally from my body so I could get through it. I would close my eyes and imagine I was somewhere else. Afterward, I dove into my coping mechanisms to try and take it off my mind, to keep myself busy so that I didn’t think about it. But when I would see my stepfather in action, see the fear in my little brother’s face, see and hear him crying in pain and fear afterward, those wretched memories were burned into my mind and soul in ways I can never escape, not even with my powerful imagination.

I am fifty-one years old and although I still have these battles with these memories and nightmares, I believe there is a greater purpose for it all. God is not tormenting me with these memories, yet I believe many of them remain with me to drive me to do the work I do for children in need. I believe that through writing this story and finally stepping forward out of this shadow to lay this burden down completely at the feet of Jesus, He will then take it and turn it into something for good. This is just one of the many reasons why I love Jesus so much. This is why I place my hope in Him. I know when I pray, He listens to me and when I pray, I know He is always there to help me.

I can honestly say that I wished my stepfather would have tried to hurt me instead of my little brother. I believe it would have been easier for me to handle it if he had. I didn’t love him, but my brother did… at least he tried to, after all, that was the only father he had. He didn’t know any difference. I think it would have been easier for me to endure physical abuse to my body than to see it happen to an innocent, defenseless, child who was powerless to stop it.

As I grew older and saw or heard things that were happening to my brother, I didn’t hold back. I knew I wasn’t going to be listened to about the things I had tried to tell were happening, so I would intervene whenever I saw or heard something. I never did anything physical to my stepfather, but I would stand up for my brother and did so boldly… sometimes loudly as the years of this kind of lifestyle and behavior had built up a mountain of anger in my heart toward the man. Of course, doing this only got me into trouble. For years I had been told that I was the problem. I had always hated him and never wanted him to marry my mother. I was just jealous of him taking my mother away, and my jealousy and disobedience were constantly causing problems in the household. If only I would be respectful, be more obedient, and not constantly be so difficult, things would be better.

I have to say, there is some truth to that.
It is true, I never liked him. I knew he had a bad spirit from the start.
It is true that I didn’t want my mother to marry him, not out of possessiveness or jealousy, but because I knew he was not a good man. I did not want him for a stepfather, ever.
And it is true that I did not respect him. He didn’t give me any reason to.
The best thing he brought to us was his contribution to creating my little brother.
I also guess it was true that I was the problem because I hated how our household functioned.
I hated pretending all was well when it was not. I hated hiding everything and not being able to tell the truth about what was really happening.

I did try to look for the positives in the situation. While mental and emotional abuse and witnessing physical were part of my life, at least the sexual abuse had stopped as I wasn’t left within the clutches of that abuser anymore. Still, that wasn’t enough of a positive to help me. The pain of seeing my little brother abused was more than I could bear.

I found comfort for my soul knowing that God knew the truth. Nothing my stepfather could say or do would ever change that. God saw all. God heard all –nothing said or done can ever be hidden from Him. Nothing. Although I knew one day God would vindicate me that I wasn’t lying about what was happening, that didn’t stop the pain of seeing what was happening to my brother and being totally powerless to stop it. One night my soul cried out in desperation to God for help, and He answered.

For a period of time my stepfather worked for a company driving a truck and he was gone Monday through Friday. This job changed so much, it was a good paying job which blessed us financially very much, but more than that, for me it was the peace that was brought to the home that I cherished. That was worth more than anything he could earn monetarily. These days meant so much to me. I remember my mother was able to buy a family zoo membership and she would take us to the zoo as often as possible. Back then, we could feed the ducks and we would save up all our old bread just so we could go sit by one of the ponds at the zoo and feed the ducks—and the fish. This is just one of the sweet memories I have of that peaceful time. I loved those days at the zoo with my mother and brother. One Friday night, my stepfather came home from his work week and surprised my brother and I with a puppy. I couldn’t believe it! She was one of the cutest puppies I had ever seen, and we named her Jasmine.

Sadly, that peace didn’t last. I was too young to know all the details, but for whatever reason, he was let go from the job… and was back home every day. Also sadly, our little dog Jasmine suddenly and mysteriously died. I found her body in the backyard, hidden behind my wagon. We never knew what had killed her. She was just a little over a year old.

September 2022

As the years went on, there were moments where I felt my stepfather really and truly wanted to change. He would go to the altar at church and cry while praying very sincerely. There were nights when I saw him reading his Bible and we began having family Bible studies and prayer nights in our home from time to time. There were moments during holiday and birthday celebrations where things were much more peaceful and joyful, enjoyable. My mother loved to have different family members and friends over to play games, watch movies and have pizza. These moments were also wonderful, and I really cherished every moment like this that we had… but the devil never wants anyone happy or to have healing and goodness, especially families. Satan loves to tear families apart.

When I entered high school at Arcadia, I began dealing with many effects from my sexual abuse. I was growing and developing and was entering into stages of life that are challenging for everyone: my teenage years. I was damaged good in so many ways, so full of emotions that I didn’t know how to express and had learned through the years to suppress. Bottom line, I was a mess.

One day I had a shock.

I made a beautiful friend in my drama class who had a crush on a guy she knew from church. She was showing me photos of him and in one of the photos was the one who sexually abused me. When I asked her if she knew him, she said that they were friends and that he was trying to help her get together with the boy she liked.

I was sick.

At this point in time, my friend and I were fourteen years old and the one who abused me was eleven years older than us. I didn’t know what to do. I was a mess. All kinds of feelings began coming up and I knew I needed to talk to someone.

There was a lovely lady who was the drama and music teacher at my school. I loved her so much and felt so at ease with her. So, one day I mustered the courage to make an appointment with her to tell her about the one who had abused me and that he was coming into my friend’s life– which concerned me greatly.

I stared at the floor the entire time I spoke and couldn’t find my words. I spoke as if in code to explain some of what I had experienced, telling her about this person who had done things he never should have done to me. My teacher understood. The whole time I felt as if I was going to throw up on her office floor. It was hard to breathe and I’m not sure I moved a muscle. This was the first time I had opened this dark, hidden chamber, that had been buried so deep down inside my heart and I was terrified. My teacher was very kind and encouraged me to talk to my mother and tell her all I had experienced. But the years and years of fears and fears had built quite a wall around me from doing that. At this point, I felt so exposed and vulnerable. I felt sick, like I was going to throw up. I honestly can’t remember if I even told her about my friend being connected to the one who abused me, I just needed to get out of her office.

Although my teacher was nothing but kind and very encouraging to me, I had a hard time being in her class after that. I knew that when she looked at me, she knew something ugly and dark about me and I felt ashamed. My teacher is still connected to me on Facebook and is still very supportive of me, my family, and my ministry. I don’t know if I have ever properly thanked her for just taking the time to listen to me that day, but I think most of all, I was just thankful to have someone listen to me.

After that I did try to muster up as much courage as I could to warn my friend about the one who abused me. I didn’t have the courage to tell her why, just that I knew things about him that made me concerned for him being in her life. I don’t know what happened with there. My friend and I didn’t take anymore classes together after that first semester of our freshmen year and I didn’t see her much on campus. But my prayer was that God intervened and removed him from her life.

It was right around this time that someone wrote on my locker “you have a fat butt”.
I used to be a tiny little thing, not quite 5 foot 4 inches tall and I weighed just under 100 pounds. but this message made something click in my head. I was suddenly being haunted again with the memories of the sexual abuse, I had suppressed years of feelings from things my stepfather had done, and now someone said I was fat. I was emotionally and mentally a mess. I began diving back into my imagination, trying to find my old ways of coping with my feelings, but that wasn’t enough. When faced with a question about myself or my home life, my imagination began spilling over into my real life. If I was too embarrassed or didn’t want someone to know the truth of who I was, I wouldn’t answer honestly. I would just make up an answer of who or what I wanted to be; I would tell what I hoped would be instead of what was.

Then came another significant change to my life. We were forced to move out of the home we had been renting. The owner needed us to buy it or move out so he could live there. We moved out of the district from my high school, and I was literally taken out of my biology class sophomore year while we were doing the litmus paper tests and was forced to leave to school.

I had known most of my friends since kindergarten, had made wonderful new friends and had auditioned for the advanced chorale ensemble called “Guys and Dolls”. I had made it into the group. I was so excited to be part of it and was ready to learn all I could about musical theater and performance. Now, I was being forced to leave the campus at once because I no longer lived in the right district. The district where we had moved was locked in a court order to make all kids who lived within the borders of that district go to the school of that zone. I was totally embarrassed as my whole class watched me be taken out of the room. I had to clean out my locker and the Vice Principal had to call my mom to come and pick me up.  I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to anyone that day. I called several of my friends to let them know, but this was in the days before social media. It was hard to stay connected to them. It wasn’t until I started a Facebook page decades later that I was able to reconnect with many of my old friends. I am very thankful to Facebook for that!

It wasn’t just the move from the high school that turned me upside down, it was the move into the new house. We had no choice but to move into a small three-bedroom house that had one bathroom, a tiny kitchen, and was full of terribly dark spirits. We called it the “Holly House” because it was located on a street called Holly. I was given a beautiful, big bedroom which was lovely to look at, and I was so thankful for it, but I quickly learned that room had an evil spirit in it. It dwelled in the attic of my closet. Many people may read this and not believe that. I find that is mostly because they have not yet had an encounter with an evil spirit. But evil spirits are real and are plaguing our world, just turn on the news and you will see, they are everywhere. Jesus also called these demons “strongman spirits” in the Bible, and my family can testify with complete certainty that something evil lived inside that house.

When we moved into this house things weren’t good at home much anymore. Something disturbed my brother in his little room. He hardly ever slept a night in his own bed in that room. The good progress my stepfather had been making slowly came to an end in that house. His anger came back and although I don’t have many memories of him physically hurting my brother, I do have memories of him emotionally and mentally hurting him. He was back to having his temper flare out of control, the dark spirits in the house were drawing him to them.

I was placed at Camelback High School and for the remainder of my sophomore year that I was there, I was terribly bullied. I had previously attended Arcadia High School, which for the most part, schooled many wealthy students. Although I was definitely not one of the wealthy students, just because I came from Arcadia, the kids at Camelback thought I was. There had been a great rivalry between the two schools and so, because of that, in the beginning, I had a very hard time.

Then, as God being the awesome God that He is would have it, I was reunited with a past friend from my dance class. Her name was Jennifer. She has now since married and I am happy to say we are still connected through social media sites. I have told her before how much her friendship meant to me and I will say it again. Jennifer was the truest of friends and she always made me laugh. Having her at school made it so much easier, plus, when I came back as Junior, most of the kids had forgotten anything about me, so it was like I got a fresh start.

Then came a moment during my junior year that I will never understand, but it impacted me deeply. One day, while riding in the car alone with my stepfather, I had my left leg crossed like how gentlemen often will sit. I was wearing a pair of shorts so the skin on my legs was exposed. I was singing the song on the radio and looking out the window while he drove, when suddenly, I felt his hand resting upon the upper part of my inner left thigh.

I froze.

I could hardly breathe. I didn’t know what he was doing but it made me feel that old familiar sickness to my stomach. He had never done anything like this before. I sat there for a moment unsure of what to do and began to run different scenarios in my head. If I brought my leg down, would it make his hand slide away or would it close it in-between my legs? My heart was pounding in my chest. What was happening? I never wanted to hug him in the past, so he hardly ever touched me, so what was this all about and what should I do to stop it? I suddenly thought of my backpack in the back seat and was working out inside my mind how I could push his hand off and climb into the backseat. Then I thought that might be too hard for me to climb back there. So instead, I quickly put my leg down and reached toward my shoe as if to check it for something. That worked, I was able to brush his hand off my thigh and as soon as we arrived where we were going, I jumped out of the car.

After that moment, I made sure that if I was alone with him whether it be in the house or the car, I was not going to be close to him where he could touch me. He never did anything like that again, but I will never forget it. I will also never forget how gross it felt to have his hand on me like that. I remember having the same feelings of fear, panic and being paralyzed as I did with the one who abused me.

All these changes that were taking place, all the feelings that were bottled up inside of me from the sexual abuse, feelings from the things at home with my stepfather and the horribly bad-spirited house, and from being told I had a fat bottom, all manifested inside me in the form of an eating disorder. I am not sure I would call it anorexia and it wasn’t bulimia because I never made myself throw up. But there were days I just could not eat. My stomach was always tied up in knots and just the thought of trying to put something in it made me more nauseous. Somedays I could eat, but only things I craved, and not much of them. I battled this condition for well over a year and got down to a terribly unhealthy 85 pounds. My ribs could easily be counted, and the joints of my spine could too. I started to look like a skeleton with skin stretched over it.

In December of my junior year, I contracted an illness that hospitalized me and almost killed me. I had always decorated the front of my house for Christmas. This was something our whole family enjoyed, and I loved doing it. All our neighbors were very supportive of our decorating efforts and would always come by to tell me how much they enjoyed the displays. The night before I became so ill, I had organized for some of my cousins and friends to dress up and be a live Nativity scene on our roof. We had a large display of lights and Christmas scenes in the front yard, I had invited members of my school singing group to come and have an outdoor concert and we had the house listed in the Arizona Republic for people to come and visit. It was an amazing night! So many neighbors came and buses and trolly cars came by to enjoy it all. Our home was on Holly and 34th Street, perfect Christmas names for a Christmas display and we laughed saying it was a Miracle on 34th Street!

After it was all over, I went to bed and became terribly ill. I felt like my life was leaving me and had rolled over to grab my Bible. That was the last memory I had before waking up in the hospital to see my family and pastors in the room, they were praying for me. The doctors had told my mother to call my family and closest friends in as they did not know if I would respond to their treatment. This was my first brush with death. I was in the hospital for several days. My friend Jennifer came to see me a couple of times. Once she came alone and brought me a teddy bear, and once she came with friends from our singing group. They also brought me a teddy bear. I still have those two bears today and I will always keep them because they remind me of the love I had from those friends.

I remember vividly the night when I came home from the hospital, the whole neighborhood had placed luminaria bags all along the streets to welcome me home. My mother drove me all around to see how many families had come together to do this for me. It made me so happy I cried tears of joy. That was such a beautiful feeling to see the people of my neighborhood come together to show me how much they cared. I thank them all and will remember that for the rest of my days. It touched my heart so deeply.

God healed me from that illness, and it took another couple of years before I fully recovered.
Then a friend introduced me to a place called “Do Wah Diddy”. This was a darling nostalgia shop located on 36th Street and Thomas, just down from our favorite Mexican food restaurant “Don Jose’”. It was there that I saw Marilyn Monroe. She was on posters and cut-outs in the shop. I thought she was so beautiful, and she wasn’t bone thin either. She was a voluptuous woman and is still regarded as one of the most beautiful women of our time. I believe God used the kindness of two amazing people, Doug and Shay Patterson, who were the owners of the “Do Wah Diddy” shop and the outer beauty of Marilyn Monroe to help inspire me to want to eat more. Doug and Shay had no idea what all I was battling; they were just kind and loving to me. Always friendly, always uplifting and making me laugh. I loved to visit their nostalgia shop and it was then that I decided I was going to force myself to start eating more. I did and went up to 100 pounds, which for my height was just right. I was able to maintain that weight until I was thirty years old without any relapses of the eating disorder.

God is awesome and no one should ever underestimate how He does things and the people He can bring into your life at just the perfect time. I am very happy to say that my family and I are still very close friends with Doug and Shay Patterson to this day and their love, support, prayer, and Godly counsel means so very, very much to me and my family. They are a treasured blessing from the Lord, and I am so thankful for them and their love.

We lived in the “Holly House”, for five years before moving into a new home on 44th place. We weren’t there for very long though. We moved in during the month of July and on December 22nd, the house caught fire in the middle of the night and burned down. The fire started in the back of the house and burned to the front.  All except for my room and my piano. My mother bought me this piano when I was eleven years old. At the time of the fire, I was nineteen. I loved it so much and it wasn’t even in my room when the house burned down! It was in the living room, but God kept His hand upon it, and it is with me to this day. I am so thankful for my piano. It has helped me create many songs and been very therapeutic for me in tough times as music is such a powerful healing tool from God. I am still in awe when I see it as to how God protected it during the fire. When people see it and hear it, they are amazed. All there is a small little corner that got singed, I believe from falling ashes or debris. I have had the blessing and privilege of teaching hundreds of students with that piano which I call “Ivie” because it is an Ivers and Ponds piano.

Tragically, my mother, stepfather, and brother lost everything they ever owned. I lost clothes and shoes due to water and smoke damage, but I still had all my bedroom furniture and several things from my childhood that I tucked in a box under my bed, my childhood books, toys, records, and of course, Strapper, my panda bear which always brought me so much comfort and joy.  

That Christmas was incredibly very special. Although almost all the gifts my mother had bought us burned, so many people came together to give us a wonderful Christmas. We learned a very important lesson that night that I will never forget. Things can always be replaced, but people cannot. I was grateful that we were all alive and our pets too.

We would learn later that the reason listed for the house fire by the fire department was
arson and my stepfather was at one time a suspect for it. He was a heavy sleeper, my mother always talked about how hard it was sometimes to wake him up. Yet, the night of the fire, which took place around 2 a.m., he was up, and he was the one who woke my mother up to tell her the house was on fire.

My mother found a lovely home not far away that was just perfect. My brother had good friends down the street, whom we loved spending time with, and the best part was that it was just around the corner from my grandparents. There was plenty of room for all of us and this house had a beautiful feeling in it. It was here that things began getting better with my stepfather again.

There were some happier days in this house that had laughter and holiday celebrations with family and friends. My stepfather really seemed to be trying again to live his life for God, attending church regularly and trying to keep good standing at his job. As my brother got a little older, it seemed as if there was a glimmer of hope for his relationship with his father. My stepfather was also an excellent worker. He worked very hard, was faithful to his job, and always did well at the task he was given. I was also spending more time at church, college, work, or hanging out with friends which brought much joy to my life. I was always busy creating or doing or going somewhere and I no longer had to be in touch with the one who abused me, which helped me tremendously. (In Him we live and move and have our being)

Then I noticed my stepfather began bringing things home from his work. He was a custodian for a local elementary school and sometimes the things he brought home made sense, old chalkboards being thrown out or an old, cracked desk, things like that. But as time went on, I became suspicious of the things he was bringing home, one of the items being a small MaC computer. Many of the items did not seem to be used, damaged, or outdated. I always questioned him, which always caused problems, but it just didn’t make any sense to me as to why a school would be getting rid of some of these items that appeared new and fully functioning.

Then my stepfather suddenly became very helpful to my mother by preparing her coffee and breakfasts in the mornings before she went to work. At first, we thought this was really kind and that God was really doing a powerful work within his heart, but then it became strange. I noticed he was giving my brother and me serious instructions, no… they were more like warnings; warnings not to touch the food he had prepared the night before.

“This is for your mother,” he would say, “Don’t eat it.”

“Okay,” we would say.

“I mean it, don’t even stick your finger in to taste it,” he would say.

That immediately raised a red flag for me. Why was he suddenly so protective with the food he was preparing? What was so special about this food that no one else could even taste it?

It wasn’t long after this we began noticing that my mother began having some new health issues.

More red flags.

This went on for a couple of months and my mother’s health was not getting better. I had been praying about how to talk to my mother about the possibility of her husband putting things in her food to make her sick, I had even discussed it with a guy I was dating at the time. But then, one night, when my brother was 14 years old, his father called us into the living room. He was sitting in his rocking recliner in a dark living room, lit only by the light from the hallway behind us. He was rocking as he usually did, his hands calmly placed on the arms of the rocker, his legs crossed at the ankles. He stared at both of us for a moment and then began to tell us that he was leaving. He said he just needed to move out, that it wasn’t our fault, it didn’t have anything to do with us and he wanted to make sure we understood that. It was just something he had to do.

I have to say I was totally shocked.

The marriage he and my mother had was never a stable or healthy one. It was full of arguments, pain, and troubles. When my brother was little and his father was so abusive, I prayed that he would leave and never come back. Then things seemed to calm down a little… either that or I just got used to living in it. But there were days when ee had us all thinking he was trying to be a better husband and father and that we were on the road to having more peace and hope in our lives, at least that is what I had hoped for my brother and my mother. But now… he was leaving.  

While his father packed up his things from around the house, our mother helped him. It was all very strange. They were both completely calm and soft spoken– which was very unusual. There was no arguing, no yelling, nothing like that at all. They just calmly, matter of factly, moved from room to room to gather his things in black plastic trash bags.

I made my brother some dinner and took him into my room. We sat on the floor and tried to watch the movie “Quiz Show”, but I knew neither one of us was concentrating on the movie. We didn’t talk much. I asked him if he was okay and he just nodded, not taking his eyes off the screen. Although there had been so many, many abusive and painful things that happened through the years, I felt so much compassion for my brother and my mother that night. My heart did not grieve my stepfather’s leaving as I had cried out to God for His help with this man for so many years. Still, I knew my brother and mother both had feelings for him in their hearts that I didn’t, and they were both hurting deeply that night.

