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!”


A Divine Dream, Two Divine Signs, and A Confirmation About Huggabear Farm

The story which I am about to tell you, at least to me, is nothing short of amazing. A very clear message sent from God to myself, my husband and our children. You may not believe what I am about to write and that is okay. I thank you all the same for taking the time to read it. Never-the-less, whether anyone believes this story or not, it is all 100% true.

Before I begin the story I need to explain the reasoning for my writing it today.

In the month of March my oldest child, Aven Salei, turned 18 and my honorary niece Valerie Nerone had come to visit her. During her visit she shared with us the name of an inspiring pastor she had been watching online during the Covid months. His name is Pastor Michael Todd of the Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Our family watched a sermon he gave on the first Sunday of January 2020 and it was all about “Vision”. In the sermon he told us that when God gives you a vision of something that He wants you to do, you need to write it down. I had the idea to write this blog before I heard him say that, but felt more led to get it done after I heard his sermon. Then Easter came and with it our Huggabear Children’s Project work so the blog was delayed.

Then today we watched his sermon that was from the first Sunday of January 2021 called “Anchored” and in it he taught about how God speaks to us. To illustrate his sermon personally, he showed us how God had been speaking something directly to him about the work he was to do for the year 2021 and how God showed him not one, not two, but three clear and direct signs to confirm the work to him.

After seeing that sermon I knew that today would be the day I would write this blog. So, I want to say thank you to Valerie for sharing with us about Pastor Michael Todd, you were being used of God to speak to me and thank you to Pastor Michael Todd for those two powerful and personally significant sermons that you gave. God definitely used you to speak to me as well!

In order for you to have a solid understanding of this amazing story, how powerful God is, and how He can work in a person’s heart, I have to give you a little bit of my history with my homeland.

I was born on August, 26, 1971 in the Maricopa County Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. I have lived in Phoenix all of my life, which up to now has been 49 years, 8 months and 11 days.

I have always loved Phoenix. I have had the blessing of traveling to many places in this world and always loved coming home to Phoenix. I even loved the heat, well, kind of.

If I am being totally honest, I dreaded the heat. Every year I dreaded it. But I repeated the words of others around me saying things like, “Yes, but it’s a dry heat.” (Which does make sense when you have experienced humidity!) or I would say things like, “You just stay inside and move from air conditioned place to air conditioned place!” or “Our summers are hard but our winters are beautiful!” (Which also is quite true.) Josh felt the exact same way as me and even said the exact same things I did. We both loved Phoenix, Arizona. It was home.

However, as time went by, every year of my life, the summers were killing my love for living in Phoenix… along with all my trees. 😦 This past summer 2020 really did me in.

Then something very peculiar and significant happened. I had a dream.

It was in the month of May 2020. It was the week after Mother’s Day. If you haven’t read it, I wrote a blog about that Mother’s Day and what an incredible day God blessed me with if you would like to read it as well.

The dream was of my family, Josh, Aven, MaCaedyn, Samuel and myself, all standing in a tightly bound circle with our arms wrapped around each other. Outside our circle was another larger circle of people. Some we were close to, some we were not so close to. Not all my relationships were in this circle, just certain ones.

The best way I could describe how this looked is to use the diagram of a nucleus with a ring of electrons around it. My family was the nucleus and all the people standing side by side in a ring around us were the electrons.

In the dream I looked up and I saw that slowly, one by one, those people were being spaced away from our family. Like they were slowly floating backward. As I watched, I saw a giant pair of white glowing hands in-between my family and the outer ring of people and I realized that the hands were separating the people from us, creating distance between us.

When I woke up the next morning, I shared the dream with Josh and my children. I also shared it with a few prayer warrior friends who found it very interesting, yet, none of us understood what it meant.

That was May 2020 and anyone who lives in Phoenix will tell you, the summer heat of Phoenix doesn’t wait until the typical summer months of June, July and August to arrive. It can begin in May… or even April. As I sit outside right now writing this blog April 11, 2020, I’m sweating. Bleh.

