Category Archives: Women

It Matters Whom You Marry

As the mother of two single daughters, I pray daily for the godly men who will one day be their husbands. Both of these women deal with frequent remarks from well-meaning friends and family who seem to think they are being too picky. This puzzles me. If you’re going to be picky about anything, shouldn’t it be about whom you choose to spend the rest of your life with?

Then I read this blog post.

It Matters Whom You Marry

My husband and I were once with a youth group. There were three kids sitting across from us at a meal: two guys and a girl. The one guy was a computer geek with glasses. The other one was a college student with slightly cooler hair and no glasses. The girl was obviously with him. But while the computer geek was busy serving everyone at the meal, clearing plates and garbage, the college student got angry with the girl for a small accident and poured red juice over her leather jacket and white shirt. She picked the wrong guy, and the juice didn’t seem to change her mind. She is in for some grief if that relationship continues and especially if it leads to marriage.

So to all the young, unmarried Christian girls out there, listen up: who you marry matters. You might think that the way he treats you isn’t so bad. It’s not going to get better after the wedding. You might think that he’ll change. It’s possible, but most don’t. You might think that you’ll be able to minister to him and help him. Possibly, but if you can’t now, you won’t then, and you will be at risk yourself. A husband should lead and cherish you, not need your counsel for basic personality or behavior issues.

Unless someone married is very frank with you, you can’t understand how much a husband will impact your entire life. Next to salvation there is no other long term event that will change so many areas of your life so deeply. Here are just some of the ways that marriage will impact every aspect of living.

1. It will impact you spiritually. If the guy is not a believer, you can stop right there. You have no business yoking a redeemed soul with an unregenerate one, even if he seems open to change. Christ has bought you with a price and it is not an option to give away that blood bought heart to someone who doesn’t know and love your Lord. It will cripple your spiritual development, open up a host of temptations, stifle your prayer life, make regular church going difficult, and cause massive parenting conflict if you have children.

If the guy is a believer, is he a strong one? Will he lead you in prayer, Bible reading, family devotions, and public worship? Or will you be on your own? Is he going to make spiritual growth a priority or do other things come first? Is he going to ask you how it’s going with your soul so he can help you grow in holiness and love for Christ, or will he leave that to your pastor? Is he going to lead the children in this, or will you have to spearhead that? In church, is he going to help the kids sit well, pray, find the hymn, or will you be the one pointing out what is happening next and helping the family keep up? Many women have married spiritually immature men, thinking that it wasn’t a big issue, or that the man would change, and they were wrong. They bear the scars.

The health of your eternity is at stake. Think carefully.

2. It will impact you emotionally. Is the guy you’re thinking of going to encourage you, love you, be kind to you, and seek to understand you, or will he want to go out with the guys when you’re having a hard night? Will he listen when you are struggling with something or will he be preoccupied with a video game? Is he going to be annoyed when you cry or will he get you Kleenex and give you a hug? Is he going to going to understand that you are probably more tender than he is, more sensitive to issues and comments, or is he regularly going to run rough shod over your feelings? One woman was struggling to breastfeed her new baby, believing that that was the best thing for her, but it was very difficult. Instead of giving support and encouragement, the husband would make mooing sounds whenever he saw his wife working at it. We have to get rid of princess complexes, but we do have emotional needs. Any guy who is uncaring about your feelings and self esteem is selfish and should be left alone.

Be careful – a husband can cripple or foster emotional health.

3. It will impact you physically. Is the guy you’re with going to provide for your basic needs? Will he be able to shelter, clothe and feed you? At one point in our marriage, I was worried that there was no employment opportunity. My husband assured me that he would work at McDonalds, dig ditches, clean up roadkill – whatever it took to provide for the family, regardless of his gifts and training. That’s the kind of attitude you want. A man who doesn’t provide for his household is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). You might have to help ease the financial burden, but unless your husband is disabled or there is another unusual circumstance, you shouldn’t have to carry it yourself.

Will the man you are with care for your body or abuse it? If he gives you little smacks, kicks, etc. when you’re dating, get away. It’s almost guaranteed that he will abuse you after marriage, and stats show that’s especially true when you are pregnant. Is he going to care for and protect your body or will he hurt it? There are women in churches across America who thought it was no big deal to have little (sort of friendly) punches or slaps from their boyfriends, but who are covering up the bruises from their husbands.