After he left, we discovered that he had cleaned out his and my mother’s bank accounts and moved in with a woman he worked with. Then God revealed the truth about all that had been going on during the days when we thought things might be getting better. The truth was, he was just planning his exit. The woman he moved in with, whose name was Joy, spoke with me one night. I learned that he had told her a string of lies about himself and us. For example, he told her that he was forced to marry my mother when he was sixteen years old because he got her pregnant with me. Which of course, wasn’t true, he was not my father. We also learned that he never served in the Vietnam War as he had told us and publicly told our church congregation. There were many more things we learned which proved to us he was not a man who lived and dealt with reality. He lived in a world of his own creation and it was a world built upon pure delusion and lies.

I once saw the woman, Joy, whom he moved in with from a distance. She was a very small, petite woman. We would learn later that she had him arrested for domestic violence. I’m very sorry it happened to her too. I imagine he saw her much as he did my brother when he was small, an easy, defenseless target. I did try to warn her about his abusive behaviors. Sadly, I have learned that people will choose to believe what they want to believe, no matter how much evidence is placed before them.

Learning these things helped me understand how he could so easily and effortlessly lie about his abusing my brother and instead always blamed me for making it up. He really believed he was not doing anything wrong because he believed the lies that he told were the truth. Which is why it was easy for him to be abusive and why it went on for so long. He convinced himself and believed he was doing nothing wrong.

The divorce, like most divorces, was terrible. My mother handled it with dignity and decency.
Then came the aftermath. I remember learning that one of my relatives, whom I loved very much, and I believed loved me, said they “felt sorry for my stepfather having to live with me and my mother.” Isn’t it amazing how much truth people can hide by pretending things are fine when they aren’t fine at all?

The week after he left, I went down to the courts to file to change my name. This man had adopted me, and I always hated having his last name as mine.

Even though he was supposed to pay child support, he didn’t pay a dime. He never came by to check on his son, nor did he even call to see what my brother needed. But God helped us with that too. I contacted the school that he was working in and asked them if they would like to see all that he had been bringing home as I did not believe all the items were being thrown out. I gathered everything together and the head custodian of the school, the principal of the school, and the superintendent of the district came over and went through everything personally. They brought their inventory lists and knew immediately that he had been stealing from them. He had in fact been lying to us all along about the things he said the school was “throwing out” or “wasn’t using any more”.

He then lost his job.

Some may say I was being vengeful in contacting his superiors. Yet, it was something that I felt strongly should be done. I had felt in my soul all along that he was lying about the things he was bringing home, but anytime I questioned it, as usual, I was the problem. Why did I have to accuse him of doing something wrong when he said he was doing something nice?

After he had taken all the money my mother also worked hard for and he wasn’t doing anything at all to support his son, I saw an open door for someone to listen to me about him possibly stealing from his job and he was, in fact, doing just that.

During the days afterward, my mother and brother began the process of starting life over. But God was with them, and we had faith that He would take care of all their needs and bring healing to their severely damaged hearts. Laughter began to fill the house more often, along with peace and rest.

A few years later my brother and I were traveling down a 51 freeway in Arizona. We were going to our church and stopped on an off-ramp on Bethany Home Rd. I looked to my left and saw that we had pulled up right next to my stepfather. I gasped, “That’s your father,” I whispered without thinking. My brother’s coping mechanism kicked in and his immediate reaction was to jump down onto the floorboard of my car to hide. The light turned green, but I waited to let the man drive away. The car behind me honked, but I wanted to make sure my brother was okay before I moved. That was the last time the two of us saw him in person.

We have learned there is quite the record out there now for this man because I was never lying about anything he did. He was an abusive man and his abuse wasn’t limited to just us, he took that abusive spirit with him everywhere he went and it came out and everyone around him. I have forgiven him, though I have to say, it took me quite a bit of time to do that. But God helped me. I do not hate the man, I hate what he did and I hate the memories I have. But I placed him in God’s hands and know that God loves him and I hope God’s will is accomplished in his life.

It wasn’t too long after all this took place that God gave me an amazing gift. I fell in love with Joshua Bryant Cox, whom I call, My Love. Ours is an amazing, crazy, beautiful story that I will write someday as it is so much fun to tell! But that is a story for another time and for now I will move forward.

My stepfather left when I was twenty-four and Josh and I got married when I was twenty-five. Marrying Josh was absolutely the best decision I ever made in my life. I call him, My Love, because he is the one and only love of my life. He is the man of my dreams and once I gave him my heart it was his forever. I love him more than words can say and am so thankful that God created him just for me!

During these days, I was able to have some seasons of complete happiness with Josh, my mother and brother. My mother worked very hard and blessed us with many trips together. Trips that we didn’t get to take together when we were younger. I am and will always be so thankful for all those special, precious, and priceless days. My mother worked hard to give us those trips together and they were priceless moments God knew we needed. I will always be so grateful for the many precious memories we had in those years.

Marrying Josh was the best decision of my life and I am so thankful for him, still, being a married lady also shook the corners of that dark place hidden deep in my heart. It wasn’t because of Josh; it was because of the one who sexually abused me. I realized, more than ever before, that sexually, I was still a total and complete mess.

I had not learned about sex from the Biblical point of view. I didn’t have the understanding that this was an incredibly beautiful and sacred gift from God to a husband and wife. I didn’t know how to function now as a 25-year-old wife of a good, God-fearing man because all the scars from the experiences I had, beginning at age four, were not anything Godly at all. They were the opposite. Josh was amazing, so compassionate, patient, and understanding. I felt I came to the marriage as damaged goods, but he never made me feel that way. And even though he came to our marriage completely pure, he always made me feel safe and beautiful. Together, we began learning more about what sex meant to God, how important it was to keep our marital bed pure and the spiritual, Biblical teachings about sex. This helped me, but deep down I knew I still needed more help.

Then something I was not prepared for happened.

On my 27th birthday, my Papa, the apple of my eye, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
I was devasted. The whole family was. It was the first death we had experienced in our family.
I had never felt pain like that before. It gutted me and changed me drastically.
The only father I ever had was suddenly gone. Never again on this earth would I hold his strong, often rough, creative hand in mine or kiss his slightly whiskered cheek that always smelled of Old Spice. I could not go and have breakfast of biscuits and cantaloupe with him, take him shopping at the mall, or watch old Disney movies, Gunsmoke or Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. I wouldn’t feel the comfort and safety of his presence, enjoy our talks, or hear his soft voice that always reminded me of Eyeore. All the beautiful qualities I loved so much in this precious and special man, found so endearing and brought me so much joy was taken that day and I never thought that I would be able to celebrate my birthday again. But then, my mother spoke a word to me that I know was given to her from the Lord, “You now share a birthday with Papa,” she said, “He was born into heaven the same day you were born on the earth.”

That helped me so much and they are words I have clung to ever since. I knew without a doubt that I would see my precious Papa again because he loved Jesus so much. Not too long before he passed away, I was taking him somewhere and we were talking about Jesus. He said to me while thoughtfully looking out the window, a small half grin upon his lips, “You know, I love that Ol’ Boy.” I will never forget that. I will never forget my Papa. When someone you love so deeply passes on from this world to the next, their spirit never really leaves you. Their memory and the goodness they brought to your life is with you always everywhere you go. We named my son Samuel after him and WOW! Did we get that name right for our boy as he has so many traits that are just like Papa!

I had had a dream a few years after Papa passed away that he came to visit me at his home. He was in the backyard, and he was wearing a red golf shirt and black pants. We embraced and I was happily crying and asking him a million questions, all the while a little boy wearing a red shirt and black shorts was running all over the yard. I never could see the boy’s face but when I asked Papa who he was, he told me, “That is your son. I am taking care of him in heaven until it is time for him to come to you.”

As a woman who would later go through extreme infertility treatments for five years, that dream gave me tremendous hope that someday I would have children. I write about that journey in a blog I posted called: “My Journey From Infertility to Motherhood:

I thank God every day for the two beautiful girls I have and for the son that He gave me. I call them the LC3 (LaFonCox 3). I am more thankful than words can express for all the God has given me.

After my grandfather’s passing, my mother and brother moved into my grandparents’ home so my mother could help take care of Mema who struggled every day of the rest of her life after losing her husband of sixty-two years. I have many wonderful stories I want to write about my Papa and my Mema. So far, I have only written one which can be found here:

God had also worked through an amazing miracle that was bringing my mother some financial help through child support. After my stepfather lost his job, we had no idea where he was working. BUT GOD brought help in a way that only He could do! My cousin was shopping at a local Costco when he saw my mother’s ex-husband who was also doing some shopping. My cousin noticed that he was wearing a work uniform, so he went up to him to say hello and while he did, my cousin was able to read the name of the company on the name tag. He passed on the information to my mother who gave it to her wonderful attorney, (who had done my mother’s entire divorce pro-bono!! Another blessing from God!!) and the attorney was able to get his wages garnished for child support!

Did you know that there is no word for coincidence in the Hebrew language? Therefore, there is no word for coincidence in the Bible. God is always at work and always has a plan and when we obey Him, follow His Word, and do our very best to live our lives for Him, He makes the impossible possible.

“With God ALL things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

It wasn’t long after my mother’s ex-husband’s wages were garnished that my mother was awakened one night by a noise that she thought sounded like gunfire. She was right. Someone had done a drive-by shooting of our precious little Mema’s house! My mother’s car was hit, my brother’s car was hit, my grandmother’s vehicle was hit, and my mother’s bedroom window. There may have been more but those were the only bullet holes the police found. There was a screen on the inside of my mother’s bedroom window, and it caught one of the bullets. I found it still in there before the police came and gave it to them. Again, there was no coincidence that the bullet shot at my mother’s bedroom window did not enter the room and hurt her. That was the protective hand of El Shaddai, Almighty God.

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thess. 3:3

One neighbor stated that they had seen a truck driving past the house the day of the shooting, but there was no concrete evidence found that could connect him to the shooting. For me, the memory of myself, Nancy and my baby brother hiding in the hallway as he stood drunk outside the duplex telling my mother to stand back because he had his gun and was going to start shooting in the windows was pounding in the front of my mind. I knew he was more than capable of doing such a thing, yet, without any evidence, nothing could be done.

As time passed and we all learned how to live without Papa with us, I began to pour myself into my ministry. I had been blessed to hold the position of music director for the church that I had been born and raised in and I had been serving in this position for a couple of years before Josh and I married. My Papa had gone with me day after day when I first got the job to help me get everything organized and ready. He did anything he could to help me. He would build sets and props for my Christmas and Easter musicals; he would hang costumes with me, help me organize the choir music library, placing numbers upon every choir book with his distinct handwriting so that they would be easily tracked. After Josh and I were married it was like Papa passed the torch to Josh of being there to help me with my ministry and creative work. There wasn’t a Sunday where Josh wasn’t by my side serving the Lord with his amazing voice and talents and although we don’t serve at that particular church anymore, we have not stopped serving the Lord together since.

The church choir I was directing had been in existence for over fifty years when I came to serve in that position, and I felt honored to have the privilege of being part of the choir’s legacy. I found my strength to cope with the loss of my grandfather in my service to the Lord. I loved my work in the church with the choir, musicians, tech crew, and children that I was blessed to work with so much. I looked forward to being with them all. It was like a big beautiful, musical family, and for me and it was so awesome to come together to create beautiful music and worship the Lord to usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit and lead others to worship Him, welcoming God into the services each week. But Satan did not like me doing that and he did not like that my service was bringing my spirit healing.

September 2022

One Sunday, something I never imagined happening… happened.

The one who sexually abused me suddenly began volunteering in my music department.
I couldn’t believe it. He and his parents had been part of another church for decades but had suddenly left and he was now part of my work and weekly life. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t handle anyone knowing the truth. So, I did what I had learned to do for years, I pretended as if everything was fine… when everything was not fine. Not. At. All.

I did my best to keep it together, to keep my focus on what I was supposed to do. I always showed him respect and kindness when we had to work together, and I tried to keep my composure at all times. But the truth was, inside, I felt that same old sickness, dirtiness, fear, and shame. Even though I was a grown, married woman, that old familiar, dark burden of heaviness that was pressed upon me at the age of four, plagued me every moment I was in his presence or even saw his face.

I would like to explain to anyone who may be reading and has not experienced any kind of sexual abuse, which I hope is the case, that when there is abuse, those moments never leave you. They go with you everywhere you go. The memories, the feelings, they can pop up in places and moments where you least expect them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times, this is one of the reasons why I need Jesus so much. Only He can help me handle it.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

So, now to be placed in the position where I was having to work with this person and try to handle those thoughts and feelings all the while trying to function in my position at my job, the strain of it emotionally and mentally finally became much more than I could handle. I’m just not that good of an actress. I knew the time had come for professional help, and I ran to it.

Josh and I had experienced counseling with an incredibly wonderful man named Dr. Vern McNally and it was Dr. Vern who the Lord used to bring me help.

Dr. Vern was a man at the church where I worked as music director and he was a Godly, kind, happy, intelligent, accomplished, and compassionate man. I thank God for bringing Vern into my life for several reasons. One, because of the help he brought me and Josh through his counseling, and two, because he was a wonderful man to know, and three, because his daughter PJ and her husband are some of our most beautiful, precious friends.

When we first started our counseling with Dr. Vern, it was extremely challenging for me to articulate all that had happened to me as a child sexually. I found myself repeating the same methods of speaking about it with Dr. Vern as I had when I told my drama teacher. I lowered my eyes to the floor. My voice became very soft and shaky. I couldn’t find my words and I spoke in innuendo more than indirect statements.

Both Dr. Vern and Josh were incredible. In the first session where we began dealing with this, I felt so safe, so cared for, and very listened to. But what meant so much to me was that when I spoke, they didn’t change the way they looked at me. On the outside, I felt that filthy dirtiness, disgusting, as if I were clothed in shame, and was in need of some sort of powerful shower that could wash me clean from the things unseen.

But they didn’t see me that way. That was just how I saw myself. That was how Satan wanted me to see myself.

We also discussed other matters that Josh and I were dealing with, not things between the two of us, but things we were dealing with outside of us. There were some who had strong spirits of envy and competition toward us and we needed to find the tools to be able to handle those situations. Another matter I sought help for personally was to handle my feelings of despair about a vicious rumor that someone began that I had an abortion. Just to take a moment and set the record straight, as God is my judge, I have never had an abortion. The only time I was ever pregnant in my life was with my three living children and the first time I was pregnant was with Aven and her twin Skylar, whom I lost due to sever complications with my ovary and having to have surgery.

Josh was actually the one who told me he had heard this rumor from a member of his family, many years before we were married. God only knows who started it or why, but when I learned about it, it shook my soul and sickened me for two equal reasons, one, because I would not do that and two because I had no idea how long that story had been told about me or who it was told to.

People don’t stop to think about the damage they do to a person’s life when they repeat rumors. This is why gossip is so displeasing to God. It damages people’s minds, hearts and spirits. The Bible talks about an envious spirit being an evil spirit and I understand why. People who speak such ugly things about others must be doing so because they don’t like them, but once they have engaged in speaking it to others it starts a flow of destruction that is hardly containable.

Josh and I teach our children to stay out of “drama” and rumors and gossip. It is no way to live and if we really want to be successful in representing Jesus Christ, we must be careful to remember that our words matter. Our actions matter and we must stop and think before we speak and act and ask ourselves, is what I am doing and saying pleasing to God?

After a few counseling sessions with Dr. Vern, it became a little bit easier to talk about it… bit by bit. I felt safe there.
Dr. Vern was intuitive to the process and through our discussions would guide me along so that I didn’t forget anything that I wanted to address, he helped me find the words for all that I wanted to say.

I also began to realize the impact this abuse had on me when it came to just dating. Josh and I had some conversations about a few of the guys that I had dated before I married him. There were a few guys that when the relationship became more serious, I ran, and I ran from them in a way that was hurtful. I felt terrible about it because I knew that these guys did not see the light of Jesus in my heart as I wanted them to see it.

Dr. Vern had suggested that I start a letter writing therapy from me to my abuser and I began this therapy immediately.
In addition to that, I also applied letter writing to these few guys whom I had hurt to tell them I was sorry I did so. Josh gave me his blessing to reach out to them and one by one they all wrote me back and told me that they forgave me. They all seemed pretty surprised that my treatment of them had stayed in my mind as they had all moved on and were very happy in their lives. But it was something that I needed to do. I wanted to make sure they knew that I was sorry I had been such a mess while dating them and that I was truly sorry for the pain I brought them.

The process of writing to the one who abused me was, of course, much harder as it was bringing up years of feelings. Each week I took a letter written to my abuser with me to my session with Dr. Vern, and along with Josh, we would read and discuss them. Then I would tear it up or burn it and start again the next day. Through this process, I released so much pain, anger, fear, confusion, and resentment, feelings I had suppressed deep down inside me and had locked up tight. Each week that I went to counseling with Dr. Vern it was like all the dark, closed and locked places in my heart that were full of pain and shame from my sexual abuse were beginning to open and all that pain and shame was flowing out through the tips of my fingers upon my computer as I wrote the letters to one who abused me.

Finally, I came to the day when I wrote a letter of forgiveness.

“This is an excellent letter,” Dr. Vern said quietly after reading it. “I would like to suggest that you it send to him.”

My eyes popped open wide, and my jaw dropped. “I thought this was just an exercise to help me,” I said.

“Yes, and you have done very well with it!” he smiled, “I think you should pray about sending this letter to him. Even if he never replies, you can at least tell him that you forgive him.”

Dr. Vern went on to explain how my giving forgiveness for this person would connect my heart directly to the healing power of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of Forgiveness. It was a divine moment of God. My Heavenly Father God, Adonai, was speaking through this man to begin a healing that wouldn’t be accomplished in a moment, it would be a process, but the healing could begin in a moment– if I had the strength to be obedient, put all my trust in God, and do it.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to thy own understanding, but in all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Proverb 3:5-6 (ESV)

After praying about it, I felt God leading my heart to send the letter via email.

I don’t remember how long it was before I received a response, but I will never, ever forget it. The one who abused me apologized to me, most sincerely. He also explained to me how he too had suffered abuse as a child and didn’t know how to handle it. His letter was honest, kind and I knew he had heard me. I did not feel that he was providing me with an excuse as to why he abused me, I honestly felt as if he was crying out for help. As I read his words over and over again, I felt the warmth of healing from the power of forgiveness begin to flow upon me like a warm oil pouring over me from my head to my toes.

I often think about an event that took place with Corrie Ten Boom. She had spoken about her personal experiences and that of her Christian family who were persecuted for assisting by the Nazi’s for assisting Jewish people in their community during World War II. Ms. Boom and her family were sent to concentration camps where she and her sister were beaten severely and treated horribly. She wrote that as she was speaking at a church one night to teach the power of forgiveness, a man who had been in the audience came up to her and apologized to her. She recognized him as one of the Nazi soldiers who beat her sister severely and would watch them in the showers. She told how sincere his apology was and that he extended his hand to her as a gesture of hope that she would in that moment forgive him for his heinous acts. Ms. Boom wrote how at first, she was shocked to see this man before her in a Christian church and that at first, she hesitated to shake hands with him, but she knew that she was called to teach others about the power of forgiveness, and she had just come off the stage from doing exactly that. So, she reached out her hand and took his in hers. She described what she felt as if a powerful shock of electricity flowed from her hand, up her arm, and into her being. The healing power of forgiveness had circulated in her body like a bolt of lightning.

I don’t know if I had been in front of this person when I gave him forgiveness if I too would have felt the electric shock Ms. Boom did, but I can tell you that I felt the power of it in the form of a warm oil being poured all over me. Like the healing Balm of Gilead which is Christ the Lord. It was a feeling I have never experienced before. It was powerful and although it did not completely heal me of the wounds this person had inflicted upon my young life, it began the healing process that was totally and completely the evidence of the supernatural healing power of Jesus Christ. There is nothing on earth that could ever make me feel what I felt that day. It could only be Jesus.

Although it was still very awkward for me to keep working with the one I had forgiven, I was able to handle things better and I felt much lighter in my spirit. Dr. Vern recommended I share what I had endured with my mother, which I did. I also told the one’s mother about the abuse so she would have a better understanding of why I struggled to be around him. Those were two of the most difficult conversations I have ever had.

I remember the day I told my mother. I was on the phone, and she was very quiet. She hardly spoke, but I could tell from the words she did say and the tone she used, proved she was listening to me. I told her that I did not blame her for what happened, and I explained about my counseling and all that I had done regarding sending the one I had forgiven a letter and how his letter and apology had begun the healing process in me. I knew I still had a lot of counseling that I needed and much more healing that had to take place, but I was thankful that healing had begun.

When I told the mother of the one who had abused me, now the one I had forgiven, she too was very quiet. I honestly don’t remember much of anything she said at all. It was not a long conversation. I put it to her as gently but as honestly as I possibly could, and I was sure that information was hard to hear. I wanted to be able to let her have the understanding why I couldn’t be around him personally and that I was doing my very best to work with him each week and keep things focused upon the ministry. It was all just very difficult, completely awkward, and very uncomfortable. Yet, inside my heart, there was a bit of relief that both my mother and his mother knew the truth. After decades of suppressing that information, to speak it out almost brought me a sigh of relief.

It wasn’t long after I had come forward about my abuse that I started having people in the church come to talk to me privately. Apparently, the parents of the one that I had forgiven were going to take action on it… but their actions were against me.

