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, May 31, 2013

The Letter..

Slow and steady, once safe step at a time.  Alli wrote her first letter to her biological sister.  It was very sweet and included an apology that she has been wanting to give for 2 years and 3 months. She has needed this.  I am so glad she was able to express how she felt, clearly.

 I'm so proud of her.

Baby steps.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Man

I didn't have to make a honey- doo list.... He just woke up to do it.. :)

There are several things needing fixing around here.  I was telling Mike of my stove frustration, as one of the burners stopped working, and it seems that the balance of the stove top in uneven....

He diagnosed it, and finally had some time to do the fixing. :)  I had to go and get a part.  So instead of spending big bucks on a new stove, we spent $54.95 and it will be installed tonight! :)
He had a daddy- daughter fishing  date with Miss Alli.  If all goes well, I may be cooking fish tomorrow night!

Thanks Mike!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sisters

I've been wathcing these two girls today just having a good time. :)
They are sisters in every way.
Erika is such a great big sister.  And Alli is a perfect little sister. :)
Alli and Erika
I took these pictures before bedtime tonight, after doing my webinar.  

This Saturday, we are prepared for our 3rd Post Placement Report to be done. Our favorite social worker, "Miss Kathi" will be coming over to check on our progress and write that report.

That means, in a few weeks, we will be headed to Austin, for apostilles, and then on to Houston to pick up Miss Alli's passport from the Russian Embassy.

After this post placement report, we only have one more to do! That will be next year, and then we will be DONE!  YEA!

We have had an eventful month.  There is a lot going on behind the scenes, and I am seeing healing taking place!  We are looking forward to the future with great anticipation!  I will be able to share more later.  But right now, just know, some very good things are happening. :)

Tonight in our webinar, we covered Chapter 4 of "The Connected Child".  It was such a good chapter.
I am so thankful for some of the books I have read.  They do not take the place of real experience, but they are so encouraging!

Alli has had some really great days the last 5 days, and worked through some really tough realities having to do with her past.  She is an amazingly strong, resiliant kid.

And her sisters are AWESOMELY helpful!







A Family Funny for May

Erika has a birthday coming up in less than 3 weeks.  I was going to surprise her with a face book account.  But I wanted to get it all set up, so that when she went to the computer she would have lots of birthday wishes and all her her settings would already be completed for privacy etc.

She just happened to be on the other computer checking her email, while I was "stealthfully" creating her account.  And then, I heard this giggling.  Then more giggling.
And then I figured it out.
Every time I adjusted something or added something, she was getting an email notification!  I forgot about that setting! LOL

I was thinking about making her wait until her birthday.... but since she already knows.....
Happy EARLY birthday Miss Erika!  You are my girl! :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Something Very Special Happened



I blogged a few weeks ago about dropping my camera and breaking it after all those "Be Careful With The Camera!" warnings I gave to the girls.

We didn't just rush out and get a new one.  Instead we waited.  And then last week the mail came.  I recieved a package I was not expecting and everybody was full of anticipation waiting for me to get it opened!  Inside was the note above!
Our friends J and P are in South Dakota right now.  I think of them often.  They are a very sweet family.

So the Lord provided, through them, a very nice  camera so I can take pictures again!

A huge THANK YOU! J and P!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What A Week!


What a week! Or should I say Month!  This has been one of the hardest months.  It has been hard to even blog because of all the disasters.  I have attempted several times, yet it seemed kind of "trivial" to be blogging when there is so much sadness all around us.
The suffering of those who have lost loved ones is palpable.

In the last month we have had the Boston Bombings, The West Texas Explosion and Fire, an F 4 Tornado in Granbury Texas, an F 5 tornado just up North about 3 hours from us.
And more.

We had expected tornados last week also. We were told we were in the Bulls Eye for severe weather, and we prepared.  It didn't happen and we were so thankful.

In the midst of all the external chaos, we have had some chaos at home too.  Our sweetie was struggling and our hearts were breaking for her.  She was struggling with memories and shame of her past.    But God....

