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, April 29, 2011

Congratulations To Prince William and Kate

They are now, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
 When we woke this a.m., I told the girlies, "A REAL Prince and Princess are getting married!"
They FLEW out of bed to go and see...For that, I owe William and Kate  and big thank you. :)
I thought the wedding was lovely, and the symbolism lovely.... the hymns picked were some of my favorite.
But THIS song, a simple song, kept pouring through my mind in watching all the festivities.



We are here, in this life,  for just a fleeting moment in comparison  with  eternity. We  are son's and daughter's of the most High.... and the Bride of Christ is being Prepared for the biggest  wedding feast in Eternity.  We should not be caught off guard... we need to have our wedding clothes on, and be prepared for the bridegroom to come.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Hottest Dinner Ever!

I decided to make Buffalo Chicken Wings tonight for dinner. It smelled so good.... and then..... This happened:
I guess I better stick with BBQ sauce next time.   I actually liked it. :)

Another Alli Update


Yesterday was such a great day.... and really we have had a great few weeks.  I think yesterday though, was a high light as I was seeing a very relaxed, very happy Alli, just enjoying life.
Last night, Mike and I talked and we were both prepared today for a possible regression because yesterday was sooo good. :)
But, when Alli woke this a.m., she was happy and ran into daddy's arms. We had a great morning, and a little while ago she called her other family.  It was a good call and she told them all about their antics playing Ancient Egypt.... they watched The Mummy Returns  a few weeks ago about the explorers that find the lost tomb of somebody.... and all the events that follow.... it is an action adventure type movie that is not serious, but a little scary mixed with humor.
The girls have been playing explorer ever since. :)

I loved how she was excited to tell all their adventures. When she hung up, I was walking into the kitchen and she ran into my arms and said, "I love being a kid mommy!"  :)  "I love you!"
I have this sense, that she is really realizing that she is finally home.
And she happily went back to doing her school work.

I am thinking that we have reached a new level of attachment.... for all of us.
She is just adorable. :)

David Wilkerson Killed in Car Crash | Liveblog | Christianity Today

David Wilkerson Killed in Car Crash | Liveblog | Christianity Today

I was shocked to wake up to this news.  David Wilkerson had a large impact on my life.  Our church used to have exchange services with Teen Challenge in East L.A.  I will never forget the powerful testimonies of the young people, and some older people, who were transformed by the Power of The Lord Jesus Christ.
His ministry will go on.... as it is The Lord's.  Well done good and faithful servant.


This was David Wilkerson's Last post from Yesterday:
To believe when all means fail is exceedingly pleasing to God and is most acceptable. Jesus said to Thomas, “You have believed because you have seen, but blessed are those that do believe and have not seen” (John 20:29).
Blessed are those who believe when there is no evidence of an answer to prayer—who trust beyond hope when all means have failed.
Someone has come to the place of hopelessness—the end of hope—the end of all means. A loved one is facing death and doctors give no hope. Death seems inevitable. Hope is gone. The miracle prayed for is not happening.
That is when Satan’s hordes come to attack your mind with fear, anger, overwhelming questions: “Where is your God now? You prayed until you had no tears left. You fasted. You stood on promises. You trusted.”
Blasphemous thoughts will be injected into your mind: “Prayer failed. Faith failed. Don’t quit on God—just do not trust him anymore. It doesn’t pay!”
Even questioning God’s existence will be injected into your mind. These have been the devices of Satan for centuries. Some of the godliest men and women who ever lived were under such demonic attacks.
To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”
Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sister Let Me Be Your Servant

"Sister Let Me Be Your Servant, let me be as Christ to you! Pray that I will have the grace to let you be my servant too!"

Sarah has been having pain in her stump area.  She told us on Saturday night that it was hurting a little.
I asked, "How long has it been hurting?"  4 days! FOUR DAYS!  Sarah hates to slow down and she knows pain means no dancing, climbing fences, running... pretty much all her favorite things to do.

I talked with Scottish Rite Hospital on Monday and she has an appt. for May 9th. That was the soonest they could get her in.  She was doing better, yesterday and danced her heart out.  Then, this a.m. same thing.
And then, when we went to start school. SEVERE Pain.
It appears the bone is growing and doing damage inside her leg.  It is now swollen and painful. My poor Sarah. :(
So, she is out of her leg, and on ice and advil.  The prosthetist said that he suspects her bone is causing tissue damage.... sounds painful to me.

It is hard to remember sometimes that Sarah has any special need or handicap.... but she does.
And, it slows her down..... but somehow, I am not sorry she is being slowed down a little.... these times can be great times for spiritual reflection, even if you are a kid. :)
So, now I need to think of some things to keep her busy.  This is going to be a long haul process, most likely needing surgery to correct it.
I just love my Sarah.
And, guess who stepped up to the plate to compassionately help her sister in need! She brought her water, coffee and milk, gave her hugs, and brought her a pillow for her leg..... way to go Alli! :)


 Anna and Alli prepared Sarah's bed, and then Anna lovingly, carried her to her room.
We all want our Sarah to Dance again.... but in a way.... Everybody IS Dancing! :)

How Role Play Helps

This A.M. as we were getting into our morning. Alli and Sarah wanted to dance in their new Ballet Suits.
Alli was soooo excited!  She also had this perfect plan in her head as to how everything was going to work.  Daddy was going to dance with Sarah and the music was going to be a certain way. She had it all worked out.....
and then her dancing world came crashing down.....
It wasn't as she had planned.
Daddy did a few twirls and then announced that he had to get to work.  The music was not the exact song she had wanted and then Anna wanted to read instead of take daddy's place....... her plans that were only in her mind,  as she had not shared them, were ruined, and she just couldn't handle that. Her window of tolerance was not open very far, and she went into dysregulation. It started with sitting on the floor.... then in the rocking chair. She went back into the distant stare.

