Join me in Celebrating Malala Day on July 14 2014!

malala-yousafzai-time-100-feat

July 14, 2014 will be a very special day! It is the day in which we will celebrate Malala Day started by a young woman named Malala Yousafzai. It is also her 17th birthday.

As a young teenage girl shook the world with her story of triumph and perseverance after being attacked for pursuing her education. This is the day we have an opportunity to become part of a world wide movement and speak out for the millions of children that are denied education because of gender, socioeconomic, religious, political, or other needless reasons.

Malala was born (12 July 1997) in Mingora, the Swat District of north west Pakistan. She was named Malala, after Malalai, the famous Pashtun Heroine.

In 2012 Malala, 14, was on her way to school when a masked gunman came onto the bus, called her by name and shot her in the head as well as injuring several of her friends.

The question is why would a young girl be a target to a gunman?

malala-yousafzai-quotes

Malala was born in a part of the world where girls were banned from getting an education. In northwest Pakistan where Malala’s father, a poet and an education advocate himself, the Taliban began to take a tighter hold and began to invoke lifestyle bans from television to women’s education. Malala at the time was blogging anonymously for the BBC. Soon Malala and her father began to receive death threats that caused them to fear for their lives. Later, Malala was featured in a documentary for the New York times and started to receive awards such as the Pakistan national Youth Peace Prize which also heightened the Taliban’s awareness of who she was. She was then revealed as the author of the BBC blogs. At this time the Taliban leaders met and voted to kill her.

Malala Time Magazine

On October 9, 2012 the taliban attempted to assassinate Malala shooting her in the head. She miraculously survived and was moved to the United Kingdom for more specialized treatment. She was released in January of 2013. This attempt on Malala’s life ignited protests in Pakistan inciting 2 million people to sign the right to education bill in Pakistan. The first of it’s kind in Pakistan.

While the Taliban took public responsibility of their gross act saying that she was a symbol of  the infidels and obscenity, other Islamic leaders issued a fatwa against Taliban leaders countering that “there is no religious reason for shooting a schoolgirl”.

Malala’s courage to keep moving forward with her mission shined the light on the struggle of many children around the world. Girls especially are denied the right to education because of  social, economic, and political, and legal factors.

Malala Quote I will get my education

“Malala started the Malala Day to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. -malalafund.org

Malala One Child One teacher one book and one pen can change the world

“Malala Day is not my day. It is the day of every girl and every boy. It is a day when we come together to raise our voices, so that those without a voice can be heard.

“On my birthday last year, I stood before the United Nations and spoke up for girls’ rights. You stood with me, with letters, messages and photos of support. Thank you.

This year, we need to raise our voices even louder. I’m asking you to stand with me again on Malala Day to say: We are stronger than the enemies of education. We are stronger than fear, hatred, violence and poverty.

They thought that bullets would silence us, but they failed. Instead, out of that silence came thousands of voices. My birthday wish this year is that we all raise our voices for those under oppression, to show our own power and that courage is stronger than their campaign of fear.

The road to equality is long, but we will succeed if we walk it together. Please join me in raising your voice this Malala Day.”

I am so inspired by this young woman’s story of courage in the face of absolute hate and bigotry. Malala has chosen to fight back with standing on a firm foundation of her belief to see children that are free to receive an education. In a way it is amazing and rather divine that the war on terror would be led not by armed forces but by a young girl.

Malala’s life seems to be on a divine path. God had His hand on her in allowing her to survive an impossible situation. She embodies many of the qualities of those “heroes” of our past.  When she was given her “assignment” she was around the same age as another young girl named Mary who was given the task of carrying our Savior at around the same age.

Malala has a dream. A big dream that is transcendent of  the wars and politics of grown-ups and seeks peace to preserve the children of the world. Fighting with peace for peace. Her approach is reminiscent of Gandhi in her ability to see through negativity and peacefully focus on what is important…the children. They are afterall our future.

I’m not comparing Malala to these archetypes because of who she is but because of the choice she has made to embrace what has happened and obtain a powerful perspective and mission because of it. That is why I’m excited to share how you can be part of her mission by going to malalafund.org and join others in helping to fund edcuation for over 600 million girls around the world that could with education grow to be a positive force in changing the world!

“…fear and hopelessness died, strength power and courage was born.”

-Malala

What are you #strongerthan?

