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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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Alli Language

"Mommy, I'm Frenkled"....
Translation:

Mommy, I'm freezing cold.

LOL

Dolphin Tale

There is an exciting movie coming to a theater near you!
DOLPHIN TALE .......
Sally Clarkson's Son is involved in this movie.  You can read about it HERE.
Pretty cool! A dolphin with a prosthetic tail! :) You can watch the trailer on youtube. :)
http://www.youtube.com/embed/Jdpg9NsgEaI


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When Trauma Invades

My fellow bloggy world friend Annie posted on this topic last week.  I wanted to share more of our own experiences regarding how Trauma invades in interpretation of events.

Part of this comes from my own life experiences, and the rest from what we have observed with the girls.

When I was a kid, we lived in some very bad areas in Southern California.  Southern California evokes all sorts of "Pictures" in the minds of those who have never lived where I lived.  While I lived in California, and not far from the beach, it was a crime ridden, gang infested, congested, unhappy kind of a place.  We had to be VERY careful. I learned early on that I could not trust the people who walked down the street. You didn't make eye contact out of fear.  You locked your house, your car, made sure every window was locked, and still, things were stolen.
Our home was broken into 2 x's that I can remember as a small child.
One night, I remember the shadow of a man by my window. I put my legs down hoping the shape would go away and the shadow was just me..... it didn't go away and I covered my head with my pillow and prayed the scary image would go away.  It did.  And then the image tried to climb into the kitchen window instead. Apparently my window was locked.
One time my mother was at the grocery store when I returned home from school.  She had left the back door unlocked for me to get in.  A man from across the street saw me  try the front door which was locked, and then go in the back door.
He must have known I was alone. Who knows how long he had been watching me.
The next thing I knew was he was knocking on the front door and offered me a quarter if I'd open the door. I refused.
Then I saw him see the back door was open.  I ran to the back door and tried so hard to get it locked. It was terrifying.  He was walking to the back door and we had those stupid old skeleton keys. It was so hard to get it locked but I did it just in time. He left very angry.
I never told my mother.
My parents thought I was too old to be afraid of the dark. I remained PARALYZINGLY afraid of the dark well into my adulthood.
My mother in law used to joke that she is the only mother in law who every babysat her daughter in law. My husband worked the night shift. :)

I also had some very scary experiences I cannot write about here.  But needless to say, they were traumatic and it effected how I viewed things.
When Annie wrote about the serene setting and how one person interprets things very differently.... I am that person too!
I think when Mike and I first married, I drove him crazy locking everything.  He would walk out of the house and I'd lock the door.  I locked car doors, I locked the garage and I locked every window. I am a very good locker. LOL

Mike's upbringing was WORLDS apart from my own.  He grew up spending his days on the Lake of Pawtuckaway in the Summers, and Nashua NH during the school years. He ran the streets and played and never felt a sense of danger. He has fond memories of his childhood.

To THIS DAY..... when I walk out of a store, I have my keys in my hand set for self defense just in case. Logically, I know I am in a pretty safe place.  But my experience tells me otherwise.
When I see somebody walk down the street in our country area, I am immediately suspicious.
Mike sees a guy walking down the street. I see a criminal.
Isn't that AWFUL!!!!!
I don't like to view things like this.  I FIGHT IT..... and I have done pretty well overcoming much of it.  I even leave the door unlocked during the daytime now. :)

The experiences I had as a child, have helped me to understand where my girls are coming from sometimes.  While they are different, there are some common themes.

So, when Annie showed the picture on her blog..... I looked at it and thought about what I would have been like several years ago. I would have seen a bad person lurking in the bushes, or could have seen it wasn't safe because nobody was around.  Today, I am not that person.... Today I can look at a picture like this:
and actually enjoy it!

