Author, Blogger, Educator

Category: Off-topic

Family Emergency Foster Care

At the beginning of this year, I was thrown into an emergency situation within my primary extended family (parents and my siblings). It was unexpected and out of the blue as many of these cases are and I found myself feeling lost and alone. Yet, when I posted in groups about certain needs I had, I found the situation to be common.

How could it be that there are so many people struggling through the same crises, yet it seemed so rare?

It is similar to miscarriage. We suffer through it in silence and we don’t share until someone else is in the same situation. I was so confused and disoriented and I searched for a book to help me. I had no idea when I would be freed from the obligation (so many dates were tossed about) so it was difficult to plan much of anything. So if you know someone going through this, one way to help is to bring a meal. My friend did and it was extremely helpful as we settled in.

I won’t go into the extreme details of our family crisis because what you might be enduring is likely very similar but here are a few things that helped me (entire family) and my sister get through the experience.

First, a brief synopsis. My estranged brother (estranged for roughly about 18 years), reached out. Most of the contact we had had in the last 18 years was turmoil for four years followed by 10 years of silence and another four years working through reconciliation and being kept at a distance. He reached out over the course of a few days where much was revealed and we learned his children were at an extreme risk. Someone was going to die or be killed if intervention didn’t take place. Yes, the situation was dire and he asked us (my sister and I) to intervene. He asked, we followed his instructions.

My sister and I hadn’t been talking for about six months, mostly because of a disagreement and no apology had been offered but when our brother reached out for help, we both instantly came together to help him. The disagreement disappeared as we both left our home states in a matter of hours to help our brother and his family. Over the course of six days, we learned many horrible things about the life he had been living and how distorted his own sense had become. His children were at risk and he turned both of them over to us. I took my nephew (13yrs) and my sister took my niece (10yrs).

Separation of the two seemed drastic but the situation demanded that both children should not be with each other. Because of how dangerous the situation was and how quickly things unfolded over six days, my sister and I had no real time to prepare our homes for such an arrangement. Only in our minds had we considered bringing home another child but we weren’t actually prepared for it.

  1. Sleeping arrangements
  2. Personal items and necessities
  3. School
  4. Therapy

I knew nothing about incorporating an older child into my home. All I wanted for him was a peaceful place to rest his head that felt safe. Our family did our best to do that. My 7yr old gave up his room for his cousin. I didn’t think this would be hard for my son but it ended up being a big issue as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months.

My nephew, who did not really know us and had been told his whole life that we hated him, could not get comfortable in that room. Nothing was really his so we did our best to help make the environment more “his.” He had brought a few personal items that were meaningful to him and we could put on display. I removed some of my son’s own things and tried to make the room less baby(ish) and more teen. That seemed to help because within a few hours, he seemed more relaxed and happy.

We wanted to ensure he had his own personal things so we took him shopping. We later learned he felt uncomfortable and unworthy of this but it was a gesture we believed would be helpful and not hurtful. I could not comprehend how this was making him uncomfortable and I had to come to terms with it and validate his feelings. We had to go slow and try to meet him where he was.

I sought help from my county social services/child welfare agency and while they could not help much (because he was here from out of state), I was put in touch with a specialist who offered some good resources and really, validation for what I was going through and how hard it can be. I also contacted my pastor.

We registered him for the public school after learning he had been failing most of his subjects at his last school and the recommendation from his principal was that he needed to attend in-person school instead of online classes. This was probably the easiest of all things. The paper my brother signed turning over custody for the time was all that was needed to get him enrolled. My sister on the other hand, had a more difficult time in her state and she needed court documents so she had to go to court and be granted guardianship. So this situation will vary state to state and probably county by county.

Therapy was another obstacle. My nephew had been through some very traumatic years but the final straw was something out of a True Crime documentary. He acted like nothing was wrong and that what he endured will not affect him but it was clear that the years of abuse and neglect he endured affected his entire way of thinking. His sister was in a similar situation and all of the experts involved knew this would take a lifetime to manage.

He needed trauma therapy so I set him up with what I thought would be the best kind of therapist. They were a forensic/trauma therapist who worked with teens but they did not have a collaborative approach, meaning, if he didn’t talk, there was no progress. They did not work with the parent or me (the guardian) at probing to get him to talk and open up about his experiences.

In discussing his case with the county social worker, she recommended attachment therapy. I found a collaborative therapist who specialized in teens and had multiple ways to encourage free thinking and sharing. He was God-sent. My nephew pushed back on him often but when he decided to open up, so much was revealed.

So if you are in the same situation, here’s my advice.

  1. Be kind to yourself
  2. You don’t have to be perfect
  3. A warm bed and a warm meal is enough
  4. They are not your children so your obligation to them isn’t the same
  5. You do not have to be a mother/father to them, be an advocate and an ally
  6. Your own children should not suffer
  7. You can’t save them all (lesson from my pastor)
  8. You’ll likely be the bad-guy/enemy in the end
  9. It’s for the children and only the children
  10. Get your own therapist!

My sister and I are now the outcasts in our family. Our help was turned against us and the rest of our family somehow believes that we were trying to take the kids away. We wanted what was best for them (two healthy parents) but it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things according to our family. The experts understood and tried their best. Some things could not be done because it was unethical to open Pandora’s box with such little time. Even the therapist said that this wasn’t something I could help with.

And finally, repeat to yourself, “this is for their good, not mine.” You’ll suffer in ways you never thought possible but there will be many good fruits through that suffering. Our family became closer. My 17yr old recognized how strong I am and how much of a good mother I have been to him. He would often say there is no way he could have done this. I have been blessed with much more patience. My husband became my ally and we drew closer together through the tough moments.

I could write a whole book on the entire experience. I’m not sure anyone would want to read it. What you read here is nothing of the real experience and only some of what I learned. It was terrifying at times, traumatic, extremely heartbreaking, and sad. You really see what your family is when you have a crisis. Sometimes it reveals the good but in our case, it revealed the bad and the worst in our “extended” family. It literally tore us apart and it’s likely unrepairable. That safety I had in my parents and siblings is gone and that brings immense grief.

