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The Word

Meth

“Jordyn, you’re needed in the counselor’s office.” My English teacher said hanging up the class room phone. “Great, what kind of group are they trying to put me into now?” I thought. It had been a crazy year between moving back home from Idaho, bouncing from my dads house, to my grandmothers, briefly to my best friends home, and finally landing with my mothers friend Michelle, that one with the older son from a few years ago. The school felt I could use life skills, so they kept sending me to all these special group meetings where myself and few other “troubled” kids would sit around and talk about what was going on at home. We all found it a formality that we must adhere to, although we all lacked desire in obtaining the skills they wanted us to learn. Expecting to, at the very least, get out of class I walked confidently into the counselors office as if I already knew why I was there. “You’re guardian called, said it was an emergency.”

I’d lived with Michelle for several months at this point, but I had been away from the house for the weekend with my dad. I’ll admit I was a little worried and had no idea what to expect as I dialed the number to call Michelle at home. She answered quickly, “I need you to come home. I can’t say why, just come. I’ve already checked you out with the office, get here.” Although the weather was wet and the walk was long I was excited to get out of class for the rest of the day. When I arrived at the house and turned the handle to enter the home, it was locked. “That’s weird,” I thought, “Why is the door locked with her inside?” I waited a few minutes before Michelle finally cracked the door open slowly. She said, “Are they out there? Can you see them?” I laughed confused, “what are you talking about?” She hurried me in the door and quickly closed it behind me. “There’s men in the trees.” She said. Again confused, I laughed a little more at here and vocalized that I thought she was crazy. She jumped in her chair, “Did you see that?” Seeing nothing, hearing nothing I had decided this woman has lost her mind. “I’m going to go smoke.” I told her shaking my head at all the craziness that was taking place. She stopped me with wide eyes, “Do not go out there. You can smoke inside.” I knew something wasn’t right at that point. Michelle never smoked in the house nor did she allow anyone else to. As the day went on she told me about the man that kept peaking out from behind her chair. She could see him in the reflection of the television and the bowl on the table. By the time night rolled around I began to find her antics to be quite funny.

A friend that I immediately recognized stopped by the house and her and Michelle went straight to the bedroom leaving me alone in the living room, which was unusual. I just sat there content with being able to smoke in the house. Michelle soon called me to her bedroom. Laid before me was a glass pipe full of crystal meth. She said, “smoke this and tell me you don’t see some shit.” At this time in my life the only experience I had with mind altering substance was alcohol and weed. So I treated the meth pipe like a weed pipe and ripped a huge hit as she melted it down. I expected an immediate head change like you experience when smoking marijuana but I didn’t get one. So I took a few more rips off the pipe, and that was all she wrote. I became a full blow 14 year old meth addict just like that. Funny thing about it is that I didn’t even realize that I was addicted. When I was doing it, it was just something to do. It was partying, it was fun. I would sit in class watching the little man pop out from behind my chair in the reflection of the television.

By the time summer had rolled around I was living the life so to speak. All my friends were junkies, our whole lives were about that pipe. I didn’t have many friends close to my age, since it isn’t common for teenagers to become meth addicts. When I found one I hung on to her. It made me feel a little better to not be hanging out with all the older people who kind of creeped me out. Alice and I palled around a few days before she decided to introduce me to a friend of hers. He also used, and it was likely that he would share with us just so he wouldn’t be alone. We walked to his house and Alice went to the door, when he cracked it open I saw an older man with a belt around the neck of an older woman with a needle sticking out of the side. It didn’t scare me, or freak me out. He told us to come back in about 30 minutes, I couldn’t wait. We walked around town a little bit, meeting up with some other friends before finally returning to Todd’s to party for the night.

That night it mostly a blur. When I think about it almost feels like I’m on a roller coaster. Inching my way toward the top knowing that I’m about to be dropped off a ledge quicker than I’ll be able to change my mind about doing it. That’s what meth is like an anticipating ride up and up and up followed by the exhilaration of falling fast as you twist and turn sideways and upside down, except it doesn’t stop. You can feel everything and nothing all at the same time. You can be head over heels in love, walk down the street and cut someone, just to return home and love again. Messed up right? These feeling intensify with your preferred method of consumption. Todd’s was the needle. Remember the truth or dare situation? This was the same. I didn’t think of the consequence, I didn’t think of the damage or the possibility of death. I didn’t think of the pain it would cause my family, I didn’t think of any of that. All I thought was, I want him to like me. I gave him my arm and he gave me my first shot.

After being up for several days the effects of my drug use were beginning to take a toll on my body. Todd shot me up and we got in the shower. The next thing I remember is his face coming into focus and he was screaming my name. When I came to he hugged me tight, got me out of the shower and onto the bed. “You were dead! You were dead, I swear! You looked at me and you just went down. I grabbed you and yelled your name over and over. Thank God you’re alive. Thank God.” He cried as he held me. Maybe it was the drugs, even this didn’t scare me. I finally slept for a couple days and then was right back at it again. Here’s the thing, Todd had no idea how young I really was. I was well developed and looked older than I really was, so I went with it. A friend of his came to visit from out of town and for some reason we all decided it would be a good idea to road trip to this town to see Todd’s parents. When we got there Todd got a phone call, I knew something wasn’t right. He looked panicked, terrified even. When he hung up the phone he turned to me, “I have to ask you something and I need you to be honest. How old are you, don’t lie to me.” I didn’t want to answer him, I didn’t want this relationship to come to an end. “Fourteen.” I said with my head down, tears in my eyes. He freaked out, not only was our relationship a crime, our activities and the location where we were was all crimes, big crimes. His friend raced us back to town where my dad was waiting for me.

