His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis

Faith

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Custom Calendars

I have been looking at Custom Calendar making. I found the best price on Shutterfly!
They have several types to choose from. This should be fun!

http://www.shutterfly.com

The Miracle of Coffee

Many years ago, when Joe was little, the Doctor suggested I give him some coffee before bedtime to help him sleep. You may be thinking WHAT? Coffee to SLEEP?
Yes.
Joseph was hyperactive and had a difficult time going to sleep. He also only slept about 5 or 6 hours at night and then it was full tilt all day long! Sometimes I could get a nap out of him, but usually only if he spent a huge amount of energy in a tantrum and then fell asleep.
The coffee worked like a dream. It calmed him down.

Many people do not know that ADHD drugs like Ritalin, are actually forms of stimulants like speed. They have an opposite effect in those that TRULY need them. They calm them down and help them to concentrate.

Fast forward to Sarah. She too is hyperactive, and there are times I give her a little coffee to settle her, which works great.

Well, today, it dawned on me that Anna might benefit from a small amount of coffee too.
It is worth a try. After yesterday's inability to concentrate and get her work done, I needed to try something! She definitely fits into the ADD category, if there ever was one.
I gave her 1/3 c of coffee this a.m. and guess what.... I don't know if it is placebo or not, but she was able to concentrate much better. I am going to try it for a few days next week and if it works, we will try it for 2 weeks. If it works, we will use it during school days and not on weekends. This is soooo much better and easier than using medications that have terrible side effects.

Hopefully she will outgrow her ADD; we will see. I don't think I have ever outgrown mine. :/

Todays coffee was Organic Free Trade Bolivian. Wow... excellent and only 4.99 lb at Sprouts!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Simplifying

I have come to a crossroads in computer meets Christie. I have decided to simplify things, as I have too many projects going on and I am not finishing them. I need to use my time more wisely, and some things are just distractions. Sort of like, "mind candy". Sometimes you can read what is going on and it will dwell on your mind and then you can't concentrate on the project you are trying to work on.
So I am no longer participating in FRUA a website I have frequented for a few years, and Facebook, a website I have a difficult time navigating anyway. :)

I will miss the FRUA website, but I think it is for the best.

Now, to get to my projects!
After laundry of course! :)

Can Things Get Any Crazier?? :/


This is the last picture of Sarah in her cast. She had it removed at the Dr. yesterday
and now she has a brace that looks like this:


This morning was rather eventful.....
It started out normal. Girlies playing backgammon with daddy while I made breakfast. Anna was still asleep, which is unusual, as she is usually the first one up! I went ahead and served breakfast thinking, she must need some extra sleep. After breakfast, Erika asked if she could take a shower in our shower. I always let her because she can walk in and back out pretty well by herself. So while she was getting ready to shower, I ran out to let the goats and turkeys out since Anna was still asleep. Sarah was soaking her arm and getting ready for therapy which consists of 2 exercises 3 x's a day.
As I was headed back in from letting the goats out, I could hear a whimper coming from the bathroom. So I RAN.... when I got to the bathroom, daddy had Erika wrapped in a towel and she was crying. She spilled shampoo on the floor of the shower and then slipped in it. She banged the bone of her leg on the shower wall and banged her cheek too. So she has a pretty good bruise on her face and a sore foot.. DANG! Like she needs any more pain in her life. :( I'm so glad daddy was there. I put Arnica ointment on her bruise; we'll see if it works, and comforted her. She hadn't finished washing her hair so a very kind daddy, all ready for work set up a bean bag up to the shower, got IN the shower all dressed, shoes and all and unhooked the sprayer and gave her a shampoo! We teased daddy that he needed a new spa job giving hair washes. :)
Here is Erika all prettied up:



I ran back to Sarah who was still soaking and did her exercises with her and then Anna finally woke up. She said, Erika woke her up when she heard her cry out.

It is 9:30 and I feel like I have lived a week! I'm so thankful for my coffee pot. :)

I am also so thankful for my sweet husband who calmly finished taking care of Erika so I could finish up with Sarah. Erika was able to get herself dressed.

First thing on my list of things to do today:

FIND A SAFE SHOWER CHAIR! The ones I have seen don't look stable and I felt because she doesn't bend well, she might fall over backwards on one, but I really need to look now so this doesn't EVER happen again.

However, as with arthrogryposis, so comes falling. She is very stable and it doesn't happen that often. In fact, the last time she fell and actually got a bruise was at Christmas time last year at Toys R US.

