Monday, April 14, 2014

A Sliver Of Light

I have a lot of questions.

This morning I spent an hour looking at literary tattoos.

I don't have a lot of answers.

Some of them were beautiful.

I love deeply.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times,
if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I feel.

This morning I dreamt of creating small figurines that were then smashed, and crushed, and pushed together.

I hurt. I cry. I wipe my tears, and start again.

Some of them were beautiful.

I laugh. I dance. I spin until the my feet leave the ground, and the world stands still.

"I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard,
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars."

I grow.

This morning I sang words that have been in my head for days.

I feel the words pulse with the beating of my heart.

Some of them were beautiful.

I reach for more. I believe it is there. He is there. I stand firm, even when I'm falling.

"Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me"

I know all is not darkness.

There is a sliver of light coming in through the curtain.

There is a sliver of light illuminating my soul.

It is beautiful.

I am beautiful. You are beautiful.

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Red Hibiscus

What have you read/seen/listened to lately that touched your heart?

Quotes: Albus Dumbledore/J. K. Rowling, Sara Groves, Jesus Culture, and Dylan Thomas

Thursday, April 10, 2014

For Today, You Can Rest

I was reminded today that time is short.

Life is short.

We don't get a whole lot of years on earth to do this life thing.

My grandma will have her 90th birthday this month.

90 years feels long, but it isn't. Not really.

And I feel pressured to do more, be more, jump higher.

But then I hear a small voice telling me it is okay. I'm okay. Right where I am today. Not that I will always stay here, but for today it is okay. And I feel peace.

At this point, I think a better blogger than me would have a snazzy picture with a perfect quote. Something about making every second count, or regrets being all your fault, because you didn't shoot higher and reach for more opportunities.

Just the thought of it makes me feel the pressure returning.

Sometimes I feel attacked by those quotes when I see them shared on social media. They are meant to be inspirational, but instead they just feel like a punch in the face, telling me all the ways I'm failing.

I'm not always so good at inspirational.

Although I did make this picture for a friend once:

A Field Of Yellow Flowers Is My Wish For You

This is where my heart is. I wish good things for us, you and me.

I hope that in the time we have, we are accomplishing, honoring, inspiring, living fully, overcoming, healing, growing, transforming, learning new things, feeling and giving love, dancing, connecting, noticing beauty, dreaming, being a testimony, living in spirit and truth, being a light, having fun, living big....I wish, and I hope, and I pray.

But I don't know that those things always look the way we imagine them. A quiet life can still be powerful. It isn't all jumping out of planes and conquering mountains. And if time really is short (it is), I don't want to waste any of it feeling judged by an image on social media.

So when you are scrolling through your newsfeed, and feel punched in the face by judgement cloaked as inspiration, know that I wish for you a field of yellow flowers - or whatever it is that would make you feel joy. And know that it is enough to be you, where you are right now.

Transformations and changes and movement will happen, but for today, you can rest. And in that rest, I hope you find the kind of inspiration that feels like a warm hug on a rainy day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Clorox Ick Awards: Because Life Can Be Fun and Icky

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Clorox.

Thomas' mother, Judy, was an amazing cook. When Katarina was little, and we visited Judy's house, she and Katarina would always end up in the kitchen together.

It usually started out simple, with Judy saying, "Let's bake some cookies!"

Bowls full of sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, candies, coconut, and pretty much anything else that might end up on a cookie were set out, and the cookie baking began.

Cookie decorating at Grandma's house

After a few neatly decorated cookies, the sprinkles began to fly between giggles. I would reach for the broom or rag to clean up the mess.

"Don't worry about it," Judy would tell me, as she encouraged Katarina to throw the coconut in the air to let it land on the cookies "artistically."

Once the cookies were in the oven, they would move on to cooking other things.

Chocolate Pie. Tossed salad (literally tossed, with glee) Puff pastries. Mac & Cheese (homemade, with at least five kinds of cheese). Jam. Spaghetti.

As Judy handed three-year old Katarina the spoon and led her over to the huge pot of spaghetti sauce, I called out, "Stir it carefully so it doesn't..."


Spaghetti sauce all over the wall, counter, stove top, and Katarina.

"It's not a big deal," Judy soothed, "we'll clean it up later."

By this time I was usually kicked out of the kitchen to sit with Thomas in the other room.

Oh, yes, Thomas had been kicked out long before. Apparently parents are very disruptive to the cooking fun. We just didn't want Katarina to make a huge mess.

Every so often we would peek our heads around the kitchen door. The dirty dishes had overflowed the sink. Judy and Katarina were dancing around the center island dribbling chocolate sauce over something - and themselves, and the countertop, and the floor, and I think a few stray splashes even landed on the refrigerator behind them.

The ceiling was probably the only safe surface in that room.
Or maybe I just never looked up to check on it.