After my Mother’s Day 2020 adventure to visit Christopher Creek to escape the heat, my family wanted to have more of that time in the woods and out of the ‘flames’ of Phoenix. We couldn’t afford to take a trip anywhere so we would save up just enough money for gas, then we would pack a picnic and our baseball gear and head up to the woods just for a day. For us, it was thrilling! We were escaping the heat and could spend an entire day outdoors playing in the cool woods without boiling ourselves and burning our skin like we would in Phoenix.

It was during the Covid summer months of 2020 that a significant change began to take place inside my heart and Josh’s. Every morning that we got up to take one of our road trip adventures to the woods we were filled with so much pure joy and we discovered that joy wasn’t just because we wanted to escape the heat, it was because of the land we were going to.

Growing up, my Mema and Papa had three “homes”. One was their Phoenix residence, one was in Payson, Arizona and the other was a cabin that my Papa built out of internment camp sectionals from World War II at Mormon Lake nestled in the Ponderosa Pines.

When I had the blessing of being able to go to the cabin, all through my childhood and into my adult years, I felt something that I didn’t have when I was in Phoenix. It was like I was a different person. I was more peaceful. I slept better at night and had more energy during the day. I breathed in the clean air easy, and as a person who has dealt with asthma since the age of 3 months that is always a welcome relief. In the forest, I loved seeing the blue of the sky, the animals and most of all, the trees. I loved the sounds of the wind blowing through the trees and the crunch of the dry pine needles beneath my feet. I loved the sounds of the birds and forest critters. I also loved the lack of sounds from the city of constant traffic, sirens, and helicopters. I loved how the air smelled of pines as soon as I arrived and stepped out of the car. I loved how bright and brilliant the stars were at night and, most importantly, I loved how I could step outside and get away from man made things and submerge myself in God made things so quickly, so easily. I felt closer to God there. I still love all those things now, even more than when I was young.

When I am in the woods, on the beach, or in any other beautiful place of nature made by God, it cleanses me. My stresses melt away and even when there are circumstances of daily life that must be handled, it just seems so much easier for me when I am a beautiful place of God’s nature. Being out in the open reminds me just how big my Beautiful God is and seeing all He has created leaves me speechless.

Then I had another realization… something that is so obvious to me that I am actually a bit embarrassed to say I didn’t recognized it sooner. I am the author of The Huggabears children’s books. I have created an entire imaginary land called the Bearwood Forest and a town called Bearford Falls where the Huggabear Family and all kinds of other woodland critters dwell. The idea for that book series came from God and the place that He had me create is based upon the woods of the Ponderosa Pines, the very same woods where my Mema would take me on long walks and teach me about the love of Jesus, the power of prayer and God’s Word. I write about the woods in every single story of The Huggabears and my love for it is clearly reflected in all those stories. I realized that deep down inside my heart, the woods have been calling to me for years and years, even through my ministry work. Yet, I still live in the desert.

I came to understand that I am so much happier in the woods, Josh is happier in the woods and so are our children. So why are we living in a city in the desert? Josh began to realize this it too. We came to this understanding at the exact same time and felt the exact same way. When we shared it with one another it was such a powerful, beautiful moment in our marriage. All these years we had shared a great love for living in Phoenix and then, all at once, we both had been changed and everything was different. We longed to lived someplace different.

We began sharing our thoughts about our feelings with the children and wondered what they would think about moving. Well… we wondered what MaCaedyn and Samuel would think about it. All of her life we knew that Aven hated the heat of Phoenix. Detested it. Loathed it. Despised it. All those adjectives would fit into her annual descriptions of her feelings about the summers when the heat came. Though she will admit she does love swimming and waterparks, she always wanted to go and be in the snow and loves being wrapped in warm clothes, fuzzy socks and her treasured sleeping bag. Still, I honestly didn’t know how Samuel and MaCaedyn felt about the heat. So, one day during school I began to share with them what was happening my heart and how daddy and I were feeling like we wanted to live in woods. Both MaCaedyn and Samuel immediately shared that they would love to live in the woods and Samuel was quite specific that we were going to live in Flagstaff. Not that he hoped to live in Flagstaff, not that he wished we would live in Flagstaff, but that we will be living in Flagstaff and that Huggabear Farm would be built there.

