Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A song can say so much

There's some songs that just take the words out of your mouth. This one really hit home for me at a time when I was starting to get comfortable with God. Sometimes we fall into a comfortable complacency and we stop trying to influence the world & give way for the world  to influence us. "Oh I'm saved, I've been good, I can get away with a little bit of this & that" Before you know it, you stop reading your bible. The Bible will keep you away from sin & sin will keep you from the Bible. Why? Because you don't want to read and feel condemned- If the shoe fits wear it. If you don't want to wear it CHANGE THE SHOE! Stop sinning and you will no longer have anything to feel guilty about.

This song is a prayer that we should say if e ever feel like we are falling asleep on our faith. 
These are the lyrics, personalized into a prayer form.
Remember that there is no perfect way to pray. Just talk to Him.
Tell him what you think and how you feel. If there's something that you need,
Believe that he will grant it, because according to your faith it shall be added unto you.

Dare to say this prayer today!

LORD AWAKEN ME! because sometimes I feel like I'm just existing but I'm not really living. It's like I'm only watching time slip away.

Sometimes I forget who I am in you & I stop striving to be who I'm meant to be. 

I feel like I'm drifting away from my destiny.
I pray that you Awaken my heart & my soul. Lord, please use your power and take control. 

Awaken the passion to live for you, and Awaken me.
My soul is longing & my heart is searching. There's an emptiness that I know only you can fill. 
I'm desperate for you to move. Please give me a hunger to come and pull me closer. 

I'm crying out to you. Open my eyes so I can see your presence dwelling inside, because I can't live another minute if I'm not shining your light. Awaken the passion within in me to live out my destiny and shine your light through me.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Funday Success

Life Update 8/2014

Family Blurb

We celebrated Samantha's birthday today at Chuck E Cheese's. 
She had a blast! She was not afraid of Chuck E. 
She took pictures, ate cake, played a few games & even earned herself some tickets. 
She even went in the ticket blaster with me!!!! 
Nevaeh did not (We also celebrated Nevaeh's 3rd birthday at CEC). 
She's a brave kid. I of course was falling apart having to deal with "throwing" yet another party without my better half. 
Deployments suck. 
Life is so much easier when Anthony is home. 
He gets to be the ball of nerves and I get to be the cool & calm one- 
in his absence I take over his role.
We had a few of our bible study friends join us, it is really nice to finally have mommy friends!
Nevaeh had 5 parties all on her lonesome. 
Aside from her 1st being a super giant family gig & a 3rd CEC party with a handful of MY friends- her other parties have just been me, daddy & sometimes grandma. 
It's kinda sad & I feel guilty that her little sister & little bother get to have parties when she didn't.
But alas, she finally had her day with friends (almost) for her 7th birthday.

On that note- Chuck E Cheese's parties are pretty expensive so for a small fraction of the cost we added little Anthony's birthday into the celebration. 
For one I don't feel comfortable with celebrating on halloween because I hate the mixed reactions I get from people when they find out when his birthday is... 
And on another count daddy should be coming back from Afghanistan sometime around then.
I don't want to fluster him with rushing plans. 
I just want to take some time to close the doors and barricade ourselves indoors to try and make up for lost time.
I know it's selfish, but he's been gone a painfully long time already and 
I don't want to have to share with with anyone I don't absolutely have to. 
It worked out because this way Jr got his little celebration in, pictures/memories are good to go & the little fella will never know the difference. 

New Beginnings

This week brings much excitement for me. 
I'm stepping out in faith & probably stretching myself quite thin, 
but this is something I feel like I need to do. 
I originally started my Dare to be Loved blog as a means to share a little bit Jesus into the inter webs but I feel very limited about the topics I can or should discuss. I can often go out on a tangent and have to delete half of my post because it's not on point.
So I have decided to open myself to give me a wide variety to share any and all the pieces of me. 
Now I can focus on my faith based thoughts and still share the other aspects of my passions with you here. 