So I planned your Fourth of July for you…your welcome

Sunshine, warm breezes, blue skies and fluffy clouds! For most of us in the U.S. we are celebrating the best parts of summer including the fourth of July where we celebrate our Independence Day!!! If you are like me you might be looking for some last minute ways to celebrate with your family without taking to much time to plan. So I’ve planned the whole day for you!

Evening July 3rd: Call some friends and invite them to a fourth of July brunch if you are not already planning a cookout. Brunch will tend to be a lot less expensive, easier to prepare, and a little less intense in preparation. (No meats to marinate)!
Morning July 4th: Make some of these delicious 4th of July inspired recipes for your guests!

4th of July Brunch Ideas

  1. Berry Patchwork Tart  
  2. 4th of July Flag Toast
  3. Easy Berry Cheescake
  4. Lemon Yogurt Cake

Early Afternoon July 4th: Make some crafts with the kids

4th of July Crafts for Kids

  1. Popsicle Stick Flags
  2. 4th of July Twig Ornament
  3. Easy Fireworks Ring
  4. Memorial Day Ring Craft

Afternoon 4th of July: Water Bomb Fight!! Kids and grown-ups alike can have some fun with these easy to make sponge water bombs while working off those delicious breakfast calories!

How to make Sponge water bombs theinspiredcafe.com

How to make Sponge water bombs theinspiredcafe.com

Late Afternoon July 4th: After getting everyone cleaned up from crafting and playing in the water it might be about that time to eat again! You might already have plans to head over to a cook out with family and friends but if you don’t you can make some of these super quick 4th of July lunch recipes!

Quick and easy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Quick and easy 4th of July Meal Ideas

  1. Hotdog Bar
  2. Sweet Potato Fries
  3. Deviled Eggs
  4. Bacon Cheeseburger
  5. Roasted Potatoes

Evening July 4th: Check your city’s calendar for fourth of July celebrations and parades where you can enjoy firework shows put on by the city. I particular love going to see these shows because I don’t have to spend money on fireworks, spend the time setting them up, or worry about accidentally starting a fire! In addition, the shows are a lot more spectacular than I could have created. Plus there is no clean up! I’m sure that my husband would beg to differ because he actually enjoys setting up the fire works. Guys!

fireworks

(yeah…this so wouldn’t happen in my back yard!)

Bedtime: Talk with your kids about what the fourth of July means for our country and for their future. Talk about what freedom means and tie that in to the freedom that we have from sin through Christ’s work on the cross.

Have an awesome 4th of July!

 

 

 

Young Family: Victims of Gun Violence

Hello friends!

family with banner.jpg

How are you?

If you have been following my blog for a while you know about the night my whole family almost died due to gun violence. You know that my daughter was hit twice by two stray bullets and that how our home sustained a lot of damage because of the recklessness of those individuals.  We are slowly working on getting  back on track and moving forward with our lives. My daughter is almost all the way healed up and this weekend we will finally have the contractors in the house! I’m so excited because we can get closer to listing our house. I believe that it will be a beautiful home for someone else when it’s all fixed up. We just don’t feel like we can move back in there after what happened.

Although the insurance is covering most of the damage there are still out of pocket costs because my daughter had to have surgery the night she was injured. We are currently living outside of our home on the opposite side of town so we’ve incurred more expenses for gas and food. We are also looking to find counseling for our family. Unfortunately there is not a lot of help available right now from our city in terms of paying for counseling so that will be another out of pocket expense.

We are so grateful for everyone that has rallied around our family for support, prayers, gifts, and just being the hands and feet of Christ in our lives! Many people have asked how they can help either through monetary gifts, food, prayer, etc. We do have a facebook page that we started where you can see more frequent updates on where we are in our situation. We’ve also started a gofundme campaign to help offset the living expenses and pay for the medical bills.


Please don’t feel obligated to help if you cannot. And if all you can do is pray please pray that we find a good home to move into before the next school year starts. Please pray that our current home sells quickly to a well deserving family, and please pray that God leads us to good family counseling.

If you can help financially you can go to our GoFundMe page and donate there. We will continue to update the page with videos and information as we progress in our journey forward. One of our goals is to put back up our anti-violence play called A Song for Peace after we are settled again. I can’t wait to share more with you about that! This is definitely needed in our city as crime continues to increase.

Thank you for your continued support here at The Inspire(d) Cafe. I believe great things are to come!