Bringing Baby Earthside & The Ridiculous Language Society Creates

I’m going to take a short break from the series of posts on the Latin Mass and turn towards my my popular post on this blog. I never in a million years would have suspected that blog post would bring so much traffic to my blog but it tells me so much about our world we live in. What Does it Mean to Bring a Baby “Earthside” and Why it’s Offensive is the most popular blog post having hundreds of thousands of visits since it was written in 2016.

I bet I would know so much more about why people are visiting that post if I turned on the comments but I turned commenting off after several months on that particular post because people just wanted to argue with me about why “earthside” is a fine term. It’s a “Mother Earth” term. I have news…there is no “thing” called Mother Earth. God created everything. Mother Earth is an idol. Ask any Pagan.

This is one of the most frustrating things about the English language besides how difficult it is to learn. I should know, I’m homeschooling my 2nd grader right now and all the “rules” he needs to learn but then don’t apply in “this” situation or “that” situation. This must be why Latin is easier to learn but also, it’s a dead language so there’s no adjusting it or changing the meaning of any of the words.

The English language not only manipulates the meaning of words but they add them…Google is a verb, not just a noun and that word didn’t exist when I was a child. It’s first known usage was in the year 2000. I actually thought it was more recent than 2000, considering I didn’t have a cell phone as I entered the new millennium.

I’ll be frank with you…LOL…that’s not a P.C. term to use so instead I will say I am going to be blunt and honest with you. I haven’t re-read my original post in order to write this one. The post is what it is and it’s still how I feel. Saying “bringing baby earthside” when announcing you’re in labor is offensive.

My two babies who died in my womb were earthside. My son is buried IN the ground so his physical body IS still earthside but his soul is not and I will meet him in eternity. Unfortunately, Ruby was destroyed with medical waste. She was likely burned up and tossed out but the physical form of her body likely touches this earth somewhere. “For dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.” – Genesis 3:19 Douay-Rheims Version

As I write this, my spell check has red squiggly lines under earthside. Even the computer tells me this term doesn’t exist. Ah, but the “mother earthers” will continue to use it to describe some out of this world, celestial experience of bringing a baby from one’s earthly womb onto her earthly bosom. I suppose though, that her lack of faith in a supreme creator would manifest into paganism for we truly cannot reject that we have a creator be it God or some other pagan god. By the way, if we believe in pagan gods, you would also believe you are a slave to them since that would be the purpose of that god creating you.

Seriously though, you weren’t created by a pagan god. You, as well as my babies were created by God, in His image and likeness. All of us are created with a body and a soul. It’s not okay to deny this, although many do. Many also deny that Mother Earth is a pagan god. This is purely ignorant. It’s a lack of formation regarding your own personal dignity. I challenge you to become informed about where you come from.

I had to Google many things in order to write this post. Who is mother earth? I learned her name is Gaia. Who is the Supreme Creator? I learned that God is the Supreme Being. Who created humans? The first Google response told me that God created humans. Who created the Catholic Church? Google tells me that Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church.

WOW! Google can tell me alot of things. I wonder how many people actually believe what Google says…oh wait…most everybody. So why do people have such little belief in their Creator, even when Google tells them so? I can’t answer that. Maybe one of you can?

I’m sure many of you Googled the term earthside and came upon my blog and oddly enough, Google says earthside means, “when on planet Earth.” So again, where are these babies if they are NOT earthside when they are in the womb? Is this about where their soul is? I took to Google and asked, “Where is the soul?”

Oddly, the first Google hit was from the National Institutes of Health which stated, “The soul or atman, credited with the ability to enliven the body, was located by ancient anatomists and philosophers in the lungs or heart, in the pineal gland (Descartes), and generally in the brain.” WOW! Fascinating. So if the soul is part of the human body, this would mean that even in the womb, the soul would be on earth. SHOCKING!

So why are people using the term, “I’m bringing my baby earthside” to describe going into labor and pushing the baby’s body out of their womb? Please, just call it what it is. Birth.

Birth = the start of life as a physically separate being.

Oxford dictionary

Blessed Mother

What Church Do I Belong To? – Part Three

Our Traditional Latin Mass journey began in Part One with the heavy grief we were carrying from our parish. We had to officially close the doors to our parish when I emailed the religious education teacher telling her we were removing our son from his sacramental preparation classes there. He was mid-year already and he would be starting over at the new parish but this felt right.

I really wanted to leave quietly. I didn’t want to leave at all actually but if I had to, I wanted it to be quietly. Once that email was sent, it triggered a chain of events and I had to come clean. Many emails and calls began once they heard we were leaving.

We weren’t attending that church anymore.

Saying it hurts my heart. I stuck with our church through some really tough changes. Friends begged me to leave because they felt I was missing something. I felt called to stay. I prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament off and on for years asking if it was time to leave, all the while, the message was the same…STAY.

Until the message changed…

I received a call from the Religious Education Director, whom I adore and love. It hurt to tell her that our son would receive the Sacrament of Penance at another church. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving the new community we have at our new parish but that doesn’t overshadow the very real grief I have in leaving the church that put me on a journey to really learning my faith.

I grew so much in the 16 years we were there. I went from being a mediocre Catholic that attended Mass when I felt like it to veiling and kneeling to receive the Eucharist on the tongue. I went from being scared of priests to inviting them into my home for breakfasts and dinners. I went from not participating in ministries to revamping one completely and helping to create a ministry that didn’t exist there. And then I met a very special person who planted the seed to start a women’s conference in Denver and the Catholic Women’s Conference of Denver was born.

I really grew at the parish even as things changed and I wanted to stand by it but as progressive music and guitars came in, I felt lost. Then Advent and Lent came and went with no Latin. It was the only time of the year I ever got to hear it and I missed that ancient piece in the liturgy and didn’t even realize how much I was truly missing. None of the liturgy was sung after COVID hit either which further contributed to feeling lost.

My very dear friend who helped me start the women’s conference had already left our parish for the Latin Rite. She spoke of it often and encouraged me to try it but I rejected the notion. I was a “lifer” at this church and I would die going here. I had heard of Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) and knew of one other person that was going there.

But most of those who attended TLM seemed talked poorly of those who didn’t. It was confusing and I struggled. Talks on Catholic Radio even discussed how Novus Ordo (NO) was a bad word and you are “not Catholic” if you attended the NO. It was sad to hear I wasn’t considered Catholic if I didn’t attend the Latin Mass. I certainly didn’t want to experience the isolation and shunning this priest describes.

