Well where does one begin to give their Story..
I guess at the beginning...
I am the youngest child of two elder brothers and an elder sister,
my parents were quite old when I was born, Dad being 59 and Mum 41.
I know my Mum was pleased to have a little girl that she could dress
up in little dresses etc because my sister has and will always
be a Tomboy, no fancy bows and frills for her.
My Father was a widower at the time Mum met him and he had 3 sons
by his first marriage all much older than his 2nd family (us)
2 with children of their own the 3rd son was quite a bit younger
so Mum brought him up and they had a great relationship.
My parents discovered when I was about 18 months old that I seemed
to have a hearing problem whereby if I was engrossed in anything
I did not seem to hear when they clapped their hands.
This was to be the first of many hearing tests I would undergo.
My hearing was 'fluctuating' (as an adult looking back I realise that
it was the timber or tone of peoples voices that I could hear more clearly - and if engrossed I did not hear anything).
I was not hearing impaired enough to warrant a hearing aid and it was a difficult childhood with this problem.
From birth until I was 6 years old we lived out in the country area,
of Karioi near Ohakune owning primarily a trucking business,
with Dad driving the school bus and taxi on the sideline.
Mum and Dad sold the business and Dad bought some land a couple of miles down the road. He would come home on Friday and leave for the farm
on Monday, this was the arrangement for 10 years until Dad finally
retired and came to live with us full time.
Mum took us children and moved to Taihape where we owned a house that
had been rented out, the tenants had not paid rent for a long time
and Mum and Dad had to declare the house condemned to get them out.
The rats that came around for years after!! (I hate rats yuck).
We had the house extensively remodelled in time for my sister to
get married 6 months after moving, she was 19 and had been a country girl
and did not want to live in a town.
My unmarried step-brother Jimmy was a huge guiding influence in my life,
he was surrogate father, teaching me to swim, dive, dance, drive the car,
play horseys by riding on his back, play fighting etc.
He loved me unconditionally and was a stable and loving influence.
Along with my hearing impairment, I was a bed-wetter until I was 12 years old.
There did not seem to be anything that the doctors or specialists could find was wrong.
I bit my fingernails (and still do) had very low
self-esteem and was extremely reserved. Obedient and docile that I
went along with the flow, not really making any ripples.
My parents were both very strong willed and would argue (Dad would tease)
Mum along to get a
rise out of her, and it worked)
I was scared of my father because of the gruffness in his mannerisims,
although I only remember him smacking me once, he only had to look at
us a certain way and it would pull us back in line.
Mum use to tell me that Dad's bark was worse than his bite!
I learned early from my parents always to obey and never answer back.
I was sent to Sunday School and later I attended church and was a member
of the choir for many years at church.
School was OK, although I did not have very many friends.
Some of the children would call me 'deaf and dumb idiot'.
This hurt me for a long time. When I got to Standard 2 (approx grade 3)
when I was 8 years old. I was always to sit near the front of the class
so I could hear, up until these following years I had been, then slowly I
would get pushed to the back as naughty antics of some child or children
had them swapping seats with me. To this day I do not know why I annoyed
teachers and especially this one Mr Broadhead. Many times I was humiliated
and left hurting. He strapped my in front of the class. There was a time
he had the caretaker of the school saw off three of the legs of an old
wooden chair leaving one back leg to balance and sit on, because one or
two other girls in the class would swing back on one leg of their chair.
Well this exercise may have been OK for the perpetrators but I do not
remember being one of them, nor other children in the class whom ended
up balancing on that chair for punishment.
I had a pet sheep I named Whiskers that I had since he was a lamb.
