Sunday, December 2, 2012


Its been about 6 months since i was diagnosed with the thang.  That’s what i like to call it. The thang. :)    i can walk normally again and i do feel better physically, so that’s good.  I do have a lot of permanent damage ( i guess that’s what you can call it) but it could be so much worse… of course i stay hopeful that i wont have any massive bleed anytime soon that will cause more permanent damage.  Right now, i feel the most consequences in my “head”… memory, processing, the way my brain hear sounds… its been a true, real challenge…  but since i don’t talk about it, most people don’t know.  When i do try to explain how i feel, and what it does. i am often met with some “oh, im like that too”. or “Oh, i forget everything too”. I know people don’t mean to… but its hurtful.  I am  not looking for pity or even compassion, but if you ask me how im feeling and i am sharing my struggles… don’t belittle them, encourage me instead.  I guess this is why i got to think why should i  bother share how i feel even here..


I know that the fact that i dont work anymore has slowed down the progress of the cavernoma. I am getting more sleep, too.   I know this new lifestyle is contributing big time to me feeling better.  It just depresses me sometimes to be one of those people who cant be very active. It’s not me… i have always been active and full of energy…

Go ahead… tell me “oh its ok, i’ve never been active, you’ll be ok”.  haha
How about we turn the tables around…. i tell you “by tomorrow, you need to be up at 6am, not sit down all day long until 11pm,  workout at least an hour, and give you a list of all the things i use to physically do” Its ok, you’ll be ok.. i used to do it!! you’ll be ok.

Christmas is almost here!!  I have been good this year :) As I should of been all these years, but i took it for granted!! I finally shipped Christmas packages to my family in Canada, and had Christmas cards made! That’s 2 miracles. hahaha My Christmas packages were always at least 4 months late. Yes, you read right…. this is the first time that i send in time for Christmas. I am so proud of myself. hahaha


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Death Row

Just a couple weeks ago, as I Laid in bed, unable to sleep, I started to foolishly self pity myself over some of my life’ struggles. I reminded myself of all the people suffering, alone, hopeless, helpless, and felt guilty for this short self pity trip I took. I may be facing some scary hardships, but I am mostly understood.

The next day, I was surfing the Netflix and found a documentary on Solitary Confinement. I never once put any thoughts into it. Never. Not knowing anyone in prison, only knowing what I know from movies and Tv shows, I never heard or researched such predicament. I was shockingly surprised and my heart sank. I cried. Not only that, I sobbed… and I don’t cry easy. I don’t remember last time I did sob. This has completely changed me, and I hope, for the better. Why is there no awareness over this matter, I don’t know…. Like millions of people in this country, I was ignorant, totally ignorant, and now I am ashamed. This could happen to your son, your husband, your brother… Dont get me wrong, I believe in prison. I believe in keeping murderers off the street, but this is more than that. This is simply unnecessary for the vast majority of them. Most of the prisoners in solitary confinement never killed anyone.

I have always believed in people. Everybody has a heart and in my opinion, very few people on this earth can be characterized as “Evil”, and I seriously thought that this type of predicament was only reserved for the rare individual on earth that do not have a conscience , simply to keep them from killing others, not as a living condition, but as a measure of security. I was so wrong. To me, people are who they are first. What they do is not who they are. We all make mistakes, some more terrible than others, but our mistakes do not define who we are. Of course I believe that murderers should go to prison! But please be sure you have the right guys!! Did you know that there are at least 150 innocent men released from prisons every year, and that is only the ones that are cleared thru DNA? How about the ones that dont have any DNA in their cases??

After watching the documentary, I spent the day researching Solitary confinement, prisoners in general, and one thing leading to another, I tumbled across and decided to find someone to write to. I would like to at least try to bring someone the sightless humanity sense they have left.

I have always been a very positive person. I am told over and over that I am full of empathy and compassion. I don’t know how this seems to be a weakness to some people. I don’t think about it. I just love people. I always had the ability to understand every side of a story, without judging anyone and still be able to encourage both sides. Some people have called me a hypocrite, because I refused to take sides, and managed to be able to be kind to both and encourage both, without putting the other down. They don’t understand…. But I just see clearly… that is how I can explain it. I think that most conflicts in life are simply due to misunderstanding and quick judgment. Of course, If I find a cause that I believe in, I will stand strong on what I believe in, and I do see how important it can be to “pick a side” on certain issues.

People long to be understood, and the only way to do that, is to look at someone’s intentions, and not their actions. However, society has to judge its citizen according thru their actions, because they cant be personal or close enough to judge one’s intentions. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out a overwhelming high number of the prison population being innocent, simply because some facts were left out, circumstances were deplorable and no other proof than the failing human instincts were used to accused someone. I also didnt know that it was proven that if counting on identification of a perpetrator thru photo only, the person identifying is 82% of the time wrong. 82% !!
I was so so ignorant… I thought the death penalty was only used to execute the ones that are, without any doubts at all, guilty of gruesome crimes that are inexplicable to the human race, And you know what… very few human beings fall into that category anyway! I didnt know so many men have been executed on death row simply because the court refused to give them a new trial after DNA testing became available. A lot of innocent men were put to death by a very faulty system!