Also, I've decided to follow through with my original desire to start my vlog.  (Video Blogging)
I'm not exactly sure how, when, or what I'm going to do with it.
It will probably also be a two part thing but expect to hear my voice and/or see my face on the inter webs soon, videos will be shared on this blog page more than likely :p

This Tuesday I begin a new chapter in my mommy life & 
Christian walk as one of the head coaches for Upward at Woodlawn Community Church. 
It's a non-competitive cheer program focused on elevating the spirits of girls & 
introducing Jesus into their lives. 
I was a cheerleader in High School and I've always looked back fondly at that experience. 
Being a part of a squad counting on each other to get the job done taught me great life skills so it's something I've hoped to pass on. 
Nevaeh has always been intimated by cheerleaders, because she's not a preppy girly girl. 
(She's a lot like mommy: loud, bossy, stubborn but shy & a bit cowardly all at once.)
This will definitely give her a boost of confidence & watching her grow as I help out my little squad of eight k-2nd grade girls will be very fulfilling. Just as VBS was<3 
(Thank YOU Emma for sharing these opportunities with me)

With all that said- a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Have a Beautiful & Blessed week!!!

Daisy Reese- OUT.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fellowship Found Friendship

We watched God's Not Dead at Bible study today.
I really enjoyed it! What a powerful reminder that there even during the times when God calls us to do something we are afraid to do, we must rest assured He can use it to touch many lives.
And also that we might be the only Jesus someone may see.

My prayer is that I may be bold to step out in faith to follow his command without hesitation.
I can be pretty outspoken at times, but self doubt has held me back. Note to self: don't be self reliant or try to be self sufficient- let go & let God.

On a different note, every morning before school we are watching "The Bible" series on NetFlixs, it's pretty cool to hear my 7yr old tell me "I know that guy, I learned/read about him." This past Sunday they gave out notebooks to every child in Champions church, she is to read a chapter every day & write down her favorite scripture. I find it quite beautiful to add this as a habit to her daily lifestyle.

There's people who struggle with reading the word of God, mostly laziness or lack or priority. 
Myself included. When the year started we took on the challenge to read the Bible's in a year. 
66 books in 52 weeks. The daily reading took anywhere form 10-15 minutes, nothing crazy.  
We spend the same amount of time or longer on Facebook & checking our emails. 
I'm sad to report that WE ALL FAILED OUT of the challenge.

Once you missed a day or two, it became tedious to catch up draining on you- but not impossible.  As ashamed as I am to admit it, I stopped trying. Ashamed because I know that when things are important you make time for it, otherwise you make an excuse. 
What does the Bible say about reading God's word?

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Matthew 4:4 ESV 

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Joshua 1:8 ESV 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

1 Timothy 4:13 ESV 

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

1 Peter 2:2 ESV

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—

Proverbs 4:20 ESV 

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.

It should never feel like a burden to read his word. When you love someone, you WANT to spend time with them.   So if we love Jesus- why is it hard for us to spend some time  with him reading his word? You would't settle with telling your husband "I love you" once a day or once a week or  think it  would be sufficient, right?

Picture this. You go on vacation and you ask your neighbor to check on your mail.  He saw you had a "FINAL NOTICE"  from the library. You owed $8.75 for overdue book & they were sending you to collections and your neighbor decides to pay it for you. When you find out, you would feel thankful. It wasn't a lot of money but at least it won't go on your record affecting your credit score. Maybe  you will take him out for coffee. 

Different scenario, the "FINAL NOTICE" was from your car loan. You've missed 3 payments and owe $1,500. They are reporting you to a debt collector & repossessing your car. Your neighbor pays for it and you had no way to pay him back. You're incredibly grateful. You praise them, run their errands, and help them in every way you can, etc. You owe them big time after all. 

Jesus is your neighbor, this time the "FINAL NOTICE"  is from hell.  You owe your life due to the sin you've allowed into your life & He pays your debt with his own life. 
You can't EVER pay it back. So couldn't we in the least read a few chapters a day with him??? 

