Sunday, May 1, 2016

Thank You from Our Home to Yours

 A Belated Happy Easter from Our House to Yours

Rare picture of me with the children

Dear Editor,

Fourteen years ago this May my life was forever altered when my first husband was tragically killed in a military plane collision leaving me a widow at the age of twenty-five with two children under the age of two to raise. Two years later I moved to Steubenville, Ohio in order to pursue my masters degree at Franciscan University. While most people in my life thought I was crazy for moving to a town where I didn't know a soul instead of moving back home to be closer to family, I knew without a doubt that this was the journey God had in store for my children and myself. I was lucky enough to fall in love a second time and after remarrying we decided to put down roots and open a business nine years ago. The past nine years have been quite the family journey that included buying a small farm, homeschooling and having three more babies.

Unfortunately tragedy struck once again a year ago this May 1st. I once again unexpectedly became a single mom. At this time my family and I would like to take the time to publicly thank some of the people who have helped us through this past year. First I would like to thank Sheriff Abdalla, Captain Susan Bell and all of the sheriff deputies. I would like to thank all of the staff of the Jefferson County Jail. Thank you for helping to keep all of us safe. Thank you as well to the Steubenville Police Force. You have answered every call over this past year with professionalism and kindness. Thank you to Prosecutor Jane Hanlin, Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Bruzzesse, Detective John Lelless and the judges who serve Jefferson County for your hard work and dedication. I wish to also thank defense attorney Stephen Stickles and the other defense lawyers that serve our area so that our justice system can work the way our founding fathers intended it to work. During the past year I was also blessed to receive help from attorney Francesca Carinci and her secretary Amanda Varner. Thank you so much for helping me to navigate the legal system that I found myself suddenly involved in and for always answering my calls and concerns. To all the staff I have encountered in both the courthouse and the city municipal offices: thank you for always politely answering my answers and sending me to the correct office to get the help I needed. Lisa Scott, the Jefferson County Victim's Assistance Coordinator, has helped us to navigate the very confusing stream of paperwork that entered my life. Marisa Bortz, an advocate from the A.L.I.V.E. domestic violence shelter became a friend when I was in desperate need and didn't even know how to ask for the help that I needed. Thank you Marisa for listening to your gut and calling me personally on two different days when I was barely hanging on emotionally and really needed an advocate for our situation. Thank you to Eileen Spencer and everyone associated with A Caring Place and the vital services that they provide for families in crisis. I wish to thank the staff of Jefferson County Job and Family Services. You provide a public service that is desperately needed to help keep our children safe. Too often people criticize you instead of validating the tough jobs you have. I thank all of you for your help in our case as well. I especially thank the foster care families in Jefferson County, especially the family that helped protect my children while my innocence was proven. Thank you for loving them for those few days and for continuing to check on them and for becoming my friend. Thank you to our personal counselors, whose names I won't list for our own privacy. Thank you for helping us to get through this tragedy.

While I hesitate to start to list the following names, in fear that I may accidentally leave a name out, there are a few more people that we really need to thank. Without going into details, many people know that we almost lost our business during the course of the past year. During this past year a miracle was pulled off by the grace of God and the many prayers of my family, friends and customers. I know that many people thought I was crazy for fighting to keep my store open. Many people think I am crazy for still choosing to live in Steubenville and for not moving away from here. But you see, some things are worth fighting for. For my life both my children and the livelihood that the business can someday provide for them are ones that I consider a fight worth fighting. Fighting to stay in Steubenville is worth it as well. I firmly believe that if you pray as if everything depends on God and then work as if everything depends on you that things will work out. Now God doesn't necessarily provide for our needs in the way we wish and dream for, but He does provide.

