I’m Realistically Biased But Objective

Try as I may to be objective, there are some people I can’t suffer! Yes, I’m biased! I have to be biased if I want to keep my sanity, my soul safe!

Suffering some fruit and not others –

I’m not so concerned about a persons politics, money or race as much as I find it important to be around people who are making an effort to be informed truth tellers.  And I’ve really found that people who have folks in their lives they truly love and cherish are the people I respect the most. It’s just important to me to respect a person for who he or she is rather than if they think like I do.

I can’t bear insufferable complainers, manipulators …. and blamers are a huge pet peeve. I try to be tolerant of people who blame others for their problems but I can barely remember what they say. Their arguments are lost on me. I also have a hard time suffering narcissists, folks who see the world from their viewpoint only and can’t stand independent thinkers.

I’m careful who I’m on FB with, and who I follow on Twitter. I don’t follow many or have huge followers on purpose. FB is the side of life to me that’s more touchy-feely, and I need it to keep up with family and friends or share a prayer need. I can take my friends anger, boasting or whining if I know them personally and know how hard they are trying to get their life under control.

Twitter is the serious side of life. It’s important to me as I travel my path on this earth to interact with others  who value life and who share their minds and hearts about the challenges and joys we all go thru. I have to be biased like this. I like to be challenged by the views and emotions of other Christians, professors, pastors, writers or politicians. I constantly need to refresh my facts so I can be as objective as possible in assessing an issue.  If I don’t grow and learn to love others for their constructive views on a myriad of subjects or their good efforts to make a difference then I may as well fold it up and ask God to take me to heaven to be with Marc.

I can’t suffer some things in myself that creep in at times. I’ve had to evaluate myself like I’m using a scalpel in surgery, so I weed out things that are choking my joy and freedom. Sometimes it’s as easy as cutting out a stupid habit, or refusing to accept lazy thinking.

Being open and objective with others requires us to see beyond the deception of this culture …. to read between the lines of many statements out there. There’s also glamour and power tugging at our subconscious that we have to admit colors our objectivity.

No one can escape being biased to a degree but it helps so much to be honest about our biases –

3 Things To Think About When Voting

The roster of candidates in any state isn’t always so nice and easy to understand at election time, but here’s some tips in casting your vote:

  1.  Hold the people you want to vote for to high expectations!  What is your  measuring rod for holding office? Think about what’s best for the whole country considering the internal and external threats going on around us? Listen to how the candidates ran their previous business, public office. They may not be perfect but are they people of personal integrity?

2.  Remember what the Bible says, ‘Judge a man according to his deeds, not his words.’ Now more than ever candidates are making wild statements. They lack an understanding of what’s going on in our country and what’s needed, and they can’t even manage their personal lives. Ask yourself, are they running to ‘self-promote’ or bring ‘hope’ to others? There’s many out there saying they want to ‘make a difference’ but behind their words is the desire for financial gain, lust for power or they want to re-make our country into their own model of alternative democracy. There really are poor candidates out there! Take notice!

3. Last but not least …. PRAY! Praying is powerful, it’s not just a token suggestion. God listens to our hearts and can intervene and guide us to the right info on each candidate or proposition, so that our votes count. Pray for a peaceful election outcome and for strength and wisdom for our country during these challenging times.

I’m so glad I had a son I could share our political heritage as a country with. It’s such a stabling force in ones life! I would not be who I am without this country! Neither would you!

30 Take Aways from the BK/Ford Hearing

For something so impromptu, so strange in some ways … the hearing sure made an impact on us!