I couldn’t understand how anyone could look down on someone who attends NO and believe TLM is the only way to go. It seemed prideful and I knew that was a sin so I didn’t want to be a part of that. I didn’t want to be sucked into what I felt was a “cult.” Soon my social media feed was full of people speaking poorly of those who attend NO.

TLM was a turn off and even though many friends were trying to tell me all that I was missing, in reality they were pushing me away. I know their comments were well meaning but they didn’t lead me to leave the NO. I knew that something wasn’t right where I was going but I didn’t know what I needed or how to fix it. Talking with my priest fell on deaf ears. I was still questioning the validity of the Mass and this wasn’t about NO or TLM. It seemed much smaller than that.

As the president of the Catholic Women’s Conference of Denver, I had many choices to make in terms of the annual conference. Many friends help me and I don’t like to say I am the president because the women who help me with the conference are just as important (if not more), than measly old me. But this was also an area where I saw some issues. Even within our own group, we had push back about being traditional.

Our spiritual director had been trying to guide us into a more traditional form of Mass and feedback received from attendees was negative towards the traditional parts he brought the conference. But I was also feeling that certain things weren’t traditional. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Altar Girls were areas I was struggling with for years.

My oldest son walked away from being an Altar Server because of the girls. He grew up seeing them serve. He didn’t know there was any other way. He didn’t know the tradition either but he himself felt like altar serving was a role reserved for boys only. My son explained that he felt the girls he served with were domineering. He didn’t like that so he stepped down. It was sad.

I didn’t have a daughter until three years ago. I was looking for preschools for her to attend when she turned two. Many of the schools were protestant churches. One in particular, we had to turn away from. There was a female “minister there.” I could not allow my daughter to witness this. I did not want her to think that this was something she could aspire to.

Regardless of your feelings about women pastors/ministers, respect mine please. I don’t think we (women) should be filling that role. You probably think they should. If women want to serve in a religious role, there is an opportunity for them. Unfortunately, we don’t see Sisters often enough but many opened our first schools and hospitals so you can thank a Sister (and the Catholic Church) for that.

Several hundred women attend our women’s conference annually. We always get feedback that the women want a Sister to speak or for them to be present. When we do have them at the conference, it’s truly amazing but this just shows how much women want to see Religious Sisters. We are moved when we do.

But I’ll return back to the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion because I was struggling with having a lay person do this. It’s actually an abuse to have them do this and that is what I found to be true in my research. A priest and deacon should be the ones to distribute Holy Communion. We don’t need, nor should we have lay people to do this. What we need is patience. So what if Mass is 5-10 min longer? What’s your rush?

If I knelt down to receive the Blessed Sacrament, some would role their eyes. If I received on the tongue, some struggled to distribute it that way and of course, when COVID hit, many priests refused to distribute the Eucharist on anyone’s tongue. If you firmly believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ…are you actually worthy to be touching Him? I wouldn’t be. I’m sure we can question whether or not some of our priests or deacons are worthy but that’s not the discussion of today.

There would be no way I could convince my pastor to stop having Altar Girls and he definitely wouldn’t stop Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. He wanted drums and guitars in the church and said as much when I challenged him on this. It’s okay. I will be obedient. He’s the pastor.

So it wasn’t just these things that pushed me away. Something was burning in my heart. I wanted to know more. I wanted to find out what the Early Christians thought and did. I wanted to know the roots of the Mass. I needed to know and understand. Biblical School really helped with that because I could see the Mass between the pages of the Bible. Book after book, the Mass was there.

Then, I found The Apologies of Justin Martyr.

What Does it Mean to Bring a Baby “Earthside” and Why it’s Offensive

EarthsideIt’s a term I have heard over and over. In fact, I have used the term in the past but now, I can no longer use the term. It’s offensive! It makes my stomach turn each time I hear it and it’s now considered a trigger. Earthside…or as most often used: “Bringing Baby Earthside.”

A trite term used to describe birthing a baby, the term earthside is offensive to many mothers. There are birthing coloring books called Bringing Baby Earthside, a fantastic tool for pregnant women to help relieve stress and focus on the positive aspects of birth but needs a new name; blogs written about the “earthside” baby such as this one from Birth Without FearPinterest pages dedicated to bringing babies earthside and even Etsy shops with onesies stating “Finally Earthside”. Babies are being welcomed “Earthside” in birth story after birth story.

No definition exists yet on what bringing a baby earthside means. Thank God and I sincerely hope this never becomes a definable term. This phrase needs to disappear as quickly as it came in the typical fad fashion. From Oxford Dictionary, earthside is defined as “on or from the planet earth.”

Unless a religion or belief states otherwise, while a woman is pregnant, her baby is actually on earth. I suppose if the pregnant woman is in space, the baby wouldn’t be on planet earth but where the baby is, so is the mother. The womb is not some intergalactic, off-the-planet place where babies form through stars into human beings and use hyperdrive to perfectly time their birth on this earth [insert sarcasm].

While human creation is a miracle and some might consider it supernatural, it’s not intergalactic. There is plenty of science that supports perfect timing for sperm meeting the egg, creating a pregnancy and forming life, which develops into a human being, and is born via a human being; all of which allegedly takes place on planet Earth. So if we are welcoming baby earthside, where has this baby been the last nine months or so?

Welcoming a baby earthside discounts the pregnancy experience as something it’s not. If the baby is not on this earth, as bringing baby earthside suggests, then how does the mother bond with her baby? If the baby in her womb is not earthside, does she have to help the baby in any way? What obligation does the mother have to the baby who is not earthside? Does the baby even exist? Is there a ball of stars within the mothers womb, bouncing around in there?

In my childbirth education classes, my students are told they are parents from the moment they became pregnant. One could possibly state that they became parents even before pregnancy because they have made decisions for the baby before that baby was even conceived. Oftentimes, my students are a bit confused to be called parents so early in their pregnancy.

But what are they if they are not parents? We call them mother and father in classes and that’s the definition of a parent. So as a mother and father of an unborn child they are responsible for caring for that child. If that child dies, they are still a mother and father.