We ignored for a few minutes and she went into her room. Sarah continued to dance, and she must have heard us tell her "great job Sarah"..... because she came back from her room to sit in the rocking chair.
That is when I made my move.
"Remember our talk in the van yesterday?"  yes
We switched places. Me in the rocking chair, her in my lap.
I asked her, "Are you sad that your plans didn't work out?"  Yes.

And then I said, what do you think would work to help SOME of your plans work?
She said she didn't know.
So, we did ROLE PLAY.....
"You like to act, right?"  Yes.... "Well, you get to act!  "
I asked Sarah to help, and our little actress readily agreed. :)

So Sarah put on the song and started dancing. I asked Alli, "now what can you do to change the song in a nice way?"  She didn't know.
So I told her to say to Sarah, "Sarah, this song is really hard for me to dance to, do you mind if we change it to another one?"
She did, with expression and all!  And then Sarah said, "Oh, ok!"
And they went and picked a different song.

The next step was a little harder for her to see.  Anna was in the mood to read. Alli wanted her to dance.
So I used the book I got in the mail yesterday that she knows I'm excited about reading.
I pretended to be interested in reading my book and Sarah was Alli.  We let Alli see how it isn't bad to want somebody to dance, but you cannot control what other people want to do.....My invitation for her to read my book helped her to see that it is ok to like to do different things, and it doesn't mean you don't love the other person.

Anna and Sarah had to learn this when they were little and Sarah was first home.
I distinctly remember Sarah weeping because Anna wanted her to play dollies and she wanted to ride her bike and she was afraid to tell Anna she wanted to ride her bike because then she thought Anna would think she didn't like her... and the drama went on.... LOL  They were both 6. :)


Well, Miss Alli learned a valuable lesson this a.m. and she bounced right out of her mood into a joyful attitude. She apologized and then put into practice her newly learned tool..... When she did, and Sarah said yes, to change the song, she ran to me with a big smile!  I said, "Aren't those the most powerful words!!!!"  You tried so hard to MAKE things happen and you tried to use your anger and it didn't work.... But your kind words worked like magic! :)
She was thrilled.

And here is a picture of my two little dancers. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Using Humor To Diffuse

I am a strong believer in using humor as a tool to diffuse a situation. :)
We had a FABULOUS day to my surprise yesterday. I fully expected some fall out from the Holiday weekend, and there was none!
It just waited for today.  I guess it was an act of mercy so mama could get rested from the weekend, and over the shock of the letter I got from the IRS requesting a bunch of information about our adoptions.
We need receipts that date back to 2005. UGH
(that is a whole different blog post) LOL

Today started out fine, and ended FANTASTIC.... it was the inbetween that I will post about tonight.

We were having a rather uneventful day, when Guess the dog started barking at a cat.  Anna went out to calm him, and Alli went out to tell Anna dogs should be allowed to bark as much as they want.
Anna tried to explain that it isn't good for dogs to bark all the time, and Alli would have none of it. She went into defense mode, even though Anna was being very kind in her responses..... Alli stormed out of the house and was "pouting".

After a few minutes I approached her and asked a question to which I got no response. Nothing, NADA.... I was being IGNORED.
So, I said very gently, "Alli, it is not ok to ignore Mama." Do you know what Ignore means?  I got the shoulder shrug.....
I brought her into the house after a little coaxing and we settled into the rocking chair.  Honestly, I didn't know what to do, as her reaction didn't make sense to me at that point.
So, after rocking a few minutes and her withdrawing into herself, I announced.... "I have no idea what to do except pray." SO I prayed out loud that God would give me wisdom.  I prayed for Alli and then, I was silent for a few minutes. We just rocked. I could feel that she was melting into me.... just in silence.
The next thing I knew, I was trying to think of a way to break the ice..... Her jaw was clenched and she looked distant and angry.   So I put my finger to her lips and spread them open and said,  "hmmm I wonder if she bites?"  She suddenly opened her mouth and pretended she was going to bite,  and then she smiled at me, making eye contact.
"You silly girl!"  She said, "Silly mama!"
And then the conversation began.... within a few moments she was diffused and breathing with me.
After that, she was ready to get back to a normal day as if nothing had happened.

About an hour later, I took her with me to the  post office... and we stopped at Sonic to get a 1/2 price drink. I figured she could talk to me then.
BOY DID SHE!
We talked about what a special time it is to be alone with mama where you can share ANYTHING!

I then asked her what goes on in her heart when she is so distant....
She shared a LOT....about her previous families and how they dealt with her anger.  She then said,  "I'm not really angry..." "I don't know what it is... but I just escape."
I think she is correct. She gets HURT when somebody other than me tries to correct her and her withdrawl is a defense mechanism.
She was actually worried once again about being loved.
Poor kid.  I told her we were going to work on facial expression and tone of voice. This is a real problem sometimes, especially for kids who come from Eastern Europe.... tone of voice sounds rude many times, yet it is unintended.
We found this to be true when we were in Ukraine:  Listening to others converse in Russian made us think everybody was mad at each other, when they weren't.
We had to work alot with Erika on Tone of voice, and now we will need to work with Alli.
She divulged that she got in trouble a LOT in her first home for the same behavior.