The nursery rhyme of Mary had a little lamb, was Whiskers and I. He was the best pet lamb I ever owned and I loved him. I would wash him on a regular basis and his wool would come up white and fluffly like a cotton ball. We would often lay down at the bottom of our 1/2 acre section in the sun, me using Whiskers stomach for a pillow and I would talk to Whiskers about my day etc. I made him a bridle out of string and a saddle from and old sack and rode on his back. This spectacle was witnessed one day when Mr Broadhead drove past our place. Well you can guess next day in class, he asks me in front of the class, what was the name of my sheep. When I told him, he drew and picture on the blackboard of Whiskers and I on his back. The class thought this funny
The next year I had Mr Turner, who liked to look at the underwear of unsuspecting little girls. Yep I was one of them, I had no inkling of what he was up too. Nobody ever warned us children about such things. Mr Turner apparantly did the same with other girls and was soon dismissed from service. It was enough to leave lasting nasty memories. The next few years in Primary School were fairly uneventful, I had one best friend that I have to this day, and one or two others that I would have for a time or two. When I reached Form 2 the year before Highschool, I got a teacher who was from England by the name of Mr Martyn, he did not like me much either. One day he was annoyed whether at me or someone else I do not recall, I do remember him pulling the chair away from me as I went to sit down, I grazed my back and buttocks as I fell. The class was in an uproar thinking it funny, I was very upset. I am inclined to growl anyone who might consider pulling the chair out from underneath anyone, and I do not think this is funny.
Highschool started we had a lady by the name of Miss Bowler who called us 'cabbage heads, and gutter snipes'. Mr Frewin who was always talking in sexual indoendo. I still did not know anything about sex, my mother had not told me, so this was a bit over my head anyway. But I understood the connitations behind the remarks that they were not nice, my spirit knew because I was uncomfortable.
At 14 years old I broke my arm and dislocated my shoulder falling off my pony. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks (the longest 2 weeks I have endured) I had plaster from my waist up over my torso and my left arm stuck out vertical with a slight bend. Sixteen pounds of plaster I wore for 6 weeks. I had had enough idle time away so wanted to get back to school. I could only sit side ways at my desk using the back of my chair to rest my left arm on.? My left arm was useless to me anyway like it was, I could not even reach my right hand across to touch my left hand. Mr Roberts another teacher from England, got annoyed with me, I admit I remember talking to my neighbour but then so were others... He said he would break my other arm if I did not sit around at the desk properly and shut up.
A teacher from Poland who happened to teach english! had it in for me as soon as he learned my name, he was a teacher that held a grudge against the whole family. My elder brother must have annoyed him. He was also a member of the church I attended and would make fun of me because I was in the choir, consequently I soon left because I was embarrassed.
A few of the bully girls use to pick on me, for a long time I would ignore then and walk away. One day it was too much and I ended up fighting two of them. I came out the victor and a lady teacher came upon the scene. I explained that I finished the fight but did not start it. I did not ever have any trouble from these girls again.
By the time the 3rd year of college came around I had had enough, I was getting on detention regularly and I could not seem to be able to redeem myself, it was like 'give a dog a bad name' or 'mud sticks'. I started missing class more and more often to stay playing music for the school orchestra, music being a large part of my life back then and now.? I wagged (truent) school with the wrong new friends I made, and started sneaking out at night. School Certificate exams the main exams that you work towards when you first start highschool, I failed miserably because I had not put the time in doing homework. I left school after finishing the 3rd year, stopped sneaking out because I got caught and grounded. My father had retired this same year and was home full time working out in the vegetable garden, my mother had been working part time and now had a full time job.
During the summer holidays I got my first job full time in a shoe shop. And I did not go back the next year for my fourth year of highschool. I have hated school all these years and have had not desire to take a class. I have actually learned more since an adult than any other time, just by reading and having a 'teachable heart'.
My father suffered a massive stroke in his mid 70s. I was still in Highschool. At first Dad's speech, and right side were effected. Two other men much younger than Dad had a stroke about the same time. I will always admire my fathers determination to do the best he could to overcome his handicap. With his sheer 'guts and determination' Dad overcame 75% of his abilities back. While the other two men never got much better. Now and again, though he could not pronouce a word properly and he would swear! I had not heard Dad swear so much before, other than yelling at his sheep dogs!! *lol*
My self esteem leading up to my mid teens was very low, as on a number of times I was accused by some boys girlfriend and even a wife, that I was making eyes at their boyfriend or spouse. This was not true, I did not even know who the men were I was being accused of.
