Hiya friends! How is your Tuesday shaping up?! I've got a busy busy day today. We are blessed to have Sarah and Caleb Coult with us last night and this morning. We'll be shipping them off to California but we have the hope of getting them back again soon! They're bringing news of Hunter who's been hangin' in Mexico for a bit. I also have the chance to share a winner with all of you! Woot! Congrats go out to Scrap2010 who said 'My fav are the stamps'! Make sure you get me your info so I can get you your prize! And, I have another sneak to share with you. I'm pretty excited for this one because it is actually two sneaks in one! Can you guess what the other sneak is???? Let me know what you think it is in the comments!
And on to a bit more of my story. I almost feel like I need to apologize for sharing it. So many of your have left such sweet comments and sorrowful sentiments. It is a hard story, but there is also hope. I'll just warn you now that the first 18 years of my life didn't hold a lot of that hope but the last 21 have been soooo much more than I could have hoped for. Perhaps it is that very contrast that allows me to see that so clearly. I'll be honest, I've almost been shocked at how difficult my own story sounds when written down. Believe me, there were lots of good times too. It is not as if every moment was dramatic, but it does seem to be true that the drama in a persons life really does shape the human spirit. That said, there was more pain that molded a very young Ursula. Around the time that my mother was committed to the hospital for those two weeks, I began spending more and more time at my father's nursery. He's got quite the green thumb and his dream had always been to own his own nursery. Hence, I had this sort of jungle like plot of land that I got to spend a lot of time in. I won't say it was all fun and games there (dad sometimes put me to work, ugh! ;)). But there were a lot of experiences connected to that which I wouldn't trade. The earth was rich and dark and I'd often dig earthworms so I could go fishing. The trees were tall and strong and hung with vines that I used to play 'Tarzan' with. Swinging from a vine was a great past-time, if not also a great blister maker. Sugar cane grew on the property and I loved it when dad would cut me off a piece and I could gnaw on it. The convenience store was just down the street and if I collected enough soda bottles, I could turn them in and buy a pack of Hubba Bubba! I also made one of my favorite childhood friends there, Mandy. Mandy was the daughter of the Nursery's property owner, John Holmes. She was two years younger than me and in trouble more often than not, but when she wasn't, we had a great time together riding bikes, playing house, swimming in her kiddie pool and all the kinds of things kids do together. Unfortunately, Mandy wasn't a well cared for child either. She regularly had bruises all over her body from her father's beatings. I don't know what all kind of treatment she received but I do remember that there was a thick leather strap that was played a wicked part in her family drama. It happened quite often that I'd knock on the time worn screen door and be informed that Mandy was 'in trouble' and was not allowed to play. All the windows were blacked out so I never saw hide nor hair of her during those times. I did however, hear a lot of yelling and carrying on from that side of the property. When she did appear again, she never made a peep about what had happened. I wonder now if she was beaten so bad that she was unpresentable and that was the reason she wasn't seen for days. At any rate, Mandy and I, both being children in need of love and affection were a prime target for a creeper from down the street known to us only as 'Pop'. Pop had a home, but to look at him, you'd think he was homeless. He was around 50 if memory serves and would often come and talk to us, offering the proverbial candy that you always here children are warned off of. Where I grew up, there were no fences around yards and anyone could walk into your yard at any time. Pop regularly sauntered into the Holmes' yard. He was well known to the family and presumably was considered harmless. Unfortunately, he had an unnatural appetite for young girls bodies and that was what we came to know him for. It was two years before I told anyone what was happening. It was two years before I realized that I should. I can't honestly say what caused me to ask for help. But I do remember clearly going to my dad and telling him about what Pop had done to me and what my sister had done. More on that later. Have a beautiful Tuesday.