Ordinary

It was an ordinary day. On an ordinary street. In an ordinary house. In that house sat three ordinary girls. They were laughing and playing and giggling like the 13 year old girls they were. They talked about boys, dreams and their parents.

They discussed how they hated some of their teachers and school was so boring. They dreamed of summer vacations and new clothes. It was almost over. Summer was almost here and they vowed to make this an extraordinary summer.

Savannah logged into her laptop. She quickly logged into a website and started chatting up her new friend. He was an older boy. He was 18. She liked him. They had been chatting on-line for a few weeks now.

She sent him pictures of herself and he always told her that she was beautiful. She liked that. She never thought of herself as beautiful. Cute and ordinary. However, Paul (that was his name) always made her believe that she was beautiful.

He told her she could be a model. Paul asked her to face time him with her friends around. She did. They giggled and smiled and posed as Paul said that they were beautiful and could all be models.

Paul asked them to meet them in the parking lot at the local mall. They agreed. They told their parents that they were going to the mall and would be back in a couple of hours. They were careful. Nothing would happen to the three of them.

They were taught that you always travel together. So, they did. It was nothing special. A bus took them to the mall and they waited in the parking lot by the local Macy’s. They laughed with the fact that one of them had a boyfriend. They giggled.

They weren’t able to date yet.

Across the parking lot, Paul approached them. He was so sexy. He had on nice clothes and shoes and the biggest smile. His teeth were straight. Wow! He was gorgeous.

They were so busy pointing and smiling at Paul that they didn’t see the van pull up behind them and the men grab them and stuff them in the truck. An ordinary black van filled with men holding them down as they struggled and screamed and then went limp.

Ordinary girls are sold into sex-trafficking every day. We need to do something about this. No more silence please.

 

 

This post is part of the Daily post. The word of the day was ordinary.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/

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FBF: Self-Esteem

I found a book that I had created my junior/senior year of photos of me and my friends in high school. It was weird looking at the hairstyles and some of the outfits, but it was good. I was looking back at the photos and remembering how I thought I was fat at the time.

I was always the biggest girl it seemed but I really hated my shape. I had a big head, big nose and a big butt. I thought of myself as the odd girl out. The oddly shaped girl who wasn’t quite right. But, I was perfectly fine.

See at that time I just wanted to be invisible. To be seen as a beautiful girl to one boy. I smiled on the outside when many times I was so broken and damaged inside that people couldn’t see it. You can’t see the scars of the abuse. You can’t see the pain that I carried while trying to have a “normal” childhood.

Normal. What the hell was normal?

I guess it was boyfriends and dances. Dates and parties. Friends and fun. I had those memories. Hidden inside my size 12/14 frame.

What I learned…We are our own worst critics. Stop judging yourself and just love the person looking back in the mirror. You are beautiful just the way you are.

Restoration Stories – Tikeetha Thomas 

So, here is my restoration story that was featured on one of my favorite blogs, “Restored Ministries” over the weekend. Please read it, share it and comment. It is an awesome blog and I was thankful to be able to share my story.

Restored Ministries Blog


Just email me your story how God has restored you with your life verse. That was all they were asking.

Wow! Too many times. Too many situations. God had restored me on so many occasions could I possibly just tell one story that would make people understand?

Nope. Not the way that you needed to hear. Not the way you needed to understand the grace and mercy that God has shown to me. So, here’s my story…

I was molested at 13. I was sexually assaulted at 13 and I was raped at 14. Three traumatic events that shaped my belief in men. Men took from you. Men didn’t value you. You were nothing more than eye candy for men. Those were all the things that ran through my mind.

At 14 my boyfriend and I broke up. He blamed me for my rape. I was devastated. I felt unloved…

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The Light

I can smell him before I see him. He enters my room looking for me. First, under the bed and then in the closet where I’m hiding. I can hear him coming towards the closet door. I close my eyes and wait. I don’t want to do it again. I don’t like it. I know that if he finds me he will make me do it again. Tony. I hate Tony.

