From Tracie

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blog Against Child Abuse December 2014 Edition

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is a monthly event. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and verbal) are discussed.

Blog Against Child Abuse - December 2014 Edition!

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Button

The December 2014 Edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is up at Kate Is Rising. Thank you to Kate for hosting again this month. Be sure to check it out at Kate Is Rising.

So many survivors have a tough time during this season dealing with memories or with having to see family. If this is you, please have a plan in place.
  • Be aware of your triggers. 
  • Remember that "No" is a complete sentence. 
  • You don't have to go see family, and if you do go for a visit, you don't have to stay there if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. 
  • Set an alarm on your phone to ring part way through your holiday event, so you have an easy excuse and reminder to go in another room and call someone safe - just in case you need that break.      

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The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse and to share important posts with others who might not be frequent readers of an author's blog. There are so many wonderful bloggers who are contributing to the cause of ending and recovering from child abuse.

If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Many thanks to all of you who shared your hearts and stories with us, and to all of you who read the submissions and show your support. You keep this carnival, the awareness, support, and healing going each month.

To provide another way for you to stay in contact with the blog carnival, and make sure you don't miss any updates; you can like the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Facebook Page.

Thank you for raising your voice and speaking out against child abuse!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

GRACE Releases Report From Two-Year Investigation Of Sexual Abuse Disclosures And Institutional Responses At Bob Jones University

Nearly ten months ago I told you a little of my story of what it was like to grow up in the shadow of fundamentalism. It was the week Bob Jones University fired the consulting group GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), and then rehired them after public pressure. They were in the middle of an investigatory review of sexual abuse disclosures and institutional responses at BJU at the time.

The two-year investigation officially came to a close today when GRACE released their final report publicly.

I haven't had time to read the entire report, at 301 pages it could basically be considered a book, but I have been impressed with the portions I have read. It will be interesting to see if the university will follow through on the list of recommendations from GRACE, especially as it relates to the personnel recommendations, curriculum, sermons, and other materials they sell and endorse.

I love this statement from page 223 of the report:
"Authentic repentance will be demonstrated by an equally authentic transformation where individuals and institutions work to ensure future behaviors no longer harm others."
It will take time to see if, and how, Bob Jones University responds to the report and recommendations. I hope we will see the kind of authentic repentance and transformation that can be helpful and healing to the victims who were further hurt by the policies, beliefs, and behaviors exhibited by the university and its staff.

This report and surrounding discussion is important, especially in light of the recent focus on sexual assault on college campuses across the nation. I hope to see more Christian universities, churches, and institutions open themselves up to investigation and public reporting. It is important to bring abuse out into the light, and support survivors who hold no shame or blame for the actions committed against them.

You can read the full report from GRACE here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Now Accepting Submissions For The December 2014 Blog Against Child Abuse

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is a monthly event. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and verbal) are discussed.

Blog Against Child Abuse


The December edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse will be hosted at Kate Is Rising.

Blog Carnival Theme: 
The theme will be childhood holiday memories, coping and grounding skills, and creating new holiday traditions. Kate has more information in her announcement post, so make sure to check it out, and read the full information on the theme.

In addition to the theme, all of our regular categories will also be open:
  • Advocacy and Awareness
  • Aftermath
  • Healing and Therapy
  • In the News
  • Poetry
  • Survivor Stories
  • Art Therapy

Submission Deadline Information:
Submissions will be accepted through December 21st, and the Blog Carnival will be published late that evening.

I'm excited to see what y'all share this month. You can submit something written especially for this edition, but please feel free to submit an older post as well.

To submit a blog post, please fill out this form.


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The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse and to share important posts with others who might not be frequent readers of an author's blog. There are so many wonderful bloggers who are contributing to the cause of ending and recovering from child abuse.

If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Many thanks to all of you who shared your hearts and stories with us, and to all of you who read the submissions and show your support. You keep this carnival, the awareness, support, and healing going each month.

To provide another way for you to stay in contact with the blog carnival, and make sure you don't miss any updates; you can like the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Facebook Page.

Thank you for raising your voice and speaking out against child abuse!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Mystery Of Books And Marriage And Life

I saw an interview in which a man described his wife as "the co-author of his life." Out of everything that was said, this phrase stayed with me.

It is a lovely picture of marriage.

