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All posts for the month April, 2017

A Return to Homeschool

Published April 24, 2017 by lynn k scott

Discussions, research, contemplation and prayer, it’s been decided my daughter will return to homeschool for next year.  While I LOVE the small, private, Christian school she is in, we financially can no longer afford to send her.  The money spent on the school could be allocated to other bills that won’t take a backseat.

Sixth grade, junior high, here we come!  I refuse to jump on the “Middle School” bandwagon.  It was good enough to be called junior high for me, that’s what her current school calls it and that’s what we’ll continue to call it.

I briefly contemplated using a charter school because I could have received a stipend for educational-related expenditures from the district.  While charters are supposed to allow more flexibility, for a public school, the down side is, they are still a public school.  I became very upset just filling out the application.  That seems silly, right?  Perhaps.

The last two years, we have had this wonderful school.  There’s no PC-ness in play.  They ask for the mother’s and father’s signature on the application.  While, I know there are many, many types of families, I admire they still acknowledge parents.

While filling out the charter application, it asked for the parents’ name.  Then it asked who the child resides with.  Why was “parents”, “mother” or “father” not even options? The option available:  “Guardian 1”, “Guardian 2” and “Guardian 3” as the primary choices.  What?!  The nuclear family, while it has taken on some changes, still does exist.

When I brought this up to the charter, I received the approved response, “the options are within state guidelines”.  Ah yes, good ole’ California and the front-runner of “don’t offend anyone”.  I’m sorry but if the state of California is overseeing my daughter’s education, they should at the very least know that a “parent” and “guardian” are actually different words.

I was a guardian to my nieces for a year.  I didn’t give birth or adopt them.  I was their aunt.  They lived with me.  I made their important decisions.  I fed and clothed them.  I was their guardian.

Over the course of several evenings, unable to sleep, I kept researching charter schools and their requirements.  In addition to their inability to accept parents as a legitimate term, they follow Common Core.  Not to get into this educational nightmare, but let’s just say I’m not a fan and I won’t play nice with the district if they were insistent on how an answer was obtained vs if it was the correct answer.  That’s not how the adult world works and that’s what I’m raising; a child to an adult.

That being said, I reached peace when I realized, we will return to a Christian-based curriculum.  Where it’s acceptable to have my daughter’s homework include Biblical lessons, morality, and ethical responses in it.  Once that decision was made, the decision to return to homeschool became so much simpler.

I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  I know the state has to have some boundaries. Yet, they have overstepped and are reaching for what they aren’t entitled to.  My daughter can learn to think critically without being tested excessively just to “prove a point” or “be another score for the district”.

I am grateful for the ability to be able to register as a private school.  To teach my child in a modern way, yet have a Christian foundation.  I am excited to see what the next school year will bring us.  I’m sure my daughter will continue her spiritual and emotional growth, while on her educational journey.

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A Place to call “Home”

Published April 7, 2017 by lynn k scott

About a month ago, I was searching for local churches.  With the cost of gas, driving back and forth to our old church isn’t really feasible.  While I adore the pastor there, I still don’t feel like I did when I attended the church I grew up.  Mind you, I’ve been attending this particular church on and off for 11 years.  I started attending when my daughter was only five months’ old.

The problem I was encountering, was I wanted to stay within the United Methodist community, yet I had been to all the surrounding churches, heck even joined one, and they just aren’t for me.  What was I to do.  I feel a calling to go back to church regularly.

Facebook, with its, “suggestions”, based off my Google search, showed me nearby churches.  There was one, very close to my home, awesome reviews.  It promised to have coffee (don’t judge me on my caffeine neediness), fellowship and to feel welcome.

Sounds like a lot of churches, but I thought, heck, it’s just me.  I can walk into church, grab some coffee, and listen for a bit, right?

Well, I did just that.  However, I was greeted by several people.  Lord help me and my horrible ability to remember names.  I’m just awful about that.  Yet, they showed me to the coffee, SCORE, introduced several people to me, and were genuine.

It sounds silly, but that’s what I needed.  Not just pleasantries, but a sincere welcoming, caring about you being there.

