12.22.2014

"Fear Not To Trust Me In the Storm"






Wow. Sitting here in tears and just have to share how God's faithfulness has blown me completely away this morning. This is not a well-edited, well-formatted, well-planned post, but an "I've got to share what God is doing NOW!" post.


This morning I was suddenly hit with the fact that 2015 is less than 10 days away. That shouldn't be a big deal. I usually love the beginning of a new year...time for a new planner, new goals, fresh starts (and my birthday on the 31st of December :)).


2015, however, is a different story. I've been dreading 2015 for a long time. A situation in our family which has been somewhat dormant for years is scheduled to rear its ugly head again in 2015. Back in October, when I realized that "the date" was then just a year away, I began having panic attacks again...for the first time in a long, long time.  I've struggled more with anxiety and fear in the months since than I have in years.


During the holiday season, life has been too busy and my mind has been far too occupied to think much about "the year" coming up. But this morning it hit. Hard. The realization that just a few days stand between now and those four digits I've been dreading for over 7 years made me physically sick.


As I was driving home from dropping Billy off at work, my mind raced and I tried to pray, unable to really form coherent sentences. I fussed at myself...reminding myself of Tom Stuart's famous phrase, "Remember what you know!"


I know...really know...that God is faithful. I know that His sovereign plan is perfect, and that He is working, always and in all things, for our good. He has shown us that in unmistakeable ways through dark, dark days. He reminds me often of His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His goodness, and His love. Just yesterday morning Bro. Gary preached on the kindness and love of God revealed in Jesus's advent.


I know those things. And yet 2015 holds a great deal of uncertainty...known uncertainty, if that makes sense, because of course all years hold uncertainty...and I still struggle with that.


As I was driving and pondering and trying not to fret and trying to pray and recounting to myself many of the things God has shown us about His faithfulness and sovereignty and goodness over the last 10 years or so, I decided that my "one little word" for 2015 is going to be trust. 


I had earlier considered pray as my word for 2015, and that is still where I want my focus to be in the coming year, but as the words to "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" flowed through my mind this morning, I decided that I need the daily reminder to trust. I know I need to. I know why I need to. I know Who I need to trust. I just need to trust. 


Prayer will be a huge facet of that, along with staying in the Word. The Holy Spirit uses prayer and the Word to do His work in us, and I know that I don't even have the ability to trust on my own.


I sat down when I got home to map out the next few days [In case you are reading this from a cave somewhere, it is now "three sleeps" until Christmas. We did finally get our tree up, but we are not finished shopping and we have a whole list of "traditions" we haven't gotten to yet, along with just normal life stuff, like the fact that if I don't get to the gym at least three times this week, I'm not going to be able to walk soon. Ahem.], and have my quiet time. I got behind on my advent devotional over the weekend, so I was determined to get caught up today.


I love the way that God's perfect timing even extends to using our weakness for good. Sunday's Scripture reading was Psalm 27:1-6:


1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

Yes, I was in tears by the time I finished reading those words. As Bro. Gary would say, I know that that my reading that today was not "chance and circumstance", but the divine providence of God.


Then I read the devotional content for the day, from Louie Giglio's Waiting Here for You, An Advent Journey of Hope. It started out by saying that in the midst of the "fray and the fury", we must keep our eyes on Jesus. It then talked about the attacks of our enemies, with a reminder that our hope is in the One who fights for us, and our safety is secured by His love and power.


Each day's reading includes a hymn. It's rare for me to come across a hymn with which I'm unfamiliar, but I had never heard this one before. I can't wait to learn it, though, as its words are a perfect reminder for the year to come:


 Fear not to trust Me in the storm,
I’m always very near.
I come thy needless fears to calm,
Then, weary ones, don’t fear.

Refrain:
Fear not, I am with thee,
Fear not, I am with thee,
Fear not, I am with thee,
Am with thee all the way.

 I may not always seem so near
As thou wouldst have Me be;
But in the calm and in the storm,
I all thy dangers see.

 Fear not to trust My mighty arm;
It bro’t salvation down.
I suffered much to give thee life,
To give to thee a crown.