The biggest hero of my story besides the resilient strength and love of my children is my now ex mother-in-law. She kept her word from nine years ago and chose to stay here and become, as she refers to herself, the “granny nanny.” If I work seventy hours during a week then she works seventy-five hours taking care of the children. Without her love and support I would have had to close our store as soon as our tragedy occurred. Thank you mom for loving me and your grandchildren to make all the sacrifices you are making! Without the financial support of both my parents, sister, other extended family members and friends across this great country the store would have had to close while I was fighting to get refinanced. It was very humbling since I had never asked for money since I was nineteen years old. Thank you for being faithful! Thank you to my past staff, especially Karen O'Day-Cooper, the former assistant manager. Thank you for stepping up and serving our customers especially on those days when you were suppose to be off of work. Thank you to my current staff that is continuing to give our customers the great service they have come to expect from our tiny store. Thank you to my customers past, present and future. I cannot tell you how much your words of kindness, prayers and financial support both through the store and with donations to our Go FundMe and to me personally have meant! Truly our doors would have closed last August and this past January through March if you hadn't provided for me and the children while I knocked on yet another bank door. I cannot even begin to try to list you all by name in fear of accidentally missing one name. Thank you to my extended UPS and The UPS Store colleagues: you truly mean it when you say “UPS is a family.”

Thank you to all the parishioners of St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Weirton, WV. Your love and support has helped to keep us going. Thank you to the parishioners of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hopedale, Ohio and St. Terese Catholic Church in Cadiz, Ohio since they are my second “home” parish for those weekends when I can't make it to Weirton. Thank you to Michele Santin from the Office of Family and Social Concerns (Catholic Charities) for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville. During this past year instead of being able to buy for a child on the Christmas giving tree my children were the ones listed on a giving tree. Thank you to those anonymous souls that put smiles on my children's faces on Christmas morning by buying the presents I couldn't afford. Thank you as well to Catholic Charities for the help with a utility bill the one month that I was especially desperate for help. Thank you to the anonymous souls that have loaned me money without interest. Thank you as well to those who helped buy my kids back to school clothes and supplies, birthday and Easter presents. Thank you to those who provided us meals, Kroger gift cards and gas cards. All these little donations added up to help provide for our basic needs this past year. Thank you to those priests who gave us spiritual counseling over the past year. There were so many I am afraid to try to name you all, but I do have to thank two in particular: Father Francis of the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and Father Gregory Thompson of Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church. Thank you for providing the corporal work of mercy by visiting my now ex-husband in prison. I saw you also provide friendship and comfort to the other families visiting prisoners. Thank you for providing that great need to those who desperately need God's mercy and kindness.

The tragedy that occurred in our life has meant that I had to go to work full time and thus stop homeschooling my children. I would be remiss if I didn't thank those people who have stepped up to help us. First, thank you to our amazing local Heart of Mary Catholic homeschool community! I truly miss seeing all of you at extra-curricular events. Last summer many of you stepped up to help with babysitting. It meant so much to know that my children were in loving homes those few times that neither I nor their grandmother could babysit. Thank you to the Encounter Youth Group. Last summer many of the youth and their parents spent a work day at our farm. Thank you from the bottom of my heart especially since we do not actively attend your activities. Thank you to the Mary Seat of Wisdom Classical Co-op. It was my privilege to have taught there a few short years and I truly miss all the parents and children. Thank you for providing this last year of transition for my youngest child. Thank you to our new schools: Steubenville High School, Bishop John King Mussio Central Elementary School and the Immaculate Heart Montessori School. Words cannot even begin to express how much the support, kindness and love has been from all the staff, teachers and families. It means so much to know that my children are attending schools where I know that people are looking out for their well being when I can't be there with them. It wasn't the easiest of years for us emotionally and I know that many of you have helped my children. To the many health professionals who provide for our health: thank you, thank you, thank you.

Finally I would like to thank all the wonderful people of our tri-state area. Too often we get down about our area. We list all the things that are wrong with it and not what is going right. Hopefully after twelve years I won't offend anyone as I now claim this as my adopted “home town.” Our area is still going through its painful economic transition, but it has one thing going right for it: it has the best people in the world fighting for it. I can't even begin to list all the people by name who have helped me over the years. Five years ago I almost died from pregnancy complications and people brought us meals for months. Some of them were complete strangers, but put themselves on the schedule a friend made up to coordinate meals. We experienced that same kindness this past year in abundance. A godmother made us three meals in less than six hours and dropped them all off to help get us through Holy Week. People have anonymously left cards at the store just to let me know that someone was praying for us not knowing that I really needed that encouragement on that particular day. I have encountered help over and over again from every business I have gone to over the past year. If they couldn't help they suggested someone else who possibly could and I would then go to that next person. This was both financially and for personal needs, like home remodeling repairs or lawn mower service.