So, as of this writing: Sarah is clean, Anna is cleaning out her fish tank so the fish can be clean, Erika is clean, I'm cleaning laundry, daddy is out to work, the goats are happy, the turkey's are happy and I'm dreaming of "Calgon Take Me Away Commercials." :)
But that can't happen until after the breakfast dishes, the laundry, school, cleaning and....... who knows what else.

So for now, it is coffee.
I'm empowered. yea.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sarah The Dancing Wonder

You Still Fit in That?


Somehow, the girlies haven't figured out that mommy's wear the same clothes, season after season and year after year. I was asked, "Do you STILL fit into that mommy?" Yes, I do. Are you going to grow out of it? I HOPE NOT! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Fun Visit

Guess who came to Gramma's house to visit today?

WILLS DID! And his mama Ivy too. :)
We were very happy to see them both. Will had a good time and we enjoyed seeing him in his new Ukrainian hat. The ear flaps remind me of little puppy dog ears. :)
Here are a few pictures of our day.




Holiday Season is Upon Us.....

Here it is again. That time of year where you get all the bills for house and school taxes in the mail, house insurance AND you get to start thinking about plans for the Holidays.

Shopping this year was rather easy. I just LOVE computer point and click and your all done shopping. I never had to leave the chair. LOL

So, starting Friday night, our first exciting event will take place. We are going to the Annual Reformation Party! I cannot believe it is the 28th party. We haven't attended 28 years, but we have attended at least 1/2 of those. What a joy to see family and friends and everybody's new grand kids all crammed into the Ritchie home for another year of celebration and reflection and honoring the Reformers.
Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis on the Door of Wittenburg on October 31. I'm so glad we have an alternative celebration to Halloween. The kids have a great time and love the Pinata with all the candy.

Next will be Thanksgiving. We are staying home this year. The girls aren't in any condition for travel, so Michigan will have to wait again. :( BUT... guess who's coming to dinner? UNCLE BOB! :) We are very happy about that. He is always a treat to have around. Anybody else coming for dinner? Let me know.....We'll kill a Turkey for you.:)

Next will be Christmas. Christmas is one of my favorite Holidays. It is so fun with lights and crowds and visitors and decorations and the smells of holiday cheer. Another time of reflection, another time of cherished memories and to count our blessings. I love seeing all the kids and grandkids, it is so very special. We will be home for Christmas too. We hope to see everybody and I'm not sure yet who is coming or not. But our home is open for one and all. :) No guilt.

After that.... the New Year. CHILI NIGHT and card games and this year, we will introduce the girls to : "The Minister's Cat". A word game that lasts until... MIDNIGHT!
You start with A and say, "The Minister's Cat was an ..... cat."
The adjective has to start with A.
(angelic, awful, alabaster,archaic,arthritic,antagonistic,argumentative,angry,aggravating, When you finish that round you go to B. The more people the better.
The girlies are old enough to play now, so it should be quite entertaining.

I need to start on gluten free recipes. We have our gluten free turkey running around outside. Eat turkey, eat! I have a great recipe for gluten free pancackes with Lingonberries. I have a friend with a great Pumpkin Bread recipe that is gluten free.
I am also planning on a sausage and wild rice stuffing with corn. (should be interesting)
And who could have turkey without cranberry shaped like the can? Not me.
We also plan a gluten free cheese cake. That is an easy one. The crust is going to be made from gluten free shortbread cookies crushed up.

If anybody has a great idea, let me know.

The biggest thing I need to do is CLEAN and BABY PROOF. I'll feel great with the "clean part". Hopefully there will be a paint part in there too, but that is another post. :)

Ivy Has a Blog

Ivy Has a Blog!!!

I posted a link under fellow family bloggers. Now I get to see pics of Will and Marc and Ivy ALL the time. Thanks Ivy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trying To Make Things Work

Anna's birthday is coming up and she is trying to make this stroller work. It is a little small and she has way to many children now! She has requested a new stroller.
I wonder if they make bigger ones for bigger girls? Maybe a real one would be cheaper. :)


Now we are back to leg central. What do you do with a leg that seems to keep appearing on counters and tables?

Foster Care Fallout

There are a few things that really get my blood boiling, and one is the way kids
are treated in the Foster Care System.

Yesterday, H, the foster child our kids have had for the past 6 months was whisked back to her family. When I say "whisked", that is exactly what I mean.

This isn't the fault of the foster family, the real family or the child. It is the fault of a cold legal system that treats a child like paperwork.

It isn't the fault of the actual decision either. It is a good thing to be back with your family, but what it is the fault of is the lack of visualizing that there is a scared little person involved, who may have possibly made friends, connections and relationships, and she was given ZERO time to say her goodbyes or even get used to leaving. She was picked up from school early and that was it.

Bye, have a nice life.