Thomas would say, "Don't make a..." but before the word mess could come out of his mouth, Judy had already shushed and shooed him back into the living room. She had a lot of fun kicking him out. And I'm pretty sure she encouraged the great mess, partly to drive him crazy, but mostly to just have fun with her granddaughter.

Flour on Katarina's nose and face

I sat on the couch, imagining taking a fire-hose and bottle of bleach to the whole kitchen. Surely that was the only way to get everything clean.

"I know I don't cook, but do they really have to throw the dough in the air like that?" I whispered to Thomas on our next trip to the kitchen door, "They are making bread, not a pizza."

He just shook his head, and called out to the pass-through window, "If you throw the flour, it is going to get all over everything. Don't make a..." but his words were quickly drowned out by giggles, and Judy's gleeful direction to, "Throw some more flour on it, Katie-Hope, and we'll pretend it's snowing in the kitchen."

Judy knew something that us first-time parents, who were a little too busy keeping our kid and kitchen clean, didn't know. It doesn't matter how messy the kitchen, or you, get. Things can be cleaned. It doesn't even matter if dinner and dessert preparation and eating required a full bath from which to recover.

eating messy chocolate pie

What matters is how much fun you have, and the memories you build.

And the messy memories are especially fun.

Even if Judy's kitchen ended up pretty icky by the end of the night.

The Clorox Ick Awards
Clorox is teaming up with Chicago improve troupe The Second City Communications for the Clorox Ick Awards on Wednesday, April 9 from 6-10 p.m. ET. The #ickies will be the messiest virtual awards show ever, featuring real-time comedy inspired by real-life moments.

Clorox ick awards logo

The Second City Communications will turn tweets into #ickies video skits throughout the awards show. You can help pick the winners by voting for your favorites, and maybe win big as they give out $2,500 in prizes.

If you have a wondrously hilarious, icky moment you want to nominate in advance, you can share it by using #ickies. Then watch the first hour of the awards to see if your moment is featured in the opening number with a surprise celebrity guest.

Visit to sign up for Clorox’s email newsletter, and learn more about how Clorox can help you laugh through the mess. And don't forget to follow @Clorox on Twitter and share your “icky moment” using the hashtag #ickies to be entered to win.

What is your best messy or icky memory?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Clorox.
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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Get Involved In Sexual Assault Awareness And Child Abuse Prevention Month - April 2014

Here are some numbers:

A sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the United States. That is approximately 237,868 victims each year.

A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds in the United States, and more than four children die every day as a result of abuse.

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18 years old. I am one of those girls.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention month. Abuse and sexual assault are serious epidemics, in this country, and across the world.

The most important thing you can do in April is speak out.

Tell your stories - write about it on your blog, speak about it at a church or community event, share your story with friends and family. (If you want to share your story in a safe, anonymous way, you can submit it to Band Back Together.)

Share blog posts and articles where other people are telling their stories.

Share prevention and awareness materials.

Change your picture on facebook. Tweet.

Talk to your kids and teens about sexual assault and abuse.

Sexual Assault Awareness

In the 1980's, April was selected as the month for Sexual Assault Awareness Week. In 2001, teal became the official color for sexual assault awareness, and the first Sexual Assault Awareness Month was observed nationally.

Get Involved In Sexual Assault Awareness in 2014:

Child Abuse Prevention

In 1983, April was the proclaimed the first official Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Blue Ribbon Campaign began in 1989.

Get Involved In Child Abuse Prevention in 2014:

It is important to remember that not all child abuse is sexual, and not all child abuse is violent.

What is happening in your area?
Please leave links or info in the comments about anything you are participating in for sexual assault awareness or child abuse prevention. I will be updating this post throughout the month.


If you have been the victim of sexual assault and need help, or you want to help a loved one, you can contact RAINN or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

If you suspect that a child is being abused, or if you are a child or teen who is being abused, you can contact Child Help or call the National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Now Accepting Submissions for the April 2014 Edition of the 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

April is the month for Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness. This is wonderful, because as much work as has been done on both of these issues, we still have a long way to go. Child abuse and sexual assault need to be brought out into the light, and talked about openly. This helps to reduce the stigma, lets victims and survivors know they are not alone, and hopefully results in stricter laws and sentencing for perpetrators as well as a decrease in abuse and assaults.

I know, as survivors, many of us will busier than usual this month with prevention and awareness events both online and in person. And we will see more articles and blog posts surrounding issues of child abuse and sexual assault than we do in other months. As important as it is to be involved in these things, it is also important to be aware of our triggers and needs. I have a note posted by my computer to remind me to breathe and take a step back when necessary.

The April edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse will be hosted here at From Tracie. I am not giving us a theme this month, any blog posts or articles that fit into our regular categories will be great.

All of our regular categories will be open:
-Advocacy and Awareness
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The deadline for submissions is April 23rd, and the carnival will be posted on the 25th. 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.


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!