I started dating and drifted into having sexual intercourse. I never understood why I felt guilty as if I was being watched. I did not enjoy the experience, I found that the boys were always in a rush and often it hurt me. I got pregnant by the time I was nearly 18, I remember my mothers words ringing in my ears "you come home pregnant the news will kill your father" I believed her, she should have told me about sex in the first place.
I must have been the most naive girl living in Taihape. The next 6 weeks were the longest and hardest time I had as a teenager because I had no one to share my secret with except my boyfriend who was supportive. I remember the trapped feeling that if I told Mum and Dad and Dad had a heart attack and died, it would be my fault. Dad was in his late 70s by this time. I did not look after myself in these early weeks. It was a Friday and I started to bleed, I thought I must have been mistaken and just been late due to my worrying so that evening I hopped into the bath to get ready for my date. I will never forget the amount of blood. My boyfriend was out in the lounge waiting to take me out and Mum was calling me to hurry, while I am hemorraging badly. I swaddled myself up with huge wads of toilet paper etc and came out and we left the house. My boy friend wanted to take me up to hospital and I said no, because the doctor would tell Mum and Dad, we drove 20 minutes to another town but they could not admit me there and sent me back, where I ended up in hospital anyway and Mum and Dad finding out. In hospital Mum admitted that she suspected I was pregnant and wanted to know why I did not tell her, and when I said that I remembered her warning, she said 'silly girl, your Dad is as strong as a horse'. Then she said to me that 'your mother should be my best friend'. I was upset at this because all my life I always wanted to be closer to my mother than being a possession and a tool for her to live through me.
My boyfriend and I got engaged, I broke it off after six months, I was not ready and I think it was due more to a guilty conscience.
After three different jobs, the last one I had in a bank whereby the Manager harrassed me so much by standing behind me that I was a nervous wreck. He was threatening to fire me, I was always in tears, Mum and Dad would not let me leave as they wanted the Manager to fire me in wrongful dismissal. The Manager had promised my job to a friend of his daughter. In the end I begged Mum and Dad to let me leave, I was an emotional wreck. I had been at the bank 6 months.
There were no jobs on offer in our town so I had my eyes set on on the big city of Wellington. I spend one year down there, 3 flats and 3 flatmates later I had had enough of that kind of life too. I sampled marajana but did not like it. Saw more odd people than I had seen in my life that it was too much for this 'townie'. I had a feeling that my Father would not make it through the next winter so I was anxious to come back home again.
My siblings and mother were planning my father's 80th birthday which was due in February. Dad died suddenly 9 days before his birthday, six weeks after I had come home. I did not have a job in all this time Dad would not let me apply for unemployment benefit so my job was to clean house and cook the meals, this was quite a good time because I had Dad all to myself, not that we really got any closer because he never did tell me he missed me, this I heard from a close relative after he died.
Mum and I lived in our family home, my elder brothers were married. I was in my mothers pocket by this time and I did what she told me even though I should have been living a life of my own choosing because I had just had my 21st birthday.
I did not date very often at this stage, but occasionally a male would phone me to go out and I would, but there was never any feelings for him on my part, yet my mother seemed to be anxious to marry me off.
I was making arrangements to travel over to Australia when I was 23 and at the last moment the friend I was going to go with pulled out, I had just started dating a new boyfriend and had told him that I was going to leave NZ for a working holiday. Looking back I am not sure how I drifted into marrying this man that would be my husband for the next 20 1/2 years. My mother asked me not to have my surrogate dad, Jimmy give me away so I had my eldest full brother act as father. I wished I had not obeyed on this. I am sure it hurt Jimmy. A year after we married Jimmy died, he had stayed with us for 2 weeks earlier in the year which was a great time. I did not know he was sick with cancer.
We had our first daughter 2 years after we were married, and 26 months later our son. Our marriage from my point of view was not all what it should have been. We attended councilling 5 years into the marriage. If I had have had somewhere to go I may have left, although I would have had to endure the guilt of hurting my mother and my husbands mother, so I stayed on when my husband promised he would try harder to communicate with me. It never happened. I had my mother coming around to my home every day, she would re-arrange the ornaments and complain that I was not cleaning the house up from toys etc. Not dressing the children correctly. I just always heard criticism from Mum never any encouragement. The guilt of my past especially the loss of my baby was always in the forefront of my mind and I had not told my husband, nor to I reckon that my siblings know to this day.