They began slandering me to people in the choir I directed. One person they spoke to right inside the church walls. Another person said they were told this slander during a choir party that I had planned for my choir family to come together, play, laugh, enjoy each other’s company and create stronger relationships. To learn that while I was trying to bring people together at this event, these lying tongues were right there in the midst, whispering their slandering about me, well, I’m not sure there are words to describe how that felt. And their slander didn’t stop there. They began spreading their lies to others outside the choir to other people in the church and they took their malicious stories to other people in other churches in other cities that they were connected to.

They were telling people that I had a pornography addiction. They also said I was having an adulterous affair with a man in the church where I worked. There may have been other things said, God only knows, but these things were bad enough.

Needless to say, my soul was sickened and overwhelmed by it all– but honestly, I cannot say that I was surprised. These people had never liked me my entire life. They were envious of the relationship I had with my grandparents and they did not like my mother. They had always made it very clear that I was beneath them and their children, I was a doormat. So, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to tell such lies to others about me. In fact, I believe they saw it as a necessary action for their family’s preservation. They had to make sure I was completely discredited so that if I came forward with my story of abuse from their son who was eleven years my elder, people would not believe me.

Their intentions were just like so many others out there in the world who try to destroy the story of a victim of sexual abuse, to place poison into the minds and hearts of people about me so that if I came forward and told my story publicly, I would have no credibility. I would just be a sick, twisted person who was a sexual deviant, had a grotesque addiction to pornography, and was an unfaithful adulteress. I would be the problem, not their son.

These sick accusations were not just attacking my marriage, my character, my morals, my Christianity, and my position in the church for ministry. They were also attacking the faithfulness, character, morals and Christianity of the man of whom they accused me of having an affair. Their accusations were full of wicked intentions all the way through. There was nothing good or godly about the the things they were saying, absolutely nothing. Their words and intentions of damage wreaked darkness.

Yet, even in the midst of such darkness that was closing in around me, the light of God shone brightly through. The people in the church who were my friends didn’t come to question me about why these things were being said about me, they knew me, loved me, were loyal to me and brave enough to tell me what was being said. They came because they did not believe such slander was true. I am so thankful for all those who had the courage to come and tell me what was being spoken and didn’t ask if it was true, they knew it wasn’t and they didn’t believe it. They took a stand against the rumors by not repeating it, only telling me and I believe God used them to bring it to my attention so that I could take a stand against it… and I did. I stood against my accusers’ lies and slander and I defended myself, my marriage, and my faithfulness to my husband, to whom I have always been happily faithful. I was faithful then, I am faithful now, and I will be faithful to him until I leave this earth.

In case they ever read this, I would like to take a moment to personally thank all those who stood by me during this dark and painful time of my life. Those who proved their faithfulness to me as true friends by their actions. They knew who I was, they did not receive the gossip, slander and lies, but instead stood against it and helped me to stop it. I am forever thankful to you all and pray that I can just be as faithful a friend to you as you were and have been to me. May God richly bless you for choosing His path in that situation.

While I was not shocked by the choices, words, and actions of my accusers, I was terribly shocked, disappointed, and actually disgusted by the person they accused me of having an affair with. When he found out what was being said, he not only made the choice to not take a stand against these people and their accusations, but he also chastened me for doing so.
This left me (and Josh) utterly flabbergasted.

“It’s a pitch in the dirt,” he said, “It will go away. You shouldn’t talk about it anymore.”

My reply to him was, “If someone comes to me and asks me about these accusations and why they are being made by people related to me, I am going to defend myself, my marriage, and my ministry fiercely and I don’t understand why you wouldn’t do the same.”

“Because they are just bullies,” he said, “and I am not going to give them the satisfaction of engaging in it.”

Josh and I couldn’t believe it. In our minds, that was the wrong response. In our minds, you stand up to the bullies, or else
they will just keep bullying you and others.

It wasn’t just my marriage being attacked by this slander; it was this man’s marriage too. But instead of standing up to the bullies, he chose to do nothing and wanted me to do nothing as well. I was reprimanded for standing up for my marriage and reputation.
I knew that I was not in the place of strength to be able to tell him why they were slandering me, and after hearing his response to it all, I didn’t think it would even matter. I lost my respect for him and wasn’t going to try and convince him of my position on the matter. I didn’t know how many people had heard this poison about me, but I knew my God, Adonai was bigger than all of them. Bigger than their slander. Bigger than all who heard it, and God would be the One to bring the light of truth to all the lies of darkness. I trusted God and knew He would help me.

“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” Psalm 54:4

This situation would teach me so much about the struggles that women and even some men who have been sexually abused have faced. When they come forward with their stories, they were met with great defenses. All those things are the traps Satan plants. Satan is the one who brings destructive, abusive behaviors to the innocent, and he is the one who then attacks the innocent to discredit them when they try to speak out.

The women who began the #Metoo movement are some of the pioneers which paved this path I am now walking. I have finally come to the place where I am no longer afraid of the family of the one who I forgave. I am not afraid of their slander or even any further attacks they may try after I have published this because I know that God sees all. God hears all. God knows every thought and sees deep down into every heart. I take comfort in knowing that nothing is ever hidden from God. He is truth. He knows truth, speaks truth, and brings truth into His light.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NIV)

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid’ do not be discouraged.” Deut. 8:31-32 (NIV)

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:31 (NIV)

There were other toxic issues that God wanted to deliver me from which were in that working situation and it wasn’t long before God, being the awesome, loving, compassionate, and merciful God that He is, He made it clear it was time for me to leave– and He did it in a beautiful way… he gave me an unexpected blessing, I got pregnant–naturally, with my second baby, MaCaedyn. I didn’t want to work away from my children. God knew I didn’t want to be away from my first baby, Aven, any longer. So when I got pregnant with MaCaedyn, those two little girls gave me all the strength I needed to quit. Though I still admit, it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make because I did love my music position and the people I ministered with so very dearly.

It was because of my great love for the legacy and respect for the dedicating years of ministry of Brother and Sister Diffie which was the foundation of that church, and because of my love for the people and the work I did there, God told me through a dream to go quietly. With two witnesses and my husband, I gently laid down my ministry work at that place and prepared for my new ministry work for children. At that time I had no idea all that God was going to give to me to do, but my ministry work for children began at home with my children and I couldn’t wait to begin it.

I wrote a another blog which is called “The End and The Beginning At the Same Time”. This story tells of the remarkable way that God gently transitioned me from one work of ministry to another. The very last thing I did as the music director of the church was to hold a Christams party for my department. At that end of that party I gave all the children of my music members a teddy bear. That last act of what I did there was the first act of what I would be doing for the rest of my life. Giving teddy bears to children, to hug and hold, to bring them comfort in scary, sad or hard times, to have a little furry friend, is one of the ways I have ministered to children ever since I left working at the church. I have given away thousands of teddy bears and cuddly critter stuffies to children and will do so until the day I leave this earth. If you owuld like to read that story you can find it at this link?

When God moved me out of that place and full time into my home with my babies, and we did have a lot of financial struggle as we lost my income and Josh was working as an apprentice home appraiser. My mother, and a few others, did so much to help Josh and I during difficult financial times and someday, including opening her home to us when we had tried to sell ours and it fell through during the recession of 2008. We lost that home, sold a truck and had to declare bankruptcy. We used up all our savings to keep things going and God always provided, miraculously sometimes for us for our babies. There are many miracles that I need to write about, I have written one on this site called “The Last Twenty Dollars” if you would like to read it.

I know God is going to bless me very soon in such a way that I will be able to not just thank my mother for her help by my words, but also show my thanks by paying her back every dime and then some so that she can live the rest of her days in peace and comfort. When God blesses us to do so, Josh and I will happily and gratefully pay every person who has ever helped us financially along the way, and if they are no longer on this earth, then we will pay it forward to their children, to show our sincere gratitude and deep appreciation for all they did for our family to keep us going during hard days.

I have never been one who wanted to be the borrower or the person in need. I don’t know many people who do want to be that person. I actually really hate it. I want to be a giver. I want to be the lender of Deut. 28. But I understand why God allowed us to be the family in need. It was to teach us and prepare us for the work that we are not doing through The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. having walked that road of being a person so desperate at times that I thought about making a sign and standing on the side of the road, taught me lessons and gave me understanding that I could have only learned by walking that road. Learning those lessons and having those experiences only made us better givers. We love giving so much because we understand that so many times it is not a hand out, but a hand up. A moment of support and encouragement, to show people that they are seen and have worth in this world.

I don’t define myself by what I have materialistically because God reminds me, although it is His great pleasure to bless us and provide all our needs, wealth and materialistic things are not what will matter at the end of my time on earth. When I leave this earth, none of it will go with me. I personally believe money is freedom. Freedom to pay for the things you need and freedom to bless others. I believe how much we have isn’t as important to God as how much we give. I have heard Pastor Tiz Huch often say, “We are blessed to be a blessing.” And I believe that completely. When God sees it fit to give me more financially, then I will be able to give more and until then I will enjoy giving what I’ve got!

While I have experienced financial struggles, I can say that never has there been a time when I when considered myself to be poor. There are those who may have seen me that way and treated me that way, but that is not who I am. Never has there a time that I didn’t have a home to live in. It might not have been my home, but still, I wasn’t on the street. Never has there been a time when I didn’t have a bed, or clothes and shoes, clean water and food, or medical care. God always provided these things for me and my family. When you do the work that we do for children in other nations where these basic things can be extremely challenging to obtain, you realize just how richly blessed you are! I have never been poor because my Awesome God made sure I had what I needed. This is just another reason of the many reasons why I serve Him.

From the day that God called my heart to ministry for Him, there has never been a day that I have stopped serving Him and I have no plans to ever stop for the rest of my days. My work may have changed along the way and look different than what I did before, but I have never stopped, and I never plan to. God gave Josh and me the most awesome ministry ever through our three precious, beautiful, and amazing children, Aven, MaCaedyn, and Samuel Braeden. Each one of their lives is also an amazing testimony of the power and goodness of God and I will write them all to tell the world how my awesome God has always been there with me and for my family. Josh and my children are second only to God, and I am more thankful than I can possibly write in words for all of them. They are the four most important people in my life and I want to please God every day by loving them, serving, and helping them, teaching, and protecting them, and celebrating their beautiful, special lives.

This brings me to another important point. faithfulness and loyalty. Because my family members are the most important people in my world, I always want to be there for them. Josh and I are on the same page about this. If someone were to ever abuse or hurt one of our children, we would have to forgive that person, but it would be hard to trust them again because of our faithfulness and loyalty to our children, and each other, we place our relationships with them in the highest of regard and position. There is no one who will turn us against our children, just like our Heavenly Father, God is with all of us.

God also gave us a ministry using all of the gifts that He blessed me with through my coping mechanisms. Remember how I said I would dive into my imagination, music, dance, and creating stories and plays? Now I do this for my life’s work! I write books for the children of the world through The Huggabears books, we give through The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc., we create a place of love, joy, and imagination at the Huggabear Farm, we sing, dance, and do plays and skits on the Huggabear Friends YouTube show, and I love to compose and sing my Huggabear music for children. I also have written a book series for teens and adults called The Intercessors and I have written a few other independent stories. I want to teach anyone who will listen about my amazing God and His Only Son, My Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ! I listed these sites at the beginning of this testimony, but want to list again where our ministry can be found:

God placed our feet on solid ground doing a work that I love dearly and will do for the rest of my life. God has blessed us with beautiful, loving, godly relationships and although I forgive all those of my past, I will not go back to what God delivered me from. Doing so would be disrespectful to God, after all, I cried out for His help and He answered and delivered me from that so I could keep healing, not keep hurting. I thank God every single day that He delivered me from all those who sought to hurt me, discredit me, and destroy my name, my character and reputation, my family, and my ministry. God rescued me from all those who wanted to treat me however they wanted to treat me, say what they wanted to say about me, and then keep me quietly in my place, under their feet as a silent doormat. I do not hate them. I have forgiven them all and pray for their protection and God’s perfect will to be accomplished in all their lives. I wish nothing bad upon anyone. I want goodness and mercy to follow me and my family all the days of my life so that is what I wish for others. I just choose not to have them on my life’s journey anymore because I need to remain healthy and strong to do what the work God has for me to do. I know that with only one exception, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, all sins are covered under the blood and powerful forgiveness of Jesus Christ and so I will look forward to the day when we can all be together in heaven, and it is around His throne we will gather and rejoice for all that God has done!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23 (KJV)

“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Matthew 12:31-21 (ESV)

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

October 2022

God wants me strong and healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally so that I can take care of the incredible family He has given me and to do the work for children in the world that He has chosen me to do. I can clearly see now how God is taking all the negative experiences of my childhood and is going to use them for positive and good works in this world.

“Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
John 13:7 (NIV)

My days of pretending are done, and I do not and will not teach my children this way of functioning either. Josh and I have an open door to our children so that if there is something that happens to them which brings them pain or confusion, they know we are there for them to talk to and to pray with, and they do. They do come to us, and I love that!

We make our mistakes all the time, but we practice admitting to our children when we have done something wrong to take ownership of our words and actions. We work to make things right with one another by sincerely addressing the matter, by apologizing directly for what we have done or said with contrition, not saying “I’m sorry you’re hurt” but by saying
“I’m sorry I hurt you”. Then we work on reconciling our relationship. These are the life patterns we are hoping to pass on to our children and they will pass on to theirs.

We are not in any way shape or form a perfect family. There is no such thing. We know we are not perfect, and we do not expect perfection from anyone else. We never will. We know we all have our flaws, our problems, and our weaknesses; we all are aware of them and don’t pretend they aren’t there. When something or someone hurts us or our children, we gather around each other, supporting one another and helping each other through it. No one is told they cannot cry if they need to. No one is told they cannot talk about situations if they need to, and no one is shown more partiality or favoritism than the other. All our children are equally important, precious, and irreplaceable to us and our relationships with them are more important than any other relationships we have outside of our relationship with God and each other. We don’t ever want to live life without our children in it, and they know that. We pray and ask God to bless us with that.

All these things are the result of Josh and I studying God’s Word for direction, praying, serving, and worshiping God together, seeking much professional counseling throughout the years, and practicing what we have learned. We are trying to learn for ourselves and to teach our children a healthier way of functioning and maintaining healthy relationships.

I can honestly say that if it hadn’t been for the presence of Jesus Christ in my life, I might have become an addict, an alcoholic, or gotten into something else very self-destructive. God created me with a sensitive taste for alcohol. I have tried a few drinks here in there and it just doesn’t appeal to me. I had “near beer” once and it was so horrible I have never tasted a real beer. I don’t think there is anything wrong with people enjoying a drink now and then. After all, Jesus Himself turned water into wine! The Bible teaches us in 40 different verses to avoid drunkenness because God does not want us to lose self-control. I can look back and clearly see how God’s power was strong with me all through my life, though I didn’t always recognize it at the moment, I see it now. I have never been drunk, I have never smoked anything, and I have never taken or been high on illegal drugs either. This is not a statement of boasting in myself, I am boasting of the power of Jesus Christ that protected me from even desiring to try those things which so many people who are hurting and searching for a way to deal with their pain turn to.

I have experienced prescription drugs and from those experiences, I have gained much more understanding of how people can become addicted to them. I have great compassion for them because I know they are trying to deal with terrible, deep pain. The problem is, there is no pill, drug, drink, or high that can heal that kind of physical, mental, and emotional pain. The only healing to be found for that kind of pain comes through Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that He was with me during all these years and proved to me that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I have learned people will leave and forsake you, even perhaps from those that you would never expect to, but Jesus never will.

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

To God be all the glory for His protection of me in that way and I want to encourage you, if you have such pain, please, try Jesus.

November 2022

Josh and I have set boundaries for ourselves and our children in a position of protection from those who do not think that abusive behaviors are serious matters. I don’t know how anyone could not take child abuse in any form seriously, but as I mentioned previously, I know there are those out there who will shrug their shoulders and just say “these things happen” or “it’s in the past, they need to move on”. I know there are people who know what happened with me and the one I forgave and his family, who either have turned a blind eye, act like it is not very serious, or that I am making it more serious than it is. Child sexual abuse is a big deal and speaking factually, the one I forgave could have easily served prison time for the abuse I endured. My hope is that there were no others that he got to.

All children, ALL children need to be cherished and protected and when abuse happens, it is not something to take lightly or brush off. Abusive situations, especially sexual abuse, leaves deep, painful wounds on a soul that cannot be seen with the human eye, but it doesn’t mean that they are not there and they are not serious.

My mother once apologized to me for all the sad things that happened in my childhood, and, of course, I forgave her. I have forgiveness in my heart for her, for everyone else I have written about in this testimony, and for others who have brought my life confusion and pain that I haven’t written about in this testimony. I choose not to reconcile some of those relationships because I don’t trust them to be a healthy relationship for my life and my family, but I still forgive them.

I think that oftentimes Christians believe that forgiveness means having a relationship, but I have learned through my counselors, who have all been God-fearing, Bible believing, Christian counselors that is not the case. Rebuilding a relationship comes through reconciliation which is different from forgiveness. For example, Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood in seven different places so that we might have forgiveness of our sins and therefore we could have our relationship reconciled to God.

There are some I am related to who would not call what I have experienced as abuse, that I am exaggerating things, not telling it like it was, or that it wasn’t that a big deal. Some might say that I “had it easy” compared to their life, and when compared to some abuses out there, perhaps I did. But again, as God is my judge, everything I have written happened just as I wrote it. In fact, I didn’t even write all of it. I only wrote a few dark moments. That is another reason why I cannot have a relationship with some of my relatives. When I stand up for myself or my children I am called “harsh”, “judgmental”, and “ungrateful”. Some relatives have called me a “spoiled rotten brat”, “unforgiving”, “slut”, “bitch”, and Josh, myself, Aven, MaCaedyn and Samuel were told by name that we could “go to hell”. Is it any wonder why I choose to stay away? None of those things spoke about me are the truth. I am not any of these things. Those who know me and love me, my family, my friends all know that, but most importantly, my Creator, my Heavenly Father, God knows it. I am who HE says I am.

My counselors have helped me to understand those are examples of manipulative speech used by a person when someone addresses or stands up to their unhealthy words or behaviors. It is false guilt and I do not have to accept it. I know that what I experienced was abuse… sexual… emotional… and mental. It messed me up, but Jesus is healing me and helping me become the person He meant for me to be to fulfill His plans for my life. Now, I want to try and help as many other children as I possibly can who have or are experiencing abuse–even if those children have now grown into adults, because they are still dealing with the wounds of their childhood. If I can help even one person, it will all be worth it.

There are some I know who believe that it doesn’t matter how they treat you or what they say or do to you, if they give you something, money, help, a gift, whatever it may be, that gift should make things right. That is not the way to build healthy relationships. Gifts and help are a beautiful way to express love but they should not take the place of doing the work needed in repairing relationships which are broken. Our family’s nonprofit work is in constant giving and we never think those we give to owe us anything. We don’t feel we can treat them poorly like they are just because we give to them. God wants us to be cheerful givers, but if there are emotional and mental wounds, giving a tangible gift isn’t the way to help heal those wounds.

In order for me to be able to maintain my personal emotional and mental health so I can function as God wants me to function, I do not connect myself with those who have abused, slandered or tried to destroy my name, character, family, and ministry. I also do not connect myself with those who are closely connected to those people. Again, there is no hate, there is nothing malicious in me, I do this for my own self-preservation so I can keep my focus on my family, my ministry for children, and my healthy relationships. I praise God that He knows all the people we need in our lives and I trust Him completely with all my relationships. I also praise Him that the healthy relationships I have in my life, outnumber the non-healthy ones! God is so good to me, He has always been so good to me. He blesses me in so many ways! He knows all that I need and He supplies everything for me, including the healthy relationships He wants me to have.

I know that God is going to take all of that which brought me mourning and turn it into dancing because even through writing this testimony, He is doing just that!

There is power in forgiveness! There is healing through the blood of Jesus Christ. The blood that Jesus shed for us is all-powerful! There is nothing you will ever find in this world that has the supernatural power of Jesus Christ! There is no book you will ever read that holds more supernatural power than the Bible! No song you will ever sing which supersedes what praise and worship of Jesus Christ can do for you! There is no friend you can talk to that can bring more supernatural power than praying to God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The LIFE! And I promise you that although you will still have troubles in this world when you live your life for Jesus, it is a life full of His glory and great abundance!

December 7, 2022

Today is December 7th and I am finally finished writing this story– and find there is no coincidence to that!
We are coming to the end of the 2022 year and with God, the number 7 represents completion! Today I have completed this testimony for Him!

As I wrote in the beginning. I did not write this story for revenge, and I am sure there will be those who will condemn me for writing it. I cannot control anyone else but myself. I know that I have written this out of obedience to my Lord and Savior as a testimony of His love, faithfulness, mercy, and healing power. I am much more concerned with not obeying God than I am of displeasing others. I know God knows my heart, mind, and spirit. I am confident that I have written nothing but the truth and that I have done so under His guidance and direction. It was the blessed, unchanging hand of Jesus Christ that held onto mine securely through every situation. He never let me go and He used every situation to teach me, mold and shape me and draw me closer to Him. I do believe He is going to use me to help children all over this world in more ways than I ever have before, and even if He just uses me to help one person, whether it be a child or an adult, then I will rejoice in His perfect will knowing it was worth it all!