God Bless

Avoiding Being Hit

Today as I was driving back to my mother in law’s house I saw the most interesting thing.

puppy

As I came up a stop light I noticed the flashing lights of an ambulance in the oncoming traffic. No siren. Just lights. And it was moving slowly.

Then saw this little white bundle of fluff running down the street. It was a little puppy that was running frantically trying to avoid the oncoming cars. My heart jumped because this was rush hour and I thought for sure he was going to get hit. The next thing I knew, the ambulance door popped open and a female EMT hopped out and started to chase the puppy dog. It was honestly kind of funny and sad at the same time because the puppy bolted away from her in the other direction. Just then a cop car pulled around the corner and stopped in the middle of the road to try and block the dog from running into oncoming traffic. That police officer jumped out and started to run around to catch the puppy. But then I think he realized how futile it was when the dog bolted away from him at lightening speed. After a few times back and forth the police officer gave a self-deprecating chuckle and went back into his car.

I think he realized how ridiculous he looked trying to chase this animal around with many many onlookers.

I thought to myself how sad that this little animal couldn’t pause long enough to receive the aid from the EMT or the police officer because he was so scared of his surroundings. His fear blinded him from the help that was right in front of him that could have taken him away from the busy streets and into a calmer situation of peace.

Of course I am embellishing a little bit that the dog might have understood that the officer was only trying to help, but I couldn’t help but think of how us humans can react the same way in the midst of what seems like a chaotic situation.

Sometimes we are like that puppy running back and forth trying to put our fires in our every day life so much that we don’t have time to pause and see the help that is in front of us.

Perhaps you feel like that little dog trying to dodge large, fast and dangerous obstacles that seem to be flying at you from every direction. Perhaps you are working so hard to avoid being hit that you are spinning your wheels and have become burnt out and no longer can see the big picture. Maybe it’s time to pause and look up. See the hand that is outstretched towards you to help you.

I am thankful that God is not like that officer who gave up and went back into his car after a few attempts. I am grateful that God continues to pursue His children passionately to help and comfort us.

Sometimes it just takes one moment to stop, drop on our knees, and reach our hands upwards to receive the aid awaiting us.

How to Take Care of Yourself Under Stress

We all experience it in our lives. It’s impossible to avoid. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and smacks you in the back of the head…literally…with a tension headache.

Manage Stress

Stress affects us all.

“Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.” (WebMD)

The body will respond the same to stress whether it is “good or bad” stress. A death of a loved one, injury, job loss or even winning the lottery will cause your body to react because a CHANGE that requires adjustment has occurred. Cortisol levels will rise, nutrients will be depleted and neurotransmitters start acting like chickens in a hail storm if you know what I mean (and I think you do). If there is no rest between stressful events, the body will become distressed and more severe symptoms will follow such as (but not limited to):

  • elevated blood pressure,
  • upset stomach
  • tension headaches
  • body pain
  • lack of sleep
  • chest pain
  • asthma
  • anxiety

Sometimes people turn to drugs, alcohol, tobacco or even food to relieve stress. These self-medicating habits can worsen the symptoms by continuing to harm the body and continue the cycle of not allowing the body time to recover from the physiological changes that occurred during the stressful event. Did you know that The National Institute of Mental Health says:

  • 43%t of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • 74% - 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace.
  • Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

These are crazy statistics if you ask me!

So what is a girl (or guy) to do since we really can’t avoid stress in our lives?

The best thing you can do is find ways to relax and give your body a much needed break to heal, rest and restore the nutrients lost during the stressful events.

Another way to aid your body in the restoration process is by taking supplements.  There are host of supplements that you can take but please note that supplements do not replace a well balanced diet of fruits, veggies and whole grains.  Here are some ways you can give your body a little extra to get it back to ground zero.

Magnesium: This multipurpose supplement helps to relax the body while also easing anxiety. The starting dose of magnesium is usually 200 mg and is best in a glycinate or chelate form. Take at least one hour prior to bedtime.

Melatonin: For those who have trouble falling asleep, melatonin is a natural time shifter. It will help patients fall asleep and is also taken one hour prior to bedtime. It works best in a slow-release formula. The starting dose of melatonin is 1 mg. I will often combine melatonin and magnesium in patients with sleep difficulties.

B Complex: The B vitamins generally get depleted in stressful conditions, but vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) depletion has been linked to all types of headaches. B6 is best taken as a complex with the other B vitamins. Starting doses of 25 mg per day help to keep headaches away. B Complex also aids in memory, reducing stress and reducing PMS symptoms (yay, right?)

