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Genesis, In the Beginning

greater joy in the journey of life than to love Jesus.” - Wade Burleson, Author and Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Oklahoma

Genesis, the book of beginnings, is interestingly the least targeted books for expository preaching and devotional studies. Many see it as being controversial and hence try to keep it keep off any form of discussions with regard to its contents. Dr. Cyril Antony brings powerful insights through his book ‘Genesis- An Insightful Journey’. The book is the first in a six-part series, aimed at helping the believers connect to powerful truths about Jesus their Savior, the Cross and their Christian walk. Phrases like “And Cain built a city and called it Enoch” or “Noah was five hundred years old, and he begat Shem, Ham and Japheth” which tend to be generally skipped over is chosen for study and it’s powerfully exposed so the reader begins to understand and see the importance of every word in the word of God as being breathed by the Holy Spirit.

“One must applaud his instinctive ability to make possible intricate theological arguments and making them attainable to all in the simplest of forms.” Neil O’Donnell, Director of Missions, Leflore Baptist Association, Oklahoma

The first book of the Bible is surely one that makes the reader fall in love with Jesus and the book strongly persuades the reader in that direction. With all the necessary ingredients that showcase the power of the cross, the book is a true success ready to help the reader in a victorious Christian walk. Amazingly, the book does a great job in keeping the pace and turns out to be a great expository devotional. What leaders are saying… “Cyril Antony passionately persuades the reader to fall in love with Jesus, and after seeing his unique insights from Genesis, one comes away fully persuaded, there is no

Over the years, Dr. Cyril Antony’s writings have touched thousands of lives across the world. His devotionals reach almost 600,000 people every day, and in this series he gently challenges the believer to fall in love with Jesus Christ. Dr. Cyril Antony, is a powerful speaker and the reader is touched by his writings that speak on his behalf. His preaching style can be felt as one goes through the pages of the book. Without any doubt, his desire to “Make Jesus known so people everywhere can fully fall in love with Him” is held high by his writings. The book is translated and is available in five other languages.

To Order your Copy CALL 918-429-8291/918-721-6558 Order Online on Amazon: Dr. Cyril Antony’s Bookstore or Genesis an insightful journey. Go to www.lefloreassociation.com to learn more about Dr. Anthony and his Ministry in North America. Look for more insights in the coming issues of Off the Grid.


Lord I’m Ready Now Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 tells us that there is a time for every purpose under the Heavens. I can say one thing Thank God I have finally answered His call the way He intended for me to do when I first got saved at 14. I knew then that I was supposed to be in the Ministry in some way. It took years of a lot of mistakes and a lot of heartache to prepare me for where I am today and for me to finally listen whole heartedly to His Call for my life. This April will make 22 years that I have been a Christian. I will never forget Rev. Donnie Tillman at Eastside Baptist Church preaching on the Potter and the Clay. I prayed that night that God would mold me and make me into what He wanted me to be. I was a teenager of course and didn’t know much other than that I knew that I wanted to work as a Disciple for Christ the rest of my life. I was following God all through my teenage years or so I thought and even through the 8 or so years to follow. At a young age of 19 I was married. We were young and both thought we were doing the right thing, especially me, because being from the South I was taught that you graduate high school, start a career, and get married so you can have babies. I know now that that was not Gods plan, and that we were going by our marriage in our own way instead of the way God wanted us to be. Have you ever heard the saying, “they’re just playing house”? That’s what we

were doing. We were going to Church and I was very involved in a few other Christian mommy groups, but we did not have the prayer life as a family that we needed to be able to listen to God. Seven years and two beautiful children later, we found ourselves never really in love as unconditionally as God intends a husband and wife to be. I found myself so lost and alone and turned to work in the Bars that I managed and to the so called friends that were in these bars. Don’t get me wrong, all of the people that I met are great friends to this day and I pray that the ones that have not met Christ will soon meet Him. One thing that they did see in me is the love that I do have for Jesus. I would always tell them about God and what He had done for me even if my faith in these times wasn’t where it needed to be, I was still praying as often as I thought that I should and still as active in the Church as I thought I should be. I made a million and one mistakes and still do, because I am Human. In the bars All of the time knowing that I should be in the Church and praying even more so that my life would turn around. Ten more years have gone by, another failing marriage due to Domestic Violence, losing everything that I had more than once has taught me that every time I get on my knees and pray and things get better, because yes God is always listening to His children, that now if things are getting better to thank Him constantly and to always all day everyday delight myself in Him, and He will give the desires of my heart. (Psalms 37:4) He also knows exactly what He has to allow the Devil to put us through to build our Faith. I have


learned through all of my trials that God is the only person other than my mother, father, and sister that has never left my side. There are a few other people like my best friend of 28 years and her mom and dad that never left it either. I have met many wonderful people in the past 36 years that have come and left my life through the seasons that I have had to go through to finally submit my entire life and work over to God, so that He could help me through Him bring others to know the Love that He has for them. If I can touch One life with my writing and speaking each month through this magazine and the Articles of my own as well as the others that help me each month put it together then I have followed my calling. In all of these years of not listening to Gods call for my life, this past year He started opening doors to me, preparing me for where I am today. August 2014 I met the one person that I know without a doubt that God led me to. God has taught me through loving this person the Unconditional love that God Himself has for me. I firmly believe that it took me falling in love with someone that I am not sure loves me back to teach me what God really has done for me and to teach me that I too can love like Jesus does. We as Christians are supposed to show love no matter what we go through. It’s not easy all of the time to show this type of love, but it is 100% worth it. I will continue to love like Christ and will continue to pray daily for anyone that needs Him. I have overcome many obstacles in this life and have Survived more than I ever thought possible. I have become the overcomer that God intends for all of us

to be. The 32-page insert in this issue tells my story, not for my glory, but for Gods glory. I pray that this story will help anyone that needs to learn that they also can be an overcomer to do just that. Last August began the “Dream Big and Survive� movement as an advocate for Domestic Violence sufferers everywhere, and I pray that with this movement I can tell the world how to overcome their fears and keep dreaming and letting God know of everything their heart desires.

#dreambigandsurvive To book Mindy Nicodemus at your event email her at offthegrid.mindy.com or call 843582-7530. The Dream Big and Survive movement was started in August 2015 by Mindy as a survivor of domestic violence. This August will be the 2nd annual Dream Big and Survive Party at La Chalupa Mexican Restaurant in Lancaster SC. Mark your calendars today for this event. Education makes a difference.

Friday Night August 19 7PM! th

La Chalupa in Lancaster, SC


ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” KJV

Not My Story! Well, as I woke up this morning and started my day with praying and asking God which way should I go today. He started speaking to me and told me He wants me to back up and let it all out. You see as I have been going into these businesses and meeting other people I have only been telling them what God has done since October of this past year. There’s so much more than that. I hope that what I am about to tell you helps you in your walk with Christ, or even brings you to know Him as your personal Savior. Way back to Sunday, March 27, 1994. My sister and I had just gotten back from our dads for the weekend and went to Church that night with mama as usual, but for some reason that I do not recall we sat on the opposite side of the Church than we normally did, about the 3rd row back. I believe it had something to do with the youth, but like I said I really don’t remember. What I do remember is that Rev. Donnie Tillman was preaching on the Potter and the Clay. I had heard this sermon from him over the years since my mom joined us into Eastside Baptist, when I was 8 or maybe 9. I’m not very good at remembering that far back, so please forgive me. As the night progressed I remember Him preaching and I remember the potter and the clay and Him speaking of how Jesus was constantly molding us into what God intends us to be. Then somewhere in the sermon He spoke of the Faith of the Mustard Seed. Matthew 20:17 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,

This verse is obviously the one that got to me, because I was sitting there praying for my daddy to find Jesus as I did on several other occasions, but this time I really felt something different, and as the preacher was still preaching I just cried and prayed right there in the pew. My mama knew what was happening and she began to pray with me and she asked me to come down front so that the preacher could pray with me. This day was the first day of the rest of my life and I knew from that moment on that I would live in eternity with my Jesus and I wanted everyone that I knew to be able to spend eternity with Him too. I was 14 at this time and Easter was the next Sunday. The preacher wanted to baptize me on Easter, but for some reason through that week he had to reschedule for the 10th. So I was Baptized after coming back from my daddy’s again on April 10th, 1994. These memories I will never forget. As the years went by and life came flooding in. It was high school, for the next 4 years, and a whole lot of peer pressure, but thankfully I tried my best to never give in to it, until it came to boys. My hormones and theirs were raging and I was a pretty girl, so yes I got a lot of attention and I liked it. I dated a few guys over my high school career, and knew that they were not what I had in my mind and have been asking God for through the past few years. You see after I got saved I began to pray that God bring me the man that He had for me. Even at 14 this began to be my prayer. There was a picture of this man in my mind, probably like any other teenage girl had in her mind. Yes, all teenage girls have this one dream that they carry for the rest of their lives if they have to, of what the man will be like that they want to marry. Mine had to of course be sweet, athletic or sporty,


and want a family. Being raised in the country and from the south I always figured that was just how it was supposed to go. Well, little did I know at the time that Gods journey for me was a little different, full of good times and some not so good times. You see we are supposed to pray for the person that God intends us to be married to as ONE, not just go on about our business and do what feels good to us. When I was 16 I began to date a guy Brian Young from Tavernier Florida, in the Florida Key’s, where my sister and her husband had moved to. I met Brian while spending the summer with my sister and her husband’s family. Brian and his family were close friends to my sister’s family, so they introduced us and we fell in love. Yes, this to me at 16 years old was 100% pure love. We were at the Christian school that my sister’s husband’s parents worked at and Brian’s mom was the Art teacher and his dad was the Principle, we were eating spaghetti the night we arrived in the Keys. I did mention I was only 16 and would be staying in the Florida Keys all summer. Oh you know my friends back home were a little jealous. The family had invited this guy Brian to come eat with us and to go bowling with us later. I remember Brian and Sam, my best bud as well as my sister’s husbands little brother, whistling at me as I was coming down the back stairs. They were both very good looking and Brian I thought looked so much like Keanu Reeves, from the movie “Point Break” or “SPEED”. Yes, ladies he was that HOT, and that whistle made my heart skip a beat. Also, if you know me and my ADHD I am not afraid to talk to anyone but boy oh boy was I afraid to talk to him. As the night went I was still afraid to talk to Mr. Hot Stuff, eventually Sam broke the ice between us. We began talking and getting to know each other and I started that night living out every 16-year-old girls dream. This was also my first night in Florida with my sister and I had

a little over 2 months to spend there with this gorgeous hunk. I was in heaven already. Yes, Aunt Reba I know what you’re thinking, “Silly girl.” Well, Brian and I did start dating and the next week we were sitting on the retaining wall at the Esposito’s home after a wonderful meal they had invited all of us too. I will never forget it was a full moon, and just the most beautiful night that I have still to this day ever seen. We sat there for what felt like hours. We had not spent much time together yet, but I knew this night was different. We had not kissed yet, and this was it, sitting in his arms with the clear blue water underneath us, and nothing around us. It was a little cloudy and supposed to start raining at some point, but time stood still underneath that big Florida moon. He had such strong hands. He was very athletic and in September going into the Marine Corps. He was turning 18 on August 8th and going to the Corps a month after his 18th birthday. Our first kiss was the best kiss I have still to this day ever had, but like I said I was 16 and falling in love. Ok, picture a 17-year-old tall big brown eyed, black haired boy full of muscles, that was about to go into the Marine Corps. You yourself are this cute athletic 16-year-old girl with hormones that you didn’t even know you had going crazy. This is the epitome of love stories, Right? If I had not lived through it, and actually dated Mr. gorgeous for the next 18 months, then I would not believe it either. Thankfully my sister was there to witness this love story unfold, so I did have someone to share it with. It’s amazing the things God does in your life to teach you and build you into the person that you are today and the person that He wants you to be tomorrow for the rest of your life. Remember just two years ago, I had gotten saved and started praying for the man that God wanted me to spend the rest of my life with. I