I have been ungrateful for His sacrifice. I want to learn his commands, meditate on his word day & night. I want to be nourished by His word DAILY. I may be on a "diet"  to change my body, but as far as my spirit is concerned, I think it's definitely time for a double portion.

Feed your Faith. Dare to be Loved.

  I'm truly blessed that God has put these ladies in my life. We're 6 months into deployment and I know I'm not alone. These ladies are beautiful inside & out. A warm smile, a positive message, a sweet gesture. Exactly what I need at the precise moment I need it. I wanted to fellowship to find friendship and I walked away with family <3

You should let your smile be your most commonly worn accessory.
It is beautiful, it is priceless, and it matches every outfit in your closet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Financial Fitness Challenge

This is scary.
 Challenges are meant to challenge you & challenges can lead to confrontation- 
which is one of the things I like to avoid.

I've stepped out in Faith to lead a Financial Fitness Group on Facebook.
As much as I'm leading, I'm also taking the challenge.
I've been given the tools so see it through from beginning to end,
but I have not gone through it on my own...
I want the daily challenge to catch me equally off guard
as it will to the other participants.

People often say that Money is the root of all evil. It's not. 

The love of money is the problem. 
When you think about money and potential- I don't think enough is ever enough.

Bill Gates came up to you and said he would give you whichever amount
 of money you asked of him- how much would you ask for?
Keep in mind that Bill is the wealthiest man in the world...
Would you ask him for just enough to get out of debt?
Enough to start a nice savings account?
Half of his fortune?
All of it?
More than what he currently has???

Have you ever wondered why you don't have more than what you have??

I can admit that I'm guilty of this. I want more, not because I truly need more, 
but because I haven't properly handled what I've been given. 
If I can't handle what I have now- who's to say I would be able to handle more?

Therefore it is my hope that through this challenge I can learn to manage my finances in
a God honoring way. I fully trust that when I stop trying to control my spending and just give over Lordship to him in everything especially my finances- He will move drastically.

There a few things you need to know about God & finances. 
My personal take is that It starts with your tithe. 
If you don't believe it applies to you, why don't you go ahead 
and take God's challenge- test him in this.

Where ever you are & whatever you are facing 
reach out to him & let him love you.

Let your finances be a reflection of your God given dreams & destiny.
You were made to conquer & you are destined for greatness!
Don't let your finances, or lack there of, get in the way of achieving.

God bless <3

Friday, August 8, 2014

Competition Goals

I can't even begin to express the excitement bubbling in my chest.
 Do you know that heavy feeling you get in your chest when you carry your own burdens and confusion? 
I've had it for the longest time... 
Do you know that feeling you get when you have an epiphany, everything makes sense and you suddenly feel like you can fly???

Thats how I feel RIGHT NOW

I've always felt like I was meant for greater things but I never really knew what my purpose or potential was. I've been challenged, broken & abused as much as I've blessed with many talents.  I've been given a testimony, desires & dreams but I have never found the outlet to express myself passionately without too many requirements.

Most people probably get annoyed of hearing me say how much I love my job & how grateful I am for Beachbody... some may never fully understand what the Beachbody Challenge has done for me. 

It has opened my heart up to a whole new world that I never imagined I would want to be a part of.

I had been carrying an internal battle against depression, anxiety & PTSD from my childhood trauma & it was manifesting as emotional eating soI just kept packing on weight. 
I tried many things, a variety of meal replacement shakes, diet pills, girdles, wraps and deprivation. I'd lose weight & inches fast only to gain them right back with a few extra more.

My husband is an athletic fellow & he's always enjoyed watching his favorite sport, track & field. I hated watching the events and hear him marveling over these fast impressive women. All the runners with their short shorts, tight figures, muscular hot bodies & a lot of skin. 