Today's sermon was so fitting.  God does not call us to be perfect.  He calls us to believe.  Each wonderful word pierced our sweetie's heart.  She was listening and I could see, just as 2 years ago, when the words spoke to her heart and she wept at her sin. Today, a light went on in her heart once again.  I believe that her reconciling past and present is so very, very close.  Working through grief and confusion regarding one's past is very hard.  Sometimes Chaos comes before peace.  She knows she has us, and the Lord on her side, and she also has a whole host of lovely people; dear friends,  prayer warriors, elders and our sweet social worker Kathi,  lovingly supporting our family regularly in prayer and encouragement!

We decided to tell her that we have successfully made contact with her sweet sister.  She knew her sister had followed us on facebook.  She was a little shocked.  A LOT shocked!  I am not sure how her sister found us, but she did.  I have been praying for this for 2 years and 3 months.

The girls have not spoken directly to each other yet, and we will continue to go about this slowly, for both of their sakes.  I do not want to overwhelm them, or cause them further trauma.  But we will welcome Alli's siblings, whenever they want to reconnect and establish a healthy  relationship,  with open arms and hearts.  She asked tonight.... "Mama, is it ok, if when somebody asks me how many brothers and sisters I have, if I say, I have 7 brothers and 4 sisters?"  I told her yes, that is ok.
She asked, "What if they ask where my other siblings are? "
I told her to tell them she has 2 in Russia and 2 in Oklahoma. :)
That answer seemed to help.

It has got to be so surreal, all the things that have happened to pull them apart.   But God has a plan,
and His plan is always for our good. :)  Alli is resting in this truth.

We went on to have a conversation about life and our histories.
We cannot make our past go away! It is a part of us.  We have to embrace it for what it is; but also embrace the present and the future.

I LOVED what our dear pastor said today about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus's garment.
Jesus said, "Daughter, your faith has made you whole! Go in peace!"
Our pastor said the word is "Shalom!"  "All is right with the world!"
Strongs definition was: Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.
I pray that Alli  can feel that Shalom tonight!   And I pray this for all of my sweet friends and readers.

In the midst of chaos, confusion, disaster, sadness, tragedy and more.....

Shalom!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

1966 Tornadoes

I posted yesterday about the 1966 Tornadoes that hit Hawthorne California when I was in 3rd grade.
Guess what happened??
My 3rd grade teacher saw my blog post and found somehow a link to my churches blog and contacted one of my elders!!!!
She left a face book link and I have sent a friend request!!!!
Is that cool or what? :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Child Hood Memories

The Tornado in Oklahoma reminded me of an experience I had in the third grade.  We lived in Southern California, and on one day in November of 1966, a tornado actually hit our school!
I wound up on the front page of the "Daily Breeze".  When the paper arrived in the morning I remember my mother saying "That is you and Joey!"  Joey was my uncle, one year younger than me.

All of the kids had been picked up, and we were still waiting.  My mom had no idea a tornado had occurred.  We lived just less than a mile from the school, so our power was out and she didn't realize what time it was. 
I remember walking home through debris and danger.... and walking in to my mom shocked....when I said, "There was a tornado that hit our school!"

She left to go and pick up my sisters at their schools.

My classroom is the one on the far right at about 25-30 seconds into the video.   The awning that was an overhang was wound up like a top. I'll never forget that sound.

When the tornado hit, I was sharpening my pencil, and I saw black swirling and then the trees flattened in a split second. Our windows started breaking and our teacher shouted, "Get under your desks NOW!"
It was loud and scary.
I can't imagine going through an F5.  Those poor kids. :(

Monday, May 20, 2013

OUR NEIGHBORS UP NORTH

Please keep our neighbors to the north of us in Moore Oklahoma in your prayers.  Unfortunately, the death toll is climbing and the destruction is unreal. :(

Tomorrow, we face another day of possibly devastating weather.   It seems the storms this week have been unbelievably violent!

We are in the hands of the Lord.

Oh The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus Our Anchor in the Midst of Struggle and Storm

I wanted to write today about personal struggle and the storms we go through in this life; and how in the midst of those struggles and storms, He is there, walking beside us, walking us through them to the end.

I know of many folks in deep distress for varying reasons.  Mothers have lost sons, there are those struggling with terminal illness, and those struggling with health issues that are not terminal.
There are those overwhelmed by the destruction of their families because of divorce, or rebelliousness.  The list of trials in this life is long. And nobody is immune.

