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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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Can You Believe This One????

I just read this article on CNN.com.
It is about a Children's Show Host who has received criticizm for being on the show. Why? Because she is missing the lower part of her right arm. Parents have called the station complaining of all things,"it is making me have to talk to my child about disabilities!"
I nearly spit my coffee out this a.m. when reading it.
At the same time, I'm not shocked at all.

While much of the time we run into the most amazing people who treat our kids and us as normal.(THEY ARE NORMAL) There are just as many times that we don't. And that includes those in our own family! Life is painful enough without having to add to it, those who lack not just compassion, but common decency.

This brings me to another issue. The issue of adoption in general. The orphanages are full of children with simple disabilities. They are not "less than", they are "differently abled". :) These kids are the hugest blessing, yet they sit in orphanages and rot as "damaged goods". It is not a heroic effort to adopt a child with special needs. They ALL have special needs, just as individual as each child is an individual. Some are just more obvious than others.

I know of folks who will go over the giant pond and get to an appointment, only to turn away a perfectly HEALTHY child, because they have a physical impairment.
We still, as far as we have come in recent years, have an aversion to the handicapped in our society. Many see them as a "burden". I remember when we were in the Embassy in Kiev Ukraine, an obnoxious AMERICAN man standing in line looked at our daughter and said, "Oh great, how much is THAT going to cost me?" I cannot express how angry I was.

Mike was whispering in my ear,"down girl, down girl", because I was fishing in my purse to hand the guy a quarter for what it MIGHT possibly cost him in his lifetime if she were to ever need special assistance. So far, that has not happened, and I don't anticipate it to happen as she is a hard working, wonderful, and smart person. But guess what? IF she were to ever need any help, she is an AMERICAN CITIZEN just like him. Heaven forbid he ever become disabled in an accident!

Any help our children have received up to this point has been completely from private donation. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, receives ZERO dollars from Tax Dollars paid to the government. Instead they have fund raisers and many, many generous donors. We do what we can to give back too. It will never be enough, for all they do. They not only care for the most disabled of children, but if YOUR child were to break a bone or hurt themselves playing sports, they would care for them too; FREE of Charge, without asking for one penny. They are a tremendous example of what the Church SHOULD be doing world wide, nation wide, and in our communities.

As the mom of more than one child with disabilities, including biological and adopted children, I can testify of the tremendous blessing ALL children are in our lives, no matter what special needs they may come with.

I am thankful that they have been a stepping stone of teaching for our other children in the area of compassion, helpfulness, and tolerance towards those who are different than ourselves.

American's pride themselves that we have curbs and doors for the disabled and we joke about the drive up ATM machines with Braille on the key pads, but truthfully, had LAWS not been passed to make these things happen, we would be no different than many places on this earth. Our curbs are lowered, and there are many wonderful people who do care, but in the general population at large, those who have disabilities are shunned, treated poorly, embarrassed by loud mouthed people, stared at, glared at, and complained about.

Even lately, with some of the talk about money going to those less fortunate, I have seen on blogs and other media the complaint that "we have to care for all these people!"
Well guess what! Scripture COMMANDS that we care for the poor, the elderly, the widow, the orphan, the sick, the hungry AND those who are in prison. That "WE" is we as a country and we as individuals.
I pay taxes and if that is what my taxes go for, then GREAT! I'd much rather they go to help a poor person with an education or to get a wheel chair than to some stupid Bridge to nowhere or somewhere.

Ok, I'm calm now. It's just that a missing arm is not the person. A missing leg is not a person. We are not defined by our "looks", we are defined by who we are as people INSIDE. Who is your PERSON? It is the one who speaks, thinks, feels, is it not? Do you think, speak or feel differently than another person, just because you are missing a leg? NO.

For those going on their appointments soon.... PLEASE consider the child with Cerebral Palsy, missing limbs, spina bifida, cleft palate, arthrogryposis, clubbed feet, restrictive band syndrome,... they may turn out to be the biggest blessing in your entire life. You just don't know it yet. Don't make decisions based upon fear. Educate yourselves BEFORE you go, find out if there are private organizations that would cover medical costs, find out what these conditions ARE, and then make a decision. Don't just say no, because of fear. Some of these conditions are not minor, nor are they correctable, or may be minorly correctable. But there is a little person's life at stake. Please pray and consider ALL those files placed before you in a careful manner.

Friday, February 27, 2009

For Those Headed To Ukraine



There really is a place called the SDA. It isn't a dream. It will happen. YOU WILL walk through these doors to meet those who have the records and hold the keys to get your children home. Best Wishes and Godspeed to ALL of you! And while you are there... Don't forget to take a picture of yourselves in front of these doors so you can encourage those who follow after you! :)

Its Good To Sit Back and Analyze


It has been almost a week since I broke a bone in my foot. I thought it would be a wise idea to try and walk with that boot thing (air cast) and try it without crutches yesterday. Today, I don't think it was such a good idea. I think I set myself back to last week. When I got up this a.m., Mike had already gone to Scottish Rite Hospital to do his volunteer work, and there was nobody to fetch my crutches and I figured I could make it to the bathroom without the boot....duh. As I limped to the bathroom, I felt a crunch again. Dang..... So I'm back to no pressure on my foot and crutches.
Erika's response: "Mom, you are such a mess!" LOL Yes dear, I am. :)

BUT>>>>>> Now for the good news about this week:

I did not realize how much I had been doing for the girls to make sure things got done correctly with their chores. It is second nature to "finish" things for them. I tend to baby them abit due to their special needs, and I don't think that is doing them good. I can see that clearly right now,since I can't help them finish things.
The truth is, sometimes it is easier for me to finish something than to teach them to do it themselves. I have been lazy in that way. So when they did the dishes and didn't clean out the sink, I couldn't do it. And then daddy came in and called them over and asked, "Who didn't clean out the sink?" "Do you think this job is complete?" So he taught them how to "finish" things. Last night, nobody had to teach them! They did the kitchen very well!

