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Enriching lives thru the Power of Social Media

Ah, the Twitter…

A place to connect, to find links to interesting topics and people.

A place to be completely random and ridiculous in 140 characters or less.

Which is exactly what I was doing on Tuesday evening after the release of Apple’s newest form of electronic crack, the iPhone 4S, when I tweeted:

I was really just being a smart ass. Just another service I offer on a daily basis. But then something unexpected happened. Someone suggested a much better alternative to throwing my abandoned phones into my overflowing junk drawer:

Sandra later sent me a link to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, who have a program which can put your old phone to good use:

NCADV is recycling cell phones to:
• Fund programming that empowers victims of domestic violence and helps them remain free from abuse
• Support legislation aimed at ending domestic violence
• Give support and resources to organizations across the US working to stop violence in the home

How It Works:
• Roughly 60 percent of cell phones will be refurbished and resold
• The revenue generated from the sale of refurbished phones will be used to support NCADV programs that help end violence in the home
• The remaining cell phones are recycled according to the highest environmental standards

My discarded phones (and yours) can be put to much better use than just taking up space in a junk drawer. They could save a life. I don’t know about you, but that’s worth giving up an overpriced coffee beverage for a day to pay for postage.

Still on the fence about it? Maybe these statistics will help you decide:

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

If you’d like to help, you can get all the details here.

Get rid of something you no longer need and help someone else in the process. Sounds like a win-win to me.

The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 4

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Family Reunion

It’s Sunday afternoon and the family has gathered for a very special occasion.

The boys and their families flew in from Colorado and Tennessee. The girls married and settled closer to home, neither one more than an hour’s drive from their childhood home.

The big occasion? It’s Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. The house is small, so John, Kevin and their families chose to stay at a nearby hotel in town. Now gathered in the tiny family room, the brothers and sisters wonder aloud how they ever managed to all fit in this house, let alone grow up here.

While their parents are in the back yard playing with the grandkids–nine in all–John, Kevin, Janet and Kara catch up on each other’s lives. The brothers each left home after high school graduation. John set off for college on a football scholarship and Kevin headed for Fort Bragg and a career in the military. They talk about their kids; about how much has changed and how much has remained unchanged.

What they don’t talk about is why Janet’s husband has spent most of the afternoon taking private calls on his cell phone out of earshot of his wife, or the fact that no amount of make-up can cover the purple, swollen skin under Kara’s right eye.

The elephants in the room loom as large as Kara’s husband’s absence from this auspicious occasion.

But the biggest elephant of all–the one each sibling recognizes but none want to admit to themselves, let alone each other, is the old saying that in this case rings heartbreakingly true:

Both Janet and Kara married men just like their Daddy.

And the elephants feed and grow…

If you missed the first three installments of this series, you can find them here:

The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 1: An Introduction and Explanation
The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 2: Unspoken
The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 3: Anniversary Gifts

Grieving a love gone wrong (by Louise Gallagher)

Back in February I wrote a post for the blog carnival entitled Patiently. It was a fictional account of a victim of domestic violence. Today, I am grateful to have a guest blogger who not only knows first hand what it is to live that nightmare, but was able to escape from it.

Louise Gallagher has moved through Calgary’s corporate hallways to not-for-profit fund-raising and communications. The author of The Dandelion Spirit, A true-life fairytale of love, lies and letting-go, published in 2006, she is the producer/writer of At The Heart of Centre Stage, a one hour documentary for Global Television and numerous other video productions. In addition, Louise’s articles have been published in print and online and she has had several articles aired on CBC Radio.

Louise seeks to inspire everyone to make a difference, in their own lives and in their communities through creative expression in everything they do.

Grieving a Love Gone Wrong

When someone dies, we grieve. The process is well-documented, the steps clearly defined though seldom straight-forward. We each journey through the process at our own speed, in our own time. But, regardless of our pace, we must go through each step to come to that place where we can be at peace with only the memories of the one we loved to warm our hearts, as we learn to accept that they have gone forever as we move on.