They also began to tell me how much they loved being in colder weather. Whenever we took winter trips, they loved bundling up in coats, hats, gloves and boots. It didn’t bother them at all. MaCaedyn said, “You know, in the cold you can always add more clothes, but in the heat you can only get so naked.” Ha! Samuel and Aven also pointed out that we spend so many days stuck inside during the summer so if we moved to a place where there was snow, we might not be able to go out everyday but you can still play in snow whereas you can’t play in heat unless it involved a pool–which we don’t have, or water of some kind.

We also learned during the summer of 2020 that Aven has health issues which arise during the heat which she doesn’t deal with during the cooler months. Josh and I also noticed that we have more pain and inflammation in our bodies during the summer than we do during the cold months. These reasons were added onto the pile of why we wanted to move to the forest.

Once we learned of our family’s feelings about living in Phoenix and the heat we began to pray about it to see what God’s will was for us. We asked very specifically in our prayers that if God wanted us to stay here to use us for His glory in Phoenix, Arizona, then that is exactly what we would do, and we asked Him that if it was not His will for us to move to the woods that He would remove the desire from all of our hearts and that we would be perfectly content to stay and get back to loving the heat. We also asked Him if it is was His will for us to move to woods that He would make that clear to us as well.

Every day we prayed and every day the yearning to move to the forest grew stronger and our desire to stay in Phoenix diminished. It is still that way now. During our family scripture reading almost every night Josh read a chapter that spoke “the land you are going to inherit” or “the land you are going to cross the Jordan to inherit”. I looked it up and there is a tiny little speck of a town that is called Jordan which we would be pass or “cross over” when traveling from Phoenix to Flagstaff. This inspired us even more!

We decided to use our time escaping the heat as time to explore some towns and places to see where it was that would be part of God’s plan for us to live. Samuel thought this a huge waste of time as he knew that we were going to live in Flagstaff. He said it over and over again, “It’s Flagstaff… Flagstaff… Flagstaff… You all are wrong, it’s Flagstaff.” Still, we went and explored and with every place we went, though we had fun together as a family, we also felt it together as a family: NO. This is not the town. This is not the place. I can’t explain it to you other than to say we just felt it in and knew in our hearts it wasn’t the place God had for us.

I hope all of that gives you a greater understanding of where we were and what we were praying for because NOW we get to the really cool part of the story! This is what I was supposed to write down and share with whomever will read it!

When I first began writing The Huggabears books, God gave me a dream of a place where children could come to be ministered to. It was a location that looked like the Bearwood Forest and had the town of Bearford Falls from my Huggabear books. A land full of imagination, joy and the love of Jesus as well as being the home base for The Huggabear Children’s Project, Inc. ministry.

I thought the place was going to be a small children’s amusement park like The Enchanted Island or something, but I could never come up with the right name for it. My vision lacked complete clarity so I just kept creating the stories, the songs, and doing the Huggabear nonprofit work.

When Samuel was a baby he was thrilled with farming. I remember when he was three years old he saw pumpkins in the store and asked me where they came from. I told him about farms and he began planting and growing pumpkins and other vegetables in the backyard. When he was five years old he told me, “Someday, when I grow up, I’m going to have a farm.”

God told me in that very moment the place He gave me a vision of for children was going to be called “Huggabear Farm”! I can tell you right where I was standing when it happened. We had been working in the garden and were coming in the house to wash up. Samuel turned to me and said what he said and I was standing on the patio. I stopped in my tracks as God spoke Huggabear Farm to my heart. After that, the kids and I talked about the dream of Huggabear Farm everyday. We discussed ideas in school, we made drawings and lists, we watched educational videos and we began praying for it to come. This would be a farm like no other the world has ever seen because it would be a ministry farm. It wouldn’t just be about things we grow from the ground, it would be about planting the seeds of the love of Jesus into the hearts of others. A place where all families could come to for free and never have to pay for admission. A place where children would play and make memories. A place that would have the Word of God all though it so that the people who came to visit would be submerged in the teachings and love of God’s Word while they were there. Huggabear Farm would be full of music and laughter. We would put on shows and programs that would teach the love, power, healing and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. It would be a place of education, imagination and salvation. God revealed to me that there are people in this world who might never step inside the doors of a church… but they would visit a farm. While they were there, we would gently plant the seeds of the love of Jesus into their hearts and spirits.