Coming down off meth is process, that takes several days. It was common for me to sleep for about 3 days at the end of a binge. I would eat a huge meal and then start again. This time was no different. I never thought this then, but looking back I would say I was feigning. I told my dad I was going to go to the school to ride bikes with some local kids. I’m not sure why he believed me, but he did. I didn’t go to the school at all, I rode 20 miles to Todd. When I got there, he called my dad. I remember trying to hide in his dog house, how stupid is that, but I was found and drug back home. I didn’t stay though, I found someone who would come get me and take me back to town. I was done with Todd, he betrayed me. I never saw him again. I still had Alice, I still had Michelle, I still had connections. My addiction progressed and continued, along with all the typical things you would expect. Older men, wild parties, lots of missing memories and time.

I don’t know who I became. Although at the time I never once thought I was losing myself or becoming someone I didn’t want to me. I actually fought to be able to continue in the lifestyle. Every time my dad took me home, I ran away. Every thing worth anything I stole. I lied, and cheated. I used my body and manipulated people who loved me to get drugs, yet I never saw myself as an addict. I never saw myself as a bad person, just misunderstood. That’s the thing about drugs and addiction. Sober people don’t understand. How can you possibly be happy like this? Is this what you wanted your life to be? Of course not, but next time you see a struggling addict know that they probably don’t even realize how bad it is. It probably started just like this, in some effed up situation out of their control.

By the end of it I was unrecognizable. I don’t necessarily mean in appearance, although I’m sure that drastically changed as well. I mean in thought and conduct. I didn’t care about anyone or anything. I would my sister, my step mom, my best friend. I was angry, hurt and bitter. Why? You might ask. Again this is in hindsight, but I was pissed it wasn’t enough. Enough for what? Enough for my mom to come for me. Enough to be rescued and loved by her. I was still carrying around so much pain from the few summers before. I couldn’t believe that two years had passed without hearing a word from my mother. No birthday card, no phone calls, nothing. I felt abandoned and rejected again. When I was high I felt nothing, and that’s how I wanted it to stay. It did for awhile, but then it all came to an abrupt stop.

God only knows how long I had been gone at this point. Wandering the streets, crashing here and there, with this man or that one. I was at a popular hang out spot when the cops came rolling up on us. They harassed us all the time so we weren’t really concerned about their presence. This time was different, the pulled up, stopped the car and got out. Before I knew it I was being cuffed and stuffed as a runaway. To be honest, I felt like I had just leveled up in street cred. Now I’ve been arrested, even if it was for something as lame as being a runaway. It was all fun and games to me until my dad showed up. I’d have to go home again and find a way to return. Surely he was going to be putting me on lock down now since he went through all the trouble of getting the police involved.

We went straight to my grandmothers house for dinner after we left the police station. I didn’t eat. My dad and I were in the back yard having a cigarette as I told him how happy I was and how much I liked my life and wanted to continue living it. I told him he didn’t need to worry about me anymore. I was doing just fine and I could take care of myself. He was so grief stricken. I remember the tears in his eyes and his long face as he pleaded with me. Encouraging me that this wasn’t my best life, and that I was meant for more. He kept telling me how much he loved me and that he would fight for my life. Two men came walking out the back door, I assumed they were my grandpas friends. They got me into the house where they broke the news that these men were here to transport me to a facility. I didn’t have any choice but to go with them, I could go willingly or by force. I looked at my dad dead in his eyes and said, “I hate you.” As I willingly went with the gentlemen.

I arrived in a treatment center, far away from the town I lived in, for a detox period. After being there a week or so they had determined that I would need to go to another facility for extended treatment. By the time I had detoxed from the drugs, slept and got a few good meals in me, I welcomed the treatment. I remember telling my dad I was willing to do what was necessary to save my life. I apologized for telling him I hated him and even thanked him for getting me help. Everybody was relieved that the girl they knew and loved was emerging from the hollow shell of addiction. It was like a fairy tale ending where the family all locks arms and walks up the grassy null towards the sunset while some harmonic melody tickles you right in the feels. It may look that way now, but there’s darkness ahead.

The Word

Transition

I have thought and thought for weeks about how I wanted to tell this portion of my story. Truth is there was a time in my life where I considered these years following my wreck the pinnacle of why I did the things I did. Maybe it was, maybe it was a combination of things. Maybe its just the way it was destined to be. I’ve found as I have gotten older, experienced life, and gone through my own struggles that the blame I have laid is unfair. I can understand pain so deep, with fleeting hope that drugs become the answer. I can understand being so disappointed in life and the way things are going you drown it out in alcohol. I know what it feels like to be rendered almost useless by depression and anxiety. I know how it feels to spend the day managing these feelings, only to come home exhausted and take it out on my family. I know how it feels to have so many synopsis firing off in your brain at the same time that you completely lose your mind and freak out. I understand now. All that being said, I don’t want to paint my parents or anyone else involved in these years in bad light. Today they are not those people, and its their story to tell. I’m almost 30 years old now and I have come to understand that most people are just doing the best they can with what they have. I’ve also learned that people have baggage and life isn’t what it seems through the eyes of a child in the life of an adult.