I have always judge people according to their intentions. And when in doubts, I give them the benefit of the doubts, always. I truly believe that its very rare to know someone that is truly evil… and you know what… I think most of the ones that are so, do so in a way that they are not figured out. When people are judged by their actions only and their mistakes, at some point, their humanity scream “look at me, im suffering, im good, cant you see, im good!!” But no, one terrible mistakes and we are doomed.

Friends letting go of friends after one falls hard into a pit of self destruction, depression and guilt. Why not be there anyway, in the worse of the worse, instead of trashing away like sour milk. Friends and family members walking away from one another over desperate human weaknesses and failures….
Nobody is a good, kind, nice guy one day, and overnight changed into a heartless monstrous murderer. I would think its very rare anyway. True people recognize who their loved one is as a person, they know his/her heart and that is what they see, no matter the mistakes. Everybody with a conscience, which is most of us, suffer enough guilt. Most people I have seen (on tv) that committed a crime and admitted to it, wanted prison, they want to pay, they understand why they are there. The ones with no conscience are the ones we may want to send forever, but kill them? I don’t know anymore?!! Isnt being in solitary confinement, completely alone, with no physical contacts, no body to talk to and nobody to hug, for the rest of your life, a punishment worse than death itself? Of course I believe in putting the guilty in prison, but I dont believe in the horror they are submitted to. You are not going to fix a broken human being by isolating them like this. There are over 80 000 prisoners in solitary confinement in the USA, and more 75% of them have never killed anyone.

I am a Christian, but I don’t preach. It’s a never ending inner learning journey and I believe we all have to do it at our own pace. Once we know Him, He takes care of the rest. I cant stand extremists… either its religious, politics and other. Jesus himself dined with prostitute and saved a heartless criminal on execution “table”. But that’s just me. I have gone thru phases of rejection and madness at God, but somehow always found my way back.

I don’t believe much in pity. I usually don’t stay there long anyway. We all have our moments , and I do however pay a great deal of attention and understand when others need that moment. Weither it is one hour or one year, some situation in life need special attention.

It takes a lot to insult me and I am a strong woman so never worry about what you are about to, or need to say. Say it like it is. Authentic people are my favorite people. Its not important to me how a person is personality wise. Goofy, serious, crazy, quiet etc.. as long as you are authentic, you’ve got me.
I have always been realistic and like things for what they truly are. That is probably why I don’t like romance, because its seem “pushy” to me. However, if my husband wants to kiss my hand and tell me how much he loves me, he can, but between you and me, I’d rather hear him say “you’r the bomb hun” in between farts, because, well, that’s who he is. Hahahaha

Looks is something else so irrelevant to me. Something else people can use to judge others. If you are not good looking enough, you are not worth people’s attention. If you are too pretty, you are stupid or slutty… people are never happy, really. So many times, I have been judged by it, and 9 times out of 10, people were so so wrong… I am the type of person that sit next to the maddest person on the bus, and you know what? They are the nicest ones.
Why? because people needing Grace know it. The crave it. Give it to them, without any judgement, without anything in return, and you will not only help them tremendously, you will help yourself, too.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I have a deep, bleeding cavernoma.(Some doctors call it a tumor, but it is mostly a “condition”, because it is not cancer) I have known for about a month now. I found out it cannot be operated on because it is to deep  into  the brainstem. I really was caught by surprised because i totally expected it could be fixed.   I feel like the cavernoma is the bullet in a russian roulette game… which in fact, is pretty much what it is.   It can change my life forever in an instant with a stroke, slowly with ongoing symptoms , kill you with the high risk of brain aneurysm, or simply leave you alone for a bit.   There is no way to know when, and how.

Other than having been constantly dizzy, light headed and nauseous for more than a year, So far… i have bad days , and good ones.  The bad days are really bad, and the good days feel awesome when they come.   I feel alone a lot of times, which is not to be taken personally by anyone, but it really is a “invisible” illness that sometimes affects me so much, yet people around me dont “see” it… because its my brain going crazy… affecting me.   Also, it is so inconsistent, one day is different from the next, even one minute is different from the next… so again, its not “real” for anybody else but me… I really dont think anybody can understand until their own brain plays Russian roulette with them.   I have never felt so alone in my life.

One day at a time really becomes real.

I dont “feel” like im going to “drop dead” any minute, I feel like im going to see my kids grow, that my symptoms are going to stop getting worse, and that it will never bleed again…

but reality have been proving me wrong pretty quickly lately. Maybe its temporary, how bad it’s been affecting me, but from what i read, once you’ve experience confusion, personality changes (in my case, i believe it was needed, i’ve always been too nice, and now, i just dont want to put up with  $hit- hahahaha  ) and weakness and numbness… everything i read, people stories, didnt have a happy ending. Not necessarily death, but really poor living condition, and i dont mean money.   Physically, i am ready to deal with it. Mentally, not so much.

