Friday, April 27, 2007

Defining Justice: From Victim to Perpetrator (A Commentary on the Winkler Trial)

Mary WinklerI am posting this blog on behalf of all women who are or have been victims of domestic violence. I have shared some about where I have come from and how God brought me to this wonderful place in my life. However, in light of the Mary Winkler trial, I am burdened to share some very personal details from my past in hopes to offer some insight to those who misunderstand the mind and behavior of abuse victims.

The Mary Winkler Trial has finally come to an end. There have been so many opinions and discussions regarding whether or not justice has been served. People have asked, "Is it justice that a person should serve such a minimal sentence when taking a life?"

Mary Winkler (as other victims of abuse) has been serving and will continue to serve a life sentence that makes an eternity in jail seem like a lesser sentence. The prison of abuse far exceeds any punishment that could come from a lifetime behind bars. I walked in Mary Winkler's shoes closer than I could have imagined prior to the trial. I had very similar banking experiences in Selmer as Mary did. I had talks with Jana due to the mismanagment of funds that occured during the divorce process. I was closely acquainted for a time (prior to leaving my former spouse) with Jana and Amy and felt somewhat ashamed of my situation when I would see them at church. I felt so stupid. I was always at the bank trying to clean up mess after mess that I did not create.

Zero AbuseI lied to my family and friends to make them think things were better than they were. I lived in fear and walked on eggshells every single day. The mind games, isolation, control, manipulation, verbal beatings, fear, financial disaster, watching my kids get mistreated, fights, food thrown at me, spit on, shoved, threatened, all the screaming, running out into the cold and dark nights searching for relief, curled up in the fetal position in my bed, my car, my driveway, the woods, feeling trapped, hopeless, fearing that I was going to go insane if it didn't stop, feeling like a terrible mother, fearing for my children, fearing losing my children, and the list goes on. Yet, I can say that Mary had even more to deal with than I did.

Two wrongs don't make a right. Mary is not the first victim to make such a terrible mistake. Every day abuse victims commit suicide and/or homocide out of blind desperation and hopelessness of any other way of escape. The insanity has to stop but finding help is rare and when it's found, often it's not nearly enough. Perhaps Mary felt she had to stop her spouse before he killed her or one of the children. Perhaps she just wanted the pain to end and saw this as the only way. Perhaps she just had no clue what she was doing at the time because she had crossed the threshold of clear thinking (which is very likely the case).

It is far too common for society to judge the victim as the villian instead of the abuser who kills the spirit and sucks the life out of his/her victim with every passing day. It's easy to call the victim a liar or just not get involved.

Those who remain apathetic, then judge and condemn might as well assist the victim in pulling the trigger as many victims of abuse do in blind desperation every year. Mary has already served a lifetime sentence in prison. As it has been testified, Mary, in a sense, died long ago after submitting herself to years of abuse. From a personal perspective, at times I would have preferred prison life as to the life I led when I was abused.

It's because of people who think they understand but turn a blind eye to the insanity of the abuse that these things happen. It's because nobody believes the victim due to the fact that abusers are also master manipulaters. They are artists of painting pretty pictures to the outside world while they tear down and yes...murder their victims slowly with words and deeds. They isolate them from everyone who loves them so they have no place to turn. They convince their victims that they are hopeless and helpless and therefore leaving them with no hope of escape. The brainwashing process begins so subtly that the victim is unaware of what is happening. It builds over time until day after day, and night after night is consumed by fear, dread, and walking on egg shells in hopes to please yet unable to ever do so.

A professional counselor once told me that almost (if not every) domestic violence victim considers suicide and/or homocide on almost a daily basis. And yes, there were times that I had my moments as well. Some get out before it escalates to that level...some don't. If a person does not find a way of escape, in most every case, somebody will end up dead. The majority of the time it is the victim who dies. But sometimes, as in the Winkler case, the victim also becomes the perpetrator for one desperate, black moment. The ironic twist to it all is that in the instant that the abusive perpetrator becomes the victim, the abuse victim becomes both the victim and the perpetrator. What a dark, frightening, and horrible monster of a nightmare! But, as horrible as this may be, in more situations than not, the victims are the ones who live the nightmare and end up dead. This usually occurs when they try to reach out for help and find nobody willing to risk reaching back. Abuse victims could probably be described as the living dead. The smile they paint on the outside is nothing more than a mask to hide the death living within.