I love it that Mike tag teams with me the way he does. I love it that we support each other with the girlies. I had to tell him that them not finishing their job was my fault because I haven't expected it of them. So he taught them.
I think they were really proud this a.m. when I was at the kitchen sink and told them, "Wow, it is really nice to wake up to a totally clean sink!"

This week has really gone smoother than I thought it would. When something is out of the ordinary or "off kilter", typically I can expect that Anna will be a bit off kilter, but instead, she has shown compassion, she has been helpful and overall has remained steadfast and steady including volunteering to make Daddy's lunch along with our employee Therron's, lunch. I am so thankful. I think she is growing up! :)

This was a very good week school wise. We have been studying westward expansion, and since I own PBS's "Frontier House", I have let them watch parts of it.

They have really enjoyed watching it. Even the negative parts of watching the people argue or gossip has been an opportunity to discuss moral issues, including gossip, helping our neighbor, dishonesty, hard work, what is really important, and much more.

Because the girlies have watched how hard the families worked on Frontier House, they aren't seeing that their chores are difficult at all and I even caught Sarah trying to wash her shirt outside. LOL

Thursday, February 26, 2009

INTRODUCING: OUR NEW GRANDSON

It is a little early, but this little fellow is so stinkin' cute!


Here he is safe and sound in his mommy's tummy while big brother Will and his mommy and daddy all wait for him to grow and mature so he can come on out and be with us. I am so amazed at these photos. The detail of his little hand and face. I just bet he will be a finger sucker like his daddy Marcus. Aunt Emma thinks he looks like Tim. It is funny, I kind of thought the same thing. He is about 24 or 25 weeks along in his development. It is amazing that Tim, Joe and Marcus were born between 28 and 30 weeks. They did not have definite dates, except for Marcus who was for sure 30 weeks. They suspected Joseph was 28 weeks because his little chest didn't even have nipples yet, and then one day they just appeared. It was so odd, mysterious and wonderful.

I am so awed at these photos. This is a real baby! What will he do in life? What plans does God have in store for his little life? Will he be funny? Will he be shy? I do know one thing: God already knows his steps. He is being knit in his mother's womb and he is being fearfully and wonderfully made.
Thanks Marcus and Ivy for the pictures and for letting gramma put them on the blog. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Just Love Sweet Little Repentant Hearts

Tonight during family worship Daddy thought it best to start to study Proverbs. After our singing and prayer time, we started to read the words that Solomon wrote long ago about Wisdom. Each of the girlies took a verse and explained it the best they could.
There was a lot of discussion and participation and they were quite receptive, especially our little math whiz. :)

I just love that the girls are so open and repentant. They are sensitive to the Lord and that makes a mother's heart sing. :)

Cheating With Dyslexia

Hmmm. How do I explain this to a non dyslexic person....

Anna has been struggling with math for a while. She is doing really well, but sometimes gets overwhelmed. I noticed that today she was on the same lesson that she was on on Friday before we left for camp. (lesson 40) I didn't check yesterday due to a broken foot and so today was getting caught up with grading papers.

So I asked her for her math paper so I could check it. It should have said, lesson 40, but it said lesson 38 and the date had been changed to Today's date!

So I ask, "Ummm, how come you redid your lesson from last week with today's date?"
Her answer:" I couldn't find my paper from today so I took a lesson from last week and put todays date on it."

But why?
So you would know I did math today even though I can't find it.

ARGHHH!!!!!!

Now I'm confused. Non the less, it was cheating.

So, she is having "In School Suspension", which means that she is organizing her notebook so that I can check it with all the papers in the right place (hopefully)
AND she will finish her lesson for today. AND... we will have an honesty talk to finish off our day before family prayer. :)

My Tim

Well, Maybe I should say "Our Tim" since he is married. :)
On the day we left for camp Tim got the call. I have been waiting impatiently
for him to get the call about his certification for special education. He had to take a class and test to get certified.

The first time he took the test, he took too long, didn't finish and just didn't want to ask for extra time. He said it is just such a pain to ask for extra time. It takes paper work and a lot of red tape. So he tried to take it without special accommodations.

So this time, he practiced over and over trying to increase his speed in answering questions. And..... Not only did he pass. He passed really well.

Tim is one of those guys who doesn't give up. No matter what. He doesn't give up.
I don't think he has enough cheer leaders. Much of the time, Tim's accomplishments seem to be overlooked mostly because for many, it isn't that big of a deal. So he's a teacher. So he's a special ed teacher. So he graduated from college..... lots of people do.
Yea.... But not lots of people like Tim.

I cannot express to anybody, even my blog how my heart soars with joy and tears flow over this child. When he accomplishes new heights, my heart goes right back to the NICU and him struggling for every breath. It goes back to those words, "He hasn't given us any reason to believe he will ever: sit up, see, hear, speak.... he is a devastated baby, he needs to be removed from life support, he is brain dead."

OH MY! He is FAR from brain dead! And what I am happiest about is he gives ALL the glory to his Savior, Jesus Christ.

So my Tim, our Tim, is now certified to be a Special Education Teacher. I think he will do an awesome job.
He is after all, very qualified.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Family Camp at Peaceable Kingdom

Did Somebody say CAMP????


We went to Family Camp at Peaceable Kingdom Retreat Center for children, sponsored by Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. We had a great time.(except for my minor mishap)
The kids settled in



and then it was off to the lodge for some game time with old friends.




There were numerous events including the Pirate ship, spider web, movie time, golfing, and the Chili Cook off!

Here are the "Chili Girls" doing their chant and watching the judges taste their creation.