We live in a very fallen world, and the effects of that fall surround us.

 
My heart skipped a beat this a.m. when our sweet pastor told us at prayer time of yet another abortion doctor who murdered babies born alive. And this case, here in Texas, may be worse than the case with the man, Gosnell, who was recently convicted of murder!


Sin hurts.  It effects us all deeply. It shakes us to our core. But God.....
It can seem, surreal living in the world, in International Adoption.  Many are called, but few are chosen to walk some paths of life. Some have answered that calling and  gone over seas, bringing  back with them, children, who's lives, sinful man has tried to destroy and eliminate
Not much different than the abortion doctor's work here in the U.S. or the work of Dr. Josef Mengele, in Auschwitz; our children have suffered the unspeakable.  It is hard to speak about it.  It is hard to bear it sometimes. It is surreal.

Our children's lives are changed.  There they were laying there without hope, and now, there is hope.  There is also great damage.  There is emotional damage and  physical damage.  But there is also great joy,  for their future.

When we walk down the street today, our beautiful daughter's beside us, some might see girls with handicaps.  But they will have no idea, that these girls were left in dungeon type dying rooms, left to rot with no hope or respect.  Yet, it seems that both of them, though at times they despaired, had a spiritual depth to them, that was very alive.
Erika often spoke of the Lord visiting her.  I believe her totally!  She bore up under unbelievable conditions, and while she wasn't removed and rescued from those conditions as an infant, she was not alone!  I don't pretend to understand. I just know that the Lord is close to those who suffer.
I can think of several older children who have come home from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and China who lived like Erika did.  Yet, each parent has a precious story of hope and children who have endured much.  And they are so full of love.
God sent a family to get each one of them. 
To be that family is like living a dream, each day, waking to the joy of a child who is living life to the fullest, and wasting no. more. time.

Our God is a God of true Miracles!

Some of us though, live in families where Trauma was not so extreme.....

If you are living in a family situation where a child is stuck in rebelliousness, it hurts.  It causes you to struggle. 
If you are living in fear and doubt.  It hurts terribly and can cause us to despair.
Even Christians can have times of doubt.  One of the best sermons I heard on this was from our pastor Justin.
He said, (christie's translation) :) 
"When a Christian doubts, they will continue to seek the truth until their hearts are satisfied."
But the doubt of the unbeliever , is one that tries to disprove truth. They are not seeking truth, but seeking to disprove what they doubt. Seeking vs. disproving are two very different things.

And still, there is forgiveness.....
In Christ....


 The scripture says that our tears are precious to God.   In Psalm 56:8 it says "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your Bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."

One thing that we share with our Lord, is tears and sorrow.  Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.  He shed tears over Jerusalem; he shed tears on the way to Lazarus's tomb before he raised him from the dead.  He was overcome with emotion.
Jesus understands our sorrows and our grief.

But in Luke 6:21, he said, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh!"

There is comfort.... In Christ.

There is a time to weep.  In Ecclesiastes 3, made famous by a group called "The Birds" when they sang, "To everything sing sing sing" ..... a time to be born a time to die, a time to laugh a time to weep..... 
scripture clearly states there is a correct time to weep. 

But should our weeping be hopeless?    Why are we weeping?  Are we weeping from compassion for others?  Are we weeping because we are feeling sorry for ourselves? Are we weeping because we are not trusting?  Are we weeping because we are angry at our circumstances?

 
I was thinking about the times that Jesus wept.  He wept over Jerusalem, and how they were lost and without a shepherd.  He wept out of compassion for Mary and Martha on the loss of Lazarus, and then He raised him from the dead!  It was not a weeping of hopelessness, it was a weeping of compassion.  He wept in the Garden of Gethsemane.
God wants to bring us comfort and hope.  He does not want us to remain without hope!
God does not want us to live in sorrow.

There is Hope.... In Christ!


Our source of strength comes from Christ!   Jesus bore our sorrow and grief.  He bore our sin upon Himself.
God wants us to walk in Faith and in Victory!