By the grace of God I found a way out the night that my situation could have escalated to that point of no return. I didn't know what was going to happen to who but I knew that somebody would end up in the hospital, in jail, or dead if I didn't flee (and my situation wasn't even as severe as Mary's). The weeks to follow were the scariest of my life, but I am a survivor (for seven years now). Others are not so fortunate.

Nobody should be so arrogant as to assume they can define justice in a situation like this. Victims are tortured slowly every day of their lives (sometimes to the point of death). Abusers work hard to convince their victims that they are going insane. Sometimes they are successful. Sometimes they wish they hadn't been. Because like Mary, some of them simply snap.

If just one of the many people who arrogantly and ignorantly throw out their judgements had taken the time to sincerly and sacrificially risk reaching back in her time of need, then maybe this could have all been prevented. Somebody did that for me. She didn't judge. She didn't condemn, she risked her own safety and offered me help when I was ready for it. She never tried to influence my decision. She just let me know that the help was there should I need it. Then, when I did, it was there...and still is. This is what victims need...not further pain and suffering inflicted by those who they turn to for hope.

Often, even the church in it's effforts to help can bring about more harm than good due to ignorance about abuse. They encourage women to stay and obey they comfort them and try to ease their pain with words such as, "Submit to your abuser and win Him over. God will bless you for it". If you have given an abuse victim this advice I implore you....HAVE MERCY! This is not biblical teaching and it's not good child rearing either! What kind of behaviors do children learn who grow up in these situations? What kind of people will they marry? How will they treat them? What kind of contributions will they make to society? Some churches really seem to get the one that rescued me. They helped me see reality and respond rightly for my children's sake as well as my own. They reflected Christ to me after I had begun to lose sight of what He looked like. They offered mercy and grace. I received Peace and Hope.

Wheel of Domestic ViolenceMary is a CLASSIC abuse victim and the reaction from those who are ignorant to the dynamics of abusive situtations is also classic (which is a big reason why many victims see no way out short of somebody dying). I lived it! By a miracle and the skin of my teeth, I escaped. I was judged and/or abandoned by family (although that was temporary), my church, and my "friends" (most of whom I no longer associate with).

Following my escape from violence, I volunteered with WRAP for several years. I heard their stories over and over and over. The circumstances vary but the stories are all the same. And the isolation/lonliness/fear/hopelessness is what drives them to that breaking point. People rarely believe or want to be involved. They turn their heads, or worse, they arrogantly and ignorantly gossip, often victimizing the victim even further while exalting the abuser. It's all sick and twisted by all parties involved, (including those passing judgement while looking at a distorted picture from a safe distance far away).

As far as justice in Tennessee...the lack of justice comes in defending and protecting victims in these situations. Orders of protection aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Abusers have no respect for the law when it comes to perpetrating their victims! Attorneys are not available as most victims are financially deprived. My attorney was very expensive and often I felt as if he were defending my abuser!

When victims cry for help, little or nothing is done and the violence only gets worse when they try to reach out or escape. The public needs to be educated. The church needs to understand what they are dealing with and be very careful with how they approach assisting in situations of domestic violence. The worst advice that can be given to a victim of abuse is to tell her/him to stay in the name of GOD! I'm sure that there will be some accountability involved with a statement like that. Opression? Is that God's will? Bondage? Is that why Christ died? Allowing our children to be raised in dangerous situations? Yep, that's being responsible with the beautiful gifts He entrusts to our care.

When is something going to get done to prevent this from happening again? What will it take for insensitive people to get a clue? More victims die than abusers. What kind of hope to victims have of survival apart from their abusers? With their abusers? What kind of choice is it to have to decide between living amongst the working, uninsured poor, or raising little ones in an atmosphere of violence? Who raises the children while the parent is working two jobs just to keep the power on? Should the father (as in this situation) raise the children because he has financial stability? Should they live with the mother in poverty but safety? People need to stop kicking the victims when they have already been beaten to a pulp spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially. The dynamics are so far beyond the imagination of those blessed enough not to understand.