On a medical note, here is a bit of infomration about how this is affecting me.  I am experiencing a lot of these symptoms already, but here is an idea of what this condition does to the brain.

What can be affected when a deep cavernoma bleeds?  The brainstem, thalamus, and deep cerebellar nuclei are very important regions of the brain.
The brainstem is that part of the brain that conducts all the nervous impulses from the body to the brain (and vice-versa). It occupies a very small volume and is no more than an inch in cross section or length in much of its length. A small bleed into this tissue from cavernoma can lead to almost any part of the body being affected in strength, co-ordination (including walking, swallowing, vision and breathing) and sensation (all modalities including pain, temperature, touch, knowledge of the position in space, hearing and taste). The brainstem also contains a very important centre for keeping a person awake and damage to this centre can lead to coma.

The thalamus is a little higher than the brainstem and connects to both the cerebrum and the brainstem. This area of the brain acts as a relay and process centre for nervous impulses coming from the body (and other regions below the cerebrum) that are entering the cerebrum. It is important for sensation (including pain, temperature, touch, knowledge of the position in space and vision).

I dont like drama. This is simply… reality.  I dont like it right now…. but that’s what it is.  Being scared, mad and sad forever wont help… so I just have to accept it.  Maybe not this minute, but the next, I will.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I always thought that people who have the inability to change anything in their routine, person or life, are too comfortable, not adventurous enough, or simply lazy. I still beleive that to some degree, but the past few months have made me see “changes” in a whole new light. 

It actually showed me that this kind of change is the easiest. The more comfortable you have been in life, the more you are likely to hate changes. When I left my ex to be in the street with 2 young boys, that change was harsh, but it was quite easy. Easy simply because I was absolutely miserable and nothing mattered anymore. Nothing but my boys and I being free of daily emotional torment. Yes, it was easy to give up everything, eat on the floor the same food every single day, and survive with 800$ a month. When I hear people give zillions of excuses on why they can’t change their situation, I simply think to myself that they are simply not miserable enough to act, yet. If you feel unhappy but won’t change, quit complaining! 

I was at a point in my life where other than the desire to always better myself, and keep a open mind on what comes my way, I didn’t find the true need for any major “change” ( to the exception of wanting to reduce the size of my oversized behind, of course)

Then, change came. A very unwelcome, not at all expected, nor desired change.
Not a change that require temporary discomfort of change of routine or the start of something unknown and new, no, the changes that completely make you have to re-invent yourself. 

From very energetic to no more energy, from very active to having to sit because your body disables you to do the things you not only knew, but we’re so much part of you that you never thought twice about them. Changes of the very traits that defined you and made people say “oh yes, this girl, she is “like this”"

Changes of personality, changes of how you perceive certain situations and people, changes in your ability to remember things and information. Not being able to focus anymore, not being able to be… You!!!
What do you do with this type of changes??

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Second Opinion

I saw a new neurosurgeon. He told me the same thing the first one did (inoperable) but in a much nicer way. Everybody kept telling me to get a second opinion, and a third. I saw the second yesterday.  I liked him a lot better than the first Doctor.  He is the husband of a friend’s friend. haha  He was very friendly and took the time to give me a lot more details about what is going on.  Instead of just telling me  there was nothing he could do to help me and send me home, he actually explained WHY he cant do something. However, he also told me that if ever I do need the surgery to save my life some day, there are some surgeons that are skilled enough for it. Its not without major risks, but I wouldnt have anything to lose then.

Like I said before, this type of tumor is called a Cavernoma.  Mine is in the brainstem.  Its a very dangerous area to have this in.  Compare the brainstem to the cable that connect the computer box with the computer screen. Without it, the computer signal simply wont transfer to the screen.  He showed me how difficult it is to access that area of the brain. You have to go thru the entire brain without damaging anything in the process.  Its a very long distance when you have to be perfectly precise.   At the same time, having a cavernoma in that area of the brain is more risky than any other parts, and the chance of it bleeding again and cause major strokes or aneurysm are higher. However, I am staying positive, because there are no uses for me to live my life always wondering when this will happen.   He told me that at some point, I will have to make this very difficult decision… wait for something catastrophic to happen, or operate now and risk now.   Not the kind of decision anybody wants to take. I am just glad its about me and none of my children.  How could a parent decide something like that! Its almost like playing God. Wait, it IS like playing God!!

I feel good today. I am having one of those “good days”.   I was so so dizzy for the past week…  and when i have a lot of seizures (simple partial seizures), my foot gets really numb.  My entire left leg, arm, face and foot are always numb, but my toes are usually good and when they are, i walk fine, even if i have to focus all the time on walking without feeling the rest of the foot.  I feel “pressure”, but I have very little sensation.