We start with disbelief. It cannot be true. They cannot be gone. We are in denial. And then we move into anger. How could they have left us! Why me? Why them? Why now? Why? Why? Why? Anger gives way to bargaining, trying to find some way to reach peace with the inevitable truth that is edging away at the darkness, trying to bring light to the endless night we seem to have slipped into with their passing.

We’re angry they left us, angry they won’t come back. And angry there is nothing that can bring them back — though we keep searching for a way to make the pain of their going, go away. Until, finally, sadness invades our minds like fog drifting upon a river in the grey on grey world of a winter’s dawn as we wade through the pain of the truth seeping into our hearts with chilling clarity. We will never see or feel or hear them again.

As the truth settles in we learn to accept. They are not coming back. Sad, but true. But we have our memories. Those beautiful, jewel encased visions of who this person was and what they meant to our lives. And so we slip from the waters of despair into the memory banks and photo albums of their loving faces frozen in time, etching their images upon the page with our fingers lovingly caressing their smiles as we point and laugh and tell stories about them.

Remembering when. Remembering how. Remembering them. We hold their memory lovingly in our hearts and feel the breath of life return once again to our peace of mind. Knowing that whenever we need to, to have them near all we have to do is open a photo album, slip into our hearts and there they’ll be, forever and a day. And so we grieve as their memory turns into a poem of love we will cherish forevermore.

There is no poetry when grieving a psychopath

Grieving a love gone wrong hurts. Especially when the one we loved has been untrue. Has lied and deceived and manipulated to get what they want. In those memories, there is no place where it is safe to trace their image upon the pages of our mind as we carefully gather mementos in the book of love we are writing in their passing. For, no matter where we roam, the lies, the deceit, the cruelty and desperation we felt in loving them tinges our minds with the ashen silt descending from the volcano that erupted in their passing through our lives.

Where once love blossomed on every branch and flower strewn vistas of happily-ever-after cast a sweet heady aroma of bliss upon our minds, burnt out memories lie etched in stark relief upon the black and grey landscape of our dreams. We are not safe to grieve wrapped in the memories of their love and so must find a way to release the tears without falling into the river of despair as anger and hatred and revulsion invade.

And so we grieve

In anger we turn the pain of having loved a phantom onto ourselves. We search for answers to their duplicity in our own naiveté. We blame ourselves, we find solace in trying to keep alive the image of what we wanted so desperately for him or her to be. We attach ourselves to the belief we love him as reality rises with our racing hearts pounding out the truth in a mind-numbing tattoo. He is the lie. Until finally, like Vesuvius erupting, the anger boils over the top and we are free to vent our tears and pain and fears and anger.

We were betrayed. Not because of anything we did. Not because of who we were, or how we looked or behaved, but simply because the abuser was who he or she was. We were betrayed not because we deserved it, but simply because we lost track of what we truly deserve when he betrayed our truth, our faith, our hope in love. We were betrayed because he chose to betray us and we were not expecting betrayal. We were expecting the love we gave in such breathless wonder to be returned with equal honesty. We were expecting to be cherished as we cherished him. But we didn’t know that upon that first sweet hello, we were targeted for betrayal. And betrayal is hard to grieve.

I grieve for the woman who was abused

When the man who promised to love me ‘til death do us part and who took the death part way too seriously was arrested and I was set free, I wanted to mourn the relationship that was too good to be true. I wanted to grieve the man with whom I’d fallen in love. But he did not exist.

How could I mourn a dream? How could I grieve a figment of my imagination? Where was the substance to the chimera of his being in my life?

When first I was set free, I tried to mourn the man I thought he was and ended up grieving for the woman who was betrayed. Me.