Here’s all you need to know before I skip ahead 3 years. My early years in life were unstable. Every day was chaotic and unpredictable. I had seen more by the time I was 11 years old then most people at that time had seen as adults. I was exposed to drug addiction, alcoholism, an active dating lives, abuse in various forms, divorce, and molestation. I often felt abandoned by everyone I expected to care for me. I struggled to feel accepted in my home. I always had a lot of friends. I can remember my mantra as a young kid being, “blood don’t make family”, I created my own. For the rest of my life really this would be my struggle, acceptance. As I write that sentence a single tear rolls down my cheek. I’m realizing right now that little girl is still within me fighting for that same acceptance. Enough of that, we will get there. Without further a due…..

Thinking back I arrive at 12 years old, the 6th grade, as the point in which I begin take full responsibility for my actions. Some of you are probably freaking out right now- “But you were a child!” While that is true, and although I didn’t consciously think, “I have abandonment issues I’m going to try to fill my void.” I was actively trying to be liked, accepted, and wanted anything that made me feel loved even if only for a moment. Remember, I’m twelve years old.

I always had a “boyfriend” even from kindergarten. I was always getting in trouble for holding hands on the magic reading carpet. In 1st or 2nd grade I had 2 boyfriends, they would fight over who was going to give me crayons. It continued on this way all through out school. By the 6th grade I was really developing “romantic feelings” towards boys. I wanted to kiss, hold hands, they whole nine yards. My mom was a very strict authoritarian type parent so doing bad stuff was super thrilling to me. I had a friend that was on a much longer leash than I was. She was basically allowed to go, do and talk to whoever she wanted. Like any other young person would, she was whose house I wanted to be at.

She hung out with older people, ya know 7th and 8th graders. They were so cool, and the boys were much cuter. She was invited to the coolest boy in towns Halloween party, and I was invited to come with her. I went and it was amazing! I felt so cool, I could not believe I was really here at the coolest party I had ever been to when something horrible happened. Lets just say things got a little gory unexpectedly, I got my period for the first time. As humiliating as that was, and frightening might I add. I had to leave the party and hurry home, like a lame, at 8 o’clock. Took me a little while to recover from that one.

This was early 2000’s, 2001-2002, the internet and chat rooms were just becoming the new thing. Everyone was starting to put computers in their basements with access to the world wide web. Every pre-pubescent person around the country now had access to millions of people and unlimited porn. Don’t fool yourself, we all were in the chat rooms saying we were older than we were, talking to men or women who were “older” and there was plenty of web camming and porn viewing going on. We wonder why the current generation is so over sexualized…. Needless to say, the average 12-16 year old could now become “experienced” without actually doing the act. Just like anything else your curiosity overtakes the satisfaction of the fantasy, surprisingly enough that is not just an adult issue. I had a boyfriend at this time, he was a year older than me but he had already hit that puberty phase where they begin to fill out, so to me he looked way older which I liked. We had made a plan to lose our virginity to each other. We had the perfect plan, he went to another school which was already out for the summer and my mom worked out of town. I would skip school and he would come over and we would… The plan was going flawlessly, I skipped school and he was on his way over. I was unbelievably nervous, but I thought it was what you did. If I remember right I over sprayed myself with vanilla body spray and lathered coconut lotion on my legs, how juvenile. After sitting awhile, trying to work up the courage to actually take this beyond kissing I pulled away, “I’m not ready for this.” To which he replied, “Okay, I’m going to go feed my goat.” If you know me now you know I have my palm to forehead shaking my head wondering what the cuss was I thinking.

The awkward encounter did not redirect my plans, I continued to try to become “sexy”. Christina Aguilera and Brittney Spears were the sensations. With there sexy clothes and hot music videos, every girl aspired to be them. When Christina released that song “dirty”, it was over. The bumpin’ and grindin’ generation began. It wasn’t just in the clubs, it was also at the school dances. My boyfriend went to a different school so he wasn’t allowed at this dance that was being put on. There was an older boy there giving me attention, so I gave him something to pay attention too. Dirty dancing looked like child’s play in comparison to way we were dancing up there. When you wanna act like an adult you get adult drama. The boyfriend found out about the dancing, he was pissed. There was a town festival, I was excited when I saw him but he wouldn’t talk to me. I really thought he wouldn’t find out since he wasn’t there, dumb. My first true heart break.

Not long after that there was another boy, and another try in which still didn’t happen. My mom had a friend with a much older son. I was 12 he was 16 I believe. Her friend was cool, and she liked having me around. She invited me to stay the night and watch movies and hang out with them. Chase and I were already sitting under a blanket on the couch together. I distinctly remember my mom saying after reluctantly allowing me to stay, “Make sure they stay away from each other during the night. She comes from a long line of horney women.” She probably should have went with her gut on that one. Shocker, he was definitely trying. Lucky for me we were laying in such an awkward way, his mom was right there, and I was able to shut him down, but nicely, I don’t want people not liking me. I did gain some experience that night, but not to much.