I was told yesterday that this is permanent.  It does feel better when i have little to no seizures. They come and go and are so unpredictable! Sometimes, i’ll be 2 days without any, and other times, its all day long non stop. When that happens, that’s when my toes get numb too, and i Limp when i walk.  Its putting a lot of pressure on my right leg, and i never thought i would say that one day, but my hip hurts. hahaha   I dont know if i will use a cane or not soon. I am trying to avoid it.   Its spooky, because I’ll have a hard time walking, and the next day, I am fine!    My right hand started to be tingly. The neurosurgeon told me that because of where my cavernoma is located, this willl affect my entire nervous system, especially my extremities…   I was hoping I had a few more years before the right side gets affected. I dont want my right foot to get numb too, because then I dont know how i’ll walk.

I want to start doing Yoga. For some reason, stretching feels really good… i am always trying to stretch. Its almost as if my muscles get stiff and it feels good to wake them up.    I never liked Yoga… but i will try it again.

This video inspired me to try:

Thursday, July 12, 2012


That is what I have been told...  very coldly, blunt... "go enjoy your family".  God Help me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

I have been reading a lot about my “condition”.  Its been good to know different views, different stories, from different people with different attitudes.  I have not met anybody that has exactly what i have, in the same location... which make the difference between life and death in this case... but i am hopeful I will in due time.   

Its good to know what to expect, and what what to let go.   I came across so many experiences like mine.   A brainstem cavernoma is either in the brainstem, touching it, or next to it. It affects the brain the same way and all considered a  brainstem cavernoma because its the area of the brain that control the whole brain.  It is the deepest area of our brain, connecting our brain to the rest of our body and controls everything. In other words, people like me who has it there, can be affected in all aspects of the body, physically and mentally.    If I had a bleeding cavernoma in another area that only controls the memory, then only my memory would be affected.

I have already experience all the symptoms from all areas of the brain to a certain degree.  It is worse for me in the left side of the body, the memory, the ability to connect thoughts and spoken words.   The overall weakness, fatigue, dizziness, balance issues, light headed, nausea is normal for anybody that has an “active” cavernoma, but all other symptoms are different for everyone.

It was hard the first day I found out I had it in an area that will affect everything.  I never know what is not going to work that day.  Strokes are possible at any time, because I never know when the cavernoma will bleed and how much, but the signs of a strong bleed are impossible to ignore and I  was told numerous time by Dr. Li that i will just “know” and to get my ass to the ER when it happens. A LOT of people have had many strokes, some 2-3 times a year, and some even without realizing it was a stroke. It was found later on MRI, which i will receive every 6 months.   Strong, deadly stokes, are very rare, but stokes that can cause permanent damage to any part of the brain are very likely.  The statistic shows that by the time you are diagnosed for being symptomic, to the time you have a life threatening stroke, it is about 10 years. But again, it depends how big the cavernoma is/get and how easily it bleeds. Some people never get permanently damaged from a full blown stroke.

Its basically a not knowing game.  I got no choice but to play it. So, I am going to play it, play it as long as I can. Winning it for me simply means that I am not going to let it destroy my ability to be happy, to smile, to move on, to enjoy my family despite of the way i feel, to have fun with my friends despite how embarrassing it gets, be positive and drama free despite living Russian Roulette.    I have never had trouble laughing at myself.  I will try to keep that going.. because wow, its going to be either very depressing, or freakin hilarious, and I choose the second.

Since all this started, my body is feeling better, except the overall weakness and dizziness from hell.   Being able to really hold onto something with my left hand comes and go all day. My foot gets numb, and I have already taught myself that its literally all in my head (haha!) and that my body is strong enough to hold my leg, i just cant feel it.  When my foot is numb, I walk funny because instead of sitting on my ass, I walk anyway, but it feels like when you sit and cut circulation and stand up and cant feel your foot for a few minutes, you try to walk and stumble. That’s how it feels.   You kind of learn that you actually still can walk, you just cant feel it. But yea, it doesn’t feel good… :/

My left side is not as numb as it was when i initially found out my problem, because that is what got me to the Dr initially. Right now, its my memory and speech that is giving me problem.  I  can think and speak fine, but its like both together don’t go well.  I cant speak as fast as my brain think.  My words stumble, and a lot of time,  its like i cant think of the word im thinking about.  Its really frustrating.   Also, I have to really focus and think hard about any types of “when”.  I keep asking myself if the boys came back from camp 5 days ago, or 2 weeks ago… i seriously cannot figure it out without thinking of what date we are, and every day, many times a day, i don’t remember what day it is.   We have all done that, but this is different, its really scary for me to think this is going to get worse.

I found out that typing and talking is totally different from one another.  I am afraid that at some point, typing is the only way I’ll be able to say what i really mean.  I don’t think the people around me really notice how hard i have to work to speak what im “thinking”. Its getting harder and harder, but im still able to work to the point that I do fine, but its so draining.  I feel like I am taking a hard exam, all day long.

However, the same way my left side got better, I hope that this is going to get better, too, but then, what will be my issue? haha   Every time it bleeds, even a few drops, it affects something. Sometimes its permanent and sometimes it heals itself to some degree after the blood is absorbed.