thought for a 16-year-old almost 17-year-old girl that I was doing good. Well, after a little over 2 years of being what I thought was head over heels in love, my heart got broke. Brian was off in the Marine Corps, and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. He met another girl. I knew something was wrong because I had not heard from him for a week or so and we talked at least 3 times a week. We even saw each other as much as possible on the weekends that he had free. I had even planned to go to the Coastal Carolina NC college Campus, so we could be near each other. We had talked of marriage and were making plans for our future. He called me up one afternoon and I knew before he ever said the second word that he had found another girl. My heart was breaking and I had already bought tickets to my senior prom. He was going to come in his dress uniform and I had a beautiful red dress to match the red stripe on his pants. Now heart broken, no date for the prom, two $40 tickets and I had to find a new college to go to. A lot in my life had changed in the past few years after accepting Christ as my Savior. My sister which I have always considered my best friend was now married and had a precious little girl, and one on the way. She had moved to the Florida Keys, as I had mentioned before, and it was just my mom and I for a while, until my mom met the man that she would soon marry. After my mom married we moved to another Church after visiting a few. I really didn’t want to, but I was a kid and who was I to say that I wanted to stay at Eastside where all of my friends were. We were now going to Catawba Baptist, and I had made some new friends, mostly guys, because girls have always still to this day gotten under my skin. It’s a competition thing for so many women all of the time, so I became one of the guys. I knew most of the guys from school anyway, and it made it easier on the transition, but it still was not the

same. Still not wanting to go to the prom alone, I figured I would ask one of the guys from church. I had always thought that Brad in our youth group was very cute. I asked him first. We went out one night with friends and then a few days later we just didn’t really hit it off. We didn’t go out anymore. Prom date one was a NO. There was only one other guy at church that I had any interest in, Jonathan Mullis. Yes, my children’s father and now my first exhusband, but let’s back up to the prom date. Remember I said I had prayed for God to send me the man that I would spend the rest of my life with. Keep reading and you will find out. Yes, Aunt Reba you were right, God will show you a sign. He will show you more than one sign, but Aunt Reba, you know I like cute boys and my head has always been in the clouds. I have had lots of signs now and lo and behold I’m finally listening! Jonathan was a good Christian guy, loved his family, loved children, and I thought him and his big blue eyes were very cute. One Sunday night my parents were both for some reason staying home and I was going to youth group. Jonathan’s brother (Uncle Jay) to my children, picked me up to take me to church and I wanted Jonathan to take me home. Now Jay is cute, but Jay was a little too quiet for the talker and the ADHD in me. Jay would never be able to keep up with me. If you know Jay, you would completely understand. Let’s just say he has a pace that symbolizes a snail. Heaven forbid my son sometimes has this same trait from his adorable uncle Jay. Youth was over and it was only 7:00pm on a Sunday. I wanted to ride home with Jonathan instead of Jay and was going to try my best to get the courage up to ask him to be my date for the prom. I only wanted a date to the prom nothing else. I called my mom and asked if I could stay out a little longer and she said as long as I was home by 9. Jonathan had a bright


red Mustang, and he made all of the guys jealous. He loved this car and still to this day with his hotrod faddish loves making girls swoon and guys hate him. I’m pretty sure Benjamin our 15-year-old son has these same qualities. Lord help me! Jonathan and I started dating, and again I being a now 18-year-old girl getting spoiled, because he is a spoiler, just ask my kids. They are SPOILED ROTTEN! That is not an understatement! Ok, so Jonathan spoils me rotten too, like any 18-year-old girl would want. We went to Church together and that made it even easier, because we could go to all of the youth events together. His family became my family and we did the normal Southern tradition of starting careers after high school and some college, and got married at the young age of 20. We were only married 3 months and I found out that I was pregnant with our now 15- year-old son Benjamin. Benjamin is definitely his father’s son. Full of himself all of the time and way too smart for his own good. He is just like his daddy in so many ways, but looks a ton like his mama. He is now bigger than his daddy and taller than his daddy, kind of like his uncle Jay, but I’m pretty sure that Benjamin will pass uncle Jay too and be at least 6’2” like my daddy was. Ben’s just tall and pretty slim, also becoming quite an attractive young man. He looks so much like Brian Young that I told you about earlier that it’s scary, because just like Brian, I am sure that Ben will be breaking some young girls heart soon enough. Maybe not, because he does now have his mamas story to listen to and learn. Yeah right, what am I thinking since when does the male species listen to the female, other than when Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Alright, stop laughing, y’all know it’s true. Jonathan and I are doing the normal married thing, and expecting our first child. We are still faithfully in Church at Catawba Baptist and I

love it. I am also now getting involved in the local Mom2Mom a group for expecting moms and moms of toddlers. I heard Renee Swope from Proverbs 31 ministries speak at a meeting one Tuesday morning and started thinking of when I got saved and realized then that God had wanted me to use my writing for His purpose. This staying in the back of my mind, but never really coming into play because I just didn’t really think about it much. I did keep thinking of Missionary work. Not missionary work in other countries, but here in our own country where still so many people really don’t know the love that Jesus has for them. Again, never really doing anything with these thoughts or really praying about them, I just went on living the normal barefoot and pregnant southern home maker life. Benjamin was born on May, 31, 2000. At that point in my life this was definitely the happiest day in mine thus far. I had a bundle of joy, that I really had no idea what to do with other than spoil in a rocking chair, sing Jesus loves me to and snuggle as much as possible. Thankfully, I did know from my sister’s children how to feed him, bathe him, and diaper him; so how hard could the mommy thing be? Benjamin was the best kid. Never fussed, only got sick once with the croup, which now we know started a long line of sinus problems for him. He never complained, and was just a happy little boy. Jonathan and I by this time had started fussing so much, about everything, that I didn’t know what to do half of the time. I was lonely a lot and really didn’t understand why. Benjamin was almost 2 when I told Jonathan I wanted to have another baby. All of the moms in the Mom2Mom group had 2 or 3 and Jonathan was so good with kids of all ages, that I thought another baby would do us good. Give us some excitement of planning for another bundle of joy, giving Benjamin someone to play with. I wanted a girl. That way she would have a


Big Brother like I had always wanted to protect her and be there for her to talk to when she needed someone to just lean on. Jonathan and I only talked that one night and said let’s try and let me tell ya. If you have ever heard the saying, “It happened one night” it did. That’s all it took for us believe it or not. 9 Months later and not another dull moment in all of the 13 years that she has been on this earth. Lillian Mae Mullis was born September, 25 2002. She is the most beautiful, big brown eyed girl, with the longest and prettiest eyelashes you have ever seen. She and Benjamin both have these big brown eyes from their Nana, my mom, their daddy’s freckles, Ben has my dimples in his cheeks, Lillian her daddy’s chin dimple, and both the greatest sense of humor. Benjamin is still calm pretty much all of the time, but Lillie whoa NO. You could never in your life expect her to be calm. I am pretty sure she is the child after my own heart. I am pretty wide open myself. Yes, Aunt Reba, I admit it, wide open all of the time. My kids are my inspiration to keep me going through each day. I am sure that I have disappointed them a time or two, but I have disappointed myself as well. I would not trade them for anything in the world though and hope they know it. Even if I am not there always. I hope they know that no matter what if they need me I will be there as fast as God can get me to them. Jonathan and I were still in Church and doing pretty good, but his now second job got him out of Church, and I again started feeling very lonely. Both kids were in preschool now and I really thought that going back to work would help with all of the feelings that I was having. A door opened for me to go to work, but the job was waitressing and bartending as the assistant to the owner of a local restaurant. I had never

been subject to a lot of the things that went on in bars. Yes, the restaurant was a family restaurant, but about 10:00 or earlier each night it became pretty much just a bar and I would not get home from work until about 3:00AM. Jonathan was getting up for work around 4-5:00AM so we barely even saw each other anymore. My children were suffering from it, and we didn’t even really know it. Our marriage was also suffering from it more than we realized. Little did I know that my health was even suffering from all of the hours of sleep that I was losing and the way that I was eating as well as all of the soda that I was drinking. Even though I worked in a bar, I still never really drank, because I knew that getting drunk was wrong. I also knew how others acted when they were drunk, so I sure didn’t want to be one of them. If alcohol is the truth serum, I would hate to see the lies. Working in the bar about a year I had begun to get really sick. At first I thought that I just was tired and possibly getting pneumonia which I had had so many times that it was not even funny. I never had the flu, so I was pretty sure that wasn’t it. A few days went by and I just got weaker and weaker. I was at work one afternoon, looked at the owner, told her how bad I felt so I went back home. The kids were with Jonathan’s mom, who they call Mimi, so I went straight to bed to see if just getting some rest would make me feel better. I was hurting in my right side really bad, took some ibuprofen for the pain and a Benadryl, off to sleep I went. The kids came home with their daddy a few hours later. He brought in some wonton soup to try and make me feel better. Nothing made me feel better, and back to bed I went. The next morning, I couldn’t even get out of the bed I was in so much pain. Jonathan and my marriage was already on the rocks, and he was pretty much burnt out from working 2 jobs, (his


choice-not a need, that I never liked him doing). Thank God we had a dear family friend that rented the mobile home next door from us. She helped with the kids as much as possible. Nanny Sonja was definitely an angel that day. In unbearable pain and crying, I told Benjamin who was 6 now to take Lillie now 3, hold her hand and go get Nanny, tell her mommy was very sick, in a lot of pain and was either calling an ambulance or their daddy to take me to the hospital. Nanny Sonja came took one look at me and she herself called their daddy to come and get me. She had her two grandchildren John Elliott and Megan with her, but this was an emergency so she didn’t mind having extra kiddos to take care of at all. Jonathan and his dad were thankfully less than a mile away from the house and came to take me to the hospital. Jonathan was mad as a hornet, because he of course had things to do, but his daddy, Paw Paw Phillip, as we call him, was always the sweetest man I have ever known, told him to not worry about what I had on or what work was going to be like, that he could look at me and tell that I was very sick and had no choice but to go to the hospital. Now I am no big girl, but also not a little one either from the time I had met Brian Young to now I was always 130 lbs., but Jonathan even as little as a man as he is, is very strong. Thankfully he had also been going to the gym each morning that he could, because he had to take me in his arms like he was carrying me over the threshold and carry me down our back steps into the truck. He was still fussing but I was crying and hurting so bad that he really just didn’t know what to do other than hold me. He held me all of the way to the hospital while Paw Paw Phillip drove. We got to the hospital, he carried me in like a baby, still crying from all of the pain, so they skipped triage and skipped anything else that was needed to check me in.

There was a few paramedics taking a stretcher back out, but saw me and decided I needed it. One of the paramedics a guy said, “Man, looks like you got her here just in time.” I don’t remember much other than about 4 nurses or doctors asking this irritating question “Rate your pain from one to ten”. I am not sure about you, but if you’re in as much pain as I was you were sick of hearing this question. So I yelled at the nurse and told her 10 in a frank way and that’s the last thing I remember. I was induced to a semi coma for 10 days, with kidney failure. I was blessed to be alive and am still blessed today. My mom had already had me flat-line on her when I was 7. This was the second time in my short 26 years that she was worried about her baby living. Now remember that Jonathan and my marriage was already on the rocks. You would think your wife almost dying would make you want to be by her side the entire time she was in the hospital, but that was not the case. I’m still not sure if he has a passionate bone in his body other than for the kids. He was always working and that was his life other than the kids. Jonathan and I had pretty much completely grown apart, but thankfully now we can tolerate not fussing at each other anymore at least long enough to joke with the kids and be in the same room beside each other for a few hours. He is still a Hot Mess and still likes to flirt with the ladies, but the kids love it. They both have his brain, my looks, and our senses of humor. We made some pretty awesome kiddos. Lord help the woman and man they spend the rest of their lives with, because Benjamin is going to be on the guys Lillie dates like white on rice. He and his daddy both always have a gun or two loaded. Lillie is not going to tolerate anyone dating her big brother that she does not like. Lillian without a doubt will be getting rid of fellas before they ever call and as soon as the first one breaks her heart Jonathan and I will have to keep Benjamin from breaking his neck.


