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Welcome to my Home-School-Community Blog!

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Thanks for reading my blog.  Since 2009, I have been writing about homeschooling and have been the Phoenix Homeschooling Examiner on Examiner.com.  I have shared most articles in both places.

I also began writing for Examiner.com as the National Sex Trafficking Examiner, and recently as the Phoenix Crime Examiner.  These topics are important and dear to my heart.  I am needing to have one main place for sharing my posts so that I don’t get too many irons in the fire, so I have decided to make this blog inclusive of both themes.  I am currently adding my collection of articles here for my convenience.

Please use the Category menu on the left side bar or under each post for navigating through the articles by topic.

This forum is for the discussion of the following themes:

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Covenant Homeschool Resource Center: Setting the standard, providing resources

Love with all your heart, soul, mind and strength

ImageLove with all your heart, soul, mind and strength

You are loved with an everlasting love
–greater than the volume of the entire universe
–immense, vast, all-encompassing
–and yet, so personal

That love is not an intangible,
but the very person of God Almighty,
The God who is the very embodiment of Love itself;
The God who created everything out of His very essence, by His spoken Word.

This Love is beyond time, with no beginning and no end.
Thus, nothing and no one can ever be out of reach of that Love;
Nothing can ever diminish it or destroy it,
And God experiences all of you in the pulsating Now.

We were made in His image—His image of Love–
–shattered at the fall—leaving mankind with a broken being
that has to learn to love from those who know the true Love,
and depend on His power to redeem and heal.

Our tiny brains can’t comprehend the way of Love
that has no bounds—we distort love into rules, wanting the best for self
and seeking ways to trample others down.
We deaden our hearts and shut out God.

God gives His definition of the practical rules of Love—
How our lives demonstrate the reality of His character
by the way we honor Him
and how we treat our neighbors.

The mark of the fall goes deep, and the rules prove that we cannot overcome
without a miracle that changes the heart.
Jesus, the seed of Love, lives as a man,  ever challenging
the man-made rules and pushing beyond to the reality of Love.

“What is the greatest commandment?” He is asked.
“Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and
love your neighbor as yourself”, is the reply.

The mind reels with the enormity of this task,
and begins to make more rules to prove the depth of love.
Masks and charades draw the focus to the external life,
but the heart is still cold and far from God.

In words of parable and paradox, Jesus gives the answer.
“Even as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Abide in my love, and the world will know
That you are my disciples, beloved ones.”

How much has the Father loved His Son?
Can we begin to count the eternity of love dances
between them, of which we hear only whispers?
Dare we imagine the glory of Love reunited in fullness?

Could it be that God poured out all of His love, His entire being, into Jesus?
That He loved His Son fully, completely, extravagantly
With the totality of His whole being, infusing Himself
Into the perfection of Christ’s heart, soul, mind and strength?

Jesus, born of God and One with God, is also Love.
Never acting apart from what He sees and hears from the Father,
His life is a panorama of love in action.
This is His troth to us as His chosen ones.

Consider the outrageous prodigality of Love so wild and free.
The very love that created the universe is poured into us, joined with us, living in us.
We look into His face and mirror back to Him His abundant Love
that streams from our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Being so effulgently loved, the overflow extends naturally to others.
Does the theme of heart, mind, soul and strength include them?
What is it like to love others and give honor to them as I want to be honored
for my thoughts, feelings, desires, dreams, heartaches and physical personhood?

Perhaps honor is the key to Love—granting dignity and care without disdain or contempt;
allowing the grace and forgiveness that I don’t deserve, but given freely,
to be the means to touch another’s heart  so we might journey together
back to restoration of glory in Christ.

I can only carry out the greatest commands to the extent I have been immersed
in the Love of God that cost Him everything and submit to the freedom of doing the same.
Only then do I learn to be whole and live in honor, love and respect for my neighbor,
my spouse, my children and myself.