Omega-3s: The omega-3 oils (EPA and DHA) act as potent anti-inflammatories. Omega-3 fats work to lubricate both muscles and joints, thereby decreasing pain. Most of my patients take approximately 2-3 grams per day of total omega-3.

Curcumin: There are many natural anti-inflammatories that prevent worsening pain in stressful conditions. These include curcumin, willow bark and boswellia. Curcumin is extracted from turmeric and appears to boost the immune system while also preventing pain. The starting dose of curcumin is approximately 2 grams per day.

For me, I notice that my hair begins to get very thin when I am stressed…and that only stresses me out more! Within the B Complex Vitamins,  Biotin is really a great defense for me to maintain the health of my hair  and skin. During this stressful time in our family’s life I was really glad for the Biotin sent to me from Eu Natural to keep me on track. You can check out their website at eunatural.com for a ton of great information on natural health! You can also  purchase their all vegetarian vitamins here if you are interested.

biotin Eu Natural

Lastly, I need to stress (pun intended) the importance of getting good sleep during this time of change in your life. A good sleep practice will help your body get the much needed rest it needs to restore itself back to good health.

deep-sleep-sweet-dreams-infographic

I get it. I know first hand that there are things in our lives that we cannot control. We feel overcome and overwhelmed at times. But there are a few things that we can hopefully take care of with our lifestyle to fight the effects of stress through our diet and sleep habits. When you begin to feel especially stressed remember what Jesus told us in His Word:

I have overcome the world

*This is a sponsored post. All of the opinions are solely mine*

A Little Sunshine in My Day

In the midst of the chaos that has been happening I got a few surprises in the mail that really made me smile! A few months before the shootings happened I was invited to join POPSUGAR Moms Select team. It’s an amazing site with lots to offer in terms of lifestyle, entertainment news, mom blogs and much more.

I recently received a box of goodies at my front door on a particularly hard day with dealing with repairs, meeting dead ends with finding a contractor, and just being sheer worn out physically and mentally. That little “Must have” box totally brightened my day!

I always believed that the little things can brighten your day like fresh flowers, a handmade card, a personal gift, a cute dress, or even bright lipstick. But it was just awesome to be on the receiving end of someone else’s gift giving and see this concept work in my life as well! It was amazing to me how God timed it out that I would receive a “gift” in the midst of all of this hardship.

I’m sure you guys are ready for a break from all of this heavy stuff. I am too! My daughter is getting better every day, the kids will be on summer break soon, we found an awesome general contractor, and the repairs are getting done to our home. We even went to some open houses yesterday with the family! I am beginning to feel more hopeful every day!

Now on to the fun stuff!

Here are some of the items I got from POPSUGAR MOMS SELECT MUST HAVE BOX!
June POPSUGAR MOMS SELECT must have box
I loved the colors and the packaging of the products. That’s important to me and makes me feel like the people creating their products care about what they are doing. My favorite thing were the hair ties/bracelets. Pretty and practical are the best combinations don’t you think? I’m really looking forward to reading “The One and Only” by Emily Griffin. The chips are gone of course! I let my kids, nephew and niece taste test the chips. I only got a couple as a result! HA! I’m not a huge fan of barbecue chips in general but I can say these had a very rich flavor with a little kick at the end. If you like barbecue chips than you would probably enjoy these!
photo (2)
This is me trying to get a selfie in the scarf. I couldn’t get a picture I was happy with. After like 10 pictures I started feeling ridiculous that I was spending so much time on it! So instead I just made a collage. Collages can make one boring photo look a little more interesting, right?

It is a beautiful scarf with a lovely pattern, nice material, and rich color. It’s also coincidently one of my favorite colors as well. Unfortunately it’s too hot where I live right now to imagine wearing this out but I would consider carrying to as a wrap to an indoor event where the air condition can make it freezing inside!

Guess what? POPSUGAR is giving away a coupon for $10 off of a 3 month subscription! You can go to  https://musthave.popsugar.com/ for more information!

Here’s the info!

  • Code: JUNESELECT10
  • Type: Save $10 on a 3-month subscription
  • Start Date: Today
  • End Date: 6/30/14

 I hope that you can take advantage of this offer and/or gift them to someone else to brighten their day like mine was brightened by receiving them!

God Bless!

POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.)