Former Portland, OR Courthouse –

  1.  It was a ‘watershed‘ moment for our country.
  2.  The hearing showed us how the R’s & D’s manage a serious issue in person, who they tend to trust and how they judge the sexes.
  3. It says alot that the R’s gave credence to the ‘accuser’ but the D’s assumed BK was guilty.
  4.  I don’t believe every woman, I don’t believe every man on the basis of what they say happened. Other things like their personal life, motives need to corroborate their claims.
  5. The supposed ‘attack’ that was the focus of the hearing took place when they were minors!
  6.  I heard CF say she was scared her parents would find out she was drinking at a party when parents not home. So at age 15 she was drinking. Did she consume alcohol before or during the BK party?
  7.  What were the activities at the party …. dancing, swimming …. any activity with BK before the alleged attack?
  8.  Did anyone ever ‘vet’ the Dr. before allowing her to disturb our nations Congressional process?
  9. The most powerful tool we have as humans in getting over a real or perceived wrong done to us is to ‘forgive’. This doesn’t mean we forget, but we don’t let abuse determine our happiness.
  10. The hearing should not have been handled like a crime had been committed, it was not a trial or criminal proceeding, but an inquiry.
  11. It should not have been aired in public, but held privately. This hearing was created by a ‘leaker’.
  12. The risk for slander, libel was not figured in this public display.
  13.  There were so many conflicts that arose during the hearing, the unexpected was always happening. Most hearings, trials are more orderly, predictable.
  14.  The ‘prosecution’ was not ready for a loving father and devoted husband and son, or someone with a long history of decency in his community and on the bench.
  15.  The oft repeated reference to ‘hypothalamus’ was used to emotionally intimidate, like ‘proof’ she was accosted.
  16.  Too many in the media jumped to the conclusion he was ‘guilty before proven’ at the drop of a hat, which showed the public their true stripes.
  17.  CF’s side should have thot of the mid-term elections coming.
  18.  CF should have had her husband, children by her side to lend credence to her character, allegations!
  19.  I think the word ‘hypothalamus’ should be disallowed in court for at least 10 years.
  20.  What was CF’s motive for going to the party (someone invite her, she liked a boy, she liked to drink away from home)? Wish she’d been asked things like that so we could have established her motives, credibility. BK shared his motives, lifestyle.
  21.  All races, ages, professions, the sexes & foreign countries noticed how our government handled this sensitive matter!
  22.  Making an ‘un-vetted’ accuser a ‘hero’ at the expense of a man already vetted by the FBI several times … not smart!
  23.  Many husbands and wives have committed sexual errors and gotten stronger thru forgiveness.
  24.  It was more like the Senate Judiciary Committee was acting as a therapist.
  25.  Woman to woman ….. CF’s vocal ‘fry’ was not caused by one failed attack but a general disconnect somewhere. I was so puzzled by her vocal/emotional manner. Forensic body language experts report her making ‘pretty poses’, or defiant poses all the time thru questioning. She tried to manipulate thru ’emotional’ expressions, not facts, like a child does.
  26.  Seeking revenge ‘no matter what’ never heals trauma, it’s a cancer like jealousy. To heal you deal with the abuse, your own needs and you don’t seek to destroy another in public and expect that by exposing him/her you will be healed. Exposing someone in public is ‘getting even’.
  27. It’s hypocritical for some in our society to laud teen party movies & then turn & attack someone for doing what you say is okay!
  28.  Many Vets, crime victims go on after PTSD to have good lives.
  29.  Mr. Kavanaugh displayed his humanity, his loves, his record and his frailties … Dr. Ford needed to do that.
  30.  Treating any esteemed leader like a common criminal will not be easily forgotten!

To sum up in another’s words :

‘Why are we forced to deal with the possibility that something even happened to Dr. Ford …. even if something did happen to her, destroying a good man’s reputation and derailing the entire country is NOT the way to go about dealing with her problem.’    Young Democrats for Trump  on  Twitter



Stopping Mass School Shootings

Over the summer it was a blessing to be free of news of serious school shootings, but recently one of our ‘sister’ schools, a high school, was on lock down due to a bomb threat called into ‘911’, and this was a church school! It’s never too early to talk about this epidemic of school shootings.

Sign on Third Ave, Portland – D.D.

I follow on Twitter some agrieved families in Parkland, FL area who are carrying their love for their lost ones kinda like me. The rampage that affected their school 8 months ago has changed so many lives in that community for years. It’s important to me to hear from other families suffering from the loss of a child, brother. Very few understand our kind of pain. It helps me to read of their continual efforts to assuage their anger and loss, and make that school system and local government more accountable!