The other day, Alli and Sarah went for a bike ride.  Sarah, is no longer afraid like she used to be. 5 years ago, we had to stay in the bathroom with her, even in the day time.  Today, she can ride her bike freely and enjoy everything.
Alli, is still afraid.  Alli is afraid of a car running her down. She is afraid somebody will kidnap her. She is afraid when Sarah goes ahead on her bike, it is because Sarah is trying to win in a race that doesn't really exist.   Alli gets her feelings hurt because she sees that Sarah wants to be first. Sarah gets confused because as she says, "I'm just riding my bike."

Alli is still interpreting her present experience by her past.  They are not the same. They cannot be measured by the same standard.  Alli is hypervigilant about relationships right now because she has never experienced so much love. Not because others didn't love her, but because she couldn't receive it.
Now that she can, she is cherishing it, and trying her hardest to hang onto it.  She is far from this serene picture. She is learning that she doesn't have to try so hard. We love her period. She is learning that Sarah loves her too. She isn't competing.  Nobody has to be first or win.  We are all winners. :)

Because of our new notebook experience, that I wrote about here, both Alli and Sarah were able to write about the bike riding experience of yesterday. We would have never known! LOL
And we were able to explain to each of them separately what the other is possibly thinking and how they can try to understand each other.

It really REALLY did help!

This a.m. Sarah and I looked at some peaceful pictures and talked about fear and what a fearful person might see.  Sarah suddenly said, "I used to be like that!" :)  I was so happy to see her understanding CLICK, and she was given renewed energy to love on her little sister who so desperately craves her acceptance. :)



Monday, August 29, 2011

Mom, Dad and Me Books


The other day I was thinking about what an important job it is to communicate with my girls.  Sometimes they don't ask things, because they don't want somebody else to hear their question, or they are too shy. 
I remember longing to talk with somebody when I was a young teen. There is such a need at that age to connect, to feel like you aren't alone, to be reassured!  I was such a gawkly, awkward kid at this age. I wasn't a beautiful girl.... I was taller than all the boys, skinny, and insecure. I had thoughts that were deep and grown up, and thoughts that were rather childish....

All weekend I was trying to figure out another avenue to communicate.  We take the girls out alone  1 time each month, and that is really fun! Sometimes they go alone to the grocery store, and that is fun too....but sometimes they need more.
So, I came up with a Diary of sorts. It is a 3 way diary between Mom, Dad and each of our girls.
I purchased them each a theme book, on sale for 40 cents! (score!) 

The idea is that they will write an entry each day. It doesn't have to be a question; maybe a compliment or a complaint. It could even be a poem or a serious pondering.  And then, mom and dad will write something back.

I am really looking forward to them communicating freely with both of us.  They already do for the most part, but I can tell there are times they want to say something and hold back.  I hope this will be an avenue to help them get around their shyness or awkwardness.

Today, each of my girls thoughtfully wrote something in their book, and placed them on my desk to read for later. 
It is so precious to see their words. It was clear on the very first day that this is going to be a GOOD thing! :)
And now, I need to go and ponder one of the questions! LOL



A Funny For August

Anna, "What did you have for lunch?"
Alli, "I had Roman Numerals."
Anna, puzzled look..... "Alli, that is math!"
Alli, "Oh, I mean Ramen Noodles".

LOL

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So What Else Do You Do When It Is 106?

 Alli all ready to go! She did GREAT!
video

 The sister pose
 Daddy throwing the rope out to Alli
Anna tried water skiis..... It proved to be harder than expected....maybe next time. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Anna

 My Anna is growing up!  She will be 13 in November.  I love my sweet girl!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Science Project

This week and last week we were studying cells. We learned all about the different parts of the cell, including the Nucleus, Cytoplasm, DNA, ER, pores, cell wall, mitochondria, lysosomes, golgi bodies, centrioles, RNA, ribosomes, etc......
It was really FUN... 2 girls earned 5.00 for being able to say, "deoxyribonucleic acid" correctly on demand, and to know it's function. :)
We had a day full of laughter talking about how the DNA is the encyclopedia of the cell which will later determine many things about us inherited from our parent's DNA.  The girls were hilarious "guessing" what some of those things were. :)
Of course the funniest one was the suggestion that Sarah has a hyperactive uncle bouncing around Ukraine somewhere smiling at everybody. LOL (you would have had to have been there)


So, for our experiment: We made our own disgusting edible cells. :)
 We started last night with making Jello and putting it into 4 different bowls.
















