Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When the baby got stuck in the bathroom and couldn't get out

Last night, my 14-month-old decided to close himself in my parent's hall bathroom.  Not a strange occurrence except that he also scooted the narrow glass-topped table slightly in front of the door.  The table quickly became wedged between the door, doorstop and corner leaving us with only a 4 inch crack to watch him scream through.  We could not get him out!  As we tried with our fingertips to push the table out of the way, the glass top started to shift, with the baby directly under it.  Hinges are on the inside of this door; window locked.  Breaking either would hurt him, if the metal candle holders and sheet of glass didn't fall on him first.  Chris was calm, but I wasn't.  I started pacing.  Him crying and me unable to get to him bothered me enough, but I could just picture everything falling on him and us STILL not being able to open the door, so I started praying while I paced.  We decided the best shot was to tip the table and let the glass fall away from him, the table legs would be easier to brake than the solid top.  After the crash, we shoved the door in, bending the legs, and Chris grabbed the baby.  He was fine.  Nothing fell on him.  Man, my heart started racing again as I typed that!

Maybe someday we will say, "Remember that time" and laugh, but not yet. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

radio interview and music video

Listen to this interview of a survivor of sex trafficking who works with Love 146 and the director of Houston Rescue and Restore as they explain in brief but excellent reasoning, the framework of the domestic commercial sex trade.

This music video also is worth watching.  "Fragile" by Lamont Hiebert.  It's not your fault. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

God and Justice

I prayed that God would help me better understand the characters of both Him and of  those He created.  And this week, I came across four different sources that taught me separately about a this common theme.  I'll just type my thoughts here though they don't culminate to some fantastic conclusion now.
1) PT talked Sunday about creation.  We were created a little lower than the angels and above the animals.  "Therefore," he said, "humans should not be treated like animals and humans should not act like animals."  Unfortunately, both are happening and sex trafficking is a very real example: because some people choose to act like animals, others are being treated like animals.  
2) I read a point well-argued by Siddharth Kara, scholar-author of the book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery.  He observes a repetitive sequence through human history: desire left unchecked leads to suffering leads to anger leads to violence leads to destruction.  Though a secular writer, he essentially explains the reality of man’s sinful nature.  
3) On Thanksgiving, my Dad randomly texted me about Mark 7:20-23, "From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”  This is basically a list of those desires of the sinful nature which lead to and have always led to suffering.  
4) I have been reading Jeremiah and am now studying the flood.  I observed the very pattern described by Kara in biblical history: 
Creation/with God>desire>suffering>anger>violence>destruction/flood, 
Noah/with God>desire>suffering>anger>violence>destruction/Babel, 
Abraham with God while the process of d>s>a>v>d went on throughout the rest of the world.  Eventually d>s>a>v>d brought down both Israel and Judah (as well as Babylon, Egypt and Assyria). 
Now, as always, humanity is in a d>s>a>v>d process (human trafficking, genocides, racial & gender prejudices (esp in other counties), worldwide socioeconomic disparity, strings of evil dictators are evidence) and some day earth will face destruction by fire.  
We were not created for any of these dreadful ways- we are a little lower than the angels.  God is long suffering, slow to anger, and abounding in patience and love.  “Again and again, He allowed years to pass and human sin to develop until He displayed His authority and power and judgement.”  I don't think I have ever seen God the way I see Him now before.  He has always confused me, honestly, claiming to be just and gracious and wrathful all at the same time when I felt more like He demonstrated each of those vastly different qualities at distinctly different times.  Many think God is mean and demanding of adherence to a list of rules He made up without apparent reason and they joke that life is a cruel test to see if we can obey.  Well, I have never thought that, but I couldn't give a clear answer to people who ask about it- other than skipping to an explanation for grace while leaving out the why.  And when I found myself wondering, "If God is a God of justice, why is there is so much injustice in the world?" I just wanted an answer deeper than, "well, in order to bring justice, He'd have to take away freewill."  I want to understand the condition of the human heart and I want to understand the purpose of His precepts.  It is not surprising that a loving creator would desire for those He loved to live in peace and joy rather than self-induced heartache.  He lovingly gives us a clear description of how to live and how not to live and encourages us to be self-controlled then even empowers us with the spirit.  Our God longs for justice and justice will be brought.  I haven't figured all of this out yet and I may not ever fully, but I think I am getting closer.  