Will the man you are with care for you sexually? Is he going to honour the marriage bed in physical and mental faithfulness to you or will he flirt, feed his porn addiction, or even leave you for another woman? You can’t always predict these issues, but if the seeds or practices are already there, watch out. I recently saw a newly married couple and the husband was flirting openly with another woman. Unless something drastic happens, that marriage is headed for disaster.

Is he going to be tender and gentle to you in bed? An unbelieving co-worker once told my sister that after her first sexual encounter, she had trouble walking for a few days because her boyfriend was so rough. In other words, he wasn’t selfless enough to care for the body of the woman he said he loved.

Watch out. Your body needs care and protection.

4. It will impact you mentally. Is the man that you’re thinking of going to be a source of worry or will he help you deal with your worries? Is he going to encourage your intellectual development, or will he neglect it? Is he going to value your opinions and listen to what you are thinking, or will he disregard your thoughts? Is he going to help you manage stress so that your mind is not burdened that way, or is he going to let you struggle through issues alone? Is he going to care for you and be thoughtful of you if you are experiencing mental strain, or will he ignore it? I know of a woman who could handle pregnancy and child birth very well physically but postpartum depression took a huge toll on her mind. The husband overlooked it, continuing to have more children, until his wife ended up in a mental institution.

You might think that the intellectual or mental side of a marriage is small. It’s bigger than you think. Consider it seriously.

5. It will impact you relationally. How’s your relationship with your mother? Your dad? Do you love them? Does your boyfriend? Fast forward ten years: you tell your husband that your mother is coming for the weekend. Is he excited? Disappointed? Angry? Making snide jokes with his friends? Of course, a husband should come first in your priority of relationships, as you both leave father and mother and cleave to one another. But parents are still a big part of the picture. Whatever negative feelings he has about your parents now will probably be amplified after marriage. Your marriage will either strengthen or damage – even destroy – your relationship with your parents. The people who know you best and love you most right now could be cut out of the picture by a husband who hates them.

It’s the same with sisters and friends. Will they be welcomed, at reasonable times, in your home? Will the guy who you’re with encourage healthy relationships with other women, or will he be jealous of normal, biblical friendships? Will he help you mentor younger women and be thankful when older women mentor you, or will he belittle that?

Don’t sacrifice many good relationships for the sake of one guy who can’t value the people who love you.

So how will your boyfriend do after the vows? Because this is just a sampling of the ways that a husband can bless or curse his wife. The effects are far reaching, long lasting, and either wonderful or difficult. True, there are no perfect men out there. But there are great ones. And it’s better to be single for life than to marry someone who will make your life a burden. Singleness can be great. Marriage to the wrong person is a nightmare. I’ve been in a church parking lot where the pastor had to call the police to protect a wife from a husband who was trying to stop her from worshiping and being with her family. It’s ugly. Don’t be so desperate to get married that your marriage is a grief. If you are in an unhappy marriage, there are ways to get help. But if you’re not married, don’t put yourself in that situation. Don’t marry someone whose leadership you can’t follow. Don’t marry someone who is not seeking to love you as Christ loved the church. Marry someone who knows and demonstrates the love of Christ.

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Plundering the Ovaries of Dead Baby Girls

This article appeared on my cousin’s Facebook today. I am sickened and repulsed. As my cousin so clearly stated: “OK, so there are really no limits left – Come, LORD JESUS, COME!”

Plundering the ovaries of dead baby girls: Coming soon?

by  – April 2, 2013, 6:01 pm ET

There’s been some buzz this week about a scientific discovery that can help the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process: for about ten years, doctors apparently have had the ability to harvest the eggs of aborted baby girls and use them to aid women who have difficulty conceiving. But the story resurfaced this week, affording the opportunity to talk more about the disconcerting practice.

IVF is already riddled with moral conundrums, not the least of which is the “selective reduction” abortions that often follow an overly successful IVF procedure (where a woman aborts one or more of multiple babies she has unwittingly conceived). There is also the problem of fertilized human zygotes (aka little humans) who are not selected for implantation being simply discarded without a second thought as to their intrinsic value as humans.

fetus baby

It comes as little surprise, for a procedure that is wont to constantly and consistently put the desires and preferences of parents before the humanity of their children, that the newest contribution to IVF science involves ravaging the bodies of murdered babies for their spoils.