Things went a little wild after this. Like I said the internet was just becoming popular. It was back when AOL and Net Zero used to send those 30 day free trials in the mail. Well to set them up you had to provide a checking account number. I was always resourceful. I just got my moms check books from the cabinet and filled in the information. What I didn’t know was after the trial it was going to charge the account like $60 or something. I can’t recall rather it was one or multiple, but does it matter? She was pissed when she found out one more. She was freaking out, hard core. I was in a lot of trouble and she was going ballistic. That day everything changed in my life. I touched on some abuse in the beginning of this post, at this point my Grandma told me it was time to report this, So I did. Things happened fast after that, my dad came from Idaho a few days later and picked up my brother and I for the summer. It was just supposed to be 6 weeks, but during that time I had revealed to my dad that I didn’t want to go home to mother, I wanted to stay with him. He got the ball rolling immediately.

Court day was interesting. I remember jamming The Eminem Show the whole way from Idaho back to Oregon. My dad, my brother and I singing every word with just as much passion as Mr. Mathers. I remember the smile on my moms face going in, it scared me. I knew there was no way in the world we would be going home with our dad that day. She always got exactly what she wanted, and he had a record. The judge called my brother and I into his chambers separately. I can’t even remember what was asked, or what was said, then back to the hall way. We sat out there for what seamed like an eternity before my mom came bursting out, face in her hands bawling. My eyes were probably as wide as saucers as my dad came out and wrapped us up and said, “we did it”.

Looks like we’re moving to Idaho, sweet. Didn’t really turn out to be to sweet. My dad and step mom were fighting there own demons during this time, leaving to feel left out, not apart. The fact my mom wasn’t even trying to contact me didn’t help matters. I was so afraid when I started school. I came from a 98% white town. There was like one Mexican family, one black family, and a couple adopted Asians but they were no different than any of the rest of us. The school I attended was 98% Hispanic. I pronounced everyone’s name very American, J-uan, Jesus (instead of Hey-Suz). Their culture was different, their language was different, and I wasn’t in a small town anymore. I was so glad when I made my first friend. I wanted to be just like her. She was cool, and assertive, and didn’t take no crap, I liked that. We quickly became friends, spending all of our time together. She had a few brothers and a cute cousin who quickly became my boyfriend. I would again attempt a failed sexual encounter and as quickly as the relationship began it ended, rejected again. I started to settle into my identity in the new place. I was quickly making friends and building a there which was the polar opposite of the life I had lived before.

Jess and I started hanging out with this other girl, Rainey. Rainey lived “on the other side of the tracks” so to speak. I thought my friend in the 6th grade had free reign, this girl had no leash at all what-so-ever. So when she suggested we go over to a boys house none of us objected. We went to this guy name Jimmy’s house. His bedroom was in the garage, which I now realize is like the last straw for parents, red flag. So we were all hanging out there, drinking a few beers, when we decided to play truth or dare. It started pretty innocent, I dare you to kiss so and so. I dare you to take your shirt off. Then Jess dared Rainey to have sex with Jimmy… she said okay and they had sex right there in front of everyone. I was like, woah this is happening and simultaneously like, I’ve never done this before I’m so lame, don’t look lame. When I was dared to do the same with Roberto, I didn’t object, and as I write that I’m again shaking my head wondering what the cuss I was thinking.

I wasn’t ready for the surge of emotion I was going to feel after this. I was head over heels in love with Roberto. We were going to get married and have two children, who were already named. I doodled his name on my notebooks, passed him love letters in the halls. We skipped school, a lot. I thought I had experienced heart ache, but nothing hurt as much as the day I saw Roberto with another girl as we passed each other on the play ground. I was devastated, world crashed down. When he called one night and told me to meet him up the street at his friends house, I quickly jumped out of my window and went down there. Roberto and this older man were in this camper trailer, they were doing some sort of drug I didn’t know at the time, it was meth. Roberto wanted me, so of course being completely unable to control myself at the prospect of him loving me again, I obliged him. What happened next has kept me from watching XXX or any Fast and Furious movie to this day. I went inside the house to use the rest room, when I came out the older man was there waiting for me. I tried to get around him but he grabbed me and through me down on the bed and raped me. I focused on Vin Deasil’ s voice and tried to escape the reality of what was happening. When it was over I left and walked home believing I deserved that for putting myself in that position, I never told.

The next 6 months of the year got pretty bad. By the end of the year I had made enough enemies I was having to leave school a little early because the constant threats from other girls. They would think I was trying to get their men, plus I was white so that just automatically knocked me down a few pegs. Jess and I had ended up enemies by the end of the year. It was not good. My parents thought it wasn’t as bad as I made it sounds until 8th grade started. The way school were broke up there they had 6th & 7th together, 8th, 9th & 10th, 11th & 12th. So we had a building to ourselves, it was much bigger, much more open, and had a lot more students in attendance. Every day I was getting in a fight. Two weeks into the school year we moved back to Oregon. I think my parents thought it would be better there, back home, but our family would be unable to escape the turmoil that was coming.

school photo 3rd grade girl
The Word

Threaded Needle

Ding. “You have 1 unheard voice message. Playing voice message.” Ding: “Cheryl, there has been an accident. Ambulance is on the way.”

“John! Come quickly! Someone is on the phone, it’s about your daughter!”