 Something happened to Erika's cell when we were turning it over. It sort of fell apart.
Anna said there was something wrong with it's DNA. LOL
All in all..... it was a very good science week. :)

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BCLC "How Do I Know It Works"

I love checking out the feedjit information on how folks find my blog.   The most recent inquiry was a google inquiry on "How do I know it works!" Regarding BCLC.
I'm glad whoever it was found my blog.
Because I CAN HONESTLY SAY: "IT WORKS!"

LOVE WORKS!

Today, the girlies and I were reading the 4th Chapter of 1st John. The entire book of 1st John is about love.  But today was just great. LOVE YOUR BROTHERS (sisters) :)
LOVE NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER FAILS!
EVER!

A Daddy Alli Date

We try to take the girls out for alone time once a month. Tonight was Alli's turn. :)
 I think they had a great time! :)  Daddy rocked Miss Alli tonight. It is always great to see Daddy in the rocker. :)

Mom A Super Hero????

Today started out great. I thought it was going to remain so...but little sin natures have  a way of getting in the way of the "perfect day".
Instead, we had a perfect storm brew.
Joe called.  I love it when he calls. I don't get to see him because of how far away they live.... so a call is like a breath of fresh air!
Why is it that sometimes there is this 6th sense with kids...."Mom is on the phone, so we can get a little crazy!"
That is what happened.

Miss Alli decided to snot off to somebody, and then that person got upset and before I knew it there were bossy girls and hurt girls and my phone call was being interrupted.

Have you ever tried to have a conversation where you didn't want it to end, but you needed to guide 4 young ladies in various forms of upset into your room to lay on your bed while you finished your call?
Wow! My fingers are powerful!  Snap! Point! x's 4 and everybody was in the room.
Anna even went and got the camera! LOL

Everybody was in pretty good humor except for Miss Alli.  She THOUGHT that Anna and Sarah were leaving for a walk without her. They weren't. Anna tried to get her attention so that she could invite her for the walk, and she was already mad.  That is what the commotion was all about.  There was no telling her anything different and then she lost it and started to yell and talk back.
So, I sent Anna and Sarah for the walk, after I hung up from talking with Joe.
Of course Miss Alli said, "I DON'T CARE!"

Well I know she does.....or she wouldn't have been so upset.

I SHOULD have let her stay in her room to cool down after she slammed the door. I didn't..... Instead, I walked into a bee hive with one very large angry bee!
I asked her to come with me.
She refused.
I asked again and tried to take her hand.

She recoiled and followed me into the room and then proceeded very angrily to lunge towards me.
Well, you see, I have this training that I never thought I'd have to use. I got the training years ago!
It was so fast, I don't know what happened, but she was no longer lunging and I was holding her in a tight, safe manner.
I let her know matter of factly and rather LOUDLY, she was NEVER, EVER to do that again!
I think I shocked her.
This ole' body doesn't work very well.  But it worked this time.  And it worked well!
While we were facing each other, I also let her know that I knew she was needing to vent, needing to raise her angst up to have a release of pressure, but that is NOT how we do things.  Breathing works MUCH better.
While we were there, and I had not let go, because she was too mad, I let her know that I was very angry. I was angry at myself for not waiting for her to cool down. I was angry that she was so angry. I was angry that TRAUMA had taken over, and I was angry that I was angry.


SO, here I am telling her.... I am sorry, I should have let you stay in your room and cool down, but it is NOT ok what you are doing, it is NOT ok for you to act this way, IT IS NEVER EVER ok for you to put your foot in my face or your hands in my face. (she did not kick or hit me)
I  had Erika bring the small mirror over for her to see herself. She wouldn't look. I wanted her to look.... I told her she was beautiful and capable of much good, but she was also capable of much wrong....as am I.  

As she began to calm down, I let her know exactly what I expected of her and made sure there were no misunderstandings.  She was to go into her room, get it straightened up, and then get on her bed and wait for me to come.