Count It All Joy

count-it-all-joy

A better perspective of trials…

I keep thinking about this verse over and over in my head as we continue to meet up against more trials after the shooting. Now that my daughter’s physical wounds are healing up I see that we need time to work on emotional healing. New trials are springing up in ways that I never would have imagined before but thank God for His word so we can have the right perspective of our situation.

What we are going through now has a purpose.

What you are going through right now has a purpose too.

That is help you to be firm in your purpose, fixed in your faith, unwavering and fixed in your resolution.

You can do more for the Kingdom when you are steadfast, complete and lacking in nothing in your preparation for what is to come.

So count it all joy, my friend.

Count it all joy.

Moment By Moment

I-need-the-every-hour

What are you doing right now?

What do you see?

What do you hear?

How do you feel…right now?

That’s what life is like for me right now.

Moments.

I try my best to focus on each moment one at a time. And then the day passes.

And then another day.

Some moments are filled with shadows of what could have been. They swirl around my head fighting to get in, looking for one little opportunity to penetrate my mind and rob me of my moments.

The moments in which I play a game with my children, or laugh at a silly antic, or lift their voices in song.

That’s how children live after all. Moment by moment.

They don’t spend extra energy worrying about tomorrow or fussing about yesterday. They spend their energy on right now. Soaking up life through touch, taste, smell, sight and sounds. They are the moment masters!

micaiah-on-swing

I’m trying to take that lesson from my children right now. They don’t sit around thinking about what could have happened that night we could have died. They are truly saying thank you to God by embracing life.

My kids teach me so much every day.

Right now, as I write, I am happy. Happy to have an opportunity to share my thoughts with others through writing. Happy to take the time to process my experiences through this medium. I’m happy because I love to write and I’m doing it…right now.

It’s amazing what happens when you take a break and live in the moment. It seems like anxiety can’t survive, and stress can’t hang around too long. Dark thoughts can’t stick around when I’m thanking God for sunshine. The remembrance of gunshots can’t ring in my ears when I focus on my children’s laughter.

But it’s a battle I have to fight moment by moment. Thank God I don’t have to fight it alone. Thank God for family and friends to help shoulder some of the burden.

Thank God for His Spirit.

Thank God that this is not the end.  It is just one moment in the journey of life that will one day reveal more fully reveal God’s glory.

going-to-park

Coping After Being Affected by Violence

I’m going to be honest with you…

coping after violence

I’ve been going through the stage of anger a lot lately. I’m angry that because of one person’s actions my whole life was turned upside down. Because of one person’s selfish choice, 10 stray bullets went through my home while my kids were asleep resulting in  my daughter getting  injured with an automatic weapon. I’m angry that I don’t have a place to call my home right now. I’m angry that I’m so tired at the end of the day that my brain barely works after dealing with the insurance companies, the physical labor of repairing my home, caring for my daughter’s wounds and caring for my family in general. Our lives were forever changed because of someone else’s choices. I’m angry that I’m angry.

But..

We are not orphans. We are God’s children. We are not without hope. I know I can’t stay in the place of anger but I will let it run it’s normal course in processing because it’s a part of our humanity. But I will not let it consume me. Yes I will let it fuel my work. It will fuel my desire to live life fully, to focus on God more, to love my children and husband more, and to engage with my friends and family more, to produce even more meaningful art.

And even to be more fearless.

It hurts still. My eyes still fill with tears when I remember that night. It still puts pressure on my relationship with my husband. Its forcing  us out of our introverted comfort zones to talk to each other rather than withdraw. We are forced  to show each other our wounds, to pour the salve of communication on each other’s wounds and help each other heal. It forces us to listen…really listen to our children and embrace any opportunity to help them process what happened. I say this because I know the alternative to giving into hurt will only breed negativity which if embraced will mean “they” have accomplished their goal. And if we don’t want to allow negativity to win we have to do what Jesus commanded us to do in His Word.

Forgive our enemies…

Forgive when it hurts, forgive when it’s hard and it does not make sense. Forgive even if you will never forget. Forgive and release the pain that could grow into a bitter root and give birth to bitter fruit. Bitter fruit that only feeds the pain that could grow cancerous and stunt our growth as humans, as people, as believers in the God who saved us that night. Unforgiveness will grow cancerous, penetrating every cell of our being, stunting the forward growth of the abundant life promised to us by Christ – the abundant life that He died to give us. As children of God, what we experience is not just about us and it’s not just about the now.

