promise by Toni L.A. Clegg

dreams so fragile

mere molecules of dust

floating amid infinite doubt

hope so brittle

spun like blown glass

shimmering vulnerably

promise so surreal

sprouting from ashy soil

watered with many tears


Imma, The Pregnant Paper Doll

I should probably start off with a disclaimer. No, I am NOT pregnant, nor do I plan to be any time in the immediate future.

But, I have been thinking a lot about kids in general and babies in particular lately. Then, because I’m me, I started thinking about the fact that you really don’t see pregnant paper dolls or really pregnant dolls of any sort. When I was a kid, one of my friends had a pregnant Barbie-esq doll that I thought was the coolest thing on planet earth. I don’t know how many time I tried to convince her that she should give me her doll. I was a regular lawyer of the absurd. Anyway, I remember reading that Midge, the pregnant Barbie, caused huge outrage from people that thought it would somehow encourage teen pregnancy. (

You know what I think is ironic about that? If we actually let kids play at being parents, they have more of a tendency to treat it like everything else they play at. It becomes a dream for someday, when they are grown up. We don’t worry about kids pretending to be carpenters or doctors or scientists or chefs, do we? I mean, scientists use explosive chemicals, carpenters use dangerous power tools, doctors see people naked, and chefs wield sharp knives… all things we don’t really want kids doing before they are mature enough to handle it. How is pregnancy and parenting any different from any of those other professions?

Okay, rant over. When I start monologuing to my computer, it’s usually a sign that I need sleep. My bed is calling my name.

Enjoy the paper doll!

Note: If you are planning to print this paper doll, be sure to click on the desired image first, in order to view it in it’s original large size, so it won’t come out all pixelated and blurry.

Imma In Outfits Imma PaperdollImma Paperdoll in Black and White

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My Midnight Soapbox: Abortion and Child Abuse

Few subjects raise my hackles as quickly as child abuse and abortion. In my opinion, the two subjects are directly related. Right now, I should be in bed. But, this topic has been eating at me all day long and I know that I won’t rest well until I’ve written my two cents.

And you know, it isn’t that I hate abortionists, abusers, or mothers that have aborted. Actually, what I feel is more akin to sorrow, grief, and pity.

But beyond that, the defenselessness of the innocent makes me wish I could rise to their aid in some tangible way…

I think that part of the reason my heart bleeds so much for these issues is because of my own experience.

Regarding Child Abuse:

I have family members who are/were abused children and who have abused children. I also witnessed abuse, when I was still a child.

Being a survivor of abuse is a truly awful thing, but watching what abuse does to people you love hurts almost as much.


I know many people, both adults and children, who are still suffering the effects of childhood abuse

Growing up, I was led to believe that as long as an injury wasn’t seriously life-threatening, as evidenced by a hospital visit, or wasn’t physically disfiguring and obvious, it wasn’t REALLY abuse. I now know better.

What is the difference between abuse and discipline?

“Physical abuse is nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child. Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child.”

Discipline should never be done in anger or for the purpose of venting frustration on a child. The goal in disciplining a child is to teach them what is safe and healthy and what is not. The object is to make “bad” choices seem undesirable to the child, in the gentlest and kindest way possible, thus protecting them from harm. Discipline should never become a way to visit retribution or vengeance. Discipline should also NEVER cause the child actual physical harm.



Regarding Abortion:

I should have been a prime candidate to be aborted.

My mother was divorced from one husband already and the man who was my father was married to someone else. As a late-in-life baby, I was statistically more likely to have birth defects. But the biggest reason that I was at risk? The Women’s Lib Movement had convinced my mother that abortion was a woman’s right and a simple matter of choice. It is a miracle that I’m here today.


I have experienced a first trimester miscarriage.

In addition to the amazing facts that I learned about fetal development and pregnancy, personal experience is a powerful thing. I felt what it was like to have a life growing inside of me. I saw my baby’s flickering heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor. I labored and gave birth to a tiny dead baby. I have grieved over this loss for more than a year. No one can tell me that my child was just a clump of tissue.