Robert thought it was abit hot! LOL

We had a really fun time. All the kids played hide and seek after dinner, and we had the joy once more of watching Jarroth Play the Piano.

Pride Cometh After A Fall

We had a great time at camp. It was short and full of adventures. I learned a very good lesson over the weekend. Don't try to race an electric golf cart up a hill on a trail with rocks lining it. You will lose your balance, get your foot stuck between rocks, fall on those rocks and then tumble down a little ravine. (for lack of a better word) And all in front of a bunch of people.

So that is what happened. I was so embarrassed that after I was helped up by a very nice man named Dwayne, whom I fell right in front of. I tried to keep running. I wanted to run away. After about 50 more steps that turned to a limp, and then I caught up with Mike. By then it was hurting pretty good. We went to the lodge where I removed my shoe, and haven't been able to get it on since. We went stayed at camp as it was Saturday afternoon and we were leaving in the a.m. anyway, and the kids had a great time. Then we drove home and went to one of those cheesy x ray places.
The verdict was: "There is something on your x ray. It looks like your foot has a fracture, but the radiologist won't be in until tomorrow so don't stand on it at all. I'm thinking, "No problem there. I CAN'T stand on it at all." LOL

So I am getting a lesson that is only going to give me more compassion for my girlies. It is a real pain to not be able to do things. Trying to get up on one foot to crutches is painful. My back, hip, knee and everything else hurt too.

AND.... my "oh so compassionate" Mike says,"You aren't 20 anymore!" Thank you for reminding me of that. I don't know what I would have done without that information. :)

I am so thankful this didn't happen 2 or 3 months ago at our height of limblessness. God is so Good to us.

I'll upload pictures of camp as soon as I can get them organized, but here is one of me in the lodge.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm The Mom

If you need a little pick up, if you need to feel empowered! If you need a laugh....
Visit THE MOM SONG.....

And for dads.. Here is a dad song.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Missed Moments of Simple Joy


Today I went to Wal mart, and as I walked up to my car which was parked by the median, there was this little girl about 4. She had blonde hair and thick glasses for an obvious eye problem. But she was observing the tree on the median very carefully. She looked at it very closely and said, "Mommy, this tree has an owie!" Her mommy wasn't paying much attention and said rather droley,"Get in the car." The little girl was fixated on that tree and I heard her say, "Oh poor tree!" Then she kissed it.
I was cracking up while putting my groceries away.

Her mom was doing the same thing. (putting groceries in her car)

The little girl then said, "Oh mommy, isn't this the most beautiful tree! I LOVE this tree!" Her mommy put her cart in the cart holder and called her over again. This time she said, "because you didn't get in the car, when we get home you are going to your room to be punished!" end of story...... The little girl got in the car and they drove away....

Now, It is true that she didn't get into the car when her mother told her to, but my guess is, she didn't even hear her. She was so happily fixated on that exciting tree and having such a moment of joy, she didn't hear her mommy.

Her mommy missed such a wonderful moment to share with her little girl. It is really special to share a child's joy and excitement over the simplest of things.
We all miss out. We are all guilty of being too busy.

I hope this little girl's mommy has a better day tomorrow,enjoys her daughter's delight and shares in it with her while discovering this wonderful, beautiful world God has given us to enjoy. :)

I had the secret delight of watching a little girl admire a tree. :)

Finishing What I Start

I don't know about you, but I have this issue with finishing a project. I get too many going, and then have trouble sticking to a task until it is completed.

I have been doing really well working on a major project, but need to finish it.
It is days like this, when I don't feel that great, and I have loads of "other" things to do, that I get bogged down and frustrated. My mind gets full and then, my wheels just spin.

So why am I writing this? To get my fingers going. :) Sometimes it just helps to state the obvious in writing and move on.....

So here is to a full brain! :) Hopefully I can leak some out on paper today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How To: According to Anna

Today Anna said, "Mom, I know how Sarah can get over her fear of dancing in public and how I can get over my fear of public speaking!

"How Anna?"

Adopt 14 children! It would be public speaking just to ask for the bread to be passed! And Sarah would be dancing in front of all those people!

She is a smart kid. :)

Loving Our Neighbor

I love our church. It is a church full of imperfect people. But one thing these imperfect people know how to do is to love their neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Everyone you come into contact with.

When we started attending many years ago, the first thing I noticed was "Grandma's Attic". Grandma's Attic is a clothes closet for those within the church and outside the church. There would be a line of people sometimes waiting for the services to end so they could come in and get clothing. At first I thought it was odd, but many of the people in the community didn't speak English and probably weren't comfortable coming into a Christian church. Many were from China and most likely were Buddhist. Others were from Mexico and only spoke Spanish.

Because of that, our church started English Second Language Classes and started holding a Spanish Bible Study. Our friends also moved into the apartments near the church to minister to the people there.

Later on, about 6 years ago, we started a Food Pantry. "Grandma's Pantry" It was suggested at first that there is a food pantry in the community; but after talking it over, it was decided that We should be reaching out and helping those in our body AS a body, not turning helping our neighbor into a social service event for the person in need of help.

The food pantry opened with 1 rule. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.( so that the thing that happened to me in my post below would NEVER happen to anybody within our scope of contact) If you need food, it is there for the taking. If you have food to give, give it. If you use food, when you can, contribute back so others can use it. It has since grown from canned goods, to pampers, formula, baby food, specialized foods, tooth paste, soaps and deoderant. There are even walkers, canes and potty seats in there.
I am so thankful for the loving, giving hearts of those who secretly give. And I am SO THANKFUL that there is a place people can go for food and not be embarrassed.

Grandma's Pantry has exploded to Grandma's kitchen too. You can get refrigerated items;frozen meats and dairy products. Isn't that great!

In the times we are facing as a nation, I am happy to be at a church where people can find comfort and that as a church, we will pull together and take care of each other and those in our community who have need.