I already believed in Steubenville and the tri-state area when I first pushed to open our business nine years ago. I believe even more in our area having gone through this tragedy. Yes our area is not perfect and yes, the legal system isn't perfect either, but it is the best system that we have in the world right now. I know that it seems like we have experienced even more setbacks with the announced closing of several different businesses in the past few months. But this I know: we may have to think outside of the box, but we can develop our own path. We can fight the good fight and provide a stronger tri-state area for our children. The good people in this area are some of the best and most professional in the world. All of us choose to stay here because we want a small town life for our children. We have some of the best schools with traditions of excellence right here in our valley. We are strong because we care. We rally when people are in need. My first thought when my tragedy occurred, especially as the true financial fiasco I was left with began to reveal itself was that my family was going to lose it all: our store and our house. But then I prayed and told God that I would fight as hard as I could for as long as I could, but I needed Him to provide my strength and for our every need. God is always good even when life is not. He is faithful even in my own unfaithfulness through human sin. He provided for my own family in ways I could not even imagine during this past year. It has been incredibly painful and also very humbling because I had to keep asking for help over and over again. But I know this: God will provide for our valley. We just have to be faithful and open to new business models as we enter the world of e-commerce and social media.

Thank you God for your faithfulness and for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Infant Jesus Child of Prague has provided for our family in miraculous ways. Thank you Saint Joseph for your ongoing protection of my family and interceding for our needs with your foster son Jesus. Thank you to Saint Cajetan for interceding and helping to provide for our Divine Mercy “bandaid loan” to help get us through to our final refinancing next year. Thank you to my family's patron saints and guardian angels. Your continued protection and guidance is very real and greatly appreciated. I cannot wait until I can thank you personally in heaven.

The words to Lauren Daigle's song “Trust In You” are my personal anthem and the best way that I can thank you God. They have guided me for this past year and are my ongoing prayer as I live my life aiming for eternal life in heaven. I hope these words help someone else in need as well:

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!
Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!
You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand
Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!
I will trust in You!
I will trust in You!
I will trust in You!

Thank you all! May God bless you and keep you now and always.


Stephanie LS Rivers
Owner of The UPS Store-Steubenville

Occasional rare blogger at

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March Update #1 and Novena to St Joseph

Learn more about St. Joseph Altars here.

Unfailing Petition to St. Joseph:

Holy St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary,
be mindful of me, pray for me, watch over me.
Guardian of the paradise of the new Adam, 
provide for my temporal wants.
Faithful guardian of the most precious of all treasures,
I beseech thee to bring this matter to a happy end,
if it be for the glory of God,
and the good of my soul.

Note for all my Protestant friends: When Catholics pray to the Saints, they are asking them to intercede to God on their behalf.  We believe that the Saints in Heaven spend their eternity praying for us still here on earth and glorifying God with praise.

Thanks to your donations we have been able to keep the lights, heat and internet on at our store.  Thanks to two small loans from family members we were also able to pay for the past two months of our overdue "health care sharing co-op" (basically a version of health insurance for me and the children) and to keep the lights on at our house.  Thanks to that money we were able to pay the over $2,000 in loan payments that were due for the past two weeks.  We still have $3,000 in loan payments and past due bills still to pay for March alone and we are still waiting for the appraisal for the house to come through to find out if we can get a loan to help keep the store open.
Any money you can donate towards the Go FundMe will help to keep us open.
As for overcoming obstacles, yesterday the motor blew out on the heater/ac unit for our store.  Thankfully the repairmen were able to find a new motor within an hour's drive of our store and get things fixed, but that was another unexpected $500 (which is my deductible for every repair needed at the store.)