I know women who have suffered in secret for years over an abortion that they regret.

Two things stand out in my memory from when I was still a young teen. In the midst of a group of adult women, I watched one of them break down in grief, admitting to having had an abortion many years before. Minutes after her confession, several others burst into tears and sobbed that they had, too. In the case of each woman, because she had chosen her baby’s fate, she felt that she had no right to mourn their death. That horrid hidden bereavement and shame had eaten them alive for almost as long as I had been alive.


If you have any doubts about whether abortion is morally right, here’s something to think about:


Dead or lifeless tissue?

Life is defined as “a state of living characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, and reaction to stimuli… the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional plant or animal from a dead body.”

Death is defined asthe irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity”.

At six weeks, the brain waves of a human fetus are detectable. At twelve weeks, a fetus has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves and spinal cord. Vocal cords are complete.  It can hear and its heart pumps several quarts of blood through the body every day. The baby can “breathe” amniotic fluid and urinate. At 22 weeks, preemies that are born have survived and grown up without any severe aftereffects.


And just in case any of you plan to say that women who have abortions are mostly teen mothers, rape victims, ect., that just isn’t true. 61 percent of women who terminate a pregnancy in this country already have at least one child. Less than 2% say they became pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

In closing, let me be clear:

I realize that some women who seek out abortions are very desperate and are victim to horrible circumstances.

I also realize that many abusers were abused themselves or have been improperly taught in regard to discipline of children.

I don’t stand in judgment of either group. I’m merely hoping to share some of what I’ve learned and experienced, in the hope that it might save the life of even one child, either by preventing an abortion or by giving someone the courage to report abuse.

Below, I’ve included a few websites that relate to this post. I hope you find them helpful.


Fetal development: and

Government statics on abortion (USA):

Child abuse:

Parenting and discipline:


Disclaimer:  I’ve collected these facts from a variety of website and I tried to be very careful to verify them in more than one spot, but please feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. If I have made any unknown technical errors in the definitions, it was not intentional.

Sad News…

Many of you know that in July, I realized, with great joy, that I was expecting a baby. My husband and I found out today that our little baby has died in my womb.

Several days ago, when I began to suspect that a miscarriage was eminent, I wrote a letter to the baby. I wanted to share it will all of you.

(Just a quick explanation, during first ultrasound, the baby’s heartbeat looked just like a firefly, blinking happy and strong on the screen. Thus, the nickname, “Firefly”.)


Dearest Little One,

I don’t know whether you are a boy or girl, what color your eyes or hair will be, or what your personality is like. But Sweety, your Mommy loves you so very much! I want to hold you so badly… to look into your eyes and tell you how very special you are. And I know, no matter what happens, someday, I will get to do those things.

Right now, your Mommy is very scared that she is losing you, but the truth is, no matter if you are born into this world alive, or just are carried into that other perfect place without me, I won’t be losing you. I’ll know where you are.

I’m so glad that I know Jesus, because I know that He loves you, even more than I do. The mother’s heart beating in my chest, loves you with every fiber, but Jesus’ heart is so much bigger than mine.

I hope I get to see you in seven months, but if I don’t, please know that I’m going to see you in what may only feel like days to you. I won’t forget you, if that happens. But, I won’t dishonor your memory by allowing myself to become bitter and angry either. I will remember you with love, pure love, and though I will miss you, I will know you are safely home, in the most loving arms.

See you sometime, my little Firefly,

Hugs and kisses,


Our one and only picture of our baby, "Firefly".

A Chipmunk Named Morning Sickness… by Toni L.A. Cross

Deep in the pit

of my stomach

a chipmunk seems

to have gotten loose

and he’s running

and chattering

and scurrying about

looking for nuts

or some such


I try to tell him

now just isn’t the time

he’s upsetting my breakfast

and he’ll have to pay!