Tony or as he tells me to call him “Uncle Tony” is mama’s new boyfriend. He is big, dark and strong. He stinks. He smokes and drinks dark colored things out of a red cup. Tony comes to the closet door where I am hiding and grabs my hand. He pulls me to the bed and makes me lie down. “Lift your gown up girl” he says loudly in my ear.  Tears roll slowly down my face. I lift up my gown and he smiles. Uncle Tony has crooked teeth. I hate Uncle Tony.

“Yeah, I like that. You’re so pretty Cassie. You look like a princess.” I hate princesses. Princesses are evil. Princesses get bad things done to them. But, I hate a lot of things. I hate princesses, dolls, the boogey man and police officers. I pretty much hate everything, but Jacob.

Jacob is my only friend. No one knows about Jacob.  Jacob says I have a light and I must let it shine. Jacob tells me that he sees me and God is going to help me. Jacob goes to church. I don’t. Jacob taught me a song about my light.

Mama tells me I don’t have friends. She says that Jacob is not real. She says no one likes me and I can’t have friends because I’m not allowed to go to school or play outside.  But, I know Jacob is real. He teaches me things.

Uncle Tony starts to touch me. Slowly. I cringe with disgust and turn my head. I wish that he would hurry up and leave me alone.

I start to sing. I sing slowly and in a low whisper. The only song I know. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” The smack is hard on my face, “Shut up gal! I can’t concentrate!”

My face hurts and tears begin to fall down my cheeks. I can’t see. I can’t see through the tears. The door opens and I hear a loud bang. I jump. I scream and cover my ears.

I see Uncle Tony hit the floor. I close my eyes hard to the sight of the red ring forming on my floor. Uncle Tony’s eyes are open. I cry harder.

Jacob comes to my bed and shakes me. “Cassie, it’s me! It’s me, Jacob. You’re okay Cassie. I got him.”

I open my eyes and Jacob is smiling. Jacob reminds me about my light. I smile and start to sing. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Loudly.

I look down and see my mama’s gun in my hands and continue singing at the top of my voice “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

 

© Tikeetha Thomas

Parental Privilege: Spanking or Not

I’ve read many posts on whether or not you should spank children. Not just in light of the Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings player), whose case unfolded last week, but in general. My opinion is simple….YOUR CHOICE. I can’t tell a parent how to raise their child or how discipline should be handled in their home. The reason is that I am not in your shoes and I know for a fact that you have to find what works for you and your child. Now, before you start thinking I’m an advocate for child abuse. Let me be clear….I’m not. I don’t condone violence of any kind and especially towards children.

There is a difference and in my opinion, a big difference between child abuse and spanking. Child abuse is defined as:  mistreatment of a child by a parent or guardian, including neglect, beating, and sexual molestation. Spanking is defined as: to strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper,etc., especially on the buttocks, as in punishment. Now that we are all clear on the definitions, I want to reiterate that I don’t condone child abuse or violence in any form. As a parent myself, I think it is imperative that we find forms of discipline that work to mold healthy and productive citizens. However, I hate the argument that because I believe in spanking that I am destroying my child and he will grow up to beat on others. That statement in itself is flawed because I don’t beat my son. I spank him if it is a spankable offense. 

What is a spankable offense? An egregious offense where he knows better or running in traffic. Not much would ever be considered spankable because he’s only six. However, I implore the 3 warning rule in my parenting. This is where I give munch 3 chances to correct the behavior on his own before consequences are handed down. This is not a spankable offense. This means it is timeout in his room with no television, an hour of French work, no Ipad, etc.

As a child growing up, my mom employed the same techniques. Altering the punishment to fit the crime and not spanking out of anger. Did I get whopped with a switch (absolutely! I’m from the south)? Do I do it? No. Do I believe her spanking me has damaged me? No. There were other things that were more harmful than her spanking. But, I never believed that she enjoyed spanking me or my siblings or assumed that her spanking was detrimental to my psychological or emotional health.