So they are parents, of little humans, on earth, who have not yet been born. On earth is a key phrase here. They are already earthside. Let’s side-step for a moment.

For mothers enduring pregnancy loss, the term earthside takes on a different meaning. This pregnancy loss blog shares a story where the mother writes to the baby she will never meet earthside. While her baby was already “earthside” within her womb, she is using the term earthside to describe the physical form she will never hold on earth. I feel the same way. I will never hold Gus or Ruby “earthside.”

Her pregnancy loss happened very early and she describes how her loss “flowed from her.” No baby to hold, touch, or see, just blood washing her tiny baby out of her. She is a Christian and will not meet her baby on this earth. But in her blog, she shares her ambivalence with her grief and her struggles with the right to grieve. She has every right to grieve her loss. She loved this baby from the moment she suspected she was pregnant. She dreamed of this baby and imagined a new life with this baby in it. She is worthy of her grief but society doesn’t think so and she mentions this as one reason she did not share her loss with others.

Isn’t it enough for loss parents to have to prove to society the legitimacy of their loss without now having to prove their baby/child was “earthside?” If the baby isn’t really here on earth during the pregnancy, then why would a woman have the right to grieve if the baby didn’t really “exist?” Could using the term earthside damage a woman’s right to grieve? A baby’s whole existence is defined through birthing them alive. If a baby is not birthed alive, society questions their existence and mothers are confused and shameful in their grief.

Why must we define birth as coming earthside?

If a mother on earth is pregnant, the baby within her womb is on earth. The baby is already earthside. The baby doesn’t magically become earthside at birth; to say otherwise discounts the miraculous and earthly experience of conception, development, and birth. To say otherwise, minimizes the experiences of pregnancy loss because the baby never took a breath “earthside.” To say earthside at birth, turns the pregnancy experience into something galactic or alien.

Women should feel connected to their unborn, they should revel in the divine or mystical creation of new life and birth. When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she should shout from the rooftops: WELCOME EARTHSIDE! And when the baby is born she should rejoice, welcome her baby into her loving arms and into the tenderness of her nourishing bosom.

There is no need to define birthing a baby as bringing a baby earthside because the baby already was earthside. A simple “Welcome Baby” is sufficient.

But maybe, just maybe we are also using earthside as a euphemism. A way to describe birth without saying the word birth because to do so, would present the experience of birth as it is currently represented: fear-based, messy, and exhausting. Bringing a baby earthside certainly sounds more pleasant. Sign me up for bringing a baby earthside but “birthing a baby?” Eeewww.

Bringing a baby earthside is just a substitute for the unpleasant thoughts of “birth.” Instead of empowering women to birth, maybe if we just change the word “birth” to the word “earthside,” women will all of a sudden feel confident and comfortable with the experience and their fear will magically disappear?! [sarcasm] As an educator, I suppose I no longer need to teach about the experience of birth but about how to bring a baby “earthside” where there is no pain and your baby is transformed out of your womb, down a rainbow and onto your chest [more sarcasm].

This is no different than storks bringing babies to hopeful mothers. It’s a myth that is perpetuated as a distraction from what birth really is: a transformation which might be uncomfortable and/or painful but it is a transformation nonetheless.

Let’s stop using the term earthside. It’s distracting, it’s offensive, it’s a myth. Women birth babies. We have since time began. Babies aren’t dropped off by storks, they don’t come earthside (they were already on Earth); babies emerge from our wombs, through our vagina or in some cases, via surgical birth. We can’t change that no matter what term we use.

The Urge

Image courtesy of cooldesign at

Image courtesy of cooldesign at


There is this intense urge that I experience every few months. Most women experience this urge once a month but as stated in previous posts, I do not have regular cycles. No one told me I would experience this. It’s not something I have read about in books either and of course, having no biological direction on fertility as a child, I never heard of this phenomenon back then. Everything that I have read talks about a subconscious desire or discusses a drop in oestrogen that leads to testosterone becoming the prominent hormone but I can tell you that what I feel, is NOT subconscious. Hormonal, maybe; subconscious no.

So what gives women an overwhelming urge to get pregnant while ovulating?

This could be considered a survival mechanism. I read a few websites that talk about how this is purely biological in nature in order for the species to survive. Other websites discuss how the cervical changes and fluids make a woman’s libido go into hyperdrive, but what I am experiencing doesn’t really fit into some of these categories.

My “drive” isn’t really sexual in nature. I don’t desire to be with my husband. It’s not about being “horny.” This is deep. This is purely, “I need your seed.” Maybe that seed turns into something? Maybe it doesn’t? But my body is SCREAMING and it only gets louder as we approach the big O day! The O is ovulation by the way!

So what do we do? We just buried Gus. I wasn’t even sure my fertility would return and as awesome as it is to know it’s still there, I secretly hoped it would not return because I am again faced with the “should we or shouldn’t we” question. So here we are…with the NFP challenge before us. This is what separates the practicing Catholics from the non-practicing.

It would be super easy for hubby to slip on a condom or for me to pop a pill. It would even be easier for me to alter my fertility through the use of an IUD or a surgical procedure but there is no way we could do it. The one time we used a condom was just awful emotionally. We both felt horrible and as if we “used” each other purely for pleasure.

Sure, sex is awesome but that’s not all that sex is about. It’s not merely for enjoyment much to society’s belief. And I am a Catholic which I know isn’t popular so I truly believe that sex is way more than enjoyment.

I am learning to embrace my fertility. I am learning to embrace something I have never experienced before. I am working my way through these challenges through faith and prayer. 22 years of infertility and I know my body well. I know when my body ovulates and that is freakin’ awesome but this urge. The urge that is SURGING throughout my body, through my arms, through my legs, through my head and into my heart is telling me…PROCREATE!

But I know, that in two days, when ovulation has passed, I will feel happy. I will be thankful that pregnancy and another baby is not a possibility. At least, not right now. This is my test right now. This is my test to see if I truly want another child or if this is merely a physiological process and God’s divine plan for our bodies.

Can hubby and I keep our hands off each other?

Police Brutality?