So while there is a season for sorrow, we are not to remain in sorrow.  We should rest in the Lord and rejoice that our sins are forgiven!  We should rejoice with great joy that He walks us through difficult times. 
Our circumstances may not change, but our outlook in Christ can certainly change how we view those circumstances.

There is peace!...... In Christ...


When we know Christ, deep within us, there is an unspeakable joy in the midst of trial.  There is a communing and walking closely with the Lord that sometimes can be had no other way but through trial. 
I remember listening to a speaker about suffering in the churchHe said, "persecution is good for church!" "But don't pray for persecution, it is scary!"   He had been through great persecution, yet in the midst of his fear and sorrow, he was filled with great joy!

There is joy!..... In Christ!

I remember a long time ago flying on a plane with 4 little boys into an unknown future.  It was a fearful and sad time with great stress, yet I remember those years being full of great joy!  The Lord was walking with me and I knew it!

Here I was in the midst of a situation that for the most part was a big fat mess, caused by sin, yet God in His great mercy, had His hand on my family and walked us through that time, bidding me to follow Him; trust HIM.

While I would never want to walk through that period of time again in my life, at the same time, I am thankful for the lessons learned and would not want to avoid that period of time either. There was much value walking through that very, dark valley.


There is Mercy!  In Christ!

As I rejoice in Christ my Savior... I also mourn for those who know not Christ.
His Love is eternal, everlasting, and brings about change in us.....
His Love NEVER Fails... NEVER.. EVER!





Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lake Ready

It is getting closer to that time! Water skiing season is upon us!  We had  a little taste of the water yesterday at a friend's dual birthday party. :)  They rented out a pavillion at the lake and we were able to visit for a while. 

Sarah and Alli tried out the kyaks.  Watching them try to get their paddles going together was pretty funny.
Eventually they got a little bit of rhythm, but they decided single kyaks were easier than sharing one. :)
Those look pretty fun. I'd like to try kyaking myself! 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

One of THOSE Days!

 Have you ever had one of those days where it seems that everything is just not quite right?
Today was that day for me.  The sink clogged up; really clogged up!  It had been slow, but today, it gave up.
Nasty things backed up into the dishwasher, and it all went downhill from there. I was able to clear the dishwasher and plunge everything into the sink by running the garbage disposal and plunge my heart out. :)
Then I got to thinking...... I actually have a dishwasher, and I have running water, and I actually have a garbage disposal!  There are many people who have no such thing; Dishwasher, garbage disposal OR Water! 
According to American standards, we are not wealthy. But according to the world's standards, we are quite wealthy!  I need to remember to keep this in mind on days that are different than what I am used to.
So today, I worked hard to unclog the sink. It is still not unclogged.
  So, to solve my temporary problem, I moved my kitchen into the laundry room.  I haven't noticed for a long while what a lovely laundry room I have.  I am so thankful for my washer and dryer. I press buttons, and my laundry is done for me.  I put clothing in the dryer wet, and an hour later, it is dry, smelling so wonderfully, downy clean!
 I have been blessed beyond measure with a laundry room that is bigger than some folks kitchens!
And my house, according to American standards, is not that big!
I started looking around at my baskets and shelves and then began to think of how blessed I really am; clogged up sink and all!  I have had many of these baskets for years and years; all bought at thrift stores. :)
 I think I need to dust up there!
 So, my sink is clogged, but I have running water, a washer and dryer, lovely baskets, and a husband who will be able to rid me of the clog in the kitchen when he finishes his daddy daughter date with Miss Erika! :)
 Until then.... we are back to using Paper Plates! :)
  Today was really a lovely day.  All of my girls were awesome!  We were able to get many things cleaned and I was able to model to my girls what attitude we should have when things are not quite as we think they should be. :)
Thank you Lord, for a wonderful day!

Did I mention that when I was sweeping my floor that my broom broke? :/


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Anna

Our sweetie is really growing up!  She loves doing fun things with her hair and experimenting with different clothing styles.  At 14, she is a delight to us. 
The last few days she had not been feeling well and I enjoyed snuggling my girl back to health.

I just love being a mom to teenage girls.  I loved being a mom to teenage boys too. :) 
The girls will sometimes gather on my bed and all sit around, just to talk. 