I know that there also may be some who might ask if God is so mighty and protects us, then why would those kinds of abusive things happen, especially with people in a church who believe in Jesus? While I cannot answer that question completely, I have learned one important thing. As time has gone on and I have pressed closer into God and His Word, I understand the verse where Jesus says,

“In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!” John 16:33 (ESV)

This world is the creation of the hands of God, our Heavenly Father, still, God’s Word tells us that it is not our home. Heaven is our ultimate destination. This world is a place where we come to live and move and have our being and while we live—especially while we live for Christ, we will have encounters with our “enemy”, satan, the devil. But when we have Jesus living in our hearts, we have His promise that He is walking with us and will help us through all our trials. When we make the choice to let go of things that are not godly in our lives, and place our focus upon studying God’s Word, applying it to our lives and choosing to follow His path and walk in His ways, then unfathomable miracles and incredible blessings will be given to us from our Heavenly Father God.

I always want to keep learning for the rest of my days, but here is what I have learned so far about a few things that God has taught me.

I have learned that those you consider your family are not limited to those who are related to you, and those who are related to you are not always going to be considered your family.

I have learned to trust God with every relationship and acquaintance I have.

I have learned that some will be part of my life for a moment, some for a season and some for the rest of my days. I trust when God says our time with each other begins and if God brings us together for only a set period of time according to His timing and perfect will, then I trust God when the time for us to part occurs.

I have learned that in all things, in everything I do with the days I am blessed with, I want to be obedient to God’s plan for my life and understanding that part of that obedience is to accept He knows better than I in all situations. I need to keep my faith strong and to keep my trust in Him.

I have learned that when you pray and ask God to help you with an abusive person(s), place or thing, and God delivers you from that person, place or thing, you don’t go back to it. That isn’t just disrespectful to God, that’s defiance in His face. When God delivered His chosen people, the Israelites from the abuse and bondage they had in Egypt, they didn’t go back to it.
I wonder if the reason why people choose to to back to abusive situations is because they get used to them and don’t know what lse to do. They may hate the situation while they are in it, but then when they are delivered and set free from it, if they have been so used to it, they don’t know how to function without dysfunction… and they return. Not me! God has delivered me from many abusive situations and I praise Him and thank Him everyday that He did! And because He has set me free from those situations, I can now use that freedom to give Him control of my life and do the work He wants me to do!

I have learned the difference between faith and trust. Faith is believing “With God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19;26 and trust is learning to wait patiently, and be still knowing that He is God. He is sovereign and when I wait quietly for Him to do things in His perfect timing and according to His perfect will, that is how I trust Him. Though the days, months or years may go by, I must trust Him.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

I have learned who my dear loved ones are and who are those I can call my friend. These are the ones who will receive all the love that I have to give to them. They are the ones who accept me as I am, not be envious, jealous, or competitive with me or my family, not hurt or discard me or my family like we meant nothing to them, but are faithful and are proud to have us in their lives.

I have learned that God can use all the relationships you encounter during your days the bad and the good. The relationships which are beautiful and the ones that are not, still hold value because God can use all those experiences, especially the challenging ones to test your faith, strengthen your character, and draw you closer to Him, and that is always a good thing!

I have learned that a life that follows after, chases after Jesus, is the best life lived. And I have learned that when you take the time to slow down, enjoy the good that is around you, appreciate all that God has done for you, and recognize that the simple things of life hold some of the greatest blessings, you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything. You won’t be looking at what others have to compare it to what you have. You will see how rich you are and you will be content. You will understand that having the hand of God and His peace that passes all understanding along with the joy of Jesus to surround you are things which are not negotiable or things you will compromise.

Something else which is very important that I have learned through teaching science to my children for school is that it is okay to cry when we are sad! God made us with two kinds of tears. One kind is to cleanse our eyes from irritants. but the other kind of tears are very special. These are the tears that we cry when we are sad and they release toxins from our system to help us feel better! God knows all that we need and even designed us to release our pain through tears! Crying is not a weakness! Just like water washes us clean, the water of our tears can help cleanse us of our pain! People who release their pain through tears are not “cry babies” or “weak”, they are the healthier ones who are not suppressing their feelings of pain, but releasing them. People who suppress their feelings will see the results of that suppressed pain manifest itself somewhere, someday. Whether it be in their work, their relationships, or their health. We created a special Huggabear Friends show to teach children some tools for handling their sadness. If you would like to watch it, here is the link to the show:

We would also love to have you subscribe to our channel and become one of our Huggabear Friends!

My story is just a drop in the bucket when compared to some of the horror stories that are out there of what some children are dealing with today. As time goes on, the world grows darker and darker, so then we must shine the light of Jesus brighter and brighter! I am not a victim; I am a VICTOR through the power of the blood and love of Jesus Christ! I want to encourage you that you do not know Jesus and would like to learn more about Him and His amazing love for you, please reach out to me. I can tell you with complete certainty that when people fail you, Jesus never will. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus will always be with you and when you call out to Him, He will answer you. He will sustain you with His almighty right hand!

As I come to the end of this testimony I am reminded of the words of the old song “Through It All”
by Andre’ Crouch:

I’ve had many tears and sorrows, I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
there’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong.
But in every situation, God gave me blessed consolation, that my trials come to only make me strong.

Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

I’ve been to lots of places, I’ve seen a lot of faces, there’s been times I felt so all alone.
But in my lonely hours, yes, those precious lonely hours, Jesus lets me know that I was His own

Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word

So I thank God for the mountains, and I thank Him for the valley’s, I thank Him for the storms He’s brought me through

for if I’d never had a problem I wouldn’t know that He could solve them, wouldn’t know what faith in God could do!

Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word

Here is a short lyric quote that I wanted to share, from the motion picture musical, The Greatest Showman, words and music written by Pasek and Paul:

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down, I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out, I am brave, I am bruised,
I am who I’m meant to be… this is me.

I am also reminded of the words to the beloved hymn written by Thomas Chisholm based upon the verse:
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changes not, Thy compassion’s, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter, springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

And I would also like to share with you the words to a song the Lord gave me. It is called
“There is No One Who Loves Me Like Jesus” and you can find a performance of it here:

There is no one who loves me like Jesus, there is no one who loves me as much as Him.
There is no one who loves me like Jesus, for it was Jesus who died on Calvary for me.
There is no one who loves me like Jesus, He gave His life so that my life could start again!
No there is no one who loves me like Jesus, He took my place for to erase all my sin.

There is no one who loves me quite like Jesus, no one like Him that I can tell my troubles to.
There is no one who loves me like Jesus for I know Jesus cares about all that I say and do.
There is no one who loves me like Jesus, He’s always there to hear my prayer and I can see!
That there is no one who loves me like my Jesus.
He took my place and by His grace, He set me free.
He took your place and by His grace, He set us free.

I hope that you learned from reading this testimony that there is supernatural power in prayer to God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Prayer is a direct way to talk to the God who loves you, created you, has your name written on the palm of your hand, and even has every hair on your head numbered.

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16 (NIV)

“Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, five for two assarions? And not one of them has been forgotten by God, Why, every hair on your head has been counted! don’t be afraid, you are wroth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 (JCB)

I hope you learned that there is supernatural power in studying, memorizing, speaking and singing God’s Holy Word. There is also supernatural power in praising and worshiping God.

I hope you know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins that we might receive forgiveness and
when we forgive others not only are we forgiven our sins, but through our forgiveness comes the healing we need for our hearts, minds, and souls to move forward past the things that hurt us.

I hope you learned you will never move forward with your healing unless you embrace forgiveness, acknowledge your pain and troubles and (my hope is) put your hope in God and give it all to Jesus. Let Him help you so you don’t stay stuck in the pain of the past but can move forward with the plans that He has for your life!

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I hope that you learned there is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation and while we must forgive others so we can be forgiven and so our healing can begin, it is okay if we choose not to reconcile relationships that are not good for us. We must not let hate or allow bitterness to harden our hearts. While you do not have to continue your journey with those who are not good to you or good for you, you must pray for those who persecute you.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 (JCB)

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)

But most of all, I hope that you learn that Jesus loves you more than you could possibly imagine! I say that a lot because I know that it is true! Jesus wants you to ask Him into your heart so He can live and dwell within you and you in Him. He is there, ready and waiting to help you, all you have to do is reach out. Call His Holy Name. Come as you are. He is waiting and He is always faithful. All my life thus far He has been faithful to me, He has transformed me, and I know He will be for the rest of my days. A life lived for Jesus is the best life you can possibly live!

In closing, know that I still need more counseling and healing to take place in my life, but I am determined to keep moving forward and use my pain for my platform to help children and not let my pain keep me anchored to my past. I decree and declare that I will start sleeping better and not have so many nightmares about past experiences, but trust the Lord with my sleep.
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Proverbs 3:24 (ESV)

I decree and declare that this heavy burden of darkness is now officially laid down at the feet of light and love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and by doing so publicly, I am able to use is as a testimony of His power, grace, and help my life.
I decree and declare that this curse is now broken off of me and is reversed so that I will live and receive the fullness of the blessings of God! I will no longer live in the shadow of darkness but will abide and live my life in the shadow of my Protector, Adonai, my Father God!

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

My God, Adonai is here for you. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word has not changed, His power has not changed and I can tell you that His love can heal your heart and life in ways that you never thought possible. If you do not know Him, please consider opening your heart to Him. Jesus is standing, patiently waiting at the door of your heart, knocking gently, hoping that you will reach out to Him, let Him inside your heart so He can being His wondrous work in your life. There is no one who loves you like Jesus and I know this to be true. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (ESV)

I want to thank you sincerely, from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this testimony and if you know of someone who may need to read it, please share it with them. If you are in need of prayer or encouragement, this is our organization’s email address:

Jesus has broken the curse over my life and is now reversing the curse. What Satan meant for evil in my life, Jesus is going to use for good! I know that Jesus can do the same thing for you if you invite Him into your heart and allow Him to be the Lord of your life.

My prayer for you is that if you don’t know Jesus, you will want to and that God will richly bless you, lead and keep you. May you find the peace, love, salvation, and healing power that comes through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life! And please remember, it is so very true that “When you love a child, you change the world!”


Josh’s Career Path – A True Walk of Faith

Today is August 10, 2020 and our family is celebrating!

Why, you may ask? In order for you to have a complete understanding of why, I must go back to March 2019.

I picked up the mail one day and in it was a notification from the company Josh worked for, DiTech Financial. They had filed for bankruptcy.

When Josh came home I gave it to him and he told me they had explained to everyone what was going on, but he wasn’t the least bit worried about it.

A few months later, we learned that the company had been sold but Josh’s department was told that they were going to keep them all on staff and not make any changes. He even had a meet and greet with the new owners and new bosses.

On September 15, 2019, the phone rang during the middle of the day and it was Josh.
I don’t pick up the phone during the middle of the day because Monday through Friday I am teaching my children in school, so for Josh to call me at that time it had to be important. It was.

Josh had been informed that the new company had decided not to keep his department and that their last day would be October 1, 2019.

Again, Josh was not worried. Not – in – the – least. He was calm, cool and totally confident that God had a plan for him and was keeping us all firmly tucked inside His mighty, mighty hands.

Now, you may be wondering how could a man with the responsibilities of a family with three children who are loaded with dreams and hopes for the future, be completely calm, cool and full of unshakable faith when he was told that he was going to be without a job in a few weeks?

In a word. Experience.

Josh, and the rest of our crew, are veterans when it comes to him being laid off from jobs. In fact, I keep telling him he could teach classes to others on how to handle being laid off.

In 2007 when the housing market crashed, Josh was a home appraiser apprentice. You see where this is going, right? In order to complete his apprenticeship he had to accomplish 2000 hours of work. He started off well after completely his schooling, and had been blessed with a wonderful boss whose company was based in Anthem, AZ.
Josh loved the work and did anywhere from 7 to 10 houses per week. He was also richly blessed that he was paid for every house he appraised which is not always the case for apprentices. When the housing market collapsed, he was thrilled if he got to appraise 3 houses per month.

Josh had other work that he did while still trying to accomplish his 2000 hours or apprentice work, and of course, it took him close to double the time to finish his task because of the status of the housing market… but he did it! I was so proud of his hard work and perseverance.

We didn’t see it at the time, but God had a plan.

In 2007 after the market crashed, Josh went to work for Countrywide and it wasn’t too long until they had a massive nationwide layoff of over 3500 employees. Since Josh was new to the company and landed in that 3500.

The next company Josh worked for was called Marix… I honestly have no idea what it was he did there, but he was happy and he learned a lot about mortgage investments and client service management. After about three years, Marix was sold off in pieces, but Josh was offered a job at Chase Bank as the Senior Operations Manager which was a tremendous blessing from God. He was very happy at Chase, he made some beautiful, life long friends and learned much more about his industry… which I couldn’t explain to you at all. But, after about three years of working there, Chase had a layoff and Josh’s position was one of those jobs cut.

Back in the saddle again! Giddy-up! 

The layoff from Chase was much harder. The kids were all involved in sports and activities and they were just beginning to take off. Aven had been on the Sunrays Bronze Excel gymnastic team and had skipped over the silver level and was now on the gold team. Samuel and MaCaedyn were working hard on becoming first degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do and all of it cost lots of pretty pennies– pennies which we didn’t have anymore.

But God had a plan. God always has a plan.

I cannot name names, but I can say that God sent us a very special angel who blessed us so richly during that time that we did not have to take the kids out of any of their programs. Everything was paid for in full for the children. It was a miracle from the Lord and we were more than thankful for it.

Josh was laid off that time for over a year. Every single day, except Sundays, he was searching for a job and applied for over 300 of them. He took any and every side job he was offered and did everything he could to keep us afloat. I also taught private voice and piano lessons from home.

The stories for the job hunt for Josh were always the same, “You’re over qualified.” or “This position is for internal hiring or internal transfer.” And so on.

Finally, God brought him the job with DiTech and we were ecstatic because this layoff had lasted over a year. As always, Josh loved his job, the people he worked with, and he really excelled there.

By the time he got to that job, he was a changed man. I was a changed woman. We were a changed family.

We had learned to be thankful for every single blessing that came our way.
We learned to appreciate the small and simple things of life.
We had a home. We had food. We had clothes. We had vehicles, yes they were old and needed a lot of constant care, but we had them. During that time we were also blessed with a gift of our little “Hope Van”, but that is such a beautiful story, it deserves it’s own blog so I will save that for later.

Our children didn’t have to give up their dreams and their goals and we didn’t have to give up the way we wanted to raise and home-school them.
Yes, we had struggles and challenges, but we were never poor. Through it all, God was there, teaching us, guiding us showing us we could trust Him for everything. God was good. God is good. God will always be good. All the time. He never, ever fails.

Now, you may be wondering why on earth our family has gone through so many layoffs.
People who have beliefs in other faiths that teach about karma and the like might think that Josh wasn’t a good man, perhaps he was getting pay back, what he “gave around, came around” or something like that. But that is not what we believe.

I can honestly say that my husband, Josh Cox, is a very good man. And I know exactly why we went through all of these layoffs.

They were periods of preparation, training and testing, though we did not realize it at the start, we certainly know it for sure now.

For those of you who don’t know us, our family has a nonprofit organization for children in need called The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. We started that organization right after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005 and in 2008, during the midst of a challenging recession, we filed our application for our 501c3 status. On June 5, 2009 we received our declaration letter from the IRS that The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. was an official 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit organization in the United States. That was a great day!

One of the many things that we learned through all these layoffs was how to be better givers because we know what it is like to be in need of help.

We learned how to truly walk by faith. The definition of faith can be found in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Let’s repeat that last part, “certain of what we do not see.”
To walk by faith, truly walk by faith is not something easily done. It takes practice. You can’t just talk about it, or just sing about it, or just post scriptures with beautiful backgrounds about it. You have to do it. You have to walk it. We learned how to do it.
We learned how to walk by faith and faith alone. It is not easy, I can tell you that, but boy is it life changing for the better!

If you haven’t walked the road of being laid off for a length of time personally, there is no way to truly understand all that it involves. It really is an experience you must have with a family to be able to fully understand. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have or have had other challenges which could require walks of faith. Not a partial walk, not an occasion walk, but a full throttle walk of faith. Not being able to see at all what was ahead. At times, not hearing any word. Not knowing what was happening or going to happen. Just free falling through space and time believing and trusting that the Almighty hand of God would be there to catch you.

Trust. That is what we really learned through all of the layoff days. While our faith was increased we had to learn the difference between faith and trust. In my opinion, faith was easier to learn. I have always believed with my whole heart that God’s Word is truth and I have developed a strong personal relationship with my precious Jesus through the years. I know He is alive, real and sovereign. I know ‘With God all things are possible.’ (Matthew 19:26). I know that nothing is too difficult in all the universe for the God who created the universe. I know He holds my life in His hand and that of my family and most importantly, I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins because He and my Heavenly Father God, love me more than I could possibly imagine.

But trust… trust can be much harder to learn. You see, trust is different from faith because while faith is in the believing, trust is in the waiting. With trust, you have to learn to let things go that you cannot fix. But isn’t that the hard part? Letting God have total control so He can orchestrate what He wants accomplished? We all have had the experiences where we want to keep things in our own hands so that we can fix it. We can set things right… right? But God has a plan and He always knows best.

I often teach my children when they would bring me a toy to fix but sometimes while watching me work on it they would become impatient and take it back so they could work on it themselves. When they were small, this happened from time to time and so I was able to use it as an analogy for how we are with God with our problems. If we give something to God and completely take our hands off of it, then we are completely trusting that He is working on it. But… if we keep taking the problem back and try to fix it ourselves then we take it out of His Mighty hands and He cannot do what needs to be done. We frustrate His plan with our will instead of waiting for His will.

This is one element of trust. Giving the problem to God totally and completely.
The second element of trust is in the waiting.

In the world we live in everything is fast. Fast lanes on the freeways, fast internet, fast food, fast service, fast delivery. We have become a very impatient society because we want what we want and we want it now. But that’s not how it works with God. To completely trust in God with a situation, you must give it to Him through prayer, claiming the promises in His Word that He will handle it and then… you must be still and wait. Psalm 46:10 ‘Be still and know that I am God.’

This is where my personal struggle was. I needed to learn how to trust God completely. I had strong faith. I knew that all He had to do was speak a job into existence for Josh and it would be his. My trouble was waiting on God’s perfect plan to be accomplished in God’s perfect timing.

We went through some hard days during Josh’s layoffs. We lost a beautiful home. We had to sell a truck, we spent all our savings and we had to declare bankruptcy. Financially, we lost all we had. We know what it is like to live on welfare, to have food stamps and government health insurance. For us it was a completely and totally humbling road to walk, and we did it several times.

During the recession of 2007 we moved in with my mother and all five of us shared one bedroom, closet and bathroom. We lived that way for over two years. During the Chase layoff we sold off even more possessions, jewelry, anything that could keep our family afloat. God had to strip us down of all material things so that He could rebuild us to understand what was really important in life and its not about things.

Yes, there were challenging days for sure but I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not a single day. Because everyday we learned something. We learned appreciation for the things which were most important, our family. We learned to appreciate everything we had and we also learned that a simple life is much more rich and fulfilling. Precious days and time with our precious children is what we had. I still was able to home-school our babies and had the blessing of not missing a moment with them.

We also saw the best of humanity from our friends and loved ones during these days. People who saw our circumstances and came selflessly to help us during those times will never be forgotten. I often hear people talk about what they would do for charity or to help others if they won the lottery. I always think to myself when I hear that, but what are they doing now? These beautiful people who came to help us along this road are those people who are not waiting for the lottery. They helped with what they had and I pray that God blesses each and every one of them. To these special people, you know who you are, we are so thankful.

Josh and I would hear of stories about children who were battling life threatening illnesses, children who had lost a parent or the unimaginable; parents who had lost a child and we saw just how richly blessed we were. We never had to live in a shelter. Our children were never hungry or without clothes or shoes. We always were able to see a doctor when needed and our children always had toys, entertainment and education materials. We were never poor. We were never destroyed. We were always blessed.

As I look back upon all of the years of preparation, I give praise to God. There was still so much more happiness in our days than sorrow. So much more rejoicing than mourning and so many precious moments and memories that we will cling to for the rest of our lives.

One of the reasons that I believe Josh had this last test was because of the dream that we have for our Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. ministry. We want to build a nonprofit Huggabear Farm. A place where love, joy and imagination grows. A place where children who cannot afford to ever walk into the doors of Disneyland during their childhood or any other them park or perhaps even zoo, could come and enter for free. We want to provide a place where families who are down trodden and families who are not can all come and spend a day playing, laughing, learning, imagining and forming precious memories with their children. Investing in what is the most important treasure you will ever have, your family.