She is cleaning her room right now.  I walked into her room and she was sedate and calm. She was actually almost cheerful. Her release of energy that she so needed to get rid of, was gone and she felt better.  Of course I KNEW that was what she was doing..... so why did I react??  I have a very vulnerable button. I know it is there, it always has been. I cannot handle having anybody touch my face AT ALL..... I can't say why here, but there is a reason.  It is my own personal trauma.

I strongly do not like tension!
So, I decided to diffuse myself.
"Miss Alli, do you know that you have a very special mama?"  puzzled look.
"Did you know Mama has special training?"  more puzzled look!
"You don't think just any ole' mama could get you under control do you?"  smile
"Did you know Mama and Daddy are super heroes?" grin
"You've seen Daddy's super hero underwear! You don't just get those! You EARN them!"
(Daddy has several pairs of SH undies... :)  The girls always laugh when they fold them)
LAUGHING.

And then a few minutes later.....
"Mama, are you really a super hero?" :)


This post was mama and Alli approved........

part 2......

We had our talk. Alli was very sorry.... She was upset with herself for her behavior.  We talked a little bit more and we did look in the mirror together.  I wanted her to see herself when I told her how much I love her and how special she is to me.   She looked.... she looked away......she looked again and then we held each other for a long time.

And no I'm not a super hero.  I really didn't follow protocol and feel like I walked right into a trap I knew I shouldn't. Why did I do that?  I don't know, but I DO know, I don't want to ever have to use my super hero training again! :/

Chiara Went on Vacation Again :)

And she sent us these LOVELY Postcards! Thank you so much!!!!!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Progress

I wrote a few days about "Growing Pains".  I was a bit caught off guard by some of the difficulties of growing up....I SOOOOO want each of my sweeties to succeed, to be loved, to feel love, to feel accepted, to be well adjusted adults, to serve the Lord, to LOVE their family and SO MUCH MORE!

The last couple of days, and I do realize it is just a couple of days, have been so nice.  Our little sweetie has sought us out. She has loved on us, hugged us, talked to us about her dreams and ideas and it has been joyful for my heart; balm to my broken heart.

I did talk to her about what is acceptable and what is not. The H word is NEVER to be spoken.  We may be angry, or upset, but no more H word.  That was accepted and adhered to. :)

Mike and I have also been doing a lot of listening.  Listening is always a good thing. 

We have also started school, and our girls are ALL doing wonderfully. Even though some have forgotten things, one is in desperate need of math help, another reading help... .the attitudes have been FANTASTIC!  I am so pleased. :)
I love our family. :) I love that the Lord is working in our lives to conform us to His image. 
I look forward to the day when we are ALL there. :) 

Alli's Creativity

I have never quite seen this one before!
Alli was eating her tortilla before bedtime.  It is rather beautiful, isn't it? She bit her way into designing a snowflake. :)    LOL

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kitty Arthrogryposis

I posted this for Erika. :)  I can't wait for her to see it in the A.M. :)

What  sweet little kitty.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GROWING PAINS

I have never raised girls. I grew up in a family of girls and a little brother, and my memories of girls were way different than my experience with raising boys.
I believe much of the difference had to do with parenting style, yet, there are some things that cannot be dismissed. 
GIRLS are more emotional, more observant, more in touch with the invisible.....They are delightful, yet mysterious. They can be happy one minute and the next be in the depths of despair. 

Is it adoption? Is it female? Is it early trauma? YES. :)

What can we do? We can be the constant in their lives that they need us to be. We can choose to be the rock, the lighthouse that doesn't move in the midst of the storm and crashing waves of emotion.

Soooo, does it sound like we are dealing with some things? Yes... we are. :)
Yet, at the same time, both Mike and I see our sweetie who is struggling in the big picture. Right now, is right now....it is not next week, it is not next year.  When Mike and I  were talking today, we were so on the same page! It was awesome. When a challenge comes up, we get together and pray, brain storm and come up with a plan. I love my husband.
I have been comforted by many friends who have tread this path before us.... and I am so thankful for their wisdom.