The children and I had a pretty good idea of all the things we should have on Huggabear Farm and when we would talk about it with Josh he always was very supportive, but I could tell he hadn’t seen the vision for it yet. So I prayed for him and asked God, if this was something that our family was meant to build together, please give Josh the vision for it because there was no way I could ever build it without him.

God answered that prayer while we were housesitting for our friends John and Gerry Dillingham. They live on a golf course and each night we would walk outside and be in the beauty of the green course with all the trees and landscaping. Then we would come inside and the kids and I would sit and draw plans for the farm. It was in the open space of the golf course that God gave Josh the vision. He saw it clearly before him and I knew it was God that did it and not us because after Josh saw the vision of it, that was all he could talk about!

We decided to take a step of faith and start building what we could where we lived. We knew it couldn’t be much as we have a small home and yards, but we were going to do the best we could with what we have. We began building in the summer of 2018 and we had the majority of it finished by that fall 2018. We wanted to show God how serious we were about doing this and prove to Him that He could trust us if He provided us the land and the funds, we would build the real Huggabear Farm. But for that time, we were thrilled to have the mini farm.

We began having events for children of all ages, from infants and toddlers to teens and young adults. We had an opening day celebration, two pumpkin parties, a “Boo Bash” teen party with home made haunted house, two Christmas parties, a few birthday parties for our kids and an Easter egg hunt… then came Covid. We had to stop holding events at home, but we have never stopped working, building, improving, planning, designing and adding to the “Mini” Huggabear Farm.

Before our hearts changed about having the farm in Phoenix, we had looked at land all over the place! Anywhere we saw land for sale that looked like a nice parcel, we would visit it, pray over it and ask God to reveal His will. We didn’t and still don’t have one dime to build this farm but that doesn’t worry or detract us in anyway at all. We know God does and He would supply the needs! As God changed our hearts about the farm being in Phoenix, He began showing us that we could never do all that we wanted to during the summer months. It is just too darn hot! And for us, summer was a very important time because kids were out of school and looking for things to do.

I went back and forth on that for several months. Should we stay here in Phoenix where there are so many kids in need? How would they get to us if we were someplace far away? I was praying about this while watering the garden one evening and I asked God that very question, “How would the children be able to afford to drive up to us if they are children in need?” Immediately I heard that ever familiar whisper inside my head, “Do you really think I can’t get the children to you?”

Talk about humble! Boy did I feast on humble pie that night! I went in and told Josh and from that night on, I haven’t worried one bit about the location and whether or not children could come to us. Wherever it is God places us, He will make a way for the children to get there.

We knew so many things that Huggabear Farm would have on it and that it would be a place where Samuel could grow pumpkins, but we knew he didn’t want to sell the pumpkins, he wanted to give them away to children. So the question kept coming to our minds, “What would we grow and sell on Huggabear Farm to help support it so we could keep admission free?”

We wondered about apples or pecans trees. We even planted ten pecan seeds to grow saplings. Not one of them sprouted. So we kept praying. We knew that God would reveal to us what He wanted us to grow to sell so we could support the farm and our family.

No to the amazing part of the story! Not that all that wasn’t amazing, but this is pretty cool!

One day in the year 2017, I was in Hobby Lobby buying some items for a new Huggabear book and I saw an old fashioned red truck. Now, if you don’t know about The Huggabear books, I create all of the illustrations for the stories with my family by building miniaturized scenes that I photograph. If you have never seen the Huggabears, you can visit our website at: to see what they look like.

The red truck that I saw at Hobby Lobby was perfect for Daddy bear to have as a work truck. It was the exact size I needed and looked like it would be a perfect fit for Daddy Huggabear to get in. It wasn’t fancy, just a plain red truck. The only problem was it cost $70 which was far more than I could afford at that time and, oddly enough, I didn’t know about the 40% coupons on their app.