Anna has done an incredible job in school this year.  She has worked hard to overcome some huge obstacles in her learning, and has blown all my expectation out of the water!  Her study habits are at a high school/college level now and I am thrilled to pieces with her decision to push herself and persevere! 
She is studying as soon as she wakes, and before breakfast, and she studies on her own without being asked.  She has developed a system that works well for her, and I am so proud of our sweet heart.

Anna loves the Lord and wants to do well.  She participates in many church activities and is interested in volunteering.

She is a wonderful big sister and especially understands Alli.   She and Sarah and Erika are also very close to each other.  I love watching her snuggle with Erika on occasion.  (This is something that just did not occur in my own family when I was growing up and I find it so precious.)

Anna is very good with animals.  She loves her dog so very much, and spends time teaching her tricks.  

I am still without a camera, so she let me borrow hers for this picture.  :)
She is my lovely Anna.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Yesterday

Yesterday was awesome. :)

It was a time to remember our moms that we miss, and those who are still with us.  It was also a time to receive phone calls from our older children, and even visits. 
Our youngest son Marcus, and his family attended our church yesterday and worshipped together. :)
I was able to snuggle with 6 year old Will and 3 year old Charlie during the main service, and draw Batman and Spiderman figures on the bulletin for them. :)

But when the sermon was on going, our pastor asked, "When we face struggles in life, should we run From God or To Him.  It was rhetorical... but Mr. Will answered it out loud.... "To Him!"  :)

After church and a lovely, much needed nap, after a weekend of book fair events and chess tournaments,  Mike put a new radio in the boat, and started to prepare it for lake time.  We made a nice dinner of Chinese rice, and then our final event was to watch "Beauty and the Beast".   It never gets old. I just adore the music. :)

I talked to my mom and then talked to Dabba.  They are our last 2 moms left. :(  
Dabba sounded just wonderful on the phone. She was full of loving, gracious words.  For those of you who don't know, Dabba is my second mom. She has been in my life since I was 18.  What a lovely legacy of love she has given me and all of her other children.  All of her children are blessed because of her.

I am still not used to not calling our other mom, Lois.   She has been gone from us a few years, and we  miss her. 

Over all, Mother's day was lovely.  A hearty thank you to Mike and the girls and guys for such wonderful expressions of love. The girl's card was so cute.  Inside were 4 little cards and each one had a special note in it from each of the girls. :)  Made my heart so joyful.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Changing The World: Thoughts About Motherhood


Mothers have one of the most important jobs in the world.  The daily routine of changing, washing, feeding, loving , caring for, nurturing, educating, discipling, instructing, correcting and unconditionally loving our children is real! 

For those who are in the thick of infant and toddlerhood, and all the daily "changes"; just remember, with each loving change, you are changing the world.  It may not seem like it now, but trust me, your job is hugely important!

For those who are struggling through each day with children who do not understand your significance in their lives, or who struggle with loving you back;  just remember, with each loving response and each act of unconditional kindness,  you are changing the world.  It may not seem like it now, but trust me, your job is hugely important.

For those mothers who have special children, who may have been given a diagnosis that says your children will not reach their full potential;  just remember, with each  loving touch, with each tube feeding, with each surgery, with each IEP meeting or doctor's visit, or therapy session,  you are changing the world.  It may not seem like it now, but trust me, your job is hugely important.

For those mothers who's children have grown and moved on to have their own lives and are now raising their own families, with each prayer, each encouraging text message, each loving face book post, your are changing the world.  It may not seem like it now, but trust me, your job is hugely important.

The Lord has entrusted us with our children.  He designed us for them.  It is not unimportant, or less than to have the title of "MOM".  Each and every day, with our kind words, our gentle instruction, our loving touch, our faithful giving of ourselves to our children and our lives modeled and rooted in the gospel,  we have great opportunity to change the world.

Happy Mothers Day to all my favorite World Changers!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Book Fair Time


We were gone ALL DAY LONG at the Home school Book Fair.  I love going every year.  It is a wonderful event that happens each year at the Arlington Convention Center on Mother's Day Weekend.  It is one of the biggest book fairs in the nation.  Around 7,000 plus people attend each year.  It is located right across from Six Flags of Texas, and the Arlington Ball Park.   Some folks stay in the local hotel and attend Six Flags too. 