This is, I believe the reason that we had to be tested a fourth time with a fourth layoff.
We had learned to walk by faith, totally and completely. With NO worry, NO doubt and NO complaining! And God filled us with great joy daily– even during this pandemic!
We had learned to be grateful for everything!
We had learned to trust God completely and free fall through His time and space to land when and where He wanted us!
We had learned how to be better givers!
We had learned how to give more compassion for others!
We had learned not to repel the problems that we faced, but to embrace them and walk through the storms holding tight to God’s unchanging hand to learn all that he wanted to teach us while in it.
Now, to take our ministry to the next level, we had to be tested again. We needed to prove ourselves worthy of this kind of blessing because we are going to step out into the world someday and build something that has never been done before. The Huggabear Farm will be the first of its kind.

I can say with confidence that we passed this test. There was not one day where any of us were worried, concerned, scared, or complained about our circumstance. That is not to boast about us, that is to boast about the mighty work that God has done in us. We all knew God would provide for our family and provide Josh with a new job. We knew it was coming and we thanked Him for it. We thanked Him daily for the BEST job that Josh ever had!

In fact, the only people who knew about Josh not having a job were people who asked us about it. We didn’t discuss it because it wasn’t something that troubled us.

So, now I will get back to why we are rejoicing. Last month my beautiful children, Aven, MaCaedyn, and Samuel had a special prayer time of their own for their daddy to get a job. I had reminded them that when their daddy got the job at Marix it was because Aven and MaCaedyn at the ages of 4 and 2 years old sat in the corner of our room with their little pink Precious Moments Bibles and they told me “We are praying for daddy to get a job.”

That very Wednesday he was offered the job at Marix.

Yes, friends, there IS power in prayer and especially those of precious, innocent young hearts.

After remembering that story, the children, now 17, 15 and 13, went to prayer and I kid you not, that very day Josh’s old boss from DiTech called him and offered him a position with her new company. He began work today, August 10, 2020 and we are more than thankful. His office is also located in our bedroom which is another great blessing during the time of the Covid Pandemic 2020!!!

The job is with a company called Cenlar. His position is called Default Client Liaison Manager. He had his orientation today and learned that this company is employee owned and after a year he will start receiving Cenlar stock!

What a miracle! In a time of a pandemic where there are so many people laid off or companies have shut down, God provided Josh a job. And not just any job, it is the BEST paying job he has EVER had with the BEST benefits he has ever had!!! Praise GOD!!! THANK YOU, JESUS!!!! We give ALL the glory to YOU for this gift!!!

I can tell you that there is power in prayer my friends, and I hope that you when a difficult or challenging time come to your life, you will turn to Jesus. He loves you more than words can say and He is there, waiting for you to let Him help.  I have much more to say about walking by faith, but I will save that for another blog. This blog is mainly to give thanks and praise to our Almighty God, Jehovah Jirah, our Provider for all that He has done for us, all that He is doing and all that He will do in our future!!

God always has a plan, life is so much better when you let Him take the reigns!

God bless you and thank you so much for reading! Remember, JESUS LOVES YOU!


Happy Homeschool Tips From a Happy Homeschool Mama

“To teach is to touch a life forever.”

I don’t know who said that, but it was given to me on a beautiful heart plague over twenty years ago from one of my music students. I have it hanging on my wall and I believe it with all my heart!

If you are reading this blog, it is either because you want to become a home school family or, due to the Covid19 Pandemic, you are seeking to home school temporarily or permanently. Whatever the reason, I am very happy to try and offer you any help that you may need.

I am not a home school expert, there are many out there who have done this longer and have gained many more years of experience. I also do not believe that my methods of doing things are the only ways of doing things. Every family is different and so what I recommend is to read this through and see if there are any ideas which might work for you or ideas that you could alter to fit your family’s needs and learning styles.

I hope to make this an enjoyable experience for you! So, let’s begin!

The very first thing that is important to say is… believe in yourself! You can do this!

I know that in the beginning, I was nervous about it because I wondered, “Will I provide my children with a strong, quality education that covers all they need to know? Will I be able to give them the education in this competitive world that will stand strong when put to the test?”

Yes! You can and you will!

I began teaching music and directing choirs when I was a teen and as time went on I taught and directed dozens of kids and adults but only in music. Even though I had years of teaching experience, I was concerned that I would be able to expand my teaching abilities to other subjects. What I learned was, the more I taught the other subjects, the more I learned how to do it.  It was the process of teaching that taught me how to be a teacher! Not only that, I also learned so much and loved every minute of it!

There will be things that you will remember from school, there will be some things that you need some refreshing on and there will be some topics that you never learned at all. It’s all good! Learning together will be one of the bonds that you will form with your children through homeschooling!

I know those paragraphs are not going to build instant confidence in you, but I hope to keep encouraging you as we go along!

Before we go forward, let’s talk about one extremely important element… attitude. If you are choosing to home school your children then this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you are doing it because of necessity or in some cases you have no other option, it is so important that you maintain a healthy, happy attitude when with your precious students. Think back to your school days. Did you have a favorite teacher? If you did, I am quite sure that some of the reasons why they were your favorite was because of the joy they brought to the classroom. Their excitement to teach and for you to learn was contagious! They had a great attitude about teaching and successfully conveyed that to you. They inspired you, motivated you, encouraged you. Let these words be something you add to your daily routine with your children.

It is also very important if you have to home school and it is not something you want to do, please make sure you are careful to guard those emotions from your child. You do not want at any point and time to convey to your child that teaching them is a burden that you do not want so the child never feels like your homeschooling them is their fault or something that you resent. Remember, it is not their choice so keep to kindness and protect the hearts of your young ones.

Having said that, there will be days when the frustration might spill out. Allow yourself room for those mistakes and just be honest with your children let them know that just like they are learning new things in school, you are learning new things in how to school them. I was always completely honest with my children and found that they respected me for my honesty and didn’t look at my shortcomings like I did. They were very forgiving when I would lose it and they it also was so good for them to learn from me how to say, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that,” or, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake, please forgive me.” Learning how to apologize to your children when you have those moments is going to teach them how to properly apologize to others and how to forgive and  that is a very good thing!

Everyday when you wake up to get ready to teach your children, make sure that you take some time to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Teaching will test you—daily, so be sure that you are prepared daily to pass those tests.

Prayer and time in the Word of God are the best ways to prepare yourselves.
I open my morning by reading a chapter of the Bible and spending time in prayer for my day. I ask for help, direction wisdom and that I will handle my children with the same loving kindness that God handles me. I give thanks for my three precious children and I give thanks for the opportunity, no, the privilege to teach them. Home schooling is, in my opinion a blessed privilege. Teaching my children has created a bond with them that I never imagined nor experienced before. I hope that you will find that bond as well through this process.

To have the freedom to teach your own children is such a blessing. You are able to fill them daily with the faith, values and ideals that your family holds dear. You are able to protect them better from bullying and build confidence and strength in them that they cannot receive from anyone else because anyone else is not their mother or father and no other human means more to them than you.

I do want to make note before I get to my tips, that I am in no way against public, charter,  or private schools. I absolutely loved my school days from grade school to college and I really liked my teachers, though, I admit, my high school days had some rougher times. I just want to be clear that I am not against regular schools and I do believe that children can thrive and flourish in them! I just wanted to able to explain to you that there are also so many benefits your children can receive from homeschooling with you.

Now! Let’s get into some tips that can create a happy homeschooling environment.


Before you doing anything, make sure that you file a home school affidavit with your state. All you need to do is Google: Home school Affidavit along with your state’s name and you will find links to direct you to download the affidavit and where to send it.

Understanding State Requirements

I cannot speak about what happens in any other states, I can only say that in the state of Arizona there are no requirements that you need to meet as far as grading or testing during the elementary years. I know that might sound a bit strange, but I have asked that question to dozens of other home school mothers and home school organization Presidents and have been told the same answer.  I have always used the Spectrum test prep series and I also that I found online test preps that I used at the end of the year with my children to make sure they were on track with what the state would be expecting and that they were scoring well. Of course, they will all have to take the SAT’s and there are some excellent online prep classes for this as well which I will discuss later on.

Home School Organizations

During the time of Covid, home school organizations and their activities might look a bit different. However, if you Google for local home school organizations around your area they are still helpful because they offer all kinds of resources for home school families. We are member of AFHE Arizona Families for Homeschool Education and for a $45 a year membership we can receive all kinds of online tutorials, journals, magazines and access to group activities. If you don’t think you will make home schooling a permanent change for your family then you might not want to join an organization, but if you do want to make home-schooling the choice for your family you can really gain a lot of inside and make some beautiful relationships through these groups!

Learning Environment

If it is at all possible, you need to establish an area of your home to be your “classroom”.

If you do not have an entire room to devote to this area do not worry, you just need to be able to have a place where the children can learn, decorate, store their books and supplies that they can call their classroom. Allowing your children to be part of setting up this space will help them not only feel part of creating their “school” but will get them excited about it. Allow them to create a name and perhaps a mascot like the family pet for their new school. Let them choose school colors and come up with an alma mater! This can be great fun for you all to create!

There are, of course, all kinds of classroom posters, wall art, bulletin board decor, etc. to be found on Amazon, or Google, but you can also find local shops in the states online which will be beneficial to you. I was blessed to have a Lakeshore School Supply store up the road from me and that is where we go for many classroom and curriculum needs.

Which brings me to my next subject…


Depending on what state you live, you may find different requirements for different grades. Still, for elementary grades there will be basic topics that are pretty general in all states: reading/comp, writing, spelling, math, science, social studies, humanities studies (art, music, etc.) and history. When I first began teaching, I would look up the requirements for several different states, my home state, a state on the west coast and a state on the east coast to get an idea of the standards across the country. Once I knew all that was out there and the basics that the children needed to know, I decided how I was going to structure my children’s education. Take note! This is just what I personally decided to do. You might have your own ideas or just want to focus upon what the requirements are for your state are. There is nothing wrong with that!

I did some research on many different curriculum varieties that are out there and have experimented here and there, these are some of my favorites for when the children were in their younger days:

Comprehensive Curriculum

Brain Quest


These books held all my children’s attention well with each subject and gave them a strong foundation to build upon for the higher grades to come.

Some of my other favorite curriculum for higher grades have included:

Classical Conversations – for a variety of subjects, but I loved the writing program!

Saxon Math Curriculum

Mission Generation – for history and Biblical worldview

Those are just a few places you might like to review. There are countless other resources that you can find online and I do suggest you take some time to do the research for what will be the best fit for your family.

I was also very blessed to be surround by women who had home schooled their children and had so many varieties of curriculum donated to me. I got TONS of stuff!!! and had a luxury of experimenting with what worked and what didn’t at little or sometimes no cost to me at all. I know that probably won’t be the case for most of you reading this, so I encourage you, take time to pray about it and do your research. You know your children better than anyone else in this world. You know how they learn, what they gravitate toward, what inspires them. I am sure than when you take a look at the vast varieties of curriculum out there, you will know what will work best for your family. Some of the ones I have listed may not work for you. Every family is different, every child is different and may learn differently and that is okay!

Online Resources

While most parents don’t just want to leave their younger ones to learn with just themselves and a computer, still there are many wonderful resources that can be found online or through YouTube which can be extremely beneficial to home school families.

YouTube is full of instructional videos that are so helpful in all subjects. One of my kids’ favorite channels is “Crash Course”, but there are hundreds videos that can be found for any subject from learning proper table manners to science projects, reading games, history lessons and math tutoring. Of course, parents need to go in and preset their laptops and YouTube channels to prevent any inappropriate material from popping up… I say this from experience! It’s amazing what some completely innocent words can bring up without child guards! But I do recommend utilizing YouTube and also GodTube as an excellent resource for home school kids.

There are also some fantastic computer games that we bought for our children and they couldn’t wait to play everyday and learned so much from. These are software programs that would need to be installed on a laptop or home computer.

Brain Play by Scholastic offers a variety of levels of games for reading, math, science and typing. My kids loved the Clifford reading carnival when they were little and learned to read quickly with the help of this fun filled game. I recommend visiting the scholastic website to see if there would be some software which would be a good fit for your family. 

We also loved the Leap Frog software games and DVD’s.

We also enjoyed software programs from these companies:

Encyclopedia Britannica Children’s Learning Suite
Innovative Knowledge
The Learning Company (Reader Rabbit and Blue’s ABC Time were favorites here!)
and Hooked on Spanish software

I also want to highly recommend to you Khan Academy. This is a totally free online schooling program that was created, I believe, by the Disney Corporation. They have all kinds of classes and AP classes for high school and they even provide tutorials for college classes.

I was thrilled that my husband found this site because I was not confident to teach my kids their high school algebra and geometry. With Khan Academy you can track your child’s progress and you receive weekly emails to let you know of their accomplishments, weaknesses and strengths per subject.

They also offer some really incredible classes to teach children algebraic equations through the means of computer animation like in their “Pixar in a Box” class and also “Storytelling” in which the project is for the child to design a theme park attraction as if they were really going to build it. They have to calculate speed, timing, persons that can ride, etc. My kids loved this! It was some serious STEM learning in disguise!

Here is the link if you would like to use it!

Public Libraries

I don’t know if all public libraries are fully functioning in your area, but when they are, they are a fantastic place to inspire your children’s learning. Not only can you enjoy checking out books, but you also can use their online computer learning games and some libraries provide the “reading to dogs” program. Ours even had a reading to miniature horses program which the kids LOVED. They also offer reading challenges where children can earn prizes, which you can also do on your own at home!

We often drew out a “thermometer” for each child and then when they read a book, we colored in the thermometer until they reached the top. When they did, they got a special treat like a happy meal from McDonald’s (bleh) or an ice cream from Dairy Queen (yum!).

Libraries also have a fantastic online resource program that you can ask about and be trained on easily. This system can be used for research, personal reading or even videos. Our library often held events for lego clubs and art classes back in the days before Covid, and I am quite sure they will have those again. Many libraries also offer for children to “check out” seed packets. These don’t have to brought back, of course, but it an excellent way for kids to get excited about growing plants at home. This is something my kids love, I have some natural born farmers!

Another excellent program many local libraries provide are “Culture Passes”. Not all libraries methods of providing these passes are the same, but our library allows us to be able to check out two passes at a time to visit certain museums. This helps home school families get the kids out, when they feel safe to do so, and explore the wonderful museums of your state. I always loved taking my children on “field trips” and some of our favorite home school memories have been made during these trips together. I highly recommend you checking into the cultural passes!

In addition to museums be sure to check and see if your state have cultural gardens that you can visit. In Arizona we had the Chinese Cultural center, which was gorgeous and we also have the Japanese Cultural Garden, the Butterfly and the Botanical Gardens. These locations in additions to any farms you can get them to make for excellent field trips and wonderful memories!

Schedule and Structure

Another one of the lovely elements of homeschooling is that you have total control over your schedule and the structure of how your child’s schooling is done.

I will share with you our family’s schedule which is just to provide an example of how freeing homeschooling can be, but it is just an example. You know what is best for your family. You might even set up a schedule and as you go long see the needs for alterations and you have the freedom to make those adjustments to meet the needs of your family!

I would like to explain also that one of the main reasons I began homeschooling was because my daughter, MaCaedyn, was involved in an accident when she was two months old that left her with a sleeping disorder. Thank God that was all she had! Still, her disorder has it’s direct affects upon her and the rest of us in the home. Without going into all the details of her condition, I will just say that I did not know how she would function in regular school. Nor did I know how my other children would function because so many nights when MaCaedyn was young she would wake up the whole household.

This was how we began home schooling, it made sense to try it and I am so thankful that I have been able to do it ever since!


Our family gets up probably a little later than most, we have our breakfast, do our chores and the kids have to practice their piano all before we begin school. Usually we start school at 11:00am. Through experience I learned that my children were not at all as focused early in the morning as they were at 11am. Once I started schooling them at this time, I learned that it was a good fit for us. We break for lunch around 2pm and finish around 4:00pm unless the girls need more time for some of their high school math classes, which now as a senior and sophmore, they always do.

These days, I have my kids cook their own lunch and I use that time to read aloud to them from a favorite novel or new novel while they cook and eat. It is very relaxing and helps with their listening skills.

When the children were younger I usually was able to accomplish all their work in a four hour time frame.

In addition to being able to start and end during the days, you also have the freedom to choose when you start and ending your school year.

My family currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona and if you don’t know about the summers in Phoenix they are HOT. Actually, hot doesn’t cut it. How about, sweltering, melting, excruciating, days spent in a/c? You get the picture. Let’s just say it like this, there have been summer Sundays when we were able to cook a tin of brownies on our dashboard while attending the morning church service.

If you are blessed enough to have a pool then you might to elect to keep your kids on the same school schedule that the public schools run on. We don’t have a pool and never have, so I wanted to see what it would be like to home school through the summer while we are stuck inside with the air conditioning where it is cool. We always joked that our kids were vampires during the summer because they only went out to play after sunset!

I start my school year the third week January because our family also has a nonprofit organization for children in need called The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. and I have to get all of my Christmas decorations down (which can easily take a week) and close out our contributions reports and send them out to our contributors for their taxes. Once we begin, we go through the summer, taking a little time here and there if we have a trip or special event, but mostly plowing right though until Halloween. The kids know that on October 30th, they are done for a while and we take off November, December and the weeks I need in January.

I can only speak for our family, but I can tell you, this is AMAZING! The weather is fantastic! There are so many things to go and do outside and we can just totally and completely enjoy the entire holiday season without any of the usual stresses of school.

I did learn to change my children’s grades at the end of July, let them have a week off and then come back into their next grade in August so that they would be on the correct grade level for their age. This made it easier when participating in church or sports events etc. where the children are often broken down by their grade.

Again, you will find out what works best for your family. The beauty of homeschooling is that there is no right or wrong way, it is YOUR way! As long as your children are learning what they will need to be able to score well on their SAT’s or other test scores needed for college, you can do what works best for you!


When setting up your day, try to give the children something they will look forward to. I’m sure you had a certain class that you looked forward to everyday, so try to create something each day that will be exciting for your children.

When my kids were young we had time for our “book work” where we did the reading, writing and arithmetic. But then each day there was something special outside of the usual required book materials like, music, art, science experiments, field trip, building, gardening, or having a video day. Whatever you decide, remember there is no right or wrong way, just allow yourself leeway that if something you try doesn’t work after a while, you can try something new.

This is not something that most teachers in classroom environments can do. If they have a large group, they have to think in mass, but you can think smaller… unless you have a lot of children! Be creative! Think out of the box! You don’t have to conform to what you knew in a classroom at all times. There are times when you need to have some regular classroom structure so that when your child grows up and enters college they are prepared for it, but when they are little, learning should be fun, inspiring and something they are excited to do. You can do that better than anyone else because you know your children better than anyone else!

Another blessing of the structure of how you teach your children is that they can also have the freedom to move at their own pace. All three of my children completely skipped over grades of certain subjects, depending on how quickly they absorbed the material. For example, Samuel is incredible at science and so he is currently doing the high school science curriculum with his sisters. Samuel is in 8th grade, MaCaedyn is currently a sophmore and Aven is a senior. I will keep teaching him other science programs as we go along because he absorbs it so well. You have the freedom to allow your children to do that when homeschooling. They are not structured in the way that they have to move at the same pace as the rest of the class. THEY are the class! So if there is a subject they excel at and want to move passed their age, let them go!

On a side note if, there is some healthy competition in your kids, this might be a benefit to you. My MaCaedyn always wanted to keep up with her sister who was two years older than she was. This was not something I inspired but when I saw how hard she would work like in learning her times tables or in her reading, I let her do it! It inspired both girls to keep working hard and there was no animosity or jealousy that came from it, all was done with good healthy efforts to strive forward!

Physical Education

I know that right now it is a challenging time for kids who want to engage in group sports due to Covid. If your child is unable to participate in a group sport they want to attend, invest in what you can and take them to the park. Buy the baseball bat, ball and glove, or the football or soccer ball and if you don’t know how to play these sports, watch the YouTube videos to learn some of the basic techniques they would learn. This is not just good for the child, it is good for you! You might learn something new and find that you also enjoy it!

There are also excellent YouTube classes for dance, Zumba, martial arts, boxing, or just regular workouts! Take them on bike rides or get some roller blades, buy a corn hole game or Bocce ball! Buy some tennis or racket ball rackets and go to the park! Walmart offers quite a good selection of sporting needs at reasonable prices that will help you.

If you are blessed to have a pool, get on YouTube and study different swim styles and their techniques. We have had volleyball nets and badminton nets along with croquet and golf and enjoyed every minute of it together. When things get better with Covid —and they will get better, you will find that there are so many different activities your children can do which can easily fill the space that they will have while homeschooling. One of our children is a second degree black belt in TKD, another is a first degree black belt in TKD and plays basketball, and the oldest was an Excel level diamond gymnast. Trust me, there are a lot of organized sports that can easily fill the need your children has for physical education outside of being in a school!

Home Skill Learning

Education is not limited to books or online resources. Never underestimate all of the life skills that you can teach your children. Things like, doing the dishes one day, helping you with the laundry one day, sweeping and working outside on the grounds of the home, keeping their room clean are all excellent for home care education. We have always had a chore wheel where the kids would spin to see what chore they would do that day. The chores can increase as the child ages, but it will teach them all how to take care of things in their home presently so they will have a better understanding of how to care for their own home in the future.