It bothered me alot last school year that we didn’t hear much from any source about school safety! There’s lots on ‘preventing’ Identity theft, legalizing marijuana, why isn’t more said publicly about guarding the perimeter, gates of a school, checking for weapons or I.D.? After the shooting in South Houston area right before June Graduation, I kept wondering …. why weren’t the school gates kept locked? Who was in charge of monitoring it, I.D.ing people? People failed the kids. Just a tragic repetition of neglect, laziness or something. I thought most schools have security by now, but I’m wrong.

Protecting school children doesn’t have to be so complicated. Some school systems don’t have the money for fancy security but they don’t have to go unsafe. Letting Vets, grandparents who want to help have a part in the safety of our children is a valid option. Having better school entry rules can be an easy solution. But ….. too many think a shooting will never happen to them, they want an ‘open’ door policy and don’t want to ‘pester’ the authorities. Why not more school forums, police town halls on this epidemic? It’s a mixed scenario, and an un-glamorous job but there has to be a combined strategy so parents as well as school leaders are on the same page.

Who’s directions are we following?

I’m not a Police officer but a mother and educator. Having gone thru the murder of my son I researched the epidemic of youth crime and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share ideas about prevention I’ve learned. Also, I attended a seminar recently held by Officer Sean Dinse of the Los Angeles Police Dept. Topanga Div. where he shared his program to combat school shootings.

My own thoughts …. think about it …. do you hear of a homeless person coming onto a campus to shoot or stab students? Or a man angry with his boss? Or jealous husbands shooting school kids? Mass school shooters are almost entirely youth who have some gripe with a teacher or student. There are patterns if you will, to any crime trend says another former L.A. Detective.

School shooters are ‘teens’, and they go onto a campus they know well ….. where they have friends or perceived enemies or romantic illusions. They seek entry to a site where they are not strangers ….. they know where key classrooms are, lockers, offices or cafeteria. They aren’t considered a threat in some cases, they know which class is meeting at what time of day and where people will be …. who their victims will be and they can generally find them.

Officer Dinse shared a new tactic at his seminar …. for some reason a couple local high schools averted possible trouble from some teenagers because a few parents looked at the Facebook pages of the students in their kids schools. ‘Bingo’ …. some deeply troubled, threatening kids were discovered and their parents contacted and the teens got help.

Teens live with intense hormones churning inside, huge dreams and needs that have to be addressed somehow. Many youth will fantasize or brag on social media about weapons, the desire to commit dark deeds or hatred of some group. The FBI are not therapists, or the agency that comes up with plans for school violence prevention. We can’t expect the police to comb thru students FB pages, but an involved group of moms and/or school officials can do some homework and expose potential troublemakers.

High Schools or parent groups can go over students FB pages in a few hours, just to get some idea of the general mind-set of each child? There are Yearbooks, other rosters that show school enrollment. Some troubled kids don’t think their parents read their FB posts or even care. What’s on FB is ‘public’ so anyone can view. And the potential offender ‘loves/needs’ to brag, flaunt or threaten his various classmates, enemies …. he doesn’t separate reality that well many times. On social media a teen is in a sense talking out loud or taking an ad out in the paper and advertising his identity to the world. A teen without friends, or one who concentrates on weapons or anger over his life goals, is someone who’s getting lost or who needs intervention.

Social Media is our new ‘neighborhood block party’. It may be a good idea anyway to go over the FB page of your child’s friends, or the guy who’s dating your daughter. When I was on an adult Christian dating site last year I was sickened by the number of weirdos who tried to contact me, or who were removed? Sick people have always found ways to show the world a ‘nice’ face, but kids aren’t always aware of deceptive tactics.

A caring parent or counselor can talk with the parents of a teen and help that family unit to deal with the child. Many kids need more parental supervision in order to turn their thoughts and rhetoric around. Some teens will definitely stop ranting about people, some will get help and some will commit a crime  …. elsewhere, not in a school setting.

None of us should live in ignorance about the growing trend of youth mass shooters. It’s a hard topic to bring up to some but simple policies can be set in motion to save lives. There’s Federal grant money available for those who wish to work on the school safety issue. It doesn’t take many people to make a difference in any school, only a few can turn a school around if they know what to do. A couple strong parents, teachers, retired police or military would be good resource people in your community to coordinate some of this responsibility. Parents are so much more powerful than they think!