I grieved for the woman who believed in Prince Charming and awoke to her worst nightmare raging in the night. I grieved for the woman who believed no one could willingly, knowingly, consciously create such evil and who had to awaken to the truth. Someone could and that someone was once a man I loved. A man who was untrue.

I grieved the woman whose hungry heart led her into his unholy arms. I grieved the woman who had to give up on believing in herself in order to keep believing in him. And I grieved the woman who almost lost her life because she could not believe she deserved to live. I grieved for that woman who was me who was so wounded, battered and bruised upon the road of life she thought she had no choice but to follow her magical thinking into the nightmare of his lies. She was betrayed and lost her way.

I grieved the past. I grieved the woman-child who believed she deserved to be abused.

In my prayers, I let him go

I did not grieve for him.

I prayed for him. I prayed for him a miracle, for only a miracle will set him free. And in my prayers, I let him go.

And focus on me.

When first I stumbled off that road to hell I could not feel my heart within me, could not feel the warmth of the sun upon my face. I could not feel. In grieving, I shifted my focus from memories of him to memories of me. My life, my joy, my sorrow, my pain, my elation. In grieving, I mourned what happened to me and rejoice in the wonder, the beauty, the joy of being alive today. In living, I create my poem of love that says, this is my one and only life. And I am the one and only me that I can be living it up for all I’m worth in the rapture of now.

Becoming all that I am meant to be

In letting go of him, I catch hold of me and wrap myself up in my loving arms. For I am the wondrous, incredible, miraculous being who has been given this gift of her life to live it in freedom. In freedom, I know that whatever lies I believed, from childhood through to this moment, there is only one lie that could hurt me now – to believe that I am not worthy of love.

He was my worst nightmare. But in his passing, I have been given the gift of truth that has saved my life – I am an awesome human being, worthy of love.

In love with me and my life, I accept all of me. Beauty and the beast. Joy and sorrow. Tears and laughter. Pain and ecstasy. Perfectly human in all my imperfections.

I am not less than, greater than, other than. I am me. And as me, I have the gift of embracing all that I am meant to be when I accept, without equivocation, my truth. I deserve to live my beautiful life without fear of being anyone other than who I am.

To read more from Louise Gallagher, please visit her at Recover your Joy.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please know that this is not the life God intended for you. Please visit There is a better life for you.

The Root of Kindness

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Two weeks ago, I wrote a post called Patiently for the blog carnival. I’ll confess I already knew what I was going to write about, I just didn’t know how I would work the topic of “Patience” into it. In case you missed it, it was my first attempt at a short story. The post was about was domestic violence. The story was fictional, but statistically speaking, the scenario I described is all too real. Based upon the number of views that post received, I knew I couldn’t just leave it at one post. I needed to follow up.

So, here we are. The topic this week is “Kindness”. Again, I wondered how to work that theme into my post. Then, like an answer to prayer, this Sunday’s sermon was on that very topic. But more about that later…

Since I have never been the victim of domestic violence, I felt it would be disingenuous to attempt to write about it with any authority. I briefly corresponded via email with a survivor of domestic violence, which was the catalyst for this follow up post.

I also spoke with a friend yesterday. We’ll call her “Barbara”.*

Barbara’s story has a happy ending. After sixteen years of physical and emotional abuse, she finally broke free of the cycle and is now happily married to a great guy.

I wanted to know what the “last straw” was; what finally made her say “Enough”. Her answer was both predictable and chilling. She told me, “I just quit caring. I told him I didn’t give a shit if he beat me anymore. That’s when he started in on our oldest son.” She didn’t leave right away, but that was the beginning of the end to her nightmare. In the end, she did get away, and she is alive to tell about it.

Now, back to the topic at hand: Kindness. The following is an excerpt from Jeff’s sermon on Sunday:

1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us “Love is patient, love is kind”…


When we use the word “kind” today, we typically compare it with words like “nice” or “compassionate.” Those aren’t bad comparisons, but neither of those words goes far enough to get at the heart of what Paul is saying here.