All things work together for good for them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

Maybe this experience wasn’t just for us. Maybe it was for other people as well. Maybe there is someone out there who might grow closer to Him because of our trials. We chose to share our story with the media to tell what God has done for us. To proclaim His goodness, His mercy and His grace that He showed to us that night. I discovered that I wasn’t afraid to die because I knew where I would be at the end of the day. That is only possible with God. Now I need too…

..Trust Him.

Trust that God knows my future. Trust that He has plans to help us not to harm us. Trust that what we went through will be for His glory. Like when He allowed Lazarus to die, just so Christ could raise him back up and glorify God. So Lazarus would also have a story to tell others. I have to trust that my daughter’s testimony will deepen her walk with God. That one day what she does with her life will touch many others’ lives for the kingdom. Trust that the younger children will grow in their faith having seen God’s hand so closely in their lives. Trust that God knew what He was doing that night.

When trials arise I always have this thought…

It is for this reason that we have our faith. It is for these times that we believe what we believe. This is an opportunity to practice what we preach, to grab a hold of God’s word and test it. To see and experience God in a deep and profound way. To go to the next level with my walk with God. This is an opportunity…not a set back.

Here is an interview we did concerning the story.

The Night My Whole Family Almost Died

I have been dreading writing this post for a while. I know that I need to write it. I know that it will probably help me process this event.

But it’s still hard. I’m sharing this story not to shock you or to even speak out about violence. It’s to share about God’s grace and glorify Him for what He has done for me and my family.

Monday May 19, 2014 was the most scariest night of my life. It’s the night that my whole family could have died.

family

My mother had been visiting with me for the entire week. We had a great time planting flowers, cleaning, redecorating, hanging out and talking. We spent one whole day moving furniture around in my children’s room and generally sprucing  things up around the house. We spent time talking about life, dreams, marriage advice and God. It was a very special visit for me because my mom lives in another state and we don’t get to see one another on a regular basis.

me and mom

At the end of the week my dad was going to drive three hours into town to pick up my mom. My dad, who is rarely late anywhere,  seemed to be delayed the entire day for various reasons. My dad had to turn around at one point to get his forgotten credit card. Next he ended up stopping to take a 45 minute nap, and then decided to stop at my brothers house before coming to mine to say hello. I was looking forward to seeing my father and congratulating him on his recent teaching award from the University of Maryland!

That evening I was talking to my mom while ironing my clothes and preparing for a print shoot I had booked for the next day. I was very excited about this particular project and was looking forward to having a fun shoot down at the zoo the next day. My mom was in the kitchen, my second daughter and son were in their beds asleep. I had just sent my oldest daughter to bed and told her I would be there in a minute to say good night.

As I continued to chat with my mother we heard loud noises that sounded like gunshots in the distance. But we thought that maybe they were fire crackers. A few minutes later we heard some more “firecracker” sounds  They sounded closer. This time something didn’t feel quite right. I could feel my blood pressure rise slightly.

“Is M banging a toy on the wall?” My mom asked talking about my son.

“No, those had an echo to it. I think they were gunshots.” I answered as I kept ironing away.

Not even minutes after my daughter  went to lay down in bed, the tile of the fire place exploded as a bullet charged through my living room.

“GET DOWN! EVERYONE GET DOWN!” I yelled.

I could hear my daughter screaming in the other room. I crouched down and ran towards the girls’ bedroom continuing to yell at everyone in the house to get down. I noticed that my daughter wasn’t quite on the ground and still on her bed. I pulled her off of her bed as my 8 year old ran towards us and brought a blanket to her sister.

My daughter continued to yell loudly and I initially thought that my daughter was still screaming because of the sounds of the gunshots. My son opened his bedroom door and rubbed his sleepy eyes. I remember thinking his 6 year old hands were so little even as I yelled at him to get down. He momentarily ran away from me and then finally understood what I was saying and got on the floor in the hallway with me and the girls. I looked at Hadessa ready to comfort her and noticed the blood on the ground and on her leg. It finally dawned on me.

My ten year old daughter had been shot.

“Mom! Call 911! She’s been shot! Hadessa has been shot!”

Around this time my husband who was in the driveway and heard the shots came rushing into the house. I saw so many emotions run through his being in a split second.

Anger. A desire to go out and find who did this. Controlling himself to handle business and get help to his daughter.