Let’s change gears here for a moment. As many of you know, I have a background in law enforcement and security. I spent many years studying criminal justice and served as a reserve police officer for several years. I was responsible for a hospital security program for over three years and worked as a security officer for several years before that promotion. With the police in the news on a daily basis and officers being targeted and shot, it’s time to share some background info that the public isn’t typically aware of.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a criminal justice or police expert. These are merely opinions based on personal observations and experiences.



Some police departments provide more training then others. GASP! I know, that’s hard to believe but it’s true. Typically, the larger the police department, the less training officers receive. Shocking isn’t it? Most people would think it’s the opposite. But there isn’t as much time or money available. It’s imperative to “get those bodies out on the streets” to serve, well-trained or not.

I remember when I began as a security officer and my husband asked, “Will you receive any training before you start?” Luckily, I did. About a week’s worth of training on how to work in hospital security as well as how to control an out-of-control person. I didn’t think it was enough, but it was definitely better than every other security program out there.

It’s hard to believe that police departments would cut corners on training, but they do. I know of a department that wanted to cut an arrest control program because of the cost of the program. This particular program was superior to all other programs on how to control a person utilizing a form of martial arts. With this program, officers learned how to gain control of a person without resorting to punching and kicking (unless absolutely necessary). It’s definitely a more gentle approach but to learn the techniques takes about twice as much time annually as most other arrest control programs. And of course, costs more both with funding the program and instructors and the time officers need to become trained. Financially, it made sense to cut it. Ultimately, the department chose the right thing and kept the program despite the costs.

In addition, most other arrest control programs are violent. They teach officers how to fight instead of control. “Beat them to submission,” is the model. This is the kind of program you typically see on the news when officers have swarmed a person and are beating on them. Sometimes, officers lose all skills and just resort to their personal defensive mode. After all, who wouldn’t? It’s easy for the average person to say they would have just done _____ instead of beating the person when they weren’t physically fighting with someone. Have you ever been in a physical fight? If not, shut your mouth!

I remember fighting with combative patients in the hospital. You try your best to remember all your skills but then the person starts to overtake you and the others in the room. Then what? We would have to resort to personal defense because if we allowed them to overtake us, they would have the ability to hurt so many more people. Law enforcement is no different and in fact, the environment is dramatically different than fighting with a combative in a jail or hospital. Those are confined areas. We all have seen what happens in open areas when a combative suspect gets away. That person may steal a car (perhaps with a child inside) and wreak havoc and destruction numerous times..


As someone who tested with many different police departments before finding my police home, I can tell you that each department has their own unique way of recruiting. Some have a civil service commission which attempts to weed out people through formularies. Others weed them out by counting files. For example, “1-2-3, out.” That 4th file could have been one of the best candidates.

Having a civil service commission is supposed to reduce bias but as someone who experienced being weeded out through bias, it still happens. Applicants still have to fit a “profile” and are often not chosen based on their experience and test scores. Throw in the demographics of race and it gets more complicated. Police departments hire applicants from different racial backgrounds to fit a profile the community desires, but this is a slippery slope.

Other departments have different systems such as a final interview with the chief of police or sheriff who gets to choose which applicant they want. Sounds great but this isn’t a perfect system either. If the chief doesn’t like the clothing you wear that day or any other aspect of your presentation to him/her, the applicant will be passed over. It doesn’t matter how good your file looks nor how well you tested.

Still other departments fit applicants into pass/fail categories. Seems easy enough but there it is still a struggle. Qualified applicants may be deficient in one area where they could certainly benefit from training and excel but it’s a pass/fail so even if they score really high in say, community relations, if they couldn’t type fast enough, they are passed over.


I talked a little above about training and funding cuts but there are also many other issues when it comes to budgets. Let me talk about one in particular that really needs attention and I believe will help dramatically. It definitely falls in-line with training too.

When I was in the police academy, it was ingrained in us that if you use the Taser on someone or the person is having a medical issue and needs attention, you call for medical personnel (rescue). Shoot someone? Call rescue! Beat someone? Call rescue! Use a particular control hold? Call Rescue! Administer CPR until rescue gets there.

What have we been seeing with some of the police cases in the news recently? Failure to render medical attention. The Baltimore Police Case is a prime example. Suspect asks for medical attention and none is received. Suspect becomes unresponsive and no one calls for rescue. I saw this same thing in the Walter Scott case. He is shot but rescue was never called.

Yes, he is cuffed immediately. ALL suspects need to be cuffed immediately but medical attention can still be rendered. It may not have changed the outcome and with Walter Scott it is unlikely rescue would have arrived in time anyway but they should still be called. And officers are trained in CPR and could have provided aid instead of just standing over him as he bled out. Again, the outcome may not have been changed but family members would have seen the attempt to save his life after he was shot. And that can be VERY comforting.

So what does this have to do with budgets? Medical attention provided to suspects in police custody is the financial responsibility of the police department. This can get very costly, especially when suspects in custody understand the system. Fake a heart attack…delay going to jail and maybe get a nice meal before they head there.

Are police departments secretly informing their officers not to call for medical attention because of the financial ramifications. Oh this sounds awful! Don’t render medical attention because we (police department) are going to have to pay for it!

It’s sickening but the reality is, if a person is in police custody, the police department foots the medical bills for treatment. This is why, when working in hospital security, I would see violent in-custody suspects being “unarrested” while in the hospital and my security team (who was unarmed during this tenure) was left to control a violent and dangerous person. “If he isn’t in our custody, we don’t have to pay for his medical bills and we don’t have to pay for an officer to sit with him.” This can be a huge financial burden.

I explicitly remember a case where a suspect beat up an officer very badly. He broke a shoulder and hurt two other officers in their attempts to control him. He arrived at the hospital combative and partially restrained. He was “unarrested” when he arrived and officers asked us to call them when he was being discharged (which is against HIPAA by the way). But nursing staff wanted him to go to jail because of his history and how horrible of a person they felt he was. So they called anyway.

While he was there, he hurt several staff members and required hard restraints and drugs to calm him down. The price of “budget” cuts is bigger than we can see.

So what do we do about these issues?

A lot of this comes down to money. Money is almost always involved in every situation. Cutting budgets and financial corners is putting the public at risk. Some communities are more at risk and experience more trauma due to these issues. I see police cameras are becoming a popular solution. I think police cameras are great but unless we get to the root of the issue AND address those roots, we will not see change. We will see more officers in jail and still see the same amount of deaths.