I thought of it as exhibitionist and almost pornographical. Why couldn't they cover up???
I hated esthetic physiques. 

His father was into body building so he would often talk about training and what he too hoped to look some day . I couldn't look at image of a bikini or body competitor without feeling sick to my stomach. 
Male or female- it was repulsive.  

Since my journey with Beachbody began, my point of view and my life have changed quite a bit. I've realized that the abuse from my past doesn't have to define my life and it certainly cannot take away from my future potential. Any and all residual pain and anger can be worked off by simply pushing play. 
Working out is the greatest mood booster, better than anti depressants, which I had to take growing up. Depression, anxiety & PTSD are no longer an issue for me. I do have my bad days when I got to bed on top of the world  & wake up with the world on top of me but in the very least I am now confident in my own skin. I'm 25lbs down &  I'm proud of my body because I've worked hard for it.  Self image & self esteem are no longer a daily struggle. 

I am finally starting to love my self, I'm happy with my skin & the curves I've been blessed with.

For the very first time in my life I am looking at these body building competitors  and being inspired. I am sincerely sorry for harboring resentment in my heart and for all the hate I spewed over the past years. 

I'm done being a hater. I'm done letting  the lines get blurred between what I think & feel and what really is. 
 Now I can look an a body and appreciate it for what it is- a temple of God! I can appreciate all the work, time, dedication & sacrifice it takes to achieve it, because although I'm not there (YET) I have had to put in plenty of time & work  making difficult changes (like cutting out ICE CREAM!) to get to where I am.

I want to do something with the opportunity I've been given. I have put out my goals into the universe and I will not be stopped until I reach them. I've started and quit so many things in my life that I consider myself a failure.  

I didn't have a reason or purpose for doing the things I used to do, and that's ok, because I learned from my failures. In our team  Beachbody trainings I have learned that to succeed, I need to do more than work for it. 

In order to succeed I have to figure out and define why I want to do it- or inevitably I'll just quit. 

So I've dug deep, deeper than I ever let myself go and I found it. My motivation stems from my story (You can read it here). The people who have hurt me in the past, broke me & made me believe I was worthless and weak. This is my chance to prove them  & the world wrong. 
This is my opportunity to climb to the top of my mountain, to stand tall and unashamed. 
Every fiber in my being is screaming that THIS IS IT.

I want my physical body to visibly stand as strong as my faith. 

I want to experience a complete transformation and get closer to God as I shed the fat that I accumulated out of hurt and anger. 

I have never set a definite goal because I've been afraid to fail. Insecurities about whether or not I could succeed kept me from even trying.  When I first started my fitness journey I came up some random goals with no expiration date. 
But not this time. I'm giving myself a definite goal & timeline.
I want to compete- while I will have to stand in comparison with other competitors, I'm really only competing against my negative mind. I am convinced that once I set my plan in motion I won't fail unless I quit. 

I ask for your help. PLEASE! Keep me accountable, Keep me motivated & Keep me in your prayers.

INSPIRED by this woman's 14 Week Bikini Transformation & Journey to the WBFF Worlds 2013

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Have A Story Project

I came across this picture on Instagram from @PoeticRainSDYP a fellow survivor and it inspired me to talk about my personal survival story.


Right here, Right now I declare that I'm breaking every chain that has ever held me back.

Everything happens for a reason, we don't always understand why we have to go through certain things, but know that "God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him." Romans 8:28 

Most of us go through life trying our best to hide our scars & the things we've experienced that made us who we are. We hide where we came from, where we started and who we used to be. Either because we are ashamed, it still hurts or it's still a secret struggle. We live our daily lives  trying to be something were not in fear of rejection. 
What would people think & say if they knew about the skeletons in my closet??

All the walls I have built to keep people out have also been the walls that have kept me in isolation. I've lived a life of hurt, darkness & fear! But boy am I glad I know that Jesus has saved me & that a day awaits where there will be no more pain, no more fears & no more tears!!! As a believer I AM meant to be the light on the hill, therefore there is no reason why I should keep any darkness within me. I'm setting it free.