It has been a time for introspection. Where can we improve? Where can I change? Do I need to reach THIS daughter differently?  There are some things I can see that I may need to tweak.....
And you know what? That is OK!  I am growing too as a parent. I never cease to learn. :)

I love my girls. They keep me on my knees. :)
We didn't go into parenting and especially into adoption because we knew that the outcome would be perfect and we would shine like stars.... We are not saints, we are not perfect, nor are our children.
They are lovely girls, each and every one of them!

We have had so many things thrown our way in the last couple of years..... I am not surprised in the least that our sweetie is reacting.  She has dropped several hints on her pain including the loss of her dear Uncle, her Grandfather and grand mother and then her beloved pet goat. :(
We do not underestimate the impact of bringing in a new sister either. Even though we were all in agreement, we knew there would be adjustment.  And now that Miss Alli is so very, VERY settled.... it is time to focus on our other sweetie. :)
She needs us.  She needs us to love her through this difficult time in assessing her life.  She is in the midst of conflict in finding herself; finding who she is; finding how she belongs. 

I love her so very, very much.

I remember being her age and the anxt of change....making friends, learning about clothing, learning about feelings that make no sense.....Oh my, girlhood is complicated! It is much more than  dresses instead of jeans.  
I pray that we get through these years that are upcoming with a greater wisdom, a greater understanding and with a greater faith.  And I pray that our sweeties continue to feel secure and accepted, even though their beginnings were so very sad.

We serve an amazing God who uses ALL circumstances in our lives to draw us to Him.  I am also reminded just how much He loves us.  When we are faithless, HE remains faithful!  This resounds in my ears... because as an adopted daughter of the Most High, I have been faithless before..... I have questioned HIM, I have ignored HIM, yet HE remained faithful and perfect and loving and constant in my life. :)
HE is our perfect example.  :)
May we endeavor to be more like Christ.




Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Mother's Thoughts


After Erika's appointment yesterday, my mind was swimming in thoughts. 
When Tim was born, I was all of 22 years old.  The situation was so serious, actually beyond so serious. There was no internet back then. There was no google, no internet pictures; nothing but the medical library, and I had no medical degree. 

However, it didn't take a rocket scientist to know that being declared "brain dead"; meant DEAD. You are going to cease to live. You are going to bury your child. (Obviously we didn't bury Tim.  Praise the Lord for that. He is a husband, father and teacher today. )
  It was almost a year before I heard the words cerebral palsy and much of what we learned, we learned by accident.... trial and error. 

Back then, they didn't give you too much info.... they fed it to you in a slow, continual line of simplicity that tended to just make me mad..... "Just TELL ME EVERYTHING so I can do research... It doesn't MATTER how I FEEL! MY FEELINGS  have nothing to DO with it!

When Joseph was born, and the doctor came in and said, "You're baby is a 'little sick'; those were my words. "Cut to the chase! Does he have Hyline Membrane?  Is he on a respirator? "  "DON'T TELL ME HE's A LITTLE SICK!"  "HE'S A LOT SICK!"
By the time we got to Marcus,  I didn't need to be told. I knew. I let them go through their dialogue and then I could ask real questions.

I am really thankful that the understanding that some things cannot be fixed has been reality for a very long time.  In one way, it makes the present easier to fathom....in a logical sense.... but the other reality is that it still hurts.
  I hate it that my  children have to struggle to do what most people in the world take for granted.  Most of the time I deny myself the luxury to feel.  After all, if I cry, or if I feel sad, what kind of an example would that be?  Wouldn't I be teaching them to feel sorry for themselves?  Instead, I save those moments for private.  OR, I don't reveal why I'm feeling weepy.  I chalk it up to menopause and then I tough it up once again.