Sure, that family received what we call “justice” by the officer going to jail for a crime they committed but wouldn’t we rather never have the suspect turned victim hurt/killed in the first place? No one wants to suffer. Grief sucks BIG TIME! Parents aren’t designed to bury their children and children aren’t designed to be raised without parents. Can we attack these root issues now?

Why I Chose Private Breastmilk Donation Over the Milk Bank

Nearly 20 months ago, an amazing person came into my life; my little man was born. I never imagined that I would be providing breastmilk to him for this long. My goal was to breastfeed for at least one year and just go from there but he was born tongue-tied, just like his brother and just like his father.

His father and brother don’t have any real issues with their tongue-ties but my little man does. If you want to know more about tongue-ties, click here. I am not going to go into all the details that come with this condition. Because of his tongue-tie though, I wasn’t able to breastfeed him for very long.

With his brother, I made it to six weeks and then we switched to exclusively pumping. It was a hard choice and I grieved the loss of my breastfeeding relationship but I felt good that I would be able to provide him breastmilk. I never knew if we would ever have another child but I felt strongly that I would breastfeed that child for as long as we could if the time came.

When my little one came, I was excited when he latched on just 45 minutes after he was born. I felt confident that we wouldn’t struggle at breastfeeding. Even when he was nursing constantly on day two, I didn’t think we would have any problems. There were a few indications that things weren’t going well such as the lipstick shape of my nipple when he was finished nursing and the clicking in his jaw.

It wasn’t until he bit my nipple and ripped it off that I decided I needed to stop nursing him. There is a procedure that can be done to release a tongue-tie but my husband did not want to put him through the surgery. There was no guarantee that it would help his condition. Not only did our little one have a tongue-tie, he also had an upper lip-tie which contributed to his problems.

This though, began my journey of exclusively pumping. With my first son, I was an overproducer. I had heard of donating milk but at the time, thought it was disgusting and didn’t believe anyone would really use human breastmilk. It wasn’t until I was faced with dumping my milk that I began to research human donor milk and applied to be a donor.

Once I learned all that the milk goes through, I knew how safe it was and I loved that I was helping premature and sick babies get through difficult times. I donated over 16.5 gallons to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Denver. I volunteered for them and processed labels to be sent to hospitals all over the metro area.

At the time, human milk wasn’t an option in the hospital and was only dispensed from the milk bank. Their goal was to have some donor milk on hand from the moment a baby was born and needed it. Their work paid off and human donor milk is now available at local hospitals.

While loved how rewarding donating to the milk bank felt, I also longed for a more personal relationship with the recipients. I mentioned this longing to the director and talked about milk donation pins as well as possible an “adopt a baby” program but due to patient privacy, this was not an option.

When I became an over producer this time, I applied as a donor again but sought private donation as well. With the private donation, I was able to meet babies that were receiving my milk. I did not take any payment for my milk although some women do. I gave my milk in exchange for milk storage bags (for the most part) and also donated to the milk bank.

Last April though, I met a wonderful family. Their daughter was 10 weeks old and mom couldn’t provide all the milk her daughter needed due to a medical condition. It is a rare condition and despite her diagnosis, she tried hard to breastfeed her daughter and pump extra for her when she could.

I rarely had people pick up milk from my home but I felt called to welcome them to my home and they came. I was able to hold her and witness her nursing with her mother. I usually just donated one time and never saw the recipient again, but I felt different with them and knew there would be more donations.

As months passed on, I donated more and more to them. Every time, this mother brought her daughter. Even when I was being a hermit and didn’t want company, she encouraged me to hold her daughter or at the very least, peek in while she was sleeping in the car. I don’t think there was a time where she picked up milk without her daughter. There were times when I met the rest of her children and her husband.

I had several other mothers that I donated to more than once but no one as often or as long as I donated to this family. They prayed for me and provided so much for me that I never could have imagined. They funded a beautiful keepsake of preserved breastmilk for me as well.

In fact, I had given this family my very early milk that I had pumped which was full of beautiful colostrum. It was pumped just a few days after my son was born and I had a hard time giving it to them. When I decided to make a keepsake with my milk, I asked the mother if I could have some of my early milk back. I had told her I had been crying about the fact that I gave it to her even though I was happy that her daughter would benefit from it.

That’s when she said that she too, had cried over this milk. She was crying for me because she knew how special the milk was. She gave me the earliest milk back and paid for a keepsake. I will cherish it forever. It was created by Baby Bee Hummingbirds in Australia; although I cannot support her work any longer as she has decided to preserve embryos. Embryos are human babies and are not jewelry.

In October, I had planned on “weaning.” I shared this with the family and explained I wasn’t sure how much more milk I would be able to provide, but October came and went and I was still pumping. I couldn’t seem to stop. I knew my son needed the milk. Even after cranio-sacral therapy, chiropractic work, and now food therapy, he still wasn’t eating solids well enough for me to give it up.

And here I am, at nearly 20 months, still pumping for him. But, my private donation to this family has come to an end. Last weekend, the entire family came to pick up the final donation. I didn’t know this would be the final donation but I knew it was coming. I felt that her daughter was approaching her first birthday and asked her when they arrived.

That’s when it happened. That’s when I got sad and the tears started to flow. I didn’t realize how special this was until this particular relationship was coming to an end. While I had an oversupply of milk, I had no idea how important it was for families who were receiving it. I had no idea how thankful a family could be. I had no idea that someone like me could provide something life saving to another family. I didn’t think I was anything to anyone and they showed me I was so much to them.

I hope we continue to be friends. I am sure we will in some capacity and I am so blessed to know them and to have been this baby’s milk mama. I am so honored to have been led to them and provide nourishment in a way that is so rare only few experience it. Women Marines are rare and I was one. This experience, was even more rare.

Here I am, with my milk baby. She is beautiful. She is so big now and I can’t wait to see her grow even more. Thank you for sharing her with me and allowing me to help you reach your goal!

You connected me in a way I have never been connected to someone. You are why I chose private breastmilk donation. Thank you for everything! I love you both.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

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I love Love and Logic

I just started teaching my Love and Logic series again. Oh, how I love this program. Watching the video’s with my students has brought back so many memories of when I took the class to assist me with parenting Joey. I can’t wait to apply these techniques so early with Timmy because we didn’t start Love and Logic with Joey until he was two.