They came in and disrupted her life, and now they have done it again.
We were able to see her for about 5 minutes before she left and she had been crying and crying because of the sheer shock of having to leave so abruptly. No time to really prepare her.

For those who work in this system, can we not pass the word that kids are people too?
How would you like it if you walked into work and they gave you a pink slip and escorted you out the door? Don't forget, you don't get to say goodbye, you don't get to take your things, or just what you can pack, you don't know what tomorrow will hold. Left your favorite thing... to bad, it is gone forever. Didn't get to say goodbye to your best friend? Too bad, you can never talk to her again.
This is what happens to kids everyday!

I was watching our girls faces as they said a shocking brief goodbye to H yesterday. They were silly and then when she walked out, very serious. I worried how this would effect our Anna, who had this very thing happen often in her first 5 years of life.
I had hoped it wouldn't effect her, but how could it not? We saw some behaviors show up that had all but disappeared, but not for long thank goodness. We had a good talk this a.m. about how she came to live with us and how shocked she was when she came home to a room all packed up. She was worried if Santa Clause would be able to find her new house, and she didn't get to say goodbye to her friends. Nothing. Just whisked away and gone.

The way the system works really sucks dirt.

The kids are supposed to be represented in court. Why can't the CASA worker ask them, "Do you want to know ahead of time? Do you want to be prepared?" If the answer is yes, can they ask the judge for a 36 hour warning so they can get things settled in their mind? Each way this is handled should be up to the child's wishes and in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. It doesn't take but 5 extra seconds for a judge to say, in 36 hours you will be moved, instead of go get her from school she will be leaving in 3 hours. duh.

I'm glad we were able to work through and have some good discussion with the girls.
Sarah piped in and said when she first saw me she was afraid of my moles. (gee thanks Sarah) :) She said, quote, "When W said, 'this is your new mother', I was like WHAT the woman with all those moles???" I'm not sure if I should laugh, seek counseling or go to a dermatologist.... :/
I'm glad the girls saw the process apart from themselves, as issues that were there came up and we could clarify things to them now that they are older, that we couldn't before.
What a mess of a system.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I think I Can Fly! And other Miscellaneous Ideas

Sarah is feeling especially good! I am so happy about that. We are at the no more itching stage AND no more pain stage. Now, we wait!
Here she is with Daddy trying to touch the ceiling!


Anna decided she needed to wear MY favorite PJ's. tonight. She likes to wear my things and have my favorite blanket. So tonight she will cuddle up in my favorite pj's and it will be the next best thing to sleeping with mama, without really being there. :)


If I said it once, I 've said it 1,000 times! Please don't put your feet on the kitchen counter! However, nobody was there to listen, and I really need to blame Daddy this time. He is the one tinkering with Erika's leg. She has outgrown it and for now is "Footless and fancy free."

Of Kitties and Fair Maidens

Our kids have always had favorite loved stuffed Animals. Chuck's favorite was Doogan, a large stuffed dog. I never realized how much he was attached to Doogan until we moved and left him behind. It took Chuck a long time to get to sleep without him, and was so happy when he was reunited.

All of the kids have had various stuffed animals that they have adored over the years, and some I still have, some I don't.

Marcus's Blue Bear, which we now call Franken Bear, because the dog ate him once while he was at scout camp, is on the shelf in the living room.


Doogan is at Tim's house now, and Joe's My Buddy doll is long gone.

But now, we have a new set of animals. One stands out, that I'd like to share, as this one is about to turn 5. This animal's worn look shows that the owner has truly loved her and still does. This is one that will probably go to college and beyond. :)
Here is a picture of Anna's famous "Kitty".

Our First Cold Mornng

We woke up this a.m. to brrrrrr.....cold inside the house. Some would question if it was really cold, but Dallasites find that in Fall and Winter, anything below 80 is cold and in Spring and Summer anything above 70 is hot.
So, at 66 inside the house this a.m., we considered it cold.

Soooo, that means we got to try out the wood stove. It is the only heat source we use so we started getting it cleaned out, making sure the chimney was clean etc. over the weekend.

So here are the morning cuddle pics.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sarah and her Casts


Sarah was feeling good enough to get her picture taken today. AND, mommy has new batteries in the camera, so today was a good day. :) I have to say. I am so proud of what a good sport Sarah is being. She hasn't complained abit, other than saying something itches now and then. She is homebound until the 29th and her arm cast can come off. She has been so creative in her play and spent time writing letters to all of us, and to her friends.
Sarah's favorite stuffed animal also went into surgery with her, and she came out.... just like Sarah!

I'm Old... BUT NOT THAT OLD!