I always think that taking responsibility for your life primarily lies in your own hands first, it’s not others responsibility to watch out for you, unless you’re a little child. It seems to me that to wait for State or Federal govt to make laws may take months or years to implement, and some laws may be too costly or not needed if parents and concerned schools do their homework to make their schools safe. There’s many times a ‘code of silence’ around teens and their parents but this is not the time to keep those walls up but take them down with a sense of urgency and education in  classes, at home.

Love after death can do amazing things!





How Can It Be, 4th Anniversary

Four years ago seems awhile back in a way, but then again the incident feels like yesterday!
Four years of trauma, re-grouping and starting again so I stay ahead of the ‘sting of death’ –
Four years where I was forced to accept a separation like no other, kicking and screaming on the inside with pain that needed to be addressed swiftly and honestly –
Four years of holding onto hope when none seemed available at first –
Four years of keeping my nose to the grind stone and working for justice for my son, forgiveness for the offenders and a writing legacy only a parent and fallen child can send out!
I hope no parent ever has to go thru what our family and friends went thru! It’s  not the easiest life event to master …. but, it’s manageable!
     ‘Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.’
It’s not a sign of weakness to say you can’t make it without God cause we think of the loss of loved ones, our struggles in all the wee moments of the day and know it’s Gods grace that many times gives us hope or fresh ideas to continue on our journey. Only those who have no sense of the beauty of creation or understanding of the vast ways humans love and suffer will say ‘there’s no God!’
No, I haven’t gotten over him yet’?
              ‘Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.’
What do you mean, God …. ‘give thanks, Your mercy endures forever’?
I know this isn’t the ‘end’, it’s not the final say about Marc’s legacy!
               Give thanks,  My mercy endures forever.’
 Okay, Father ….. I think I understand,
      You’ll walk this out with me, every step of the way! 
             Your way wins, not mine! 
Song: Pam Thum – ‘Love Sees’

Happy Birthday Sweetheart – 4th Anniversary

Hi Sweetheart,

How’s it going in heaven? It’s your birthday today, wow!

I can remember how it felt to bring you into this world, what it was like preparing you for life, but my joy is so tempered now because I can’t recall your birthday without mixed emotions and remembering that terrible October night! And that ….. you’re GONE …. the separation is real but ‘temporary’, darling!

Oh my God, how that night changed us both! Stung my soul so that I wondered if I could recover. I’m still angry you’re gone ….. I still can’t believe the crime ever happened! I don’t like being forced to relive the crime, the separation! But God has allowed the pain to be side-lined enough of the time because you and I still have a purpose to this pain.

I don’t take for granted how lucky I was to have the two best sons. I realize I’m not the only mom ever to lose a child in the history of mankind, I’m one of many millions …. I don’t feel sorry for myself, just very blessed and lucky! Even in the midst of the painful times.

The case was solved …. but still has a life of it’s own. Gone is the daily trauma of wondering how I’ll live with my deep longing to be with you clinging to my apron. For all we talked about, we lived for and valued ….. I still promise to uphold my bargain to be a ‘voice’ for you as well as continue on my own path. You would have wanted to share ‘our’ core values too, if the tables were turned.

I can’t imagine all the good things you must be doing up in heaven. You’ve got the planets, people and God up there …. you can talk with family, saints from history who strove, loved and sacrificed not just for their own benefit but for others coming down the pike. I believe you may also be able to have some say so in our earthly affairs. You’re not just up there sitting on a ‘cloud’ all day, drifting in the wind without a care or purpose!

Love is the strongest creative force ever! If you’ve never loved, you’ve never lived! It has power past the grave, power to reach into the future and grab a goal even after the flame appears to have died.

It’s not over Marc, your mom is doing good for you!



Murder and Tentacles of Shame

You go thru so much as a result of a loved one dying in a homicide, especially so when its your child –

It’s not a shame when a person dies defending someone, no, you’re considered a hero and you can brag about your loved one. But my son dying prematurely from murder is something I still can’t master. It’s such a harsh way to go, a difficult death to bring up to others. People from certain sphere’s of society do not want or like to talk of death, much less murder!  But I’m getting used to my strange new reality.