If you know me, you know that i have always been very active and super energetic. This has hit me like a tun of bricks, and its been really hard to accept that part.  If I was someone that was never really active before or sedentary, i swear i would make myself believe that all i can do is lay down, have naps, and do nothing all day...   but because i have experienced what being a mother is, you have to keep going when you are sick, keep going when you are so tired the room spins. Because of that, I know that how I feel, and what i should do about it, are 2 different things. The facts are, sitting all day because i have no energy would just be a very pitiful excuse that only lazy people tell themselves. Sorry, that’s what I think.  I’m not going to get better by sleeping 16 hours a day and lounging when im awake.   That would just be a very vicious cycle, and a sad one. But to suddenly have no energy, after been known to “work so fast” and accomplish so much physically in one day, that is a very very hard thing to swallow.   I have to remind myself that this didn’t define me as a person… it doesn’t mean im not efficient anymore, it doesn’t mean i cant accomplish things.   Why, because i am not going to just “lay and lounge”. I’m not going to fall for that ...

Tuesday, I had to do one of the hardest thing I ever had to do. I had to call my clients and let them know I cannot work anymore. I cannot clean anymore. I was quick, efficient, very good at what I did (cant i brag, just a little?) I was meticulous, organized, knew what i touched up to 2 months before. I rarely rotated tasks, because i was fast and efficient enough to clean a whole house in 3 hours.  The tasks i did rotate, i knew exactly, 10 houses of them, what I did, and when, and what needed to be done again that day.

The past 3-5 months, I really was literally forcing myself to work.  I know i could, and probably should of, stopped.  I wanted to help my family, and I found the strength to finish. I got more and more confused, forgetting who i had to clean that day, not remembering if i did this or that, last time. I knew something was really wrong. I would be changing sheets, and all over sudden, this huge rush of weakness would take over me. I couldn’t even lift the sheet. (I later found out that these were Simple Partial Seizures). It was horrible. I couldnt move, had to sit on the floor, and wait for this "rush" to pass.  I cried a few times, convincing my brain that I had to finish, therefore, I could. And I did.   But about 2 weeks ago, it was happenign ALL the time, every 5 mins.  The more  physical I got, the higher my heart rate got, the more seizures i got. So i had to work slow, really slow, which my clients never noticed because most of them were not home.  I did more rotation when i couldn’t be slow, when i had limited time, which made me feel terrible because that is not the way i do my job. 

So, stopping my business was heartbreaking. It was going very , very well, and my sister did such a wonderful job on my logo, my website. I was proud of this accomplishment. It made me feel good about myself.  I do want to find something else to do, because the money i made was no extra money, it was needed!!  Its going to be a difficult adjustment, but until i find something else, it’s going to be difficult. Every single stories I read about people with this condition have had to quick their job. One was lawyer, archeologist, teacher, computer engineer and even a Doctor! People with great jobs!  All of them were very active and in good shape, too.  Everything changes!

I will find out next week what is the treatment plan... its going to be a long journey...

Ready, set, Go!

Anyway, I’m going to let God role the dice, and play this game.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Religion, or the Grace of God?

In 2008,  I was visiting women in prison.   It is one of the most precious time in my life.  These women were so broken, so lost, so hurt, so guilty!   Most of them were there for selling drugs or prostitution. Most of them had children at home, or in foster care, and were dead inside thinking about their children.  Their crimes did not make them less of a mother.  Most of them are there for drug charges, and 30% of all women in prison are there because they took the blame of a man upon themselves.  That is what I was told before my visit, anyway.  Most of them feel abandoned by God, just the way I did for a long time. They certainly don’t need to hear how bad they did. They know it. They don’t need to be told to repent, they know it.  They need Love.  They need love, just like I did.
I was asked to share my story on one of my visit.    

My personal spiritual journey changed a lot throughout the years, but on that day, this is what I told them:


Hello Ladies!  My name is Lisa.
I grew up in a Conservative Baptist home. Throughout my childhood,  I was taught to pray, ask God for forgiveness, and I did. I was always “the” good girl.  I never was in trouble at school. I was an obedient child and never caused trouble.  I was taking care of my brother and sister by the age of 11, cooking for the whole family by the age of 12, our mother always being ill.  I loved doing so! I never saw it as a burden.  I was working by 14, paying for all my school supplies, clothes and what not. My family was very, very poor, which brought us a lot of judgement from the small town, because they associated that with our "religion". I was very sincere in my Faith, praying and reading my Bible everyday from the time i was 8 years old.

But for some reasons i didn’t know and found out later … something didn’t feel right. I was not totally at peace.  I was very lonely, felt like an outcast most of my childhood and teenage years.  I was made fun of for not partying, not going out with boys, not doing drugs, not having sex. I was even beat up a few times, thrown eggs at and humiliated, called “virgin Mary” for a long time. It didn’t help that my family was one of 3 protestants family  in  a very Catholic town. The priest would go on the community TV show and tell the community to stay away from us because we were evil.  I just thought that God was only present in one religion, my own. Yet, I didn’t understand why IF i had the right one, why was I so unhappy and miserable?

