Monday, November 4, 2013

Breaking the Chains of Abuse--Jennifer Graves and A Light in Dark Places

Today I'm delighted to be part of the blog tour for Jennifer Graves and Emily Clawson's A Light in Dark Places. You may have heard of the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell in December 2009, but Jennifer's story in this book will become a light in many dark places. There's a guest post from Jennifer, and an excerpt below. Then read on for more about the case, the book, the author, and a raffelcopter giveaway.

light in dark tour

Breaking the Chains of Abuse by Jennifer Graves

I grew up in a family where my father was verbally abusive on a very regular basis and even sometimes physically abusive to his family. I didn’t realize that this was not ordinary  until I reached my pre-teens. As a child you live with what you have and that’s your normal. Well, it wasn’t normal and it wasn’t good behavior. As I moved into my 14th year my mom and I had a conversation which I relate in my book. She laid out 2 paths for me to follow- one following after my dad or one following after the example of Jesus. The contrast was so stark that the choice wasn’t hard to make. I didn’t want to end up bitter, cynical and cruel. I wanted to love my husband and be loved in return.  Getting married to Kirk was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. The road has not been trouble free. We both had our own baggage that we brought to the marriage. Before we ever got married we discussed what that commitment meant. That conversation saw us through difficult times as we remembered the commitments we made. As individuals and as a couple we’ve chosen to pursue education and activities that have increased our knowledge and understanding of what good relationships are and what good character is. We’ve done our best to pass this on to our children, as well, through example and whenever teaching moments arise. I believe relationship skills are among the most important life skills we can acquire to help prevent abuse and to break the chain of abuse.

Thank you so much for sharing your wise choices, Jennifer. I hope readers bound by the same chains might find their freedom too.
This part was very shortly after finding out Susan was missing (says Jennifer). I had the little boys temporarily and was dreading the day when Josh finally showed up to take them.

Kiirsi called while Jes and I were throwing together a quick dinner.
“Are you watching the news?” she asked breathlessly.
“No, why? Have they found something?” Her tone set my heart pounding.
“You have to turn on channel 2. They said they are airing an interview with Josh.”
I hung up and hurried to my room. I closed the door, then turned on the TV. Josh’s interview started, and I recognized the scene I’d witnessed earlier.
Chris Jones was scrupulously polite, but he asked the difficult questions. My heart sunk lower and lower as Josh evaded every answer, not even bothering to come up with solid excuses.
“How are the boys doing?” Chris asked.
“They seem to be doing good,” Josh said.
“Yeah, right. Like you know. You hadn’t even seen them in days,” I whispered under my breath, bitterness choking me.
“How have you been handling all of this? It’s got to be hard?” Chris asked.
Josh looked down at his keys in his hand and shuffled a bit. “Yeah, I’m just trying to . . . figure out what I can do. So I don’t sit idle.”
It was hard to watch. I jumped up from my seat on the side of my bed and paced in front of the TV. Chris continued to grill Josh about his claim to have taken the boys on a camping trip.
“I frequently take the boys on camping trips. Nothing big, just overnight. We have s’mores and stuff.”
“So you took them camping. Where did you go?”
“We went . . . down south. To some trails down there.”
Chris pressed him. “Like around Moab?”
“No, not that far. We went . . . to the, um, pony express trails.” He was really fidgeting and didn’t look Chris in the eye. I felt nauseous.
“Are there camp sites at the Pony Express trails?”
“Um . . . yeah, I think . . . a few.”
Chris gave him a reprieve from that specific question. It was obvious Josh didn’t have a good answer.
“So what time did you leave?”
“I got off to a pretty late start.” The hedging continued, and Josh denied having any idea where Susan was. He said she’d gone to bed at a regular time and that he didn’t even know where to start looking for her.
Chris finally let Josh escape, and I snapped the TV off. The doubts about Josh’s guilt were entirely gone. I knew Josh. If he had information, he would have talked as long and loud as anyone could have stood it. He usually dominated every conversation from a sheer desire to be at the center of attention, especially if he thought it showed off his intelligence.
I knew that if Susan had actually left like he was suggesting, he would have been proclaiming what a rotten deal it was to anyone who would listen. This Josh was a lie.
I walked slowly back down the stairs, my heart heavy under the crushing weight. If Susan was dead, and my heart whispered that she was, then I had a murderer in my house.

More about A Light in Dark Places

 In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case.

 For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews.

 In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.

light in dark
Praise for A Light in Dark Places

(From T. Hyde) I just finished reading "A Light in Dark Places" By Jennifer Graves and Emily Gray Clawson. I was impressed with how well written the book was. The descriptions are such that I felt I was part of the story. I was grateful that the message was one of hope and peace in tragedy. The book does tell the tale of Susan Powell, her boys and their demise but doesn't dwell on it. It was nice to see inside the life experiences of someone so close to them and to see things from Jennifer's perspective rather than what you see on the media. I highly recommend this book. It doesn't disappoint

(From D. Raymond) I love true accounts of people overcoming challenges and helping others with the lessons learned from them. This story of Jennifer's experiences throughout her abusive childhood, and later the disappearance of Susan and the murder of her two sweet nephews is just that. She shares how she felt God's hand in her life, guiding her to make better choices than the rest of her family did. Though the book had so many sad details, it ended with hope, courage and love.

(From Carolyn) I had followed the story of Susan Powell very closely so I wasn't sure if the book was going to tell me something I didn't already know...but it sure did. Jennifer was very brave in writing this book and all she had done in support for Susan. I highly recommend the book it sheds a light on the whole situation that helps make things more clear

(From Katie O.) This was a very informative read. I lived in Utah at the time of Susan's disappearance and followed the news every day. This book answered many questions that the news did not. Although it was very sad and I already knew the outcome it was a good read. I admire Jennifer for her part in the whole story and I am glad she had the fortitude to write this book to honor her sister in law.

(From Arlene) To finally read about details that were never shared brought closure for me about this insidious crime. While the book was an easy read, the message shared about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships is invaluable. It truly does take someone removing themselves from their abusive family's presence to stop the cycle. Praises to the author for sharing her perspectives.
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About the authors:

Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church.

 Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009.

She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family.

 She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.

♦ ♦ ♦
Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.

And finally, A  Tour Giveaway

 $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/21/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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