I’m not feeling sorry for people like me, like I might have done some years ago. From the start I felt God’s hand in this whole gruesome situation. It’s like there’s new connections in my life and they are connected partly by this shame I keep pushing back. The new people who’ve come forward to accept me in my shame are the most loving. How did I live without them, I’m tempted to think..

Shame can truly be worse than the pain of the event because while the pain has a ‘shelf life’. shame doesn’t but has this way of lurking in the background and at times rising up and giving me an ‘icky’ feeling of being associated with a terrible incident. I can’t shake it off, but I work thru it. I’ve heard about abortion’ shame for years. Our shames are deep because they’re associated with life and death, which some people fear talking about.

I still have paralyzing times with people over the subject of children. If someone asks, ‘do you have any children, Diane’, I still freeze up, I can’t deal well with questions like that after almost 4 years. Some women have several kids and are always so bubbly about them, it’s hard to feel okay around them. My emotions go clunk. Depending on the situation I want to get out of there. I’m not angry with them but the bitter memory of the crime, the lack of my son and best ‘friend’ …. then having to explain to people about Marc so I can forge a relationship with them requires additional courage. I save my real views in my close friends, blog or new book.

You just don’t want to think the people in your life can make your grief harder, but they can and do. I had to create friendships with others based on trust, not flattery or power, cause I don’t ever want to shrug off my association to the crime, or to Marc. I want to allow all the feelings to come to the surface, so I can function normally. Shame deprived of it’s sting will back down like a dog with it’s tail between it’s legs.

There are others like me, in other cities. There are loud cries in Parkland, FL from the high school shooting there last Feb. Each of us has a burden to carry. Other mom’s and dad’s, like me, love their child still ….. and there are those of us who don’t wish to pretend our child’s murder never ‘took place’. I definitely don’t want Marc’s memory to go away, or people forget him.

You have to fight for some things in life in a very focused way. Some things are free, but other things you have to forge a path where there was none. To resist the sting of death, murder and shame can take a few moments of your time, it will save you from endless months and years of depression, pain and in-action.

Love you, Marc!




That Time of Year Once Again –

                   ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ –

Sometime in early September the ‘heaviness’ starts to creep over me again. It seems my limbs are full of lead, everything I want to do feels threatened!

Marc’s birthday is at the end of September, and two weeks later it’s the anniversary of his trip to heaven! It’s just the weirdest thing that he left earth on the same day as my birthday too! So many emotions run rampant at this time of year ….. the beauty of the Fall, the old birthday celebration routines now mixed together sad and happy. Replacing beauty and celebrations with death and separation leaves only one possibility …. resurrection!

Yes, it’s been a bitter adjustment at times where I was dragged into a life event way against my will but I don’t require pity. I still appreciate condolences though, as that tragic day shook me to the core! I truly felt the clout of the devil but I can’t tell you how much I relish remembering Marc’s face, his wonderful ways, his love of life and God …. his desire to make a difference in this world  I can’t express how much I get in return for carrying the burden of his loss and sharing with others that hope can be had in this Age and that God is real!

We all were created with deep emotional needs that need expressing whether it’s joy or grief! We need to share our hearts in some way, and like the celebration of the anniversary of ‘9/11’ today, we should allow the pain in, and not refuse to feel grief! Emotions not released will backfire. Remembering our loved ones, remembering our country’s attack is important.

My sons Paul and Marc (L – R)

I and many others suffer loss all the time, but …. still, God is good! It’s OKAY to grieve, it’s okay to feel the loss and pain. God’s plans are not reckless but purposeful, no matter what happens to us or our loved ones!

 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ –                                                                             Matthew 5 – The Beatitude’s


Look Who’s On Our Side

I‘ve been in contact with Dale and Sandy Russell from Visions of Hope recently. They visit Oregon prisons and have the most precious burden for the guys there. They know of A—–, the main defendant in Marc’s case, thru me, and last week sent him a letter which I’m sharing. I asked Dale if I could share and he said, ‘go for it!’ For a young man without a dad in his life, it’s a perfect letter to receive. Please pray Sandy & Dale will connect with him on 9/11 ….. Who said, ‘angels’ don’t exist ?