That’s right, people: dead baby girls who have been the victims of abortion are now being utilized for their eggs. The Daily Mail (U.K.) had the presence of mind to call this ravaging of tiny ovaries what it really is: plunder: 

Scientists are ready to plunder the ovaries of aborted babies for eggs to use in IVF treatment.

The article goes on to acknowledge that the consequences of such a procedure are of macabre proportions. Consider the implications of conceiving children from the eggs of mothers who were never even born. The Daily Mail sums it up well, saying:

They raise the nightmare prospect of a child whose biological mother has never been born. The news, from a scientific conference in Madrid, was greeted with widespread revulsion at how far science is testing ethical frontiers.

It’s comforting to know that widespread revulsion has been the reaction to this procedure. But the fact is, it is not out of step with other commonplace practices surrounding IVF, such as the selective reduction abortions and the discarding of fertilized eggs mentioned earlier. If taking babies’ lives weren’t enough for the pro-abortion community, now we may be ravaging them in a utilitarian quest for gain that overlooks everything human about preborn human beings.

Help to spread awareness about the abortion-related practices of IVF. If you have a friend or relative who is considering the practice, alert him or her of this new technology and other ways in which innocent human life may be compromised by the procedure.

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PDA

PDA is short for Public Display of Affection, for those of you not familiar with the term. Although it can mean something as simple as a quick hug or holding hands, there are some who carry this to the extreme. A nauseating extreme. An indecent extreme, even. Yeah, you’ve seen them.

Yesterday, we took my mother out to a little Japanese restaurant for lunch. It was Mom’s birthday and she really, really likes sushi. We enjoyed a fabulous meal and were having some after-lunch conversation when a well-dressed man and woman came in to claim a table in the corner. I knew there would be trouble when they both sat on the same side of the table with their backs to the rest of the lunch crowd. And I mean crowd. The place was packed.

We had the misfortune of sitting almost directly across from this couple and nothing – nothing – was left to the imagination. We could see it all. So could almost everyone else. Aside from the tonsil hockey game they played, hands were in places they shouldn’t be in any public place and these two obviously didn’t care. The woman even had to button up her sweater when the waitress came to take their order. Seriously.

I could speculate as to why these two felt the need to display their affection for one another in such a brazen manner, but I will withhold judgment. I’ll just say that their behavior was inappropriate. Period.

What’s the moral of this story, you ask? There isn’t one. Or at least there were no morals evident yesterday afternoon where that couple was concerned. I wanted to grab the woman by the arm and march her into the restroom to ask if she had any self-respect whatsoever. The man sure didn’t. Respect for the woman, that is.

I’m still shaking my head.

Maybe I’ll write this into one of my stories.

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Filed under Blogging, Humor, Women, Writing

Weird Bookstore Customers

ARGH!

I have one more week of bookstoring and it seems that all the strangest and most eccentric customers have waited until the bitter end to grace me with their presence. I’m not complaining about the additional sales, mind you. I just have to paste on my Barbie doll smile, nod at the appropriate time, and endure.

This morning I had the – um – pleasure of serving a group of five rather strange women. Well, two of them were quite normal, one was in-between, and the other two were off the charts in missing smarticles. (I love that word, smarticles. I heard it this morning from my daughter.)

Anyway . . .

The two normal ladies shopped like normal customers. Asked intelligent questions. Made lovely comments. Purchased non-fluff books. Those are books with some substance. Not like a sappy romance you read in one sitting and then forget the entire story within minutes of finishing it.

The in-between lady stayed in the store while Martina McBride’s Christmas album played through two and a half times. She belched out loud twice (the lady, not Martina McBride) and left only after one of the normal ladies came to fetch her. No purchase. Even after looking through every single book in my inventory.

The two missing smarticles ladies left me speechless. And that is not an easy task. One of them – an elderly white-haired wonder – marched up to the counter and stuck her hand out in greeting, loudly introducing herself as Mrs. C. I murmured something in reply, purposely not giving my name. She caught that and demanded to know. I was tempted to say “Batman” or something equally silly. But I didn’t. Mrs. C proceeded to help herself to the free candy canes I have out for my customers, and then generously distributed them to everyone else in the store. Really. It happened just like that.

