Holiday Feasting:  Bacon, Pecans, & Blue Cheese Green Beans

Howdy y’all

First up on my Holdiay Feasting series of blog recipes is my favorite way to enjoy green beans. A few years ago I played around with a few recipes for green beans casseroles and created this deliciousness treat that has now become a traditional dish with my family. Seriously, bacon, pecans, and blue cheese! I had myself at bacon! This recipe is simple and relatively quick leaving more time for other recipes or the reason for this joyous holiday. Celebrating all that we are thankful for with our loved ones. 

Ingredients:

– 1 lb fresh green beans 

– 4 slices of bacon 

– 3/4 cup of blue cheese crumbles 

– 1/3 cup chopped pecans

– 2 cups of ice

Directions: 

  • Chop stems of green beans
  • Boil green beans
  • Fry bacon to extra crispy 
  • Drain green beans and shock in ice bath until completely cooled
  • Drain green beans and pat dry
  • Toss in pan with bacon grease 
  • Add blue cheese crumbles and allow to melt
  • Last stir in chopped pecans and bacon

Quick, simple, and delicious. 

 
 
 
   
  

Enjoy, 

Sydney Charming 

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This Is My Confession

Big girls don’t cry right? If only that were true! So I wrote about PMDD in The Fear of Falling Apart II, and how it can bring me to tears. Of course, life must go on, and I can’t let it define me. Even though I can be in an incredible amount of pain, sometimes I have too much going on to stay crying about. How do I pull myself together and look put together?

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Let me introduce you to my best friend for that, Confessions of a Concealaholic by Benefit. The current kit I have was a little dismembered by one of my Godsons that wanted to color.
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It’s s adorably packaged like a diary. Inside, there’s a mirror! Perfect if you’re using it on the go.
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There’s also a booklet, detailing how to use each product, creatively written like journal entries.
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My knowledge and use of make products is not very vast, but this takes me from a blotchy-eyed mess to a glamorous bright eyed beaut.
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My questions for y’all:

Has anyone else used this fabulous miracle? What did you think?

Any other recommendations?

A Family Tradition: Quinceañera

I remember turning 14 and my mom asking me if I wanted to have a quinceanera. (These extravagant birthday parties take about a whole year in advance of planning.) “No thank you,” I replied. I was a really shy kid. A crowd of people watching me attempt a dance. Nope.

 One of my cousin’s recently had her Quinceanera in our family’s hometown of D’Hanis, Texas. Emily has grown into a beautiful lovely young lady. I remember there was quite a big scare when she was born. Her mother is my second cousin. (It’s weird cause she looks much like my mom but she’s family so that makes sense.) Anyway, my cousin Donna went into labor at just a mere 25 weeks of pregnancy. I remember Emily was so tiny. There was neonatal experts taking care of her.

 She made it through and now she’s 15 years old! I’m not really close with her but a birthday celebration is a huge milestone and it was amazing to see who she has become.

 She was surrounded by her parents, and school friends. She still seems kind of quiet and shy, just like I was.   Quinceaneras usually have a Mass at church, then a dinner followed by a waltz and then a dance for everyone to join in. While the finally set ups for the dinner were taking place we were entertained by some mariachis and a little dancing. I had to leave before the dance to get back up to Austin but again. I love getting celebrate and see how lovely of a little lady Emily has grown into. 

Fear of Falling Apart II: Living with PMDD

It’s absolutely life crippling! The overwhelming rush of anxiety, the excruciating pain that brings you to tears and the depressing thoughts that consume you. As soon as it starts I wish it would stop. Heck, I wish it would never even start. 

Today, I’m trying second by second to pass the time. I started trying to organize my clothes, so that I can take some for donations to flood victims. Here I am, two hours later with barely any progress. I have to keep stopping because the cramps back pain fell like someone is stabbing me with red hot iron rod trying to brand me. Lay down, stretch, cry, get up move a few pieces of clothes, feel a surge of pain, feel like passing out, fight tears, sit down, lay my head in my knees, fight more tears, hug my legs so that I’m in a fetal position, give up, lay down cry and repeat.

So what is PMDD? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Say what? Premenstrual? Isn’t that PMS? The answer is yes, but it’s much more severe. The cramps and back pain, the emotional and behavioral symptoms are intensified.

Relationships with friends, family and loved one are often damaged. My family has learned to be understanding and supportive. They help me by asking about my diet, giving friendly reminders to consume plenty of calcium and vitamins. I’ve lashed out a few time or broken down in tears with them. They’ve prayed with me and help through it.