Today we were studying history. I mentioned to the girls that mommy was alive when one of our presidents was shot. Anna went on to tell her sisters about Abraham Lincoln being shot in the theatre!

TIME FOR SCIENCE~!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Milestone Birthday for Chuck


Yep, today our oldest baby, turned 30. Wow. It just doesn't seem that long ago that they brought him to me in the hospital all wrapped in a blanket, lustily screaming for food. He then proceeded to attach himself to my arm and sucked a big blood blister right onto my ARM! Did that ever make me rethink breastfeeding, for a minute. :)

And now, he is a family man. All settled with a beautiful wife, 2 children, and a dog.
What more could a man want; well, besides a lucrative record contract, endless offers to play his music and continual free flowing ideas for new material?

My life changed when Chuck came into my life. I never knew I could love a little person so much, that I would be so proud of him, that I would be his mother when he was 30!
I was 20 when he was born! I remember when the boys were babies, figuring out how old everybody would be when I was a certain age. I never went past 35. LOL Time flies.

Happy Birthday dear son. Welcome to the 30's. I pray that you will continue to seek truth, and that the Peace and Happiness of the Lord will surround you.

I love you,
Mom

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sleeping All Night Again! No Feet but Still Walking!

I wasn't sure what to title this, so I picked both.

I am pleased to announce that Sarah slept ALL night last night without the need for pain medication! YEA! That means mama got to sleep all night too. :) She is doing great and made a real turnaround in the pain department yesterday afternoon. She still hasn't asked for her pain medication this afternoon, so I think I will switch her from the Lortab to just advil, and then give the Lortab at night tonight, and then maybe wean her off tomorrow altogether.

Erika, who has been running around with no legs, since she rapidly outgrew her other ones, returned from the Dr. today, legless. She is doing well running around without and I am thankful for that. She is very difficult to fit, and they are trying to "think outside the box" to make a new pair of legs that she can function in. So I am praying for them, that a great idea will come up and she will get her legs before Thanksgiving. :)
Now that would be something to be thankful for!

Anna, was not pleased last night when she learned I was not going to take her with me to the Dr. this a.m. She really wanted to go, but that would have been too hard, as Erika has no feet on right now. So, she was a bit pouty when she went to bed, but woke up happy this a.m. and ready to stay home with daddy. :)
And for THAT, I was thankful~!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

There IS No Place Like Home

Melissa wrote, "There is no place like home!" She is so right.
Sarah did great last night. She only woke once, at 4:00 a.m. I gave her pain meds and she went right back to sleep. She is sleeping now on the couch all propped up. :)

I'm so glad she is doing well. I was a little concerned things wouldn't have been this smooth, but am thankful for the break!

Now, when I get my bearings back, I'm going to try and figure out how 1 load of laundry turned into about 6 in 2 days, with 2 people gone from home. :)
This is very suspicious!

And it is soooo true that "There's No Place Like HOME!"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Things We Say

Last night when Sarah was perfectly miserable, a well meaning nurse came into the room and asked her, "Are you your mama's baby?"

Sarah looked up at her and said, "What?"

The nurse asked again, "Are you your mama's baby?"

Sarah answered, "No, I was adopted another mama had me as a baby".
She then said, "I really don't want to talk about that".

I knew what the Nurse meant. She saw that Sarah responded well to comfort from me, and that she sought me out to make sure where I was in the room when she was so upset. She doesn't understand all those things we say in english to communicate something as simple as "It looks like you and Mama love each other."

I was proud of Sarah to shut the conversation down she wasn't comfortable with, but a little sad that she thought the nurse was asking such a personal question.

It is puzzling, because at home she always says she wants to be my baby. And I often call her my sweet baby.

It is just a reminder to me of how our language and words matter so very much.

This same nurse, who was from India and had a difficult accent to understand also told Sarah, "if you do not pee, I will have to catheterize you, so you need to use the bedside commode." Sarah was like, "WHAT?" What is that, I don't know what you want me to do. This is one of the reasons it is so good to be able to stay with our children when they are hospitalized. Sometimes interpretation is needed.
"Sweetie, you need to try to pee." That was good enough. She did try in a diaper, but the nurse wanted more, so they moved our pain riddled little one onto the bedside toilet. She screamed in pain, but she peed. I think she will do much better at home tonight in the comfort of her own bed, with her sisters by her side.

She also had a difficult time telling the nurse that she didn't like graham crackers.
The nurse didn't understand and kept trying to make her eat them, in the form of graham crackers, then teddy grahams, then grham cookies of some bizarre type, to the point, we had projectile vomiting. (that was probably more info than you needed)

I have never been so glad for a shift to change! The day nurse if fantastic and while I am typing this, Sarah is sleeping away comfortably.