My other concern was a traditional service.  This was a non-denominational church and I’ve had some experiences with them and had been less than impressed.  I’ve spent over 40 years singing hymns in church.  Contemporary elements were for special services, normally by the children.  Yet, the music they play is what my daughter is being exposed to at her private, Christian school.  Another comfort level met.  I know some of these songs.  I hear some on the radio too!

Just to interject, I’m becoming a huge fan contemporary Christian music.  I can say, Chris Tomlin, is my favorite singers.  His songs speak to me.  My current “addiction” song that he sings is, “Amazing Grace:  My Chains Are Gone“.  It combines one of my favorite hymns and a contemporary twist.

Last Sunday, my daughter joined me for service.  She actually joined the kids’ group during the service; virtually unheard of.  You’d think she was a fly and I the paper.  She had a wonderful time.  I stayed with the adults, of course, and heard the Message (aka, Sermon).  It’s relayed in such a way that it follows scripture but can be applied to modern times.

I now look forward to attending service every Sunday.  I am making local friends and I feel like a truly belong.  It’s almost silly.  At my old church, I typically the only one with visible tattoos.  I felt I needed to keep them covered as much as possible.  My new church, there are several people with arm tattoos and it’s just another level of welcome; in my eyes.

I am blessed to have found Harvest Community Church at this time in my life.  I believe it’s where I am meant to be.

All in the View

Published April 7, 2017 by lynn k scott

Daniel Angeles:  an artist, my (writing) muse, my friend.

This particular piece will highlight some of his work as it pertains to my life.  Dan has an uncanny talent for painting what people are feeling.  His vision, brought to life with strokes of a paint brush and water colors that in turn, revive memories, elicit emotions and can put feelings into perspective.  I know my world wouldn’t be as bright or beautiful without Dan in it.

So the journey with paintings begins…

all better bearThe “It Will Get Better Bear”.  While I knew Dan prior to his drawing this piece for my sister, Kathi, after her breast cancer diagnosis, I never fathomed it would become her memorial tattoo or the face of the Kathi Cares Program.  This simple teddy bear, meant more than words could adequately express to Kathi, my mom and to me.  Again, THANK YOU, Dan!

I can’t speak to Dan’s motivation as to how his thoughts transcend the mental plane and make their way to canvas, but he creates such works that one can’t help but take a “Trip Down Memory Lane.  Trip Down Memory LaneLooking at his work, you see your past, the memories become vivid. Painful or joyful, the feelings return as the mind wanders to a place in time that is just for you.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get by.  I know as I have grown older, moved across the country, remarried, buried my father,  sister and mother, I am constantly evolving.  Sprouting New BeginningsIt seems I am always “Sprouting New Beginnings”.   When I feel my life is turning upside down, when I am having a bad day, perhaps even slumped down on the hall closet floor, having a good cry, it’s not long before I feel the bloom of life opening the a new chapter on my life.

My mom installed a love a reading in her children. Artwork depicting books in different facets speaks volumes to me.  There are times that I am literally Turning the Page“Turning The Page” in my personal book of life.  I have seen the personal growth in myself over the last several years.  Life sometimes has a way of making you experience what you never contemplated.  I can’t say I have had the best reactions to what I have endured.  Weather the StormI can say I have grown and I do my best to see the positives in situations now.  It’s all about how you “Weather the  Storm”.  This one made me smile in particular.  I swear, it’s lucky I’m a verbal alcoholic, because if I drank every time I said I would, my liver would not be happy with me.  But a few times, yes, a glass of wine has helped me through some rough times.  Ok, it took the edge off til I was ready to deal with whatever it was.

I know that there is still much more to experience.  I know my trials are not over.  There will be more to deal with.

Counting the DaysI am “Counting the Days” until I am able to finally meet the man who has brought me endless smiles and plenty of (happy) tears.  Who made my sister feel special and loved with the drawing of bear.  “The Burning Question” will be what will I ask Dan to paint for my 50th birthday.  I will be treating myself to my own very own Dan Angeles painting. Actually, I have already decided on a topic.  It will be up to Dan if he is able to display my request in watercolor:  “The Impact of Friendship“.