5) The video below also influenced me greatly this week.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

veggies & birdies & music & coffee

Reaching for carrot shoots and loose potatoes on farm stands, pointing at hopping finches, watching where the folk music is coming from and bobbing his head to the bass players beat while sharing a fresh lunch crepe with me in a courtyard farm market walking distance from one of America's most beautiful college campuses.  I love being the mom of an almost-toddler.

Once the little guy, in his knitted bomber hat and dinosaur sweater, fell asleep, I strolled to a local cafe for some mommy time.  I read the Bible with a warm coffee between my cold hands and journaled: I recall 385 days ago looking from these same old buildings and autumn trees to my newborn and feeling joy bursting inside me.  This season marks one year of motherhood and my feelings have not changed. 

Understanding Human Trafficking

Psalm 10.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Songs for Moms

I Get to be the One by JJ Heller
You Make Me Believe in Love by JJ Heller
Keep You Safe by JJ Heller
Seeds by Brooke Fraser
In My Arms by Plumb
I Am by Jill Philips       
Best Day by Taylor Swift
Don't Ever Grow Up by Taylor Swift
Lullaby by Dixie Chicks
Godspeed by Dixie Chicks
Little Boy on His Knees by Cheri Keaggy
Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
Mr. Mom by Lonestar
Watching You by Rodney Atkins
Baby by Bruno Coulais
The Perpetual Self by Sufjan Stevens

Add to my list by commenting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Autumn Is Still My Favorite

Warm nutella in a delicate crepe leaves little to be desired.  Especially when eaten in a 17th century structure next door to the Chateau Frontenac in the fortified city of Quebec on a crisp October day.

On our first official family vacation, we visited Upstate New York, Vermont and Canada.  Walking (and driving) through Francophone Quebec, we felt like we had hopped the Atlantic.  French dominates all signs and tongues and the fortified city is comparable to a true French village with its steep stone streets that wind between charming historic inns, shops and restaurants. 

And, truly, is there a better day of the year than October 13 to drive between the Adirondacks and the finger lakes?  Wow!  The oranges were brilliant, the reds valiant and the yellows literally neon.  Lakes George and Champlain were so still that we parked at overlooks just to listen to the quiet.

I feel refreshed. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vengeance Is Not Mine

I often apply God's encouraging words for Judah to His encouragement for victims of sex trafficking.  Today, I read in Jeremiah 50:34, All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go.  Yet their Redeemer is strong... He will vigorously defend their cause.  The "captors" here are the Babylonians, but victims' captors are pimps and johns.

Jeremiah 50 essentially lays out God's plan to avenge Judah.  And I wondered, should I apply that vengeance to traffickers too?  I have said before that I feel like Gideon, amazed that God has called me to love the exploited, but that I would be more like Jonah did I not also love their exploiters.  But when I read scripture like this I ask, God, do you want me to love the captors or despise them?  Proverbs harps on the bitter end for oppressors and wicked-doers.  But Jesus dined with them!  The same God that extended grace to thieves and healed even His enemies avenged the captors of Judah, killing and destroying them completely.  Not to mention that Jesus is a savior to all no matter how great their past sins.  I pondered this for a while then realized that the answer is quite clear.  The Lord says, It is mine to avenge; I will repay in Deuteronomy 32:35.  In Romans 12, Paul wisely teaches, Do not repay anyone evil for evil... Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath.  On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thristy, give him something to drink.  