Dear A—–,

Just a quick note to let you know of an upcoming event at TRCI.  Riding High Ministries will be presenting at the facility on Sept 11.  This is an amazing demonstration with a horse – yep, a horse on site.  The process is to take a wild, unbroken animal and within an hour or two bring it to complete peace AND asking more of the trainer.  The trainer is Todd Pierce, the National Bull Riders Association Chaplain.  He has a way with horses that will astound anyone who watches.  He also brings his own experiences to the presentation that blends perfectly with how the horse does a complete turnaround in his outlook on life and discovery of life changing principles and solid hope for the future.

Sandy and I helped with RHM last year at SRCI and it left a lasting impression on us.  We will be at TRCI as volunteers (we are carded for TRCI) helping with set up and anything else needed.  We will probably have a guest or two with us as well.

We have a second goal in mind for this date.  We would love to meet you.  Our conversations with Diane De Han have given us an appreciation for her and the importance to communicate with you.  I know there must be a distrust for what she would like to do and for us, as total strangers, to want to meet you.  Why in the world would we want to do that?

Park in Downtown Portland, OR –

For whatever reason, God led Diane to contact us.  She convinced us you were important.  God continues to remind us you are important.  So, what do we do?  Our best reaction is to continue to reach out and see what happens.

God seems to have special plans, unique connections and constant surprises.  He seems to think Sandy and I have some sort of talent that sends us into prisons all over the state.  We never seem qualified, but He says different.  We hang on for the ride and ask for wisdom with what we hang on to and which direction our feet are pointing.  They sometimes bring us to guys named A—–.  We look forward to the possibilities because He started it!

Here’s what we hope happens; You get in touch with Chaplain Cardona and get on the ‘call out’ for 2:00 that day.  We run into you, OR better yet, you search us out.  (We would be the ones not in blue?)

A—–, we continue to pray for you and trust God for the rest.  Our vision would be for you to discover so much more than what we think you see right now.  What if there is a guarantee of new hope you may not have seen before and it starts on 9/11?  Wouldn’t you be just a little bit curious?  Our promise is there could be an amazing dscovery.  Please feel free to contact us before the date.


Dale & Sandy Russell

                                 Isn’t that the coolest letter?

If You Could Hear Them …..

Can you hear them?

If you knew their story, it would likely make you cry …..  I’m talking about African orphans …. Oregon inmates –

Inmate art donations sold to help orphans –

It’s so great how God works! I heard about Visions of Hope ministry leading services at the main defendant’s prison, Two Rivers, but I never knew they worked with an organization that unites African orphans with prison inmates!! I mean we all think inmates are these mean, gangster losers, right? Nah!

Visions of Hope travels to various prisons in Oregon and inquires if any inmate would like to donate art with the proceedings going to an orphanage in Kenya. They also ask if any inmate would like to be pen pals and sponsor an orphan?

You can read some stories at the link below and also view examples of art pieces which you can buy at very modest prices. Log onto this site and let your eyes do the talking –  http://visions-hope.org , 

An inmate from Two Rivers writes:

I thought about sponsoring but my past mistakes stopped me. Thank you for coming to prison and convincing me I could help a child. I try not to cry here. It shows weakness. I got a letter today from Jasper, my sponsored child. He called me ‘Dad’. The tears of joy flowed in my cell. Later in the day, your chapel service included the surprising plan of someone who would match my $5.00 per month. I cried twice today. The second time I didn’t care who saw me. Because I needed to tell someone how amazing my life is!’

There’s a documentary about these disparate groups called ‘Lost and Found’, here’s a short clip  ….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnbZwfj7Pvg

God brings the oddest people together for His purpose. There’s a quiet yet profound story on those web pages.

Metal sculpture by inmate -story here, check out the video of the participants and view the art projects online at the visions-hope.org site above!

Sometimes people you never imagined could be in this world can become a staunch friend of yours. Don’t check off a person, he might be an angel to someone –