The morning of the fire the world kept spinning. The fire fighters were able to put the fire out and we returned safely back to our home in enough time to bathe for work and school. I was upset that day, clinging to the stuffed animal offered to me as comfort by set-it-off-movie-poster-1996-1020210510one of the firemen. My mom was hesitant to say yes when I asked to spend the night with my friend Halie. I loved going to Halie’s, she had way cooler stuff than I did. In fact, her family had just moved across town into this huge 3 story house. Okay so it was two stories and a basement. Nonetheless, her room was in the basement. We could be as loud as we wanted! Plus, it was so far away from everyone else in the house her parents would never hear us cussing while we played, “Set it off”. What is “Set It Off”? Remember that 90’s movie about a gang of women bank robbers and they get back together for one last heist. Its high drama, high action, lots of super cool stunts, also very vulgar.

All kinds of what I recall as weird things were happening that night at Halie’s. First thing was this chair. Her parents had gotten this fancy roller chair. Sure, everybody has them now, but back then, you didn’t. So crazy thing about this chair is it was magic or possessed or something. Every time I sat in it and pulled the lever, the chair would lower. We would raise the chair back up, Halie would sit on the chair, pull the lever and nothing! Befuddled I would sit back on the chair and repeat the process, I would make the chair lower, Halie never did! I know now that the truth is I was able to lower the chair and she was not because… I was “bigger” than her. *Whatever* Moving along….

The other thing that really creeped me out that night was while we were playing “Set it off”. So back in the days of CDoffspring’s they would sometimes have what was known as “hidden tracks”. Hidden tracks are additional songs at the end of an album that are not on the set list. Often you wont even know they are there unless you just let the CD play out. Again, this is a fact known to older me, not 9-year-old me. So, we would be playing, and to stay true to the movie, we were of course performing all kinds of cool stunts. These stunts included but were not limited to: jumping off the desk, spinning around on the chair, high flying karate kicks, somersaults and of course, some epic wipeouts. Here is the crazy part, it was when we hit the ground hard, the hidden tracks would start playing. We assumed the boom box was possessed as it didn’t even appear to be “on” and went about our night.

Morning came early, so early. I was dragging as we were forced to help load up all the gear. Halie’s family was going snowmobiling and had invited me to join them. I had never been snowmobiling before and to be honest I wasn’t into going back home to be reminded of the fire drama a few nights before. Up the mountain we went.  We arrived at a small warming cabin in the middle of a wide-open clearing. There was a wooden fire in there and more hot chocolate than I could stomach. Adult conversation became a drag to Halie and me, so we went outside to find an adventure. Mountains_Snow_BBaccus_web4The snow was piled high and so powdery. We jumped from pile to pile, sinking right trough some. The icicles that hung from the cabin were the biggest I had ever seen, at least 12 inches. The snow was piled so high it was no problem to climb right up and snag one. It was a great day, I didn’t think about the fire at all. I was feeling good and confident.

I asked Halie if she wanted to ride the machines. She said she would ask her mom if we could, and she did. Her mom came outside and showed us the controls. “Here’s the throttle, here’s the break.” She told me. I didn’t think it would be so hard, plus there wasn’t anything to run into out here really, so how hard could it be? She told me to ride around in a circle. Show her I understood what she had told me about the controls. I made a circle like a champ. “Perfect!” She said as she walked back into the cabin, leaving us to ride alone. We made circles till we were dizzy, but now I had a real feel for it. I was sure I could handle it, so I took off in a different direction. With intentions on just making a bigger circle around the cabin I saw two split trees. I thought, “I can make it through that no problem.” I sped toward the opening between the trees but didn’t make it.

school photo 3rd grade girl
3rd grade pre accident

I remember looking at those trees, I remember my last thought, but the rest is blank from my perspective.

“Oh my god! Oh my god! What happened?” Halie’s mom exclaimed as we walked into the cabin. I had sneezed causing me to turn the machine and squeeze the throttle fully. My friend bailed off the back of the machine as I ran face first into one of those trees. My Dallas Cowboys jacket was covered in blood, they took it off me. I went to the bathroom, I drank hot chocolate, then the paramedics arrived. Once they got there bleeding had subsided and swelling began to set in. It didn’t look good, but we wouldn’t know how bad it was quite yet. An ambulance isn’t equipped to safely drive up and down snow-covered mountains with emergency speed. So, I was loaded into a cart pulled by a snowmobile down the mountain to the ambulance.

My mother received the first phone call. Frantically she tried to return the call over and over with no answer. She sped to the hospital looking for answers. She got there and received none. She would just have to wait until I was brought in and they could assess the damage. The doctors assured her the paramedics believed it was a broken nose. It was severely broken but nothing to get worked up over. She waited. I try to imagine how she must have felt. If I was her, and my daughter was me, I would be wrecked. I would be going insane with fear and worry. Chaos would overtake my mind and panic would seize my heart. I always expect the worst.

My dad ran to the front office of the state park. He was attending a Christian men’s retreat there with some of his closest friends at the time. He had recently began attending church and had given his heart over to the Lord. This was a big step for him and he was really into it. He takes the phone call and hears the news and reacts how any caring father would. “I’ve got to go!” He insisted. He had ridden up there with a friend, he urged him to “come on! Let’s go! I got to go!” The Pastor, Pat, refused to let them go without praying first. My father was not willing to take to the time to say a prayer when those were precious seconds his baby girl’s life was hanging by a thread. However, Pat persisted in the request to pray, just quick. My father finally gave in and joined the other men in a prayer of healing and protection over my little life. The prayer ended almost as quickly as it began, and my dad and his buddy were in the truck flying down the mountain to get to the hospital.