So I said to her..... It seems to me that punishing you will not really help. But giving you new ideas on how to deal with different situations will! She agreed heartily.
So we agreed over a Sonic coke, that we would work harder to communicate.
And when we got home, she apologized.  She also decided that it is right that guess not bark too much.

The rest of the evening was stellar. :)  She was even worried if I was ok having to dig up all those receipts for the IRS! LOL
I told her the best thing she could do for me tonight, was go to bed QUIETLY!
And she did. LOL

Dancing Girlies




Monday, April 25, 2011

Sweet Words and Bedtime Stories

"Next to God, I love you and daddy most!"....... :)
 Alli.

Last night, we started a new bedtime story.  " Robinson Crusoe. "

Sunday, April 24, 2011

We Made It Through Easter Weekend! Yea!

I wrote earlier about Anniversaries here...
We had a great weekend.  Mike and I had a long talk about how to make the weekend MEMORABLE, but not over the top, not losing focus on the PURPOSE for the weekend;the resurrection of Jesus Christ !

We decided the best thing to do was keep busy!  So, on Good Friday we finished watching Jesus of Nazareth, and did some more art and painting.  We also went to the art store and purchased Alli's new Life Book.  She got to pick it out with stickers that she loved, all at 50 percent off! Yea!
We went out to an economical  lunch at Taco Bueno and then headed home. She decided to sort the life book sticker box, and that took her a few hours! Then, our regular Friday Night Pizza night was taken up with Ben Hur....
On Saturday, we went and purchased hay for the goats and feed.  We talked about Easter Baskets and Easter Egg Hunts, and Miss Alli picked out her basket.  She was Soooo excited!
 We surprised the girls with a trip to see "African Cats", which, by the way, was FABULOUS!
Everybody had a great time, and the girls dressed up with French Braided Hair. :)  So cute!
We all went to bed, and then in the a.m. it was time to get ready for Church.....but not before checking out the Easter Baskets. :)  She was sooooo excited... as were the other girlies. :)
And then we were off to church, all sugared up. :)
During Church, she whispered, "Are we really going to have an egg hunt?" Yes dear, we are.... but right now, we are at worship.... LOL  She and Erika snuggled up during the sermon.
As SOON as church was over, she was ready to go. I told her, no, we need to wait a little. Her window of tolerance was definitely lowered by now.... So I told her just a few minutes so mommy can talk, and then we'll go.
She waited and wound up having fun talking with a few new friends.
When we got home, I went and hid the eggs and the girlies changed clothes. Then, I worked on dinner while Daddy went out and took pictures.   Oh My, she was like a bull getting ready for a rodeo.... as soon as the door opened she was OFF and Running!  LOL
They were entertained with finding eggs for quite some time.... and then lunch was ready.
It was a wonderful day. She had sooooo much fun, until bedtime. 
She didn't want to go to bed. But it was TIME!
I told her that to disobey, there is no option.
So we headed to the rocking chair and within, a few minutes, she had apologized and was off to bed.
I am soooo PROUD of her!
And now, I'm going to go collapse......
Happy Resurrection Day everybody! :)

Bryan's Easter Treat

Easter Egg Hunting and Dad's Gift



 Sarah, where are your shoes???????
 Looking in the tall grass.


 Get it before the Goat gets it!





After the girls looked at their gifts this a.m.   Daddy showed his off...... I gave him "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader DVD".
Now, the girls were VERY excited about that and Sarah asked, "When are we gonna see it!!!!!"
Daddy said, "hmmmm how about Christmas Eve?"
And this was the look on her face:
LOL! :)  She said, "Are you kidding me!"  
Time shall tell! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

HE IS RISEN!

Happy Resurrection Day!!!!

Our Twins


Alli and Sarah are both 11.  Tonight, when we went to see The African Cats, they wore their hair the same. :)  They are so close to the exact same size, they looked like twins from behind. :)
Here they are thanking Daddy for a GREAT NIGHT at the Movies! :)


As he will say: "I am one blessed Daddy!" :)

Going to See African Cats



We are taking the girlies to see this movie tonight. We sold a goat today and it covered the expense.
I think I might be even more excited than they are. :)
Review to follow....... :)

Ok.... just got back.  It was VERY well done, and simply amazing.  I give it a Fantastic!

Anniversaries

I have posted about this before, somewhere down there over the last few years. :)  But the Silent Anniversary Clock has come to visit. 
Many of you know that Holidays can be triggers for bad memories.  One thing that helps with this is keeping the children busy creating NEW memories.  Each new Holiday brings an old trauma back up to the surface, and we get to know what happened in our sweeties past,  which helps us understand them better and better.
One of the benefits of adopting older children is they can talk. :)  They can share what is on their hearts and even though they may not know why they are afraid or why they are upset, as they talk through things, all of the sudden everything fits together.