The girlies love to attend and volunteer.  Today Anna and Erika volunteered in the check room, where people drop off merchandise they have purchased so they don't have to carry it all day long. 
Alli and Sarah volunteered being "Runners".  They have a really important job.  They go to each vendor asking if they need anything.  They worked the Lunch Hour, so they were busy running to get food for many, many vendors! 
They also received tips! 
I worked in the New Comer's registration area. 

We purchased some of our curriculum for next year, and will most likely finish up tomorrow.
However, the highlight for tomorrow will be when Sarah competes in the annual Chess Tournament.
She is so excited.  She has been practicing with me all week.  I am not really good competition.  So today, she practiced playing with other kids when she wasn't working.

Oh how I wish I had a camera to take pictures. :/ 

Anna has graciously said I can use her camera if I like.  My camera, which I broke the other day, is hopelessly broken. :(  It would cost too much to fix it. 

So I might take her up on her offer, so that I can get photos of Sarah playing chess. :)





Thursday, May 9, 2013

A New Form Of Exercise




This is interesting! :)  Walking on the ceiling!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Angry Episodes and Impulse Control Issues

Fatcat asked a couple of good questions, that I would like to answer if I can.

She asked,  "How do you coach a child through an angry episode?"  And, "How do you deal with impulse control issues."

For both of those.... "VERY CAREFULLY!"

When a child is angry and has impulse control issues, things can become quite volatile quickly!

The best thing you can do is have a tool box ready for you and for your child that has ample tools to choose from! 
The tool box has been the best thing we have ever used and we have been using it for nearly 10 years when our first daughter came home.


The key is teaching them to use tools when they are calm to prepare them for when they become dysregulated.

One of Alli's favorites is the "magic mustache", and "deep breathing with mom".  With the magic mustache, you press between your upper lip and nose and it has a calming effect on the brain.  Deep breathing can put you in rhythm together and gets extra oxygen to the brain to help a person calm down. 

We had a bit of an interesting week over here with the perfect storm happening that I blogged about several days ago.  Things have calmed, but it was not an easy time for any of us. 
Children from Trauma backgrounds can get stuck, or in a rut, and sometimes it is hard to help them out of that place. 
If we don't carefully differentiate between focusing on behavior, vs. helping a child through a crisis, it can be nearly impossible to help our children out of dysregulation.  It is easy to forget this. It is also costly. A child as well as a parent can get stuck in what is called, "A negative feedback loop".  Negativity feeding off of itself will not bring about regulation, ever.

I learned a few things in the last 2 weeks, that I would like to share. 
Communication problems become even more complex when a child is dysregulated.  If English is not a first language and communication seems ok when regulated, this will not be the case when they are dysregulated. All complex thinking goes out the window!  Even for children who are native English speakers, dysregulation causes a shut down when using words to communicate.

Last week, Alli said,  "All I'm hearing is blah, blah, blah!" 
While disrespectful, there was a message in there for me to pay attention to....
And I didn't. 
Instead, I focused on the disrespect, (which DOES need to be dealt with in the right time)  but I focused on it, using more words! Duh
I was focusing on the behavior and not the child.  This is the hardest concept of all, in my opinion to understand.  If we zero in on the behavior, we are looking at a "symptom" and not a "root".
Our kids know that they have struggles.  They understand that they are out of line.  They really don't need us to point that out to them. 
Many times they are so filled with shame,  having somebody point out an obvious wrong, tips the already full, bucket over.

So the dysregulated child who already told me I was using too many words,  shut down!
It wasn't until my sweet husband said, "You are talking too much."  "Keep it simple."
He was right. 
I was being kind, I was being gentle, and I was talking too much which was causing her more frustration. I was also focusing on a behavior and not what was behind the behavior.

I love it that Mike and I can be a team together.  Sometimes he can point out the obvious that I don't see, being in the moment all the time.
I needed a fresh perspective, and my dear husband was able to provide that for me.

I was reminded of this scene for Amadeus:
Instead of "Too Many Notes", it was "Too many words!" :)

Rubbing a person's back and simply being present, is helpful. Waiting for a child to calm themselves and then just sitting with them can help them be calm faster.

