Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mending Broken by Teresa B. Pasquale - A Book Review


Our spirits are not built for this.


Our spirits were made for this. 

This is what our Creator intended. Even if we have lived in utter darkness, something in our spirits still longs for the light. It was the original order of things. It was always the plan for humankind to live well. The notion that we are beyond help or hope, irreparable and beyond redemption, is a deception.

I met a girl.

In her book, Mending Broken, Teresa B. Pasquale offers those who suffer from PTSD extravagant hope. She doesn’t merely speak of her own experience with trauma and PTSD. If this book were purely a memoir, certainly we would celebrate the fact that she was able to overcome living in her own personal terror-zone, but would it give us hope for ourselves and those we know who remain in terror-zones of their own?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Which is why this wounded healer became the “Magnum PI of PTSD and post-PSTD”, researching the biology of this disorder and how the brain’s “neuroplasticity” can help those whose brains have literally been derailed by trauma to regain purchase on the road to health and wholeness. Teresa offers more than just her own personal story. She offers more than a spiritual solution. She reveals a tangible, physical solution that is, in itself, every bit miraculous.

She’s a Hopegiver, y'all.

Her journey through trauma is one more story of the human condition on this crazy planet of ours. It’s her coming out on the other side that is remarkable and available to us all. She is not an anomaly. This healing and wholeness is available to all of us who have suffered trauma. But she is a trailblazer. She is speaking out against the paradigm that PTSD is permanently debilitating. She says, “Every path to healing is like a fingerprint,” and that healing is waiting for us if we are willing to do the work.

A “wounded healer” myself and having been through my own fair share of trauma, I could relate to this woman who had been drowning in the dark waters of despair, but was incrementally able to push herself upward and break through to the surface. Mending Broken is a lifeboat for anyone caught in the undertow of paranoia, anxiety, and flashbacks. If you are a sojourner suffering from the onslaught of war, rape, abuse, assault, despair, terror, or trauma and find that you are struggling to cope with the perils of simply being a citizen of this planet, please let Teresa’s story and research work its way into your spirit and remind you what you were made for.

She assures us that, “We are never abandoned by grace, even if we stray away or forget it exists—it is always one breath, one prayer, one moment of unabashed selflessness away.”

You can find the link to order Mending Broken and begin your own path to wellness or gift this treasure to someone you love by visiting Teresa’s website:

* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER: Donna Wallace - A Bungled Crime

A Bungled Crime
by Donna K. Wallace

“You can tell it any way you want but that's the way it is. I should of done it and I didn’t. And some part of me has never quit wishin’ I could go back. And I can’t. I didn’t know you could steal your own life. And I didn’t know that it would bring you no more benefit than about anything else you might steal. I think I done the best with it I knew how but it still wasn’t mine. It never has been. ”
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Have you ever wondered at seeing a person mourn the death of a loved one if the mourner is grieving the end of many wonderful memories shared or whether her tears are from the remorse of never having lived?

I have.

That mourner would not be me. I was staking claim on my life. Yessir. As a young woman I was a romantic bent on living the dream, convinced that life could be lived without a shred of regret.

How’s that for optimism?

The past was past. I couldn’t change that. But I believed that from a marked moment in time—a monument of new beginnings, I could somehow choose well enough, right enough that when I finally arrived at the end, I would lift my soul nestled in my hands up toward heaven, as a gift, and regret nothing. I made a promise to myself to do just that.

Joe was my inspiration—he hated to sleep because it seemed such a waste of good hours that could be spent discovering something new or conducting selfless acts of service. I too made good choices.

Then optimism punched me in the throat; a time or two. Maybe three.

Life got hard.

Still, I failed to understand that to regret nothing, to refuse my clumsy brokenness and need for forgiveness, was merely cowardice. Maybe even a crime. (A famous author wrote something to this affect and I stole it….)

Convinced that my theory only needed a good hard tweak—after all, I couldn’t regret something for which an opportunity was never presented—I revamped.

I reasoned, for example, that I could not lament having married as a teenager before going to college or going to one university in particular rather than another— otherwise my husband wouldn’t have introduced me Daisy Rain Martin and I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

Granted, a few big hairy regrettable mistakes were made along the way, but I was dandy: maybe the leadership guru’s were right, failures of yesterday are gems of tomorrow: sand into pearls, dirt into diamonds, shit into perfume… it’s almost criminal.

But when I reflect back, its not just missed opportunities I see. It’s wasted time, selfish thoughts, mean words, manipulations, neglected friendships … all in the name of Love.

“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets,” wrote Arthur Miller.

Leave it to the novelists to awaken truth.

I am more sure now than ever of how hard life is and how many people are carrying their own burdens of remorse. When I reach out to touch the sleeve of an older woman whose life was stolen from her or to hug a child who’s greatest sorrow is having remained silent, I discover a sacred moment filled with both passion and pain—a crime often bungled.

It is only in the night when I’m kneeling to ask forgiveness for the things I’ve done and those I’ve left undone, I figure I’m stealing from a thief.