Now, if you go to Hobby Lobby on a regular basis you know that eventually everything in that store gets marked down, but I never saw these red trucks get marked down. Never.

Then one day I went and they were all gone. I was disappointed but I thought, if God wants me to have a red truck for Daddy Huggabear, they will bring them back and He will provide the funds for it.

Two years passed by, it was now 2019. I went into Hobby Lobby and they had red trucks! They were a little different as they were a little bit smaller and they had a cute Christmas tree mounted in the back, but I checked the price and they were on sale! Only $25! MaCaedyn and I scooped one up and happily brought it home to show the rest of the family who all loved it.

I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to the outside of the truck itself. My main concern was whether or not Daddy Huggabear would fit inside and when I measure the windows and saw he would I was so happy! I gave thanks to God for making that purchase happen for the Huggabear Family. I knew I wasn’t going to be creating a book where Daddy Huggabear would drive the truck for a while, so I placed it in our workshop with some of my other story set props and went on my way.

Fast forward another full year. We are now in the year 2020.

I was working on my latest Huggabear book “The Ooky-Spooky, Creaky, Creepy, Scary Old House on Hallow’s Hill” which I released on October 31, 2020. This story doesn’t have Daddy Huggabear’s truck in it, but I was working around all of my story set props while creating it.

One day, I went out to get something from the workshop (or as Josh calls it the Huggarage) and I happened to look at the red truck as I passed by. I smiled and said, “Thank You again God for that truck.”

And then God said to me, “Go back and read what is on it.” I stopped in my tracks.

I didn’t hear an audible voice like when you or I speak. It was like a whisper in my brain. People who haven’t had this experience won’t understand that but for those who have had it, you will understand. The words were strong and clear. I have had this kind of experience before and I knew it was God, so I immediately turned around and went back to the truck. I pulled it out from it’s storage space and looked at it.

When I bought it, I had seen the Christmas tree, but was so focused upon the size of the window, the driver’s seat and steering wheel to make sure Daddy Huggabear would fit, I didn’t pay any attention to the side of the truck which had Christmas trees on it and read: “Farm Fresh Christmas Trees Fir, Spruce, Pine, Cedar”. I read the words aloud and after I did, God spoke to me again and said, “This is what Huggabear Farm will be. Christmas trees and Pumpkins.”

Of course! We could grow and sell Christmas trees to support the farm!

I grabbed hold of the truck and ran into the house! I was so excited and couldn’t wait to share with my family what God had just told me about Huggabear Farm… but everyone was on a device– some with headsets on and didn’t want to stop to listen to what I had to say. So I just took the truck back into the workshop and placed it back on the shelf and kept the Word from the Lord inside my heart.

That was in October 2020.

Time past and one day in November 2020, Josh went to do some grocery shopping for me. We have a game in our household that we love to play about staying on the budget. Whenever one of us goes shopping, we head out with our list in hand and usually come home bragging about how we stayed totally on budget or even came in under it. But this day Josh came home very excited and said, “I went $15 over budget today, but I had to get you something!”

I was excited to see what it was that made him so excited. “I saw these little Christmas barns for sale, and I started to get you one, but when I saw this, I just had to get it for you,” he said happily.

As he pulled the gift out of the bag it wasn’t just excitement that washed over me, it was the power of the Holy Spirit. Immediately, I clasped my hands over my mouth and stared at it in amazement.

“It’s a Christmas tree Farm!” he said with joy.

He had bought me a small, porcelain, light up, Christmas tree Farm that read at the top: “Farm Fresh Christmas Trees Fir, Spruce, Pine, Cedar”.

For a moment I could hardly speak or even breath as I knew that God was now speaking to Josh what He had spoken to me. Both items said the exact same thing, yet one was purchased by myself over a year ago at one location and the other was purchased by Josh at another. It was incredible!