Some people have inquired about my refinancing options.  Unfortunately corporate does not have a national program set up for our stores to refinance.  I have to find a local source.  I am on bank #6 trying to make it happen, but every month that this situation stretches on the credit rating keeps getting lower and lower and more and more bills don't get paid on time or at all.  Yet, I can't file Chapter 11 bankruptcy because I am not a multi-million dollar company.  It costs almost $30,000 to file that type of bankruptcy and we only owe $75,000 and most lawyers don't do Chapter 11's for that "small" amount of money because Chapter 11's take so much time to litigate.....If I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy on the store then I lose my house (because the house anchors the store) and I can't sell the house because the house anchors the I am in this horrible catch-22.  It kills me to hear the local accountant tell people over and over again that "the store is solvent if we can get rid of the rapid finance repayments of $3500 per month that is dragging the store under (plus the other debt that Jason left me with)."  So far we have made it ten months.  We are so close and just need a little more time to save the store and keep the family home.  Thank you for your prayers and donations.  If you can help again, please donate and please help spread the word.  Most of all just keep us in your prayers!

St. Joseph Altar and Novena

A year ago March 10th my life began its radical change.  Without going into details of the case that need to remain private, a year ago March 10th I did what had been previously unimaginable to my life and asked my then husband to move out.  Per my devotion to St. Joseph I then added "protect my family and help me figure out my marriage" to our novena to St. Joseph.  March 18th is the feast day of St. Joseph, the protector of the Church.  As the weeks passed through March and April last year, St. Joseph and God worked behind the scenes leading to my now ex-husband and ex-employee's arrest before evidence could be destroyed.  I wrote the following testimony last July in my thanksgiving tribute to St. Joseph:

"As many of you know I have a strong devotion to St. Joseph.  In fact I have blogged about our annual St. Joseph Altar dinner that we give every March in the past.  Jason was first arrested on May 1st, which is the feast day of "St. Joseph the Worker."  May is also the month of Our Lady St. Mary.  (Several different friends pointed this out to me a few days after he was arrested.)  Jason not only helped me honor St. Joseph with preparing the large St. Joseph meals, but he had of his own volition written a prayer and vow to St. Joseph to take care of me and his stepchildren at our wedding as St. Joseph took care of St. Mary and Jesus.  We now know he was stealing from our business, which is the exact opposite of being like "St. Joseph the Worker."  He also said honored Mary under the title "Our Lady of Victory."

This past winter Jason kept saying how he wanted to sell our rental duplex, that it was too stressful for him to maintain (even as he had moved his mistress into it and was paying her bills there.)  I had bought a statue of St. Joseph to put inside the duplex (NOT to be buried in the ground as some people do).  He never took the statue there, so in April I pushed it into his hands saying you can't ask St. Joseph to intercede for the selling of the duplex if you don't take St. Joseph to the house for it to sell.  So, he ACTUALLY took the statue of St. Joseph to the duplex, but didn't put it in the empty unit.  He actually took St. Joseph into where the mistress lived.  Eight days after the two of them were arrested, my friends helped me search the unit where she lived (that I am the landlord of) so that we could hand over her electronic devices to the sheriff and we found St. Joseph hidden in a kitchen cupboard.   St. Joseph is known as THE TERROR OF DEMONS.  No wonder they were thankfully finally caught by the Sheriff due to an anonymous tip.  YOU DON'T MESS WITH ST.  JOSEPH.  Jason actually took the statue of one my patron saints-THE SAINT THAT HE HAD VOWED TO BE LIKE-into the place where he was committing adultery.

A few days later, a large box arrived at the store as I left to go to his bond hearing (where the bond was lowered.)  The next day one of the employees reminded me that the large box sitting in the store was mine.  Inside it was a statue of the Holy Family THAT I HAD ORDERED BACK IN FEBRUARY FOR OUR ST. JOSEPH ALTAR DINNER.  The statue arrived three months later on the day of Jason's bond hearing as one more reminder from God that St. Joseph is interceding for me and the children in heaven.  It comforted me so much that I am not even annoyed about how long it took it to arrive.  Obviously it came right on time!!!"

I am starting my annual novena to St. Joseph.....praying for his continue guidance of how to provide for my family.  As I say over and over again, every day that my store is open is a miracle.  Over the course of the past year I have truly learned what it means to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread."  St. Joseph has protected my children and myself, most likely in ways we don't even know.  People who host St. Joseph Altars say that once you start, you never stop.  Even though we don't have a lot of money...even though I have to work on the 18th....and my kids' activities fill the weekend schedule and then we have the start of Holy Week, I have decided to host a frugal small St. Joseph Altar at work to honor St. Joseph.  There will be minestrone soup, bread, cake and pizzelles.  Please feel free to visit our store and small altar next Friday, March 18th from 11am-5:30pm.