Easter Week is here and our sweetie was excited about it. She still is, but yesterday, we saw her starting to shut down a little bit.... she started talking about her first family. All of the sudden all these memories were raw and there. 
She had asked last week about an Easter Egg hunt. "Are we going to have one? Can I hunt for them?"
Yes, and yes!  Then she was quiet about it all week.  As the week has gone by, she became more anxious about it... and then yesterday:  "I didn't get to, because they said I was too old."
Ahhh.....
Now it is no crime to tell somebody they are too old for something... it may seem perfectly reasonable, UNLESS that somebody has a trauma background and may be MUCH younger than their given age.
In our sweetie's case, this is what we believe is true.
OR, it is something they KNEW to look forward to and then it was taken away because it wasn't something celebrated... each family is different.
We don't believe in Santa Clause, but when Anna came, she was VERY worried about Santa not knowing where she lived. I wasn't about to tell her there is no Santa!  That would have been a terrible thing to do. Instead, we took her to see Santa and made sure he knew where she lived; even sent a letter.  It was what she NEEDED at that time.  There is plenty of time for things to change into a more regular celebration as we CREATE new memories!

Alli is still nervous if the Easter Egg Hunt is really going to happen. She was too old last year. What will be different this year?
I told her that I am going to race her for eggs, because I want candy too! "Don't you think Mama's deserve some of that candy!"  She looked shocked! LOL

Yesterday, we took a special trip to the store to pick out her "empty" Easter basket. This will help to ease the anxiety of not knowing if it will really happen, really.  She picked out a very nice basket.
So now she KNOWS there is one, and just that simple gesture, has caused her great relief.

Today we are keeping busy with activity, and scrap booking....and tonight we will do more activity to keep her engaged....
(distracted with purpose) :)
We rearranged our pretty eggs into a more suitable jar....and so far, this a.m., it seems that she is happy and relaxed once again...now that she knows there is going to be that basket. :)

We are also CREATING NEW MEMORIES for her to grasp, so that next year, she will say, "Oh yes! I remember doing that!"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sister Love

Alli and Erika watching Ben Hur....

Why Did Jesus Sweat Drops of Blood


I have been contemplating a statement made by somebody recently, that if you experience any anxiousness when dealing with a problem, it is because you aren't trusting God.

A good friend today told me that after the death of a close family member, she was told something similar.....as if we aren't supposed to feel.

There is no doubt that as a believer, we are to trust the Father.... but we are also in Human Flesh.
Included in our flesh are all the emotions that GOD gave to us.

There is much speculation about Christ sweating drops of blood.  I have read that it is  possible, but only in an intense emotional state.
"Sweating drops of blood is not unknown in medicine but it is a rare occurrence. The clinical word for it is "hematohidrosis". It can happen when the blood vessels around the sweat glands constrict (due to extreme stress) and then dilate to the point of rupture. The blood is released from the body through the sweat glands."
Jesus prayed in the Garden, "Father if it is possible, Let this cup pass from me, but Let YOUR will be done!"  He was obedient to crucifixion, and he was WILLING, but that does not mean he didn't have anxiousness over the process.

The Creator God, the one who was eternally existent with the Father, was about to DIE...as in DEAD, as in FLESH DEAD AND ROTTING....AND.... he was about to experience this through Crucifixion, one of the worst tortures in Human History.
But even with that, I do not believe that is what he was concerned about...... I REALLY think the anxiety He was feeling was all about taking on the SIN of the WORLD.... all at once, bearing our SIN and the Punishment of that Sin.  The scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "He Who KNEW NO SIN, BECAME sin for us!"

I have no idea what it is like to be without sin. I was born in sin. I have always lived in a sinful world.
I do not like sin. I do not like the burden of sin. I do not like the guilt of sin. I do not ..... but I do NOT know what it would have been like to be SINLESS and PERFECT..... Jesus DID.

Sometimes we all look at the awfulness of the cross, and it WAS awful, and forget about the Awfulness of our Sinful Nature.... how really REALLY awful Sin is.
I am so thankful that Jesus Christ took on MY sin.... and has been faithful to cleanse me and wash me white as snow.  That is a standing that I have with the Heavenly Father now..... but the effects of sin and my sin nature are still there, and it is a daily, moment by moment battle to bring the flesh into submission; one that I fail often.... but one HE ACCOMPLISHED in my stead.
And it didn't END at His DEATH.... HE CONQUERED DEATH! He ROSE AGAIN!
HE LIVES! INDEED HE DOES!

Amazing Love.... Amazing Grace


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Thoughts

Has anybody ever tried to be perfect?  I remember when I was a little girl, I was growing up in a very black and white world where what you did wrong was bad and you were condemned.... what you did right was good and you were not condemned.  It was a very works oriented little life I had.

I remember very well telling my mother one time, "I am so proud of myself. I have not been spanked for 5 whole days! (I was about 9 at that time)  Somehow, I got a spanking that afternoon.  :/
I wish I could remember what it was for, but I can't.  I just remember the feeling of utter failure.  I had sinned yet again....

Our son Joseph, when learning his times tables came down stairs very upset one night. He had figued out that 70 x's 7 was 490, and he just KNEW he had sinned more than 490 times, therefore there was no more room for forgiveness for him!  Poor guy. LOL

The keeping of the law isn't good enough... doing good for others isn't good enough.... according to 1 Corinthian's 13, giving my body up to be burned isn't good enough... selling all I have and giving it to the poor isn't good enough... and the list goes on.  The thing is, it isn't about Law..... The Law was given as a tutor to show us that we are unable to keep it.  The Pharisees did the best and had made laws upon laws to keep it.  But Jesus cut through all that when he made it a "Heart Issue"..... yep, being perfect to the letter of the law and not the heart of the law lands you right back to our inevetible state of sinfulness.... because we ARE sinners. Every single one of us.