I started jumping up and down and ran into the workshop to get the truck and began rattling off the story of how God had spoke to me that Huggabear Farm would be a Christmas tree farm. Josh and the kids listened intently and were astounded at the story and the two items which we clearly understood to be signs from God before us. I remember Josh saying, “I bet this is one time you are thankful that none of us listened to you! If we had, it wouldn’t make this so incredible!”

MaCaedyn told me that she actually had heard me tell my story so she knew that God had spoken to me first!

But Josh was right. If he had heard my story, then this sign wouldn’t really be a sign from God but just something that Josh did out of love and kindness. Josh NOT knowing my story and what God had shown me made it so much more powerful!

Right then and there we decided that we believed both of these things were signs from God and we also came to understand that the dream I had where the people were being distanced from us was also God communicating to us that we were going to be moving somewhere else. Somewhere other than Phoenix and that distance was going to be coming between us and the faces around us which were being moved back.

We decided that we were not going to tell a soul about what had happened with the two signs, but instead, we were going to pray nightly as a family for God to send us a third confirmation that Huggabear Farm was going to be a Christmas tree and pumpkin farm. We know God works in threes and we just wanted to make sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we were experiencing was communication from God, just like Gideon did in the book of Judges with the fleece. (Judges 6:33-40)

So we prayed and asked that God would send a third confirmation from someone outside of our family unit. It could be anyone and in anyway, from a relative, a friend or even better– total stranger! No one had ever said this to us before so we knew that if someone said it to us now it would be a clear confirmation. They could have had a vision, a dream, an idea, or whatever! However God wanted to give it to us, we asked that He could give us that third confirmation that Huggabear Farm would be a Christmas tree and pumpkin farm.

My family was so excited! We all love Christmas trees so much and use them to teach children about the everlasting love of Jesus just like the ancient German missionaries of the past did in the pagan regions. I even wrote a lesson about this from my character of Obadiah in my third Intercessors book “Confession”. In fact, part of our Huggabear work at Christmastime is to give Christmas trees to families in need so that their children can enjoy having a tree on Christmas day. The more we thought about it the more it made perfect sense! How could we not see this before? It was the perfect crop for Huggabear Farm! After all, bears live in the forest, we wanted to live in the forest and Christmas trees are something that could make a profit to support the farm every year! In my Huggabear books I never had given Daddy Huggabear a job, now I could! He would grow Christmas trees! It was all perfect!

Everyday we would spend time talking about it and everyday we went shopping we were surrounded by it! I have seen cute Christmas decorations that had a truck with a Christmas tree on it and say “Merry Christmas” in the past, but in the year 2020 they didn’t just say “Merry Christmas”. Everywhere it would say, “Christmas Tree Farm”!!!! It was in every store, everywhere we went! Then I had a wake up call, which again is embarrassing to admit I didn’t notice sooner… we keep Christmas trees up year round in and outside our house! Just little ones, but we decorate them for each holiday and we have two inside our home year round and FIVE outside on our patio year round! I also have three growing in our front yard! I used to have 7 but each summer the heat kills another one! (Boooo! Hissss!)

But still! Seeing all this was like that scene in the movie “I Can Only Imagine”. The writer of that song had been writing that phrase all around him for years and he didn’t see it until the time was right. And the time was God’s time. We were now seeing how God had been speaking this to us and preparing us for this for years! Which just added to our joy!!!

All of this excitement compiled with their dreams of experiencing a White Christmas (which is one of our holiday movie favorites) inspired the children to want to spend Christmas in the snow. They didn’t want to leave our home on Christmas Eve, they wanted to have dinner and our traditional events and our traditional Christmas morning but then they wanted to be packed and ready so that we could all–pups included, jump into the Huggamobile and head for the woods! And there was only one place they wanted to go: Flagstaff, naturally.

After weeks of searching, God led Josh to find the most darling cabin for rent where we could take the dogs. After opening gifts and having some breakfast, we headed for the glories of the forest in Flagstaff! There wasn’t much snow, but that didn’t stop us from having an incredible time! Our children were so happy. They said it had been one of the best Christmases of their lives– outside of Christmas at Disneyland of course. 😉 God blessed us so richly and we enjoyed every single minute of that trip!