I thought maybe if i did more for God, he’d reward me.   By 15 I was a Sunday school teacher every Sunday, worked as a teacher at summer bible camp and had a high school christian music radio program, and was humiliated even more.  I even offered my school to let me talk about abstinence in front of everyone. And I did.  I had prank calls constantly at home; some that i really can laugh at today.

What most people couldn’t tell… is that I felt that everything I was doing was only superficial. I saw God as a mean judge, waving a baseball bat at me from above saying “you better not mess up!”  My legalistic background had taught me to obey God thru fear, not thru thankfulness.  I would cry out to God every night, asking Him why me. Why couldn’t I have a boyfriend, why couldn’t I dress “hot” like all the other girls. As a teenager, everything became a “what i was not allowed to do”.   On the other hand, I enjoyed doing what I thought was right.  I was determined to remain a virgin until marriage and never kissed a man until I knew he was going to be that man I would marry.   Why should I make out with boys knowing it meant nothing?

I met my ex husband  at Christian Bible Camp when i was 16 years old. He was 16 years older than me, a Baptist Fundamentalist pastor.  Everything seemed to be working out for me, I thought. Nothing better than marrying a minister right?   I  was not convinced i should marry that man; he was cold, barely ever smiled, just was not the nicest, but he convinced me that he was just depressed and having me as a wife would solve all his problems.

By then, I was trying to deal with my anger towards God by doing more “good” things for what i thought was sacrifices for God.  I was offered 3 full medical scholarship at 18 and refused them as I wanted to become a Stay at home mom and have a career later on instead. After all, i was taught that this was the only way for women.   I did a lot of things I thought were pleasing to God. I pretty much put God in a box; everything was black or white.  I had lived in a box for years, and that is what my life was going to be like.

After I married my ex husband, 3 weeks after i graduated from High school, he became obsessive and controlling right away.  Actually told me on our wedding night on the way to our honeymoon that I was now his, and he was the leader, and my submission to him was not an option.   What a great way to celebrate! haha   He became more and more controlling.  I had to ask his permission for everything. I couldn’t leave the house, or talk to my family, or have a shower without his permission, nor have friends over. I couldn’t learn how to drive, let alone work, even if we didn’t have children.  Not only did i obey all his rules, i typed his own sermons.

He would leave me “post it”  notes all around the house.  On the notes, he would tell me to do something, tell me to do this, or not do that, or to rebuke me about something.  It could be from “you left a dirty fork in the sink” to “there are some dirty pants in the dirty clothes basket for you to wash.     I had no financial freedom at all.   I had to ask in order to use money, even as little as 5$ for milk.    A lot of the rules contradicted each other, and he enjoyed letting me know it was my responsibility to figure out how to make them “work”.   I was given a 9 o’clock “meeting” with a list of “new rules, whenever there were new ones.      I was young, naive, and innocent. I wanted to be a good wife. I was brainwashed into thinking “that” is what a good wife was.  I thought that is what “GOD” wanted, therefore, even if i was completely miserable, I was carrying my cross… like the Bible says…

A few months after we got married, he was actually asked to leave the church he was ministering at.   He found a new church to minister, often preaching about women’s submission.   I felt there were no way i could find support in the church.  We had also moved 2000 miles away from family, and I didn’t know English, so i felt totally abandoned and trapped.     His abuse became more and more severe, especially after we had our first son;  I was giving a list of about 100 rules, one of them being “the children were going to be my responsibility, not him”   Needless to say, he was not being a father to his children either.  I felt as if he was destroying my soul on purpose, to the point that no matter what i did or didn’t do, I was wrong and he had to punish me. It didn’t help that he had a Bible verse to quote me on every single little thing i didn’t do his way.  I felt dead, literally.   He than started to not hit me directly, but push me in a corner, intimidate me, push the chair i sat on, scaring me.
I was totally feeling dead, in my heart, in my head. I didn’t know who i was anymore.  

Here i was.. married to a minister, one that everyone else adored  in the church, finding him such a great man of God, such a religious man! being convinced there were no way out for me.   I kept praying, and hoping; by now my prayers were about not giving up on God himself.  I didn’t know if God was real anymore. I saw God as a unfair, unloving father. I actually saw him exactly like I saw my ex. I stopped reading my Bible. I just couldn’t do it… whenever I would, I would hear my ex speak.  I could hear his voice literally “preaching” at me.  I didn’t  hear God anymore… i was hearing a mortal man. A mortal man that had so much power over me even I didn’t understand how I let it happen.

In 1999, We lived in Alberta, Canada.  I got pregnant with twins.  Having children was THE one thing that brought me true happiness.   I couldn’t count on my husband to help, but at least I did enjoy being a mother.  My children made me happy.   We were visiting a couple in a far away town in the mountain, far from a good hospital,  I went into premature labor.  I was only 27 weeks pregnant.  In the ambulance taking me to the next big town, which was 90 mins drive, i kept asking God to save my babies, that i don’t think i could forgive him if they died. I also felt guilty.  I blamed myself, and God.  My children being my reason for living.  When we got to the hospital, the doctor  told me one of the babies had no heart beat and the other one was in distress.   My first daughter was born stillborn. She was beautiful. She looked like an angel.  I named her Joanie Hope.  As I was hopeful that my second daughter would be ok.  My second daughter was born...I heard a faint cry.  I was begging them to help her. I knew that she was very little, but I also knew that babies can make it that young with good care. I was crying and asking what was going on. They told me she had passed away as well. I named her Jaelle Faith… to help me keep my faith.   But inside, I died too.