No, Mary did not have the right to take a life, but what right do abusers have to abuse? They take the life of their victims while they are still living! Where is the justice in that? So many get away with it!

I have also heard people say that letting Mary "off so easy" sends a message to others that they can kill their spouses if they are not happy in their marriage, or that being a victim of abuse gives a person a license to kill. This is not true. Only a very dysfunctional human being would believe a message like that from a situation like this.

For all those who are bent on criticism, When you have walked in Mary Winklers shoes even one day...then maybe you will have room to criticize. You may even walking in her shoes right now without even knowing it. Perhaps you are only an argument away from snapping and doing something terrible that will alter your life forever.

It's time to give support to those who are being abused right now..those who don't have hope, those who are contemplating murder or suicide at this very moment. What can we do now? How can we stop the next murder from happening? Who do you know that is being abused and what do you plan to do to help? How much are you willing to risk to prevent a possible homocide/suicide?

Victims are so easy to identify. You only have to look. I encourage everyone who reads this to research domestic violence and become informed and compassionate. Be a part of the effort to stop this needless suffering. Let justice be served BEFORE it's too late.

In my heart of hearts, having existed in the mind of a victim, I truly believe that Mary did not even care about the outcome of this trial (other than how it will affect her children on top of all that has been done to them already). It probably wouldn't have made a difference if she went away for three years or fifty. I'm sure that living with the memories that she has for the rest of her life (as well as the ones she has given her children) will be far worse than any sentence she could have been given.

This is not a time to judge or condemn. It is a time to pray. Christians, of all people should have mercy and see the need for prayer for everyone affected by this horrible yet preventable tragedy. It's time to reflect on our own lives. It's time to think about where three of our fingers point when one of them points in judgement and ignorance towards somebody else.

I believe you, Mary.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Control Center

If you are having trouble with your computer, try ctrl center. Minimal wait for tech support, in ENGLISH, and if they don't fix it, you don't pay!

Click the logo and/or watch THIS VIDEO for more info.

There's a free diagnostic scan available that normally runs $49 bucks, so take advantage of that at least. Everything checked out ok on my computer, except that I was told that it was "old". I guess a 4 year old computer is a dinosaur. I believe the planned obsolescence for computers is in fact 18 months, so 4 years is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay old! That could explain why my monitor up and died the other day!

Related links:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sparks Fly!

Literally! Sparks flew right out of my computer monitor and now it sits cold and lifeless on the desk.

Tiffany was using it at the time, she reported seeing smoke rising out of the back of the monitor and it smelled bad. She watched the picture on the screen shrink into black. It was over. Thinking quickly, she shut the computer off and unplugged the monitor. Good thing someone was home at the time!


Good thing it waited until AFTER the tv interview on blogging! Oh yeah, don't forget to turn your tv to channel 7, WBBJ, on May 8th to see our interview...and see the old Cowbox monitor. *sniff*

So, out with the old CRT and in with a flat panel! No better time than the present! I've been eyeballing one at work I have a good excuse to splurge!

*** UPDATED ***

Here's a pic of the new Monitor...HP w1907

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sisters' Weblog Featured on TV

Living with Katie sure has it's exciting moments! (Exciting is not always a good thing...but today it was!) Today, WBBJ, the local ABC affliliate is here at the house interviewing us about a special series they are doing on blogging. "The Blogosphere" Sue Bloggingis a series that will run on Tuesdays, starting tomorrow (April 24) through May. It should be really fun! Tune in to WBBJ on May 8th to see US! (If you are an early riser and miss the show at 10pm on the 8th, you can catch the segment again on Wednesday, May 9th at 5:30 am.)

I have to admit, it is pretty rough trying to blog with a GIANT camera in your face! LOL

AAAAUUUGGGHHHH!! The pressure!

Right now as I type, they are going for the sound of the typing on the keyboard. This is very interesting! All this recording for probably 2 minutes of material.