Monday, February 16, 2009

When We Think Our Sin Doesn't Stink

I was talking to a friend today about life, and how it makes such interesting twists and turns.
She is much younger than I am. In fact she is probably about the same age as my youngest son. :)
She and her sister have seen much heartache in this life, and as young people, they did not know the Lord. They turned their hearts and desires towards Him when they had already tread some paths that have brought them regret.

As we were talking, it dawned upon me that she had no idea of some of my life when I was younger. Because of the nature of our conversation, I was able to share a little with her about my earlier years.
She has felt that the problems she has faced in life are sometimes of the magnitude that many who have grown up in the church are completely unable to relate to her. Even though I did grow up within a broad Christian circle, my early married life took some horrific paths and I learned much about the grace and mercy of God through very difficult circumstances.

Unfortunately, I understand her conclusions about how SOME within the church deal with sin, with the effects of sin, with past sin, with new believers who have horrific pasts, and with those who are believers living in horrific conditions.

As I was talking to her, memories flooded in of me as a young mother seeking counsel about my situation. I walked away many times bewildered not only by the "casualness of what I was told, but the true lack of love I felt from those who were supposed to love me." If this was LOVE, I was in serious trouble.

I actually had a woman tell me one time, that she knew of another woman in my situation that obeyed God and submitted to her husband, and when He came at her with a hammer, she simply began to pray in tongues and he couldn't hit her! NO kidding. She used this example to show me where I had failed in my life and how I was in sin.

There was another man who called me and told me that I had no right to marry again. I was an adulteress and he went on and on. This same man had had numerous relationships with women of an inappropriate nature, though he himself only wanted to marry a pure woman.

Then, there was the time I went to MY OWN CHURCH (not the one I am in at present) to seek food for my family. A very grouchy assistant pastor came out and yelled at me, demanding to know, "How did you get yourself into this situation?" I had never met this man, nor had I ever asked for food before.
I was so embarrassed and horrified and humiliated, I left, with him then saying, "Wait, do you need food?" Well, yea, but not from you.

Let's see, How DID I get myself into that situation?
I purposely married a lousy man who used drugs and was an alcoholic. I purposely married a man who mistreated me and my children, because that is what I really wanted...... duh.....So I decided to give birth to 4 children within 4 years and live in poverty and I got myself into this situation because I was of such a vile and sinful nature that I could do no other. Oh yea, and I was a total idiot.

Sometimes, that is how those within the church make you feel. It is one of those situations where they approach you with a, "We've got it all together because we are special and it is our job to fix you and make you see things our way, and by the way, 'you really are an idiot'! "

When you go to them to share a real problem, you get to thinking, "this person has never missed a meal, the worst problem they have had in their entire life is a broken nail or the store didn't carry the right hair color, and... they think I'm an idiot."

Have I said idiot enough?

Those thoughts and feelings are very raw and very real. They are some of the reasons I stopped seeking any kind of counsel except on my knees in prayer and in the reading of my bible.
I say that today and I'm bothered by that. We SHOULD be able to seek godly counsel. We SHOULD be able to get help and be LOVED by the Body of Christ. We SHOULDN'T bear our burdens alone. But many do, for the very reasons I have stated above.

The problem is for those who have grown up in the church, including myself.... we don't see our sin as stinky. We don't see our true condition. We have a list of rights and wrongs and as long as we safely stay away from the 10 majors, then well, we are doing pretty good! Right? WRONG!!!!!We don't know that we are the ones who are poor, and hungry and naked.
That basically makes us Pharisees. The Pharisees were able to follow the law and even built laws around the law to make sure they didn't break the law. In fact, Paul stated that he followed the law perfectly! But Christ referred to them as "white washed seplechurs full of dead men's bones."

But Christ raised the bar of the law abit. He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, AND Love your neighbor as yourself." In His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, he gives a very revealing sermon on what His desire is for us. "Love your enemy", turn the other cheek, if somebody takes your coat, give him your sweater as well."

For those who do talk to others who are struggling: Are we applying Christ's words? Are we loving that person as we would love ourselves. Are we treating them as we would want to be treated? Or are we shocked at the depth of their sin, and disgusted by their lack of spiritual awareness? Are we rightly dividing the word of Truth with them?

It is my hope that when somebody does seek counsel, they will find a wealth of love and support, both in the Word of God, in the spoken word and in deed; also that a clear picture of Christ will be presented and that they will walk away ready and excited about continuing down the path of Life, despite the problems they are facing. It is my hope and desire that those within the church who desire to counsel, will first be humble and know that if they have not experienced extreme hardship, it isn't because they are so special and they have made wonderful choices, but it is the blessing of God upon them and His mercy that has kept them, in spite of themselves.And this IS something to be thankful for!
And for those who HAVE gone through extreme hardship,that they would allow the Lord to use them to bring about HIS glory and that they would encourage others to press on to the finish line.
All of us... every one of us.... no matter how pretty, how pleasant, how ugly, how unpleasant, were born naked, and in desperate need of a Savior. We all come to know Him the same way; in Faith, through the precious blood of Christ.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blessed By A Child

Blessed By A Child posted about her son Joseph today. You will truly be blessed by reading her post. It is a precious story of God's grace. Please read it and drop my friend Jeane and her son Joseph a line in her comments section. They are getting ready to go and get another little one.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Triggers

Our Friday night tradition of Pizza and a movie continues, and then we all retreat to camp in mom and dad's room for the night. It is usually a peaceful sleep, but last night was a little different. The sleeping arrangements were changed. This time Erika slept on the cot at the end of our bed, Anna took the chair and Sarah slept on blankets on the floor.
I was awoken to Erika having one of those dreams. The kind that give me chills. She never remembers them. But they are of that deep,mournful cry; a panic, a sense of loss and loneliness that is so great it can't be fathomed by those of us who have never experienced total aloneness.
And then, once again, I heard the cot start to squeak back and forth. When I got up to check on her she was in a deep sleep rocking back and forth and she had tightly wrapped her covers all around her like a straight jacket. I touched her gently and said, "sweety, you are rocking". She opened her eyes,smiled and then went to sleep again, this time without rocking. Then it started up again.....
When she woke this morning, she was rested and had no memory of her restless sleep.