Oh the joy of teenagers. Only God knows what the guy Lillian marries is going to have to go through to meet her requirements. Yes, I know you are laughing again. Jonathan and I separated about 2 weeks after my being home from the hospital and he remarried a year later. He is now divorced from her and thank God for that because she was not the nicest woman in the world to him or my children. Benjamin and Lillian live with him and always have. I for one did not have enough of strength back to have a full time toddler nor did I feel it was right to take them from the home that was built solely for them. Say what you will, about my mothering skills, and I really do not care what other moms think or even dads for that matter. My children know that I love them more than anything in the world. Women for 10 years have asked how could you leave your children. I did not leave my children! I left a home that did not have love in it for anyone, and all I had ever wanted in my life was the love that I had dreamed of before meeting Brian Young or Jonathan Mullis. Jonathan and I have gotten a lot better at communicating things about the kids through the past few years. That was always my biggest prayer the entire time he was remarried to his second wife. She did not allow him to communicate with anyone. Jonathan still does a fabulous job at spoiling the kids and their friends rotten. They both also have a whole lot of respect for him that they otherwise probably would not have if they lived with me. We both try our best to teach them the Christian values instilled in us and he instills a little more on the Southern way of living, (some may even say redneck). I’m one of the preppiest country accented girls you have ever met, so far from the term redneck. I obviously have more of my Aunt Betty Jo in me than anyone would think. Just ask my mama, she hates buying me clothes because she knows just how picky that I really

am. Lillie is the same way, but Lillie is not afraid of the dirt and mud. Me on the other hand, I am ok with no mud ever or even getting dirty for that matter. I also would never in my life be caught hunting, yet sure if Lillie had half the chance she would show the fellas how it’s done. After getting on my feet health wise and financially after Jonathan and my divorce, I decided on a career change. I had always liked the city and wanted to move at least closer to Charlotte and thought the Car business would be a great change. I took a continuing education course, that taught how to sell pretty much anything, not just cars. Also, I have the personality to do pretty much anything anywhere as long as it is not in the mud. This was January 2007. I was excited to start the new chapter in my life and see what I could do in the Big Corporate world. If you don’t know me, let me describe myself for a minute. Also keep in mind this was 9 years ago. I am 5’6”, and at this time I was very athletic built. I was 135lbs, pretty slim, and lean with just the right curves. I am blessed with the way that I look and my looks have always gotten the fellas attention. Sometimes a lot more attention than I really wanted. I have brown eyes, and then had almost waist length dark brown wavy hair. People have always loved my hair. Now put the beautiful woman package, with the brains, and the personality, you get pretty much the entire package that all women want and all men want as their trophy girl. Before my head swells, let me say I am far from anywhere near perfect, but God did bless me, with a lot of natural beauty and a lot of great traits. Some would describe me as one of Jobs daughters. My Aunt Reba, describes me as a perky little Hot Mess, and She is right. I had just finished the continuing education class about two weeks prior, and was on a


mission today to find a new job. I knew I had to go towards Fort Mill or Charlotte to find the job in the car industry that I wanted. So off to Fort Mill I went with my resume. I had not been feeling so up to going out and looking that day, but knew I had to find a new job. So with a cute white sweater on and a nice pair of dark indigo jeans on I was not planning to be interviewed on the spot, I only planned to drop off my resume and hopefully would hear from someone in a day or two. Driving up 77 to Fort Mill where I knew 3 major dealerships were, I stopped in a store for a Newspaper and saw an ad for a BDC Manager, (Internet sales manager) for the Hyundai dealership. Luckily this dealership was right across the street from the Shell station I had stopped at on Gold Hill rd. I went across the street, took my resume to the receptionist and began filling out an application. As I was sitting in the lobby filling out the application the receptionist Miss Mildred and I were still engaging in small talk, when Tommy Tighe, the Human Resources manager, came from his office and asked who was the person with the strong southern accent? Again, if you know me, you know that I have a very distinctive accent. I am from Lancaster, SC, but my accent is more of a Charleston/Mississippi or Louisiana girl. Tommy figured out that the girl was me and told me to come with him. We went to a cubicle that he used as his office, he explained that he could keep an eye on the entire dealership from here. He took my resume, read over it for a few seconds and started asking questions. He told me that I had the looks, the personality, and the experience with people to make the perfect Public Relations Coordinator. We hit it off and it was not even lunch time yet. He asked if I could go take a drug test right then and I said I most certainly could. Again thank God I had never given into illegal peer pressures. He took me up the stairs to the Accounting Clerks office where

the drug test forms were kept and informed me to take the paper to Rock Hill, which was only a few miles away, and bring it back to him before 4pm that afternoon. Not having much time and not knowing how long it was going to take with traffic and waiting in a Drs. Office I went on and got back to him about 2:30 with my results. He sat with me and talked to me explaining that he would get in trouble if he did not start me on the sales team, but to keep me under his wing he would put me upstairs with the BDC a few weeks on the phone and then we would figure out how to get me into public. He introduced me to Mark Smith the GM, and Greg the GM. Now let me tell ya, these car salesmen were some good looking men and I was a single woman that had not dated a whole lot since Jonathan and my divorce. I noticed right off the bat that gorgeous Greg was not married. I also noticed he was flirting. It was so obvious that Mark reminded him, right in front of me, that it was against company policy to date inside the workplace. Darn the luck. I was so excited that I went home showed my mom the paper Tommy Tighe handed me. She didn’t understand at first, so I finally just said Mama I got a job, and I start in two days. Well little did I know I would be starting at lunch the next day. I was asleep and my cell phone rang about 9:30AM, it was Tommy Tighe telling me to come on in from 12:00 to 7:00 that same day. What was I going to wear and do to my hair? I had no idea what I was even going to do in the Corporate World. Nervous was an understatement. I finally chose one of my favorite outfits. An off white pair of slacks and a pink shirt. For some reason at this time in my life I wore a lot of pink. Off to the new job I went with my hair up again in my favorite pony tail up do, a little makeup for the first day and of course a notebook for any notes that I may need to jot down. I arrived a few minutes early and Tommy


was waiting for me with his big Italian Grin when I walked through the front door. The first few hours were spent filling out the usual paper work, as you did with any new job, and the next few I was upstairs in my new office studying the company handbook until finally Mr. Tighe comes in and gets me started on the computer for making out-going calls. I can honestly say I would much rather speak to people in person than over the phone for sales any day. Tommy learned that I was good at speaking to anyone and comfortable with the phones, but he knew from the first time he saw me that behind a desk and phone was not where I wanted or needed to be. A few weeks of calling went by and thankfully went very fast. It was early one March morning and still a little chilly, but the day should warm pretty quickly. I was dressed in my new Hyundai shirt that they required us to wear, had finally gotten a name tag so people would know who I was and had on a brand new pair of Khakis that my mom had bought me a few days before. We were coming out of the usual 9am sales meeting or startup meeting, when Mr. Tighe came to my rescue. He needed someone to go to the Springs Golf Course a few miles away for a hole in one contest that they were having. Carolina Hyundai sponsored the event every year and if you got a hole in one on the 17th hole you won a new car. Not too bad of a deal I thought. This was not in my job description, but yay, he chose me. I was loving the idea of hanging out at the Golf Corse the rest of the afternoon. Driving over to the course, I had the privilege of driving the give-away car, not realizing this would be a two-day event and the first day of a wonderful, exciting, no longer having to sit behind a desk career with Hyundai. Arriving at the Golf Corse, one of the retired volunteers named Fred greeted me. It was his job to cater to me all day long for the rest of the day today

and the next. No one told me how much fun this was going to be, but it was awesome. A nice warm March morning at a golf course with this sweet older man catering to my every need and telling me old jokes all day was right up my ally. Fred was a true Southern Gentleman, too bad he was about 80 and I was only 27, oh and he was very happily married to Ruth for 50 years. They were about to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Fred and I carried on laughing and giggling through the day waiting patiently on the golfers to get finished with their 18 holes. Then Fred informed me that I would be joining all of the golfers for the award ceremony and a free meal catered by some Fancy Charlotte Restaurant. I totally was loving this. They had pulled pork, garlic mashed potatoes, seared Salmon, and garlic green beans. Delicious and I would not have to buy lunch. Not having to buy lunch was always a good thing when you have just started a new job and are on a very tight budget. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a dream career, especially for a young single woman still in her 20’s. Almost overnight my job that I had just begun less than 2 weeks prior changed completely from Internet sales consultant in the BDC, to Public Relations Coordinator. The guys on the sales floor started getting really mad, because there was this new girl in town and she was never at the dealership working anymore, and they believed they had seniority. She was always on the go in a brand new car, going to events and things showing off the cars and building prospects for sales. They didn’t care that everyone I talked to out in the field was a potential sale for them and that if they were in the field they would not be able to sale and make commission. They were just mad because they had to sit in offices all day while I was basically out playing with the Who’s Who of


Fort Mill, York, Lake Wylie, and Charlotte. I finally had my dream job.

business was declining fast. I was constantly worried about having a job the next day.

Even though I did have the dream job that I had always wanted, my career began to take away from my children and my being able to spend the quality time with them that they needed. They now had a new step mom that made it bad enough on them. She was mean to them, did not feed them properly and even hurt them to the point to where they were afraid of her. I didn’t nor did their father know what she was doing behind his back. The kids were afraid to tell me anything, because she told them that if they did she would punish them. I prayed for the Lord to either change her or take her out of their lives. I was tired of seeing my children hurting and me myself not being able to do a whole lot about it, because their dad didn’t believe anyone but his new wife. All I can say is thank you Jesus for the last few years that this woman has not been in their lives.

After Bryan was at the dealership a few months and us becoming the best of friends, Mark Smith was cut loose by the Owner, Terry Taylor. Terry came in one afternoon and pretty much cleared house. It was really weird. I know that certain numbers were not where they were supposed to be and the controller at our sister store in Huntersville, NC was released of her duties, Mark was released as the GM, Greg had left a few short months before, and several other positions were gone in a flash. We lost 8 employees in one day. Mark Smith had talked to me a few days prior to this to let me know that he was not sure what the outcome of Terry Taylors visit was going to be and he assured me that I was going to be ok, because as long as Bryan was there and in charge I was going to have my job. That was a relief. He said he could tell that I was worried and to calm down because I was doing a great job of still getting the right people in the door. He warned me to be cautious in the weeks and months to come, and to only talk to Bryan about my work because he knew that the other guys already thought that my position was not a need. Little did the guys know I worked in every department in the dealership from time to time and Mark Smith, Tommy Tighe, and now Bryan Mooney saw great potential in my career.

Hyundai had become my life and now it was Spring of 2008. I was easily working 80-90 hours a week and was so caught up in the fun of my job that I didn’t have a care in the world other than to go to work the next day. This spring Greg had decided to leave and go to a dealership in Mooresville, so Mark Smith decided to bring in two new sales managers from Florida, and Bryan Mooney was one of them. Bryan and I hit it off from the very beginning and became the best of friends. I was even more excited about going to work each day knowing that he would be there. I knew he would not be a permanent fixture, because he had a wife and 4 children in Florida waiting for him to return, but none the less he was the friend that I needed at the time. The car business was getting to the point to where you didn’t know if you were going to have a job the next day or not. This was the year that everything was going bankrupt and the car

A few days later after the initial Terry Taylor wipe out of staff, Mark Smith was still there for about a week and had to inform Tommy Tighe, that he was no longer needed in his position. It was a very sad day for me, because Tommy was like my at work dad. He had taken me under his wing and taught to know as much about the dealership as I possibly could. Now I know that his teaching me his job as well as all of the others that he helped perform everyday was one of the reasons they bagged him and not me. He made double if not triple my salary and


they were cutting cost everywhere. So I started picking up even more duties as well as having to keep up with all sponsored events. My time with my children was getting more and more faint and Bryan noticed, so he started letting me take which ever company vehicle that I was in during the afternoons of my needing to get my children and bring it back in the morning, because typically I would be in that same vehicle at another event the very next day. Especially on Saturdays. I had not had a Saturday off in over 3 months and really needed one. My Birthday was on the Saturday that I finally had off. My roommate decided to take me out and had it set up for us to meet friends at our favorite nightlife spot in Lake Wylie. If you know me, you know that I love to sing and they were having Karaoke, so I was ready to sing. Belting out to Ole Blue Eyes (Frank Sinatra) “Luck be a Lady” with the top down on the car up 77 from Rock Hill to Lake Wylie, I was ready to party. We walked in and our friends were at the table that we always used, waiting for me and singing Happy Birthday. There was a new guy that I had never met sitting next to the seat that I always sat in. He was gorgeous to say the least. Immediately I thought of him as a Black haired Matthew McConaughey. He kept looking at me, but never said a word. I didn’t know his name or anything, so I finally asked my friend Amber who he was and if he was with her and her boyfriend. She says, “this is Chuck. He is Chris’s twin brother and just moved here with us a few months ago. Chuck meet Mindy.” He smiled and said hi, then asked me to dance. I reckon all it took was for him to be introduced. Chuck and I danced and danced and I sang more and more. His brother and I sang a few duets and then we all left to go back to their house on Lake Wylie. Chuck, stopped me at the door of the bar we were in and said, he wanted my number so he could properly ask me out. I was

