• Fight You

    Well, that battle lost,

    dusting off and trying again

    The pain that it cost

    When I chose to go attack him

    Left us as bait for

    The enemy of our all souls

    Why did I do it?

    Why did I scream and shout at you?

    You forgave it all

    And then you say that Christ did too

    Still forgiveness seems

    Just too far from me and my sins

    I love you so much

    But I can never do it right

    If I ask God to

    Teach me to love like He did

    Would He do that much

    For me when I just cannot?

    Daddy will I fight

    You until the end of time?

    Because I don't want

    To be fighting you that long…

    When I know that you've

    Loved me despite all I've done

  • Ode to the Warrior of the Mind

    This warrior was a fighter since birth
    This girl, this child couldn't fight as smoothly
    As so many on the face of the Earth
    But she was ready to stand, help them see
    This girl was told long she's going to hell
    "You're possessed, or worse, the demon itself!"
    Hurt her more than any would try to tell
    Soon she learned to hide the pain on the shelf
    She turned from the faith and chose to venture
    Into shadows to find new ways to heal
    The pain she held her life numbed from torture
    She said, "Never ever, never again,
    Not again will they come near to my heart."
    Years go by and she grows up bitterly

    Closed in herself, hiding the truth from all
    The joy of life, she now could no longer see
    And now she feared to be held like a ball
    She hid herself under masks of silence
    She shed her own blood and picked at her own scabs
    Unwilling to give anyone a chance
    The trust she once gave, she no longer had
    She stopped singing as freely as she could
    She held her head low, and grew very pale
    Hiding, and to open up she never would
    Made up lies, lived her fairy tales
    It changed her so that she was not herself
    After years of pain and fighting to rise
    She finally rose to stand, stared around

    Life isn't about her, she now recognized
    And now she saw the pain of the world's crowd
    Her goal now, was to comfort the hurting
    She spread her arms wide and reached to their hearts
    To show then they could trust her with their pain
    She was willing to be torn all apart
    To help them and shelter them from life's rain
    She was in fact torn apart, by her friends
    Family, the Church, demons in her love
    So that she wondered if this was her end
    Crying out for the comfort of her God above
    ''Twas nothing in return from Him, sadly
    she felt hopeless again and on her knees
    She still carries on rise up and fall down

    She doesn't want to let that be the end
    She'll march against seas of demons and drown
    And if she must she'll die and rise again
    And though she fears, will fall again, blinded
    She'll be in old habits so easily
    Something that she and all must be reminded;
    By grace, through faith, in Christ, she's ever free
    by grace she'll hide under His wings resided
    Through faith she'll follow, in Christ she will be
    Upheld in truth, trusting all The Lord's ways
    And in Jesus' arms she will always stay
    So, when you want to say "not enough faith
    She'll reply, "don't tell me how I should live
    I have my God to guide me in my faith

    a doctor to teach me to love to live
    I don't need a critic tearing me up
    I don't need destructive words in my mind
    I know when to rise, fight and to stand up!"
    Then she will leave you hurtful words behind
    She will carry on in love and courage
    And be stronger when she comes out of flames
    She's fighting to defeat this, the mirage
    Even if she must face again, deathly pain
    She's fighting, yes her bipolar flares behind
    It's her life, the warrior of the mind...

  • PTSD, Anxiety Attacks and Mindfulness

    God's timing is perfect. Sometimes it may seem like it isn't, but He is always on time, and I don't know why it amazes me.

    Yesterday, I came across a twitter post from one of the people I follow on my @LIGHTforMI twitter account.

  • Remember September

    Copyright (C) 2013 Savannah Hensley


    “Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 

    ― A.A. Milne 


    The last time I saw you, you were angry. I was fighting for my independence, and you didn't understand - you though I was trying to break away from you. No, Emily, it was exactly the opposite. I would never have left you if it were up to me. That day, I was hoping you'd see it my way as Mom and I argued. But I guess I didn't get the message across, so you hate me now.


    I try not to remember that as our last day. It was too full of anger, bitterness, and misunderstanding. Instead I remember our last good memory we have of each other: the day we went to the park. That was the last day we spent as sisters, just you and me against the world like it had always been, and should be still.


