Category Archives: Your True Stories

it started when she was 7

**Tasha submitted her story as part of our Overcoming Adversity Contest**

by Tasha Roza, Tracy, California

It started when she was 7. That’s when her life took a dark turn.

it started when she was 7

Tasha wears her tattoo to spread the word about Project Semi-colon, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to present “hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire.” Photo/Tasha Roza

It started when I was 7 years old. My parents split up, and I moved with my mother and her new boyfriend. Soon after she got pregnant with my brother, and her boyfriend kicked us out. After that, we moved. When my brother was born, my mom was more interested in drugs, alcohol, and men rather than my brother and myself. I was 8 years old, taking care of my infant brother.

Most of my childhood I do not remember. At the age of 16, my mother introduced me to meth. I loved it – a lot. I met a guy and started dating. After three months, I became pregnant with a boy. When I found out I was pregnant, I did not touch meth again until I stopped breast-feeding. That was in 2003. Read More

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finding healing and joy

**Marie submitted her story as part of our Overcoming Adversity Contest.**

finding healing and joy

by Marie Preston, Monroe, Georgia

Confronting the horrific death of her 12-year-old brother, she is finding healing and joy.

finding healing and joy

Patrick Kelly Preston/photo used with permission of author

May 5, 1971 … spring quarter at the University of Georgia on a Wednesday … about 7 p.m. to be exact. As a 20-year-old sophomore, I was at a rehearsal at the Georgia Center with the Opera Ensemble practicing my part as “Princess No. 13” in the musical comedy “Once Upon a Mattress.” I had a serious personal issue to deal with in several days, but it was not something I believed I could share with my parents. I had been taught to handle my own problems and not bring shame to the family. I pushed the issue to the back of my mind. For now not an immediate care in the world did I have…just enjoying the fun of my creativity and the optimism and energy of youth. I had no clue that my false sense of security was about to be shattered. Read More

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Breaking the silence

By Sharen McArthur, editor

Breaking the silence was something he could not do. He could not tell anyone – not his parents, his brothers, his sister. He suffered in silence. In 2013 he decided it was time to tell his story of the sexual abuse that he had endured as a child.

breaking the silence

opinion piece/courtesy

Alan McArthur, my brother-in-law, is the inspiration for our Overcoming Adversity contest. In telling his story, Alan found the courage to take a stand and to know that he does indeed belong, is enough and does matter.

Read Nick Coltrain’s story of the abuse that Alan suffered at the hands of a well-respected businessman in Athens, Georgia.

An Athens Boy Scout now grown and fighting demons of childhood victimization


Alan McArthur wants to talk about his early teens.

He wants to talk about how he joined the Boy Scouts at age 12, how hugs from his scoutmaster turned into kisses, and how he can still smell the man’s aftershave. He wants to share how he initially cherished the day he thought he avoided the man by taking the bus home instead of accepting a ride only to find his rapist drinking tea with his parents at their house. Read More

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Your Inspiring Sisters

Inspiring Sisters…Our winning story!

People from throughout the United States shared their heartfelt stories about their sisters’ influence on their lives.

Here’s our winning story that shows one of the many ways a sister can inspire her own sister and others…

Inspiring sister Inspiring sister Amarilis Burgos,  right, and Nancy Hernandez

Inspiring sister Amarilis Burgos, right, and Nancy Hernandez

Nancy Hernandez, of Lorain, Ohio, shares her sister’s story of coping with a chronic illness.

This is the story of my little sister Amarilis Burgos.

Growing up, I always looked up to her even if she was the baby of the family, getting in trouble like every other kid.

Then we had kids. Our first children are 3 months apart – how close we are. Little did I know that my sis had caught a kidney infection with her third child.

She almost died. By the time doctors got to her, her kidneys were working at 5 percent – the “walking dead,” doctors say. Read More

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Mom instilled values in her three sons

Son credits his success to mom’s commitment as a mom

By Tim Echols, Bogart, Georgia

My mom was a fighter. She fought arthritis, lupus, scoliosis and, ultimately, cancer. At 7:15 p.m. on Maundy Thursday, she stopped her fight and departed this earth for a much better place.

As I sat there and looked at the empty shell that remained, so many thoughts raced through my mind. This is the woman who invested countless hours in raising me and my three brothers, and any success we have experienced at any level should rightly be credited to her commitment as a mom.

Mom Instilled Values in Her Three Sons

Image courtesy of debspoons/

Raising boys is not easy, and never has been. But my mom was especially well-equipped for that challenge. She loved to go fishing, ride horses, shoot guns, watch us play sports, start business ventures and most important, be in church.
With that preparation, it was her destiny to raise a bunch of boys. My mom didn’t ask me if I wanted to play football, baseball and basketball — she made me. Despite my being small in stature, she signed me up for Morrow-Lake City recreation teams and became a team mother. She cheered me on from the sidelines and celebrated any success I had. All the while, she helped me with homework — expecting nothing less than straight ‘A’s. Read More

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Memories Make a Home

By Sharen McArthur, Editor    

Making memories in our new home…      

Memories Make a Home

Sharen, right, and Emily, who’s a college student now and making new memories

Memories Make a Home

Jenny, right, with her daughter, Faye, now making memories in her own home

In the early morning hours of the days before we moved to our current home, I lay awake and listened to the sounds my house made. Some sounds I could never place; others told me sweet stories.

I heard a creak in the attic and thought about the first few nights we spent in the house. My oldest daughter, Jenny, was seven and living in a two-story house for the first time. Lying in the bed beside her as she drifted to sleep, I soothed away her fears that the dark held something more than soft shadows. The scratching on the window, I told her, was nothing more than a tree waving its branches, welcoming her to her new home. A small lamp, emitting a muted light, calmed her when I returned to my bedroom. Read More

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Path     IN AUGUST OF 1988, I found myself planning a return move to Athens, Georgia, having taught for one year at Mercer University in Macon. On the eve of vacating the apartment I’d been renting, I hoped against hope I’d have no trouble transporting my cat, a five-year-old gray tabby. Flash—so named because of his exceptional agility—had proved a handful on the Athens-to-Macon move the year before. Confined within a bedroom while the movers came and went, he’d clawed the carpeting and nearly cost me a security deposit. Read More

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