Two becoming one. Your lives entwined. Your decisions blending together. Partnership. Trust. Giving and giving. Submitting to each other (because nothing in marriage should be a one way street). Co-authoring your stories and walking every path together.

My life is a series of chapters, pages, paragraphs, sentence fragments, and footnotes. I am able to look back and see the clear separation of seasons written on soft leaves of time.

I've had a lot of guest writers in my life's book.

It started with my parents. They wrote many of my early chapters with stories that were told again and again. Those pages are fuzzy, I might not actually remember all of them, but they are mine just as surely as if I had held that pen myself.

In my adolescence, friends made appearances. Their tiny, tight letters, and loopy scrolls interspersing with my own, unique writing. There are moments in those chapters when I wasn't sure what the true thread of the story was, or how exactly I fit into it. Some of my guest writers helped me to find that thread, some helped to bury it deep in the woods when I wasn't watching closely. It was easy to get lost in my fledgling story, uncertain that it really was my own.

Guest writers are tricky things. They can make off with whole chapters of your life if you aren't careful. If you come across a couple of bad ones, you could lose so much more than the worth of the words they leave behind them. Some of them will try to take over completely, and have to be forcibly removed from the writing desk before they alter everything in your story down to the very cover of the book.

This is the danger of opening up your story to collaboration.

But sometimes, a guest writer becomes more. You invite him to bring his own chair to the writing desk, and you push the pens a little to the left so you can both reach them easily. This is when a guest writer becomes a co-author.

True beauty is finding a co-author who wants you to shine on every page.

A co-author who doesn't hold you back or push you down so he can be the hero of every story. A co-author whose stories fit just right with yours, and bring your book one section closer to completion, even as yours do the same for his. A co-author who isn't just happy to hand you the pen, but will take dictation when necessary. A co-author who isn't afraid when your writing intersects his, is willing to talk about every comma (especially the ones of the Oxford variety), and knows exactly how to spell both awkward and awesome when the letters don't want to play nicely. A co-author who writes on the days you can't, and fills in the margins with well-placed illustrations on the days you can. A co-author who loves you enough to entrust his story to you the way you have entrusted yours to him. A co-author who might even get the chance to write the early chapters of someone else's book with you.

Thomas is this kind of co-author. As I look down at the pages I'm currently creating, I feel a new chapter coming. A chapter I can take in almost any direction; it's exciting to think about it. But no matter where I go, I know I will not go there alone. I'll carry the pens and Thomas will carry the paper, and as we cross the river between the chapters, Katarina's pocket will hold her own notebook that finally has more of her words in it than ours.

This is how my life's book is being written. Each page is distinctly true to the time in which it was penned. I salvaged almost all of the lost chapters, and sewed them into the binding. Even the dark ones contain precious pieces of my heart. If you lean in close enough, you can smell the colors reflected back at you. The ink splotches and cross-outs are beautiful. I'm learning not to edit as I write, but to let the story stand on its own. I'm okay with the lack of perfection and the footnotes that serve as reminders meant just for me. And I'm thankful for a co-author who doesn't try to change these things to better fit into his own story.

There is room for two books at our writing desk. They fit perfectly together on the shelf. Entwined. Two books, yet one. Co-authored. The same, yet distinctly our own.

This is the mystery of books and marriage and life. It is beautiful.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Last Thankfuls Of November

On this last day of November, I am thankful for many things.

Here are ten of them....

1. Sleeping in on a cold morning.

2. All of the yellowness this world brings my way.

Tracie Nall and all of the yellowness

3. Sunsets.

4. This kid.
Katarina

5. The library.

6. Colored lights hanging in the sky.
colored lights

7. Friends who give me grace when I'm not super fast at returning phone calls, emails, and other messages on a busy week.

8. Coffee shops with free wifi.

9. Books that are worth staying up all night to read.

10. NaBloPoMo.
NaBloPoMo November 2014
I missed a couple of days near the end, but you know what? I don't even feel a bit bad about it. I took actual time off of work and away from the computer for three days, and focused on my family. That is a win in any month. If you take into account the posts I wrote elsewhere, I actually did publish 30 posts this month. And I really feel like I met my own personal NaBloPoMo challenge - to see if I could still find time to write while working, and to get back to my blogging roots of writing about small things as well as big things.

Ten Things of Thankful

Your turn! What are you thankful for today?