So, who is good enough?  The scripture in First John says, "If we say we have not sinned, then the truth is not in us!" We are liars.....  But if we CONFESS our sin, HE, our Savior, Jesus Christ,  the holy and Resurrected one, the one who spoke everything into creation, as it says in John 1- In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the word WAS God, He was in the beginning with God. Through him was everything made, and nothing was made without Him.
He, the only one who IS good enough, is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.

Because of our very nature being sinful....our very being, sinful, we are NOT in right relationship with God.  It is HIS desire that ALL come to Him.  He is EVER LOVING, EVER PATIENT, Wanting No one to be lost in sin.
Our perfection is IN CHRIST.... He is our Hope, He is our Salvation, through FAITH, not of works.
Does that mean we say we believe and go on sinning? Of course not.  In Romans 12- Paul says that we are changed by the renewing of our minds. God is at work in us, changing us little by little, step by step, and bringing us closer into His Eternal Kingdom.  The Kingdom is NOW... The kingdom isn't a die and go to heaven kingdom, though that is a promise.... but the Life we have in Christ starts HERE and NOW!
Faith and trust in our Savior is an amazing journey.....


And then, that walk of faith, will be a walk of intimate trust, of communing with Our Lord and Trusting Him to the End. He came to us as a servant, emptied himself of his Glory, and was a servant unto death.....a criminal's death.  It was the path that God had chosen, sending His son.
What an enormous picture of Love, that God, not sparing His own Son, gave him up, so that we might become Sons.....
Jesus, the perfect Lamb.... sacrificed for our sins.  Wow....


I will never be good enough..... Christ suffered in my place. He payed the penalty for my sin.
I am eternally in awe of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who NOW sits in the Heavenlies, with a name Higher than any other......
 Yes, Jesus Christ is Lord.... Our incarnate Lord, come in the Flesh, Crucified, BODILY RESURRECTED on the 3rd day and Ascended back to the Father....The 2nd Adam, who is the FIRST BORN of the New Creation, who has a GLORIFIED BODY... which I someday will have, RULES.


And I am REALLY thankful that He does.

Painted Eggs

We painted these blown out eggs this week.  I thought they turned out pretty neat!
 What do eggs have to do with Easter?
I was looking this up several years ago when somebody said Eggs are Pagan.
Every thing seems to have Pagan origins.  I would have to say Christmas Trees DEFINITELY do!
But we celebrate Christmas, and use a tree.

So, in my very little research on Easter Eggs.... we found that the Earliest Christians DID celebrate with decorated Eggs, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead.  Eggs symbolize new life.

If we use our eggs as a representation of the tomb, and we have blown them out, and there is nothing inside.... that is a great symbol of the resurrection of Christ. :)
The tomb was opened, but Jesus was NOT there!

We also like to do the little decoration for the easter table of the Tomb with the stone and in the A.M., when everybody wakes, the stone is rolled away!
This year, I also want to bake Resurrection cookies.  They are a cookie made of egg white, and they cook to form an empty tomb..... :)

What are some of the traditions you hold for Resurrection Sunday?

Miss Alli has requested an Easter Egg Hunt.  She is very excited about it.

Our Lovely Erika

Lovely is a good word for Erika. She has a tender and gentle spirit.  She is such a trooper, being the oldest sister out of 4, yet only a year and a half between everybody..... However, she has fit into the older sister role so very gracefully.   She even has the "older sister bed", which she is not willing to give up... LOL
I am so proud of her.  Just 5 years ago she was our little "Much Afraid".... and  now she is walking with the Shepherd. :)
She is most definitely entering into young adulthood full steam ahead..... 13 is upon us, and we are excited to see what the Lord is going to do in Erika's life.  
We do have our moments of emotion, and sometimes even a little head butting.... but it is much of the time a misunderstanding of words or concepts.  I constantly have to remember that.....English is just a HARD language to learn!
We were in the car the other day talking about how many words there are that sound the same as "cents".....  or to
1.cents
2. scents
3. since
4. sense

1.to
2.two
3.too
4.tu tu
and the list goes on.

And let's not forget the words that are misused in culture! 
Bad can mean good
Tight can mean cool
Cool doesn't mean cold
Hot doesn't mean warm
and it goes on and on......

Well, that was a nice distraction.....

All in All, I say Erika is one lovely, sweet heart of a girl.  And that is what I mean. :)

Our Anna Girl

She is doing so awesome!  She is maturing into such a sweet young lady. :)  Both of us have noticed how she has taken responsibility so seriously and is showing such diligence.  She has a hard time waking up to an alarm, so she has requested that I just touch her shoulder in the a.m. when I get up and she will wake.  It works really well. 
She has been so good with the dog, and has taught him how to play fetch.  He loves her, and she loves him.  She enjoys going to SDG group and has taken responsibility on her own to read the assignments and know when to be ready..... golly, she is sounding all grown up! :)

We have enjoyed our snuggle time together and we also enjoy her fun sense of humor. 
Yesterday we were talking about words after dad said, "You guys are so RAD!"  Meaning good!
She looked at him like, "Ummm dad, that word has a different meaning....."  ROFL....you would have had to be there.
Then we got into this hysterical conversation about word meanings and how they change.... We started making diagnosis.... and declared her OTTCD.... "over the top - cat - disorder"..... she still knows how to purr like a cat. :)
We are so proud of her.  Now, if I could get a picture of her with her beautiful hair down and not in a ponytail...... :)

