Archive for July, 2011

When I was a child, I kept a journal infrequently.  I’d write a few sentences…nothing too exciting.  By the time I turned 12 I started writing more often, and my teenage years got even more frequent entries.

my journal cover               my journal inside cover

These journal entries are silly…fluffy…embarrassing…and hilarious to read now, looking back.  They’re full of crushes on boys; my hopes and fears; incidents from my daily life, both mundane and earth-shattering.  They also show some things I was truly sad about.  I wrote about them as I wanted, giving full sway to my feelings because, hey, these were totally private, right?  No one would EVER read them…unless I gave my kids permission to read them when they were old enough.

This seems like a basic truth, or right, that everyone on earth should have: their own right to privacy in their thoughts and feelings…their private thoughts, kept in a private journal, diary, or notebook, contained safely away from prying eyes, not something that anyone else should ever see unless the writer chooses to share.

My friend Susan Cox Powell kept many journals during her teenage years and beyond.  She filled volumes with her private thoughts, her private feelings.  Her hopes, her dreams…probably a lot of angst…teenage melodrama, fun, anger.  She felt free to vent her feelings and thoughts in those journals, secure in the knowledge that they were safe to her.  She may have at some future point chosen to share those journals with her sons, but she certainly never read even one page of those journals to her closest friends or even her family.

Now Susan is gone: missing, disappeared, snatched from her boys, her parents and sisters, her friends, her life.  She has been missing for 19 months without a trace.  Susan’s parents have nothing left of her but memories and photographs.  They don’t even have her sons—Susan’s husband Josh has denied them access to even visit their own grandsons. 

Who has Susan’s journals?  Is it her parents, who respected Susan’s right to privacy and never read her journals? 

NO.  Susan’s private journals—the diaries of a teen girl—are in the hands of the Josh and Steve Powell family. 

Do the Powells respect the privacy and sanctity of her journals?  Do they offer, out of the kindness of their hearts, to give these journals to the Cox family for safekeeping?  Do they keep them stored away safely, so her sons could read them someday and get to know their mother, who was ripped away from them?

NO.  The Powells READ Susan’s journals.  Her father-in-law, Steve Powell—a man who should be trying to find Susan, and who should be cooperating with the police, and urging his son, Josh Powell, to cooperate with police—has gone on national television, not once, but twice, most recently this morning on the NBC Today show—to announce to the world that he has not only READ all of Susan’s private teenage journals, but he is planning to publish them on a new website, starting this week.

What kind of a man does this?

What kind of a person not only violates the sacred privacy of a young girl by reading her thoughts…thoughts that she wrote down before she ever met Josh, his father, or anyone in his family…but also decides he’s going to publish her private thoughts to the entire world?

Susan is gone.  She was taken away from all she holds dear.  Her family and friends are heartbroken, and her sons are without their mother.  She is not here to be her own voice, to stand up in defense of her thoughts, her feelings, her past actions, her life. 

This is so wrong, on every level.  This is an act of total depravity.  And I hope the people of this country and this world will realize this and stand up for Susan, for truth, for justice.  Tell your friends and everyone you know in any way you can—in person, through blogs, Facebook, Twitter–that Susan Cox Powell is still missing, that she has been taken away from her sons, that her life is not the Powell’s to lay open and expose every detail of her teen years.  Those things are Susan’s alone to reveal, and she is not here to do it.  Stand up for Susan.  And please, pray for her, her sons Charlie and Braden, and the Cox family.  Truth WILL prevail.  Justice WILL be done.  And there is a loving God in heaven who will not stand by and watch these immoral, cruel acts to be perpetrated over and over on the innocent.


Read Full Post »

Sometime last week, my brother-in-law sent an e-mail around to our extended family (my parents, my siblings and their families) with some articles about health.  In the course of some e-mail conversation, the suggestion came up that we as a family do some type of “Biggest Loser” health challenge.

We all loved the idea and spent some time together on the 4th of July talking about it.  We came up with a basic plan and the competition began yesterday.

The challenge:

“To Increase health, fitness, stamina and happiness in each family member.” 

We’ve divided the 6 families into 2 teams, 3 families on each team, trying to make both teams equal with abilities.  (We decided to keep whole families together because we want to promote family unity, not pit husbands and wives and siblings against each other.)  Each family tallies their points and reports to a team captain their family’s daily total.

The competing teams keep their points secret from each other…so Team 1 doesn’t know the total points of Team 2, and vice versa.  This will be revealed in September.

The time frame:

Ongoing—but the first “checkpoint” will be in September at a Labor Day gathering.

The plan:

We’ve decided on a list of “tasks” we can do each day to eat better, exercise more, and improve our general health and fitness.  Each task is worth a certain amount of points.  I created a simple chart (example here) that each family member can fill out each day.  We tailored it to the needs of the youngest and oldest and to our personal values (including “outside time” for older people that don’t get out much, and “spiritual tasks” for those who are already pretty fit and want more of a spiritual challenge). 

chart image

Even those of us who don’t need to lose any weight can work harder on healthy eating, drinking more water, and getting to bed earlier. 

The Basic Tasks:

* Exercise 30 minutes (worth 5 points)
* Drink water (1 point per 8 ounces)
* Eat fruit/vegetables (1 point per serving or 5 points for 3 servings)
* Use portion control during meals (1 point per meal or 5 points for a whole day of good portion control each meal and healthy snacks)
* For adults, be in bed with lights off at 10pm (5 points).  Kids in bed by 8pm (5 points)
* 1 whole day with no sugar or junk food (5 points)

The Rewards:

Since money is tight for everyone, we decided that the losing team will give the winning team services: knitted items, photo shoots, baked goods, housecleaning, babysitting, and so on.

We haven’t decided yet what exactly will happen at the September checkpoint…we’re still figuring this out as we go. 

The Results:

Of course we don’t know yet what the results will be, but we hope they will be great: increased family unity and love; better health and fitness.  I’ll report on our ongoing progress.  One thing’s for sure—we are already seeing a lot of motivation to “beat the other team” and work hard to get healthy (it’s a lot easier to make a salad, have some fruit as a snack, or make yourself exercise even if you really don’t want to when you know your whole team is counting on you).  And it’s already a lot of fun!

Read Full Post »