Having your children learning how to cook in the kitchen with you is also a wonderful way for them to learn and to develop skills that they will need. For the younger children simple tasks like helping measure ingredients (which teaches fractions) or washing fruits and vegetables, running water in pans, all of these things can be fun for children and will expose them early to the joy of cooking. Who knows? It might reveal any undetected culinary talents they may have!

I also take one child at a time with me when it is grocery shopping day. Well, right now my husband is doing the shopping during the Covid season. Every two weeks I went and we planned it out for the year on the calendar so that we could know whose turn it was. Before we went shopping I had the kids help me take “inventory” of what we had and what we needed and we created a list. I taught them that sometimes there might be a few things here and there that are not on the list but to try and stay disciplined to just the items on the list so they didn’t overspend. I also told them our budget and had them help me keep a tally of the items as we shopped so that we were able to always stay on budget–and I mean always! We do great! These are all important life skills that kids need to know!

Josh also teaches them various skills with car for our cars and other household items so they are learning how to care for the things they will someday own. Speaking of cars, that is a great place for learning! We keep trivia cards of American history in the doors of our vehicles, Brain Quest has some great car trivia games and sometimes on longer trips we would break those out. Listening to audio books, musicals or teaching your children about different genres of music can all be done together in a car and makes your time driving much more fun!

The Blessings of Home Schooling

I know that there are probably many more things I will think of to add this blog after I post it, but I do hope what I have written here will give you some happy tips for creating a happy home school for your children.

I also want to encourage you to Google your state and join whatever home school organization you may like. Even if you don’t attend any of their events, they are always giving out emails and sometimes journal posts that offer excellent ideas and advice.

Just remember that no one knows your children better than you. You know how they learn and what they love to learn. You know their schedules and personalities, their strengths and their weaknesses better than any teacher ever would. You just might find that being your child’s teacher can be a tremendous blessing –not a burden and can develop an even stronger bond with your child than before. I feel that way. I am so thankful for every single day that I have had with my precious babies and I am thankful beyond words that I have had the blessing to educate them. And yes, I still feel that way even though they are all teenagers! TRUE, the teenager is a different creature! But you will find that so much of your child’s innocence will remain longer because it is not being taken away from them by other kids who don’t share the same values as your family.

I will close with this, I have done much research through the years on this topic and have read many different articles about it. Home schooled children grow into adults who will stand strong in their faith. The most recent study I found says that 87% of adults who were home schooled are very strong in their Christian values and beliefs of the Bible.

This is not to cast a shadow upon children who are not home schooled in any way. It is still a very important fact that was significant for me that I wanted to share because of everything that I teach my children every single day, nothing, absolutely nothing is as important as teaching them the Word of God, the power that comes from memorizing and speaking it and also the power of prayer. I get to do that. I get that blessing and I cherish it. That doesn’t mean that my children or home schooled children are better Christians than other children, I don’t make those kinds of comparisons, that is not healthy, just or even true. It is just very important to me that my children have a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ and their Heavenly Father God, Jehovah and that is a responsibility that I want to have. My husband, Josh and I are unified in leading our children down the path of Jesus’s love and it is a blessing that I am able to do every day through homeschooling.

I do hope this blog has brought you a little bit of help and should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

May God richly bless, keep and direct you and your family during this time and thank you so much for reading!





My Journey from Infertility to Motherhood

Reflection. That is something that I have been able to spend a lot more time doing lately. During the Covid 19 Pandemic of 2020 one of the things that I have been so very grateful for is my family. I have a wonderful husband and three amazing children that God blessed us with, Aven, who is currently 17, MaCaedyn, who is currently 15, and Samuel who is currently 13. You might think, “Wow! That must be rough! Being quarantined with three teenagers!” Honestly, it has been a blessing. Though I admit teenagers are an entirely different being of their own, I love being with my children and I try to soak up every moment I can with them while they are with me. I know that on the timeline of life, the days of my children living at home are fleeting and so I am thankful for every day.

This past Mother’s Day 2020 was an interesting one. “Normal” plans of attending church and lunching publicly or with extended family members is not on the agenda due to the quarantine. Still, my crew had all kinds of wonderful plans for me! First, we all slept in, which was lovely. Then, I was showered with hugs, kisses, “I love you’s” and sweet gifts. I get hugs, kisses and “I love you’s” everyday, but on Mother’s Day, Christmas and my birthday, I get extra! Next, my husband packed a fantastic picnic and then, we drove to northern Arizona and spent the day at Christopher Creek. For me, there is nothing better than getting out to God’s great nature with my family. I appreciate all the marvels that humans can build, but there is nothing compared to the beauty of the natural world that God spoke into existence.

Being in nature cleanses me. Whether it be the beach, the mountains and woods, lakeside or hiking a desert trail. I love being outside with my family. But I admit, my favorite places of nature are where I can hear water flowing. I remember my Mema and Papa taking me to different places in the wilderness and whenever we were by a river, stream, or babbling creek, Mema would say, “Listen, it’s singing a little song!”

So there I was, wading through Christopher creek and laughing as Josh would teeter upon an unstable rock he stepped on and yell “Bad rock! Bad rock!” or watching my son Samuel fall into the creek time after time, after time, until he looked more like he had been swimming, and I I began reflecting upon how blessed I am to be a mother.

I am truly a blessed woman to have the family I do and be a mother, I know that and it is something I have never taken for granted. I have reflected upon it thousands of times in the seventeen years that I have been a mama, but this particular Mother’s Day during the pandemic, gave me an even grater perspective on how richly I am blessed.

The road for me to become a mother was not an easy one and that is the story I will tell you.

I have always had a very special love for children in my heart. I was an only child until I was almost ten years old. I remember the day my baby brother was born. It was one of the happiest in my life. I loved helping take care of him and watching him grow up. I remember it so well. His coming into my life lifted the love I already had for other children in my heart to a higher level. I began teaching and directing children’s choirs at my church at the age of twelve and fell in love with the sweet, innocent, sincerity that can only be produced through the vocal chords of a child. I am happy to say I have never stopped teaching and directing children to sing since and I never plan to.

I love children’s curiosities and laughter, to see their eyes sparkle with wonder and excitement and, of course, I personally believe the sound of their giggles are like seeds of healing joy that when heard can plant and grow happiness in even the most sorrowful heart.

I loved having children in my life as a child, as a teen, and as a young adult. They made me feel happy, young and they always gave me the opportunity to be silly, playful and imaginative.

I was twenty-five when Josh and I first got married and he wanted a baby right away. He told me that one of his greatest goals for his life was to be happily married and have children. I love that about him.

We were married in May and it was in the following month of June that I thought I had a miscarriage. I had missed my regular cycle date and then later on there came a day where I had horrible abdominal pain that was different from regular cramps. Sharp, cutting like knives, not dull, heavy and pulling. Though the pain spread through my abdominal area, it seemed to stem from one certain location on my left side. I went to the doctor and she thought that I was having an “early miscarriage”. Since this was different than anything else I had experienced through menstruation, I had no reason not to believe her.

At the time we were sad, but then it also helped us to understand that we were not actually ready for a baby. We were living in a one room apartment and I was working three different jobs while attending college. I was the director of the Arizona Girl’s Choir, the Music Minister of Parkway Community Church, and I had my own voice and piano studio and had over 40 private students. Josh was working and still going to college, so the experience helped us see the reality was it wasn’t time.

We decided to wait. We wanted to travel, buy a house, finish up what we planned to with school and have more financial stability.

We married in 1997 and by 1998 I was working full time at the church, Josh finished his two year degree, and we had bought a four bedroom, two and half bath condo. We had also done some traveling during that time, so we threw caution to the wind and decided to start our family.

After several months I felt something was wrong. I began reflecting over my bodies history remembering how things had been for me before marriage. I had never really had a regular menstrual cycle during my teen years. One of my doctors even had put me on birth control pills to try and regulate me. That didn’t fix the problem either, though it did help my skin through those challenging acne years!

As Josh and I moved along in life together we took steps of faith that someday we would have our own family together. We began creating a nursery. A room of hope where someday we would rock our babies, play with them, dress them, sing to them, cherish them. There were times when I thought I was pregnant as I would skip over a month or so at a time. But I would learn I wasn’t. I remembered that I would sometimes skip months in my teen and premarital years too. Remembering this led me to believe there was something going on.

During this time there were people around us at the church who were getting married and starting their families. We were able to enjoy learning a little bit of what life with a baby was like through them. We were very happy for them and loved all the children we were blessed to be around very much. They were all so precious and beautiful. Those were very blessed days that helped prepare our hearts for our own family. As time went on, I knew we were ready for our own baby. We had the home, had done even more traveling and were financially stable to care for a child. The longing I had to have my own baby was growing deeper within my heart.

I went to my gynecologist and had a conversation about my history. After asking many questions she believed I needed some testing. The first round of testing revealed that I didn’t produce hardly progesterone, only a very tiny bit, but nothing close to what would be considered normal.

That doctor referred me to an infertility doctor who worked with insurance companies. He put me through more tests, tests which not only tested my female organs and their fertility but also my patience and pain tolerance. Tests that leave a person in total and complete humility, which at the time I didn’t realize, but God was using to build great character and strength for our parenting skills in the days to come. Let me just say it like this, and for those women out there who have gone through the testing they will agree with me, you know a woman is really desperate to have a baby to endure it! Infertility testing is not easy–or cheap!

For Josh it was a bit easier, maybe even more enjoyable. 😉
We learned that he was strong (like bull) for his sperm counts. In fact, the day the doctor received his test results she literally opened the door to call her nurses in to see them.
For some reason she thought his name was Johnson and kept saying, “Johnson is Gold!”
I guess an average sperm count for a man is anywhere between 15 million to 200 million.
Johnson aka Josh’s count was over 260 million. Something that still makes him walk tall with pride to this day.

When my test results came in, we learned that I did not have any blocked tubes, but that I did have a common condition among women called PCOS, which stands for Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.

I have another blog for women with PCOS and symptoms it can cause with weight gain, but for this story I want to focus on the complications it caused me with infertility. In addition to the regular occurrence of cysts being present on the ovaries, PCOS can affect the levels of progesterone produced. Hmm, now we are getting somewhere.

Progesterone is a hormone which helps regulate a woman’s monthly cycles. BINGO! We have a winner! There was one answer to one of my problems! Progesterone also thickens the wall of the uterus for a fertilized egg to implant. If there is no fertilized egg, the progesterone drops. If there is a fertilized egg, the progesterone helps keep the lining of the uterus thick and strong to support the growing fetus.

I guess I should have warned you ahead of time that this would also be like a mini-class in reproduction. Just be glad I’m not taking the time to explain in detail what some of the tests for women are like or involve!

The doctor put me on progesterone supplements and also a prescription called “Clomid”. I can’t get too technical with this because there are things I still didn’t quite understand about it. I do know it was to raise my FSH and LH levels to help me with ovulation to produce more eggs… I believe.

The problem was that in order to take the drug, I had to make sure I didn’t have any cysts of threatening size on my ovaries. Clomid can add cysts on ovaries and it can also cause ovaries to swell. So if ovarian cysts are present, the medication cannot be taken so as not to cause the woman any harm or damage.

Month after month we tried this process and I was now in the third year since beginning my infertility treatments. I was becoming more and more desperate. I was trying my hardest not to covet the beautiful families which were blossoming all around me. In my heart, I wasn’t angry or jealous of the women who were having their own babies, I loved them and I loved their children dearly. It was that my heart was longing deeply to pour love into my own children. My arms longed to embrace my own babies. The nursery that Josh and worked on creating off an on in our home was silent and patiently waiting for the children to come and live there. We both were longing for that day to come.

The doctor knew I was depressed and asked me if I would like to try something new. I agree and he said we could double the amount of Clomid that I was taking.  After taking the meds for a few days I knew something wasn’t right when I could literally point to where my ovaries were located because of the pain they were in. They were on fire and so I stopped taking the medication. I was out of town when this happened so I didn’t get into the doctor. Then one night after I came home from my trip, the result of the double dose of medication hit me. I remember the night it happened vividly. I thought I had food poisoning because I had horrific pain in my abdomen and kept throwing up. One moment I was burning hot, nauseous and vomiting, in the next moment I was shivering violently and cold all over. My husband got me to the hospital and on the way a new pain began. Now, there were stabbing, sharp pains in my shoulders. I had no idea what was happening but knew that it could not be food poisoning.

The doctors at the hospital told me that my ovary had erupted. The double dose of medication either caused a large cyst to form and explode or there was one on the ovary that the doctor didn’t catch in the ultra-sound. Either way, it landed me in emergency surgery to cauterize the ovary. By the time the bleeding was stopped I had bled out over 60% of my body’s blood into my abdomen. It was the blood gases which were building up  in my abdominal region that were causing my shoulders to feel like they were being stabbed. Crazy right?

After all this happened and I was back on my feet, the infertility doctor, whom I will just refer to as Dr. AlmostKilledMe, told me that he wanted to try the medication again…


The exact same treatment which exploded my ovary, he wanted to do again.
Needless to say, I walked out of that office and never went back.

I began searching for new doctors that were covered on my insurance, but for our particular insurance program, the list was slim and the other doctors on the list were not taking new patients at the time. I had to be put on a waiting list.

More waiting. For women who are waiting to have their own child, waiting is depressing.

I kept quoting the scripture during this time, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall walk and be weary, they shall run and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31. At the time, I didn’t understand this verse and how the waiting would be good for me, just like another verse where Jesus said in John 13:7 “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” There is truth in both those verses that I didn’t realize at the time. I would understand on many levels later on what God was doing through this infertility and the patience of waiting that I learned during this time of was the strength of patience that I would use later on as a mother.

It was at this time that my mother decided to take out a loan on a home that she owned free and clear. She wanted to do somethings for herself and my brother, but also wanted me to go to one of the best doctors in the nation. His name is Dr. Jay Nemiro and at the time he was one the of top four infertility doctors in the U.S.

My mother, Bonnie LaFon, graciously and generously gave Josh and I $55K, no strings attached, to go to Dr. Nemiro because he did not work with insurance companies. It was a gift from God and an answer to our prayers.

Although Josh and I had a new awakening to our hope, the gift of the infertility funds didn’t come without challenges. There were some who thought it was completely ridiculous that my mother would do such a thing. Some said she was enabling us to “Go against God” in taking conception and creation into our own hands. Some said, “If it’s God’s will for Josh and Angelique to have a baby, they will without spending $55k.” We had a variety of things spoken to us, mostly by those we loved and cared about which made it all the more painful.

Comments like these from people are all part of the test.
Before Josh and I started the infertility treatments we had dealt with people giving us their advice and opinions on the matter. Sometimes it was put forth gently and with love, but sometimes it wasn’t. Some would say I was “causing my own infertility by stressing out over it.” That we just needed “to relax”, or “have a lot of sex” or “just let nature take its course.”

When you can forgive others for making hurtful comments about a circumstance that you are involved in and they are not, it builds your character. We did forgive all those who made their remarks and did not respond back to them in frustration or anger. The reason why I write about it now is because I want all those who read this blog who are going through infertility treatments to know, if you have heard comments like these or others and just need a shoulder to lean on, you can reach out to me. This is a place of understanding. A safe place where you will not be judged, mocked or ridiculed. But instead a place of prayer and support.

You will hear all kinds of things on this journey, but just listen to God. I fully believe that God gave us doctors and nurses, not to replace Him, but to be His hands extended to help one another. I also believe this was why Jesus asked Luke to be one of His disciples so that we would not be afraid to utilize the help that doctors have to offer. After all, God created the men and women who are the doctors and God is the one who gave them the knowledge they obtained to help us.

If a person had some other ailment and felt led through prayer to go to a doctor to learn more about their condition and possibly help it, that does not mean they do not have faith in God, it means they are using the resources God has given them for help. The danger of a person’s faith being hindered is when they put all their hope and trust in the doctor or science and not in God. A person must always take their situation of their health to the Lord first, and if they feel led to go to a doctor that should not be a judgement upon their faith. Even though I came across a doctor that made a poor decision which led me to a critical life and death moment, I fully believe that doctors and nurses are blessings from the Lord. God is the one who gave them the very special gift and heart they have to serve and help others. Not everyone can do it, that’s for sure. It is a special gift placed in their hearts by the Lord and when they go to work everyday, they are fulfilling the purpose God has for their lives. I felt God was in this 100%. It was His perfect timing and the movement of His hand which made it all possible.

We took the funds my mother gave us and went to see Dr. Nemiro. During our very first visit I learned that there were several tests which had not been conducted on me by other doctors in the past. This was probably because of insurance restrictions, but one of those tests proved to be the main reason I could not get pregnant the good old fashioned way. I had ASA or, Anti-Sperm Antibodies. Basically what that means is that my body produced antibodies that saw sperm as an enemy and would attack and kill them instead of allow them to do their thing.

No matter how many times I had taken the other medication, at that time without a miracle of God which I know was possible, I wouldn’t been able to conceive a baby without the assistance of surgery. So, that’s what we did. We knew that my Fallopian tubes were not blocked and were healthy so we elected to try the ZIFT procedure. ZIFT stands for Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer.

With this procedure, the eggs are extracted surgically from the ovary and fertilized in a dish. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are placed surgically into the Fallopian tube. The theory behind this treatment is that by placing the fertilized egg back into the Fallopian tube so it can travel and find it’s place of implanting on it’s own, it provides the fertilized egg a more natural process.

The first time that we went to extract the eggs all went well and we ended up with 2 fertilized eggs to place into the Fallopian tube. Before and after the surgery, I spent much time in prayer and I knew that it did not work. We grieved the loss of those two fertilized eggs and after some rest physically and mentally, I was ready to try again.

I will never forget the second day I went to have the eggs extracted… or should I say eggstracted. 🙂

The anesthesiologist did not show up.

I had the choice. Go ahead and do the procedure with a little bit of “twilight” meds which would not knock me out, just maybe take the edge off, or I could miss the chance at extracting the eggs and wait another month which meant going through all the medications and treatments to prepare for the extraction again.

My longing heart chose to go forward with the procedure and I can tell you I felt and remember it all. Even as I write this, I can remember the pain of it.
First, they clean you with a pretty decent sized sponge. They do this on the outside… and on the inside. That seriously was torture. Next, came the nice, long, sharp instrument that went up inside, punctured through the wall of the uterus and then into the ovary to extract the eggs. This was done on both sides. Nice huh?

The whole time I just kept thinking about the baby or babies that I would hold and love. The joy they would bring and the fulfillment I would finally feel as a mommy.

Once the procedure was completed, we learned we had 5 fertilized eggs to transfer, and this time after praying, I knew it had worked.  I felt different. I felt the surge of hormones in my body and I felt a spring of joy well up in my soul.

When we got the official word that THIS test was positive, we celebrated like we have never celebrated. All our friends and loved ones were so happy for our success and were rejoicing with us. Everyday felt like Christmas morning. I felt wonderful. Such happiness. I had no pain, no sickness, nothing but complete and total joy, joy, JOY!

I remember sharing this once with a woman who was pregnant and having a terrible time with illness. I felt so badly for her. She asked if I ever had experienced illness during pregnancy and I explained that I had not and that I attributed it to the incredible, constant oil of joy that the Lord had anointed me with. She rolled her eyes, laughed and mocked me, “Experiencing illness during pregnancy has nothing to do with how happy you are.”

Maybe for some, but not for me. I knew not ever experiencing illness during pregnancy was God’s way of blessing me for all the other pain and suffering that I had endured. The Bible tells us in Neh. 8:10 “The JOY of the Lord is our STRENGTH!” And it was the great joy of the Lord that filled my heart and soul!

My dream had come true and I knew that God was the one who made that happen!! God spared my life from the first doctor’s treatment. God brought the gift of the funds to my mother and placed it in her heart to give it to us. God led us to find Dr. Nemiro and God made it possible for me to see him right away and not be placed on a waiting list. God revealed through Dr. Nemiro what my problem was and God was the one who created the incredibly amazing baby that we were going to have. Absolutely, positively everything that happened to us, the lessons we learned, the strength which was built inside us, the compassion we gained for others going through this, God used to work for our goodness and I give God the glory for it all!  I rejoiced in the coming of our baby through praise to my mighty, compassionate and giving God. Josh and I were finally going to have our own child and nothing that happened around us or even to us was able to penetrate that joy!!

There was never a moment, not in all these years, when I have not been totally and completely grateful for God answering my prayer in the way I had hoped. I would have loved to adopt a baby, I just had it in my heart to strive for my own and felt led to pursue it. I know several women who spent many years striving to have a biological child, but God had another plan for them. Some adopted beautiful, precious children who God knew needed them as their mother and they are totally and completely their children. I remember a beautiful song I once heard Marie Osmond sing called “From God’s Arms, to Your Arms, to Mine.” I firmly believe that people who open their hearts to adopt or foster children are examples of unconditional love and acceptance that whole world can learn from.

Then there are some I know who decided to just have furry babies in their lives and they do a great work caring for unloved animals in the world that God told us to care for. I know all these women to be very happy and consider them to be pillars of strength who looked upon God’s answer and choose to embrace it. I do not know them to be bitter or envious. They are very happy and consider themselves richly blessed. I must also give my public thanks to some of these women who walked down the road of infertility with me, especially one in particular named Becky Merryman. The Lord sent her as my own personal infertility angel and, Becky, I am forever thankful for the help, education, support and encouragement you poured into my life during that time. God knew I needed you because you understood what I was going through like no one else. I only hope that I can be for someone else what you once were for me.