Honestly, yesterday, I was hoping that we were not at the end of what could be done to intervene with Erika. I was HOPING that there was something more that could give her mobility.  But reality is, there isn't.  Or at least there is nothing that can give her any real benefit.  They can rotate her knees to the right direction, but it really won't give much benefit because she has no flexibility in her hips.
We found out that it is actually BETTER that her knees are not straight because that way she can clear her feet in front of her.  She throws her legs out a bit and that gives her the clearance she needs to walk.
So, DEEP BREATHS.... Erika is Erika. And I am so grateful for her! Erika is not Arthrogryposis. Erika HAS arthrogryposis.  Erika is a miracle. She is my miracle.  And once again, YES, she is fearfully and wonderfully made. God did NOT make a mistake. 
Our next step has been in helping Erika,  who cannot bend at the hip, to learn how to get up off of the floor. She has become really fast with a chair. But there won't be chairs in the mall or if she goes out when she is older. There won't always be people to lift her, and I so want her to have the opportunity to experience as much of a normal life as possible.
So, we have started "Cane Therapy".  :)
A little comedy always helps my hurting heart. :) And there is nothing like a sweet sister to join in the therapy fun! :)
video










Friday, August 19, 2011

Erika's Appointment

We all headed out to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital to see Dr. Herring.  He is an amazing doctor.
Erika is getting older and has lots of questions about her condition, and whether she could have any surgery that would further her ability to function better.
Her words to the doctor were..... "I want to run. I want to be able to bend at the hips. I want to get off of the ground by myself when I fall. " 
My questions were, "If we were to rotate her legs so her knees were facing forwards, (they are both at the sides) would this improve her gait?" 
Mike wanted to know what benefits she would have from any surgery.
As we all talked and watched Erika walk back and forth, checking out her gait, checking out how she functions.....and especially after we all went upstairs to the Physical Therapy room to observe her in action....we all came to agreement that Erika is Erika. She is functioning well, and can now get up from the floor with the help of a chair.  This is something relatively new, and something she has HAD to learn because she is getting bigger and bigger and well, my back.....but that is another post..... :/

The Physical Therapist suggested maybe we start to work with her in getting up using a cane.  We have a cane to practice with, and Dr. Herring thought, if she can learn this skill, she could actually carry a retractable cane with her and if she were to fall while out and about when she is older, she would be able to get up on her own!  This is good news!

We have our work cut out for us, which is good. All of our questions were answered. We are so thankful that Erika can walk! She just can't bend or sit very well.  She has less than 20 percent flexibility in her hips.. 
Dr. Herring said that when hips are involved, you are either sitting or standing. Erika is standing.
The X rays on her hips tell her story.  Her right hip does not even have a ball to go into the socket. This was the hip operated on a few years ago.  There is just not enough of a joint to work with.
Her other hip is nearly fused in place.

I am so thankful for all the information and that our questions were answered today. 
Yes, Erika is Erika. She is fearfully and wonderfully made.


 We also met a facebook friend and fellow parent to a little girl who has Arthrogryposis.  She stopped by from her nearby office. It is always great to meet other parents. :)
Thanks Karen!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Girl Bonding

Tomorrow the entire family is headed to Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Erika has a very important appointment tomorrow, which will determine a direction for her, regarding her legs.
That is another post altogether. I'll post about it tomorrow after we get home. :)

I asked all the girls to plan ahead for tomorrow so they don't have to decide what to wear in the a.m.
Sarah and Alli really took me seriously. LOL
Notice, they even have matching barrettes! :)

I took this photo this a.m.   We are about to leave..... You would think they were going shopping! LOL

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Alli and Me

We have had some wonderful days...We REALLY Have!
Today, after school was over, the girls had to do their chores. This for some reason is a trigger for Miss Alli.
While Sarah was doing her job, Alli asked her to help her with HER job. Sarah said, "I can't, I'm doing my own job."

I heard Alli yell, "You are SO LAZY!"
Inside, I was fuming, because Sarah is NOT lazy... Alli was wanting Sarah to do her job FOR her.
So I called her in.
I let her know I was not pleased that she had called Sarah Lazy.  She raised her voice, and then I raised my voice! Before we knew it, Alli was sitting on a chair in my room waiting for me to decide what to do........