What you know about your "friends" can be so superficial & artificial. You don't really know much about anyone besides what they post on Instagram & Facebook . 
There are no deep connections, relationships are meaningless. There is no intimacy, no depth & no roots. How can we relate to a stranger? It's simple- we can't. 
So in efforts of helping you understand who I am and why I do what I do- let me take you back into time as I open my heart to you.

Growing up my aunt lived with us and babysat me. When I turned 8 she married & moved in with her husband. Mom would have me stay with them over summer & winter breaks .Unbeknown to us, he was a porn addict. Porn to him was past beyond a quick indulgence, it was his drug of choice and he was addicted to it. So much so that watching alone was no longer enough- it had rewired his brain...  

It all began when I was playing with the neighbor behind the house & we noticed the TV was on in the master bedroom. We believed no one was home so we decided we should turn it off and return to our play time. We walked into the bedroom and immediately our eyes were magnetized to the screen. We sat at the edge of the bed and giggled. Thats when I heard him chuckle behind us. One hand under the blankets and the other stretched out towards the neighbor as he asked her to come hither.

Something was off, I didn't know what was going on but I knew it didn't feel right. Before her hand reached his I puller her arm away & told her she should go home. He looked at me menacingly & I ran out. That night I woke up to him sitting besides me as he explored my 8yr old body. I sat up in a panic and I told him I would scream if he didn't stop. He reached for his handgun and told me it was in my best interest to keep my mouth shut, otherwise he'd shoot my aunt while she slept, call my mom and shoot her as soon as she walked through the door and I'd be next. 

I decided 2 lives were worth more than my discomfort so I kept it a secret.  My mom was a single mom so she worked two jobs and didn't have time to look after me so she would send me away to spend vacations in their house. And so for the following 3 years, during every summer & winter breaks, I was accessible to him and he would sexually harass me. I am grateful that he never penetrated, but it doesn't make the years of abuse any less damaging. He forced me to watch his poisonous filth hoping that it would ignite something sexual in me. It didn't, it only made me hate my body. 
Summer of 2000 I got my menses and he was no longer interested. He ended after he sneaked into my shower to take pictures of me. A few weeks later he filed for divorce. I would have never understood why this happened until I read this book many years later. -->

I was 11. Things were changing so fast. I had just started 6th grade, I had been exposed to things beyond the innocence of my peers and my body was going through changes.

I hated myself. I hated my body. 

I hated my skin. I hated my life. 

How could God let this happen to me? Wasn't it enough to make me grow up without a father? Why did the first male role model in my life have to take advantage of me??

I started to self mutilate. 
Cutting was my escape.

I didn't want to kill myself, I just wanted to cut deep enough for it to hurt & to bleed. I had trouble sleeping and I was afraid of the dark. 

I'd close my eyes and see him there grimacing as he touched me

The mental torture became unbearable I just had to hurt my body to shift my mind to a different source of pain and numb my head & heart.
I was 5'4 & 127 pounds by the end of 6th grade. I did not have the body of a child. At the age of 12, I had male suitors ranging from ages 16 to 24. I hated them for wanting me. I hated my curves. I hated the compliments. I trusted no one. To hide my scars & my curves I became a tomboy. A loner. A misfit. Misunderstood, neglected & alone. Mom worked 2 jobs so I had enough time alone to get into trouble.  I started hanging out with the wrong crowd and picked up smoking cigarettes.

 In efforts to set me straight, my mother sent me to Mexico to live with my grandmother. She put me in an all girls Catholic school. It might have worked but I blamed her for what happened. If she had not sent me away during vacations, if she had kept a close eye on me, if she didn't work so much, If only.... maybe my childhood would have been differently.  Once again, she was sending me away

My cousin was the leader of the street hooligans, so to spite my mom I hung out with them. My grandmother was old and busy praying for everyone else, so I was free to roam. I was riding motorcycles, staying out past midnight. Wearing thick black eye liner, a smoke in my hand, chucks on my feet, loose dickies, a muscle tank & my studded belt- I declared my independence.