Ugh relationships! I know I sure have jumped the gun on scaring some away. The anxiety creeps in and takes over. I wanted nothing more than to be hugged and comforted through this time. Usually it comes across as me being needy, because I’m not ready to reveal what I’m actually going through. “Oh hey, btw, I have PMDD it’s like PMS but a million times worse. Now hug me and don’t let go until it’s over but watch what you say to me please.” Even my best friend now still gets frustrated because I bottle up a lot of what I’m feeling and thinking and lash out little things I normally wouldn’t mind.

I don’t like that I have to go through this every month. I especially don’t want to burden anyone else. It’s 10 days! 10 days that will eventually pass. I forget how intense it can be until the next month rolls around and I am back on the floor uncontrollably cry because of the pain and emotional waves I’m feeling. It seem to have amplified with some of the recent stresses I’ve felt. My best friend helped me discover I’m very expressive with my thoughts, in my writing about things, I wouldn’t otherwise say out loud. We’ve worked on some of my communicating what I’m feeling through writing. Making writing therapeutic and sometimes a way for getting that turmoil out. It has helped us both. As you can now understand some of my more personal articles have been working through these things and more like letters. My friend has often read my writings and told me they had no idea that’s what was going on in my head.

I captured this picture of myself trying to fight the awful thoughts going through my head and the physical pain I am feeling. No filtering, this is me at, what I think is my worst reflection of myself. I have been cry all day. Thoughts normally that would never cross my mind anxiously build up. “I am home alone. My dog is my only friend. I’m hurting so much right now and what if I pass out and nobody knows. Where is my friend. Why isn’t he here. Am I doing something wrong? I haven’t let him get to know me because I keep so much thoughts hidden inside. When will this pass? What if he doesn’t like who he thinks am I. I feel like I’m about to pass out. What if he doesn’t really know me. Is this a panic attack? I need to tell him all this stuff now. Understand that this passes and I will be back to my sarcastic busy self soon. Busy self, I have so much I have to do. Am I too busy? Am I not giving enough attention to all the people I care about? I can’t move. My back hurts so bad. I need to sit down.” All this within seconds, on repeat in my head. Whatever hormones I get an excise of during this time, that makes me feel like there’s an emotional and physical storm happening to me, I strongly dislike you!

It’s been so hard living away from all my loved ones. Writing, taking hikes, and working on recipes help when I can pull myself together. There are days were just turning in bed feel too much to bare. Sometimes I wish to be able to move back and be around all of my family and close friends. Then, like right now, something happens that helps me be at ease. Scrolling down Facebook someone posted Psalm 55:22.

“Cast your cares on the Lord & He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”

I know I’m not alone and God is here with me. This is temporary and I will get through it. Until then I have to remember to redirect my thoughts to prayers and just talking with God. I pray for all the ladies, and their loved one, out there going through the same thing. Have patience and peace you’ll get through it. I pray for anyone that has long term anxiety, depression or chronic pain. I know that is a different monster to battle than what I face. Just breathe and even though I may not personally know you, know that I understand a little of what you’re going through and I’m praying for you.

The Fear of Falling Apart

For the past few months I’ve been struggling with some health issues. Recently, I think a little depression has been added into the mix because of how overwhelming everything has been. I’m so thankful for my friend being there, every step of the way.

We’ve been through a lot of unfortunate events, in a very small amount of time together. I’m talking about Murphy’s Law in full overdrive effect. We’ve also had some little accomplishments, definitely worth celebrating. We don’t live in the same city, but we’re not too far from each other. Through all these struggles, my friend has managed to at least call me everyday. Sometimes to ask how I am doing, sometime to tell me what they are going through, and sometimes just to talk. Occasionally, one of us will make the drive, or will both meet somewhere in the middle. We’ve become best friends and each other’s other half, helping each other with anything and everything from work, friends and family, to should I take a nap? But how much is too much? When a promise is made, to what extent should the promise be upheld?
A traumatizing event made me latch on to my dear friend even more, because they promised they’d be there through everything. For a moment, they were gone and everything went wrong. Well I guess, nothing went as planned and I was alone. I couldn’t get the experience out of my mind. I wanted to recover, but every time I would talk to my friend, they just didn’t understand and it made me feel even more alone. I began to be consumed with bitterness and anger. I desperately wanted to be comforted by my friend, but every time I was around them or even spoke to them I was taken back to that hurt and pain and the fact that they weren’t physically there to help me. Even after a good day, talking to them, I felt watery eyed and heavy. As if I had an anchor pulling me down a bottomless ocean.
Scrolling through some old pictures, I came across a video clip of, This is Gospel by Panic at the Disco, from The Gospel Tour. (Yes, I went to that concert. Definitely a blast from the high school past but still loved it!) I looked up the lyrics:

This is gospel for the fallen ones
Locked away in permanent slumber
Assembling their philosophies
From pieces of broken memories

If you love me let me go
If you love me let me go
‘Cause these words are knives that often leave scars
The fear of falling apart
And truth be told, I never was yours
The fear, the fear of falling apart
Don’t try to sleep through the end of the world
And bury me alive
‘Cause I won’t give up without a fight

Reading that and listening to the song once again, I thought I need space. I thought I just need time away without communication from my friend, so that I can start to heal. It was like I was taking one step forward and two steps back. Just not going anywhere. I thought make a jump that will help me run out of that toxic dance.  Or back to my other analogy, let go of the anchor so I can float back up myself.
Crazy thing, a few days to clear my head, and I love how God unveils himself in front of me. I came across this article : 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone Fighting Depression . Now I’m not trying to harm myself or anyone. I just feel sad, even though there’s some pretty spectacular things happening around me. Some of the key things the author mentioned caught my attention.

 “Telling someone happiness is a choice just isn’t true. In fact, if we skip passed our pain and grief, we miss out on an opportunity for God to comfort us.”


“Stop putting the pressure on yourself for something only God can achieve. Depression is too big to battle alone. God will give us more than we can handle, but He’ll never ask us to handle it alone. Yes, you can start exercising and eating better and making new friends and all of these things might help for a moment, but they won’t heal the root problem. You need Jesus. He’s the only thing that sustains.”


Right there in that last part, I realized I was putting way to much pressure and expectations on just one person. I am so grateful for my friend even helping as much as they have. Now I realize, what I should have know all along, God is with me. I am not alone and have never been alone. The times I broke down in tears, the anger, the sadness, he’s been there. I just wasn’t listening. Something I’ve written about plenty of times, that God is always with us, His Spirit is in us, and completely lost sight of that. Yesterday’s mass readings, actually made my happily laugh a little (1 John 3:18- 24) : 

Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.


As if God, was like are you hearing me now! I am here with you, I will help you through this. And just for some extra reassurance listen to this Gospel reading next (John 15: 1- 8) :

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,


I hope that my friend can forgive me for expecting so much from them. I’m still getting better and I know one day this will just be another hill or mountain I’ve climbed. I know that I’m almost there and when I reach the top all the things that terrified me will just make the view so much more spectacular.

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Taste Texas: Houston: Bellaire: Cafe 101 & Hong Kong Dim Sum

Just before my 27th birthday, I decided to visit some of my best friends in Houston. I love that they love to eat delicious food like me!

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I arrived Friday night and within 30 minutes I was on The Wave. It’s a shuttle bus service that’s $15 per person. They will pick and drop along their routes. Since my friend’s place was along their routes we called and scheduled our picks and drop offs. It was a party inside, with black lights, music, and a pole.

The rest of the night was spent, celebrating another friend’s birthday at Gloria’s with VIP bottle service and salsa dancing. Well, mostly dancing. We’re all about the same age and just about in the same places in our lives, and don’t find it fun getting drunk and having a hangover.

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Since none of us woke up with a hangover, we were up early and ready to eat. My friend Trish decided to take us to Cafe 101 in Bellaire. First, it’s gorgeous inside, I’m biased cause my favorite color is purple. Purple and silver detailed decorated wall and seats. If it were after sunset, it would definitely have a romantic atmosphere. We went for lunch so the atmosphere was fun and energetic with top hits music playing.

imageTrish and Darvin ordered the kimchi hotpot, and a side of the spicy salmon sushi roll. Dante ordered the Shitoki mushroom hotpot. I ordered Singaporean noodles and also side of the spicy salmon sushi roll. The hotpots had a great flavor. Stir them around and you’ll find a few chunks of bone. Now that’s what gives the soup stock a rich flavor. The Singaporean noodles, were glass noodles in a light yellow curry sauce with chicken and shrimp. Just enough curry to get it a hint of a little kick but not too much to over power the dish. Mhmm! Oh, and don’t forget the spicy salmon sushi rolls. Whew, they were good and spicy. Glad I also got some Thai Tea with tapioca pearls to cool that down.