liking him a lot so I said why not, and my roommate kept telling me it was time that I moved on with my life and found someone good to date. So why not, and it was my birthday. We exchange numbers and before I know it Chuck has swept me up in his arms, propping my feet on his boots as he holds me off of the ground and kisses me like WHOA! Not sure how to describe it other than WHOA! Not sure if it was the few beers I had had or if it was the kiss, but I was sweating bullets and dying to get this night over with to see about that date he was planning to ask me on. Back to Chris and Chucks home on the lake Chuck disappears. I later figure out he had worked building an outdoor fireplace and patio all day so he just went in and strait to bed. At work the next day I thought about him, wondering if and when I would hear from him. I got home and my roommate asked if I had heard from him and I hadn’t. So, my roommate says well guys have a 3-day rule, so if he doesn’t call by day 3 then he is not interested. Well day two goes by no Chuck, and I’m thinking this dude is so not interested. Well day 3 I go to work, and at about 2 pm I get the call. I think how weird it is that this really is day 3. Now what? He asks what time did I get off, and if he can pick me up from work so he could take me on a proper date. I am now thinking, “Proper date? Does that exist?” I agree that it was fine with me and I will meet him in the lobby at 5:15. He was right on time. We get in his truck, and head to his house in Lake Wylie. He has decided we are going bowling. I had not been bowling in years and I am not very good at it, but it will be fun, right? We get his bowling things and go to the Alley. We bowled one game and talked the rest of the night. He was already good looking, and now I am learning how sweet he is. Really liking this guy. We get back to my place and he asks if he could just pick me up from work on


his way home again and take me to a movie or something. Dude is racking up the points. Of course I agree that that’s a great idea. So tomorrow makes date 2. This became every afternoon trend. For two full weeks he picked me up from work and either took me to dinner or cooked for me. He was Greek and definitely cooked like one. Yummy in more ways than I understood. A little over two weeks of him picking me up from work and spoiling me even more rotten than I already was. He came to get me from work on one of my late nights and seemed to be anxious about something. We get back to his house and in the garage he looks at me and says, “I can’t walk in that house one more night without you.” I was talking his ear off and was not sure if I heard him right so I asked, “What do you mean?” The garage was full of weight lifting equipment and 4 wheelers and other Men toys. He proceeds to tell me to please be quiet so he can think, and told me to sit. So I sat on the weight bench wondering what in the world is wrong with this man. I am quiet now, and waiting. He gets down on one knee, grabbing my hands and starts to cry. WOW! I am thinking to myself, “Is he really doing this?” OMG, He is going to ask me to marry him. Really? Am I ready for this? Oh Crap! Now What? Chuck proceeds with tears in his eyes and says, “I fell in love with you the moment I laid eyes on you. The night we met, I knew I couldn’t live without you.” He is crying and now so am I. He is still talking. “He then says, “Every night for the past few weeks, I pick you up, bring you to my house and then take you home. I don’t want to take you home anymore. I want this to be your home too. I want you to be my wife,” WHOA! Did this really just happen? I do love this man, or do I? Good looking, sweet, spoils me, cooks better than Emeril, and did I mention good looking and sweet? “Yes, yes, I would love

to be your wife.” He then says, “tomorrow, we will move you here” I didn’t say a word I believe I was in shock. This was the second week of September, and we just met on my birthday August 19th. But things like this happened in the movies all of the time. The next day, I get off of work at 5, Chuck comes to pick me up, and we go to my house to get my things. No turning back now. Did I mention Chuck lives in what I would call a mansion on the Lake? Well, here goes nothing I’m heading for the Mansion and the Chapel. What woman wouldn’t love this? I move in, and for the first time in my life I am sleeping in a bed bigger than my car, and in a house as big as an Inn. Who pays the power bill? I sure hope not me. What do two twin brothers, neither married, do with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and about 2000 extra square foot of house? Chuck and I now lived downstairs in the main quarters, and his brother lived upstairs in the master suite, which was the size of my parents’ home. There was also a detached guest quarters for their mom and sisters if any ever came to visit. I loved it. The entire house was Cedar and Marble. Chuck and Chris own a major brick paving company so Marble was everywhere. Living there a few weeks, I get used to waking up to breakfast being ready, my lunch prepared for the day, from the delicious meal Chuck cooked the night before. He even ironed my work shirts for me. Yes, I know I am spoiled and I always have been. He saw me off to work every day and even gave me one of his cars to drive. 3 or 4 days before he and I met a guy rear ended me and it totaled my car, so I was driving a rental. He started taking me back and forth to work so I would no longer have to drive the rental. I drove a company vehicle from the dealership so much that I was fine once I got to work. There was no point in me buying another car if he had 3 and a truck. So I just drove one of


his. He had a 2008 Chrysler 300 with the SRT8 that pretty much became mine. I fell in love with the car too. I had to be careful because that car was very fast. It’s only October and I have now moved into the Nicodemus Inn as I called it, on the lake, with this man of my dreams, he has the looks, the money, the cars, the house, and did I mention he has been spoiling me even more rotten? Yep, I am good with marrying him. We are sitting in the kitchen one night eating one of his yummy meals, homemade spaghetti and HUGE Italian Meat Balls, when he asks, what day I thought about getting married. Wow, I really am about to marry this man that I barely know. Have I lost my mind? Yes, I lost it with the first kiss. We talk about the wedding and decide that we just wanted to go get married and not have a big wedding. I absolutely love the Ocean, so I said, “Why not New Years on the Ocean?” he liked the idea and I started making plans for a New Year wedding on Myrtle Beach. I only had a little over two months to plan a wedding. Yikes! The Holidays were coming in fast, and I was still working so many hours that I barely got to see my kids, and I missed them dearly. Chucks business had slowed down a good bit and he was at home pretty much every day alone. His brother was in Georgia at his other house on St. Simon Island where they had a few years of contract work at a park and several hotels on the Island. Chuck had started drinking pretty early in the day but it didn’t faze me because I was so late getting home from work that I just wanted to eat dinner and go to sleep. Our daily routine, became him waking up about 30 minutes before I did, he would get breakfast going, make me a yogurt smoothie, turn on music in the bathroom for me, turn the heat in the bathroom on with the hot water so that the shower was all ready before my feet would ever hit the floor. He would come in with my smoothie and a kiss, and tell me breakfast

would be ready when I got finished getting ready for work. He had my lunch in a bag with a few bottles of water, put the rest of the yogurt smoothie in a to go cup, and kissed me goodbye. He would work on a few things around the house in the morning, then go to the market for whatever it was he planned for dinner, his best friend Jeff may come over and help him with some plans for a paver job they had to do, or a fence job that Jeff had going on, they would drink a few beers and Jeff would go home as I was coming in from work. Thanksgiving day I was finally off of work, because we were closed for the Holiday, and Chuck and I were to go to Lancaster to eat with my family. He started cooking about 4AM, and I slept until about 10AM, being it was the first day in over a month that I had off. I get up and Chuck is in the kitchen cooking and drinking a beer already. I mention that it was a little earlier to be drinking and he snaps at me saying, “That he was a grown man and he would drink at any time of the day that he wanted to.” I just blew it off, and figured as long as he took a nap before heading to my parents then all would be ok. The phone rings and it is his sister Jolene; she lives in Great Falls Montana. She talks to Chuck a few minutes and asks to speak with me. I get the phone and she asks, “Is he drinking?” I say, “Yes, he has not worked hardly at all lately and he starts pretty early, but today is the first time he has ever snapped at me.” She tells me, “Be careful, if he gets mean call Chris, he will handle him.” I think nothing by it, and hang up the phone. I then call my mom and ask her what time did we need to be at her house. She said 3PM would be good. I tell Chuck we need to leave by 1:30 and he needed to take a shower and nap some before he went to my parents smelling like a beer. He gets snappy again and fusses at me upsetting me, and accusing me of being too knaggy with him over his drinking. My reaction of course was to fuss back. I told him, I was tired of coming in to him drinking all day


and that he needed to go back to work before he ran out of money, because my little $40,000 per year salary would not pay for this big house. He then tells me he and his brother are selling the house, Chris is moving back to Georgia. Wow, where are we going to live? I have children and a career, I am not about to move to Georgia. I go to the bedroom and just cry. “Why God, am I having to deal with this? Its thanksgiving I want to see my family and he is drunk and fussing. Why is he acting like this today?” He was getting mean. I cried and prayed and went back to the kitchen begging him to sober up so that we could go see my family. He screams at me, “GO SEE THEM! WITHOUT ME!” I was crying again, no one had ever screamed at me the way he just did. Should I just go or should I call Chris? What’s Chris going to do? He is in Florida at their moms. I tell him that all he has to do is Sober up and we can go to Lancaster and enjoy Thanksgiving with my parents and sister. I wanted to see my family, my sister was up from Key Largo with my daddy and I wanted to see them on my only day off. He then gets right in my face and screams at me again, “I AM AS SOBER AS I NEED TO BE! I DO NOT NEED YOU TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!” I am getting more and more upset trying to get away from him. He is spitting in my face. He is so close to mine, I tell him, that if he did not get out of my face that I was going to slap him. He had me pinned against the wall to where I could not move and was screaming in my face. I slapped him as hard as I could because he was hurting me by pushing me into the wall. His reaction knocked me out. He hit me so hard that I fell on my hip onto the very hard marble living room floor. Yes, he knocked me out with his fist. I am not sure how long I was knocked out, all I remember is he was holding me when I came to and telling me how sorry he was. He seemed to be sobering up, or maybe I was just in shock. NO ONE, not even my parents had ever hit me.

Mama, spanked me twice in my entire life, and daddy was afraid to touch me because I stayed so sick when I was little. My hip and leg were throbbing, my spine was hurting where he had me pushed into the corner of the wall while screaming at me, and now I am pretty sure my Jaw bone was swollen and going to be bruised. What about my mama? I could never go see my family now. My daddy would kill him, and I loved him. I apologized for slapping him first. I felt like it was my fault. I called my mom, told her Chuck was in a bad mood and I was just really tired, that I was sorry, but we were not going to make it and I would see her and everyone Sunday with my babies. In the bedroom I just cry until I go back to sleep, I just wanted to forget about this day altogether. The next morning, I wake up, my hip is throbbing from where I hit the floor. I decided that I would just take some ibuprofen, and pray that the hot shower would help. My jawbone was very sore too. Please don’t let it be bruised. What will I tell the guys at work? I go into the bathroom, look in the mirror, my face is not black or blue but it is red, and my eyes were puffy as crap from all of the crying. I will just tell them it is my allergies. Getting ready for work, leaving, no breakfast, no smoothie, just out the door. My brain was hurting already from wondering how this happened. Chuck was changing and I didn’t understand why. Back home that night I am in the kitchen cleaning from dinner, when Chucks brother comes in. He takes one look at me and asks, “Why have you been crying so much?” I said, “I haven’t been, my allergies are just really bad this time of year.” He says, “Don’t lie to me. What did my brother do? Did he hurt you?” Ok now I am really confused, there sister warned me, Chris told me from the beginning that if I ever needed him if Chuck got mad to just call and he would take care of it, and now he obviously already knows that yes his brother did


hurt me. “Why would you think he hurt me?” I ask. Chris says, “Because I know him and I know how mad he can get. He never hurt his ex-wife that I know of, but he did get really angry with her when he was drinking. Chuck is a lot stronger than people think, he is a beast, when he gets mad and as big as I am I can barely handle him myself. Just be careful please, and let me know if he ever hurts you.” I am in shock again, and just say, “OK, I will.” Chuck comes in and sees me talking to his brother and just leaves without saying a word. I go to bed and he comes in about midnight and starts fussing at me for talking to his brother. I was exhausted from the day before and working all day this day, and had to go to work again tomorrow, but thank God I was off Sunday because all I wanted right now was a hug from my parents and my babies. For now, the wedding was off and I was scared. A few weeks go by, Chuck and Chris are getting the house ready to sell, so Chuck is still not working on other projects, and the only money coming in is my paycheck. Chuck has been blowing money on beer and food. Every day he was drinking a 12 pack of Bud Light, and spending over $100 at the Market for his gourmet cooking. He was going broke fast. 3 cars to keep up and a truck, a house and the power bill with 3 heat pumps for this big ole house was over $800 a month and Christmas was coming fast. My job I did not know how much longer was going to last and gas was getting so high no one could afford it. I talked to my sister and decided that my daddy’s house was empty and needed work, so Chuck and I would go down to Lancaster, move into daddy’s house and get it ready for my daddy to move back home. 2 weeks before Christmas, we move into my daddy’s house. I was still working, but Chuck was not doing anything but spending money on the Nicodemus Inn in lake Wylie to get it to sell,