I was almost at the end of my first trimester when I got up for my second trip one night to the bathroom. It was then I felt it. The ovary erupted again. Within seconds I was feeling the same pain that I had felt just over a year ago when it happened the first time.

I woke Josh and he got me to the hospital. This time, I asked him to take me to a different hospital. After the ovary had erupted the first time I was sent to Good Samaritan in Phoenix. They did help me by cauterizing the erupted ovary, but then sent me home with a blood hemoglobin count of 6. For those who might not know what that means, a healthy blood hemoglobin count is between 13.5 to 17.5 and for women it is from 12 to 15.5. Needless to say, I crashed and crashed hard. I had to be hospitalized a few days later and receive two more blood transfusions to go along with the first one I had after surgery.

This time I asked to go to St. Lukes Hospital. Big mistake. If I had gone back to Good Sam they would at least have had my records on file for having an erupted ovary the first time and they would have believed me. Instead, St. Luke’s decided not to believe me and just pumped me up with Demerol and morphine. They kept me in the emergency room for seven hours and did nothing but an ultra-sound. When the results from the ultra-sound came back we learned I was pregnant with twins… but for how long? The doctor told Josh, “We see there is some fluid in her abdominal area but we are just going to give her pain meds and send her home.”

Now, keep in mind, I’m pretty crocked from all the meds they were giving me, I am in unbelievable pain, pain that I never knew existed, and every few minutes I am hot and throwing up or freezing cold and shivering. This time the pain is not just in my abdominal area and shoulders like before, this time it is also all over my back. I can’t even lie down and different ones are taking turns holding me up. I remember my uncle holding my back in an upright position and then holding my head up in the front because I lacked the strength to do this on my own.

I knew I was dying. I literally could feel my life drifting out of me. I looked at Josh and with as much cohesiveness as I could muster I said, “I am dying. Please get me some help.”

Josh called Dr. Nemiro who did not hesitate for a moment but had me transferred by ambulance to Scottsdale Shea Hospital where I was taken into emergency surgery. Once inside we learned that the ovary had erupted again, as I knew, and had bled into itself so much the ovary was the size of a Nerf Football. Normally, an ovary is the size of a thumb, so this was significantly bigger, yet no one at St. Luke’s hospital did anything at all to try and help me.

Normally, when I write something I don’t like to call people out for their mistakes and if it is important to the story, I don’t name names. This situation was about life and death and boy did I come close to death. We also had to pay a significant amount of money because Dr. Nemiro did not work with insurance companies. So his fees were out of pocket. It was all a mess... but Jesus was with us.

Dr. Nemiro tried to perform laparoscopy surgery but I had too much blood in my abdomen to see anything. They had to cut me like a cesarean, all the while they had a scope to monitor the babies’ heartbeats. One baby kept struggling. Dr. Nemiro said it’s heart beat kept stopping during the procedure. Once again, I had lost over 60% of my bodies blood and my ovary had to be removed. We were told after it all was over and done with that 20 more minutes and I would have gone into irreversible shock.

I have to take a moment and just process that… twenty more minutes. That was it. Seven hours I was kept in an ER room and had Josh listened to the doctors there and just taken me home, I… we, the babies and I would have died. Thank You Jesus for being with us and for Josh’s obedience to act when he did.

After the surgery I had to have ultrasounds every other day to check on the babies. After about two weeks we did lose one of them. I knew it before the ultra-sound technician said it but I didn’t want to speak it out loud. After having as many ultrasounds as I had, I grew pretty good at identifying everything.

We went home that day and grieved the loss of our little one. I wondered if I had done too much too soon and contributed to it’s death, but the doctor reassured me I had not. It was just not strong enough to endure all that we had been through together.

For the next two weeks I still had to have ultrasounds every other day to monitor the other baby and see if she would live. Of course, at the time we didn’t know it was a she, but she did live. She was strong– and she still is… incredibly strong in will, spirit and body. God made her that way so that she would survive with me. I praise God for her life and I know that someday, we will see her twin, whom we named Skylar Reagan, in the glories of heaven.

After I healed from the surgery, the rest of my pregnancy went back to being just as perfect as it was before the ovary episode. Our sweet little baby made it and on March 3, 2005 our first baby, Aven Salei La Fon-Cox was born. It was  of the happiest days of my life. Josh and I cherished every single moment of being parents and having Aven in our lives was all that we had hoped and dreamed for and so much more!

Aven was a month premature I might add, but very healthy and beautiful. She was a footling breech baby and danced her way out. I remember every time I went in for an ultrasound they said, “She’s doing great, she looks healthy and normal, but her legs are measuring almost two weeks ahead of schedule.” Ha! That’s because she’s got her daddies long legs! I went back to work two weeks after having Aven do direct an Easter Musical production. Aven was brought into this world through cesarean and although I still had an incredible amount of healing that needed to take place, I felt nothing but the JOY of the Lord!

Although I loved the work that I was doing for the Lord at the time serving as Music Minister and Administrative Assistant, I was beginning to grieve my time away from Aven. I didn’t want to leave her everyday. I wanted to be with her every moment that I could. It was also hard for me to leave her because she had something called “torticollis” which involves the muscles of the neck. Because Aven was in the footling or standing breech position for so long, her head was pressed up into my diaphragm. This kept her neck in a bent position and caused her to have not only a weak, crooked neck, but her little face was also crooked. Something that straightened out as she grew and nothing that hindered her beauty! But she would choke easily and often. The doctors we saw gave us instructions on how to care for her which involved constant attention. Even when she was sleeping, for the first six months while she went through therapy, we had to allow her to sleep upright in a vertical position either propped up or held on our chest because she choked so easily when asleep. The doctors also were concerned about her being in a day care where workers caring for many children might not notice right away if she were choking.

All of this just made me want more and more to be a stay at home mama and not work outside of the home. The joy of being a mother was the greatest experience of my life and I didn’t want anything coming between me and the precious and fleeting time with my baby.

There were so many wonderful changes that came to my life from being a mother and I embraced them all. I became very thankful for my infertility treatment because I knew it had prepared me for being a mother. And then, God revealed something else to me which was incredibly significant and took me back to the scripture of John 13:7 when Jesus said, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  A moment had come for Jesus to reveal to me something which helped give me great understanding my infertility. I can’t remember the exact date I learned this, but sometime after Aven was born I remember Josh had a strange memory come to him. Something that he had forgotten about for years but suddenly remembered. He said that he had been told a story about me by one of his family members. It was told to him many years ago back when he was a kid and I was a very young adult, maybe still a teen myself. The rumor was that I had an abortion.

When I first heard this it took me a moment to process. Did I hear that right? That I had an abortion??? Me? A person who has loved, taught and worked with children for the majority of my life? Are you kidding?? Once I had a hold of the information an explosion of feelings shot through my mind, body and spirit. Pain, anger, confusion, bewilderment all went roaring through me. Why on earth would someone say something so cruel about me?

At first, I couldn’t understand it and I wasn’t angry that he told me or that he had been told by one of his family members. I honestly felt that God put that information to his family so that I could learn it. I had never heard it before, not from anyone. Who told it didn’t really matter. What mattered was it wasn’t true. I was never pregnant before I was pregnant with Aven. Not even in the times I thought I was or thought I had a miscarriage when Josh and I were first married. Dr. Nemiro explained that when a cyst on an ovary erupts, it can cause pain and bleeding, and so sometimes the symptoms can be mistaken for early miscarriages, especially if a monthly cycle had been skipped.

I don’t believe that God placed infertility upon me anymore than I would believe God placing illness on someone else. That is not how God works. He doesn’t punish us, Jesus took all the punishment needed for sin and GIVES us healing! Our troubles come from our enemy who seeks to destroy us in every way possible. We live in the world where sadly bad things often happen. I believe that God works through those circumstances to help us, teach us, mold and shape us, to bring us into a closer relationship with Him and to bring something beautiful from the ashes. Just like it is written in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” After spending time in prayer about this painful rumor, the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. I began to see how God used the circumstances of my infertility to prove that rumor to be false. I don’t know how many people heard and repeated it but for those who heard the story of my infertility it should bring up some important questions. How could a woman who could not conceive a child without the help of extreme tests, shots, medications, and surgeries to get pregnant, spending over the $55k given for treatment possibly have had an abortion? The answer… she couldn’t. The truth is… I didn’t.

I prayed and thanked God for revealing to me the story. I did not know of it until Josh spoke it and I thought, how amazing that of all the people in the world, the man who would one day be my husband and father of my children heard it. Why? So he could let me know that it was out there and so that I could find more understanding about my road of infertility.

Now,  in a world where abortions are common and in some places even celebrated into legislature, there may be some reading this who may wonder why is it important that I learned such a story was out there about myself and why it would bother me so much. I can answer that with three words:  my children’s ministry. My life’s work is in serving and protecting children. This is part of God’s plan for my life and He knew that story could rise up and come against me in the future if it kept going. Again, and always, God was and is with me, working for my good. Even when I didn’t see it, even when I didn’t understand. He was there. Now, I do see it and I do understand and I am so thankful for everything I went through because it not only killed out that wicked story, it also transformed me into the mother and child advocate that I am today. The only thing I wish could have been different is that Josh and I could have paid for the treatments and my mother could have kept all that money for herself. Other than that, I know every circumstance taught me something I needed to learn and brought me closer to God, and I would never trade that for anything. I also feel it is important to say that I personally do not cast judgement on anyone woman out there who has had an abortion and

Never was I pregnant before Aven, and never have I had an abortion. I love children dearly and have devoted my life to serving, protecting, providing for, caring for, educating and hoping to make them happy. I firmly believe that outside of the grace and salvation of Jesus Christ, our children are the greatest gifts our Heavenly Father God can bestow upon our lives.

I have learned that God does work in mysterious ways and I could see how my journey through infertility would not only help me become more compassionate and understanding of others who walk that road, it would make me so grateful for every moment I got to be a mother and also set my name and reputation of serving children free from any wickedness that was spoken to try and destroy it. God can use anything, including infertility for something good.

Fast forward about eighteen months after Aven was born and I started feeling strange. I told Josh, “You know, if I didn’t know better, I would think I was pregnant.” But of course, in our minds that was impossible, right? I had all these things wrong with me, I couldn’t possibly get pregnant without surgery and medication. But…

With God ALL things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

I was right, I was pregnant. God blessed us richly by healing me so that I could conceive a baby the good old fashioned way, which is so much more fun than infertility treatments. 😉  And FREE!

I learned the wonderful news of our new precious baby the week of Thanksgiving 2004 and oh my goodness we were beyond grateful! When I learned that I was pregnant with another precious child, I resigned from my job. I wanted to be home and not miss a moment.

(I began writing this blog after Mother’s Day in May 2020 and worked on it off and on. Today is June 17, 2020 one of the happiest days of my life!)

On June 17, 2005 Josh and I were blessed yet again with our beautiful, sweet, loving MaCaedyn Janei La Fon-Cox whom we loving call our Kooshla bear. I was in baby heaven and was never happier. After two months, MaCaedyn was involved in a crazy accident which is another blog for another time, but again, and always, God was with us and protected her life.

Aven loved being a “Big Sissy” and always wanted to hold and take of “her baby”.
We were so in love with these two precious girls and thought we were richly blessed when God decided to pour out even more blessings upon us. MaCaedyn is a beautiful child, not just on the outside but also on the inside. She gifted musically and has a tenderness, love and compassion that runs deep within her. She works with me constantly for our family’s organization for children in need, The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. and I see her working in ministry with children with me for many years to come.

Eighteen months after I had MaCaedyn, even though we were using birth control, I got pregnant again!!! This time with our beautiful boy, our “brother bear”, Samuel Braeden La Fon-Cox. He was an early Christmas gift for me coming into the world on December 12, 2006. I know I am partial, but he seriously was one of the most beautiful baby boys this world has even seen and he is growing into a beautiful young man. The girls are definitely going to be swooning in the years ahead!

The joy of being able to have my own children is something I honestly didn’t know I would ever experience. I asked God and He answered me. The joy that these three children have brought into Josh and I’s lives is absolutely irreplaceable, priceless and constant. I know that my life would never be as full and rich if I didn’t have them. Yes, they are all three firecrackers, we don’t have an easy one in the bunch. But I know God has a plan for all of them.

This past Mother’s Day and today with MaCaedyn’s birthday, I reflected upon all these things more than I usually do. This is a strange time for the world. The Covid19 Pandemic has changed things greatly, some for the good and some for the worse. But for me, these days with my family being so cozily secluded in our home have been priceless and precious. I know that there are so many others out there in the world who are not as blessed as we are. Many are alone, many are with empty nests and cannot have their children or grandchildren with them. Many have lost loved ones due to this crazy killing Covid. So I am extra thankful and know I am extra blessed.

God is so good to me. I could thank Him every minute of the rest of my life and it still wouldn’t be enough for all that He has done for me. So, I write my stories and share them with others who might need encouragement.

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus or our Heavenly Father God, Jehovah and would like to learn more about them, please never hesitate to contact me. My personal email is

I always want to talk about Jesus and the goodness of God and will be happy to help you.
If you are walking on the road of infertility and just need a safe place to talk, I am here for that too.

Always remember that Jesus loves you, no matter what and He told us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!”

Jesus knew we would have trouble in this world, that’s why He promised to never leave us. In closing I just want to say a prayer of thanks…

Thank You Father God for answering my prayer to make me a mother.
Thank You, Father God, for giving me the father for my children that You have and
Thank You, thank You, THANK YOU for the children that you blessed me with!
I love them with all my heart and soul and will always be so grateful that You made me
a mother!


Covid19 Pandemic – Entry 5 “The Soldiers of World War C”

World War C has begun. It is a war between Covid19 and citizens of the world.

The virus has no racism, prejudices, or preferences. If you are alive, that’s reason enough for it to attack you.

Those who are on “The Front” are not soldiers of the Army or Marines, they are not sailors in the Navy or the Coast Guard, and they are not pilots in the Air Force.

They do not carry rifles, they carry stethoscopes and thermometers.
They do not defend with tanks, but with ventilators.

They cannot order an airstrike before they send in boots on the ground, because they cannot see their foe.

These soldiers do not wear helmets or armor. They wear “P.P.E.”, masks, rubber gloves, and protective robes–and there is not enough of what they need. Still, united together and standing strong, they gather the defenses they have and engage in battle.

They have no refuge, no bunkers, no forts. There is no place they can retreat because their enemy is everywhere all over the world. For these soldiers there is no rest, there is no pause, and at present it seems as if there is no end. The battles rage on every minute, every hour, every day on a global scale.

The attack of the enemy crept in slowly at first. Many didn’t believe it was real… some still don’t. But these soldiers, even though they are afraid and even when they know they are outnumbered, have boldly answered the call for help and have stepped forward in courage to the front as their enemy spreads like wildfire.

Acting while scared displays the greatest form of courage. These soldiers are all the best of us, willingly putting their own lives at risk and displaying through their diligence the very definitions of bravery, compassion, and giving.

Right before our eyes “World War C” against Covid 19 is taking place. It is a new type of war, and a new type of soldier who says, “I am here to help you.” These soldiers don’t stop fighting because our enemy is invisible and constantly attacking, showing no mercy to any it encounters.

Covid 19 has been called “The Great Equalizer” taking old and young, rich and poor,
weak and strong, in people of every nation, of every race, of every faith and gender. All are prey to its destruction.

This enemy does not sleep. It does not stop. It shows no mercy and seeks to devour all that it encounters. But these soldiers will not quit. They know there is no military leave during this war, and they know the troop numbers are limited.

These soldiers are fighting the good fight with what resources of weaponry they have…
but the demand is greater than the supply and the weapons of warfare are scarce.

Though these soldiers are constantly calling for reinforcements for their kind of ammunition, production is gradual and some cannot be rushed.  Every weapon of defense must be created and tested with perfect functionality. There is no margin for error. All weapons must suffice the needs of the soldiers or else the fatalities will continue to increase.

As they days pass by and the numbers of those attacked by the enemy rise, it seems as if these soldiers will never see an end to World War C. I am quite sure they all feel totally overwhelmed, exhausted and scared.

They need our help.

Our doctors, nurses, first-responders, medical workers, care givers, hospital staff, all those who are facing the deadly Covid19 virus have been transformed overnight into soldiers and they are all facing it with courage, compassion, intelligence, creativity and excellence.

Every night after I tuck my kids in bed, yes, I am tucking in my teenagers with hugs and kisses on the head, I think of how blessed we are to be living in a place that is safe and peaceful. Yet, as I lay my head down to rest, all I can think about are these amazing soldiers on the front and what battles of hell they are constantly engaging in while the rest of us sleep.

So what I can I do to help them?

I don’t have funds to send.
I don’t have the medical equipment they need nor can I produce any.
I don’t have any knowledge that I can pass along to anyone trying to find a cure.
I don’t have the ability protect them.
I don’t have the means to give them any professional or sufficient hands on assistance.

So what can I do?

The best that I can do is stay home and pray.

I have a relationship and a direct line to the throne room of an incredible, powerful, loving, giving God who is still on His throne.

I have had dozens of personal miracles from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! His power has not changed.

I can go to the Bible, the Word of God, the truth of God, and I can read the scriptures aloud, calling out for help.

I can read them out to Jehovah Jireh, our provider, Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”, to provide all the needs of these soldiers.

Jehovah Shammah, God with us, and know, without doubt that He will fulfill His promises. Genesis 28:15 “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.”

There is power in prayer and those of us who understand that, and know how to boldly enter into the throne room of God, need to be calling out day, night and the minutes in between (1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without Ceasing”) for these soldiers, these incredible, amazing, courageous doctors, nurses and care givers. John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

We can intercede for them everyday and take their requests to Yahweh, our Mighty God.
We can ask the Holy Spirit to bring them strength, wisdom, and peace that passes all understanding.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We can pray and ask the Lord Jesus to pour out His power of healing that He gave us through the stripes He bore upon His back.

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

Prayer and staying home are the best we can do to help these troops as they battle
World War C.

Intercessors. Prayer warriors. They need us. Let’s not fail them.






Covid19 Pandemic – Entry 3 “Reality, Wisdom, Compassion, Thankfulness… Are We Lacking?”

Today is March 19, 2020 and the world is learning to live within a new reality, the reality of the Covid19 Pandemic.

But not everyone is believing this reality.

Although we have medical professionals from all over the globe teaching us about the Covid19 virus, what the symptoms are, how to stay healthy, and what we all need to do to protect one another, there are those out there who still claim this to be “not that serious” or “this is the media just creating fear and panic” or “this is the deep state going after President Trump”–just to name a few.

It’s hard for me to process how anyone could possibly believe, speak or write words like this when there are people in nations all over this world suffering and dying with this virus.

As I have said many times, I am not a political person and I am a registered Independent voter. This is not a political blog. It is a place for me to write out my feelings during this time, document what I see and hear so that when we pass through this time I can look back upon all that I have learned.

What I am learning is that there are many people out there who refuse to accept reality and the reality is, people are dying.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) has been on the frontline for months trying to teach people all over the world the seriousness of Covid19 and what it can lead to if strong actions not taken.

Yet, there are those who will not accept this reality and want to pretend the virus is the vindictive action of a political party or that it is being “blown out of proportion” as one college student on spring break in Florida spoke today on the news.

It bewilders the mind that anyone would speak words like these when there are countries all over the world battling the same disease. Do these people believe that the same politicians went and released the virus in those countries too?