Here is my answer: God is just.  It is not mine to avenge the oppressed. That is all. Jesus dined with sinners and told us to do likewise. God "avenged His temple" and told us to leave revenge to Him. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Love True in the Newspaper

To read Bob Makin's September 28 article about Love True, the awesome organization I am helping found, click  Bob requested personal essays from each of Love True's directors.  Here is the blurb I wrote:

Like many workers in the slavery-fighting community I am motivated by a righteous anger against injustice, but I was primarily drawn to this mission by a desire to see the hearts of victims healed and restored.  I have always cared deeply about the hearts of women.  Once I learned about sex trafficking in 2010, I saw that little could damage a girl’s heart more than daily rape by stranger-clientele and the wrongful stigma that accompanies it.  Prostituted women, more than any need to be restored and told that they are beautiful and worthy of love.  After I embarked on this journey of building Love True, I wrestled with the decision to also love the men who dispirit these women.  For the first time, I saw pimps and johns (buyers of sex) as people who needed healing for their own hearts.  The hearts of would-be victims can best be protected by the restoration of those who provide the demand for their services.  If I really want to help women, I must help men too.  That is why I have taken the position as Love True’s Prevention, Education and Awareness Program Director.  I am drawing on my experience as a teacher to piece together the research of professionals into two innovative and interactive curricula to inform and train vulnerable young people and passionate community members.  My hope is that these programs will transform the futures of both men and women by freeing them from addiction and exploitation and by inspiring many to defend the vulnerable and support victims.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What about Second Breakfast?

After Blue Eyes had finished his banana and cheerio breakfast (we are trying to learn baby sign language, but currently he makes his sentiments known by trying to climb out of the high chair then slamming both hands on the tray "hum mm hum mm"), he went to play in the living room and I set out to make my own breakfast, a smoothie.  When he sensed that I was cutting up fruit (strawberries, nectarine, banana, blackberry) he crawled into the kitchen and sat down to watch the process.  I blended and poured my smoothie then walked passed him with it (he had just eaten breakfast and told me he was full) as he watched me pass, he yelled at me "Mah!" and hit the floor with both hands then slumped over in despair.  He is so cute.  So I grabbed a baby spoon and sat down beside him on the floor to feed him from my cup.  Now he is happy and I have a third less smoothie, but I don't mind. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Blue Eyes and I headed to the Rutgers Farmers Market, scrounged up every metal disc in the car and counted $4.03.  I tasted some sausage and some wine and a butter-toasted pecan then spent what I had:

Spinach turnover                                                                        $1.50
Ear of "picked this morning" sweet corn                               $.45
Wild flower honey straw                                                          $.50
Heirloom tomatoes 1 yellow, 1 maroon, 1 striped green   $1.50

We took our small meal to Rutgers Gardens and ate it under a fine tree.  Then we explored the flowerbeds, discussed the processes of photosynthesis and pollination (no, he didn't understand, but he's a good listener) and did some yoga on a grassy lawn.   I enjoy the simple things most. 

Favorite Passtimes of a 10-month-old

  • Emptying the shoe rack
  • Climbing on top of the empty shoe rack
  • Climbing on top of the toy chest
  • Climbing on top of the printer
  • Staring longingly into the bathtub wishing those things would come out so that he could throw them in again, then turning his attention to the trashcan.  No!
  • Being in the same room as mommy (unless daddy is home)
  • Sitting underneath the coffee table, bouncer, or desk then getting stuck between the bed and the wall 
  • Reorganizing the DVD collection... onto the floor
  • Scavenging for lost cheerios... among other things.  Don't eat that!
  • Saying "ba ba da ba da da" with gusto
  • Testing the strength of the screen door with his lean
  • At all times having the company of a foam letter, a block, a sock or a wetwipe package in each hand (When he crawls with blocks, he sounds like a woman in high heels and socks cause him to slip and slide as he goes). 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The miniseries, Human Trafficking, is on Netflix right now if you are interested in learning more about the business, victimization and fighting of human trafficking from this fictional film.  I recommend that you listen to the informative speech delivered in the closing scene in the YouTube link below (FFW to :38 - 3:00). 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rationalizations vs Reality

Sweidish investigator,  Kajsa Wahlberg, has argued that "Prostitution is about men masturbating inside women's bodies- nothing else."  Valid.  Watch this news report on Sweden's 1999 Sex Purchase Act. 