I'll cut this short, as I could really use an IV of coffee! :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

We are at the Hospital

THe child life room is a wonderful place. There are games and arts and crafts and access to computers! So while I am typing this, Sarah is sitting next to me blogging her heart out. :)

Surgery will be tomorrow a.m. at around 10:00. We have a bit of a surprise body cast coming. I wasn't quite expecting it, but it makes sense, so we may be back to bed pans for about 6-8 weeks.

Mike and girlies left at home have plenty to do, as I left a list for them.
I'm sure they will be fine for a few days.

So far, Sarah is enjoying her day now that all the waiting is over. We saw numerous doctors and therapists this a.m.

I'll type more later.....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Surgery For Sarah

Our little Sarah will be having Surgery on Tuesday. The bone in her leg is growing again and will need to be trimmed back. During that surgery, they will also be tightening the ligaments that hold her knee in place which will help her to have a more stable leg. Sometimes, he knee just goes out and she falls down. She will also be having the tendon from her forearm connected to her wrist so she can use her hand better. Right now it is very weak and she cannot lift up. She has use of the hand, but without the tendon connected she has no wrist action. ALL this will be on the left side of her body, so needless to say, she will be in a wheel chair for a while. This does not suit her very well, so if you think about her, please send up a prayer for her to be patient while she mends. :)

Dark Days of Long Ago

It isn't often that I go back to my past, or discuss the dark days of long ago. But yesterday, it came up due to a discussion on homeless and the profoundly lost of our society.

When I think about my earlier years as a young wife and mother, it comes with some joyous stories of our boys, but also with profound sadness, grief and loss.

It was a time of confusion, pouring my heart out to my Lord, misunderstanding, anger, frustration, misguidance, and hope.

Did I say hope? Yes I DID! Because, had I not had the hope of my Lord and Savior, I do not know that I would have made it through the difficulties of the days.

Very few people know my story, and I will not share it, even on my blog, as the details do not matter. All I know is, that the Lord saw fit for me to go through many things, in order to break me, teach me, and make me dependent upon him. He weakened me, so that I could be strong. He humbled me, to bring Glory to Himself. He taught me to cling to His every word, so that I could become wise. Wise not in my own eyes, but wisdom from above. Have I arrived, no. Do I know all. No. But at the same time, the only TRUE wisdom comes from HIM and HIM alone!

As we were in Ukraine, I was struck by the awesome responsibility of bringing the Good news of Jesus Christ to those who hadn't heard. Where do you begin?
How do you tell a poor homeless, parentless child that he has a heavenly father who loves him? How do you tell that child living in abject poverty that God CARES and SEES and is with him? How do you explain to that child that the children on the other side of the world who are more interested in the next "event" to attend, who have all the food they want, who have parents and schools, and clothes, and everything they need materially are no more important than them in the eyes of GOD; yet they sit and ROT in a TB Sanitarium while the other child is at Disneyworld?

It became profoundly evident to me for one of the first times in my life that I actually had more in common with some of these kids than I realized. The profound grief, the rejection, the loss of hope, the despair, the unknown; I have truly felt those things profoundly and deeply. The questions, "If God loves me AND I love him, why am I sitting here rotting like this?" That was a question I once asked.

BUT GOD....
In His infinite wisdom KNOWS what is best for His children. I am so thankful for those experiences now. I understand NOW more why they were important in my life to go through. Had I not been there, I would never be able to minister, even to my own children, as the Lord has made possible because of what my experiences were in my past.

I praise Him for HIS MERCY and WISDOM and LOVE.

And yes, I knew, even in times of despair, that He was carrying me through. There is HOPE in Christ. The TRUE Gospel does not offer the riches of this world. It does not guarantee the successes of Wall Street, (as we can see in the news today) Riches are like the chaff of a tree that blows away in in the Wind. But the Riches of Christ are not blown away, they are real and tangible and they do not wither.
The Riches of Christ can be had by all....

Isaiah 55 says "Come, EVERYONE who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come and buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that wich does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear to me, hear that your sould may live; ............. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near, let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thorughts, let him return to the Lord that He may have compassion on him and to our God for He will ABUNANTLY pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts either are your ways, my ways declares the Lord. ..........

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Metamorphasis

We were learning about the life cycle of the insect. The stages they go through to turn into a butterfly or moth, and we even went out and found a chrysalis to put in a jar and watch it turn into a butterfly.

So the girls are doing their comprehension questions. Sarah blurts out, "I can't find anywhere in my book where it says insects go through menopause!" LOL

You Are Still Holy

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