I grew up in an era of spank first and talk later. I can’t judge Adrian Peterson on the crime he’s accused of, but I can tell you that it breaks my heart to see the photos of a four year old boy who was whopped with a switch and it left marks. I’m heartbroken. Too much force was used on this child. No four year old child should ever have to endure the feel of a switch. It’s obvious that Adrian is strong, so I question whether or not he could have used his hands instead of a switch. But, he didn’t. So, he has to know that his choice was poor.

Adrian has a right to discipline his son. Society may so no. We want people that spank their children to go to jail. Some punishment should happen, but I ask you about this child (also from Minnesota) that was 9 year’s old that was suspended from school and boarded a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada last year. Apparently, the parents have asked for help with their child and never got it. He had prior trouble because he had stolen a car. A 9 year old stealing a car? Wow!

The parents were told that he was a minor and hadn’t done enough bad things to qualify for the help that they were requesting. The father sobbed as he recounted how he asked the officer to watch him spank his son. The officer said if he saw him hit his son he would be arrested. He sobbed saying that it was a double jeopardy damned if I do damned if I don’t situation. The father said,  “If I whoop my son, I will get locked up. If I keep on letting my son do what he’s doing, I get in trouble.”

I felt the father’s pain and I ask you, what do you do when you know you can’t spank your child and no one is helping you? There are rules to everything in society. How are we taught these rules? What are the consequences of those rules? Even adults make mistakes and don’t learn the rules, but spanking a child to help enforce the rules that you are teaching is acceptable. But, child abuse is not. We may not agree on how to raise our children, but I think we can all agree that we don’t want chaos in our society because no one can follow the rules.

Child Abuse Photos from Peterson case
Child Abuse Photos from Peterson case

Is Spanking Wrong?

Recently, I heard that a parent had disciplined their child and videotaped it and put it on YouTube. I was appalled. Why would you do that? What was more disturbing was the fact that the little boy was only seven years old. He shaved his head, threatned him with a belt, made him do push-ups and run drills in a boot camp manner. He never spanked him on video, but you could hear him speaking loudly and the child crying out in anguish in what sounds like he was being attacked. This man is behind bars thanks to his ignorance and for officials locking up this child abuser. It was later discovered that this man is not even the child’s biological father. No blood relation. He is a “mentor” who was supposed to be helping the young boy. What kind of mentoring relationship was he developing through violence? This issue brought me back to the question we’ve been asking for years…is spanking wrong?

Do you spank your son? “Not yet, he’s only 3”. I remember being asked this question by another parent who wondered what my form of discipline with our 3 year old would be. My husband and I found ourselves on opposite sides of the spectrum when Brennan came a long. I didn’t want to spank him and Lee believed that spanking was a part of childhood. I’ve never been a fan of corporal punishment or “beatings”. As a child who grew up in the household of “spare the rod and spoil the child mentality” I felt that sometimes spankings were designed to hurt me and not to make me feel sorry for what I did. I felt sorry that I got caught. I think that as a parent you often struggle with whether or not spankings work. I believe that it is a personal choice. I don’t know how to raise your kids (only mine), but I do believe their is a definite line you should never cross…abuse. Throwing irons, chairs, shoes or items at your children to get them to “listen”is not healthy, sane or needed. Furthermore, it is child abuse.

I can’t tell you that spankings saved me from being a delinquent, crack head strung out on drugs and prostituting myself for loose change because I don’t believe that to be the case. There were many spankings I got that I can’t remember why I got them. I think when you strike a child out of anger, you lose your opportunity to have a civilized conversation with them. You teach them that striking out of anger is an acceptable way to deal with issues. I know that I will probably have to spank Brennan at some point, but it won’t be a toe taping, tail blazing spanking that I had as a child. Lee and I are a progressive couple in terms of our parents. We want to talk to Brennan first to confirm he knows what he did, get his side on why he did it and be firm with the consequences. I will get off my soap box for now, but I want to leave you with this: Parenting is a combination of love, strength, patience, prayer and discipline. Find what works best for you and doesn’t damage your child.

Check out the video of the gentelman who was arrested for this horrific act:

Boy’s “Mentor” Busted For Videotaped Punishment The Smoking Gun