“Underneath It All”, I cannot imagine my life without Dan.  I’ve said it before, but my life wouldn’t be complete without his amazing artwork, his support and his thoughtful words.  My heart will forever harbor a special place for such a caring soul.

Underneath it all

Breaking the Cycle is Painful

Published April 3, 2017 by lynn k scott

As a survivor of domestic violence, the effects can continue years later after the abusive relationship has ended; especially, if children are involved.  This recounting may seem a bit rushed, however, it would turn into a book if I added the overwhelming details of the hell that was my life.

I am struggling, almost 20 years later, to quell the ghosts of my past and break the cycle of abuse.  I have four children from a previous marriage and I rarely speak of them, with the exception of the oldest, because I’ve been kept from them.  Their father has basically convinced them I decided not to be a mother any more and that’s why I left.  As if!

I spent six long years in a very abusive and escalating marriage.  I married young, had low self-esteem and had four children in six years.  I was verbally, financially, mentally and physically abused.

I actually didn’t realize I was a battered wife, until I took a college psychology course and we covered domestic violence and “The Cycle”.  I was learning about my life.  It was mind-numbing at the time.  My life could have been a case study in my psych book.  Talk about mind-blown!

I was typically cut off from friends and had little contact with my family.  I had no money of my own and had to ask permission to buy anything.  I couldn’t go out alone, without permission and needed to be home when expected or I would be in trouble.  Even certain songs, such as Wilson Phillips, “Hold On” or Ace of Base, “The Sign”, were off limits. Walking on egg shells was my life.  I tried to be perfect so I wouldn’t get in trouble. Such a fallacy in that train of thought.

Pretty stupid…didn’t even know I was being abused.  I thought it was normal for the husband to get mad at his wife for not cleaning the house at 8-months’ pregnant.  After all, if I hadn’t been so lazy, I would have had dinner ready for him after working so hard all day.  When he lost jobs, it was because I had bugged him at work. I deserved the screaming, beratement, bruises, slaps, and hair pulling.  I believed him when he said he was sorry for throwing a baby rattle at my thigh so hard it swelled around the impact site (just one of many examples).

Years later, I did journal about my existence and the horror story I was living. I was good at keeping this horrific secret.  The only way my family found out was because we had stayed with them briefly and I forgot to take my notebook out from under the mattress.  I learned to hide my journaling because it made my ex-husband angry to see in writing what he was doing to me.

Over the years the violence increased.  We tried marriage counseling.  That led to separate counseling sessions.  In turn, it led to the doctor telling me to keep a bagged packed at all times, because my ex-husband was a ticking time-bomb.  He told me I was in danger.  Funny how the mind tricks us into thinking we can handle certain situations. Even after he attempted to smother me, twice, I stayed.  He denies that fact, but it did happen.

Can I remember everything that happened to me?  No.  Why?  I was diagnosed with Battered Women’s Syndrome when I was hospitalized for depression.  To this day, almost twenty years later, I believe my ex-husband to be a mortal threat to me.  So many memories are gone.  I remember bits and pieces.  I hardly any happy times even though I know there were some. I’ve even forgotten some of the precious memories I had of when my children were small.

I do remember one Christmas Eve that my mom called.  She called to tell me my ex-husband had been arrested for attempted murder.  He had beaten a woman he knew, in the face, with a BRICK!  What started it?  She owed him $50.00.  WOW!  That was worth disfiguring her, a long recovery and incompetent police work that led to a whopping “E” felony (the lowest felony charge).

Ironically, I remembering being happy.  For the first time, I felt safe and I was already 3,000 miles away from him.  Oh, I didn’t mention that, did I?

Through a serious of what can only be described as a family court circus, my ex-husband gained custody of our children.  Back then, police reports covered nothing.  I was “mistaken” about the abuse.  “He wouldn’t do that”, an officer had told me regarding my unlawful imprisonment (in my own home).  After all, I had been in the ‘psycho ward’ at one point.  I wasn’t reliable to know what I was suffering at his hands. The police were good about discussing my hospitalization in hushed tones.  They ate up every word of his charismatic lies.