The week after my 13th birthday we had a death in the family. My grandma & all the adults were gone for the 24hr funeral viewing and prayer. I was  the oldest girl who stayed behind so I was left in charge of 5 of my younger cousins. My older cousin & his crew "guarded" the house. Around 2am Some of the fellas came in and started smoking pot. They turned on the tv & put on the nudie channel. They were being loud, the smoke was seeping through the closed door & the sleeping toddlers were stirring up. Hot headed as I was I confronted the guys. One guy told another guy to "handle me" so they could enjoy the show on the screen.

He picked me up & dragged to the back of the house with a hand over my mouth. He was high & excited and from the look in his eyes I just knew what was about to happen. As soon as he removed his hand from my mouth I spit in his face. He punched my chin knocking me off my feet & onto my back. Knock out. When I came to my senses there he was taking what little virtue I had left.  
Already feeling unloved & worthless the fight within me was dying. With my breaking heart, eyes swelled with tears, my voice failed. Whispering sobs of "no don't, please stop" went unheard. 
I wished with all my heart that I could just die. 
I gave up. I stopped eating, I couldn't sleep, all I did was cry. For the reminder of the year I didn't leave home except for school. I failed all my classes.
On New years eve had a Bronchospasm, in my room while everyone was celebrating. My airways had constricted & there was very little oxygen coming in. I passed out. Luckily someone came in to give me a new years hug & found me. I was rushed to the hospital just in time, good thing because it was with this brush with death that I decided The best revenge I could have was TO LIVE. 
Life had taken so much from me and it was time for me to start taking back. I was not about to let go of my dreams to someday marry, have kids, own a dog, buy a house, travel & catch bad guys. I was determined not to die and be remembered as that sad confused girl who was moping around the last few months of her life. That was NOT an option. I was going to LIVE and I was going to find TRUE LOVE & I was going to lead life of HAPPINESS.

My mom brought me back to California. We moved to a new house, but I went back to the same school. I took a look at my old friends & saw that they were not headed to where I wanted to be, so I was once again I found myself a loner. 

It felt like forever but then I started High school. As luck would have it, I got jumped by 3 girls & a guy in my first week!!! The victim in me wanted to give up, but the fighter in me had a plan in motion. 
My mom put me in a martial arts school to learn self defense. My grades went up, I joined extra curricular activities in school. I was part of the school pride leadership team & the theater production company. I was a karate kid Tuesdays & Thursdays and singer, dancer & actress on Monday, Wednesdays & Fridays. Gaining strength & learning self discipline in martial arts, gaining confidence & learning to laugh and play in the theater club. 
Being on stage made me feel alive. I could be me & I wouldn't be judged. I became strong & fit. I was able to kick through 4 boards & defend myself. I got the lead role in the play, I sang a solo & dance my heart out on stage while people watched & clapped for me. Life was looking up.
 I also joined the police explorer program for kids interested in law enforcement. I made new friends. I went to an explorer police academy. It was 6 days of what I imagine basic training is like. Officers screaming in your face, having to run everywhere with a buddy, morning group runs, marching, chow hall, bunks, 3min shared showers, long hours of lectures, obstacle courses, bonding with your fellow group members &  graduation. 
 A couple of weeks before my 15th birthday, Sophomore year, I met my "High School sweetheart."(If it could even be called that, he had already graduated.) We dated steady for the duration of my High School experience. 
I had performed 2yrs in a row for the school theater club, I earned my black belt & I got several certificates from the Police explorer program. My Junior year I decided to try out for the cheerleading squad. Senior year was the best. I belonged. I was part of something. I had finished my academic classes early and had the easiest elective class. I was living, loving & being happy. I graduated with a 3.7 at the age of 17. 
My father was now involved and wanted to be a part of my life. He talked to my mom because  he wanted me to spend some time with him. He flew me out to him the week after graduating.  He told me he wanted to put me in the most prestigious private university in Mexico. So I packed my bags & kissed my 3yr boyfriend goodbye. 
My dad was married and his wife didn't know about me. To buy himself some time, I had to stay at his lady friends house. She told me he had been married 3 times & I had 7 half brothers & sisters with 4 different moms. I actually had a brother who was 2months older than me, but he had tragically passed away in a freak playground accident. 
This lady friend of his had 2 sons of her own, one was 18 & the other 21. I was there for 5days before my dad came around again, in the mean time she had her boys show me around town. Motorcycle rides, carnivals, sport events, movies, and they even tried teaching me how to drive. I was a confident athletic girl so wherever we went the guys introduced me as their girlfriend and they got praised, it was flattering.