 I’m always near thee in the storm,
To raise thy sinking feet,
If only thou wilt trust My word,
And My commandments keep. 

 Fear not, the storm will soon be o’er,
The victory soon be won;
Then lean upon My mighty arm,
And sing, I’m going home. 

 And when the storm of life is past,
And you have faithful been,
I’ll take you to that blest abode
That’s not defiled with sin.

 There no more storms shall cause thee fear;
The river will be crossed;
Then thou shalt rest within the gates,
With all the heavenly host.

~Rev. J.W. Howe


 Just a humorous word about this hymn. The words are so excellent, I was stunned to find that it was only published in two hymnals, back in the late 1800s. I wondered why it had been published so rarely. Then I came across a copy of the hymn itself. I'm guessing that part of the reason this hymn was not used more frequently had something to do that the melody of the chorus goes up to a high F. :) Not a good vocal range for this alto, anyway! :)


Do you have a "word" for 2015? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! Are there fears and uncertainties about the coming year?  Email me through the box to the right, or share in the comments; I'd love to pray for you.


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12.21.2014

The Good in the Bad and the Ugly of Epilepsy {Three Years In}, Part 1





"Bayley passed out at the Acteen sleepover at church this morning.   They think she may have had a seizure.  They've called an ambulance.  We're headed there now.  Please pray."

I typed those words three years ago this morning, having no idea at the time that we had just been thrust into another radically unexpected life change.

It took over three months, but we finally got a diagnosis: Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. We learned that this type of epilepsy typically manifests during the early teen years, and that Bayley would have to be on seizure meds for the rest of her life.

We learned about the different types of seizures, particularly tonic-clonic (also known as grand mal), absence (also known as petit mal), and myoclonic (involuntary arm/leg jerk) seizures, as these are the types common to JME.

We learned that the major seizure trigger for most people with JME is sleep deprivation. Another major trigger is flashing lights. Over the last three years we've learned that in Bay's case, the most important things other than taking her meds regularly are giving her a long time to wake up in the morning and avoiding sleepovers. Adequate sleep is a must, and early mornings don't work well. And while emergency lights and Christmas lights haven't been the major triggers we expected them to be, flickering florescent bulbs and big screens at the movie theater present serious problems (as do camera flashes!)

I jokingly said the other day that one of the biggest lessons I've learned during our epilepsy journey has been how often lightbulbs flicker in public places, and how long it can take for them to be replaced! We've had to avoid the shower area at the gym and one whole side of our  most-used grocery store for weeks at a time due to bad florescent bulbs.

We've learned that sleep-deprived EEGs are really just a medically approved form of torture.

Btw...around here, EEGs are known as "Eggs". Peter coined that term back around Bay's first or second EEG to try to help her laugh about it, and the term stuck.

Speaking of EEGs, Peter would say one of the most important things we learned during Bay's very first EEG was that Bay does indeed have a brain. He seemed quite thankful to have his mind put at ease on that subject. Helpful brother, that one! ;-) Actually, he has been extremely helpful by keeping her laughing throughout the tougher parts of this journey.

I seriously don't know how we would have managed these years without all three of her siblings. Peter, Emlyn, and Ammah Grace have all been amazing in so many ways.

We've learned much more through this epilepsy journey, some of which I'll share in tomorrow's post. For now, if you'd like to read more, check out He Directs the Hearts of Kings (And Insurance Companies!) and Another Unexpected Path. I'll share more about this in tomorrow's post, but the most important thing we've learned (again!) through the unexpected path of epilepsy in our family has been God's overwhelming faithfulness and care for the smallest details of our lives.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28

How have you seen the truth of Romans 8:28 worked out in your life? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!




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11.17.2014

Wonders Too Many To Declare! {World Prematurity Day}


November 17 is World Prematurity Day. It always sneaks up on me, and this year was no exception. However, I can't let the day go by without a post about our preemie, and our thankfulness for God's healing power and faithfulness in her life and in our family.

This year as I've thought about our "preemie story", it's brought great encouragement and comfort. We're going through struggles of various kinds right now, and so many around us are going through major trials that seem so overwhelming.  I'm thankful for the reminders of God's power, sovereignty, and faithfulness as I pray for all of those needs. Our God is a God of miracles. He is always working for our good and for His glory, even when the circumstances are hard!

