Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trick-or-treating with the cousins

Last night, we walked from my brother's house to the church where Fallyn goes to preschool to do a trunk-or-treat night. The kids had fun dressing up, and the weather was just about perfect. Justin called Jordan a ghetto angel. Rylie was dressed up as some sort of fairy.

Pumpkin Patch 2011

We got to go to the pumpkin patch today as a FAMILY! Jordan is big on saying we are doing things as a family when we ALL participate in something. It was nice that Justin has a week off of school (seminary, not work), so he didn't have to work on homework today. And the day was beautiful! We almost went to a different pumpkin patch, but Jordan remembered coming to this one last year and was very set on going to it again this year. Thank goodness for military discounts, or it would have been a pretty expensive day!

Love this next picture:)

Friday, October 21, 2011

A blog: 9to20 a survivor's journey out of trafficking

Here's an excerpt from a blog my sister-in-law just referred me to, written by a trafficking survivor. It happens here, under our noses, and it makes me wonder about all those kids that couldn't make it to first hour, or were absent all the time, or always had an excuse for things. Read the blog for her story of healing.

WARNING: it's real. it's horrific. it's unthinkable. it's full of hope.

I grew up in the suburbs of a town just a little smaller than 100,000 people. I was a straight A student who worshipped the ground her big brother walked on, as he was often my defender from a physically and sexually abusive father and my relief from an emotionally unstable mother.

When I was eight my brother left for college and the dynamic of our household changed dramatically. My father had lost yet another job and he and my mother turned to me as a steadier source of income. I will never forget that day. The way it turned my stomach so sick, the way the men’s semen smelt on my body… so foreign and sour. It lingered for hours. This first time I was sold for sex it was to multiple men at once. I was nine years old.

For the next 11 years of my life I was forced to have sex with hundreds of men. I was hit, mocked, urinated upon and exploited in the backs of trucks, corner markets, cheap hotels, my own bedroom and on the internet. Every touch and ugly word only added to the lie that sex was all I had to offer. It was my “duty” because I was nothing more than a whore. There was no one I could trust and certainly no one who could help or believe me. After-all, I deserved this– or so I thought. In order to cope, I had convinced myself that it was all a choice and ignored the fact that I was enslaved. I ran away several times but always went back– there was simply no where else for me to go. My parents had me told me repeatedly that either they would kill me or if I did make it to someone who could help, that those people wouldn’t believe a word I would say. Nothing in my life so far had shown me that they were lying.

The fact that her own parents exploited her makes me physically sick. It makes me even more sick that there is even a market out there! It wasn't just the physical abuse...her pictures were on the internet for all to see. If you think pornography is okay and not a big deal, think again! It is NOT OK! Those that partake in pornography are a huge part of exploiting these victims, and, it is often the first step in actually becoming an abuser. Pornography is not OK.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Human Trafficking

Have you ever seen the movie "Taken?" It's about a father who does everything he can to rescue his 17-year-old daughter who was kidnapped by men in the sex slave industry while she and her friend were visiting Paris. He basically has 3 days to find her before she's completely "lost" in the dark underground world. Did I mention he was a retired CIA black ops agent? Yeah, those slave traders don't know what's coming.

Did you know it doesn't just happen "over there?" Did you know that the United States is the #1 country of destination for trafficking victims? Did you know that kids that have run away from home and are living on the streets will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home? Human trafficking doesn't have to look like it does in the movie: victims are often "hidden in plain sight." (The following is taken from the Make Way Partners website) "Some of these victims come to the USA with dreams of a new life but instead enter into a living nightmare. They are hidden right in front of us as we live our daily lives. They may be working in fields you pass. They may be hidden in vans driving down the highway. They may be the women dancing in strip clubs you think are there by choice. They may be children locked away in quiet neighborhoods near where you live waiting in dark basements for the next customer to knock at the door. In the USA trafficking rings have been discovered in trailer parks, massage parlors, suburban homes, farms, working in major employment companies, in mansions..."

Unlike in the movie, I'm pretty sure most victims of human trafficking don't have a father that can kick butt. That means they are most likely going to stay victims unless we do something about it. The last statement about children being locked away in a dark basement in a neighborhood near where we live really hits home with me. There was a story done in the Wichita Eagle this spring (they were also on Oprah) on twin sisters who lived in the southeast side of Wichita who were exploited by their older brothers and father since before they were in kindergarten. They were rescued by neighbors when they were 13. Guess what? The older brother attended Southeast High School...MY school...MY neighborhood...MY backyard. It's not just "over there." It's right here where we live. I want to do something about it. And, I found a way...

...get involved in your community! It's pretty simple, really. You don't have to go knocking down doors to nasty hotel rooms (you'd put yourself and the victim in danger this way anyway). Volunteer your time, money, or talent. Start with this website for ideas: I attended a conference this weekend on human trafficking and there was a great point that was brought up. Much of the "catching" and "saving" are in the hands of law enforcement. A nobody housewife like me is not in that position. So, how can I help these victims? Well, many of these human trafficking victims are "at-risk" youth. Wait a risk youth? I am in a place to get involved with at-risk youth. I can be a part of preventing children from ever getting lured into this underground world in the first place! How? What about becoming a mentor? Youth Horizons is a great organization in need of Christian mentors for children on their waiting list. I can do that! I've always wanted to, but never thought I had time. But now, I have plenty of time! This is something I can do! I may not be calling the cops on neighbors next door (pray that I don't ever have to!), but I can be investing in the life of a youth at risk and hopefully be a part of preventing human trafficking in our own backyard.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apples and Pumpkins

Jordan worked on an apple "sewing" project as we learned about apples.
We cut open an apple and found only three seeds. As you can see, Jordan did not think three was enough:)
Then we played with apples in the water table. Will it sink or float? The girls couldn't help but eat them as they played.

On Sunday, we decided to make and decorate cupcakes. The girls really enjoyed this activity, and they did a pretty good job, too.
We learned about what was inside a pumpkin this week, and after cutting it open, I cooked it and roasted the seeds.
I found the directions for pumpkin in a crockpot on the Happy Housewife website.
The girls worked on a little project on what's inside a pumpkin. They also found some letter P's from a magazine and glued them to the pumpkin.
They used some of the seeds and orange yarn for the inside.
Rylie really enjoyed the gluing!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Getting ready for the day

Here's a picture of the clothes Jordan picked out for Rylie and herself the other day. She likes to get everything laid out first. She's a lot like Justin in this...he always has his clothes picked out and ready to go the night before!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Motherly Love

I tried to get in on a couple pictures, too.

Sisterly Love

Jordan was quick to hold Rylie, but Rylie wasn't so sure.

(not sure I should post this next one. Jordan looks a bit too old.)

More Old Town Pics

(notice the nasty apple? it fell on the ground and rolled a few times!)

Dancing in the Street

We went to old town today to just walk around. The Farmer's market was going on and someone was singing. The girls were each given an apple and they started dancing to the music.