Our Sweet Little Sarah

Sarah has decided that going to SDG group is a little more grown up than she is ready for.  She gets very embarrassed if she answers a question or says something that somebody might laugh at.  She knows they are not laughing at her, but she still feels quite shy.  :)  YES, my crazy girl Sarah, though full of energy and excitement all the time around home, is much more reserved in the public eye. :)

I love that she feels so comfortable to just let her hair down here. :)  Last night, she came and rocked with me for a little while, snuggling up so we could watch some more of "Jesus of Nazareth".  She sweetly drifted off to sleep in my arms. :)
I am so proud of her.  She has had a big adjustment from being the youngest to the 2nd youngest in a house full of girls..... but she trooped right into her new big sister role.

She and the girls  have been making movies and doing skits, playing with dogs, taking care of chickens and dancing.
Just so fun and sweet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Progress

I posted just before this, a post from Sunday that I forgot to post. :)  So much has happened since then, I guess I better catch up some more!

We have had a REALLY great week so far.  I am learning to read Alli's  body language and finding out how her thought processes work more and more.  I have to say, I am so pleased with how things are going.  I know I keep saying that, but it is just true! :)  Alli's relationship with Daddy is blossoming and she has been totally different towards him since our last post.

Her mindset is changing radically daily. (no pun intended)  In fact, this a.m. Mike said we were seeing RADical changes... and we both laughed at the pun. :)

Do we have a long way to go? Yes we do.  Right now, we have a little girl who has been so damaged by her past, going all the way back to Russia.  We were talking about how Radical of a change must have occurred for her between Russia and her first trip to the U.S.

She had GREAT trauma in Russia. She entered the Orphanage system at 7, and had to learn Russian.
Yes, she spoke a different language.  Then, less than 2 years later, had to learn English, and also learn what a family was. She was not ready. I cannot imagine the confusion and chaos of her first months in the U.S.   She must have been so scared, so frightened....
Processing all of this must be so very hard.  Not being able to communicate. Being in a totally different environment.... new foods, new choices, new experiences.... it must have been overwhelming.
Alli shuts down when she gets overwhelmed.

I will forever be thankful to the first family who brought her to the United States, and to Sarah's family who brought Her to the United States.
I do believe that God had a plan in this difficult process.

Well, now back to Alli.  Since our break through in the previous post, she has been kind and loving with Daddy in a way she had not been.  Daddy and I try very hard to form a United Front for our girlies. We are a team and we parent as a team.  She is seeing the safety in that now. 

As this week has progressed, I have seen that she likes schedules. She likes to know what is going to happen and what is expected of her.  She rises to the occasion when called upon. She is trying VERY hard to do her school work, and to listen.
Today was our only incident of the week so far. :)  It was somebody else's turn to pick a dvd for the lunch hour. (sometimes we watch a fun thing like The Beverly Hillbillies at lunch)   Sarah picked that particular show, and Alli was very upset because it was in black and white.
She went off to her room after eating and was laying on her bed.  I asked her if she wanted to rest and she said yes.  I told her I'd do something else with her if she wanted.....
About 30 minutes went by, and she came out all rested and accepting that the show was black and white and it was ok  NOT to watch it! :)
She played with the dog for a while and then lunch was over.
We did a skit from our skit book, and she readily participated, and did two parts!
This afternoon, she and Sarah played and played and made videos together.... pretending the goats and chickens were aliens. LOL
They were once again two peas in a pod. 
What impressed me was how she pulled herself together!
YEA!
Tonight, before getting ready for bed, we watched a little more of Jesus of Nazareth. 
Resurrection Sunday is coming up fast and Alli is VERY excited about what we are going to do for Resurrection Sunday. :)
Alli and Sarah when I said, "It's BathTime!"

Breaking Into New Life


I already posted about what happened in the events with Stetson..... and things turned out well.
We did go to ministry group last night, and Alli was able to visit for the 3rd time the same people.
This has been really good for her to know that the same people will be there, and they remember her name and treat her like all the other Minichs. :)

Mike and I are coming up with ways to help her include him more in her life. She is a mommy's girl and just like Anna did 7 years ago..... She has not been as accepting of daddy.  HOWEVER, she has moved in the right direction MUCH QUICKER than Anna did.  It was about 5 or 6 months for Anna before she initiated affection.  Alli has already begun to do this.....
So we are doing well.

However, there is the respect issue.  She says things to him in a way  she would not say to me, and that is what we were talking about in the wee hours of the a.m.   How to engage her to let him on her team. :)
Well, we could not have planned it better ourselves.  I just love how the Lord uses what we see as a problem, to SOLVE a problem... or at least begin the healing process....
Today, Daddy was in the shoppe catching up on a few things. The girls were inside and Alli announced, "I'm going out to make mud pies!"  She went out to have her fun, and the other girls stayed inside and we were talking about some fun things.... like what they were like when THEY came into the family..... We laughed as we recounted Anna removing Daddy's hand from her arm like picking up a dead rat to toss off....and how she said, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T HAVE A BOAT!!!". We reminisced about how Sarah threw her pencil across the room again and again, and then protested when we asked her to join us in picking up some sticks after a strong wind storm.  "I don't pick up sticks!" LOL and then Erika, telling the translator she was being treated like a "Cabaka" because she was in the house like a pet and her sisters were outside playing. (She hadn't finished her math) And one of the funnier ones.... When Erika found out Daddy and I were married.  She burst into tears and huge sobs because she had totally planned on marrying daddy when she was older. LOL (I wondered if she just thought I was the cook!) :)
As you can see, they have come a long LONG way and now, it is Alli's turn.