We were both angry.
After much thought, I asked her:  Alli, what can we do to make things better?  She said, "I have NO idea!"
So I said, "Well, I do!"
I need to say I 'm sorry for getting angry.
She said, "I can take deep breaths!"
I said, "Me too!"
She said, "I can do my job myself!"
I said, "I can be more patient."
She said, "I can say I'm sorry!"
I said, "Me too!"
And before we knew it, we were both laughing!

She apologized to Sarah and to me, and I apologized to her.... and it was OVER!
She asked, "Do you think I deserve to use the computer?" I told her... no...but then, I don't deserve eternal life, and God has given that to me because of His Grace! So, yes, you can use the computer....

She was so HAPPY the rest of the evening! :)
Me too. :)

A REPOST from KERI

My sweet friend Keri gave me permission to repost her latest blog post.  Keri, your post so touched my heart. I have been in the places of question and deep anguish in my life many times.  And many times there have been no answers. At least no answers when I wanted them. When I thought they should be there. But God, in HIS infinite wisdom, AND timing, helped me to see OVER TIME, His plan..... Not all my questions have been answered, but I DO know that exactly as you said, he wants our trust.  Our lives are in HIS hands and He is loving and good.  We serve a mighty God who's ways are not our ways. There are times when we cannot lean on our own understanding and He carries us.....
I learned to read the book of Job in a new light over and over and over. I have come to love that book.
In Keri's post, I could recognize some of Job's friends.  Also, I could picture the conclusion in Job when God answers him, and Job's response " I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." 
God brings WONDERFUL into our lives, in mysterious ways.

Here is Keri's post:

Sometimes We Don't Get Answers


This is one of those times.
I've reached the point of not crying anymore. What's the point? It serves no purpose to cry and scream and shake my fists at God. If I'm learning anything this summer, it's humility. It's learning that our humanity is indeed very limiting.

I have lots of New Agey-type friends. I used to lean that way myself. People who swear we are gods in our own right and that tapping into that power, or connecting to 'all this is' is as easy as turning on a light switch. Know what I've never found? I've never ever found someone who has been to Hell and back who believes those things. The people I've met in life who have seen the worst (like the Holocaust survivors I know, or the friend who watched her entire family be murdered in front of her, or the girl I taught who was raped and tortured and beaten by her father for years, and who, when she finally told, was forced to eat her own dog by him) - these people, these miraculous beings who looked Evil in the face and lived to tell about it -- these people, whether Jew or Christian or something all their own, accept and understand their own limitations and reach upwards to a God who promises to stand by them even when they feel it not. Each of them accepts that we truly do not have any power of our own accord. If we did, those horrible things would not have happened, because we would not invite or wish them into our lives.


I have not survived a holocaust. I cannot fathom what it would be like to see my family murdered before me, but in my own relative circumstances, I have been living my own little version of hell for awhile. And I am here to tell you that platitudes and positive thinking cannot clear a mind and heart of such darkness. A little darkness? Sure. But a great big, unfathomably deep and all penetrating darkness that seems to pummel us in relentless waves? No. 'Happy thoughts' are not going to fix that kind of thing. It takes something greater than ourselves.


And so, in this never ending journey of pain and suffering with Anya, I have only two choices. I can to cling to hope and trust in all the other instances that God has proven His love for me ( and there are many) and wait for His answer to come...even when its been 6 years of waiting so far. Or, I can throw my hands in the air, turn my back on God and Anya, and walk away.


I'm sure you know which one I've chosen every day of these past 6 years.


Anya is not well. She had a third emergency surgery, today. Her lung infection is worse. There is talk of amputation. I cannot even pretend to understand why she suffers so much and why I continuously am put in the position to not be able to help her. Yes, I am also fully aware that I am getting the lion's share of bad luck this summer. And no, I do not know why. But I do know this: God is ever and always pushing us towards a greater good, if we have placed our lives in his hands. I may not see the point of the suffering, but I don't have to. My job is to persevere and to trust and hope. Its not easy. In fact, some days its downright impossible. But the impossible is nothing to God.