I am so thankful that in God's mercy, he allows us to not remember things in our conscious state. Things so terrible and feelings so fearful that they are best left untouched.
When the right time comes, if God so chooses, she may remember more. She remembered a lot when she first came home, and the things she told us were shocking and upsetting.
She was in the dark a lot. There were other beds. She was tied, sometimes she ate and sometimes she didn't. The covers were wrapped around her. She was left to lay. For four years she rocked before she made it to an orphanage. Much of what she told us, she has forgotten. Time has a way of helping us to forget.

But then there are those times when her memory is triggered and she does. The season of year, may be her trigger. Our 3 year anniversary is coming up soon. It is both joyful and sad. It triggers memories of belonging to a new family, but it also triggers memories of rejection, abandonment and loss.

That is the nature of adoption. It has 2 sides. Happiness in finding a forever home, but profound sadness because you were rejected by the very ones who gave you birth.
The circumstance doesn't really matter. The rejection hurts just the same.

One thing we as adoptive parents can do for our children is to grieve with them. The compassion we show them when they feel that loss is so important. Their sadness does not reflect on their love for us, nor does it mean they don't love us. It just means they have suffered great pain and need support to heal. It is our job and DUTY as parents to love them through these moments, being careful to not trivialize them by saying, "But you have a new home, you are here with a new mommy and daddy, your life is wonderful now!" Those things do not matter at that moment. What matters is that momentary memory of pain and rejection. Our reaction to that can make all the difference in the world towards their complete healing.

Our daughter is a happy, loving and caring child. It is our prayer that her past pain and experiences in life will be used by the Lord to mold and shape her into the vessel He has chosen for her to be, and that she would see His hand on her life.
I know she already does.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Birthday To Tim, Joe ,Becca and Sam

February is a very busy Birthday Month for us.
Here are a few pictures I happen to have on the computer of the Birthday boys and Girl!



This is Tim when he was very sick. He was a preemie and we are very fortunate
to have him around.:)

This is Tim and Joe when they were 1 and 2. I was in the hospital on complete bed rest with their brother Marcus.

I love this picture of Joe and Becca!

Here are Joe and Sam. Sam is going to be two at the end of the month.

This is one of my favorite little boy pictures of Timothy.

And here is Tim and Emily on their wedding Day. What a difference 21 years can make. :) (between birth and marriage)
Happy Birthday Ya'll. I'm very proud of each and every one of you. :)
Love,
Mom

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Waltons Good or Not?




I purchased the Walton's Series on DVD for the girls. It was a great buy for just $10.88 at Sams.

I remember watching the Walton's as a girl and loved that show. I liked John Boy and Mary Ellen and all the stories. What I wasn't quite prepared for was what the girls picked up. You think they would be "Mary Ellen, Erin and Elizabeth" in their play, but NO!

They have been playing Miss Mamie and Miss Emily!. I caught them playing Miss Mamie and Miss Emily and during their tea party today they were serving "The Recipe!"

For those who aren't familiar with the Waltons. Miss Maimie and Miss Emily are old spinsters who protect their fathers old still. They are boot legg-whiskey makers.
The recipe is Whiskey! LOL

(Now the girls don't know that , but there is something disturbing about that)
At least they are learning to call each other "dear sister". LOL

They were all singing while doing the dishes and Anna had made up a song that went something like, "If you feeling good or your feeling weak, just mix up some Recipe!"

help

A Good Reminder

Last night, I was helping the girls wind down from the day. We needed to finish chores, clean up and get ready for bed. As I was throwing out instructions, I asked them to please not touch a few things on the table, because I was working on them. Well, they got touched. So I asked, who moved my things? Then, when Erika went over to the table she said, these things? and started moving them. I said, "I told you not to touch those things!" (these are my tax papers I'm working on, so I need them untouched or I'll get lost!) She then went over to do something else, and I reminded her, that yesterday we showed her to do things a different way and she had not done it the way we showed her.
She looked abit confused, and then got teary. 2 times in a few minutes she was corrected and seemed bewildered about why.....

So me in perfect form (NOT) says, if you are going to cry, you need to do it in the other room. duh....
So she REALLY pulls out the tears. I was in the kitchen kicking myself for not being more sensitive, and then it dawned on me. Something she said was, "You are talking too fast." She hasn't even been in the USA for 3 years, and I am expecting her to understand language like Anna. She doesn't. It is easy to forget when a child doesn't have an accent, speaks rather well, does well in school, and generally seems to understand what you are saying. But I do notice that many times she guesses, or she asks questions. Sometimes she doesn't know how to ask the question. Language aquisition is such an interesting phenomenon.

So, I sadly went into the bedroom and sat down with her and said, "Can mommy say I'm sorry?" She sat down on my lap and I apologized to her for not realizing she was not understanding everything I was saying. I told her that I forget that she is still learning English, and we are ALL learning language. It is a never ending process.

So she smiled and we had a hug, the tears stopped and we shared some I love yous.
She went to bed happy and understood, and I still have those papers on the table to finish getting ready for the tax man.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mommy And Daddy Sitting In a Tree.......

Except she sang:

"Mommy and Daddy sitting on the couch"
K I S S I N G

First comes love, then comes marriage,

Then comes another adopted child!

It didn't rhyme, but I thought it was pretty funny. :)

I won't say how high of a number she counted up to! Yikes.