What does it mean for you to end up with the right regrets?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Child Abandoned... I See You

One (or more) of the students in your classroom full of 12-year-old prepubescent, pubescent, or even post-pubescent darlings is flunking. Said child hasn’t turned in work since God was a boy and considers it a personal affront that you are even bringing it up. This after being suspended for a fistfight and spending time in ISS for throwing food in the cafeteria. You’ve already checked the grades, and this child has six F’s and a D+ in PE. Blazing eyes that look you up and down like you’re a leper, the smirk that pings off your patience like a rubber ball, and the words, “You don’t tell me what to do,” make you want to shove two fingers up those flared nostrils and drag that child by the head just to test whether or not you actually have the strength in your upper arm to chuck this impertinent, ill-mannered little biscuit clean over the balcony.

Instead you decide on a phone call home and while you’re looking up the student’s phone numbers, the situation you’ve seen a thousand times repeated, presents itself yet again: no parents listed.

Child abandoned.

I would say that 90% of the parents who send their kids to us every day are amazing. Their devotion to their children is appreciated as well as very evident. But in the 18 years that Sean-Martin and I have been teaching, we have seen countless children who are abandoned by their parents in some form or another. Kids whose parents are divorced and one is no longer present in their lives. Kids whose parents are divorced and neither wants to take the responsibility so they bounce the child back and forth. Kids who have had a parent commit suicide. Kids whose parents are incarcerated. Kids whose parents are more interested in their newest romantic relationship than they are in raising their own child. Kids whose parents are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Kids whose parents suffer from depression and can’t get out of bed. The scenarios are endless, and many parents lay somewhere on the spectrum between sympathy and blame.

And, yet, if we continue to pass judgment on those broken parents, nothing will change. This is a dicey one for me. I'm the first to jump up on my platform and scream, "PARENTS! DO YOUR JOB!" But the truth of the matter is, there are so many broken people out there, and those people have children, and those children often end up being broken too. I've been getting this sense of urgency lately that I need to put the blame and judgment aside for these broken parents and remember that they're broken and, no matter how angry and indignant I get, I have to lock it into my brain that all that anger and indignance and blame does nothing to fix anything. So, by continuing to be frustrated, I am perpetuating the problem and I, myself, get caught up in generational brokenness. It just has to be a decision—that the judgment can't enter into the equation.

Tough one, huh?

I’m going to start praying that God shows me how to move forward from here. It’s not like we, as teachers, can say to a parent, “Hey, your kid says you’re a raging alcoholic which is why you are completely absent at home… that’s not really an option you have as a parent. What can I do to help?”

But something needs to be done. The abandoned children we see don’t think they’re being seen at all. And sometimes all those fistfights and bad grades and smirks are just a whole lot of pain coming out in their last ditch efforts for somebody to take notice that they exist. Sometimes I think I’m running an ICU.

Which makes me want to say to those precious children… I see you.

* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Was Silent for a Whole Thirty Seconds

A few months ago, I wrote a smokin’ article for Provoketive e-magazine that addressed the slew of anti-public school trash talk that followed the Newtown tragedy in the name of Jesus. You can read it at your own risk here: (That last paragraph was a doozy, let me tell you…)

I got mixed reviews, to say the least. Many people understood my angst, but others, whom I love and cherish and would never hurt to save my life, were less inspired. Insulted would be closer.

I’m not looking to rehash the argument of the public school system being to blame for our societal ills. Public schools have never inhibited a student’s right to pray freely and it is not the Great Satan. I don’t need to take that discussion further with people who will never see it any other way. I do believe, however, that the discussion that followed on that thread was amazing and begged some great questions:

What’s a girl to do when she sees that a portion of the church adheres to paradigms that she knows in her knower aren’t true? What’s a girl to do when it feels to her that the church has taken that collective paradigm and seemingly created a mini “subculture” of thought which makes her feel as if she’s in the wrong if she pushes up against it? What’s a girl to do when she’s accused of being (let’s see… how many have I heard?) insensitive to the Holy Spirit, deceived by the father of lies, shaped by the world, or just straight up simple-minded. I have questioned those subgroups and voiced my opinions, sending the saints screaming into their prayer closets on my behalf, while I scratch my head and try to shake it off. I’d love some wisdom on this.

But you know what? I’m also falling in love with the church again. I see Christ’s body acting with patience and compassion all the time. I was Episcopalian for a day and fed the homeless a beautiful meal (which they do all the time—it wasn’t just a one-day shot) with some beautiful friends. A lady in my church is starting a support group for people who have been abused and just can’t seem to love themselves no matter what. She has a cure! I speak at churches whose members just can’t seem to hug me tightly enough when I tell them my story. They even let me sell my book with the f-word in it! Sweet, conservative, God-lovin’ folks who have read the book—all the words—still put their hands on my cheeks and say, “Bless you, child. You went through so much, and we can see that God has brought you from a mighty long way.”

I wasn’t expecting that.

I’ve underestimated the church. I’ve overestimated the church. When is it ever going to feel ‘jussssst right’?

Carlo Carretto captured my quandary when he wrote, “How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go?”

Indeed. Where would I go?

* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.