Tonight I want to share again my words from last year, with some more recent pictures of "our everyday, walking {or more often running}, talking {all. the. time.}, breathing {which we'll never take for granted after seeing her "blue" too many times}, giggling {ALWAYS!} reminder of God's amazing grace, power, and goodness".

From my 2013 World Prematurity Day post: 

The night that my water broke at 30 weeks, my friend Kathy shared these verses with me:


I waited patiently for the LORD;
   He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
   out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
   and gave me a firm place to stand.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
   a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
   and put their trust in Him.
  Blessed is the one
   who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
   to those who turn aside to false gods.
 Many, LORD my God,
   are the wonders You have done,
   the things You planned for us.
None can compare with You;
   were I to speak and tell of Your deeds,
   they would be too many to declare.
~Psalm 40:1-5

I clung to those verses for dear life during the time I was in the hospital before Ammah Grace was born and during the time that she was in NICU.  God was so gracious to us in giving us wonders too many to declare with Ammah Grace!

As often as I feel I've shared Ammah Grace's story, there are always people who haven't heard it. You can read more here, here, and here. We were cautioned by her neonatologists that she might never walk or talk, and that she could be blind and/or deaf.  I still marvel, almost 10 years later, at our running, laughing, always-talking, bright and healthy reminder of God's faithfulness and glory.

Prematurity is such a scary thing.  The NICU is a world unto itself that no one wants to enter.  What a blessing, though, to have the technology and medical advances that we have today, and to have the highly-skilled, compassionate doctors and nurses who work with these tiny little ones and their families.

God taught us so much through those days that I don't know if we could have learned any other way, and I am so thankful for that.  I am also so thankful for the many people who helped our family in so many ways during that time, and for the many, many who prayed for her.  The "Ammah" in Ammah Grace was my great-grandmother's name.  We discovered after she came home from the hospital that "Ammah" is a Biblical place name that means, "God's people".  What a perfect name for our little preemie, in whose life God's people played such a huge part.






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11.12.2014

Do Not Fear!

A little more encouragement tonight for those struggling with "big storms"...a repost from the archives. 




(This was supposed to post last night...not sure what happened, except that I was having computer issues, and apparently when it said it posted, it didn't. :))


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11.11.2014

He is Faithful to Complete It! {Redeeming One of "Those" Days}


Being reminded of this truth again today!!







Today was "one of those days" when the need to work on heart issues (along with a bunch of unrelated interruptions) crowded out the "school" I had planned for this afternoon. My plans for the day were shredded and I was worn out and beyond frustrated by the time we left for TKD. I didn't feel like there was much left of the day to redeem, but I prayed that God would redeem it anyway.

Since then, my kids (with a little, but not a lot of, input from me) have had a fabulous conversation in the van about the Geneva Convention, international law, and changes in warfare over the last couple of centuries, AND even better, I've seen some major improvements in some of those heart issues we dropped everything to address this afternoon.

Thankful for God's reminders that He always equips us for what He has called us to do, and that when we feel like we are totally inadequate for the task, HIS strength and abundance are just beginning. He Who began a good work (in me and in my children!) will be faithful to complete it!


***

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11.10.2014

Oh, Yes, He Cares!





I know many of you are waiting for the Guy Penrod/Road Trip post, and it's coming, I promise! But not tonight. Long day yesterday, less than four hours sleep, and another long day trying to catch up on the to do list that has been spiraling out of control haven't left much time or energy for photo editing or long, newsy blog posts.

And frankly, my heart is aching tonight. Friends are hurting, and I am hurting for and with them. I have all kinds of hopes and dreams and plans for the blog, and I'm especially excited about the concert post right now, but always, people come first. And tonight has been one of those times that the list and the posting schedule got pushed aside for friends in need.

Anyone who's read much here knows that music is always a balm to my heart, hymns in particular. I've been sitting here tonight listening to my favorite arrangement of this hymn, a duet with Guy Penrod and George Beverly Shea, and thinking how powerful the words are. No matter what we go through, ever, no matter how impossible or horrific it seems...He cares for us. 


Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Does Jesus care when I've tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the  night long?

Does Jesus care when I've said "goodbye"
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks--
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, 
I know my Savior cares. 

~Frank E. Graeff


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Road Trip!! {Guy Penrod Claremore Preview}

It's 11:50 p.m. I just walked in the door from a road trip to Claremore, OK, to see Guy Penrod in concert. I am uploading pictures as I type, in hopes that I can quickly edit one or two and get this tiny preview post up before midnight. MUCH more to come, in story and photos, soon!




(While you're waiting, check out the previous "Penrod Posts" here!)

***
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Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email. 
 
 

11.08.2014

Another Unexpected Path {Epilepsy Awareness Month}




On April 7, 2012, I wrote these words:

Another unexpected path...

I started to call it a detour…it sure seems like one to us!  But then I realize that this is not a detour…it’s actually the route planned for us since before the foundation of the world, by the Author and Creator of all.  It’s “THE path”…totally unexpected by us, but no surprise at all to the One who holds us in the palm of His hand.

Today our 12-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.  It wasn’t a totally unexpected diagnosis…we’ve known for over a week that we were more than likely dealing with some sort of seizure disorder, and suspected for several days that the specific disorder would be Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.  And we’ve had a pretty good idea since December that something was wrong somewhere…although it took us a while to get to the right doctor to get to the bottom of things.

Epilepsy has definitely been an unexpected path for us. JME is a genetic epilepsy, and to our knowledge, there is no history of epilepsy in our family. When Bayley had her first seizure (which we weren't sure was even definitely a seizure at the time, as she was alone when it happened; friends outside the room said it sounded like a seizure, but we had no way of knowing) almost 3 years ago, we had no idea what was in store for her and for our family.

As in every other "storm of life" we've faced, God has been abundantly faithful throughout the years since. There have been some major bumps in the road along the way, but for the most part, Bay's seizures are well-controlled by medication and lifestyle precautions (adequate sleep being the most important of those). She has been seizure-free for well over a year now, and for that we are extremely thankful!

Bay recently started a new blog (Pure Life), and after a couple of years of being very hesitant to talk about her epilepsy, has spoken publicly about it there. Not only am I beyond proud and excited of her new blogging endeavor, I am also thankful beyond words for the work God has done and is doing in her life and her desire to share His faithfulness in every area, including her epilepsy.

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. Last year around this time, I created, but never shared, a Seizure First Aid graphic. I may share some additional facts about epilepsy later this month, but for now, I'll close with that graphic. I'll just come out and say that graphic design is not my strong suit, and this graphic was created with a website I'd never used before and haven't used since, so it's not the most professional or artistic of graphics. :)  The info it contains, however, could be lifesaving.


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11.07.2014

Announcing...

There's a new blog on the block! Bayley has (re)started her blog, Pure Life, and I am so excited for her. She's been working hard on it this week, and she has lots of great plans. I'm a very proud momma!


So...go visit Bay's blog, and maybe leave her a word of encouragements in the comments. Comments are such a thrill for new bloggers (and bloggers who've been around for a while, too!)

11.06.2014

Backyard Glories...

Up at 4 a.m. and a long morning at work. Not feeling well and fighting bone-crushing fatigue all afternoon and evening. A couple of days of very "heavy" blog posts. NaBloPoMo hanging over my head. My pillow, my Kindle, and my heating pad calling my name.

I haven't posted photos from our backyard for quite some time. For all the above reasons, I decided tonight would be a good time to post some of my favorites that haven't yet been posted. Love seeing God's glory in the everyday wonders of our little backyard!

















11.05.2014

Good-bye to Grisham {The Ugly Truth About Child Porn and Those Who View It, Part 2}



I've been a long-time fan of John Grisham's writing. As I told a friend recently, he is the only secular fiction writer, and one of the few fiction writers at all, whose books I have actually bought and kept. Typically, other than classics or children's books, fiction has been a genre I read from the library, review copies, loans from friends, or more recently, e-book freebies. Occasionally over the years I've purchased super-bargains at used book sales/stores, usually passing them on to others when I'm finished.