and now spending money and working on daddy’s house. I came home one night right before Christmas, and Chuck is sitting on the couch with tears in his eyes. I am not sure what’s wrong, so I ask. He says, “I know I messed up. I want to still marry you. I am better now. I want us to stick to the same plan and get married on New Year’s day.” I tell him, I will think about it and will let him know my answer on Christmas morning. Christmas morning comes around and we open gifts. He and I had done a lot of talking the past few days and I was ready to give him my answer. I was ready to get married. So we decide that the wedding is still on and the next day we would go pick out our rings. I had a lot to do in just a few days. My parents knew we were planning to get married, but no one knew we were eloping next week. It was actually very exciting. We celebrated Christmas with my family and the kids. Santa brought me some really cute outfits and we got our rings. Things were coming together nicely. I was able to take a few days off of work for the wedding and honeymoon. We rode to Myrtle Beach, met the minister and was married at 4:00PM January 1st, 2009. We had a very cold wedding by the ocean and like to froze taking pictures. It was a New year, and a new beginning. We were now Mr. and Mrs. Nicodemus. Little did I know it would only be a short 8 months before he went crazy. I went back to work on the 4th and things had changed tremendously in the 5 days that I was gone. 6 more people had gotten laid off, and we now had a new GSM. We were doomed. The economy was hitting rock bottom, no one was ordering patios or brick paved sidewalks, so Chuck had no income at all in what was now over 2 months. I myself did not have a clue how long my job was going to last, and I was not


feeling very well the past few weeks. I think I am pregnant. Another few weeks go by and I miss my period, so now I am sure that yes I am pregnant. January 28th I take 2 home pregnancy test and yep, you guessed it, we are Newlyweds and in less than 9 months, my guess is about 7 we are going to have a baby. January 29th I am so sick when I wake up that I don’t feel like going to work, but know that I have no choice. I get ready, and Chuck drives me to work, he sold one of the cars about a month ago, the truck was in the shop and his Mustang was just a toy, so we were down to one vehicle and he was driving me an hour to work and an hour back. Making the to and from trip from Lancaster to Fort Mill everyday was very tough on the budget. I walked into work, and the new GSM asked to meet with me. He informs me that my job has been cut out and that as soon as I was finished with whatever I had to do that morning I was free to go. I was devastated. I wanted to just leave then, but had no way to get home. Chuck was not answering his phone and I was not sure if he went back to Lancaster or to Lake Wylie to work on the house. I called my mom, and she could not leave work, so I called other family that could not leave their jobs either. My last choice was to call a deacon and the preacher from Church. Thank God! They came and got me. Preacher Mitch said on the ride home, “one thing you always have to remember is Praise Him in the Storms too.” I will never forget that. Chuck was home when I got there. He didn’t understand why I was home before lunch time, so I told him what happened and he assured me we would be alright. That afternoon he got drunk and pushed me into the sofa so hard that it hurt me. I screamed at him and told him he was going to hurt the baby. I had an appointment the next day and was already worried, because I had been seeing faint spots of blood.

The next day we went to the appointment, and Dr. Townsend examined me, and told me that I was already almost 3 months pregnant. So I was pregnant at Thanksgiving when he knocked me out. All I could think of is the fall hurting the baby and me, because I was constantly swollen in my hip and throbbing from the fall. Dr. Townsend put me on bed rest and on an ultrasound schedule every two weeks for now, just to make sure everything was staying intact. The Placenta was looking good for now but he wanted to be sure it stayed that way. One bad thing was, I am now on bedrest so I could not draw any unemployment. I would get one more paycheck, and Chuck had no jobs lined up. What in the world were we going to do with a baby? How were we going to take care of a baby when we were going broke? This made Chuck drink more and more. We could not afford the power bill, much less his drinking habits. My mom and stepdad brought us groceries and I paid the power bills and the water. That was pretty much all that we could do. As I was on bedrest and keeping my feet propped up every day, Chuck got to where he was not drinking much at all, because he was working on my daddy’s house getting it ready for the baby. He had his work cut out for him which kept him pretty occupied. We were also expecting my nieces and daddy to come home for the summer, so Chuck and I with my tax money was able to buy lumber and materials for all of the kids to have Captains beds in what we were turning into the bunk room for them. He even cut out pieces of wood and painted each child’s name on the foot of their beds. He painted the entire house and ran out of paint in the master bedroom, but we were also out of money for the extra things and my being on bedrest still was not helping. We were going back and forth to the Dr. once a week for ultra sounds. On March 25, 2009 we had an ultra sound done and the Dr. told us it was a girl. We had already came up with a name for a boy or


girl, Charleston Rae Nicodemus. We left the Drs., went straight to my mom’s to let her know it was a girl. Chuck had said that he always had wanted a little girl with blonde hair and his big blue eyes. I just knew she was going to look just like that. We were at my mom’s for a few hours and I began to get really tired so Chuck drove us home, made a quick dinner of homemade chicken salad sandwiches, he drew me a bath and helped me wash my hair. He did every day and I was again spoiled rotten. He was the sweet man I met again and I loved it. We went to sleep, and I woke in the middle of the night in pain with my hip. I didn’t think anything by it so I just walked and got into my daddy’s lazy boy and went back to sleep there. The next morning, I was a little stiff from sleeping in the chair and my belly was getting heavier by the day so it was getting a little awkward feeling anyway. Ladies tend to get off balance with pregnant bellies. Mine was not too big yet, but I was definitely looking more and more like a mommy to be every day. It was exciting. My mom had just bought me my first maternity outfit and luckily Chuck had an endless supply of jogging pants and t-shirts, so I was pretty set. Through the day my hip hurt a little and I would just walk a few steps then back to the chair. I figured I was just aching from being on bedrest the past 2 months. This was March 26. I had another Drs. Appointment for blood work and that nasty orange drink of glucose yucky stuff that pregnant women have to drink for the gestational diabetes test, so I figured if all else failed I would let the Dr. know and he could check with another ultra sound, just to ease my nerves. Chuck was sawing on boards outside all day and I decided I would go sit in the yard in the warm spring air with my pillow and a book. This bed rest stuff was really sucky lately. I was bored to death and really just wanted to move. I was getting anxious, at only a little over 5

months and had almost 4 more to go, Ugh. I figured as long as I had my gorgeous husband spoiling me rotten daily and a good book to read plus his delicious cooking, I could handle it. March 27, 2009, it was Dr. day and the day before my daddy’s birthday. So after the Dr. I told Chuck I wanted to go get my daddy a card to mail, before I forgot. We get to the Dr. and I am still a little achy so I tell Dr. Townsend about it and he agrees that we will do another ultrasound just to be on the safe side. I drink the yucky orange goo and my test comes out just fine then the ultrasound. I was worried more than usual because of the aching, but the ultrasound confirmed that all was well and good with little Miss Charleston. Dr. Townsend told me to just take a warm bath and see if the achiness would go away, so of course I didn’t hesitate with that, because my ever so sexy husband was the best back and hair washer I had ever known. Did I mention how spoiled he made me? After the Dr. we went to Hallmark for daddy a silly card with a monkey on it from his monkey, then home to read my book, eat another delicious meal from Chucks kitchen and then my warm bath of bubbles and sweetness. Yeah I can handle 4 more months of this. Heck I could handle 40 more years. I was still a little achy, but Chuck had rubbed my back and hip as I fell to sleep. Miss Charleston and I slept like a baby. It was daylight about 8:00AM Saturday March 28. We were going to get Benjamin and Lillian from their daddy for the night. I got up walked into the bathroom and almost fell to the ground in pain. I screamed and Chuck ran to me. I was crying I was in so much pain, I knew what was happening and so did he, but we didn’t say a word. He asked if he needed to call anyone and I just nodded my head no. I didn’t want to think, breathe, or anything. I just wanted him to hold me and love me until it was over. He lifted me into his arms and laid me back on the bed. I told


him to get a towel so I would not bleed on the bed, because neither of us knew how bad it was going to be. He did just that and I was screaming in pain and tears. When my kidney shut down I thought that was the worst pain I had ever felt, but there was no comparison. All I could do is lay in a fetal position and let him hold me. I guess after about 10-15 minutes, I passed out from the pain. Chuck just held me. I woke up about 12:00pm and Chuck was still holding me. The pain was gone. I had not bled as much as I guessed I would but knew I had not passed the baby yet. I knew I had to pass her, so I went to the bathroom and did just that. This was the hardest thing I have ever in my life endured. I was so confused and devastated. We had just started a brand new life together, but God knew what he was doing even if I didn’t. I wasn’t mad at God like I thought that I would be. I was just sad. Sad for Chuck and I both. I didn’t want to see anyone not my parents, my children or anyone. I had to call my mom to let her know what had just happened and still needed to call my daddy and tell him happy Birthday. It was not such a happy day though. Chuck called my mom, told her about the miscarriage and that he was taking me to the Dr. to make sure I was ok. Mama came straight over to check on me and to pray with us. We called the Drs. Weekend line and he said to just come see him first thing Monday and he would make sure I was well. I will never forget March 28th as my baby girls and my daddy’s birthday as long as I live. Monday came and Dr. Townsend assured that I had passed everything, but to still take it easy for the next week and if I needed anything or counseling just let him or his nurse know. With tears in my eyes I walked out the door with Chuck and never looked back. We could try again someday, but we were Newlyweds, so why not spend a year or two getting to know each other some more. I could now draw my unemployment so the next day mama took me to get it started. This was a

major help, because only God knew what the next few months would bring. I was drawing my unemployment, and Chuck was still working on the house, now mostly the yard, cleaning up, and getting it ready for my daddy and nieces for the Summer. Easter had just passed and school would be out before you knew it. I was excited to have my kiddos and my sister’s kiddos for the summer. It would do me some good and keep my mind off of the baby and keep me from wanting another one so soon. I was doubtful that I could even conceive another child. I was bored out of my mind not working, but thanking God that it was almost summer so I could get plenty of work done outside helping Chuck, but living off of unemployment and what tiny bit of savings he still had was not going to cut it with all of these kids in the house this summer. I had to go to work. June 14th. My Sister pulls in the driveway with a car full. My daddy gets out rubbing his belly. Key Largo was feeding him good. Daddy had not lived in his own house in 5 years and he was ready to be back. Chuck had put a lot of work into the house so I was praying daddy liked what he had done. The girls were growing up way too fast. Ariel was now a teenager and Kayla was getting too big for her boots, with her sassy attitude. Ariel brought her best friend Resa, that was in Awe being on a farm for the first time in her life. The girls went straight in to see the room Chuck had fixed up for all 5 kiddos. They loved the beds. No one could argue whose bed was whose, because we had their names on them. Smart! This was going to be so much fun. Or so I thought. Two days into the girls, my daddy and sister’s arrival, Chuck and I have a small argument. He decided he was going to take a walk, so I let him. Well he was gone about an hour and I was getting a little worried, but I figured he was


sitting on the lake just taking it all in. My sister and I went to town and about 4:00 we come back, still no Chuck. I ask around to all of the neighbors which were my daddy’s brothers, and no one had seen him. He was walking so he couldn’t be far. He had been through a lot lately with a failing business, putting his dream home up for sale, me getting laid off, and the loss of the baby, he was depressed and I was not sure what to do other than try to love him through it all. I was more worried about finding a job for myself than being depressed. We had to have a steady income, or we were going to be living in poverty. After asking around and no one seeing him, I decided to call the police and do a missing person’s report. You see one thing that I had found out since we had gotten married is that Chuck had tried to kill himself about 9 year’s prior from being manic depressive and all of this in the past few months sure did not help. He was not taking his medicine at all and he was also known as schizophrenic. So the police brought the rescue squad, the fire department, and the blood hounds. It looked like a crime scene for real. I was worried sick, they asked a million questions and I was talking a million miles a minute. I already am a talkative outgoing person, but get me nervous and you will never be able to keep up. The sheriff himself was even in the yard, talking to my daddy and his brothers. After about two hours and a blood hound getting too hot, they tracked as far as they could and all they could tell is he was heading north toward Charlotte on foot. I sent my mom and my sister to the house in Lake Wylie. There was no sign of him there either. Where was he? I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. My sister drove around half of the night trying to find him, but I stayed at home because the Sheriff wanted to make sure I was there if he came back. My mom and stepdad took all of the girls with them for

the night. No child should be subject to a million cops, a worried wife, and a manic depressive husband. My kids thank God were with their daddy this week. I must have been asleep for a few hours when I heard the door open. It was 7AM and Chuck came in. I was told to call the sheriff if he came home, so I did. How did he get home you ask? My cousin was driving up Hwy. 521 on his way to work about 5AM and saw Chuck walking in Indian Land. I thought to myself, “Indian Land, that’s 30 miles away. Did he really walk that far, with no wallet, no money, and he was wearing crocs and gillies? If you know what gillies are then you know he probably looked a little out of place for such a good looking guy and he was walking in a pair of crocs. If he would have taken off his shirt and put out a thumb some 18-year-old blonde, I am sure would have picked him up. This day was the beginning of the end. Everyone was informed of his arrival back home and the sheriff’s dept. called off the search. Chuck didn’t say much and his brother came to visit, warning me to be careful again and to make sure I called him if I ever needed him. My sister decided to take the two oldest girls back to Key Largo for the Summer and for her youngest daughter Kayla to stay with our mom. My daddy even stayed with his brother for a few weeks until all of the tension was gone or so we thought. August 8th, 2009. One of my best friends Grandmother had passed away, so my mom and I were going to the funeral. I had not been dressed up with make-up on or my hair fixed really nice since working at Hyundai. Even though it was for a funeral it felt really nice to get dressed up and as my son would say “Fancy” again. After getting dressed and “Fancy”, Chuck seemed a little standoffish and ill. It almost seemed as if he was jealous of my dressing up and going to a funeral. He said, “I know there will be men at this funeral and I guess you want them to see how nice you look.”