Look Mommy!

"I Blew a Heart!"

She sure did! I asked her if she could do it again so I could get a picture of it
and she did it again! How special is that!


This is my special "Heart Breathing" Valentine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mommy Unleashed

I thought Anna was blogging. But no.... she was busy recording.
It was fun, and uninhibited, so here is Mommy Unleashed;dancing with Sarah
and Erika. :)


The Challenge of Being Different


Today, Erika was out of pants to wear. She LOVES wearing pants. I suggested a dress, she has that is very cute. It is like overalls, but is a jumper type dress. It turns out, she doesn't like showing her legs. Not because they are hairy, or skinny, or fat, but because they are fake. Prosthetic. DIFFERENT.

So I ask in my most cheerful motherly voice, "So what's the problem with different?"

Everybody stares. I don't like them staring...... Hmmmm.... She is definitely becoming a young lady. And those stares from strangers and friends alike can make us feel like a piece of pepper in a salt shaker. So we had a discussion about how EVERYBODY stares at everybody. If you are tall, fat, skinny, ugly, pretty, have moles like mommy, smoothe skin, blue eyes, etc. etc. etc. EVERYBODY gets stared at!

But she has something happy on her legs to share. Butterflys, soccer balls, basketballs. Things that make those who stare SMILE. :) People decorate themselves in tattoos these days. I'm sure they know others will look. SO, her legs are different. SO WHAT! She WALKS. She is a walking billboard for the grace of God in our lives. She is a walking billboard for those who cannot come out of their homes; to help us remember those who are shut in and in need. If she is out here in Wylie, all by herself, I wonder how many more children there are in the world like her? Who are shut in, or cannot get out and play?
She is a walking testimony of the Lord's grace, and a testimony of those who have compassion on those less fortunate that give to the hospital that graciously cares for her and Sarah.

But she is oh so much more than that. She is not defined by her legs. She is not defined by arthrogryposis, she is not defined by being an amputee, any more than I am defined by those moles that I am so glad I have kept, even though I hate them.

Erika is a blossoming, lovely person, who is full of life, full of energy and humor, and love, and kindness, and boy is she ever smart. She loves all the things little girls love and best of all she loves Jesus. (and mommy too) :)

So, we are going to go out in that dress today to the store. We are going to hold our heads high and walk down the aisle and have a wonderful time, and hopefully, anybody who stares today, will see a precious little girl who is living a full and happy life, and they will WANT what she has. Joy,Peace,and a nice mommy and daddy. :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Our Family Blog: RANDOM THOUGHTS

Our Family Blog: RANDOM THOUGHTS


I still haven't figured out the link thing. I was trying to link this post to my post below on Erika, and someday, I'll get it. But just not today.

Anyway, if you click on this link, it will take you to something I wrote a couple of years ago.

CM

A Mother's Joy and Tears


This is a very special video for me. It brings me both tears and joy. OR should I say, tears OF joy. :)
It may not seem much to many to see a child of 10 swinging on an old swingset. But LOOK! Look closely! She is doing it all by herself! 6 years ago, she was in a bed, laying in a bed, laying all day and all night, just "left to lay", that is what they call it. By a miracle, she was transferred to an orphanage where they started to work with her. I met the woman during our last missions trip who taught her how to walk in cumbersome braces. She taught her to feed herself and talk. And I was able to tell her thank you.

Swinging herself though! This is a new thing. She is so proud, and I am proud of her.
She got all muddy swinging so I had to take her socks and shoes off. This is what I found!

They didn't have purple toenail polish in the orphanage either. :)

Erika has come so far. It will 3 years in April. It seems so long ago, like she has always been with us, yet it seems like yesterday when we brought her home forever.
So today I have tears of joy, just because a little girl is happy and can paint her toenails any color she wants.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

3 Little Girls, 3 Different Interests: For Today

It is interesting watching the girls grow and develop different interests. Today, Erika has spent loads of time with dad. She said, "Mom, I really like doing "man things!" LOL
She went with him yesterday to get a car with the trailer and in "true woman form" she reported to him that "mommy would never drive like that!" :)



Anna is learning to braid. She took this picture of her masterpiece from the back of my head. :) (am I really that gray?) YIKES!

Sarah has been interested in measuring things lately. Here she is measuring my little table in the kitchen.


I just wonder what they will do when they are grown.... I am thrilled to just think of the possibilities. The guys are all so different in profession, and much of what I see the girls do, I saw the guys do too. (minus the braiding of my hair) LOL

Dad is thrilled that Erika like to do "man things". He may have finally found a potential mechanic! LOL

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Cows Are In The Corn


This is one of my favorite stories a friend sent me several years ago:


Hymns and Choruses: The Cows are in the Corn

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. “Well,” said the farmer, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”
“Praise choruses,” said his wife, “What are those?”
“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.
“Well, what’s the difference?” asked his wife.

The farmer said, “It’s like this--If I were to say to you: ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well, that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you: Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, the CORN, CORN, CORN, then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”

As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. “Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns,” said his wife, “What are those?”
“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.
“Well, what’s the difference?” asked his wife.

The young man said, “Well, it’s like this-If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or His rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”

(from the web—numerous sources)

Eye Hand Coordination


Many children struggle with Eye Hand Coordination for various reasons. Some of those reasons are because of immaturity, but sometimes it can be because of neurological or inflicted problems.

Anna has had many issues with eye hand coordination. But today, I was so very proud of her. What she would have NEVER attempted to do last year, she did on her own during her morning break this year! YEA ANNA!

She designed and cut out a dress for her paper doll. That may not seem like much to some, as she is 10. But to me, and for Anna, it is nothing short of a miracle. She was so proud of herself. I am proud of her too. GREAT JOB ANNA!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Studying the Bill of Rights


We are getting ready to memorize the Bill of Rights. Today we were going over them and the right to bear arms came up.