A few days after we came home, I went outside and called my friend Gerry who couldn’t wait to hear all about our holiday and I about hers. After I had told her about our trip I said, “We all love it up there so much. It is such a great town! We also went to Williams because we love it there too! In Flagstaff we have all that we need up there as far as city needs go, even a university, but then a few minutes out, you are in the thick of the woods.” I conveyed how much we all want to live there–even the little dogs! They loved it! Reblen, who usually spends her days resting on our chaise was outside running and playing everyday. She was the first one out the door!

After a while of sharing how much we love it there and how we are begging God to let us move there if it is His will, Gerry said, “Angelique! Huggabear Farm should grow Christmas trees and pumpkins! It could be a Christmas tree and pumpkin farm!”

As soon as the words came out of her mouth I jumped up off my seat, ran to the house and started yelling in the door, “Gerry said it! Gerry said it! She said Huggabear Farm should grow Christmas trees and pumpkins!!”

My family was ecstatic! Poor Gerry probably thought I had gone crazy! I took the time to explain everything to her about what we had been praying for and when I did she too was amazed! God used my friend of so many years, to give us our third confirmation: Huggabear Farm will grow Christmas trees and pumpkins amidst lots and LOTS of love, joy and imagination!

We would love for it to be in Flagstaff because we have fallen in love with the town–and we love Williams and the Historic Route 66! But does the Huggabear Farm have to be in Flagstaff? No. That is a place we love and the forest I have known all my life. But we all agree, we want God’s perfect will to be fulfilled. Because when it is, wherever He leads us, it will be absolutely, totally and completely perfect! We are placing none of our limits on God’s plan because we know, He knows best. Our prayer right now is, “Lead us Lord, we will follow!”

There even came a great change in my heart about my dream home. I had always hoped to have a home of my own someday, something that reflected our family with enough space for us all to be together and have places of our own as well. We would call it Huggabear House. I, sad to say, had placed another limitation on God where that dream home was concerned. I wanted it to be single story with no stairs, but even that desire began to change in my heart. I would take whatever home God wanted me to have, stairs and all, and if it was an old home that needed love and restoration, we would do that too.

God had transformed my heart during the year 2020 where this dream was concerned and I am so glad that He did because I understand that He has plans for me, my family, and our ministry work that far surpass anything that I could ever hope or imagine. I want God’s perfect will to be done in my life over my own will for I know He knows best, after all… He created me.

So that’s my amazing story! Some people may read this and not be impressed. They may say it is all just one big coincidence. But we know better. We know that there is no word in the Hebrew language that means coincidence. It is all God! And we know that He spoke to us direct three times. Once with a toy truck. Once with a porcelain Christmas decoration and once through a faithful, Jesus loving friend. He also spoke to me many times through my dreams!

The month is now April and we still haven’t heard from God about when or where He wants us to move. But He has given us work to do in the meantime while we wait on His perfect timing and plan. We took a little missions trip on Easter Sunday to do some Huggabear work for the homeless in Flagstaff, enjoyed a trek through the woods, had a picnic and even made a snowbear! There was no snow where we were on Christmas but we were blessed with a little on Easter! Samuel declared that we were the only people in the history of the world to create a snowbear and snow bearpaw on Easter Sunday!

We are still waiting on God and I admit it is hard sometimes in the waiting, especially when you are so excited to go and do something you know you are meant to do. It makes me think of Abraham and Sarah who had to wait 25 years for God to fulfill His promise that one day they would have a son. My waiting is much easier because I have my beautiful family waiting with me and while we wait together we are loving each other, praying together and seeking God’s perfect will for our future place of ministry.

I encourage you as Pastor Michael Todd encouraged me, if God has given you a vision for a work that you are to do, write it down! Share it with others so that when God brings that vision to fruition, not only you, but all you shared it with will know that God always keep His promises, He does speak to people, He has never changed and He is still able to perform miracles!

Oh yes, and Samuel wants me to make sure that everyone knows that he knew first that it was Flagstaff… just in case it really is Flagstaff!

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!