    You were wearing your rainbow tie-dye hoody, and I was wearing my silly striped fingerless gloves. Call me sentimental for remembering such acute detail, but we stood out. We were colorful in a drab and gray world.


    We did something we always did when we came to the park: we "sang and swang," which, to the outside world, means we'd swing on the swingsets and sing, in perfect harmony like we always did. Those moments were ours...they were our last moments as sisters.


    We sat on rocks in the dried-up creek and recorded a video we planned to post on Youtube - something silly and random about the differences between girls and boys. The whole time I was throwing stones, trying to bounce them off a concrete slab that had fallen from the ramshackle bridge. Regrettably, I don't have that video anymore. Neither do you.


    We rode the merry-go-round and watched a teenaged couple, most likely in junior high, and made our own speculations on their personalities by the way they acted. The girl was a follower, one of those "jockettes" who wear their hair in messy buns and cotton headbands. She was typical, ignoring her little sister, who she was supposed to be babysitting. The girl you and I agreed on.


    We disagreed on the boy, however. By his cocky personality I assumed that he was nothing more than your average jock: not very intelligent, relying merely on his athletic prowess to impress his girlfriend. But you begged to differ. "He's like Peter Pan at heart," you said. "He doesn't want to grow up. But he has to because if he didn't he wouldn't get accepted. He has to pretend."


    And then you said, "You shouldn't judge people so quickly just by the way they act. Take some time to watch them and find out who they really are, because when they don't know you're looking, they're not trying to hide anything from you."


    I took that lesson to heart, and I'll never forget it; it's come in handy quite a bit as I meet and talk to people out here in the real world. In fact, I wouldn't be married right now if I hadn't. But you? I don't think you even took your own words to heart.


    I did my best to teach you something that day, too. You didn't know it, but I knew that this would probably be the last time we'd have together, before I left and everything changed. See, I knew you then, and I still know you now. I knew that when I left, you'd never be able to forgive me. We would never be the same.


    While we walked back through the woods, we took pictures of each other in the late summer scenery, and we talked. I guess we talked about all kinds of things, but mainly, we talked about Daddy. How he used to be such a great person, but now he was somebody else because he'd grown bitter. "I think his main problem is that he took too much time looking out for everyone else, sacrificing for them, worrying about them. He never did anything for himself - but it's not bad to be a little selfish now and then. He gave away so much of himself that he didn't have anything left, so now there's just this shell of a person that used to be."


    And I warned you, too, that you were far too much like Daddy and could become a female copy of him if you weren't careful. In fact, you were already becoming that. You made your life everyone else's so that you didn't even have a separate personality. You made yourself a hero on a pedestal you didn't even belong on.


    I knew I would be the straw to break the camel's back when I left. I wish it didn't have to be that way, Emily, I really do. I knew you'd put it on yourself and you'd make yourself believe that I left because you weren't "good enough." And then, as messed up as it is, you would blame yourself and hate me for it.


    "Just remember," I said, "When I do grow up and leave, I'll still always be here for you - I will always be your sister. That will never change."


    But you didn't remember. You forgot. That entire conversation went down the drain the next day when I did leave. The last time I saw you, you gave me that hateful glare and spoke bitterly. I don't remember what you said - not that it matters. I don't even remember what I said. Because that day, for me, didn't end our sisterhood. It only ended our friendship.


    Wherever you are, Emily, I want you to know that I will always be your sister. You've cut me off, you've betrayed me, you've said hateful things to and about me. You don't even believe that I care, or that I ever cared. I do more than care. I still love you. And I will be waiting for you to need me again, no matter how long it takes for you to remember my promise.


    Love, Jennifer.


    Dedicated to Bethany 

  • The Big 3-6-5

    Yesterday marked my first whole year from cutting! My parents put a lot of effort into a 3-course meal and dessert to celebrate also taping a $15 iTunes gift card too!


    In a tight time in our finances, I know this was an expensive meal, and appreciated this all the more. The whole thing touched me so much that when I left the room, I was crying a little.


    Thankee, mum and daddy. You have no idea how much this touched me! I love you both!