During her subsequent tour of the store, Mrs. C could be heard enthusiastically exclaiming, “Oh goodnessy, graciousy me! Look at this! And this! I could just stay here for hours!” Oh please, Lord, today is 12.21.12. I don’t mind at all if you come and get me right this minute! Of course, if He had come right then, there is the possibility that Mrs. C and I would have been on the same bus to heaven.

Oh yeah, she bought a pamphlet on the evils of Halloween. For $1.23.

The last weird lady stood in a corner and watched. She didn’t say a word, but her eyes darted around the room as if she were expecting something terrible to happen and I must admit that the words suicide bomber crossed my mind. She was a very small woman wearing a very large jacket.

Finally, they left. After I watched them all pile into one tiny car, I locked up the store and hurried over to the coffee shop to pick up my lunch. I found my staff in shock. The crazy ladies had been there, too.

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Characters, Coffee Shop, Humor, Women, Writing

What it’s like being a teen girl

This blog entry was posted yesterday and it’s worth sharing because almost every female over the age of 10, and even some younger, can relate. Thanks, Emma Woolley, for being brave enough to share this.

What it’s like being a teen girl

The violations started small. I was 12, fairly tall with brand new boobs. My mother wouldn’t let me buy “real bras” for a long time. It didn’t occur to me that was weird until boys in my class started advising me to “stop wearing sports bras” because I was looking a little “saggy.”

It was a boy who told me I had to start shaving my legs if I wanted anyone to ever like me. I said that wasn’t true. He laughed in my face and called me a dyke.

That night after shaving, my mother asked me why I was so vain.

They started finding reasons to touch me, pinching my butt, snapping my new “real bras,” (“They look a lot better. Did you stuff?”) or straight-up grabbing my breasts. Dropped pencils with awkward leanovers. Staged run-ins.

One time, a popular boy I knew who lived on my street forced his way into my living room while my parents were still working and fought with me over a remote control so that he could cop a feel. I didn’t say anything. Speaking up was not an option—rather, an easy road to being even more ostracized and labelled “crazy.” Besides, who would believe that he’d wanted to touch me?

They named girls one by one, by the flaws of our bodies. What they considered theirs. They would write them on chalkboards to taunt us. Draw crude pictures.

If we showed it hurt us, it only got worse. I would cry in the bathroom and hope for some serious illness to keep me out of school, if only for a day.

When I kissed one boy, he encouraged me to do the same with his friends. Not because he thought I might want to, but because I was a toy he wanted to share. An experience he wanted to give his less “successful” friends. For them, a celebration. For me, certain social suicide.

Even if I wanted it, there was never any winning.

I will never forget how excited I was to be invited to watch a movie with the popular boy I liked. I primped for hours. (I was, after all, a teenager grappling with my own new sexuality.) When I got there, he did not put on the movie we agreed to watch, but a porn film. I had never seen one before. He unzipped his pants, pushed and pulled at me. I cried the whole walk home.

They could pinpoint weaknesses. Worse, they knew they were wrong but there were just never any consequences. They knew this—treating us like objects there for them—was what was expected of them.

I want to say that they stop. But the truth is that some never do.

I have never stopped being reminded of my there-for-men status. I am reminded when I am violated in my sleep, or groped in a bar, or held down by a longtime friend. I am reminded when I refuse conversation with a strange man and he spits in my direction, or calls me a “bitch.” I am reminded when I am asked why I wore such a pretty dress if I wasn’t trying to “pick up.” I am reminded when I am told to be less angry and more agreeable. I am reminded when I talk about my lived experience and am told to “stop being so negative about everything.” I am reminded when young girls are bullied so severely by men who wanted to see their bodies that they commit suicide.

We don’t talk honestly enough about what it’s like being a teen girl. If we did talk about it, what it was like for us, perhaps we wouldn’t be so harsh on them. Perhaps we wouldn’t throw our hands up in the air and exclaim “oh, teen girls, they’re so difficult!” Perhaps they wouldn’t be so scary. Perhaps we’d see their lives for the small and large violations they’re often made up of; and what those violations do.