I have never taught students with such young kids before. Both have children under two. It makes me so happy to see parents learning these techniques so early because their lives will be so much easier. Basically, they won’t have as many frustrations as I did or most parents do because they will have the skills and will have already formed that foundation.

So what is it about Love and Logic that I love so much? First, I love the humor that is brought to the table. Jim and Charles Fay are just so funny and make you laugh about all the dumb things we do as parents. I guess they aren’t really dumb. We truly think our methods will work, even though they didn’t with us. I am so happy that I learned some new skills for parenting Joey.

Second, I love that the techniques are so easy to incorporate. I am certainly not witty like they are but their website and Facebook page helps tremendously on finding witty one-liners! I am happy to have that kind of support, not only for my own parenting journey, but to pass on to my students.

Love and Logic is such an amazing program. I know some don’t believe in it. Some people even think that the techniques won’t work and some have “tried” the program only to say that it didn’t work for them. How hard did you “try?” I usually ask? It’s about consistency and breaking your pattern as well as your child’s pattern.

It CAN be done! I can’t wait to see how this class turns out. I would love to follow them as their children grow. Good thing I have their information. I should set a reminder to follow-up in a year.

Alas, I don’t think that will happen but I am so happy to be teaching these skills to new parents again. This class is so amazing and fun! I can tell they really want to learn these skills. I wonder what I would be like if I grew up in a Love and Logic home? What kind of person would I be? Would I really be different?

That “crazy” client. How do you handle her?

I met my doula for lunch today. She is such a joy in my life and while we don’t see each other often, we text and chat (online) almost every day. I envy her passion and excitement for doula work. I used to be there but am still burnt out despite several years away from the work. Hopefully soon, I will find that special client to take on and rejuvenate me.

While we were talking today, I learned that I was considered a “crazy” client. Interestingly enough, my doula and I are now friends so what does that say about her? 😉 LOL but what IS a “crazy” client? Many doula clients could be considered crazy and many doulas struggle with these clients because they take so much out of them. I am so glad my doula had the energy for me and didn’t dump me. I had my share of anxiety about my pregnancy that I have shared with the world through this blog. Was I crazy or anxious?

After a review from a book reader on who bashed my book and told the world I should have been put in a “psychiatric ward” following my pregnancy loss, I was a bit sensitive to being considered that “crazy” client. I know what she meant and I felt horrible for putting her in that position but I had to think about it from the doula perspective again.

As a doula, I have also had “crazy” clients. Those are the clients that are high maintenance and seem overly worried about every little thing in their pregnancy. The few clients that I had that fit this category had horribly long births with many interventions. It can be a RED FLAG in a client but knowing what I know now, what does that red flag really mean? I needed to explore this a bit more.

Would it be any different than a client stating she was scared to give birth? No. That client might have many fears and concerns surrounding every piece of her birth. She might ask lots of questions and might tell me that she is so scared to give birth she might as well have a C-section. Does this mean that every time she asks a question or poses a concern that she is crazy? No. Exploring it further, I think it means more. Back to me…

I certainly didn’t think I was crazy or acting crazy. I needed a place to vent and ask questions that I knew my husband couldn’t answer or knew he was tired of hearing about. Plus, it had been 10 years since I had had a child AND it had been 5 years since I had been so engulfed in the doula world. I considered my doula a safe place and she was. I even told her in our interview that I would be a challenge. I probably should have mentioned to her that I would need to use her in such a fashion.

I was glad that she accepted me as a challenge and hope she now understands that my issues were rooted from a deep loss. I knew I would come out of them and in reality, I need to write another book on pregnancy after a loss since that brought on so many challenges, BUT…

Would I be such a safe place for my clients? Would I seek out help and assistance in understanding my clients needs the same way my doula did? What is it that my client really needs? Are you, as doulas, childbirth educators and birth professionals, asking yourself that question when you have a high maintenance client. The one that seems “crazy.” Is the client’s anxieties the FIRST ball in the snowball of interventions they usually receive? Can we intervene? Should we intervene? How do we provide that support? I know I will look at my clients much differently when they seem high maintenance; much like my doula did.

So, what are the things my doula did? Well, she asked how I REALLY felt about things. I don’t mean on a basic level either. She wanted me to dig into my intuition and FEEL. My doula let me send her messages and when she didn’t understand, she asked questions. She stood by me and ultimately, I had a fantastic birth with little intervention. It was just a long birth. Who knows why? I don’t think I was holding onto anything although I am now second guessing my birth (that’s another blog).

In the interests of research, how many women out there have had a pregnancy loss and had a doula for their rainbow baby? If you are out there, please contact me. I am curious and have questions. Yes, part of me wants to feel validated and not “crazy.” 🙂 Let me know you are out there, maybe this is another book?


Our Yellowstone Trip


Well, Timothy is around eight weeks old for this trip. Isn’t he cute? Here he is sleeping on mommy while waiting at the Old Faithful Geyser. I can’t believe we have taken him through five states since birth.

Our trip was pretty fun. It was a great LAST trip of the summer before we all returned to work and school. I have to admit I am dreading going back to work but I have some plans in the works that might allow me to stay at home again. YAY!

IMG_2002Our truck and camper took us to some amazing places. This is a picture of our rig at the Ayres Natural Bridge. It is a very neat location that we would love to camp at but there are no hookups here so we need to figure out how to get water into the camper somewhere so we don’t have to tow it. I will have to get much better at sterilizing bottles for Timmy if we choose to boondock somewhere like this.

The Ayres Natural Bridge is a wall of solid rock that was worn away by the creek that runs through it. There used to be an electric house there that used the creeks current to generate electricity. That is closed down now and the area was turned into a park. No pets are allowed in the park and camping is free! It’s open from April to September every year. I really hope we get a chance to visit this place again.

IMG_1982IMG_1995This was actuIMAG0423ally on our way home from Wyoming. Our trip started with a drive up I-25 into Wyoming. We stopped in Casper and stayed overnight at the River’s Edge RV Campground. While the campground was really a parking lot with some nice facilities, we found a beautiful area by the North Platte River with a bent over tree. Jason took a few shots of us there under the tree but it was pretty dark. He admits they aren’t good pictures. It was very beautiful from our point of view.