Next, Katie will be up to be interviewed and I'm sure she will have A LOT to say! (She always has A LOT to say!) LOL

Well, hmmmmm....not sure what I'm to be doing now. There is a camera pointed at me and I'm supposed to keep typing as though I am blogging for real. I am blogging for real! LOL

(A little later after Katie's interview we had to do a "fake" blog together...what you are reading right now is this "fake" blog)

Katie BloggingWe told them how we share our faith and everything else that goes on in our lives on our blog. We consider this series "The Blogosphere" on the news, and our inclusion in it a God thing....another opportunity to spread the Word and could possibly drive more traffic to the Sisters' Weblog, to glorify God even more!

Dreaming Big....Katie's recent retreat was all about God's desire to dream big for us, His children. Katie didn't understand the "dream big" part, but now that the Sisters' Weblog is an "Award Winning Tennessee Blog" and is being featured on local television...well, hey, that's pretty big. Not like earth shattering big, but big enough!

It bloggles the mind!

Lessons from Gideon

Amazing grace how sweet the sound! His love truly is amazing and His grace is always more than enough! His mercy is new every morning and He loves me just as I am!!!!!

My time is limited and as always there is so much I want to say. Every day I am finding that His Word is more and more alive to me than ever before! I've been reading Judges. I'm trying to do the Bible in a year once again. I got this reading plan through First Place and just started in March. I'm a bit behind but today I read Judges 6-7. I've read through the Bible like this before just to get a quick washing in the Word. But, I can't do it that waythis time. I try to read through quickly just to "get in my reading for the day" but I can't just read through it. It's captivating me! I'm seeing so much that I missed before. I see God working in the lives of His people prior to the coming of Christ just like He did during Christ's life on Earth and even today! I'm seeing how little mankind has changed and how we repeat the same mistakes over and over. I also see God coming in His glory and empowering His chosen ones for victory against great odds!

Gideon was the weakest in his clan and God chose him and led him into battle with only 300 soldiers!!!! (He chooses the weak because when we are weak He is strong.) They fought an army that was as numerous as the grains of sand on the sea shore and they had victory! The one thing I found so intriguing about it all is that the enemy KNEW that the God of the Israelites was all powerful and that they would be defeated by His army! And they were very much afraid!


What if Christians were empowered like that today? What if God's power was so evident in us that even unbelievers knew that the Christian God was one that they need not mess around with?

I think the enemies in Gideon's time realized God's power more than many Christians of that's convicting! What if we finally do get a clue? What if we all really and completely surrendered to Him and let Him fight the battles for us? What kind of power would we have? We have access to the same power that rose Christ from the dead! Problem is, most of us either don't believe it, or don't know what to do with it...or we simply believe that it's just a metaphor and doesn't mean that we can actually do what God says we can do.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer. (Matthew 21: 22)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Can't Stop Thinking About Gram

I can't stop thinking about my Gram. Losing a loved one is never easy, but losing Gram is the most painful loss I think I've experienced thus far in my life.

She always dressed so nice and I'm not sure I ever saw her without a book nearby. This pic was at a friend and family reunion from about a year ago (June 2006), and it was the last time I was with her. She was 89 then and worked with my mom to get all the food prepared and table ready that day. She had a servant's heart.

Here she is sitting at the table on the deck of my parent's home in Ohio. The earliest guests had already arrived and we were all chatting on the beautiful early summer's day. And see...there is a book right there on the table!

When I see Gram in my mind's eye, this is often what I see.

"kitty hawk" perfect.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Young GramGram was a large part of my life. She came to live with us after Granddad died when I was seven years old. Gram helped raise me and I am who I am today in part because of my Gram's influence.

Both of my parent's worked, and everyday afterschool, I was still able to come home to someone who was there, and to someone who loved me. Gram was also available to run me around to various practices and doctor appointments when needed. She gave of herself unselfishly. She cared for the house too and was a great help to my mom I'm sure, and always had the dinner meal prepared at 5:30. We all learned not to be late! She used to bake the best chocolate chip cookies (which I have never been able to duplicate!) and one specialty I have really missed is beaten biscuits.

I loved my Gram. She kept her brain so active doing crossword puzzles, reading every book in the library (not kidding!), and playing solitaire. When I hear the sound of a double deck being shuffled, it takes me right back to the kitchen table where Gram played. Amazing how our brains can record sounds and trigger memories.