I've gotten so many emails and phone calls and messages offering advice on how to cope with this. Some say 'stay positive and picture her here!' - sweet sentiment, but unhelpful. Some more religious friends say ' Look inward and see what unconfessed sins might be to blame.' Sorry, my God doesn't work that way. Others say 'maybe it's time for you to move on...you've tried for so long and it doesn't look to be working out.' To them, I say ' what a sad, sad world you must live in, to think abandoning someone is EVER an option.'


No, I'll put my trust in Him who has proven his faithfulness and love to me time and time again. So what if its not happening in my time frame? Who am I to question? 'Be still, and know that I am God.' Great advice all those thousands of years ago, and still great advice today.


I do not know when or even IF Anya will come home to us. I do not know when or IF her suffering will end. but I know this: God loves her, and if He loves her, He will not forsake her. And that is why I have hope in the face of so much uncertainty and suffering. I believe in a God -- a Power Unimaginable -- that formed and sustains this world with LOVE.


LOVE.


So, while all those around me tell me what I should be doing and thinking and feeling, I'll be banking on LOVE.


LOVE sits with Anya tonight while she undergoes her operation. LOVE guides the hands that will operate on her. LOVE knows her and loves her and keeps her. That is all I know, and all I need to know.


Home Schooling Alli

Alli came to us at the end of our school year last year. Much of our time was spent getting to know each other, and learning to be in a family.  Her history was oral as were many of her lessons. We did a LOT of art which is very healing.

I know that she brought home some books that she could not read. She was so frustrated with how much she was struggling, and I knew she could read a little, but not well.

So, we took a break and I was planning to go in full force this year.  What I discovered in working with her over the summer is that Alli is VERY smart. She has been able to memorize key words, and guess at others. She does NOT know her vowel sounds. Now how a child can read without them, I have no idea, but she can, a little.  Or I should say, she can read well enough to be frustrated that she can't read what she would LIKE to. 
I made the decision this week to start her over.
I am going to take her back to 1st grade phonics and reading, so she can MASTER the basics and catch up.
If I don't do this now, she will continue to struggle and school with be a chore instead of a joy.  She is doing well in math. She loves to do her lessons.  And she is relieved that we are going to go back and learn what she missed.
I am so happy that she is not upset about starting over.
I explained to her that any time you move forward in learning, no matter where you are now, you get ahead. :) 
Her reply was so precious.... "Mommy, you are such a good teacher! You should teach school!" LOL

Where Shall I Go? Lead Me!

 Our Lord is Good..... 
Psalm 139

English Standard Version

Search Me, O God, and Know My HeartTo the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.a
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!b
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!c
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!d

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Water Skiing

After church today we went to the lake and had a great time water skiing and knee boarding.  I decided to try one more time to water ski. I got up last year...... but this year.....NOT!  This ole' body is just not fit for anything but a nice scenic boat ride. 

When I jumped out of the boat, I didn't realize I had my glasses on, so they are somewhere at the bottom of the lake waiting to be discovered centuries from now by archeologists looking into ancient societies. :)

I'm wearing my old pair right now. Everything looks quite odd, so tomorrow, I have to go and get things taken care of.   I hate waste..... My vision have been changing, so it is time to get them checked anyway..... this just helped me make the decision a little faster.

All the kids did great on the lake and daddy got up too!
video
So if Mike was out there, guess who was driving the boat! B)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tea Party Time

This is Miss Alli's first time to go somewhere without mom and dad.  There is a tea party about an hour away. Our friends and we are going to tag team so we don't have to stay at the party too. :) 
I managed to finagle a date with my man!!!! SCORE!









See you girls at 8:00! :)

Another Sarah Dancing Video

video

Friday, August 12, 2011

Guitar Girls




Lake Times

 Erika
 Sarah and Alli
 The Captain
 Anna knee boarding
 Anna Enjoying the sunset
video
Alli's First Knee Board Attempt
video
Sarah knee boarding


Time to go home.

You Are Still Holy

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