The time came, many years later, when I left under the cover of darkness; before the morning sun came up.  My mom was with me at Greyhound.  She was the only person who knew I was leaving the state; headed for California.  At least California took a stance on domestic violence.  New York didn’t even have stalking laws back then.  Lucky for him; bad for me.  It was legal to terrorize someone and those who did it; knew it!

Fast forward several years.  I learned to be independent.  Learned I could have a healthy relationship and I didn’t need to be beaten or abused to be “kept in line”.  Learned I didn’t need to have permission to go have a drink with my coworkers.  That took years of asking my then boyfriend (now husband), if “it was ok”.  It took constant reminders from him saying, “you don’t need to ask my permission”.

I eventually remarried and had my fifth child; his first.  I needed to prove to myself I was not a horrible mother.  I needed to know I could take care of a baby; that I wasn’t worthless as a woman.  That there was a man out there who wanted me; damaged as I was, with four children.

I hid my youngest daughter’s birth from my other children; after they started speaking to me again.  They were living with my mom because my abusive ex-husband followed me to California; luckily he went South and I was up North.

I was afraid the kids wouldn’t understand about their half-sister.  When they found out, they didn’t.  I started a new family without them.  I couldn’t disagree.  I didn’t set out to. Over the years, my oldest son, was the only one to really engage me.  My other children were awarded back to my ex after he was released from prison.  He had rights after all. Who cares a psychiatrist said my oldest daughter, who was my spitting image, was in danger of being abused because she looked like me.  The courts sure didn’t.  Way to go there law guardian.  I think he forgot he was assigned to look out for the welfare of the children…I digress…

The court was the only blinded fools who could not see my ex-husband gained custody to make me pay support.  The kids never saw the money.  Never saw the hell he put me through.  Never saw me struggle to eat with unrealistic support payments. New York makes the non-custodial parent pay til the children are 21.  That finally ends this year. However, the on-going circus that is family court, is a punitive place.  There is no justice for the children.  There is only name-blaming and punitive-ordered support.  It would have been an undue burden to prove my youngest son was still in school.  He quit and has been working for over a year.  Oh, he’s getting married too.  That will disqualify my ex from support.  My other son moved out, which would have done away with that support, except my ex-husband failed to legally report it to the court; and of course, no repercussions there.  Let’s not talk about the $3,000.00 in braces I am paying for that were never put on my daughter.  Family court…the biggest joke in the free world!

Another time hop to the present where my oldest child is about to be a father any day now.  Sadly, he believes I am not entitled to be alerted before the rest of Facebook.  I apparently, have some misconstrued entitlement issues, simply because I’m his mother. Insert where I didn’t get to speak to him for 10 years and hid the fact he had a sister. Where because of my status, as his mother, I’m not facing the hard truth about my past. He insists on “keeping it real” for me.

His reality has never seen me sink to the floor in the closet, while trying to get to work, questioning what I could have possibly done to be treated so horribly.  Question why my ex was allowed to go unpunished for all his misconceptions.  I know he committed disability fraud, but proving it was another story.  No one wants to stand up to him.  He is the perfect abuser and loves his “authority”.

I honestly had thought my son and I were beyond this.  He retains his passive-aggressive nature and he is verbally and mentally abusive to me.  He cannot see he treats me the same way his father did.  He has never hit me, but he prefers to cut me with words and will wait for them to heal before he begins again.  While I love all of my children, with all of my heart, I will not allow the cycle to continue!

I have set boundaries.  I am of worth.  I am entitled to respect.  It’s hard when you need to force that lesson upon your child(ren).  We should be celebrating a very exciting chapter in his life.  Yet, he chooses to “allow” me crumbs of his existence and I am not a charity case. He has no idea the true trauma I have experienced.  He has no idea how many memories I have lost due to abuse.  He has no idea what I have gone through.  If he feels he is entitled to judge my actions, I pray he never has to make life-altering decisions where his family is concerned.  You see, had I not boarded that bus all those years ago, his anger wouldn’t be aimed at me.  He sorrow would be visible as he shared his life achievements at my grave.

Please help break the cycle.  Share this story.  Share your story.  Silence is the enemy.

 

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