This past Saturday was CHALK DAY for the "shes 13.com" campaign at our church! It was great! (More events to come!!!)
The rain clouds held back and 22 folks came out to chalk sidewalks all over Tulsa. The goal was/is to make folks curious enough with chalk art on sidewalks/parking lots that they will then go to their computer to see what "shes 13.com" actually means. The website shows a brief video depicting how a 13 year old girl can very easily and quickly be coerced into Human Trafficking.
After greetings, smiles, small chit chat, directions and LOTS of fat chalk, the volunteers set out.
We drove to the designated parks, schools and businesses to pretend to be chalk artists for a few hours. Many folks would be educated through this simple method BEFORE the rain washed the message away. I began receiving texts from volunteers who were visiting with hundreds of people all over Tulsa as "wannabe" artists scattered over several miles.
All was going well........UNTIL.....we met with opposition!
Earlier in the week the manager of a popular business, which shall remain nameless on this blog, gave permission to come to their store and chalk the entrances so their customers could read the phrase. He agreed that our mission was commendable. I assured Honeybuns that we were going to that specific spot because the manager was so receptive and agreeable to the plan. We dutifully found the location and wrote the phrase 4 times, twice on the wide sidewalks and twice in the parking lot.
As we were about to leave the SAT. MANAGER ON DUTY at that store burst out the front door in a fit of rage! What we were doing? How dare we put graffiti on the sidewalks! With the biggest smile I could muster I explained that we had permission to do so and the meaning behind the chalked phrase. I asked if I should make some phone calls to assure her of our honorable intent and the stores managers cooperation. NOPE! She wanted no part of that! She was livid, assuring us that she had heard NOTHING about this from "corporate," that now she had to have one of her employees take a bucket to this awful mess and clean it up. If looks would have killed we would have been goners! (Thankfully her angry look would not be frozen in time, or she would have been very sad to look in the mirror the next day!)
Honeybuns stepped up to the plate!!!! He very calmly assured her that evidently there had been some miscommunication, that WE would happily clean up the chalk if she had a bucket of water.
She was no doubt surprised at that offer, and pouted off with smoke coming out of her ears. We waited. Startled customers coming in and out of the store asked me for an explanation of the confrontation and I was able to tell them the story, that 13 is now the age when children are recruited into the sex trafficking industry. All listened intently. Some had heard of the campaign and were surprised at the store managers reaction. (I praised the goodness of the store to them and the managers good intent at protecting the property!)
After a while a very young employee came outside with a bucket of soapy water. Honeybuns shook his hand, asked his name and quietly took the mop and bucket from his hands and proceeded to wash the chalk art off the side walks AND parking lot.
He returned the bucket to the manager, with more apologies.
So....what happened there? Several things!
1. There was obviously miscommunication within the ranks of the store employees,
2. The angry woman manager heard about the campaign personally,
3. Several customers also received an education,
4. A very young employee got to see GRACE in action from Honeybuns, (what a humble servant!)
5. We all saw the typical reaction of one more interested in politically correctness (didn't want to offend any customers) than even stopping to consider the gravity of the situation our nation is facing.
I am sincerely praying that woman never experiences the horror of a missing child, a child's stolen innocence, or a daughters bruises and nightmares.
Our church HT task force WILL keep plugging along, expecting unbelief and even outrage at times.
It's just part of the landscape. We will not be deterred or discouraged by misunderstandings or fear.
Overall, hundreds of Tulsans SAW a message Saturday, we saw the NEED to keep proclaiming it.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I came home and buried my head under a blanket. It's worse than we thought!
This very distinguished man works in a department that investigates and prosecutes crimes against children in OK.
The statistics he shared were horrible, the stories horrific. Unlike most of us think, child pornography is NOT innocent naked baby pictures that grandma's adore. You know, the ones of the smiling, bald-headed baby perched on a soft fuzzy blanket. Nope, it's NOTHING like that.
It's actually photos or videos of children being tortured in some way. (I'll let your imagination take it from there!) The Internet is the store where these items are bought, sold and posted in not-so-secret files. The images number into the millions. You see, sometimes it only takes a couple of minutes alone with a child and a cell phone equipped with a camera. (It takes YEARS for the chidren to be able to articulate what happened. Some secrets are kept forever.) Other unspeakable videos found by authorities have been produced over hours, sometimes involving many children with online "suggestions" by viewers with ideas of new torture.