By the time he arrived I was already there. The doctors had already seen me, it wasn’t good. Doctors warned my parents, they could see me, but to prepare themselves. The doctors told them I would be unrecognizable due to thewreck1 swelling and the bruising.

They told my mom to keep herself together as she broke at the news. They needed her to be strong for me. They were going to need to life flight me to Boise, and she could not come with them. It was vital they had another doctor aboard. They broke down again. Both packed a bag and headed separately to Boise where I was being life flighted too.

The best way I can explain this is to say a normal skull curves like this (, it sticks out. Mine was like this), concaved.44925 (1) The doctors were worried about the pressure that my skull was putting on my brain. The fear was that I could begin to leak brain fluid into my spine due to the pressure and basically If I didn’t die I would be paralyzed. They were preparing for major surgery, and I mean major. The plan was to shave my head ear to ear across the top. They would then make an incision in the hair line, ear to ear, and peel back my face. Holy cow! I know right. They would then reconstruct the bone to its normal state and alleviate all the pressure on my brain. It would take a long time, and it would be very risky. Even with this surgery there would be no guarantees on the affects of the brain damage and trauma.44923 They just wouldn’t know until I was recovered. I was in ICU for 5-7 days waiting for the swelling to go down enough for the procedure. They doctors were comfortable with moving forward with the procedure and scheduled the operating room for the next morning. That afternoon I had preliminary scans done to show the current state of what was going on underneath what was still swollen.

By this time the whole family had gathered for the surgery. Everyone was there, cousins, aunts’ uncles, grandparents. Even my grandpa that lived in Alaska made the trip. I was playing the game rooms not concerned about this upcoming surgery in the least bit.44927.jpeg The doctors gathered my family in my hospital room and told them the news. “We don’t know how this happened. It is nothing short of a miracle. The bone structure seams to have corrected itself. We will not need to follow through with the procedure at this time.”

As you can imagine, celebration broke out. Everyone was happy and laughing and clapping. It was great news and a cause for celebration! My grandpa took everyone out for dinner that night. I’m not sure what it is called but that was the first time I ever had that ice cream that they bring to you set on fire! It was so cool, but honestly, I thought they would burn the place down with the fire and all.

As I write all this I can’t help but be totally distracted by this thought of “miracle”. A miracle is often described as something that happens that wouldn’t have happened without outside interference. I.e. God. Right? So, it was no question that my recovery and the crazy straightening of my skull was nothing short of a miracle. The big moment. The moment when there wasn’t going to be a surgery. The moment where my 9-year-old body kept breathing. Everybody can agree on those miracle moments. Here’s the reality of my miracle. I did not have to have surgery, but I did have to make weekly trips over the mountain for MRI’s and CAT scans. I didn’t have to have surgery, but it would be several weeks before I could return to school. I wasn’t having surgery, but I also wasn’t living. Still a miracle? I would say yes, but that’s the point.

How often do we miss out on our miracles because there is still some leg work? How often do we close our eyes to divine providence because it doesn’t look miracle-y enough for me? How many miracles do we miss because we simply can’t see though our circumstances? How many miracles do we miss because we can’t see past the right now? Considering this how much more should we trust God? Infinitely and abundantly more!

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing a message live from Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. He told a story of him as a young boy and some of the trails and difficulties he and his family faced coming oversees from Germany during the war. After he told the epic tale of cannons and capsizing he made an ah-ha inspired moment for me. He said he was not overcome, in extraordinary circumstances, because his “needle had been threaded”. What he meant by that was that God had already him in mind for a specific purpose. What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good. He spared Bonnke in extraordinary circumstances that should have claimed his life and everyone else aboard the ship he was traveling on, but God.

I too believe that my “needle is threaded”. This story is just the first of extraordinary circumstances that should have claimed me but didn’t. My case was called a miracle. I made a full recovery without one single procedure. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I still had to be very careful. There was uncertainty at what might happen if I was to become sick. I couldn’t go to school for quite some time following my release from the hospital. Wasn’t allowed to be baptized in the river for fear of bacteria possibly getting in my nose. God performed a miracle in sparing my life that day. He performed another one when he fixed my skull. He continued to shine his glory all through this accident. They said I would never smell, I can, very well I might add. They said I would never taste, I can do that as well, very well. They said there would be learning disabilities and personality defects, I was an A and B student, the personality, well that depends who you ask. Ha-ha. But in all seriousness, I have zero effects or defects from that accident. It was not yet my time, for my needle has been threaded and I have a job to do.

family

 

The Word

In the beginning…

Once upon a time in a mountainous land not so far away there was a young man and a young lady. The origin of their relationship remains unknown, but that’s not where our story begins. The young lady had a troubled home life. The young man liked to have a good time. It was New Year’s eve, and the young lady had a plan. “If I get pregnant, I’ll get kicked out! Then I can be free!” Plan of action: Engage. Science does it’s thing and bam, a baby. Anybody wanna guess who that beautiful green-eyed, sweet little shnookums was? Yep, it was me 🙂 Ain’t I cute?!

Baby on the floor
I think I want to eat that crayon?

Shockingly, I don’t remember much from those years. I know I know, who does? I do remember that by the time I was 5 I experienced more than I should have. My parents were young, dumb, and broke. Did they love each other back then? Anybody’s guess really. They were like water and oil, never mixing well together. Screaming and crying. Hitting and kicking. Broken dishes. All of those things were normal to me. Was I scared? Of course. I didn’t understand, but something inside of me, even then, told me that this wasn’t right. I was like any other child, I just wanted my family to stay together.