All I wanted was to hold my babies while they were still warm, but I never did... They gave me sedative to make me stop sobbing. I was not hysterical at all, and i don’t think it was needed…. any mother would need to cry the death of 2 of her babies and ask to hold them!  When i woke up 4 hours later, I saw the 2 babies laying on a table next to me.  A nurse came, than exclaimed “Oh my God!!!”  she called for help.. and a doctor came. I could not make up what they were saying, but they were  agitated and confused. The doctor said "Give her to her mother..." and she did... "Your baby still has a heartbeat, we dont know how that is possible, She is still alive...but she will not live".  It totally broke me...  Them believing my baby had no chance to survived because she was only 25 weeks gestation.... Thoughts were rushing in my mind... Hear her faint not understanding why they didnt rush her out of the room to help her.... them sedating me... They had let my baby on a cold table, dying on her own… did she really die when they told me she did?  or did she star breathing on her own right after they thought she was dead… and left her for dead.    I don’t actually remember breathing. I felt my heart literally break; i cant explain it…  The thought of my beautiful baby, left naked on a cold table, fighting for her life for 4 hours...  while her mother nearby was in an induced sleep, will haunt me for the rest of my life.  To this day, this is so incredibly painful to grasp, that it is a memory that I purposly avoid.   My daughter died a few minutes after I finally got to hold her…. as if she was waiting for me… I told her “its ok honey… go see your sister… its ok… stop fighting.. im here now, just go!!” I knew she was going to die the second they gave her to me... she felt cold.  Up to this day, I can still hear her cry.

(picture of my twins ultrasound)

Needless to say… i became a zombie. I was already broken from a abusive marriage, and this had totally destroyed me.   Back home, my husband was telling me i shouldn’t cry, that this was God’s will, that i had to let the dead rest with the dead.   We had a funeral for them a week later.  Shortly after that, we moved again to another church were my ex husband was asked to become the pastor.  It was another fundamentalist church.

I became pregnant right away after this, and named my second son “Zachary” which mean “The Lord remembers”  I felt betrayed by God. I felt I had done everything that was right and should of been rewarded with a great life.    What I didn’t know yet… is that I had never truly ever known God, yet alone been close to him. I had been religious, nothing more, nothing less… but i didn’t know that yet.  I had yet to learn that the box I was living in was not what God wanted for all of us.

After my twins’ death and the birth of my second son, Something in me changed.  I realized that religion had made me very judgmental of others. I started to be disgusted by myself, and feeling extremely guilty.  I got a new found strength to nicely talk back to my ex about his unrealistic requests on everything.    Of course he got worse, calling me rebellious and un-submissive, treating me worse every day. I always thought that God would punish me to no end if i ever divorced, as if this was the unforgivable sin. I knew that one day, i would leave, for the sake of my children, but the way i saw it, was that i didn’t care if God punished me; it would save my boys.

This picture of my boys
was taken only one month
before I left my ex.  
One day, as i was going to get milk for the boys, as I was about to pay, i realized my ex had taking out my bank card away again, as i was suppose to ask his permission to use it… and i forgot!   I never shopped; I only used the card for diapers and milk. This very powerful  will came upon me that i SHOULDN’T go back home. It didn’t matter that i didn’t have anything with me but the clothes on our back. It didn’t matter that i had absolutely no where to go… i just strongly felt that i should NOT go home. And I didn’t.   I walked 4 hours in a -30C weather, a 2yo in a stroller, and a 9mo on my back… and never looked back.  I had no cell phone, and no money. It was freezing ,but my boys were well dressed, so nothing else mathered.  I walked 2 hours to a friend house, but they were not home. I walked 2 hours hours to our church elder’s house, and she helped me get to a women’s shelter.  I was surprised of the support I received. I was exhausted, frozen, and just said "I can't go home", and it is as if she knew why.    That was it, just like that…..    I was in the street with 2 babies, but i was away from him. I felt alive and free immediately.

As I had left with nothing and was literally in the street with 2 young boys, I was waiting for God’s rod upon me, as i was convinced he was going to severely punish me for getting a divorce. ME, getting a divorce!!!  I still saw Him as a harsh father instead of a loving one.  I was not worried about my sons and I. Somehow, I knew we would be ok.  I didnt care where we would have to live, or that I had no idea what the future would be like. I felt tremendous peace.  I  couldn’t put the peace I was feeling and God together yet. I thought my “peace” was sin, and that sin was good.  I was so very mixed up…

And i was amazed how alive i felt… all over sudden… I felt like a person again. After living shelter to shelter, one of my uncle paid of my airfare for me to go back to my parents.  I moved back into my hometown, after not talking or seeing my family for over 3 years.  I found a job for 2 hours a day, washing dishes at the school cafeteria, for 60$ a week, after turning down some "stripper" job.  I had to collect welfare, and live on a special welfare housing. It was humiliating, but I had to do my best to take care of my babies. The little money I made paid for diapers and milk.  I had 800$ a month to pay for everything else. After rent, electricity etc was paid, I had about 75$ left for food, for the month.  My kids never skipped a meal as I became a pro at budgeting every penny.  