When I take a step back and look at all these arguments flying around about legalization and women's rights to sell sex and women's rights to not be sold... I just think- Oh my gosh, so many men in the world are so confused about sex that thousands and thousands of women have to be forced or drugged or strategically coerced into this industry in order to supply their demand for it.  All those men.  All those money chasing pimps, madams and recruiters.  1 in 3 American girls and 1 in 5 boys are abused before 18.  All those abusers.  All the revictimization.  All these confused confused people.  How can anyone not see this clear clear problem?  How have we managed to rationalize this into acceptance?  Why is anyone even arguing about this?  

See also stats on site,


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Fullness of Emptiness

After 9 months of pregnancy and 5 months of kicks and flips and hiccups, I had grown very close to my son.  Pun intended.  And once his body left my body, I felt... well empty.  Deflated.  And a little cold.  Like the bread bowl must feel after the soup has been eaten.  But in the minutes that followed, when I held him and watched his little eyes watch me and Chris, my heart felt very full.

Now, 9 months later, I still know the meaning of empty fullness.  Being a mom is very emptying... of time, of energy, of sleep, of concentratability, of self-centeredness, etc.  Yet, even though I am poured out and drained, I feel so full. Undeniably, I have never felt this full. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fighting Human Trafficking through Legislation

There are currently three bills being considered in congress that could dramatically improve conditions for child victims of sexual exploitation and enable better enforcement of US laws against human trafficking.  Look at the EPCAT website to learn how to support these bills. 

 Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2011
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
Business Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Controversial Article

"...Erotic media perpetuates the objectification of humans, the rejection of love as selfless and the promotion of sex as recreation...and when we think a misuse of sexuality is okay, we might just be oppressing ourselves."

-Arleen Spenceley in her recent article, Is There Room for Erotica in Christianity?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thought Provoking

I'm not making a statement by posting this comic, my thought were just provoked by it.  I want to know what you thinking about it. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This Saturday

Love True is hosting an awareness event July 21st at 6:30 pm. Come and learn about the sex trade in New Jersey, Love True's vision and steps you can take to help fight sex trafficking. Expect light refreshments, live music, an information presentation, a question and answer time and prayer. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012


What this woman has to say is powerful yet upsetting yet amazing and true. So many people feel what she feels and are quiet.  So many people do not know what she and others feel and choose ignorance over the discomfort of finding out. Despite that, do not feel obligated to watch it.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Chris and I visited Woodcreek Church in Dallas on Sunday.  We planned to go elsewhere, but I am thankful that we didn't because I needed to hear the message spoken there.  I did not realize that I needed to hear the message until halfway through it.  I'll share with you what I journaled in the middle of my sermon notes.

"Note to self: Stop applying sermons to others and not to yourself, wishing that someone else were here hearing the message.  Do I not trust the Lord?  He will speak to that person as He wills.  And He chose me to be here hearing this message.  So hear what he has to teach you."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's a Small World

Chris and I visited a little church in the little town of Mt. Vernon, TX last Sunday where my parents introduced us to their realtor.  Not far into the conversation, we made a discovery. 