imageSince my birthday was coming up, we got all dressed up in pink and went out to Midtown for the night. Started at Drinkery and danced a little bit until everyone else met up with us. Then headed to Red Door. Upstairs was fun not so crowded and great music to dance and sing-a-long to. (When I go out I really don’t care much for drinking. I just love to dance!) We checked out downstairs but it was way too crowded. Being squished against a stinky, sweaty stranger attempting a bad dance move and spilling most of your drink on yourself or the person next to you is not my idea of fun. Thank goodness we headed back upstairs really quickly. Dance, dance, dance! About 1:20am we decided to leave early, pick up a few pizzas and go back to Trish’s and play a game of Cards Against Humanity.

Wake up flawless, just kidding, but it’s nice to have a great time out with some best friends and not having any drunk drama or wake up with a hangover. Again since we were all up relatively early, we decided to have a Dim Sum Sunday! Back to Bellaire we went. Hong Kong Dim Sum is a pretty tiny restaurant with a long line outside. The way it works to get a table, you tell the hostess how many people are in your group and they give you a number for a specific table that can fit your group. So basically, you’re waiting for the group already sitting at that table to finish. We got table B7, so of course when they called our number, Dante yelled “BINGO!”

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The menu is mostly pictures and they give you an order list that you write down the number of dishes you want. We ordered a total of 14 dishes. Man, I love Dim Sum Sundays! Sticky rice in tea leaves, chicken feet, bao, beef spare ribs, crispy shrimp balls, shu mai, hagou, oh my! I don’t even remembers everything we ordered. It was all scrumptious. Nothing had a freezer burn taste, which happens occasionally, at other dim sum restaurants. So good and priced pretty well. Splitting the bill between the four of us it was about $20.00 each.

With a full belly and happy heart I got back on the road to Austin. I adore and cherish these friends, Trish, Annie, and Angela & Todd, I love y’all. So happy and blessed to have friends that actually care about how we’re all doing. I don’t get to see and catch up with y’all often but when I do, it’s like no time has passed. I think Trish said it best:

“true friends are hard to find. I’m happy I can pick up a phone and call you and it was like the conversation never stopped. As we get older we realize it is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones.”

Music Ministry Monday: Pray for those that hurt us

Today’s already January 19th! For me, it seems, everything has changed just as fast as time is passing this year. Of course, somethings don’t turn out the way we want them to. Some choice words were said to me, in avoidance of another subject. These words, man oh man, they sure like to linger in my thoughts. They suggest I compromise my morals. Every now and then, resurfacing, my sight blurring as emotional feelings start to take over, and the tears start building. I want to break, yell and scream, “what is wrong with you? I am a person, I have feelings, I am someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s cousin, someone’s relative! How about put one of your relatives in my shoes. My shoes that feel heavy from the weight of disrespect and disappointment.” Instead, I sigh, hold back on those water works and let out a prayer.

This prayer is not for me, it starts for the person that said those words, then grows to everyone that intentionally inflict a negative emotion or mannerism to another person. First, for forgiveness, then for peace to their hearts. Fitting, that today we, honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On my drive to work this morning, I heard an excerpt of a speech he gave on why not to be violent. He said

“pray for your enemies, pray for those that hurt you […] rather a scarred body than a scarred soul.”

Other quotes I’ve seen today,

“the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” and “let no man pull you low enough to hate him,” and “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Unfortunately, in my disappointment and heat of the moment I did utter the word hate. So I apologize and pray for my own peace.

Going into my third week of the K-Love 30 day challenge, “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns, is a somber song with an insightful message of truth. It’s lyrics unfold a story of understanding your own and another’s brokenness and then moving forward with faith.

Also, “Words,” by Hawk Nelson reiterates that message to speak with the love and grace of God.

“Words can build you up words can break you down. Start a fire in your heart or put it out. Let my words be life let my words be truth. I don’t wanna say a word unless it points the world back to You.”

I joke with my friends, and call it “Regina George” syndrome. Yep, “Regina George,” from the movie “Mean Girls.” It’s a terrible thing, that I really don’t understands , how cruel and unpleasant some people can be. While people like, In this older article I wrote , and some these random ones I found online,

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taunt others, I pray for them. Whatever has them so broken or hurt, whether intentionally or medically the can’t help it, I sincerely pray they find peace. And I ask everyone reading to join me in this not so typical prayer.