Not believing in religion anymore, i slowly felt thirsty again to experience a relationship with God, but i couldn’t let go of all I went thru.  I did not know how to have a relationship other than a religious one.  I slowly felt that religion and God were 2 totally different things.  I innocently asked him to prove to me he was there for me and not against me.

The next morning, as me and my babies slept on an old mattress on the floor and ate on the bare floor, i opened my front door to see about 20 black garbage bags, a crib, a table set and a mountain of toys…. I looked around to see no one… the only thing in front of me was the big Catholic church I had moved next to. The same church I grew up not understanding.  I thanked God sobbing.  The clothes were all the perfect sizes for my children, and for me also.  I knew it all came from the organization led by the church, to donate clothes and items for people in need.  I was amazed that they knew exactly what I needed. I was thankful for the evolution of their religious heart, as long with mine.  Love was replacing man made religion.

Shortly after, i filed for a divorce that would take 3 years.   I was 24 years old.   I didn’t want to read my Bible anymore either, because all I knew was the teaching i had received and even tho i tried to read it with a new state of Mind, I even bought different versions, in different languages. I  couldn’t…  I didn’t know God anymore. I still wanted God, but didn’t know how. 

Slowly but surely, I truly saw that the God i once knew, was not who I thought he was. When I saw that he didn’t “punish” me, but actually blessed me…because he knew my heart.    I would look back at the way everything fell into place,  and the only reasons i saw was how gracious he was… all over sudden, i didn’t feel judged by him, i felt he understood… and i wanted to spend the rest of my life thanking him for this.  His Grace was slowly  healing my broken heart and my empty soul.

God knows when YOU are broken. God knows   what you are feeling. God knows what you are thinking, why not tell HIM anyway!!!  As soon as i started telling him how mad I was at Him, he started showing me He loves me despite how i feel about him.  Instead of being punished by him, i was lifted. Instead of getting enemies, i got friends. Instead of feeling dead, i felt alive.  The more I became sincere and honest with Him, he showed himself to me.

I might of never spent time in prison , but I felt like  a prisoner for such a long time.

There is no differences between you and me. God sees YOU the same he sees me, and anyone out there.  He sees you as a woman, as a mother, as a sister, as someone’s best friend, someone’s daughter.   God knows why you are here. God sees your heart and your intentions before the world sees your actions.    That is why we hurt… that is why you hurt… but you know your own heart, you know why you did what you did, and most of all, God knows!! God saw your struggles and the choices you had to make even before you made it.   Of course, we all have to live consequences for our actions, but God sees our heart first.

We can all look back and think about our most vulnerable time and realize we could of made a choice to bring us right here in prison with you.   I could of done things when i felt lost. I could of done things when i didn’t care, or when i felt the most anger, or when i felt the most rebellious. Why i didn’t? I don’t know! but i know i was capable of them!  SO is there a difference between  the ones that get caught, and the ones that doesn’t?  we have said this before here…   If all hearts were exposed.. we’d all deserve to be here one way or the other!

(painting called “my deliverer”)

Maybe some of you are where i was years ago..  so angry at God and thinking WHY me??  and you have the right to feel so. Tell him. Be honest.  Tell him to show you He didn’t forget you, and believe me He will not let you down.  Of course if you ask him “I want to be outta jail tomorrow”, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen, but he wants your heart!!! If you give him your heart, he will give you more than you could of ever imagine, and you will feel FREE whenever you are.  Try to take this period of your life as a opportunity to get closer to him, So you will never have to fight so hard between making the right, or wrong choice.  We all make bad choices. We all make bad choices without wanting to. And we all make bad choices totally knowing what we are doing.   The key is to learn from them!

God is not a religion. God does not live in a box.  People often say “I am not religious, I don’t believe in God”. Well I am not religious either, but i believe in the amazing healing and saving power of  My Father in Heaven.   I have associated with 4 different religious group, in fact, i didn’t go to church for over 4 years, because  after i felt close to God again, i didn’t want anyone to tell me God was this, or that, and I was just satisfied with my new way of seeing my Father up there!  
You have the privilege here to know that you are all in the same boat. I am sure most of you already got some of the best friends you ever had here.  And just think that maybe that is one way God speak to you!  

I now know that God loves me, and its not a baseball bat he is holding above my head waiting for me to mess up,  but a cradle to rock me in when I feel I don’t deserve his grace. 

 God does change someone heart.  I still have a long road ahead of me. 

Let Go, and let God!

Thank you!