Perhaps we would have been less surprised today when we learned that a fifteen-year-old boy was arrested on the scene of a sexual assault, in connection with a series of sexual assaults occurring in the Bloor and Christie area of Toronto. Perhaps we would be less shocked by the fact that it’s 12-17 year old boys who are the most likely to commit sexual assault (Statistics Canada, pg. 13). That is, after all, what they were doing to me.

My stories are not uncommon. They’re more common than we want to think. As my friend Panic said: “Ask anyone who is or has been a teenaged girl. 15-yr-old boys assaulting women is common. It’s ‘normal.’” It’s so normal, in fact, that we don’t talk about it until we’re women and we know it doesn’t have to be.

Pretty much everything in North American culture tells men and boys that women and girls are there for them. So please, do us some favours. Stop telling us that we have to take self defence. Stop telling us we shouldn’t drink or go out at night or on dates. Stop telling us that we need to be prepared for whatever “boys-be-boys” violations come our ways, because it’s bullshit. We don’t have to accept this or carry it around in silence.

Start talking with men and boys about the messages they’re getting about women and girls. Tell them that they are not entitled to our bodies, no matter what. Talk to them honestly and comprehensively about sexualization and objectification. Stop being afraid to talk about boundaries, sex, and pleasure—leaving that to schools, the Internet, and peers is simply not cutting it. Show them what consent really looks like.

And this sounds basic, but remind them that we’re, you know, people? We deserve at least that much.

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How to Speak to a Single Christian Mom

My oldest daughter has begun an amazing blog journey. She is writing so transparently about her faith, her life as a single mom, and her growth as a person. I am learning so much from her. And you have to check out what she says here: God’s Work in Progress.

This is what she posted the other day.

How to Speak to a Single Christian Mom

I read this blog post last week when I found it through a friend.  Brilliant and so true!

http://littledouce.blogspot.ca/2012/09/how-to-talk-to-pregnant-woman.html

I don’t know the woman who wrote this, but I can totally relate.  It got me thinking.  I’m a single mom of two young boys, and apparently I fit into some template that also results in many unwelcome questions and comments.  So here’s my take.

Things Not to Say to A Single Mom

1. “Were you married to their father?” First of all, it’s none of your business, oh stranger who asked me this question.  This often gets asked by Christians, who seem to think that if I had been married to their father, then the children are legitimate, and that’s one less sin I’ve committed.  This question is often followed by “Did he leave you?”.  Again, none of your business, but either way, it doesn’t really matter.  Anything that you consider my sin is between God and I, and really has nothing to do with you.

2. “Are you dating anyone now?” Again, unless you are family, not really any of your business.  This question is often asked by married women.  Let me tell you one thing – divorce is in no way comparable to breaking up with your boyfriend in highschool.  You should not be jealous that I am now back in the dating pool.  Do you think men are beating down the door of a divorced woman with two kids in order to date her?  Not exactly prime dating material.  This was a situation that I did not ever want to be in.

3. “I guess you married the wrong person.” While I do believe that once you are married, it is for life, people are a product of their choices, and things don’t always work out the way we want them to.  No, I didn’t marry the wrong person.  People are surprised when I say this.  First of all, if I married the wrong person, then I – and all of my friends and family – were either idiots when I got married, or completely naive.  Neither was the case.  Secondly, if I married the wrong person, then I have the wrong kids, which i would never, EVER, think is the case.

4. “Do you ever want to get married again?”  Well, since it was never the intent to be single again at this point in my life, yes, I do.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m ready for it today or tomorrow or even next year.  This is a silly question, and I often want to answer with a sarcastic “Of course not, I’m perfectly happy being alone for the rest of my life.”

5. “How are you doing?” and “Are you okay?” It’s always said in that “pity” tone of voice.  How do you think I’m doing?   Don’t let anyone tell you that divorce is as easy as a breakup.  It’s not.  There’s a reason that some psychologists have compared it to a death.  It’s that hard.  It’s an emotional roller coaster and it takes a LONG time to not feel like you’ve been stabbed in the heart every time you breathe.

6. “I don’t know how you do it all by yourself.  I could never do it.” I’m not sure if this is meant to be a compliment or making the point that I can’t possibly be a good enough person/parent/woman on my own.