In a very rude voice. I just brushed his comment off and left with my mom. The funeral was a 2PM funeral. Mama and I went to grab a bite to eat afterwards and I got back to the house about 4:30PM; Chuck was drunk. This was the first time in a few months that he had drank much less gotten drunk. I was mad as soon as I saw that he was drunk. I told him I was not sticking around to hear his crap and would be at my mom’s if he thought he needed me. My mom said, “Hopefully he will be passed out asleep when you get home.” I decided to go swimming at my mama’s house with my niece and stepdad, then to go back home at dark. It was about 9:15PM when I walked in the door, and lucky me he was still awake and even more drunk. My daddy had been back at the house a few days and was sound asleep, so he couldn’t hear us fussing, because I swear the man could sleep through a tornado. As I walked in the door Chuck came over to me and started drilling me with questions of where I had been and who I had been with. He was in my face as close as he could get just like he had been at Thanksgiving and I knew that I could not just slap him this time. I knew that if he touched me I was going to call the Sheriff’s dept. to come pick him up. I had my phone in my hand ready to dial 911 at any time. We were in the kitchen fussing and I told him that if he laid a hand on me I would be dialing 911. He grabbed my arms and pushed me across the kitchen. While I was trying to get my composure and balance back he took my phone from me, walked outside and threw the phone across the yard, over the fence into the pasture. It landed directly in front of a big round bale of hay. I started walking to the pasture to get the phone and noticed him coming after me. He knew he was about to go to jail and he was trying his best to keep me from calling the police. I began to run across the street screaming for my cousin Chris at the same time. It was late and dark so everyone was already asleep, but I could only hope that I made it to

Chis before Chuck made it to me. Chuck caught up to me, grabbed me by the neck, and threw me on the ground hard. He then began to choke me, trying his best to kill me with his hands around my neck. I kicked and used my elbows and knees the best that I had known how. Thank God a few year’s prior my son and I had begun to take Karate and my Sparing partner Jeff Gaskins took it upon himself one night to teach the ladies self- defense techniques. With those techniques he taught us how to get out of a choke. I would not be alive today if it were not for that one night of Jeff’s teaching us how to get out of a choke hold. Chuck was still choking me, but I got one hand loose and was able to grab him in the groin. He was straddled over me with his knees in my hips pinning me to the ground. I did all that I could to hurt him so much that he had to give up. I am still not sure how much I hurt him, but my uncle heard me screaming all the way across the street and came out his door to see what the noise was. The commotion from my uncle startled Chuck, making him let my neck go and running back into the house. Once I was finally able to get to my feet my uncle was coming towards me making sure I was ok. My adrenaline was so high by the time my uncle got to me I was feeling no pain. My uncle dialed 911, and told them what had happened. About 3 minutes later two cops come into the yard and begin to ask me questions. One was a good friend of mine and the other I had seen before, but didn’t know him. Officer Small was his name. Officer Smalls job was to question me as the other officers went to the door of the house to try and get Chuck out. They were having no luck so I had to go to the door and see if I could get him to the door. My daddy of course still sleeping through it all. The officer that was the good friend said, “Can’t you kick the door in, you took Karate.” Yes, I could kick the door, but I didn’t want to scare my daddy and him hurt Chuck, or Chuck hurt him.


The officers finally got Chuck to the door, and he cussed me and them as soon as they got to him. He was being meaner than I ever imagined that he could be. I was also still in shock that all of this had just happened only because I dressed up for a funeral. Who gets jealous over their wife going to a funeral? Chuck tried to resist the arrest and said to the officer that was in the middle of cuffing him, that he should have went ahead and killed me while he had the chance. You would think after him trying to choke me to death, and his threatening my life verbally that I would not ever want to see him again. I loved him, and just wanted him to get better, so I told myself that I would let him sit in jail for however long they made him and he would hopefully get the counseling and medical attention that he needed for the schizophrenia and manic depression. I had been looking for a job all along and decided that while he was in jail that I would see about going back to work at the Kickstand, mostly because I knew that the guys there would protect me from harm. This began my constant lookout for a safe haven. I went back to work at the kickstand and on Sunday’s would go to the detention center to see Chuck. He apologized to me and we both cried. I told him I hoped he was getting the help that he needed. He met a guy that was an artist and had a picture drew for me of a tattoo that he planned to get of my name when he got out. He wrote a letter to me saying how he really hoped things would be when he got home, so after his 45 days I decided that I would let him come home. I was at work on a Monday afternoon when I got a call from the Detention Center letting me know that he had been released. I wanted him to feel comfortable and welcome at home so I left work, went by Walmart, bought him all new toiletries and a few things to wear, because he had lost so much weight while in jail. He hadn’t been eating and you could tell. He was so skinny

it was sad. I was a nervous wreck, but knew what the officer had told me and also knew the Sherriff’s office was only one call away. My daddy was staying with one of his brothers again and I was home alone afraid of the dark and afraid to sleep again. The officers told me all he had to do was threaten me and they would come pick him up. This was not my plan. I was ready to have a happy marriage and have the sweet, hard-working, sexy, spoiling man I thought I loved back to normal. I had to work the next day, so Chuck was home alone. He did have dinner cooked like he always had before when I got in, and we tried our best to get back to a normal routine. The next day was the same and then the next the same. He was home for four days and I felt that we were going to be ok. The night of day 4 I had to work late, and he obviously didn’t believe me or just didn’t like the fact that I was not home at 5:30 as usual. I had not worked since the day after finding out I was pregnant, so he was not used to this new schedule of mine. He was drinking when I got home, but not drunk. He was also on probation so I was pretty sure that he was not supposed to be drinking and when I confronted him it made him mad. I kindly said I hoped his probation officer did not find out he was drinking or they could put him back in jail. He got mad and said, “I knew I should have killed you when I had the chance.” I brushed it off got ready for bed and just laid in the bed, afraid to go to sleep. I prayed over and over for God to please let him have to get up to go to the bathroom, so I could get out of the house and to the Sheriff’s office before he could hurt me again. About an hour of lying beside him with my eyes wide open, continuously praying that he goes to the bathroom, he finally got up to go to the restroom, and I ran out the door, into the car and down the road I went. I was so afraid that I didn’t even want to get out of the car once at the Sheriff’s office. I looked


around a few times, before getting out of the car, making sure no one was around and ran into the Sherriff’s office in my pajamas, to file the report. It was 2AM and they were only about 7 officers on duty. The lieutenant took me into the office, to write the report. He gave me precise instructions about going back to the house, but he would be by my side every step of the way. He wanted me to drive into the yard, and act like I was alone. The officers would have the house surrounded waiting to put Chuck on the ground and in cuffs before he ever knew that there was anyone there. It was like a scene from a movie or a Cops episode. I pulled into the yard, walked to the door, unlocked the door and stood back so the officers could walk right in. Chuck was sitting on the couch. He got up and went into the kitchen like he was going to grab a knife. One of the officers tackled him and put the cuffs on him faster than I ever thought was possible. I was still scared, and just wanted him out of the house. Maybe 90 days in jail would do him good and I could move on with my life. It was 4AM on September 27th 2009 and all I knew was I had been married less than a year, lost a child, and now didn’t have a clue about my marriage. November 12, 2009, Chuck was out of jail and home before I got there. No one warned me that he was released. I walked into the house, and heard someone in the shower. My daddy was still at my uncles, so I pretty much knew that it had to be Chuck, because no one else would be there. I was not sure what to do. It was almost Thanksgiving and I just wanted to have a normal Thanksgiving and Family Christmas with my Children and my husband. I constantly thought of how he and I both had lost a child and how much stronger I seemed to be than he was mentally. I knew he had a disease and I prayed daily that we could figure out a way to control it. Maybe he and I needed a vacation to just get away for a few days. A change in scenery may do us both some good. I

called my boss and asked if I could have a few days off next week. My boss was fine with that and tried to be understanding yet he was very concerned for my safety and little naïve me figured that we just needed a break for a few days. I was not sure where we were going, but I loved the coast and so did Chuck. We went to Charlotte, ate a nice lunch in downtown, and I decided to take Hwy 74 towards the coast. Why not Wilmington or the Outer Banks for a night? Instead when we got to I95 I decided to go North until I got too tired to drive. Chuck was from Pennsylvania originally, so why didn’t we go see his granddad for a day or two. We got to Virginia and started seeing signs for Chesapeake Bay and decided to go there instead. I had never been there and figured that was perfect. It was definitely somewhere that I had always wanted to go. We drove into Chesapeake Bay and arrived at an Americas Best about 12midnight. There was some type of fishing tournament so it was the only hotel that we could find with vacancy. We would get up the next day and drive to Chincoteague. Chucks family went to Chincoteague every summer when he was a child and he had told me numerous stories about it. It was beautiful and I was hoping to see some of the ponies. We talked and laughed and were really enjoying our journey. I began to think this was exactly what we needed. I thought why not plan to go back to the beach for our Anniversary. It would be the New Millennium so what could it hurt. We just may be able to live happily ever after, after all. Thanksgiving came, Christmas came, Benjamin and Lillian had a wonderful Christmas and so did Chuck and I. It was a little emotional, being this would have been baby Charleston’s first Christmas, but all in all it was a nice little family Christmas. The kids went back to their dads on the 29th, and Chuck and I packed for the 2010


Millennial anniversary at the beach. I didn’t care what we did when we got there other than sleep and drink champagne. He was not supposed to be drinking but I did want us to toast to a new year and hopefully a new start. We arrived at the Best Western on Ocean Boulevard in downtown Myrtle Beach about 7:00PM on New Year’s Eve. Being it was the Millennial New Year the place was packed. We were lucky to have a room. Chuck took the bags up to the room and I parked the car. He had two bottles of Champagne for us to enjoy the entire weekend. I got to the room and he had already popped open the Champagne and drank both bottles within the 10-15 minutes that it took me to park the car and walk from the parking garage to the room. I was furious and told him I just didn’t understand. He had not drunk in over a month because he was on probation and I really thought he was getting better. He screamed at me and I told him that I was going for a walk and I hoped he was asleep when I came back. There was an officer in the lobby when we checked in, so I went straight there to see what was I to do if Chuck threatened me or got violent with me. The officer gave me his personal cell phone # and told me to call him if anything happened and he would make sure that Chuck was quietly removed from the property. He would come check on me in an hour or so and again in the morning. He had just come on duty for the night and would be there until 8AM. I felt a little safer knowing that officers were working on the grounds and could be there pretty fast if I needed them. I walked back to the room and just went to bed. What a Happy New Year it was to me. The next day instead of going and doing anything we had planned we decided to head on back home. It was our Anniversary and I was scared again of my own husband. This was not how a marriage was supposed to be and I was

not about to stay with a man that I was afraid of all of the time. We did not talk the entire ride back home. The next day I went to work and I called his brother to let him know exactly what had happened and told him I just couldn’t do it anymore. His brother was in Florida working for the next month or so and asked if I could hold on for a few weeks. I told him sure and if I needed anything or if anything happened I would let him know asap. January 22, 2010. Today was my mom’s birthday. My sister had just got here the night before to surprise mama for the big day. Benjamin and Lillian had been with Chuck and I the day before. Chuck and Benjamin had been playing ball in the front yard with a softball and Metal bat that my Uncle Jimmy had given Benjamin and Lillian a few days earlier. The bat was outside propped up against the steps, so the kids could easily find it the next time they were here. It was 8AM when the phone rang and my sister wanted to know if I would like to ride into town with her to get the things needed for our mom’s birthday dinner. I said of course I would and I would be ready when she got there to pick me up. Chuck got mad that I was going with her and said, “I have a good mind to go get Benjamin’s bat and finish you off for good.” I told him to threaten me one more time and he would never have to worry about seeing me again. He then said, “You better hope I don’t get ahold of that bat before you do or you’re dead.” I was scared and was not sure what to do. My daddy was already out in his building, fixing a fire for the day. I was afraid to tell him about Chuck threatening me, because if anyone knew my daddy he never tolerated anyone being mean to one of his girls. I went out to the building as my sister was pulling in the driveway. She gets out of the car and looks at me, and says, “What’s wrong with you? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” I told her of