I asked the girlies: What does it mean, "You have the right to own, keep and bear arms?"

The answers:

You have the right to have babies with arms! (bear)
You have the right to keep your arms. Nobody can take them away.
If somebody cuts your arms off, you can own them by keeping them.
If your arms don't have hair; it is ok, you can keep them.

Here are a few more rights:

The right to petition for grievances in Fair and Honest Judgement:
"To tell the judge what you think of him."
I means you can go to the judge and they will be unjust.

The right to privacy in homes:
The condition of being out of the sight and hearing of all other people.
IT means that you want to be left alone.

The right to free speech and press:
You can say what you want to say
It means the right to speak free without getting pressed.

The right to freedom from arbitrary government regulation and control:
You can do whatever you want.


The right to bargain for goods and services in a free market:
To be able to get what you want at the store.

The right to trial by jury and innocent until proven guilty means:
You get together with them and tell them if you are guilty or not.



hmmmmm. we have much work to do. :)
LOL

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Fallout of Sin

My mind has been full of thoughts about the issue of sin and the fallout of sin in our lives, and how it affects those around us either directly or indirectly.

Let me start with, WE ALL SIN, we are all sinners, with a fallen nature, it shouldn't surprise us that we sin or other's sin. It is what comes "natural" to us. When Christ reaches in and changes us, that does not mean we will never sin again. It does mean we will care deeply about our plight and turn to Him for help, both in turning from our sin and growing in our spiritual walk so we are not bound by sin. For the first time, we are actually FREE, to NOT sin!

I talked with an old friend that I had not heard from in many years. This person was disgraced by what happened in their life, and their actions affected many, many people around them. The actions of this person were not so horrific that they had to go to jail, but they did leave our area and eventually lost contact. So I was pretty surprised to get a call yesterday.

What broke my heart was the depth of personal prison this person was in because of sin.
They confess they know Christ, yet the bondage of guilt is upon them, as they know the delicate position they were in caused much pain for those in their charge.
This is one of the huge problems, in my humble opinion, of putting people in places of leadership when they are in no way ready to be a leader either by maturity or relationship. A few places scripture gives guidelines for leaders is in Titus and 1 Timothy.
I personally think it is irresponsible of leaders to place people in places of authority or teaching when they are not ready. THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO DO WITH AGE.
This has everything to do with spiritual maturity.

The "Win-em, wet-em, work-em" menality is damaging.

It was especially damaging for this person, and it personally affected our own family and many others. While we worked our way through much discouragement and pain, one of our sons did not, and continues to have trust problems with the established church.
This very incident was one reason that we shyd away from the influence of organized "youth groups", minus parents involvement.

I thought we would never have to deal with this issue again, in relation to the church, because all our boys grew up. But guess what? Not so. We have 3 little girls getting ever so closer to that delicate "youth group" age, and guess who is now having memories that cause me to sweat drops of nervousness and pain? Yep, your's truly....

I am typing this and my own son works with youth in another state! LOL

I will have to think long and hard about the delicate issue of youth group for our girls. I saw how the actions of a few wayward leaders nearly totally destroyed our son, and he came from a stable home. I can't imagine how those same actions would have effected our girls, coming from a much less stable background.

We have many things to think about with regards to our girls and youth group situations. It is NOT a command of scripture that says, "Thou Shalt Go To Youth Group", but there are those who get their tail feathers all tangled when you politely decline. They take it personally. It is NOT personal, it is prayerful direction.

So, while we have long forgiven and moved on in our lives; our son struggles with pain from what happened long ago. The person involved struggles with the pain they caused indirectly by their own personal actions and is still struggling spiritually. I can picture Christ with His arms opened wide, wanting them to come to Him, because HE ULTIMATELY is the only one who can heal the situation AND HE is the only one we can TRULY put our trust in. That is after all why He came; to heal, to renew, to restore.

We need not look at man. We MUST keep our eyes on Christ, the AUTHOR and PERFECTER of our faith. So, if you have read all of this and think about those who struggle with past sin, or even present sin, remember to hold them up in prayer.

There is much Fallout from Sin.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Daddy's Birthday!


Guess who is 1 year away from 50!!!!!!!!!!!

Adopting Older Children

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=children+of+leningradsky&www_google_domain=www.google.com&hl=en&emb=0&aq=f&aq=0&oq=children+of+lenin#

If you are thinking about adopting an older child from Eastern Europe, PLEASE watch this. It might bring some understanding and compassion to how you view your new child and help you to understand the depths from whence they came.

If you click on the title to this post, it will take you directly to the 34 minute documentary.

This is NOT to scare ANYBODY away from older child adoption, but it IS to make you aware and secure your compassion for these very special children.

STRONG WARNING: This is not for children to view. There is language (subtitles) drugs, violence and sadness. IT IS A MUST SEE though. Many of our children who were neglected before going into the orphanage had similar experiences to these children. Many children escape orphanages to live on the streets. Some go back and forth. Many long for a family to love them, but if the chance comes for them to be adopted, which is nearly like winning the lottery for them, they do not do well BECAUSE the adoptive parents are not prepared for how to parent these special kids. They cannot just become
the son or daughter you want them to be. They are rough around the edges and do not even come close to understanding the concept of family, of love, of loyalty etc.

THEY CAN SUCCEED and YOU CAN SUCCEED as parents to bring together a successful outcome, but you must know what you are dealing with. Even if your child has not experienced life to this extreme, believe me, they have been neglected at best.
All those babies don't rock back and forth in cribs because they are being so well taken care of. If they came from an orphange, just because it looked like a great place, don't be fooled. Orphanages are not great places. There are those that truly care for the kids, but they CANNOT give what the children need. They need a mom and dad and family to love and support them unconditionally.