The circle is complete.  God pours His love out in me so that I can respond to His love.  This heals my heart so I can love others.  As I share the gift of love, the capacity of my heart grows, unlocking greater access to the fullness of God, which spirals out to those around me.  Through honor and care for others, God is honored and I increasingly experience the reality of loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

Holly Craw
December 2013

Parents: Use a Contract of Love to keep your children safe from victimization

ImageBased on the estimate that 300,000 American minors are being commercially sexually exploited, and that each child services at least 10 customers each day, three million incidences of paid child rape are happening every 24 hours. This staggering amount of child abuse is rarely reported, and consequently, far less than one percent of all perpetrators are ever convicted. The victims are caught in a complicated web of deception, coercion, physical abuse and empty promises of love from the pimps and are usually terrified to divulge the abuse and the abusers’ identities.

Often the child sex trafficking targets are from dysfunctional and abusive families and already have low self-esteem, making them easy quarry for the predators. Sometimes, family members themselves are the sellers of the juveniles, creating greater barriers to disclosure. Many times, when a young person finds the courage to tell an adult about the sexual abuse, she is not believed or no action is taken. This compounds the depth of the desecration, bringing greater shame upon the violated one.

Kathleen Tell recounts believing the lies and excuses of her daughter’s molester and not taking a strong enough stand on behalf of her child. From that devastating experience, she and her daughter compiled a Contract of Love for parents to use as a preventive or early warning measure of potential abuse.

Read more

Raping with impunity: If you tell, I will kill you (Video)

Many rapes go unreported due to the victim's shame and fear.  Credit:  Holly Craw

Many rapes go unreported due to the victim’s shame and fear. Credit: Holly Craw

Mary Lou was raped in Phoenix on Friday night, one of possibly hundreds of unreported rapes in the metropolis that night. These won’t make the news, but perhaps their effects will be at least as devastating as the high-profile cases.

The victim is a young woman who met the assailant in a treatment group. Under the pretense of being a friend who wanted to watch a movie with her, he took her to his apartment and sexually assaulted her. To aggravate the crime, he threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

This scenario happens all too frequently across the country. The victim is already devastated by an act of degradation and personal violence, and then is silenced by fear of reprisal. The first response for the victim, out of shame and feeling dirty, is to bathe and try to get clean from the vile act and memories of humiliation. Then she feels hopeless and guilty for washing away all the evidence, so there seems to be no point in reporting or doing a rape kit.

In Mary Lou’s case, the rape triggered flashbacks of previous sexual assaults and violations and brought on suicidal ideations. After pretending everything was okay for nearly 48 hours, she finally called a friend and the crisis response team. Before she could be admitted to a psychiatric hospital, however, she had to go to the emergency room for a rape kit and police report. Six hours later, hospital staff told her that they didn’t do the rape test there, so she was discouraged from taking further action.

See video.

Read more

Mouse click can rescue, heal dozens of sex trafficked girls: Your help is needed

Julianne, Felicia and Marguerite* look like ordinary teens. They enjoy makeup, pretty dresses and occasionally cuddling with a teddy bear. They know all the current songs and movies and can articulate why they want to finish their education and get a college degree so they can get good jobs. They can be seen in serious moods when they are writing a play about choices and where each scenario is likely to take them in five years. Often, they can be observed laughing and giggling over some silly comments.

What you won’t see from the outside is the past from which they are healing. Families of origin that struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction form a common theme. Add to that various kinds of abuse, most encountered while they were still very young, and the stage was set for them to fall prey to the deceptive lies and physical coercion of sex traffickers who sold their bodies to numerous strangers every night. Physical abuse from both the pimps and the customers was the norm, and the psychological manipulations they used left deep tracks in the girls’ psyches.

These girls represent a few of the dozens of young ladies who have been residents atStreetLightUSA, a safe house and treatment center for teens who have been victims of child sex trafficking.