I strive to be as much of a disciple of Christ, as possible, but I am not perfect. I have flaws, and sins, I am human. When those emotions and words start to cloudy my thought, I throw my hands up to God. As a Catholic, a Christian, a follower of Christ, we are supposed to live, not by feelings but, by faith.

 “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:11

Que Pasa Central Texas

Mid-September is already here and festival season has begun. There’s so many events happening in Central Texas this month. So pack your sunblock, bug spray, and water bottles and head out to an event on this list, deep in the heart of Texas. See y’all out and about.

*Oui! Wednesday|Passport to Paris: French Language
Where: San Antonio- McNay Art Museum
When: every Wednesday- December 17
Time: 2pm
More information
Cost: Free with museum admission

*Art|Music|Food-Second Thursdays
Where:San Antonio- McNay Art Museum
When:every 2nd Thursday of the month
Time: 6-9pm
More information
Cost:Free

*Movies in the Park: “Raising Arizona”
Where:Austin- Republic Square
When: September 11
Time:8pm
Cost: Free

*2nd Fridays: Art Walk
Where: San Antonio- N.St.Marys street & Josephine Street
When: September 12
Time:6pm- 10pm

*Second Saturdays
Where: San Antonio- S. Flores St.
When: September 13
Time:6pm- 10pm
More information
El Campo will be an awesome band to checkout

*Banger’s Smoke-out Saturday
Where: Austin- Banger’s on Rainey St.
When: September 13
Time: 11am
More information

*Utopiafest
Where: Utopia-Four Sisters Ranch
When: September 12-14
More information

*Capitol of Texas QuiltFest Fiesta
Where: Austin- Palmer Event Center
When: September 12-14
http://www.captxquiltfest.org

*Los Lonely Boys
Where: New Bruanfels- Gruene Hall
When:September 12
Time: 8pm
http://gruenehall.com

*Viva Mexico!
Where: Austin- Mexican American Culture Center
When: September 13
Time: 7pm
More information

*Échale! Block party
Where: San Antonio- History Pearl Brewery
When: September 13
Time: 1pm- 6pm
http://atpearl.com/calendar/echale

*Kings of Leon| Mechanical Bull Tour with Young The Giant and Kongos
Where:Austin- Austin360 Amphitheater
When:September 13
Time: 5:30pm
http://austin360amphitheater.com/events/kings-of-leon-with-young-the-giant-and-kongos

Tour de Vin by The Food & Wine Foundation of Texas
Where: Austin- W Austin
When: September 18
Time: 6pm
http://www.winefoodfoundation.org/events/tour-de-vin/

*Fowler Fest 2014
Where: Austin- Nutty Brown Cafe
When: September 20
http://nuttybrown.com/concert-calendar/fowler-fest-2014

*Texas Craft Brewers Festival
Where: Austin- Fiesta Gardens
When: September 27
http://texascraftbrewersfestival.org

*South Texas Corn Maize opens
Where: Hondo
When: September 27
More Information

*Schlotzsky’s 32nd Bun Run with fastest dog in Austin race
Where:Austin- Alterra Parkway & Kramer Lane
When: September 28
More information

*San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Bar-B-Que Off & Festival
Where: Freeman Coliseum/ AT & T Center grounds
When: September 25- 27
http://www.sarodeo.com/attractions/bar-b-que-cook-off-and-festival

Music Monday: No Man Is An Island

Lately it seems a lot of people I know are going through some difficult circumstances. Most people tend to retreat to their own island trying to figure things out on their own. I am definetly guilty of this. Either out of pride or embarrassment, I like to figure things out on my own. While driving in the car I heard, Tenth Avenue North’s song “No Man is an Island,” it’s remind us that we should not carry our burdens alone. Choosing to walk by faith in God, who is a Trinity, we are also supposed to live as a community. As a community sometimes we need to reach out and help others and sometimes we are the people that need help. Someone else in your community just my have that fresh perspective that can help work things out. “For none of us lives for himeself, and none of us dies for himeself” -Romans 14.7

Growing up Charming: Domestic Violence- Just the Beginning

I was seven years old when I first met the devil. Standing about 5′ 4″ fair skin, dark brown hair, and beady eyes. He went by the nickname “Frank.” I instantly had one of those cold spine tingling chills run up my back. You know the kind that makes your hairs stand on end. I was surrounded in a joyful celebration for my cousin’s birthday and I could not shake the terror I felt meeting this person. When I got older I always thought it was ironic that I met him in October, which also happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I was really hurt and didn’t understand why mom married him. Like I said before I was seven years old. She asked me “can I marry him? Is it okay that I’m marring him.” I told her no, I didn’t think he was a good person. They were married by the following March. My brother was born in July. Y’all can do the math. I didn’t know then she was already pregnant with my brother. So, of course she wanted to try to have a family with him.