There are a few other things happen.  Married girl friends seem to distance themselves.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to steal your husband.  I’ve seen one home broken and it’s something I never want to repeat.  People don’t know what to say, so they say nothing.  I’m still interested in the same things as I was before, so whatever we had in common is still there.

Green Light Subjects

1. “How are the kids?” I won’t answer with anything but how they are doing in school, what they are into right now and that kind of thing.  Don’t worry about being overwhelmed with their emotional state.

2. “Can I pray for you?” Absolutely!  It seems so often that the words said are meant to be a criticism for my situation.  I’d much rather know that you are lifting me up in prayer – goodness knows I need it – even if it is only a few words at the end of the day.  It’s all appreciated.

3. Any small talk.  I don’t want to talk about my marital situation all the time.  Sometimes I need to bounce things off someone, but that’s usually family.  Usually, I want to talk about normal things like the weather, the stock market, shoes and football.

4. My kids like other kids.  It seems like other parents are reluctant to let their children be with the children of a single mom.  The situation is not their fault.  They still need their friends and life to be as normal as possible.

There are a hundred other things I could write here, but this will do for now.

_________________________________________

If you’re in a reading mood, take a look at my graphic designer daughter’s blog here. Great insight into how the creative process works. And my baby girl’s blog is here, looking at life as a stay-home mom and a very innovative way of doing it.

Yup. We’re a bloggy kind of family!

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Filed under Acceptance, Christian, Family, Kids, Women

The Women

This week I was invited to attend a women’s brunch. I really, really dislike women’s brunches. I really, really dislike women’s events of any kind. But because I received a personal invitation, I decided that it would be rude not to go. So I went.

And I had a blast!

Six of us women sat outside at a lovely patio cafe for three hours and there was no agenda except to get to know each other.

I didn’t want to leave.

I tried to think of the last time I’d enjoyed a group of ladies like that and I honestly couldn’t remember. I realized then how starved I had been for Christian female companionship. I wanted to weep. Just because I was happy.

Here were some wonderful women I hardly knew and yet they accepted me, wanted to know me, and shared their hearts with me. I didn’t know people like that still existed.

All I can do is thank God for answering a years-long prayer of mine.

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Part Seven

If you missed Part Six, click here.

“Did you finish that history assignment?” Ginger asked. “I started it, but I’m going to have to do some internet research before I work on it more because there is no way I have that kind of information in my head. I just wish Mr. Tanner would pick easier topics, don’t you? I heard Alicia and Chelsea stayed up all night on Friday and got the whole thing done, but I bet Chelsea’s sister helped them like she always does. Remember her? She graduated last year.”

Tash didn’t have the heart to interrupt Ginger’s chatter. If there was one thing Ginger was good at, it was talking. And Tash was an expert listener. All she had to do was nod or mutter a one-word response and Ginger was none the wiser.

An hour passed before Tash picked up her backpack. “I have to go.”

“But I just got here,” Ginger frowned.

“I know, but I have some errands to run.”

“For your mom?”

Tash didn’t want to lie to her friend. “Sort of.” It was partly true, after all. The things she had to do were because of her mother. With a promise to meet Ginger at the appointed place at school the next day, Tash walked away.

She made the long hike to the Wal-Mart store on the edge of town and shopped for a few necessities. Her pay would have to stretch like never before. A few non-perishable groceries, some personal items, and she was on her way home. At least what she would call home for the time being.

Tash spent the rest of the day in the old house cleaning the little room she had claimed for her own. She’d also managed to dispose of a significant amount of garbage in the rest of the house, adding to the pile of trash in the backyard. She didn’t know how long she’d be here, but she couldn’t stay at all if she wasn’t able to get to her room without stumbling over the junk. As evening approached, Tash surveyed her work. She smiled and nodded to herself; the place looked better already.

She was at school early the next morning, thankful for the showers in the girls’ locker room. When she’d finished, she twisted her long wet hair into a thick braid and rushed out the door to find Ginger before the bell rang. She was not expecting to see Mrs. Sinclair, the principal, standing there.

“Natasha?” The forty-ish woman raised her eyebrows.

“Morning, Mrs. Sinclair.” Tash blurted, already moving toward the stairwell leading up to the main hallway.

“Wait a minute. What are you doing down here?”

Tash hesitated.

“Your hair is wet,” the teacher observed.