Gram"On the Map" was her very last puzzle. As she did every evening, she sat on the couch watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. It was always amazing to me that Gram could answer most Jeopardy questions like a pro, and being the whiz at words that she was, she conquered Wheel of Fortune too! Last night on Wheel of Fortune the final puzzle was "On the Map", two words, and two letters: _ _ T T _ - _ _ _ _

My dad said, "she looked over at me and said 'kitty hawk'".

Then after the show, she got up and reported that she didn't feel well and was going to lay down. She laid down for her eternal rest last night after finishing that final puzzle.

I loved my Gram. My heart hurts today.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wandering Fool

I have really been struggling spiritually as of late. It's been going on awhile. I have trouble praying, and just really have trouble sensing the presence of God. My faith is weak.

I am still reading all the same Biblical literature that I do. Right now I'm entrenched in "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn, and just finished "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. I'm also reading the "Dead Sea Scrolls", although I'm having a bit of trouble with that one! I really don't understand what I am reading and I'm not sure I'm gonna make it through even with the authors' commentary throughout. Then I also have another book that I am enjoying as a "lighter" read called "God is Closer Than You Think", by John Ortberg.

While the latter book is an easy read, it is the most compelling to me at the moment, during this spiritual desert I have found myself in. The book helps to answer the question..."If God is always with us, why is He so hard to find?" GOOD QUESTION!

Life has become a bit of a distraction for me. That's all, just life. Work, home, computer, home and auto repairs, finances, all the burdens of this world. My Biblical knowledge tells me all about how I am not of this world and that today has enough worries of it's own, and that I should be anxious for nothing...but knowledge and practice are two different things. Ortberg uses the analogy of Where's Waldo? Basically, Waldo is somewhere on the page and he is hidden among all of the other things on the page, the distractions, as is God. If we focus, we can find Waldo...we will see God. I guess I need new God contacts!

I also know that what I do with the knowledge I have about God shows what I believe about Him to be true. Therefore, right now, I feel like I fail Him. If I am worrying, I am not trusting Him. There! I said it! I guess I am not trusting Him. The reason He is so hard to find is because I am not looking at Him. I am looking at all the distractions around me. I am not hearing him, because I am hearing all the lies around me.Desert Sand

This is all stuff I know. SO WHY DO I HAVE THE TROUBLE AT ALL? arrrgggghhhhhhhh!!!!

To pile on the shame today a woman from SaLT Group said to me "I am really impressed with all the knowledge you have about the Bible." Meh.

She has NO CLUE that I am a wandering fool.

And why is it easier to blog this than to ask the people who care about me most to pray me through this desert? THAT'S MY OTHER PROBLEM! PRIDE! See! I am a wandering fool!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ever Wonder What Percussion Music Looks Like?

Percussion part for the Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you BOOM, CRASH
By the dawn's early BOOM, CRASH
What so proudly we BOOM, CRASH
At the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright BOOM, CRASH
Through the perilous BOOM, CRASH
O'er the ramparts we BOOM, CRASH
Were so gallantly streaming? 3 &
8...2...Oh, BOOM BOOM

Snagged from Sarlette's Music, hattip to the Sax Doctor!

Mute Math - Typical

I just discovered this video. Catchy tune, and a creative and fun video. Enjoy Mute Math in their "Typical" video.

Oh, and to see the "forward" version go here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

And So Does Satan

OnionsNon-Born-Again Christians Still Believe Jesus Resurrected

"Nice people really do go to hell," and Jay Carty, founder of Yes! Ministries and former pro basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, explains why.

Carty says:

"Sin makes you stink," he said. "We're kind of like onions. We stink.

"If you put an onion in the refrigerator, everything will stink."

In heaven, no "stink" is allowed. Otherwise, like in the refrigerator, one onion can stink up heaven."

We don't have to "stink", and Christians celebrate that fact at Easter. We remember Good Friday, but are challenged to live every day like Resurrection Sunday.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ever Wonder...

Notebook PaperEver wonder why the standard paper size is 8.5 x 11 inches? (at least in the US?) I just had the thought come into my mind today and wondered why it is that the paper we write on in notebooks is a certain size, as is the paper we now run through printers?

Who decided that all paper was to be this size??!!??

So I Googled and what I found blogged my mind!

The U.S. Standard Paper Size