John Grisham, though, was different. I was a huge Grisham fan in my young adult years, and I've built up quite a collection of his books in my library.

Not long ago, however, I told Billy I was finished. Done. Gathering up my Grisham books and tossing them all.

Not a Boycott

I'm not calling for a boycott. I'm not even making some sort of statement with the act of ridding my house of them. I just plain don't want to see them. I don't see myself ever reading Grisham again, and just seeing his books in my shelf turns my stomach.

They remind me of things I'd rather not think about. The fact that someone with the education and life experience and public standing of John Grisham would express the views he recently expressed about child pornography and those who view it appalls and saddens and disturbs me tremendously.

Long Way to Go

His comments are a reminder that despite more resources on all levels devoted to investigation and arrests, despite longer, tougher sentences for those convicted, despite all the progress that has been made, we are still far, far from where we need to be in this battle.

According to his recent interview in the London Telegraph, Grisham feels that America is jailing far too many people for viewing child pornography. I struggle to understand or believe that someone with a background in the law is really as naive or uneducated about these issues as John Grisham lets on in his recent Telegraph interview. However, perhaps the good that will come out of his horrific remarks will be that through the outcry generated, our society as a whole will become more educated about the horrors of child pornography.

Myth vs. Truth

Here are some of Grisham's points from the Telegraph article. My responses are in bold type.

1. So many men are being charged as "sex offenders" now that "they put them in the same prison. Like they're a bunch of perverts, or something; thousands of 'em." 

Those who view child pornography are sex offenders. They are perverts. As I said in part 1 of this post,

"...the world of child porn goes far, far, FAR beyond 16-year-old girls dressed up like 30-year-olds and naked baby pictures. Child porn involves children from infants to teens being forced and coerced to perform all manner of heinous acts. These acts go far beyond what those who have thankfully been sheltered from that world could possibly imagine"
There is absolutely nothing normal or okay about adult men or women viewing children as sex objects. Period. 
 
2. Current sentencing policies fail to distinguish between "real world abusers" and those who download content.

I'm not sure exactly what Grisham means by "real world abusers". I'm guessing he means those who actually assault children. I have several responses to this. 

First, Grisham seems to be of the mistaken belief that child pornography is a victimless crime. Child pornography is not a victimless crime. Not only are the children involved victimized in the initial production of the materials, but every expert I've ever heard or read on this topic has said the same thing: every time that material is viewed, that child is victimized all over again. Once that material is "out there", there is no getting it back. For the rest of that child's life, that material is there, most likely being viewed over and over again. 

Second, those who download content are the ones driving the market. If there wasn't an audience (often a paying one) for this type of content, production would dry up. So whether the offender ever touches a child or not, he or she is partially responsible for the atrocities being committed. 

Third, the Telegraph article discusses the controversy surrounding seeming sentencing injustices between those who actually assault children and those who download content. Supposedly there are instances in which those who download content are receiving harsher sentences than those who actually assault children. If that is so, then the answer is not lighter sentences for those downloading content, but tougher sentences for those assaulting children.  

3. American prisons are now full of "sixty year old white men...who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child."

Seriously, Mr. Grisham? I sincerely hope that the majority of those being incarcerated for viewing these heinous acts against children have not ever touched a child; however, statistics are not in his favor on this. The addiction to pornography is like many other addictions: it takes more and more to get the high. In the case of pornography, the perversions viewed must continue to escalate to satisfy the addiction. In many cases, viewing alone eventually ceases to provide the needed high and the offender then escalates to actual abuse.

Something is Better Than Nothing

Although I'm tossing my Grisham books, I'm not suggesting anyone else do the same. I'm not calling for a boycott of Grisham's work. As I said earlier, I simply can't look at them anymore. It makes me physically sick.

I started this post weeks ago and had to stop midway through because the subject matter sickened me to such an extreme. When I posted part 1 yesterday, I posted it with a rather abrupt ending because I simply wasn't up to any more involvement with it at that time. As I've re-read the Telegraph interview and worked to finish this post today, I've had similar struggles with physical revulsion.