My mother made her way to be with my daughter as I got the other two children to another room. I put them under a futon and put blankets over them telling them to stay put. Thank God they listened to me this time.

I made my way back and forth checking on the children, answering questions to the 911 operator, and keeping my daughter engaged and awake. The only thing I could think of to say was…

“Jesus”

I could only call on His name to keep Hadessa’s attention during this time. She screamed and screamed as we waiting for the Paramedics to arrive. It felt like forever. It hurts to write this. To remember how she told me how much she was hurting. How her legs were burning, and then how she was getting cold. I won’t forget as she begged me with her eyes to make the pain stop.

I wished it were me instead.

My mother and me prayed as my husband continued on the phone with 911. We found out later that the Paramedics had to wait for the parameter to be secure by the police. We found out later that 3 other men had been shot. 2 had been killed and one would die the next day.

All over some stupid drugs.

The paramedics finally came in and started assessing the situation. I rode in the ambulance with my daughter, and the paramedic did a wonderful job of helping to calm my daughter down. She was such a trooper. On the way to the hospital the paramedic got a call on his radio that there was shooting coming from his parent’s neighbor’s house. We also heard that a mile away another man had been shot and killed in a home where 8 children were staying.

My city called it the “Night of Terror”. And it truly was.

At Riley Children’s Hospital the nurses greeted us with wide smiles. I’m sure they were trained to do that. I found it creepy. But I’m sure it helps the children. I was glad that she was getting medical attention from some of the best medical staff in the world.  It seemed like it took forever for them to check her out as more family friends and church members poured in to show their support. My sister in law’s sister (yes we are that close) did a great job of keeping Hadessa distracted. They gave her morphine for the pain finally. Her pajamas crumpled on the floor in the corner of the triage room. They were soaked in blood. I watched a police officer put them in a brown bag and give it to the detective.

After the surgeon assessed her they told me that one bullet had grazed her thigh and another bullet had entered her bottom from the side. They found the bullet in her underwear. No arteries, veins, or bones had been hit. No organs had been hit. There was no fragments of anything found. She was going to be okay. I wanted to shout Hallelujah! I knew that this was a miracle!

They took her to surgery and cleaned her wounds while we stayed in a special waiting room with our friends and family. The social worker came back and told us everything was going to be okay. She told her that my daughter was the strongest kid she had ever seen. That describes my daughter perfectly. I have admired her strength and faith all the way up until now. As I write this it has been 15 days since the shootings. I believe with all of my heart that the Lord has something great for her as well as all of my children.

Every day the Lord reveals how much of a miracle this night was for my family. Not only were we alive but I found out later that at least 10 bullets went through our home. More so:

  • 1 bullet went through the window where my youngest daughter had been sleeping. The bullet actually entered her princess pillow that she had been sleeping on
  • If it had went through the pillow it would have hit my oldest in the head.
  • A bullet went through the kitchen where my mother was but she was not hit.
  • My husband was outside getting read to get something to eat. The gun man ran through the back of the house and not the front where my husband was.
  • The Lord delayed my father from arriving to protect him.
  • Remember when I said my mom and me moved the furniture around? We moved the beds out of the position where the 2 bullets would have went through where she lays her head at night.
  • 5 people were shot that night and only my daughter survived.
  • I feel like the entire city has rallied around our family  to support us.
  • I feel God’s love through those who have reached out to us. God’s word means so much more to me now. The words “It’s good to see you” mean so.much.more.

Please pray for our family’s emotional healing. Please pray that things work out smoothly with insurance and such. Right now State Farm has deemed our home livable which I TOTALLY disagree with. They sent someone out to put duct tape over the bullet holes to the outside and told us it’s in good enough shape to live in. They don’t really care about the psychological trauma of going back to live in a house where my children could see bullet holes. They don’t seem to have any compassion or understanding of my daughter’s situation. These holes were not caused by a garden tool, they were caused by bullets. In addition a child was injured. I think this situation calls for some special understanding. I am sure that a State Farm Agent would NEVER agree if it was their child. Please pray for forgiveness and wisdom on my part. Here is a scripture I have been reading over and over again.

I will extol the Lord at all times;

    his praise will always be on my lips.

I will glory in the Lord;

    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the Lord with me;

    let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;

    he delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant;

    their faces are never covered with shame.

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;

   he saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,

    and he delivers them.

Psalm 34:1-7

Here are some video updates made a few weeks after the incident.