    Luceo non uro,

    Ari J Schaffer

  • The Last Rose

    Copyright (C) 2013 Savannah Hensley


    "He gave her a dozen roses, eleven real and one fake, and he told her, "I'll love you until the last rose dies."" 


    Hope closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, savoring the crisp scent of the February snow. She always came here, to the walkbridge over the river, to calm her beating heart and to clear her mind. For there was a decision to be made today that must be the right one, as it involved her future.


    In her gloved hands, she held two roses. The rose in her right hand was a silk rose, elaborately crafted to resemble a true blossom fresh off the bush - it was even faintly scented with sweet perfume. The rose in her left hand, however, was a real rose, given to her not even an hour ago. The two roses symbolized the love of two men whose hearts had been pledged to her, and since she could not go forward in life with both of them in her hands, she had come to the bridge today to drop one in the water.


    The silk rose had been very dear to her for nearly four years now. It had been a gift from her first love and high school sweetheart, Zachary Cliffton, on a day where she had nearly given up on life. She had been in the midst of her parents' marital issues and abuse from her father, only to have her boyfriend - her one rock in a shaken world - tell her that he needed time to decide whether he wanted her or not. And when he approached her with a dozen roses, telling her that he would love her until the last rose died, her heart nearly broke under the heavy burden. But, once she had gone home and arranged the roses in a vase, she realized that one of the roses was silk and would never die.


    Symbolism had always been very important to Hope, because she dearly loved to write her own stories and often believed her life to be one of them. The silk rose had been treasured and kept in a safe place, even when she and Zachary were forcibly separated by their parents for three years. In the times when her father's abuse was too much and she was nearly ready to give up on the world, she needed only to take out the rose to reassure herself that someone somewhere still loved her and gave her a reason to live. The silk rose stood for a love that would last for eternity.


    Yet, after four years, Zachary had still not come to rescue her from her father. In fact, Hope had had to rescue herself; for the past few months she had been struggling financially until she was taken in by an older woman she met at the local domestic violence shelter. Zachary apologized over and over, continuing to promise his undying love, but the simple fact was, he wasn't there for her. He was hundreds of miles away, in the state of Michigan while she waited patiently in Indiana for his return. As a result, Hope had begun to lose faith in him little by little.


    The real rose, although not so precious to her, was a symbol all its own. It had been given by Nathan Kingsley, son of the woman who took her in. Now, Nathan certainly hadn't been in Hope's life quite so long as Zachary - little more than four months - but in that short time he had proven himself far more than Zachary had in four years.


    Tears came to Hope's eyes and slid down her cheeks, falling over the bridge and dropping into the icy waters below. It hurt to remember the many long nights she'd spent crying in her room, needing nothing more than someone to hold her, comfort her, and dry her tears. She'd wished for Zachary. But instead of Zachary, it was Nathan who came into her room at night to stay with her so she wouldn't be alone.


    Besides, the rose Nathan had given her was real. Maybe it had an expiration date attached to its life, but it was a flesh and blood rose nonetheless. Hope realized that now she must come to terms with the simple fact that Zachary's rose was nothing more than a cheap, sorry imitation of true love.


    Perhaps the love Zachary offered would last forever. But Hope wasn't a girl anymore. She couldn't live off of fairytales and promises. She needed something real, something tangible, something now. And true love is not unconditional. It is not easy. It is something that must be fought for every single day. Hope was a woman now, and a woman needs the love of a man, not of a boy.


    Nathan was here and now. He'd already proven his love was true. Though he had always known her heart belonged to Zachary, he patiently waited with his offering of love and had never turned away. She needed only to accept the token of his love, nourish it, and cherish it, to make it last forever. Hope now knew there would always be doubt, but true love takes work - and most importantly, blind faith. If she took the time to preserve this rose, it may be delicate since it would be dried and easily crumbled; but she need only protect it, and it would always and forever stand for reality, not a dream.


    Hope took a deep, shaky break and closed her eyes. She had made her decision. "I'm sorry, Zachary," she whispered to the wind, and gave the silk rose one last kiss. Just like that, she let the rose slip through her fingers and fall down, down, down to be taken far away by the waters below; and the real rose, Nathan's rose, she tucked in her coat to keep safe.