My father had retired from Law enforcement as a narcotics division commander. He had saved & invested in several businesses in town. Co-Owner of gas stations, bakeries, super markets, condos & restaurants. He was  building me a house & bought a restaurant in my name. Whatever revenues came through the restaurant were for my bills & me. He took me car shopping, but I didn't know how to drive so we skipped it. Trips to the mall, vacations, I met some of my siblings and I wasn't alone. Life was golden.

School would start soon so my dad sat me down & told me to think seriously about living there permanently. I had flight tickets to return back home to talk it over with my mom. It was now late July & I was still underage so my mom would had to approve of my decision. 
I had stayed at his lady friends house during my entire 6week visit. My last day we all went out to a water park & being wet all day had me feeling under the weather. I took a double doze of NyQuil, I had a noon flight so I wanted to get a good nights rest. 
That night there was a really bad thunder storm. The house I was staying in was in mid construction. There were 3 bedrooms on the second floor but there was no roof over the entire area. Stepping out of the door from my room was like walking out into the roof. Next to my door was her younger son's door, the other room was used for storage.

I had been so caught up basking in happiness over my change of luck I didn't notice he had become compulsively obsessed with me. 
I recall waking up to the sound of a loud thundering crash. I saw him sitting on the edge of my bed rocking back & forth with a butchers knife in his hand looking at me intensely.  It felt like de-javu. He said to me:  "You can't leave. You can't leave me. I love you more than life and I can't lose you. I'd rather die..."  taking the knife to his neck. He threateningly asked "Do you love me? or should I end it?" I responded "I do, I love you! Please don't do that!" 
Still drowsy & eyes half opened I reached for the knife trying to deescalate by saying I had to leave but I'd be back shortly to start school anyways. 
 He opened his arms gesturing for a hug & I reluctantly gave in. With his arms wrapped around me he reached for the knife and now it was against my neck  
"Prove to me that you love me or I'll kill you for lying" he whispered in my ear.
I nervously laughed saying he should stop playing & that we needed to go back to sleep. He chuckled, let go & turned away. 

Naively assuming he was leaving, I turned walking back towards my bed... 
A loud thud, sharp pain & confusion. He had pushed my head into the wall & my body fell limp... The rest was a blur. I have faint memories of the knife, one hand on my neck & the other over my mouth. Next thing I remember, I was waking up in pain and bruised. 
I showered & scrubbed violently breaking my skin into visible blood filled pores. 

The hot water ran cold & then my dad knocked on the door. It was time to go. I quickly got dressed & came down stairs. Still raining & hair dripping wet from the shower, my tears blended in. I didn't see him on my way out. A quiet ride to the airport and I hugged my father tightly one last time. Goodbye. (And I haven't seen him since.  This was in 2006)

When I returned home & didn't breathe a word. I wanted to black it out & pretend it never happened. I signed up for the Santa Monica community college starting early September.  It was just a few blocks from the beach & the ocean has always been a place of comfort for me. The first day of school I was in a hurry, school was a 2hr bus ride away so didn't eat breakfast . I felt nauseous & nervous. My mouth was dry & I was hungry so I drank a ton of water &  had to pee every 15mins. I didn't really want to be there. I was depressed again and I couldn't focus. The 2nd day of school I just felt plain sick. I ditched classes and went to the pier. I stared down into the water thinking about jumping over the rail. My life was a train wreck. I attracted negative energy everywhere I went. What was the point? There was none- Period!... 