Just in case you don’t follow the news or online sources for updates on Covid19, here are some sobering realities. These are the numbers of countries that are currently battling Covid19. This was copied directly from the  website of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as of today, 3/19/20, at 6:52 pm

Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, by
WHO Region (World Health Organization)


  • Algeria
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eswatini
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Mauritania
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Zambia


  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guadalupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay
  • United States

Eastern Mediterranean

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates


  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Holy See (Vatican City)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

South-East Asia

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Maldives
  • Mongolia
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand

Western Pacific

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Fiji
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam
World Health Organization, on 3/19/20, at 6:52pm 
These are the numbers of those infected, worldwide as of 3/19/20 at 6:54 pm
245,612 current cases
10,048 deaths
88, 437 recoveries
147,127 active cases
98,485 closed cases which had an outcome (including the death toll)
Of course, by the time I finish writing this, all the numbers above will change.
This is our reality right now. No, it isn’t the reality we want to have. We all want the freedom of our regular lives, to worship, work, school, shop, play, celebrate, and explore. But that isn’t possible or wise right now. Which brings me to my next point.
I am a God-fearing, Jesus loving, Bible-believing mama and I believe that God gives us help directly from His divine hand. I also believe that God uses His children to help one another.
We can trust these good medical professionals and their wisdom of this virus. We can trust all that God has shown them about this virus and all that we need to do to keep ourselves and our families safe. God tells us in Proverbs 2:11 “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” 
The entire book of Proverbs is full of God’s teachings for us to be wise. I encourage you to get a Bible or look up the book of Proverbs online to learn for yourself what God’s Word says about obtaining and using wisdom. We must be wise during this time. We must be vigilant and diligent during this time to keep our families safe and do what we are being told.
I was in a Walmart when I heard a lady say aloud “I don’t understand all of this stupidity. It’s just like the flu.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci (who I wish I could nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize and should be!) has been teaching us for months that this is not like the flu. He has told us time and time again, it is ten times more lethal.
Respecting the quarantines that are being put in place because of the studies which have been done and the examples of what we have seen in other countries is not just about you. It is about others whom you might infect. Have we forgotten that freedom is a blessing and a privilege? Has our freedom made us totally selfish and self-centered that we cannot show compassion for others? Which brings me to my next point.
As the founder/director of The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc, 501c3 organization for children in need which is run by my family, we strive to serve children all over this world without bias. In our work, we see both sides of people’s hearts every day. We see those who live open-handed with open hearts full of compassion and we see those who live with their hands clutched tight and their hearts are not open so they are not being filled with compassion.
We do not judge them. We do not ridicule or scold them. We do not mock them. No. We pray for them and hope they can learn to open their hearts to others because it’s a wonderful way to live.
Every time I hear someone speak or read posted words as I have listed above, my heart immediately thinks of those who have already lost loved ones to Covid 19. The photo that I have at the top of this blog was taken from Bergamo, Italy.
I watched a video diary of an American woman whose family was living in Italy and she has given daily accounts of what has taken place there. My heart broke when she described how because this is such a contagious disease, people are dying alone. Doctors and nurses are with them, but none of the family or friends are by their beds as they pass on.
The lady explained that there are so many coffins waiting their turn for cremation that they have to stack them in churches and other areas. It is absolutely heartbreaking and my prayers have been with all of the thousands who are mourning lost loved ones that Jesus would pour out on them His peace that passes all understanding.
This triggered the memory of the night my Mema passed away. She was placed in hospice because she had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and then contracted pneumonia. It was very late at night and all of the family had come to visit during the days before to give their love and last hugs good-bye. My Aunt Cookie and Uncle Sam were watching tv and I had laid at the end of her bed by her feet. This was something I would always do when I went to visit her after school or work. My mom was sitting by her side, holding her hand and the nurse was talking with us. We began telling funny stories of Mema’s life and were laughing when the nurse said, “She’s about to take her last breaths.”
The four of us all gathered around her, holding her hands, stroking her hair. Thanking her for being such a wonderful mother and grandmother as she passed. I told my husband it was like we just gently handed her to Jesus and knew that my grandpa was close by waiting for her too.
I also watched an interview with two sisters who had lost their mother, their oldest sister, and two older brothers and still have three siblings on life support. The loss is real. The suffering is real.
I cannot imagine how tragic and painful it would be to lose so many family members within the same couple of days. I cannot imagine knowing one of my loved ones was dying and I had to be kept out and away from them so I would not get sick and they had to die without being held, or kissed good-bye.
This is what led me to write this blog today. We need to have a perspective check to stop only thinking about ourselves and how this inconveniences us. Let your hearts go beyond your doorstep and let’s start looking at the bigger picture toward those out there who are walking under the shadow of Covid19.

We all need to work together and do it with love, respect, and compassion for others.

Would anyone dare to speak harsh or ignorant words to the face of a person who is currently battling this virus? Would they say such things to the doctors and nurses, our new soldiers battling a new kind of war? Would they dare say such things to a person who just lost their wife… husband… father… mother… sister… brother… or child to this virus?
I certainly hope not.
I know my words might not reach very far, but all I know to do during this time to help others is to pray, post scriptures and write. And I felt led to write and ask anyone who may read this who isn’t taking this virus and it’s destruction seriously, please, watch your words. Please, open your hearts to be filled with compassion for others who are suffering from this virus or who have already lost loved ones. Covid19 is real. It is not being blown out of proportion. It has no preferences. It will take anyone it can get.
In closing, I want to address my last point.
Tomorrow night I will be preparing for my family’s dinner a turkey, with all the fixings! It was the only meat I could find in the grocery store the other day. So we are going to have 2nd Thanksgiving.
We have so much to be thankful for!
If you, your children, family, and friends are healthy-BE THANKFUL!
If you have a home to be quarantined in with all of your personal comforts and family members- BE THANKFUL!
If you have food in your refrigerator and pantry–BE THANKFUL!
If you have toilet paper! BE THANKFUL! 🙂
If you have a job, even if you can’t work it right now–BE THANKFUL! Jehovah Jirah, God our Provider will supply your needs–and I can say that from experience!
If you live in the USA and have access to amazing doctors and nurses in case of need–
If you and your family have a warm bed to sleep in–BE THANKFUL!
If you have clean water to drink, bathe in and wash clothes and household items–BE THANKFUL!
The list goes on and on. Just look around you and everything you see that is good is from GOD! SO BE THANKFUL!
Let’s deal with this temporary new reality with WISDOM, COMPASSION, and THANKFULNESS. It will make it a bit easier and it will make our Heavenly Father smile.
If we put our trust in Him, He will bring us through this and we will be wiser on the other side. We are all in this together, let’s get through it with love!
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
(Emphasis added)

Covid 19 Pandemic – Entry 1 “The Beauty of Human Hearts”

I guess using the phrase “It’s the talk of all the land” would not be an exaggeration when it comes to the constant discussions swarming the globe right now about the Coronavirus aka Covid19 Pandemic. Although this blog which might be a series of posts yet to come are going to be completely about life while dealing with the virus, the blog is not exactly what you might think. I urge you, read on, this is meant to uplift you!

I was thinking yesterday that this is my first experience with a pandemic. It is the first pandemic for most of us, and since it is all so new and we are experiencing things we haven’t ever seen before, I wanted to document my personal perspectives so that in the years to come I can look back to remember and see all that I have learned.

Today is March 15, 2020.

As of today, my family, friends, myself and my relatives are all in good health–and I pray it stays that way!

I live in Phoenix, Arizona in the northern part of the city close to the Paradise Valley boundaries. (Unfortunately I live too close to PV because the PV courts for people like me, who sometimes get speeding tickets, are higher than anywhere else in the state! bleh)

I am pretty much a news junkie. I watch all the stations I can that will give me fresh stories, briefings on current events, and updates on world issues. I also like to read articles, though to be honest, I don’t have as much time for that as I would like, so I often catch up on topics from my husband, Josh, who loves to read breaking news articles off the little rectangle clutched in his hand known as a cell phone. We have been following the Covid19 story for months now while it was storming through China.

We have stayed current on the locations of the virus, the symptoms, how it is spread, how to prevent it and although we are not living in fear of it, we are living sensibly and responsibly to avoid it.

Last week, our refrigerator broke down and we had to throw out all our frozen foods and a great deal of our perishables. Although we are hoping to get that taken care of week, for the time being we have to go out to stores daily to get just enough things that our family needs but not too much so that it would spoil. Fun, right? Seriously though, if that is the worst thing we have going on, we are MORE than blessed.

Yesterday I visited a few stores to get some supplies for my family and a couple items for my new Huggabear book for Easter. I went to the 99 Cent Only store (which is NOT 99 Cents only!), Sprouts, Walmart and Hobby Lobby.

As I went from place to place I saw such beautiful examples of human hearts living at their best and I thought, “I want to go home and write about all that I am seeing.”

I think when the world has moments of darkness there are those whom God uses to shine His light the brightest. I always hope to be one of those lights of the world and I certainly did see many of them yesterday.

Just so that you have a better understanding of why I was so deeply impacted by what I saw in my community, I need to explain that I do a LOT of shopping.  For those of you who don’t know me, my family has a nonprofit organization for children in need and we also do projects to serve our amazing Veterans. There are months, like November and December, where I am out shopping daily for weeks at a time. I enjoy using Amazon and online stores here and there, but I was raised with my grandfather, Samuel Boone, who was a man that loved to shop and taught me well how to do it!

I love to get out, find items I need, support my local businesses, and interact with people. It’s how I’m made and when I go out, I like to watch people. I’m not a person who loves my cell phone, I do not regularly keep a small rectangle clutched in my hand. I only use my phone to make calls and take and post photos. I try to text but get too frustrated with the time it takes me. I keep thinking, “I could have sent 10 messages on my laptop in the time that it is taking me to peck out this message on a tiny keyboard!” Now don’t get me wrong, for those of you who love your phones, I am not against them and it doesn’t bother me at all if you love your phone. I actually have stronger feelings in my life toward a larger technical rectangle that is often found upon my lap. So please do not think that I am judging you because you love your phone. I believe phones and laptops have their time and place… I just don’t think that time is all of the time or in every single place. Right now, at this very moment, I honestly have no idea where my cell phone is. Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care.

I tell you all of this because I want you to understand human interaction is important to me. When I stand in line at at store, or walk through a store or a store parking lot, I am usually looking around at people and sometimes I talk to them, say perhaps if we are in the same line and there was a great sale on honey-crisp apples that we are happy to have discovered, casual things like that. I like this kind of interaction with people because I love people.

Yesterday, I set out on my quest and knowing that there is a strong urgency in our nation to keep safe social distancing I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I would probably see the small rectangles clutched in people’s hands that hold their attention captive, but I didn’t know how other people were going to interpret what social distancing was.

I also didn’t know what items I would find to purchase due to people stocking up on supplies for the next few weeks. This honestly did not bother me at all. If I had a working fridge, I would be totally stocked up too. And the toilet people crisis makes sense to me! After all, if people who are used to being in offices or places of employment, and children who are usually at school all day suddenly have to stay at home for two weeks, those tushies must be cleaned! So none of those things bothered me or my family. It became like a quest.

“What? No toilet paper at Walmart? Let’s try Frys! None there? Try Home Depot!
What? None THERE? How about Office Max? No wait! I know! Let’s try the mini mart on the corner that no one ever goes to unless they are buying cigarettes and beer.
YES! Victory is ours!” (
That, by the way, is a true story!)

Our toilet paper stashing experience was actually quite comical and fun. We laughed the whole time and invested in packages of napkins too–just in case. 😉

When I went into the first store yesterday, I saw some shelves and normal stacks of products cleared, but it overall it wasn’t bad. But what struck me the most were the people. In every store I visited, people had their heads up, smiling and were being so kind to one another. I didn’t see anyone clutching a little rectangle in their hand. I didn’t hear anything but kind words, people being patient and tolerant with one another. In fact, in two stores, the 99 Cent Store and Walmart, there were times when I was surrounded by the sound of laughter. Healthy, hearty laughter.

I kid you not, even as I sit writing this blog outside on my Huggabear porch, I am hearing the sounds of laughter coming from children in the neighborhood who are tickled pink that our Gov. Doug Duecy has cancelled school next week. To me, one of the greatest sounds that can be found in this world is the sound of giggling children.

I didn’t hear anyone making jokes about the seriousness of the pandemic, no. But they were making light of the shopping situations of there being no toilet paper… or paper towels… or Lysol… or bleach… or–you get the picture.

There was no fighting. There was no frustration. If it was there, I didn’t see it. I didn’t hear it. I only saw goodness, kindness, patience and respect for one another, even with keeping their distances. They weren’t touching each other’s skin, but they were touching each others hearts. They touched my heart. I was so proud that I lived in such a community. It was a beautiful thing.

Again, for those of you who don’t know me, I have the blessing and privilege of home schooling my kids… which you also might be doing for the next few weeks! When we first started studying Covid19, I told them I just knew that through this terrible virus, God was going to do something great. That God could take anything horrible and use it to do something beautiful. So far, that is what I have experienced personally in the various places of town that I have gone. The demonstration of beautiful human hearts. People telling each other, “Stay safe!” “Stay healthy!” and showing kindness is a remarkable thing! The people that I encountered understood that we are all in this together (Cue Zac Efron). Because this is affecting every nation it is bringing us closer together, even though we have to stay a safe distance apart for now. The closeness is coming from our compassion.

I told my children that we would see the beauty of humanity during this time and I was blessed enough to see a glimpse of it yesterday.

I have loved watching the videos from Italy of people stepping out onto their balconies to sing to one another or play their national anthem to keep their spirits boosted. We need to lift one another up during this time. This virus has no politics. It has no racism and it has no prejudices. It will take hold anyone it can get. It is real and it is serious, but we don’t have to be afraid. We have to be wise.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I can tell you, He has never failed me yet. He has healed me time and time again. He has protected me and my family over and over and we are putting all our hope and trust in Him. God’s Word is truth and  Jesus told us that this would happen in Luke 21:11 “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” and He also teaches us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I love that verse so much! It brings me peace because I know Jesus loves me and my family. I also know, without any doubt whatsoever that Jesus loves YOU.

2 Chronicles 20:9 says ‘Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.’

As I traveled from place to place yesterday I turned my radio off and everywhere I went I prayed for the people of my community. Every street full of cars, every store, every person on the street, every home I passed by. People probably thought I was a crazy lady walking around mumbling. MUMBLER! But that’s okay. I’m not ashamed. I love to pray because I know there is power in it!

This is what Christians need to be doing to battle this virus. If you haven’t already, I encourage to turn to Jesus. Please don’t let past experiences with people who may not have represented Him well stop you from knowing the greatest love you will ever find. He is with you even now as you read this, quietly waiting for you to turn to Him. I encourage you to do that. Because when you walk with Jesus, He gives you strength beyond measure, wisdom beyond knowledge, and peace that passes all understanding. And then there is His love, never-ending, unconditional, powerful, merciful, forgiving love.

If you ever would like to talk with me more about Jesus, message me and we will definitely make that happen! Email me at
I can’t promise you that a life with Jesus is nothing but a bed of roses, but it is greater than anything this world has to offer. In times like these it gives you the confidence and courage you need to stand strong in the darkness and know that He is with you.

There are people out there who might not take Covid 19 seriously, but for those who do, I thank you. Your respect for not just your health but the health of others shows that you are a person of compassion and have regard overall for the betterment of humankind.

I don’t know that all my blog posts about Covid 19 will be this long. I just wanted to share with you tonight what was in my heart and encourage you not to be afraid.

Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified to not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!”

Thank you for reading! If you would like any of my book s as a FREE ebook, please email me at

I am giving ALL my book away for free during this time!

May the Lord God bless you and keep you and your family safe!

The Last Twenty Dollars – A Story of Obedience, Faith and Trust

I have had many miracles performed by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, throughout my life and it has been laid upon my heart to write them down for others to read. I know that faith lies within the heart of the believer, but I am hoping that through my family’s testimonies of miracles, people will learn that God, Jehovah, is real. He is alive. His only Son, Jesus Christ is real and He is alive. And the Holy Spirit of God is real and with us, helping and comforting us.

This is a true story that happened many years ago.

The year was 2007. Josh had just been laid off from Countrywide Financial. When the housing market crashed in 2006 and Josh had no work as a home appraiser, we tried to do our best to stay afloat and keep all we had… but that wasn’t part of God’s plan. We ended up losing our home, selling a truck, and declaring bankruptcy. It was a tough time for sure, but we would have rather lost those kinds of things as opposed to losing one of our babies or each other.

At this time we had three babies, Aven was almost five, MaCaedyn was two and Samuel Braeden was about a year old. We were living with my mom. She had a two-bedroom condo and we arranged all five of us in one of the rooms, which was (thank God!) a second master bedroom with a walk-in closet. It wasn’t what we dreamed of, but since the children were babies, they loved it and we were safe, had shelter, comfy beds, warmth in the winter and air conditioning in the summer–which in Phoenix is a great blessing!

Josh had been doing everything he could to find work, but the country was in a recession and there wasn’t much work to be found. Still, he got up every day and searched for a job, putting applications anywhere and everywhere he could. He took any day job he could find, big or small, no matter how much it paid.

There were some who thought we were a little bit crazy because during this time God had spoken to us to start a 501c3 nonprofit organization for children, which we did. It is called The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc.

Although this work took a lot of time for both of us, we felt very strongly led by God that we would never take a salary for doing it and we never have. Doing the work for children in need brings us so much joy and taught us that even in the circumstances we were in, we were not poor. We serve children in other nations who live in poverty, children who are orphans or their parents have put them in orphanages because they can’t afford to care for them. In America we serve children who don’t have proper clothing, shoes, have medical or educational needs, children that don’t have proper housing or even a bed. We know what poverty is because of the work that we do. We have experienced financial struggles, but we have never poor.

We always had a place to live where we were sheltered and safe.
We always had electricity, running water and indoor plumbing.
We always had food and clean water to drink and bathe in.
We always had clothes, shoes, medical care, and warm beds to sleep in.
We had toys and educational tools for our children.
No. We have never poor.

Still, the Lord tests us from time to time, and I’m very thankful we had this test.

Although we had applied for different assistance programs, we received cards that had nothing on them. While Josh was trying to work this out, we had help from my family members and friends, but Josh wanted a job. He is a hard and dedicated worker and wanted to provide for his family again, just like so many millions of other Americans at that time.

Josh had done a day job one week that helped us along for several days, but when you have babies, there is a constant need for diapers, wipes, pullups, and milk–especially a big baby boy like Samuel B.!

We went to church one night to hear a special speaker who had come in to teach people about the power of giving and being obedient to God’s Word where our finances were concerned. It was a pretty full house that night. After church, we were going to stop by a Walmart and buy some diapers and milk. We had $20.

Sometimes when I say that people think $20 was all we had in our wallet.
No. Let me be very clear, that was all – we – had. The savings was gone, the home was gone, there was no income. The $20 bill that Josh had in his wallet was it.

During the sermon, the pastor taught that “When God tells you to do or give something, don’t put it off. Obedience is immediate, and if you delay in your obedience, you delay or completely miss the blessing God has for you.”

Then it was time to pray. We prayed for the people of our church and for so many others in the country who were struggling like we were. We prayed for the children of our organization and all the needs that we knew they had, and we prayed for Josh’s job.

When the prayer was over, I felt Josh grab hold of my hand. I looked at his face, and without saying one word, I knew was he was telling me. Tears began to well up in my eyes.

“I have to give it,” he whispered, “God told me to.”

I nodded and squeezed his hand. There has never been a time that I have experienced when Josh did not give when he was told to. I have been there when he jumped out of a car at an intersection with an umbrella in his hand to give to an old woman crossing the street, “Pick me up over there!” was all I heard as he took off. I have seen him jump out of our car to take off his coat, not checking the pockets or anything, and give it to a homeless man on the street who only had a small blanket during one of our coldest January days. I know his heart. It is beautiful, strong and giving. So when he told me that he had to give our last $20, I didn’t say one word. That was between God and Josh and I had nothing to speak to it.

When the offering plate came, I watched as Josh placed the crinkled, tattered $20 bill into the plate. As it passed by me, it was like it was moving in slow motion and all I could do was cry. I trusted God. I trusted Josh. Still, it was a hard moment. Obedience sometimes is.

After the service was over, the pastor’s wife came to me and said, “The Evangelist told me that I was to give this some families in the congregation that are in need. I know your situation and wanted to give this to you.”

She then handed me $220 in cash.

I’ll let that sink into your heart for a moment.

God tested us with something that might have seemed small to many, but for us, it was huge. God knew it was our last $20, no one else did, but He knew and He wanted to see if we would be obedient to give it when asked. Josh was obedient and I supported him.

Our God, Jehovah Jirah, blessed us ten times what we gave because we were obedient to Him. He turned our mourning into dancing– and danced we did! All through the Walmart as we stocked up on diapers, wipes, pullups, and milk! People were literally staring at us as we happily filled up our shopping cart with baby supplies, but we didn’t care. We were as giddy as kids going to Disneyland!

God not only blessed our family with a great gift that helped sustain our children and our needs during that time, He showed us that obedience brings great blessings. God loves us always. He wants to bless us always, but just like all children, we have to be obedient to what He says. If Josh had disobeyed and not given that money, we would had have enough to buy a little. But because he was obedient, we were sustained in baby needs for a few weeks… all because of God’s unending love.

God also wanted to let us know He hadn’t forgotten us. We were in the “Carpenter’s Shop” as one of my characters, Obadiah O’Sullivan, teaches about in The Intercessors books. The “Carpenter’s Shop” is a place where Jesus builds and shapes our lives to be beautiful and prepare us to do magnificent things for His Kingdom. Still, being shaped, cut, hammered on, sanded and stained can sometimes be a painful process. It is sometimes harder to understand why God allows the trial you are in, while you are in the midst of the trial. It is easier to see why He allowed it once the storm has passed.

If we hadn’t walked this road we would never have known what it is like for so many people out there who are in need of assistance and during this time, there were millions of people all over the world experiencing trials just like we were. This experience, along with many others, is an example of how God taught us to live with open hands. He wanted to teach us to be better givers and to trust Him completely and always be obedient–immediately.

God loves all of His children, whether they love Him or not. Jesus loves and died for everyone whether they believe in Him or not. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life!” John 3:16. Nothing can change the love Jesus, and Jehovah, our Heavenly Father God have for you. I hope to encourage you with this story and other stories that I write that having a relationship with the God who created you and His Son, Jesus who both adore you more than you will ever understand, is a decision you will not regret. My hope is that you will and when you do, always obey God’s Word and heed to the still small whisper of His Holy Spirit. If you do, your life will be filled with the sweet goodness and blessings of the Lord that you will never find anywhere else!