So, Alli came in and said, "I'm really not myself right now."  I asked, "What do you mean?"  She said, "I'm angry!"  Oh, why?  
BECAUSE DADDY IGNORED ME! (now, consider this is the typical thing she does to him, I was a little surprised and had no idea what had transpired outside)
So she climbed in my lap and we did some breathing.... GREAT PROGRESS after yesterday!  
As I was rocking her, I began to ask what happened.  She told me that Daddy didn't listen when she told him Guess would not hurt the chickens.  I said, "Were you respectful?" She said, "No!" I kinda yelled at him..... "Kinda?"  "I yelled at him." Can you demonstrate?
She did. LOL
My response:  "It is NEVER ok, to be disrespectful to daddy like that. He is a good daddy and loves you...."  
She said, "But he ignored me!"
To which I said, "It is never ok to be disrespectful to daddy".

And then, I turned it around.  I asked her, "How did it feel to be ignored?" 
She said, "I didn't like it."
How do you think Daddy feels when you ignore him?
"Not good"  That's right... not good.
So we talked a little about what a wonderful daddy that daddy really is.
She said, "He is very nice, and kind".  
She actually felt a little bad about what she had done.... which is good!  I had not talked to him, so I didn't know if he had actually ignored her or not.....
The great thing is.... Alli said she needed to tell Daddy she was sorry, all by herself! She calmed herself and then went and talked to daddy.
She came back in all happy and cheerful, and in the a.m. she was so sweet to him.
I am amazed at her progress.

And BTW- daddy really was not ignoring her. It was very, VERY windy and she did not hear his response. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Last Chapter

We finished the last Chapter of "Hind's Feet on High Places"..... it was a great devotional to go through, and the girls LOVED it.

For those who do not know what Hind's Feet on High Places is...it is an allegory about the calling on our lives from our Heavenly Father, and our journey to learn to trust.
Much Afraid, made it to the High Places with her friends Sorrow and Suffering.  She was transformed into "Grace and Glory".. Sorrow and Suffering were transformed into "Joy and Peace".
And then, the Great Shepherd asked her what she learned on her way to the high places.... After much contemplation, she answered...
First, I must accept with joy, every path that You lead me on and everything that you let happen to me.
 I am to lay down my own desires and be your handmaiden, "Acceptance with Joy".

I also learned that I must forgive when others are allowed to hurt me. I am to say, Her I am, your handmaiden, "Bearing with Love"...
Then, I learned was that your are my Shepherd King. You never looked at me as I was, but as how I would be..... You saw me through your promise.
Finally, everything, that happens in life, no matter how crooked and ugly, it may seem to be, can be changed if I treat it with love, forgiveness and obedience to your will.....

And it went on:
The girlies listened intently and in our devotional part I asked them.... are there things in our lives that have happened where we need to be "Acceptance with Joy"?  How about "Bearing with Love?"
Oh my, the conversation we had! It was WONDERFUL!

We ended, praying for my sweet friend, for each other and with praising the Lord for His Merciful and Wonderful hand in our lives.

And then......... somehow, we talked a little about boys.  :)

Easter Week

One of the biggest Christian celebrations is upon us.....and we are so excited to Celebrate the Resurrection!

Starting off with one of my favorite songs:

 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thrown Away Like Trash

I was confronted by somebody on a web site who didn't like that I told Alli that she was not trash.
Well, dear person,  she ISN'T!
Is every child who is disrupted thrown away like trash ?
NO! They are not!
Are some, YES they are.

I always say, "If the shoe does not fit, do not try to put it on!" "Do not own something that is not yours to own.

I have a dear friend who is suffering in a situation I would not wish on my worst enemy!
They have not disrupted at this point, but may have to for their own safety......
Please know, for my readers:
If I am talking to my sweeties, and I blog about it....It CANNOT and MUST NOT be personalized.
I am speaking to them about THEIR perspective on things and THEIR individual situations!!!!!!!
Each and every situation is different.....
But YES!!!! My sweeties FELT tossed out like yesterday's garbage.
And I stand by that! 110%

Alli's Tools


Mike and I couldn't decide which picture to post, so we posted both of them. :)  Our little sweetie is doing GREAT!
She is learning so much about life, and the tools she needs to get through it. :)  Today, she was thinking about her brother and sister that she no longer has contact with.... she was asking about whether she would ever see them again.
And then, she started to feel sad.  While we were talking about loss, she suddenly remembered "The Fruit of the Spirit Song" we have learned.....  She asked, "Can we sing that song now?"  Sure.

So we did.....
It goes:
"The fruit of the Spirit isn't a Watermelon"
The Fruit of the Spirit isn't a Watermelon,
so If you wanna be a watermelon, you
might has well hear it, you can't be a fruit of the
spirit, cuz the fruits are:
Love, Joy, Peace and Patience, Kindness Goodness Faithfulness
Gentleness and Self control....repeat chorus....and then,
pick another fruit and start it all over. :)

It is a fun way to memorize the Fruit of the Spirit.....