I have added all the prayer intentions of anyone who has "prayed for us past, present and future" to our novena.  I have also added the intentions of anyone who has donated to help cover our bills (past, present, future as well.)

If you would like to pray the novena to St. Joseph with me then please pray these prayers.

Please see my past posts regarding two of our past three St. Joseph Altars:

St. Joseph: Protector of the Holy Family and my own!

Words cannot express how much your words of kindness, donations of money and constant prayers mean to the children and myself.  The grace that we have been given to survive this situation all comes from God blessings your prayers made on our behalf.

May you have a blessed end to your Lent and a sweet start to your spring,


Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Healing Time

Taking Time to Heal

If you are a new visitor here is the brief summary of my life:

Was married to a US Naval Officer who died in a training plane collision leaving me a single mom.
Remarried and had three more children.
Husband had an affair with an employee.
He and the employee hurt children and stole from our store.
They are in jail.
I am now a single mom again with five children.
I am trying frantically to keep our store open for business.
I got stuck with an unbelievable amount of debt and therefore may have to close the store.
We need $10, 000 immediately to keep the store open until the newly approved bank financing is processed and available for use eight weeks from now.
If we don't get money to pay the electric and cable bill the store will be closed by the end of this week.
(Ironically if we make it through the next eight weeks we will be at the year mark for when my ex was arrested.)

You can donate here if you want to help keep our store open.
Please consider being a part of our miracle!

Here is a new update:

I wrote one blog post, but when I went back to add pictures, all that writing has disappeared.  Not sure why it doesn't seem to be saved on the computer.

Last month, thanks to your prayers and the hard work on the part of both the prosecutors and the defense lawyer, and only two business days before his trial was to begin, a plea deal was made.  We were able to avoid a trial which has been my desperate plea since Jason was first arrested.  While some may disagree with how the system works I am relieved.  The plea deal was "life in prison without the possibility of parole for nineteen years."  None of the children had to testify.  Twelve jurors and the public was spared from being exposed to whatever evil is contained in the mountains of evidence the prosecution had from all the computers that we willingly turned over.  Let's be honest: only my pinkie nail wanted a trial so I could try to figure out how all this happened-what signs did I miss?  Right now the prosecutors and detectives know more about my life and ex-husband than I do.  But 99.9% of me is relieved-my kids are protected.  We can move on and begin healing now.  We have a timeframe.  Because honestly, a trial would just have created more questions for me since it is truly incomprehensible for a normal person to emotionally understand what actually happened.  Even if both Jason and the mistress truthfully explained what happened, I will always have, "Why? and What the....?"  So, now we try to move on and let the healing begin.

I was hoping to say that life is better now, but it is not.  That is why I have avoided this blog update as long as I have.  My friends who set up the Go FundMe have been urging me to get this written for weeks, but I am so tired of asking for help-of writing how much my life sucks that I just keep postponing it.  Plus I have been averaging 70 hour work weeks while our store gets new staff trained.