Realtor: "Oh I was in New York City just last week.  Did you go to the Tim McGraw concert for service members?"
Chris: "Yes.  We were there!"
Realtor: "We went to.  We sat stage right in the Orchestra section."
Chris:"So did we." 
Realtor: "There was this adorable young couple country western dancing in the aisle near us."
Chris: "That was us!" 
Realtor: "Oh my.  My friend talked to the girl.  That was you?"
Heather: "You're friend is from Dallas, has short gray hair and glasses and was wearing a long brown vest and skirt?" 
Realtor: "Yes that is Judy!  I was sitting next to her!" 
Heather: "Yep.  I talked to your friend!  You were watching us dance." 

How random is that?  Haha.
The "adorable young couple"

Finish High School

This is a good ad.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Mouthful of Crumbs

A pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of iron
A quart of water is lighter than a gallon
Thirst is not quenched by watching one drink
Hunger is unchanged by reading a recipe
Joy is not taught; joy is not reached; joy is given in small doses

Indians threw overboard tea
Tea is ruined by tannins
Tea is ruined by tea
Tea was ruined by the sea

Bone makes the best china
China is not China.  China is china
Grace is not earned; grace is not  reached; grace is given in large doses

Milk comes from cows but not as from soy
Milk comes from almonds but not as from goats
Milk does not come from chickens

Boil an egg 8 minutes
Crack it like a lady with the head of a spoon
Crack not your biscuit
Crack not your knuckles
Arthritis comes from other things

No temptation has seized you that is not common
No man is not man
Every woman a woman

Men died 4 days before the war ended
Wind blows away the dandelion spores
Dandelions without spores are bare but not barren

A sheared lamb is naked and a dry pot is empty
Holey buckets are never full
Henry's straw is too long and his saw too dull
Holy hearts are full
Buckets are not holy
Even dogs eat crumbs that fall from their master's table

A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken
Do not put new wine in old wine skins
Do not sew new denim to old jeans
Liposuction is temporary
Do not quit without rehab
Do not tread on me
There is no rewind button
Wake me up come September

An ounce of giraffe looks different from an ounce of cobbler
A well of water is unlike another well of water
Thirst is not quenched by hearing one swallow
Hunger unchanged by cooking
Come to me that you may have life
Drink living water and never go thirsty
Eat my flesh or you have no part in me
Water  is not drawn; flesh is not reached; water is given in gulps; flesh is given in mouthfuls

Saturday, May 26, 2012

One Thousand Gifts Continued

In January and March, I posted lists of little things I am thankful for as Ann Voskamp did in her best selling book, "One Thousand Gifts."

Mrs. Masalin's list:
A double yolk
Popcorn popping on stove top
Heavy branches of snowy evergreens
Smell of rain on hot tar street

More from me:
29. Porch-grown tomato
30. Old men with British accents
31. Narrow cobblestone lanes
32. Watermelon seeds
33. Raining while sunny
34. Stolen sip of crisp Riesling
35. Manhattan in spring
36. Boston in fall
37. White monuments pink in sunset
38. Dandelions growing stubborn in schoolyard
39. Flying low over downtown at night
40. Pride and Prejudice
41. Gruene Hall

"Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers"

Day 8 of the 40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care "Today, pray for the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest from your church and community.  Ask Him to call Christians to go to the 'fields of the fatherless' to experience the joy of caring for orphans as we were commanded in Isaiah 1:16-17."

"Give up your wicked ways.
Learn to do good. 
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the orphan.
Fight for the rights of widows."

Matthew 9:37 says, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask, therefore, for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field."  I think of a field of strawberries all beautiful, sweet, fragile, hidden and needing to be picked carefully so as not to bruise them.  These children need to see faith, hope and love and we need to let the Lord use us to show it to them.   

Song by Tim Hughes: "We must go live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken. We must go. 
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action.  We must go. 
Fill us up and send us out!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Little Fall of Rain

Rain drops falling few, fat and loud. 
Circles growing on the puddles.
Afternoon sun shining yellow. 
May-green leaves like stained glass wet glow. 
Their shadows on wood floor dance. 
White walls yellow from floor's sun's reflection. 
All bright.  All shimmering. 
Tranquil.  Beautiful.