Chucks threatening me again and that his brother would be there any day to take him to Florida with him. That Chris had already talked to Chuck and told him they had a big job in Florida and he really needed Chucks help, so Chuck agreed that he would go work which would give me enough of time to file for a divorce and server him with the papers while he was gone. My sister goes into the building tells our daddy what was going on and told daddy to get as many of my uncles and other family and neighbors over to the house as he could so if Chuck tried something stupid there would be enough of guys there to handle him and take him down. She then went into the house and in her sweet silly lying through her teeth tone, told Chuck that she was kidnapping me a few hours for him and the boys (daddy and our uncles and cousins) to enjoy themselves and she would have me back before he could ever miss me. If any of you know my sister, one thing that she has always and still does do to this day has been watch after me like a mama to a bear cub and if anyone was to ever pick on me or mess with me, she had no problem with becoming their worst nightmare. She had taken up for me from day one and thankfully she was and still is meaner than I ever thought about. She drove me to the Sherriff’s dept. and she told the officers without me having to say much at all about his threatening me and that if they did not get him away from me for good this time and away from her daddy, then she would not be responsible for what may happen to him before the end of the day. Monty Craig the Captain and a very close family friend that knew exactly how all of the Catoe boys were knew she meant business. He told her to make sure she kept me away from the house and that they would be a team of officers headed out to arrest him and that they would call me as soon as they had him in Custody again and that this time he himself would make sure that Mr.

Nicodemus never set eyes on me again, unless I decided that he could. Captain Craig got a team of 9 officers together and went to the house. Chuck and my daddy as well as two of my daddy’s brothers and my cousins Wayne and Buck were in the yard sitting around, telling lies and drinking a few cold ones like most country boys do on any given day. They all knew the County Cops were coming and what was going on and all of them played along with the plan that my crazy sister and Captain Craig came up with. My cousin Wayne being an Army Soldier with a keen eye and being an eye witness to what was about to take place could not have described the scene any better than he did when my sister and I got home. He said the officers parked across the street, surrounded the house and building and came up on Chuck out of nowhere. They had dealt with Chuck resisting arrest both times prior, so they were prepared for his resistance this time with guns and Tasers already drawn. Captain Craig came into the yard in his unmarked car, asking where my daddy was, that he had not seen him since he moved back from Florida, that he wanted to come by and see how he was doing and talk about fishing. This was all a setup again like something you would see in a movie or another episode of COPS. Wayne said Captain Craig proceeds to talk to my daddy about how Florida was and asks to meet his new son-in-law. Daddy pointed to Chuck and war began. Captain Craig asked Chuck, where the bat was that he threatened his wife with this morning. Chuck says, “You want to see the bat? I’ll show you the bat.” He goes and picks the bat up swinging it towards Captain Craig and two other officers come out of nowhere. He swings at them and one of them tazes him and he swings one more time, the other tazes him and one tackles him from behind while he is shaking from the taze and the metal bat in his


hand. He falls to the ground shaking from the electric shock and they cuff him and drag him to the car. I have not spoken to, seen, or even gotten a piece of mail from Charles, Chuck Nicodemus, since January 22, 2010. I didn’t know how damaged I was until August 2014. I was still working at the Kickstand and staying as late as possible, because I was afraid to go home alone. My daddy was hardly there because his brother had practically moved him into his house with him, I knew if I stayed at the restaurant until closing that I would be sleepy enough to go straight to sleep once I got to the house. I would go in go to bed and get up about 8:00AM take a shower and be out of the house by 9 to get some breakfast and then to work again. I was afraid to be in the house by myself. I would even stay at my girlfriends Missy’s or Kayla’s house so I would not be alone and would feel safe. A few guys had asked me out but I was so afraid of men that I wouldn’t go. My mom was the only one that seemed to understand any of what I was going through. I did not date for a year. I had gotten sick with my kidney’s again the second week of January 2011. Mama took me to the Dr. She made me stay at her house for the two weeks that I had to take the medicine he put me on. With this medicine I was unable to drive, so my mom wanted to make sure that if I needed anything that she could take me. It was nice being spoiled a little bit and knowing that I was going to be at my mamas house a few weeks. It also kept me from feeling so afraid all of the time. On January 20th mama said, “Why don’t you think about dating again? It has been a year and you need to start enjoying life again. God didn’t intend for us to go through life afraid and alone.” So I decided to go online and see if there was anyone out there for me.

It had snowed all night on the 20th and the ground was covered and beautiful. I went online and created a profile on one of the dating sites that you could post on like a Facebook page. I took a selfie and made the profile pic the best that I could, and put a tag line. The line said’ “I wish there was a horse and carriage in the yard, with a great guy, a blanket and a picnic basket full of goodies to enjoy this snow with.” I said a little prayer, telling God that if He wanted me to date again to let someone respond that I would like. That prayer was answered fast. The one and only person that responded to the profile was a blue eyed electrical engineer named Mark. Mark said, “I have the basket and a blanket, just not a horse and carriage. What is a beautiful lady like yourself doing home alone? I told him about my having a bad kidney and that I would still be home alone or at my parent’s home the next few days until the Dr. told me I could drive again. Mark and I chatted all night until we had no choice but to fall to sleep. He had to be at work at 8am. We had exchanged #’s and he said if I didn’t mind he would text me or call me the next day while he was at lunch. He seemed really nice and was a great looking guy. He was no Chuck, but he did mention that he worked out all of the time, so I was pretty sure he was fit, and from his profile picture he looked great. I told him that he could not call me until after he met me, because I did not want him to hear my voice over the phone thinking I was a kid instead of a 30-year-old woman. He agreed and text me just like he said he would at lunch the next day. It was exciting hearing from someone that wanted to actually talk to me and give me attention. Tomorrow the 22nd would be exactly one year from never seeing Chuck again and I said to myself, “It’s been a year, that’s plenty of time to heal, right?” Mark and I text


continuously for the rest of the day skipping only a few hours of his going to the gym. I learned a lot about him that day. He was 16 years older than me, he had two daughters, he was an Air Force Veteran, and he was originally from Mississippi. We talked about everything from our kids, to our families, and even the Bible. This was going great. We just connected and he was ready to meet me. I had already told him that I had been sick and was still taking medicine that kept me from being able to drive for a few more days, but he insisted that he could just come meet me and even meet and hang out with my parents if he had to. Now, this was impressive. Not one man that I have ever known was ready to meet the parents, but Mark had two daughters of his own and knew that if a guy was to take his daughter out then they had to meet daddy first. I felt like a 16year-old again and loved it. Mark and I met the night of the 22nd. My mom said it was fine that he come to the house. Papa was taking her to dinner for her birthday and Mark came after they got back home. We all sat around and talked for a few hours, the parents went to sleep and Mark and I still just kept on and on talking. We connected and he amazed me by listening and actually carrying on one of the best conversations I have had in my life. This night started a wonderful relationship between us and my desire to get out and work on my Public Relations Career again. Out of mama’s house and back to reality. I decided that it was definitely time to get back to reality and look for a sales job. I had not worked at the restaurant in a few months. I had been working for a security company out of Columbia and since being sick again was not able to work for a few weeks and had gotten laid off. I had been working for Full Throttle magazine as well and still had some commission that I would be collecting, but it wasn’t enough to last but a few months if that. I cleaned

houses or whatever else that I could do to be able to make ends meet. I wanted to get back into sales or marketing of some type so I started looking and sending out resumes. I kept getting job offers from all of the insurance companies wanting me to come take the course and sell insurance. Not the least bit interested in selling insurance I kept looking for a much better opportunity. Mark and I were doing really good. He had started coming to take me out once a week and we were just enjoying ourselves. He knew that I was only cleaning a few houses and small stuff. He knew I was trying to find the right job, and he and I even talked about my finding something in Charlotte or Concord so that I would be able to move closer to him. He knew that I loved Charlotte and the Concord area and that I already had friends up there that I kept in touch with pretty regularly, so why not look up that way and get back to having the career that I wanted. I began to look on all of the jobsites for the best sales jobs, or types of public relations jobs in the Charlotte area. I finally landed an interview with a company that I had been praying I could get into. Blue Green Vacations. They were located inside of the Bass Pro Shop at Concord Mills and were looking for someone to sell vacation packages to show for their timeshares around the US and Aruba. I went for the interview and was hired on the spot. I was overly excited and ready to celebrate. Mark only worked about 20 minutes away so he decided to meet me after work and take me to dinner to celebrate. He was excited too, and seemed to be very proud of me. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my mom that I had gotten the job and as soon as I drew enough of money I could move back out of Lancaster into my own apartment. The first two weeks of my job were so much fun. One thing about the location that we were


in was that we met people from all over the world. Sales had always been pretty easy for me but I was a nervous wreck working in public. I was constantly looking over my shoulder thinking I saw someone that looked just like Chuck. I was afraid that he could easily find me there and I wouldn’t be able to protect myself. I was there a few weeks and my first paycheck between the hourly wages and commission was more than enough to get me into my own apartment, out of my daddy’s house and as far away from the memories of Chuck as I could get. I moved into the Apartments directly behind Concord Mills Mall and loved it. I bought all new furniture, and was finally on my own again. Mark and I were able to see each other more often and he loved to shop, so he would come to the mall after I got off of work many nights. He was a good man, if my car needed something he got it for me, if I needed help with anything in the house he did it, and he even helped me move into a more-quaint part of town that was somewhat better on the budget after my 6-month lease was up. He and I had been together a year now and things seemed to be going great. Little did I know the greatness would ware off because he met a nurse at work that he would eventually marry. It was the middle of September, Mark and I had pretty much completely broken it off, I had left Blue Green Corporation and landed an advertising sales job at Job Finder Publications in Charlotte, but the office was only about 10 minutes from my new apartment. Heartbroken again and still afraid to sleep at night, wondering if Chuck could find me I thought of looking for a roommate. I was not fond of the idea at all, but I was scared to death to be alone. I had made a really good friend at work named Jessica and told her about Chuck and my being afraid of being alone. She said, “Why don’t you look to see if you can find where he is, he may be somewhere far away and can’t get to you.” She googled a few things and whoa

there he was a mugshot of Charles Nicodemus in the St. Johns County Jail. Jessica was correct he couldn’t get to me there. The police report said that Chuck was arrested for public drunkenness, resisting arrest, and violation of probation. I was a little overwhelmed with seeing his picture and knew that I didn’t ever want to be in contact with him again. He had obviously not learned his lesson and probably never would. I took it upon myself to call the St. Johns county Sheriff’s Office, to see when he may be released and to make sure that my restraining order on him still stood. They insured me the restraining order was still intact, and that he being a repeat offender would serve for 3 more years in a Federal prison. I could breathe easy for 3 years. Thank You Jesus. This was September of 2012. Learning the News that Chuck would not be up for release for at least 3 more years, I could finally sleep or so I thought. I knew he could not get to me, but I had been so afraid for so long that I did not want to be alone. Another friend and neighbor Todd had become my go to person since the breakup with Mark. Todd was a sweet guy from Maine with an awesome accent. He became like a Big brother to me and an uncle to my kids. He was a great listener and I of course a talker like always. He and I were just friends, one because I was not ready to date anyone at all and he had a girlfriend that was living in England at the moment. She was from England, but had lived in Maine for a few years. They were engaged and would be getting married in England this coming January. She was a very pretty girl, and Todd a great looking man. I was happy for them, but knew that as soon as January came I would be missing my friend. He was moving to England and I doubted I would ever see him again. I was also tired of living in an apartment these past two years and ready to find a house. So I started looking for a