But...it needs to be said. If people with the standing and influence of John Grisham are so uneducated (or perhaps in denial?) about this issue, then we have a long, long way to go in educating our society about the true dangers...yea, horrors...of child pornography. And someone...or many someones...needs to stand up and refute the dangerous untruths being spread by such a public figure.

On one hand, I feel as though I've said too much in this series, been too graphic; on the other, I realize that some degree of graphic honesty is necessary to get the message across, and I'm really not sure I've said enough. I'm sure there will be those reading who will feel I've erred on one side or the other. This is one of those times, however, that I feel like saying something is more important than saying it perfectly. 

If you agree, please feel free to make this an effort of "many someones" by sharing this post using the social media buttons below, or the "pin it" button above.

I would also love to hear your thoughts on this issue in the comments. (Please keep them clean, as I reserve the right to delete anything inappropriate.)

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11.04.2014

Good-bye to Grisham {The Ugly Truth About Child Porn and Those Who View It, Part 1}


 


It was a brief break in the midst of a hectic day. I clicked over to Facebook for a minute to see the latest fall foliage pictures from friends in the north (we're still waiting on the glorious color here) and what cute things my friends' children were saying.

Instead, the first thing to hit my eyes was a post about John Grisham's "apology" for his statements in a recent interview with the London Telegraph slamming the U.S. Justice system's crackdown on those who view child pornography.

I was only able to glance at a bit of the post before it was time to hit the ground running again, but I was completely appalled at what I had read. I told myself that surely it wouldn't be so bad when I was able to read/listen in more detail.

However, when I sat down later and listened to video of the interview, it was actually worse.

Listening to Grisham's words from the interview, I had to fight not to be physically sick.

In the interview (video available here), Grisham says the U.S. Justice System has "gone crazy" in sentencing men convicted of viewing child porn, and and suggests that while there should be "some type of punishment", "these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences."

He claims that many of the men serving these "harsh" sentences would never hurt a child and have never hurt anybody, but simply had a little too much to drink and ended up "pushing the wrong button".

My head has been spinning for days over his remarks. It's still spinning.  There is so much I want to and need to say in response to Grisham's comments that after six days, I'm still struggling to form any sort of coherent reply.

So bear with me if I just jump in and start typing. I'll try to keep the ranting at low volume.

Grisham is an educated guy. As a friend of mine pointed out on Facebook, he's an attorney. He's made millions as a novelist. He should know better. And yes, he has "apologized" for his remarks. However, there is absolutely no excuse for those remarks to have been made in the first place, particularly by someone like John Grisham.

Child pornography is ugly. Ugly doesn't even begin to describe it. It is vile and heinous and extremely damaging to anyone connected to it in any way. Grisham talks about 16-year-old girls dressed up like they're 30.  He compares 16-year-old girls to 10-year-old boys as if the former (as objects of child porn) are "okay" and the latter are not.

First, exploiting 16-year-old girls is not okay. Even if they are okay with it. Even if they aren't being "forced". Exploiting 16-year-old girls is wrong, and vile, and horribly damaging both to the girls and to the ones viewing them.

Second, people need to realize that the world of child porn goes far, far, FAR beyond 16-year-old girls dressed up like 30-year-olds and naked baby pictures.

Child porn involves children from infants to teens being forced and coerced to perform all manner of heinous acts. These acts go far beyond what those who have thankfully been sheltered from that world could possibly imagine.

Unfortunately, through my past career in child protective services and circumstances in which someone close to our family is currently in federal prison due to child pornography, I'm not so sheltered. I've seen the effects on those involved. I've sat through court hearings and listened to testimony, expert and otherwise. I've read court documents.

Just thinking about things I saw and heard years ago makes me physically ill. They are heinous and horrible and there is no excuse or defense for any involvement in any aspect of child pornography, period.

I want to address several of Grisham's comments, and the falsehoods behind them, directly. However, this post is already long, so I will address those points in part 2.

Part 2 of this post can be found here.

[Note: This post has been sitting in draft for a couple of weeks, but while the story may be "old news" by now, the issues are definitely not. To make sure you don't miss part 2, follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. Or sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.]