I knew I was searching I was starting to go to church again more often, although it was hard with the children so small and they would get cranky and older members of the church were not as tolerant, it was enough to put my husband off and he did not come to church again except special times. One day I got Mormons come around to my door and one was American and the other an Australian, I was more interested in hearing of their home countries than I was about Mormon religion. For several weeks they came on a regular basis and it was them that I heard that I needed to ask Jesus into my heart. I did this on the Thursday, the Lord Jesus Christ was the only son of God that I knew about so I had no problem. On Friday night I went to bed and slept for a few hours and I woke up and I had such an awful flash back of my life in living colour. Here I am in the middle of the night writing furiously apologising for all the memories as they came flooding back to me, crying great hurtful cries as silently as I could. With my husband sound asleep next to me and not knowing a thing about it. Mum came around the next day, I was a mess I thought I was loosing my mind and I confessed to Mum and my husband what had happened the night before and gave them the letter I had written confessing everything. From that day onwards I was free and forgiven from my past sins, and was born again.
I wish I could tell you that everything became better and we lived happily ever after.. but I can't. My mother and brothers were going to disown me and my husband was threatening me with divorce, plus I had the church minister on my case because of my friendship with these Mormons. I had to give up my friendship, plus give up martial arts that I was learning due to 'well meaning' people telling me it was wrong. In fact it is 12 years ago now that I gave my life over to Jesus, it has been a hard struggle in my walk with Jesus. I followed advice because I still did not have the confidence in myself that I heard Jesus differently. I needed to be baptised by full immersion but my minister of the Church I had grown up in would not do it, because I had been baptised as a baby. I left the church to follow my heart on this issue, Jesus voice was louder. In these cases I reckon I have had a worse time, but Jesus has used these experiences to build my character. I certainly got bolder and more confident to speak out and tell everyone that I loved the Lord. Also the most marvellous healing happened.
By the time I had been married 3 years my hearing was growing steadily worse, whereby I had a hard job hearing my husband because he is very soft spoken. So I was eligible to be fitted for a hearing aid. I got 3 before I was able to wear it with comfort, two of them got broken, one falling down the stairs when I was talking to a visitor at the door (the hearing aid was the small one that sits inside the ear.. to see this small slug shaped thing bumping down the back stairs to land at my visitors feet, while still trying to take in what the caller had come to the door about...*hehehe*) the other aid got bitten into by our toddler son! The replacement I got a behind the ear that could not fall out when talking or eating. Six months after I accepted Jesus I noticed I was not needing to wear my hearing aid out into the public when I went up town, because at home I did not wear it, and I took it off as soon as I got home from being out. Jesus has healed me, and this was quite a great witness to many people in our town because, Taihape is a town of 2,500 people that nearly everyone knows everyone else. With Jesus on my side I found I was much more tolerant of the childrens antics as they never did anything that I had not done before them.
My daughter and I are very close and she can talk to me about anything. My son and I have not been too bad, he had a year away at highschool at his asking to go, the asthma that he had flared up more away from home and he got discouraged due to alot of illness and he had a couple of broken bones from sporting injuries at highschool. He came back to go to the local highschool. I noticed in that 12 months away he had grown up. I bought my first computer 2 years ago and with Jesus beside me guiding me I learned slowly but surely how to operate the machine, by spending literally hundreds of hours. I have learned so much more with Jesus, I had thought I would not amount to much but with Jesus I can do anything through Him. I taught Bible in Schools for a few years, I was accompanying a pianist on my guitar and leading the singing at evening service at church. I started singing solo and in public after joining a country, western and variety club, with sometimes up to 60 - 100 people in attendance I could not even get up in front of 8 people to talk, such was my fear. I attended many many sessions on councilling and lots of prayer for our ailing marriage. My husband would not come with me, he did not see a problem, it was all on my side and he still thinks it is my fault. I will take half of the blame but I will not take it all, it takes two to differ.
My mother died after a stay in hospital from a massive stroke, she had not long met Jesus. I know she loved me very much, it was just hard with her control over me, and I loved her too, she was loveable.