He shared confessions of some men, their stories and their sentences! Yes, it's a Federal Crime, but only a small percentage of criminals are caught and incarcerated. Why? Basically because there are more out there than there are sands of the sea!
Awful pictures and videos are just the beginning. Desires quickly escalate, children are held in cages OR in silence in their own homes, waiting for the next visit by their abusers. Computer experts can reveal a child abuse case every 90 seconds. It then becomes a challenge for the prosecutors to prioritize them. Which one will get the attention of the overworked staff today? What a burden!
15.6 MILLION children are abused, often by their parents. 5-8 % are reported, 29% of those reported are arrested. If a child is under 6 years it's less than that.
Because I believe the first word I ever uttered was WHY, I have to get to the bottom of this.
Why is our society going to hell in a hand basket? Why are the innocent and helpless suffering when they should be cherished and protected?
There are LOTS of opinions from folks much smarter than me. There are wiser theories than I will ever imagine. I'm sure psychologists and sociologists are studying this in universities all over the world. It would be great if they could come to a consensus and we'd hear about it soon.
But, this afternoon I am wondering, trying to put the dots together.
As a big picture type of thinker, here's my conclusion.
When a society determines, accepts and even encourages a mother to kill her own unborn child, why should I be surprised when someone not even related feels the freedom to harm a 3 year old, a 6 or 12 year old? When the basic maternal instinct is suppressed, should we expect strangers to act any differently?
Abortion as birth control has FAR REACHING effects to the culture as a whole. It is not just a woman's body being affected, OR even the death of that one child, it is our whole nation of children. We are shouting from the rooftops that life is NOT sacred, whether that life is pre-born, 1, 2, 3, or 5 years old!
Human Trafficking ($32 BILLION industry) is just another version of this total disregard for human beings! It is dangerous to be a child or a woman in America!
WHEN did we decide that LIFE can be discarded so casually?
As the DOJ representative declared, "it's the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about but would rather pretend it's not there."
We got a good look at the elephant this morning, and we're TALKING.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
It's been 9 days! Yes, I've been x'ing them off my calendar. 9 days since I've eaten sugar, white flour, rice, bread or gluten.
THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT! DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME!
9 days ago I set out to experience life without sugar!
Already I have learned SO much! (I was told years ago that my body reacted to sugar the way an alcoholics body reacted to alcohol..THE SAME! I didn't believe it!)
THIS experiment was prompted by a healthy son, who challenged me, encouraged me, threatened me, and basically insisted! He provided me with the necessary vitamins, minerals, protein mix and potent tea that was guaranteed to get this metabolism off 0 and revved up to 60! He promised I would be in a bikini by Christmas. (WHO in their right mind would want to SEE THAT? That vision would instantly blind domesticated dogs and small children!)
After 2 days of withdrawal, the sunny side of life started to return to this household again. Those first two day were awful. I stayed home, mostly on the couch, with the shakes, a cold sweat, weakness, a terrific headache and frightful irritability! This is surely what heroin addicts must endure when they go off THEIR DRUG cold turkey. (HHHMMmmnnn cold turkey sounds good about now!)
Day 3 was better. I obediently downed my protein breakfast, vitamins, protein lunch, vitamins, and balanced healthy moderate dinner.
Every day got a little easier. This could get to be a habit!
I have learned:
Sugar addiction is a real deal.
It is GOOD to no longer have to persevere through the swings of high blood sugar spikes and crashing lows.
I am never hungry and the smell of McDonald's and Wendy's folks lifting french fries out of grease is almost nauseating.
Broccoli tastes FAB.
I do NOT crave sugar, cakes, pies, or candy. It's just not interesting.
My energy level is stabilized.
I've lost 2 1/2 lbs. (Weight is going in the bikini direction.)
My underwear is looser. (That's a sure indication of weight lost, every woman understands!)
Grilled fish, chicken, and veggies are wonderful.
Next post about diet and weight? We'll see....I'm thinking mid-2013!
I plan to look like a zipper. You know, so thin, I'll have to stand side ways and stick out my tongue so you can see me!
How's Honeybuns reacting to this NEW ME? A smile and a shake of the head.
Interpretation: "Here we go again!"