My parents divorced when I was about three. I remember my dad was a little upset, but nothing crazy, they just grew apart. It was quick and we all moved forward. I thought that was going to be it. No big deal, because both my parents seemed really happy once they were separated. At least, until this deceitful demon came into our lives.

I would never wish the next eleven years of my life upon my worst enemy. I know there are people that are going through much worst all the time. So there’s probably not even a handful of people I’ve shared this with. At first, Frank, tried to be overly nice. He was still getting to know my mom, win her over, and test her limits. It didn’t take him long to realize she was still young, and naive. Heck, she was my age.

Their fighting started with little arguments, over keeping things in a certain way. He made it clear we had to do everything he wanted, there was no compromise. I had always been a very timid, shy, and obedient child. From my memory, I never did anything wrong that would require punishment. I remember him telling my mom I needed to learn responsibility. My first chore, was washing the dishes. Not too bad right? I learned very quickly to double check the dishes and make sure there wasn’t any residue. I’ll never forget the first time I was hit.

He was a police officer, of course he didn’t use just any belt. His work belt was about two inches thick, with other buckles and snaps all the way around. If I cried it made him smile. You know the monkeys in “Planet of the Apes?” Yeah, that’s what he looked like, big ears that put dumbo to shame, and an eerie grin. I would always try to fight back any tears. Usually, locking myself in the bathroom later and let tears quietly stream as I showered. I remember sometimes the water trickling down the red raised mark along my lower back would sting so bad.

He would find any excuse to hit me. Like most kids, sometimes, I didn’t want to keep my room clean or help clean the entire house. But I would get hit for things like taking to long to wash the dishes, or I interrupted and called him out on some exaggerated lie at a dinner party.

One day he asked me to go outside and feed the dog. I filled her bowl with food, tipped over her water bucket, and started to refill it. I don’t think even five minutes passed, when I heard the door open. Before I could even turn half way around, I heard the clank of his belt buckle and the first sting of being whipped went across my arm, then my lower back side, and my leg. I cried out “stop! Why?” With each word he replied in a hitting rage. “BECAUSE,” and another whip. “YOU,” and another whip. “TOOK,” and another whip. “TOO,” another whip. “LONG!”

Now, his joy or rush of hurting some might have been hereditary. From what I know, his father would beat or hit him and his siblings. I was told his father molested his own grandson. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that family his has a very twisted and racist way of comprehending everything. If one child out of six did anything wrong, their dad would line all six of them up to be whipped. Starting with the youngest, and getting more intense as he worked his way across to the oldest. The oldest, would be punished the most.

Of course, I was considered the oldest. I was held responsible for my brother and sisters actions. At eight years old, I was left at home babysitting a newborn. By the time I was ten, I did a lot of the cooking and clean and taking care of my brother and newborn sister. Anything they did wrong, such as make a mess, like every toddler and infant do, they were punish, but I would still get punished worst. I would try my best to plea with them to be well behaved, but they were babies. They didn’t know any better.

You know how in middle school, students change in front of each other in the open locker rooms? I didn’t like to, I would usually change in a bathroom stall so friends wouldn’t see any markings and bruises I had. Once, he went into this rage as he hitting my sister and finally my mom jumped in and begged him to stop. When he was done, my poor sister had lacerations all over her lower body. It still makes me tear up remembering how much pain she was in. We couldn’t send her to school for a week. It’s painful and scary to remember this was only just the begging of his torment.

I bet you’re probably wondering why I never spoke out to anyone at school or my own father. Frank was a police officer. The police corruption I’ve seen is another chapter. He threaten me as child, that he was the law, and if I said anything he would find any reason he could to put my dad in jail. I was forced to live with this awful demon. I couldn’t complain, couldn’t run, couldn’t do anything. All I could do is hold back tears and pray. Pretend to have a stomach ache, lock myself in the bathroom, and silently let tears stream and pray. “Come to me, all you who labor and have been burdened, and I will refresh you.” -Matthew 11:28 was my saving grace.