Heather Forbes/Beyond Consequences part 2

I think there is something very important to point out in relation to Beyond Consequences Logic and Control/ Heather Forbe's book regarding parenting traumatized children.

When you read the book, or hear the conference, you find yourself saying, "Wait a minute, my kid is acting horribly and I'm just supposed to give in to this type of behavior, remain calm, not punish etc?"

To this person I would say:

Most kids do not exhibit these behaviors. But for those that DO, there is something behind that behavior that is driving it. If your methods have not worked, or you are feeling the strain of anger pulling you apart, or your family is stretched to the brink stress, think about it this way.

ONCE you have been able to establish trust and love in your family, the behaviors disappear. It seems quite counter intuitive, especially for those who have been taught (which is most of us) that children should obey the very first time without question or the boom is lowered and they are brought under control by force.

THIS is why I am so very thankful to have parented Joseph. Our 3rd son, who was born angry. LOL It is true. He was. If he had been able to get his hands on a cigar and a beer, it would have fit the tirade he had in the delivery room. Everybody was laughing at how a preemie could scream that loud and be so mad.
By the time Joseph was 2 he was tantraming and I was using all the traditional methods I had learned, read about and been taught. NOTHING and I do mean NOTHING helped and he continued to spiral out of control. It was only when I realized that I had to help to keep him regulated by staying regulated myself. I had to help him LEARN to regulate himself because he really couldn't, that we had success. When I started seeing him as a child full of fear. HE WAS.... he was afraid of the toilet, he was afraid of his father, he was afraid of loud noises, he was afraid of being alone, I could go on and on....When I pictured him as a very frightened baby, my entire relationship with him changed and he responded VERY Quickly. It was amazing. I discovered my methods quite by accident and through much prayer; and it is amazing how similar they were to what Heather Forbes is teaching. Joseph is 28 years old now, married to a beautiful girl whom I love dearly and father, to a wonderful little boy.

So back to what I was talking about.....

The behaviors change and the "window of tolerance" changes too. The window of tolerance is how far a child can handle stress before his breaking point. With traumatized children, their window of stress is abnormally low. So to the normal child you can say no and it isn't a problem. To the stressed child, you can say no and they are on the floor kicking and screaming. The answer isn't to stress them out more, but to lower their stress level so that window can be budged open wider and wider and they can learn to handle stresses of life. It works and it works QUICKLY.

Many people are too afraid themselves to try it. They get hung up on Proverbs and feel that they are not disciplining.

I would challenge that person to take the whole counsel of the word of God. I would challenge them to consider what true "Discipline" is. Discipline is not punishment.
Discipline is to disciple; to come along side and teach. Punishment is sometimes a form of discipline, but it is a negative form of discipline. For the child who is at that closed window of tolerance, they cannot handle punishment, it will send them further and further into a downward spiral. They have to be able to experience love and trust first.

THEN... this is the funny part. Once you start to parent from a different paradigm, behaviors are no longer the driving force behind your parenting. Meaning, if you are having great success with your child responding to positive parenting and relationship s based upon love and trust, why would you want to parent any differently?

If Suzie does something wrong, and you sit down with her and talk to her about it, let her know how it effects the family, how it can effect her life and the natural consequences of life, her relationship with God etc. and Suzie is repentant, sorrowful and apologizes, what else is there to do? The Only thing I can think of is make the slate clean, keeping short accounts, and starting fresh, openly forgiving and letting her know that you love her so very much and truly care about her behavior. Isn't that how it is with us and Our Heavenly Father? If we come to him and confess our sin he is faithful to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness? It doesn't say, he then punishes us afterwards to make sure we never do THAT again, does it?

As we brought our little girls into our home, they came with some pretty extreme behaviors. At least the first 2 did. LOL The third one tried a couple of extreme things, but we recognized it right away and it only happened once.

Those behaviors became less and less pretty quickly. We still deal with fears from one of our children in particular, but when it is recognized for what it is, it disappears pretty quickly too. If I see her start to shut down, a quick trip to the rocking chair or an extra time for cuddling works pretty quickly to bring her back into regulation. TO make it CLEAR: This is not a FORCED HOLDING or FORCED BABYING.
I am against this, and was very pleased to hear Heather say at her conference that FORCING a child to be held, or FORCING some of the recognized traditional attachment therapies out there are damaging and should not be done.
If a child WANTS to be babied, then so be it. If they don't, it can cause them harm to force it.

Many people ask, "What happens when they get into the real world?" If you get stopped and get a ticket, you have to pay it and be respectful to the police officer who gives it. That is so true. The whole point is, you are getting your child to a place where they CAN receive that ticket, or they CAN receive the boss at work treating them unfairly, without falling a part. When they learn to handle stress, and you give them the tools to do it, it is life long and they will become whole and healthy citizens.

I have found this to be true with my sons, and I am seeing this with my girls too.

I just wish I had parented like this all along.

There is nothing more precious that talking with your child and leading them to the Lord to help them and listening to them pray and reach out to the one who can truly help them.
It is wonderful seeing them stop themselves and realize they are not using the "tool" they have been given, and then use that tool. LOL (in this case it was the "self control tool put in a mental tool box)

Over the last 5 years, we have mixed in some old methods with the new. "You must stop right now!" etc. Or we have used "natural" consequences... if you do not put your seat belt on, we cannot go. This was done AFTER that window of regulation was open wider.
And those little lessons are important for them to experience. Small doese first..then more....
I say this because this does prepare them for life. Mom cannot get out and put your seat belt on every time forever. But in the beginning, that may be what mom NEEDS do do, until things get settled. The point was, in Heather's seminar, It Isn't Going To Be Forever... the BEHAVIORS WILL CHANGE!

We have found that to be very true.

You Are Still Holy

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