Read More:

Mouse click can rescue, heal dozens of sex trafficked girls: Your help is needed – 

Child sex abuse may lead to PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, sex trafficking

Rage and continual cursing in a child can be indicators of extreme abuse Credits:   Stock Xchange/GeoX

The vile, excoriating epithets fly from Brandi’s* mouth like daggers–well-aimed with intent to maim and mutilate. At times, she seems to delight in her expertise in causing verbal destruction. However, a careful observer can see beneath the surface to a scared little girl who desperately wants to be loved properly and consistently. Each scathing expletive that she hurls is akin to a jagged, shard-like iceberg tip that is a decoy for the mountain of submerged pain lying underneath the surface. The sheer volume of curses that emanate from her mouth gives credence to the immensity of the abuse she has experienced, both at the hands of those in the family circle and the strangers who bought and sold her for sex.

Barely 16, Brandi has probably had more sexual encounters than a happily married couple of two to three decades. Her history of abuse and sexual violation began when she was just a little girl and continued for numerous years. She has been a runaway from the violence at home countless times, only to be caught up in forced prostitution when she was on the streets. Within the custody of child protective agencies, she has been placed in group homes and foster care, but has run or been removed from all of them.

Read more:

Child sex abuse may lead to PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, sex trafficking 

 

Women’s month highlights achievements of females and ongoing gender bias

Womens' rights means all girls are free to live normal lives in a safe and exploitation free environment.

Rights of women means we win the war. We overcome. We are stronger than the Alpha male because we are the reproducers.”

March has for decades been designated as the month to celebrate women. The International Women’s Day (also known as Women’s Rights Day), March 8, began in 1909 as female factory workers fought for better working conditions and pay. The National Women’s History Month has been in effect since 1978 to foster recognition of women’s accomplishments. These designated seasons stand as beacons of hope that the voices of the female population are being heard.

Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment is the theme for the 2012 Women’s History Month. Females now outnumber males in American colleges, and great progress has been made in the area of women’s rights in many countries. Women around the globe have greater access to education at all levels, career opportunities in areas formerly exclusive to men, and political and decision-making power.

However, Women’s Month also becomes a searchlight exposing the venues of darkness, inequity and loss of freedom that millions of females still endure daily. One enormous area of gender discrimination of our day is human trafficking, of which sex slavery is the biggest piece. Worldwide, an estimated 27 million people are trafficking victims, with 70 percent entrapped in the sex trades. Each one endures physical deprivation and beatings, long hours of work, emotional coercion and degradation, and all manner of sexual defilement so someone else can profit financially. Eighty percent of these oppressed ones are women and 50 percent are children.

Women’s rights include some additions to the body of human rights, specifically the rights:

  • To bodily integrity and autonomy
  • To vote (suffrage)
  • To hold public office
  • To work
  • To fair wages or equal pay
  • To own property
  • To education
  • To serve in the military or be conscripted
  • To enter into legal contracts
  • To have marital, parental and religious rights.

The epidemic numbers of girls who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation have had their rights violated in nearly every area. They are held in hostage-like scenarios and are closely controlled in all they do. They have no freedom to live normal lives, and even when they get out of the “game”, they are often treated by society as second-class citizens or worse. Often the laws criminalize the children who have been victimized (usually females) and are lax or non-existent for the perpetrators (usually males).

Gender discrimination and gender bias are still strongly operating in the United States, and girls feel it, as evidenced in part by the reactive stances survivors of sex trafficking express. The following are comments about Women’s Month and women’s rights from teen girls at StreetLightUSA who are in their recovery process:

You don’t have to depend on no man or woman. I can have my own stuff, a job and a car. I will be living for myself and be financially stable with a stability I created.”

Rights of women means we win the war. We overcome. We are stronger than the Alpha male because we are the reproducers.”

“We have the right to not have a man tell us what to do. Men could not survive without us. Women bring life and peace and make the world turn around.”

We may be used and abused, but at the end of the day, we have something they (the men) want.”

I want money, power and control. I want to be on top (in my profession)—not just some ordinary girl.

The road to health and wholeness after being a sex trafficking victim is long and arduous. When the rights of one person are demolished through enslavement, coercion, and demeaning behaviors, incredible damage is done to the psyche. A host of resources and healthy, compassionate people are needed to restore the individual’s dignity and hope. Awareness of personal rights and empowerment to walk in them can help move a young girl from a despairing victim to successful, confident woman.

Women’s month highlights achievements of females and ongoing gender bias – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com.