Back during the summer when we started the Go FundMe asking for $25,000 in money it was to help with the heat remodel, make other improvements on the house and get a new safer vehicle which are all requirements of social services for being able to keep my kids.  We had only been able to collect $11, 000 and I did not have signed divorce papers by the beginning of September with the full knowledge that winter was coming and we had no heat.  So, I leveraged the only asset I had left, which was the store and took out two horrible rapid repayment loans, because I had been reassured that as soon as the divorce was complete we would be able to refinance.  But now, since more and more debt keeps being reported by different vendors, the IRS, etc, normal refinancing is not working.  I just keep knocking on every door, asking for more time every single week.  I have taken only one paycheck since July because why pay payroll taxes on checks I cannot cash?  We have dried up all assets, listed new ones for sale, (anyone want a fixer up rental duplex?), we are reaching the end of the game plan.  It seems crazy to me that the #12 store in our region, that still had lines of customers going out the door this week even though it was February, could be shut down over not being able to get financing for $50, 000 because when we are talking about business $50, 000 is not that much money in today's day and age.  To my credit, and to the credit of loyal family, friends and customers, we have not defaulted on any loans.  I keep plugging away-but I HAVE to pay off the rapid refinance loans or we will LOSE the store.  We need $50, 000 asap (that is the loan amounts plus the interest) so that I can actually pay myself a wage and other store bills we are falling behind on each month instead of paying those loan companies $3500/month.  I have a business plan that shows how much I can afford to pay if anyone is willing to come in as a partner for the business or give me a decent loan with a regular interest rate.  If any of you can donate to help me pay both the store bills and my personal bills that I can't pay since I am not paying myself, please donate here.  Any money paid to the Go FundMe will go towards keeping the lights (and other basic bills like rent) on at both the store and home first, then any extra money above the next $10,000 will go towards store debt.  (Those rapid loans are why we have increased the amount needed on the Go FundMe.)  If you can't donate, then please just pray-I know that God has some mysterious plan for me and the kids.  Just pray that I have peace as I make decisions each week when it comes to the store.  I am open to all possibilities: hiring a manager and working another job to help pay off debt, selling the store, filing bankruptcy and closing the store, or doing what I have been doing: going to work each day to pay the bills and keeping the store going.  I could have walked away ten months ago....but I don't take the easy paths in life.  I was born a fighter and I believe that my store is worth fighting for.  Staying in the Steubenville area is worth fighting for which is why I this week I found a bank that can help this dream come true.  We just need help from our customers to help keep the lights on and internet running for the next two months until all the financing can be processed.

Two things I would like to address.  There seems to be some crazy rumors going around.

The first rumor is supposedly that "my mother-in-law posted Jason's bail last May."  Shame, shame on whichever people are spreading this vile rumor!!!!  My mother-in-law absolutely DID NOT post Jason's bail.  She informed his lawyer that Jason was exactly where he need to be.  His bail was posted by a military buddy who kept his wartime promise that he would put up bail if Jason was ever arrested.  He feels betrayed by the new charges that Jason's plea deal was for.  Unfortunately I have had no contact with this friend since July.  It hurts to have lost a friend that I thought I would always be able to count on if times were tough for me and the kids.  But I also know that this honorable person kept his promise and has been betrayed by a close friend he believed in.  He too needs to heal and protect himself.

The second rumor seems to be that my "children have had contact with their father."  THEY HAVE HAD NO CONTACT WITH THEIR DAD SINCE MAY 1ST!!!!  When the judge was talking about Jason breaking "no contact" orders at the plea deal last month, they were referring to him having contact with the mistress while they were both in jail.  In fact I turned over evidence of that contact after he was rearrested.  I found letters hidden in a heating vent in our duplex which I turned in as soon as I found them.  How do you know they children haven't had contact with him?  BECAUSE MY SOCIAL SERVICES CASE IS STILL NOT CLOSED.  If any contact had been made, my kids would be in the foster care system instead of safe at home with me.  My little ones do not understand what has happened.  They don't understand why they can't send their dad pictures or talk to him on the phone.  They keep asking why the judge thinks that their dad could hurt them if he is in jail.  Someday they will grow up and realize that they could be hurt by manipulation and that the judge's job is to protect them with these rules, but right now all they know is that they love their dad even though he did bad things and they can't tell him they miss him and love him.  They can't hear his voice to know he is okay.  Ask ANY foster care parent you know and they will tell you these are all normal reactions for any kid in foster care.  Kids who have been terribly hurt by their parents physically, emotionally and sexually can still love the person who hurt them.  That love MUST be honored so I do my best to honor their hurting hearts.  I tell them over and over that it will get easier and that they are loved and missed.  BUT I HAVE OBEYED EVERY RULE.  NO LETTERS, PHONE CALLS OR CONTACT HAS BEEN MADE.  In fact I am the one who has said absolutely no contact with any of the five children, not just the victims.  When each child turns 18 years old then they can personally decide if they want contact with their dad or not.

So, please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, stop spreading rumors.  It is a sin.  Let us all move on and heal.

Sorry that I don't have time to post pictures.

Again, thank you for all the prayers!!!

May the quiet healing of winter lead you all to the sweetness of spring,