house that my kids would have a big yard to run in. I found a small adorable little 2-bedroom house that the garage had been closed in and turned into a sunroom, an extra sitting room and a washroom. It was like a little cottage. The rent was $200 less a month, but I was going to have to buy appliances. I could do for a while with the Microwave, crockpot and toaster, but I would definitely need a stove and fridge soon as well as a washer and dryer. I went out on a leap of faith taking the house. It was less per month so that was a plus, and hopefully that extra $200 a month could be for some appliances once I got settled good. Little did I know that my car was going to blow the head gasket and was going to cost me over $1200 to get fixed. I was not a happy camper. I was able to get a rental for a few days, but it was going to be a few weeks to get my car back. Thankfully I had a friend that worked about a mile and a half away from me and had to drive right past my road on his way to work each morning, so being able to get back and forth to work was a breeze. Just getting anywhere else and back and forth to Lancaster with my kids was not such a breeze. I did have a really good friend from Lancaster that lived a few minutes away as well as worked a few minutes away. She was also my baby sitter when I needed one and she was able to take me to the laundry mat and run a few errands a few days a week until my car was fixed. I had also been on a few dates, so it was nice to have the guys come pick me up from my house and to go wherever we decided to go. I was even beginning to sleep better at night. I had been on a few dates with a guy named Tony. Tony was a 300lb BIG GUY. He was very athletic and very tall. He was 6’3 and an exArmy Ranger as well as an ex-football player. He and I hit it off pretty good, but he was not happy about the house that I lived in not having the appliances that I needed. Tony was the kind

of guy that if he thought someone needed to do the right thing he was not a bit afraid to tell them. One night after he and I went out to dinner he walked next door to the landlord’s house and told him, that he knew I was a single mom that could not afford brand new appliances and he also knew that I was about to spend over $1000 on car repairs. The landlord and him had a few not so nice words to say to each other and Tony told me, no woman of his was going to be without the things that she needed. I was in shock. He and I had only known each other a month. He was a great guy and all but did we really hit it off good enough to keep dating. The next day Tony had a POD (the portable storage unit) sitting in my yard to move me to his Condo with him. I was so confused, but did feel really safe with him, and went with it. It was two weeks before Thanksgiving and here I was moving in with another man that I was not sure if I wanted to even keep dating much less live with. Before you get the wrong picture Tony did ask me to move in as his girlfriend. He was being a friend and was going to let me stay there a month or so until I could find something better. I loved my little house, but I did know that money was extremely tight at the moment with my saving for car repairs and I did need at least a refrigerator and a stove for when the kids were with me. Tony worked 12 hour nights from 5PM to 5AM and I worked from 8AM to 5PM, so we would not really ever see each other unless it was on the weekend and he worked as much as he could on the weekends, plus he had friends Tim and Kay that lived in Lake Wylie about 5 minutes from his job, so when I had my kids he would just stay with them. Tony, was just trying to be a great guy and help a girl out with the things that she needed. He did have somewhat of an attitude problem though, but I learned quickly that when it came to a woman he had the utmost respect. He was far from a spoiler or Mr.


Romantic, but he would do. He also had a 200lb St. Bernard named Rufus that fell in love with me and the kids overnight and let me tell ya if you didn’t feel safe with Rufus around then you probably never would. Rufus slept beside me every night unless Benjamin was there then he slept with Ben (Ben actually used him as a pillow). Adorable is all it was. Tony and I became closer and closer, but never really any love between us, but we came up with a living situation that suited us both and he even talked about selling his Condos (He had 3 in the same building) and buying a house for us as a family. I liked this idea and had become part of his family as well as him becoming a part of mine so shy not. One thing missing was love. Tony and I had a relationship of convenience, and it worked pretty good until my daddy got sick. My daddy was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and throat Caner on December 16, 2013. I had found a magazine ‘Greater Charlotte Biz’, to build my dream career on a few months before daddy got sick. Tony’s mom had just passed away in September and he was taking it really hard, now my daddy was sick and my sister and I both had no choice but to take leaves of absences from our jobs to be with daddy 24/7. Once daddy was diagnosed the ball started rolling fast with treatments and surgeries. Daddy had not been able to drive in about 8 years and my sister flew in from Key Largo, so I was the only one with a car to get us back and forth to where we all needed to go. Thankfully I had been very blessed with a new car and was able to drive daddy back and forth to MUSC in Charleston as well as back in forth from Lancaster to Charlotte, no less than 3 days a week. Daddy was a very sick man and stayed in the hospital weeks and finally a month and a half before being moved to hospice on April 3rd, 2014. Daddy was in the Wayne T. Patrick house for 7 days and passed away on the morning of

April 10, 2014. Tony had barely been talking to me lately, because he was too busy hanging out with his buddies and we had barely seen each other, but we were still considered a couple and he was with me at daddy’s wake and funeral, but it just didn’t feel right. We didn’t love each other and I didn’t really want to go back to Charlotte to live with him. I decided I would stay with my sister in daddy’s house and drive back and forth to work. So that’s what I did. It lasted about 2 weeks. I was not sleeping well at all at daddy’s house and again was constantly looking over my shoulder for Chuck, and knowing I just couldn’t live there any longer. I was also ready to just move on with my life. Losing my daddy made me really think about the things I wanted in life and one was to have my own magazine. I had wanted this since the age of 16, and I was ready. I only had “Pocket Change and Jesus”, but one thing that I had never been was a quitter and I was ready. I also knew I wanted to be near the water, so I talked to some friends of mine at Lake Wateree where I had lived before and moved into their Mother-In-Law suite. I loved it. They believed in me and stood by me 100%. We got all of my things from storage and I moved back to the lake, where I began the magazine that I had always dreamed of. I was surrounded by all of my closest friends and finally for the first time in 5 years felt like I was living again. I was at Church one Sunday Morning (the Lakeside service) praising, praying and singing, when a voice that I had never heard before said to me, “Dream BIG, I will give you the desires of your heart.” Wow, Jesus just spoke to me. I was crying and letting all of my fears out, praising God and ready for my Future. That Sunday was the day that began my New life. I was becoming the business woman that I had always dreamed of being and I was no longer afraid of Chuck Nicodemus, that day I gave the fear of being alone to God and I began


to live again. I had been afraid of living and had taken every relationship as a protective sleeve. I had nothing but hope and a future ahead of me. Here I am 2 years later, I have been in business for myself now for 2 years, I have learned without a doubt how to love who God has put in front of me Unconditionally and I am finally living as close to the coast as I possibly can. I have become an overcomer. I have figured out the majority of my purpose and have learned to love life again without being afraid.

we finally fall and know that there’s nothing else to call it. Call it Love!”

People ask me all of the time how I can’t be afraid of walking into a store or business and not worry about being mugged or worse. I just smile and tell them I have overcome so much worse from the one person that I thought I loved and I am just not afraid anymore. I also have learned from someone very special to me that if I keep working and striving to reach the goals that I have set for myself that I will be able to Overcome anything that is put in front of me. I have also learned from this person that not every relationship is perfect, or easy to deal with, but if you love someone unconditionally that you can get through anything together. That no matter what happens in life, if we are still breathing then God is not finished with us yet. That if we wake up in the morning one thing we have to do is try our best to SURVIVE!

“If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

So, no this is not my story. My story is the one that you see now. The 36-year-old woman that has finally found herself again. The woman that has learned to love again no matter how hard it may be. The woman that has major goals for her and her children. I have learned to love traveling again and to love people again. I have learned that yes, Love does Suffer Long, and Love does never fail. I have learned to “Dream BIG and SURVIVE!” “Love may seem to never find you, but once you find love, you will never let it go. We do not choose who we fall in love with, but once

Psalms 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 1 Corinthians Chapter 13

Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not selfseeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I though like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of the childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE!” NIV


“DREAM BIG

And Survive”

KID’s CoRnER MAKING A RESERECTION SCENE WITH CHILDREN You will need a plastic or aluminum round pan. (No more than 3 inches high) Small rocks and dirt ONE SMOOTH ROUND ROCK (for the stone) 3-three sets of small sticks to make 3-three crosses ONE- 1 small piece of white material Very few grass seeds, to sprinkle on the Hilltop. One sheet of white tissue paper Thread A little bit of water (Best if your child makes this the week before EASTER SUNDAY, ALLOWING THE GRASS SEED TIME SPROUT AND GROW.) Instructions: Let your children fill the round pan with fine dirt. “Not clumpy”. Have them dampen it very little with water, and put their hand in the dirt to cover, and make the tomb opening. The dampness of the dirt should not be muddy. Smooth the dirt over the hand and make it form a hill. “If you have ever covered your foot or hand as a child and then slowly pulled it out of the dirt to leave a hole, then you know what this should feel like, or look like.”


Help your child make three crosses using small sticks to form and place in the dirt on top of the dirt hill. Use the thread to tie the sticks together. Inside the hole, place a small piece of white material. “This represents the grave clothes.� Sprinkle grass seeds over the top of the dirt. On top of the larger smooth round ROCK, use the tissue paper to make a form of an Angel. Just place this as if it is a shadow of an Angel. DO NOT COVER THE HOLE. Place small gravel as a walkway to the Tomb. Now you have an image of the empty tomb with the grave clothes left behind and the stone rolled away.

By: Candice Weeks

Bringing Up Grades Tutoring


What Church Are You? By: Diane Martin I was in discussion the other night with my pastor, his wife and our family about the visions/dreams/prophesies the Lord gave me several years ago about various churches. This can be found in chapter 9 of my book Thru My Eyes … The Journey. The Lord had told me about a great revival to come across the land in the last days. The revival part has been said through the years by various prophets, but the churches the Lord showed me had me stumped. I had tried to figure this prophesy out and kept asking the Lord was I supposed to do something in each of these churches He led me to. “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” 1 Corinthians 13:9 KJV The pastor and his wife asked me, “Just out of curiosity how many churches did the Lord lead you to?” Then like a light bulb coming on, I GOT IT! The Lord had shown me 7 different churches. Not only was the Lord showing me my way, but He was showing me how these various churches are in comparison to the 7 churches of Asia. As you are reading through the following verses everyone should be assessing themselves in these last days to which church they are going to: The church in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia or Laodicea. Revelation 1:17-3:22King James Version (KJV)

17 And

when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS

2 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2I

know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And

hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless

I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember

therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will


remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But

this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 7 He

that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA 8 And

unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9I

know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

13 I

know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But

I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So

hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. 16 Repent;

or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

10 Fear

none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

17 He

11 He

THE CHUCH IN THYATIRA

that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

18 And

unto the angel of the church in

THE CHURCH IN PERGAMOS

Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

12 And

19 I

to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.


20 Notwithstanding

I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And

I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold,

I will cast her into a bed, and

them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And

I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But

unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But

that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And

he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And

he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And

I will give him the morning star.

29 He

that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

THE CHURCH IN SARDIS

3 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be

watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3 Remember

therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 Thou

hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He

that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He

that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA 7 And

to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key


of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

15 I

8I

16 So

know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold,

I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because

thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold,

I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him

that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because

thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I

counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As

many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold,

I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To

that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA

22 He

13 He

14 And

unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. As I was reading, praying and mediating on the word, I get‌BEYOND THAT‌WHICH CHURCH ARE YOU?


“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12:27

heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Revelation 3:8-12 KJV

YOU ARE THE CHURCH! The only church that was pleasing in the Lord’s eyes was the church in Philadelphia. 8” I

know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

My pastor had asked, “Out of the 7 churches the Lord has shown you, and we Victory Life Center being one of them. Which church are we? Which church did the Lord lead you to?” With tears coming down my face and a revelation coming over me for what my Lord had shown me and taken me to. I said with such relief, “the church of Philadelphia.”

9 Behold,

I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of

Now that my Lord has brought me to that very special place, it’s up to me as an individual, as being part of “the church” to uphold that church of Philadelphia within myself. Because as the Lord pointed out to me: You can be sitting in the church of Philadelphia, but not be the church of Philadelphia. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:13 KJV “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 10:7 I pray that each of you find yourself to be a part of the church of Philadelphia in these last days.

Diane Martin is the Author of “Thru My Eyes”. To get a copy of Diane’s book please contact her at: thrumyeyesthejourney@gmail.com


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