Nothing like stating the obvious, Tash thought. “Yeah, I washed it this morning. Didn’t have time to dry.” She saw the suspicion in Mrs. Sinclair’s eyes. “Um – can I go? The bell is going to ring any minute.”

Katherine Sinclair nodded, but watched the girl as she ran up the stairs two at a time. Something was not right there.

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Filed under Being Creative, Women, Writing

Part Five

If you missed Part Four, click here.

Breaking into an abandoned building wasn’t as easy as one would think. Tash was finding that out the hard way. Her first choice was a ramshackle apartment block that was boarded up so tight she decided she’d need some serious power tools to get in. The old house beside it was the same. But the next one had a loose nail or two in the plywood that covered a door leading to the cellar. After a bit of manoeuvring, Tash was able to squeeze in through the narrow opening she’d created and she found herself in a very dark space.

Not at all comfortable with the dank and eerie atmosphere, she rummaged in her bag until hand closed around the tiny flashlight she carried around for emergencies. This was definitely an emergency. Tash flipped the switch with her thumb and a narrow beam of light revealed a dirt floor littered with the trash of previous occupants. She shivered. Garbage was something she abhorred with a passion.

A simple wooden staircase to her right looked safe enough and Tash ventured up, hoping to find just one small room she could clean up and use for her own. But to her dismay, the main floor wasn’t much better than the basement.

What did you expect? It is an abandoned building after all. Full of junk people throw away. Discarded, just like you.

No! Tash stood to her full height and pushed her shoulders back. She set her jaw and said out loud, “I am not a discard. I am not junk. I am somebody!”

And she went to work.

In an upstairs bedroom, Tash cleared out enough filth to satisfy herself for the time being. A rain barrel outside was full from the recent wet spell they’d had, and she was glad for the water to wash the surfaces that needed it the most. Then she covered an old mattress with a large sheet of plastic she’d found wadded up in a closet. It wasn’t great, or even good, but it would do for now. At least she wouldn’t have to sleep on who knew what might be lurking inside the lumpy padding.

When she was done, Tash surveyed her work. She tried to see past the peeling wallpaper and the wires hanging from the ceiling where the light socket used to be. She tried to ignore the holes in the floor and the old chair with only three legs. She tried to smile, but choked back a sob instead. It just wasn’t home.

But then, what was?

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Part Four

If you missed Part Three, click here.

The small dry cleaning outlet where Tash worked every day after school and on weekends was busy. She was glad for the distraction because having time to think about her life wasn’t something she especially wanted to do at the moment. She greeted regular customers with her usual smile and a few comments about the weather or the news or to inform them that the spot on their favourite dress was gone. Tash wondered what they’d say if they knew that the girl behind the counter was homeless.

“You might as well go now, Tash,” Jim, the owner, came out from the back room at the end of the day. “Only ten minutes till closing and there’s not going to be much more happening.”

“Thanks, Jim,” Tash removed the green vest with Kwik As A Wink Dry Cleaners embroidered on the pocket, hung it on a hook behind the door and grabbed her backpack. “See you tomorrow.”

“Don’t forget your pay,” Jim called to her as she was on her way out. He waved an envelope in her direction.

Tash smiled awkwardly. “My brain must be somewhere else.”

“Yeah, I noticed.”

Tash shot her employer a glance. She didn’t think her turmoil had been obvious.

“You okay?” Jim asked.

Tash nodded. “Just a lot going on. You know, homework and stuff.” She headed to the front door of the shop. “Thanks again.”

Outside, Tash took a quick detour into a nearby alley. She had hidden her suitcase there before she’d gone in to work and now, as she retrieved it, she took a deep breath. It was time to find a place to stay for the night.

She knew she had to stay under the radar. It concerned her that she’d drawn Jim’s attention to her dismal state and that could not happen again. All she needed was for some well-meaning person to report her to the authorities and she’d be popped into the foster care system faster than she could blink. She didn’t need that. She could take care of herself.

Tash knew of several abandoned buildings located a few blocks away. She’d walked past them every day on her way to and from school, and she’d kept an eye on them as possible options for shelter, should the need ever arise. She’d never considered living there on her own, though, since her plans had always included her mother. She wondered where Barbie was now. Did she have regrets about what she’d done? Tash doubted it.

But she wished she didn’t.

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