The Greek word translated “kind” is χρηστεύομαι “chrēsteuomai, (pronounced khrā-styü’-o-mī).

It comes from the root word χρηστός “chrēstos” (pronounced khrā-sto’s)

Chrestos means “fit for use,” or “useful.”

On the most basic level, kindness MEETS NEEDS.

Barbara was fortunate. She had family and friends who were willing to meet her needs. When she finally left, a friend opened her house to Barbara and her three children. It wasn’t convenient and it wasn’t easy. But a true act of kindness seldom is.

If you know someone who is a victim of abuse, I am speaking directly to you. Ultimately, the decision to leave – to choose life – is up to them. Just understand that their abusers have convinced them they are worthless and undeserving of a better life. It is your obligation to prove to them otherwise; to provide a safe haven and your unwavering support to them. It could literally be the difference between life and death.

Meet their needs.


“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in times of crisis preferred to remain neutral.” ~ Dante


This post is part of this week’s One Word Blog Carnival: Kindness, hosted by my friend Bridget Chumbley at One Word at a Time.

*A very special thanks to my friend and sister in Christ, “Barbara”. I am so grateful to know you my friend. You are a beautiful example of kindness and grace in action.


The following is my first attempt at a short story and is part of the One Word Blog Carnival: Patience hosted by Bridget Chumbley at One Word at a Time.

image courtesy of

She was 17, just a few months away from graduation and looking for a fast way out of a bad situation. She’d heard her dad promise her mother he would stop hitting her; had been hearing it for years. And her mom waited for him to make good on all those promises. Patiently.

She’d seen so much hurt in her young life that when she saw the “health care professionals” booth during the career day at school, she thought being a nurse would be a good fit. She wanted to help some of the hurting stop. So she filled out the necessary paperwork to enroll in nursing school, mailed it off and waited to hear back. Patiently.

Five years later, she’d made a good life for herself. She loved being an ER nurse. The money was enough to get her a place of her own. A good life in many ways, but also a little lonely. So when the handsome EMT took more than a professional interest in her, she agreed to dinner and a movie. When dinner and a movie turned into a something more, she wasn’t so lonely anymore. Sure, he drank a bit more than what she would have liked, but he worked long hours and needed a way to unwind. Besides, he promised her he would quit after he got the promotion he was working so hard to get. So she waited for the promotion to come and the drinking to stop. Patiently.

A year later, the promotion still hadn’t come and the drinking hadn’t stopped. She got up the courage to tell him she was leaving one night, but instead she said yes to him as he took her hand on bended knee and placed a ring on her finger. He must really love her, and she knew she could love him back.

She paced the floor of their tiny kitchen, waiting for him to arrive home from a late shift. The pregnancy test had confirmed what she already knew – they were going to be parents. Surely the added responsibilities of fatherhood would make him stop drinking. He said he never wanted to be a drunk like his dad.

When he finally arrived home much later than expected, he smelled of bourbon and sweat. She was angry and probably shouldn’t have told him he was going to be a drunken dad just like his father. That was the last thing she remembers before she saw his fist coming towards her face. Then everything went black.

She woke up the next day in the hospital with her husband by her side. When the doctor started asking questions about her multiple injuries, her husband’s cold stare and the tightening grip on her hand drained any courage she had left out of her. He had already convinced the police it was an accident. Surely he could convince the doctor as well.

Twenty years and two children later, the drinking and the beatings continue. So do the empty promises. And just like her mother, she still waits for her husband to make good on all those empty promises. Patiently.


According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline website features a “quick escape” button that will immediately redirect you to an unregistered site in case you think your computer may be monitored, or you can call them toll free, 24/7 at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).

If you are being abused, there is help out there, and no one has the right to raise a hand to you. This story is a work of fiction, but sadly, all too real for many women. You can find other, real life stories here: Love Fraud dot com

To read a story with a much better ending, please visit Recover Your Joy.