Then Alli said, "Mama, that song helps me remember to not get mad. So, if I get mad, can we sing that?"
YOU BETCHA BABY! That song is going Right into your toolbox! :)

Tonight we completed our devotional "Hinds Feet on High  Places"... part of the ending was asking about life now. What sorrows are part of your life now. What is God teaching you....etc.
As each little one shared.... Alli started with, one of her sorrows being, that she was apart from her bio siblings, and said that she was apart from her mother. I asked her, which mommy are you talking about and she said, "My mother in Russia".....
Then Anna shared that she had 2 sisters she had never met, and Erika said, she has a brother who is about 20 now, that she has never met..... Sarah, of course said, "well, I'm missing a leg!" LOL
Alli had no idea that her other siblings had siblings they had never met! This helped her greatly to see that she was not the "only one"..... She did ask, "Does God have me in the right place now, or am I leaving again?" 
I reassured her that she is here to stay.... there was a big smile and a relief that overcame her. :)
She went to bed happy. :)

She is doing AWESOME!

Erika's Appointment

Erika had an appointment for the Scoliosis clinic today.  It was thought she was having an issue with her back, but the good news is, SHE IS NOT! Yea!

The doctor said her crooked look is due to her legs, not her back. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Anna and Guess

Anna is teaching Guess how to catch a ball..... he does pretty good as long as he isn't distracted by chickens. :)

New Life and Another Appointment

To her surprise, when she lifted the seat, there were 4 baby kittens AND a mama cat!
Yes, we are shocked and YES they look like Mr. Cloud Paw, who now has an appointment with the VET for Neutering..... busy guy he has been.

Bryan LOVES Leaves

It was windy and every time the branch went down, he'd jump up to reach the leaves. :)
He thought I had leaves to give him too. :)

Erika and Guess

Enjoying a swing on the porch. :)

Real Life and Trauma

Well, I am sad to report that we had to return one of our dogs to the animal shelter where he came from 3 weeks ago.  :(  We worked with him in a continual manner to try and solve some major bad habits he had, but after the last two days, it was too much for me.  I failed.  Actually, I studied his bio carefully and there was no report of aggression or biting. It was reported that he was friendly with other animals etc.

I don't think Stetson was a MEAN dog... he was just a BIG BITER, and he HURT, ALOT.... He was also making sure he was alpha Male and did everything to keep Guess under his authority.... this included taking his food and his dog bones.  Guess was following his lead and began to act like Stetson with the animals. We had to separate them from the animals after 3 chicken were killed by Stetson and EATEN.... he also was very aggressive with the goats. He would corral them and then bite them on purpose.

He was not willing to roll over and be submissive to us at all, even with treats.  He finally, after many bites that were not serious, got Miss Anna near the neck this a.m. and knocked her down.  He bit me, and then he turned on Guess and put a  gash in his neck causing him to bleed.  That was it for me.

I think Stetson would be a good dog for a single man who lives on a ranch with nothing smaller than a large cow or horse, where he can run free and not be in competition.  NO KIDS AT ALL.....
He doesn't know his own size or bite.

So, sadly, this turned into a major fiasco this a.m.  Last week I was ready to take him back but Miss Alli begged to work with him.   Things actually got worse and we had numerous conversations about dog ownership and responsibility..... This a.m.  I had to tell her that we were going to return Stetson, as it was not fair to him or to us to keep him. He would have to be chained.  I would hate that.

Her initial response was anger, and  then panic..... she refused to talk, got upset and wouldn't listen. She started to storm outside, but I told her no, not to walk away..... she came back in reluctantly and had her head down, arms crossed and wouldn't look at either of us.

I got her into the rocking chair, and she was resistant, but complied.  I just rocked her and got her to breathe. Both Mike and I spoke words of encouragement to her and then we sang to her.... we sang and prayed and sang and prayed some more and her hands were clinched in fists. She would not let us hold her hand...... Then, as we sang and prayed and included analogies from Hinds Feet on High Places into our songs and words, she began to soften. First it was a little finger, then more, then more and then even a little smile. 

She is still more a mommy girl than a daddy girl, but we are working on it.  After about 30 minutes or more, our words and prayers reached her heart and she said she was sorry. She knew Stetson would be better somewhere else even though she was sad about it. 

At that point, I addressed the difference between dogs and people, reassuring her that she was safe and secure in our love for her.  She relaxed and   went to say goodbye to Stetson....

Erika and I took Stetson back to the shelter and Alli and the other girls stayed with Daddy.  When I got back she came up with a big smile and hugged me. She asked, "Was he sad to go back?"  I said, "No, he seemed quite happy. I think he must have thought he had been on vacation!" :)

And the rest of our day has been great.

While her behaviors were unpleasant and she was not compliant when she was really upset, she came around and calmed herself down using her tool box..... (deep breathing and rocking mom)
She came around and apologized. 
And, then, we talked about better ways to handle when we get upset next time.  I will reinforce this conversation tonight.......
Overall, We had a REALLY successful meeting with Real Life and Trauma and I am so glad we made it through. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Anna's Project

It was done and she invited me up.... It appears there was a lot of arranging going on up there...not sure about the cleaning part. LOL
Here is her secret apartment....shhhh don't tell the sisters. LOL





You Are Still Holy

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