Last year I travelled over to USA a dream I had had for many years and never thought I would get here. I travelled alone and met and stayed with 3 of my online friends travelling through 11 States and going into Canada for a day trip. This was to be the deciding point in our marriage for me, what I was going to do when I got back. I had never been so ill as I was the previous year due to the stress, my marriage was at its worse, my husband would not talk to me on a personal nature, gossip and news he would talk about until the cows came home.? He would talk about the weather, news on TV but he would not communicate, I could not go on like this anymore with broken promises. Getting answers of 'alright' when he had no intentions of following through. My eyes have been opened since being in the States and away from the 'ties that bind' that I have been in a controlled marriage. There was no compromise, cause my ex did not agree he would not tell me, but just do things his way behind my back.
The Lord had been changing me inside too over the past few years from prayer I had asked. I like this new me, but unfortunately no one else does. I changed my name to my middle name because it is the name I always wanted to be called, but no one in my family would take any notice of my wishes. The serenity prayer was the inspiration behind my final decision and also I firmly believe Jesus has honoured it. Most people it was not too difficult after I explained why, it was my family and close friend that would not change. Their reason because they have always known me as my first name! It has been a stumbling block for them.
I have left my husband and seeking divorce. I gave the marriage everything I had, I did try to improve things. I believe that the Lord brought me out of this distructive marriage and I have opted to follow Him over what people think, they did not know what went on behind closed doors.
Jesus knows me and everything about me. I am in a christian relationship with a wonderful man, I love very much. I have one bag of clothes, money is tight and I can expect no help from my ex unless I come back to NZ to collect any things that I want. I have not been more happier and content. The Lord has really been blessing me, I have been making web pages like crazy as the Lord puts topics and poems on my heart and giving me the ability to write them down. I discovered that I can be more happy with less material possessions than with, I have left behind my keyboard organ, guitar and all my computer equipment that I had bought myself that was dear to me, plus furniture and effects that I also contrabuted or paid for outright.
My daughter understands but unfortunately my son is struggling and thinks I deserted him. I am really saddened by his attitude because he has always had freedom of choice.
I have survived sexual abuse, harrassment as there were several other incidents as an adult before and after I became a christian that left me feeling 'what had I done to deserve this' and then working it through that I did not do anything wrong. I also survived verbal and mental abuse for years. I had to learn that the relationship I could have with Jesus would be much different to my earthly father, that Jesus would not 'zap' me when I did wrong, that I could ask forgiveness and be forgiven and move on. I am stronger because Jesus is right there beside me cheering me on
I returned to New Zealand to start legal proceedings for my divorce and settlement. I have completed a 40 week course in Care Giving for the Elderly level 3 - the highest qualification I could get in NZ and I understand is equivilant to L.P.N. (Licenced Practice Nurse) in USA.
My Son accepts, understands and released me with his blessings and He knows that I love him unconditionally.
I am in weekly phone contact with my fiancee' it is cheaper for me to call as I can talk for as long as I like for $8.00 after 6pm.
June 4 2001
I returned to the States, am married to James for 15 months now,
I am working full time with Alzheimers and Dementia residents and
really enjoy it.
June 18 2003
I worked at the University of Oregon for 12 months as custodial and learned
to detail clean the apartments, I thoroughly enjoyed this work, even though
it was very hard work, due to the large amount on your knees, bending, stretching, climbing stairs and hawling heavy equipment etc. I made some
wonderful friends with my co-workers. James who worked in Assisted Living
Facility as Resident Assistant for 5 years who had wanted to climb the ranks to Assistant Manager and Manager was always overlooked even when all the resident family members would seek him out to talk about their mother, father, grandmother and grandfather. All the residents knew James by name, they did not
know the other RA's by name. It was time for a change of job, so James went to
Truck Driving School and passed and drove Over the Road for 12 months. In January of this year we relocated to Wyoming. James still drives and has taken
a dedicated run whereby he is home each night and weekends. I enjoy riding with him in the Big Rig a couple of times a week. You can see so much up high.
May 12 2006
Amanda Martin-Shaver ©