The next day we completed our drive up to Cody, WY. We were told this is the best place to stay while visiting Yellowstone. We wanted to stay at the Ponderosa Campground in Cody, but it was all booked so we settled for the Absaroka Campground. It was nice (also parking lot like) but we had grass around the camper and the people were super friendly. Our small camper was smushed between too SUPER HUGE RV’s. These were the 100 thousand dollar kind of RV’s. It certainly helped us feel safe. LOL!

IMG_1701We settled in for the week and the next day, made our way to Yellowstone National Park. Oh what a LONG drive that would be. While Cody isn’t far from the actual entrance, it was over 2 hours to get to anything significant inside the park. Joey really wanted to fish so we stopped at Fishing Bridge Park and bought a fishing pass. We decided to eat lunch next to Yellowstone Lake and Joey got to fish for 45 minutes while we waited for time to pass until Old Faithful was to erupt.

We misjudged the time it would take to get to Old Faithful so when we arrived, it had just erupted but, we had plenty of time for the day so we stayed. Unfortunately, Jason and I forgot ALL items for trekking Timmy in. We had no carrier, no stroller, nothing. So it looked like we were going to have to carry him. I had no idea what the park was like but we couldn’t go back to Cody so we made the sacrifice and carried Timmy with us.

IMG_1731We sat in front of Old Faithful and watched it spurt. The crowds began to arrive. Boy, there were people from ALL over the world here. We sat next to so many people from other countries. Italy, Germany, India, Philippines, the Middle East, etc. Jason sat next to two men from some other country that began screaming any time Old Faithful spit out something other then steam. We quietly made jokes about it while waiting for the anticipated eruption. Finally, it happened.

Joey was in awe as was I. Jason snapped a bunch of pictures. This was one of my favorites. I got chills as I watched the eruption. It was quite a sight and I couldn’t believe I was actually in Yellowstone. I was finally able to mark this off my bucket list! 🙂





IMG_1843Once the eruption completed, the crowds dispersed. Most left but there was a field full of geysers. We decided to walk the trails despite not having anything to carry Timmy in other than our arms.





I can’t believe how many people just left because the geysers were amazing! Here is a picture of Joey on the trail taking a break while observing a spring.







Here is another spring we viewed.

The smell of sulphur was strong everywhere and I was worried we were exposing Timmy to toxic fumes but if the birds and animals were flying around and drinking from the water that came from these geysers, I made the assumption we were okay. I could be wrong though.




On the trail, the Lion’s Head Geysers erupted. The eruption lasted for like 10 minutes. It was a beautiful sight from where we were on the trail.






This bacteria was also interesting to view. There were signs everywhere telling people not to disturb it or “write” in it. I thought that was hilarious! Who writes in bacteria?




The ground in this area is very fragile. If you walk on it, you could fall through into a hot spring, fumarole or open up a geyser yet we saw people step on the ground to retrieve items they dropped. There was no way we would take that chance. These springs were boiling!





On our way back to the parking lot, Old Faithful erupted again. Here is a shot from afar.





IMG_1917Here is a shot of Joey next to the river that runs through the park and geyser area. As we left the park, we were completely exhausted. It was after 6pm and we still had at least a two hour drive back to camp. I had planned to make dinner but this just wasn’t going to happen. We picked up some fast food once back in Cody.




We decided to take the next day and visit some attractions in Cody. We choose the Buffalo Bill Museum. I HATE history to be honest but I wanted to make the family happy (Jason) so I cringed as I walked through the museum. LOL! It was actually a nice museum and I DID enjoy it. Jason spent about five hours in the Firearms museum. Despite all that time, he still didn’t see everything in just that section!

In the Buffalo Bill section, Joey found a reason to continue growing his hair long. The sign reads “Why Scouts Grew Their Hair Long.” Here Joey is by this sign. 20130806_161308

While he doesn’t need to protect his face from the elements, he truly believes he needs his long hair and this exhibit proved it. Now he can be like Buffalo Bill.

It was a great day which ended with us eating at the Wyoming’s Rib and Chophouse. I reviewed this restaurant on Trip Advisor. It was okay, quite expensive actually but the ribs were fall-off-the-bone.




After the exhaustion of driving all the way to Yellowstone and fearing the drive back to Denver after another day in the car, we opted to NOT visit Yellowstone again. There were places I wanted to visit in Yellowstone and we needed many more days in order to do so but we couldn’t make such a long trip again and then spend another day in the car. That would make three days traveling in a vehicle for longer than five hours. Soooo, we decided to stay in Cody again and visit more places.



We visited the Old Town Trail there which was a put together city from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Basically, they took many old houses/buildings and brought them to this place to make an old town. It was a very neat town and also had graves. We ended this day with watching the Gunfighters at the Irma Hotel. While I couldn’t hear much of the dialogue, the boys loved it!


We ate at some nice places in Cody. We had breakfast at Our Place and Mojoe’s, YUM! Dessert at Peter’s Café and Granny’s Restaurant, and stopped at their candy store, Cowtown Candy and picked up some homemade fudge that was delicious!

The next day we made our way BACK to Casper and stayed at Fort Caspar Campground which is actually in Mills, WY just outside Caspar. This was one of the worst campgrounds we stayed at. It was truly a gravel parking lot with hookups. The showers were nice and the entrance to the camp was beautiful but there were so many stationary campers that it made the park uglier. There was a nice pond that Joey could fish in (which he did) and the North Platte was also available to visit. I didn’t leave the camper other than to shower.

IMG_1981IMG_1976The next day we completed our drive home where we stopped at Hell’s Half Acre. Here are some pictures of this area.


We then stopped at the Ayres Natural Bridge which I already blogged about. We finally made it home around 9pm with all the stops and dinner at the Cracker Barrel.

It was a great trip and I am glad we did it even though we cut Yellowstone short. We will definitely go back again but next time we will stay in Yellowstone Park. All our friends recommended staying outside the park but the drive there was just too long. If you have been to Yellowstone and stayed inside the park, post your recommendations and/or experiences here!!

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