I remember the day my dad moved out. I was 5 years old, and in Kindergarten, so I was possibly 6. I had just got a little 10 inch TV, with all the channel buttons right on the front, in my bed room.

Sony trintron televison
I promise that is not a microwave

I remember being really upset that the T.V was gone, but not understanding that so was my daddy. I don’t remember the feelings I had knowing my family was split up, but I remember that T.V. I remember the wooden chess board that sat under it. But I do not remember how I felt when I realized my daddy would never be coming home.

I was always daddies little girl, still am. All of my early memories are with him. I remember watching every Disney princess movie as they came out. He taught me about Klondikes Pizza, and The Simpsons. I can remember one time, man I was little, maybe 4 years old. I was laying on the couch, watching a Disney movie and my dad got up for work. I remember thinking I would be in trouble for watching T.V. and being awake, but he wasn’t mad at all. My throat hurt, so he got me a banana Popsicle and left for the day.

After the divorce my mom remarried quickly. I thought this guy was so cool. He worked for the railroad and he carried this big army green duffel bag. He use to go by the store and pick up boxes of Popsicle’s before he came to see my mom. When he would always pull my very favorite flavor from the bag I thought he was magic. Wasn’t long before they were married. My mom made all the dresses, including her wedding gown. My brother and I were given rings during the ceremony to symbolize his commitment to us as well. They were gold and had a ruby in the center. I believe the ruby is the birth stone for the month of July, that’s the month we “became a family”. I lost that ring no more than 2 days later. Today I would say that was a foreshadowing of events to come.

My dad took a different route for a time. A trip down meth addict lane. If you’ve ever been there or seen someone there you understand when I say that lane leads to the pits of hell. My dad was no exception. A year after the divorce my dad went to jail for possession of methamphetamine. It was Christmas day, the day was grey. Snow covered the ground. It wasn’t a beautiful scene like one might imagine. It was almost ominous outside. I recall the police coming in, my dad being leaned up against the kitchen wall in cuffs being searched. There were several officers outside pillaging through his Chevy parked outside.

Black jacked up 80s model Chevy truck

He went to jail that day, and me and my younger brother watched it all go down. After that, Christmas with dad always had an undertone of anticipation. This event sparked the next several years of battle royal between the two people tasked with providing and protecting me.

My moms marriage was great at first. They were so happy, and so were we. Nights we quiet, everything was calm. We got to go on trips to places we had never been. Shop at stores we’d never even seen, like Toys R Us.

Never forget Toys R Us with Jeffery
RIP Toys R US

But those things didn’t last long. Wasn’t long before it got loud in the house again. Constant fighting at night, pretending all was right in the world in the morning. I thought it was the coolest thing ever when he started delivering pizza at Domino’s. *insert palm to face here* He brought home pizza almost every night. I don’t care what anyone says, back in the days of twisty bread, Domino’s had it going on. They still do, but with the loss of twisty bread… lets just say I’m salty. So 7-8 year old me thought, this guy is still great to me. I remember the day my opinion of him changed. I had fell asleep on the couch and I had just got a Giga Pet. Mine was a cat, and I LOVED that thing like it was a living, breathing, human baby. I woke up well into the evening to discover I could not find Crystal (the Giga Pet). I was frantic. Crying and sweating, “what happened to my baby?” I’ve always been dramatic. Step-dad finally tells me he was caring for her while I slept. Oh thank goodness- sweet man. No. The first thing I discovered was that he had renamed my precious baby: Ass Hole. The nerve!!! That was the turning point for me. No longer was I blinded by Popsicle’s and pizza, I saw him for who he was: a cat stealing thief.

In all seriousness, not that the above mentioned tragedy wasn’t serious, but I really did begin to notice something was different. Step-dad had a camper trailer in the back yard and he started spending a lot of time out there. I noticed that he would stay out there all night. He was always tinkering with something in there. My mom was pregnant, like huge pregnant. They were fighting in the camper, and I could hear them inside. I came out to see what was happening and I saw that the door to the camper was open. The next thing I see is my mother fly across the opening falling onto an open box. Shes screaming and crying, so I run to her. She yells to get away, go in the house. I remember a box of crushed light bulbs.

brokenlightbulb

My dad would go to jail a few more times, do a couple stints in rehab, receive 2 felonies and a good amount of time on probation before my mom would ever really allow us to see him. There would be times our grandma would take us to the rehab. In between jail times we would still visit him. Although he was a “tweaker”, I remember my dad as the best. I never felt unsafe, or unloved. He was a “good-hearted” meth addict. During his probation he met a woman. She was also on probation, yes it was also for meth. As my memory recalls it, they got in trouble a lot. They weren’t supposed to have any contact. Standard rule of probation is not to associate with anyone else on probation. They found the loop-hole, and got married. The wedding took place in my grandmas living room. My brother and I were not invited to attend. Today I would also call that a foreshadowing of things to come. I liked her though. She was nicer than my mom, cooler too. Plus now I had a sister, which was much better than a stinky brother.