    Dedicated to my husband, Cole Hensley. 

  • The Lone Ranger and the Silver Bullet

    For years my father wore around his neck a "silver" bullet on a silver chain, which was actually a 45-caliber bullet. Whenever any of us asked him what it was, or what it signified, he would answer cryptically, "It's a silver bullet given to me by the Lone Ranger." I knew that it had quite a bit of significance for him, but I didn't know precisely what significance it embodied. Upon learning of his impending death, my father and I began talking about some of the highlights of his life. The silver bullet is one of those highlights. The following story, which should hardly be called a "story" since it is true, is an interlacing of accounts I have heard from my father and from fellow coworkers. In the process I have learned quite a bit about my father as viewed from his coworkers' perspective as opposed to a daughter's perspective. In all, I believe that this is the most inspiring part of my father, the part of him I discovered leading up to and following his death.

    My father's most rewarding period of his career took place when he participated in the HELIP program at Raytheon Company. He was transferred to the Netherlands for this particular program when I was barely in grade school. At the time I was not aware of what my father's career was, or really where the Netherlands was. I was, however, aware of his absence, and I missed him immensely. I have since learned that he was one of approximately 120 engineering employees who were overhauling and upgrading the entire HAWK Missile system, comprising the ground equipment and the missiles themselves, for the European countries (NATO) who were purchasing them under government contracts for their respective militaries. When speaking of this group of people, my father fondly related to me the team spirit that was evident among them. Many companies now have lost this precious treasure of real team work where the people involved work together to "complete the mission" no matter what - helping others complete a task whether or not it falls within the parameters of their job descriptions. The work that was done was both gratifying and challenging to him. It is not very often that a person can honestly enjoy one's work, and my father was blessed with this enjoyment during this period of his life.

    Harvey Diehl was the leader of my father's team. I have never met him, but he has been spoken very highly of by people I have talked to, including my father. The story that was related to me was that Harvey was a "straight-shooter" who always hit the bulls eye. Whenever the NATO team would come to have a conference about certain problems with their missile systems, Harvey not only had foreseen the problem and developed a strategy to fix it, but had already begun working on it. The Europeans were so impressed by his abilities that they dubbed him the Lone Ranger, and it stuck. On a subsequent visit to El Paso, Texas, Harvey saw the bullets and decided to buy some, I suppose with the idea that he would give them as "badges" to people on his team. When he returned overseas, he started giving out a very few to certain members of the team. When other people on the team asked why "so and so" got a bullet and they didn't, Harvey would tell them that they had to earn it, but he refused to tell them what they had to do to earn it. He would just reply, "you'll know you have earned it when you get one." When anyone would receive one, there was no fanfare, he would simply hand it to the person who earned it, and the recipient would never know exactly what he did to earn it. My father received one, and I was with him when he went to a jewelry store to buy the silver chain for it. He was very proud of this token, and I know that he wore it around his neck for quite a long time, until his failing health forced him to take all of his jewelry off. His friend, Ed Heinecke, told me that the day he received his own, he put it on a chain and wore it with pride. Out of the entire team, only about 20 people received a silver bullet. One of the men that received one was a NATO member, and I've been told that he cried when he received it because it was such an honor. My father also told me that there were some people from the Andover plant who would say derogatory or flippant things about the silver bullet that he wore, and one or two who were aware of this "honor badge" would tell them not to speak about it that way because it was special and was nothing to be made fun of.

    When I asked my father who he wanted to have his silver bullet, he told me that he didn't see why anyone would want it since it had no value except to himself, and he said whichever one of us wanted it could have it. After my father passed away, my sister-in-law told me that she and my brother had discussed it and even though they really wanted it, they thought that more than anyone else that I alone deserved it because I had earned it by taking care of my father as his health was failing and then finally when he was totally bedridden. More than anything, I feel very proud to receive this "badge." It certainly means a lot to me to receive such a compliment from my brother in acknowledgment of the heart-wrenching "work" I did as my father was dying. Furthermore, even though Dad thought it would be of no value to anyone, I am honored to have a memento which will forevermore remind me of what a superb man he truly was.

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