Period... when was my last period... early July...

I quickly made my way to the nearest pharmacy. I purchased 4 sticks & all showed 2 lines.
I was so afraid, but at the same time followed by an odd sense of peace, I felt relief. 
I called one of the cheerleaders who had had a baby. We weren't close, but I didn't know who else to turn to for help. She was very kind & took me to 2 clinics. Sure enough positive urinalysis & blood test.
Staff nurse : "How old are  you?",  Me :"17", nurse: "Do you work?", me: "no", nurse: "'ok well, You're only 8weeks along, do you want me to schedule you for a termination?"... 
I don't think i have ever felt so much anger in my life as I did in that moment. It was just sinking in that I was capable of creating the miracle of life.

After feeling like all my reasons to live were taken from me- now I had something, or better said, someone to live for. 

How dare she insinuate that I should terminate MY unborn child?? I replied by saying she could terminate our services because I was going elsewhere for my prenatal care.
 I was an active girl. I had strong core. I didn't start showing until late November... I thought I could hide it but my mom found my pregnancy results, confronted me & kicked me out of the house with only the clothes on my back because I didn't want to talk about it. Eventually my mom got over it & let me back in.
 I was determined to do whatever it took, I worked during my pregnancy so I could afford to provide for my heaven sent angel. I went back to school full time when my baby was 4months old & I worked part time. I wanted to do something and be someone my child could be proud of.

I am NOT a victim. 

God gave me this life because he knew I could handle it. I AM STRONG, because I am weak, and in my weakness his strength is magnified. I'm sharing this with you because my life is a testimony that no matter what happens THERE IS HOPE. I'm not going to hide what made me who I am. I choose to fight, vocalize my story so others can find strength in it. 

 I know God had a purpose for the way things happened. I've grown, matured, gained strength & wisdom. I was able to speak at a rape survivor conference & give my testimony. I  touched the lives of those few I shared my story with. I have opened the eyes of many & changed stand points in regards to rape abortions. I'm very much Pro-Life. God makes no mistakes. No matter if your parents planned you, it was an "accident" or a misfortune- God had a plan for your life before you were conceived. 
Going through a traumatic experience like this kills the innermost sense of self, your value, your worth. You're left feeling weak, dirty & used. Add an abortion on top and now you have guilt, shame, regret on top- the perfect recipe for disaster. 
I don't pass judgement on those who take that route. God BLESSED me with courage, strength & favor. Even when my family looked down on me for having a child out of wedlock I pushed forward. My mom refused to tell anyone what happened, so everyone believed my 3yr boyfriend was the father. To them I was a piece of work. 


Perhaps someone going through something similar will read this & feel like they are not alone. Perhaps you know someone who acts crazy & you think is a lost cause but you've never taken the time to look them in the eyes and ask whats going on. 
Don't add to their struggle if you don't know what demons they're fighting.
 I was created to overcome obstacles. I was created to believe and achieve. I was created to lift & inspire others and I was made to lead. My fitness journey has encouraged me to make my body a reflection of my  faith and inner strength. I want to transform my lifestyle to match the transformation of my heart, mind & spirit. 
When my day comes, I want to be remembered as the woman who dared to dream big and wasn't scared to follow them. The woman who achieved everything she set her mind to. 
I want to get to the top of my mountain & yell that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; you just have to keep going to reach it. Telling my story gives a voice to those who have been silenced. It is my wish to give strength to those who have been broken. 

We are survivors, we are strong & we are beautiful.