My mom eventually had the baby, another brother, joy. Things went downhill quickly after this. There were so many times my mom would wake us all up in the middle of the night to load up in the car and go search for her husband. We would go to bars, and other known hang outs. Sometimes we would find him, mostly we wouldn’t. My mom would lose her mind over this guy and his antics. I would try to make frog sounds with my throat. Eventually we would go home and go back to bed for a few hours before school. Stop, rewind, repeat. I don’t remember the day he left. I don’t remember him being there one day and gone the next. I don’t remember feeling any kind of way about his absence. One winter night my brothers and I were playing Power Rangers. I was the pink one of course. We played hard. Mattresses everywhere, dressers set up as jump points. We had it going on, and I had a swim suit on. I guess i thought that was the closest thing I had to a Power Ranger uniform. More likely is that I wanted to combine components of Power Rangers with Mortal Kombat. My mom was screaming, wake up wake up! Guess I passed out, I don’t remember going to sleep. I was rubbing my eyes coming into the living room when I saw it. Through my moms bedroom door massive orange flames filled the window. Panic. Panic. Panic. My mom got us in the car, and across the street. She was in the street screaming and crying and jumping around trying to get someones attention. I was scared she would get burned if she got to far away from the car. The reality was the fire was 50-75 yards away. The fire fighters we nice and they gave me a stuffed animal to take to school. I was shook.

house on fire
So this isn’t my fire, but to 8-year-old me this about sums it up from my perspective

I’m not positive that my dad and  his new wife had ever stopped using. But the early days were great. This “step situation” was WAY better than the one I had experienced before. Days of video games, kangaroo rats, and rollerblading through the trailer park fill my mind. I was 10 when my youngest brother way born. He was so chubby and cute. I loved going to my dads because he was always so much more laid back than my mom. I had “freedom” there. How did I use this freedom you may ask? Well to hang with my friends and put on performances for the trailer park of course! I can remember a 3 song act put on by me, my sister and our friend. Britney Spears all the way, choreographed with the whitest dance moves ever. But we had costume changes! We could ride our bikes a few miles away to the park. We loved going to the park. There was this river that ran right through it, but you had to climb down this 12-15 foot cliff to get down to the water. One day we were riding at the park and we pulled up to the edge to look at the water. Kids are reckless, they can’t foresee consequences and most are oblivious to danger. I’m not sure if it was the way he was positioned on the bike or if he just fell, but he fell off that cliff. Panic. Panic. Panic. He’s dead! Oh my god he is dead! HELP! HELP! A man comes running and jumps down to my brother and cradles him up this embankment to the top of the cliff. As I look at my brother he is ghost white, eyes as big a saucers not blinking, limp and lifeless. I knew he was dead. By this time we had luckily found someone with a cell phone. If you can believe it, they were rare back then. My dad got there and loaded up my brothers bike along with my brother and took him home. After the shock wore off my sister and I raced each other back to the house.

It was never proven for sure, but my mom has always believed her ex-husband set the fire that terrified us that night. Right outside her bedroom window was our family hot tub. It was winter so that bad boy was full and heated, actively being used on a daily basis. It was that hot tub that was set ablaze. It burnt to a pile of ashes, basically nothing was left it so it was hard to determine what may have caused this fire. My moms theory: Ex-husband sneaks to house late at night, pulls the plug to drain the hot tub and leaves. Goes and gets hoped up on alcohol or meth or both. Comes back and sets the thing on fire. Seams plausible to me. Here’s whats interesting, by the time the fire truck is there I’m gonna guess it was around 4 A.M. This lady comes to talk to my mom out of nowhere. Shes not an officer or a fire fighter, she just some woman in leather pants. Later I learned that was the wife the of the man whom ex-husband was now living with. Like I said, unsolved. You decide for yourself.

From this point on things get messy and complicated so buckle up, and you may need to take notes.

scared little girl

Uncategorized

Welcome

Thanks for joining me! I hope you enjoy this exciting adventure! Together we will sift through God’s word discovering how we can take  biblical principals and live them out in today’s modern world.

The Lord spoke to my heart about 3 years ago of this idea: Counter Culture Christianity. I said, “Lord, what do you mean?” And you know what He said? “I’ll show you.”

At this point I think I may finally understand that when the Lord tells me he’s going to “show” me something, He means it. But, how would He going to show me?. The answer would be the same way He has shown, taught or prepared anyone: experience.

Yep, there’s that dreaded thing. So uncomfortable, yet so necessary. Most of the time my stubborn nature plays against me, so I get to learn the hard way, experience.

I have been through a series of cycles of seasons in my walk with Christ. That’s half true, it almost sounds negative. I have experienced many seasons with Christ with their own unique ups and downs. Somehow that leads to continual growth. The truth is I went through two seasons in my 10 year church experience: Summer and winter.

In the beginning I found church to be this magical land where everybody smiling and happy all the time. Love flowed over rivers of grace and mercy. Literally it was Eden to me. The more I got involved and the more I learned of the Lord, the more invested I became. I never had a church or religious experience growing up. I’d attended here and there with friends when I was a kid, but nothing real. I didn’t know such a place with such a people could be real. I bloomed. I dived so deep into my Bible and into prayer at times, I felt like I was having an affair. I would sneak away to pray, read the Bible every chance I got. Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to me, still is. However, to understand where I’m going, you first must understand where I’ve been…

 

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
-Jesus

sea of Galilee Israel
Sea of Galilee | Israel 2018 | Photo Credit: Jordyn Baze