There is always time to talk when you are not "in the moment". 

Our youngest daughter does have impulse control issues when she is dysregulated.  It takes time to work through them. She has been home just 2 years, but has made great strides in this area. 
When I see her headed to dysregulation, getting her focused on art work seems to be the most calming for her, or just being present.   But being present does not necessarily mean holding or touching.  Just being in the same room.  I have learned to read her body language pretty well and can tell when she is ready to snuggle and when she isn't.

I remember in training with Heather Forbes and  Eric Guy, they talked about a situation where a young man was being restrained by about 6 people in a psychiatric Unit.  Eric was there to see him.
He requested that everybody leave the room and allow him to try something different.

He went into a room where a young man was totally out of control, sat down, but didn't make eye contact.  The young man stopped, came and sat down near him, and when Eric asked a simple question like, "How are you doing?"  The young man broke into tears and calmed down.

His point was, it doesn't need to  take 5 people to tackle somebody and force them into compliance.
If a situation escalates into restraining or force, we have gotten off of the boat somewhere and are dealing with more than just the other person's issue. 

Those words have resonated with me for the last 4 years since I took that training course.  I wish I would have remembered them last week! LOL

There is a lot of talk about "Mandela's" right now.  I don't have a clue why they are called "Mandelas", but saw a picture of one, and found that the art books we have are very similar to those.   They are complicated designs that the girls enjoy coloring. 
One book  I have is called "Images: The Ultimate Coloring Experience" by Roger Burrows.  We have several complicated coloring books, not meant for small children.  I really like Burrow's book though.
I need to get more. :)

Just like us, our kids will never stop learning. And I find this to be very encouraging.  Oh how I wish trauma didn't exist.  But it does, and it is real.  Those of us with children from hard places, live such different lives and realities from typical families. 
I have been a mother in both situations, raising 4 boys and now 4 girls. 

Trauma doesn't go away. It does color a person's perception of reality. 
Helping them understand ways to cope and move through a stress is a challenge, but so very rewarding when we see them succeed! 
Gently, carefully, with great compassion and precision, like a surgeon of the heart, describes the kind of parenting our kids need.

As the children grow and learn, trauma becomes less and less of a trigger, and life skills take over. It is the time in between that can be so hard on parents.

It is important to do our best to take care of ourselves, so we can take care of our children.

I am so thankful for all of the things we have learned through parenting our kids.    I am thankful that our sweetie is back to regulation and love.  She never ceases to amaze me. I have no doubt in my mind that she is going to do wonderful things when she grows up. 

And then..... I tripped and broke my camera.
dang.






Saturday, May 4, 2013

Raccoons!

 Our neighbors have a pest control business.  Here were two recent pests that had to be removed from a wall inside of somebody's house.  They are now making their home next door.
They  still need a mama, and there are plenty of mama's around to help! :)






What a fun experience!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Peering Over The Edge


In my
last post,<---(linked) I wrote about why traumatized children cling to chaos.  Today, I'd like to write a little bit more about our experience this past week.  It was a journey into chaos and the journey back out.  Please join me. :)

As many who read my blog know, our newest daughter, home 2 years and 2 months, came to us through some very difficult circumstances.  She was full of fear, anger, resentment, misunderstanding, and much more when she came into our lives.  We know that the Lord called us to bring our darling home, and and that He also promises to walk with us as we trust Him.  And walk with us He has!



As I write this, my girls are getting ready for Friday Night at the Movies.   They are laughing and cheerful.
This was not the case much of this week.  Instead, chaos came to visit, and tried to stay.  It would have been easy to allow it, or join in by buying into fear, buying into the negativity of trauma, and doubting that healing really does take place. It would have been easy to say, kids with this much trauma can't heal, or obvious FASD issues make healing futile.  Those are lies.



As I have said before in other posts, when somebody takes many steps backwards, they are getting ready to lunge forwards in healing.
But why the downward spiral?  I touched on some of this yesterday, but would like paint a clearer picture. 



I know that our sweetie has seen the "Grand Canyon".  Not the real Grand Canyon, but,  if the Grand Canyon could represent all that is wonderful and right about the world she lives in, and all that will be wonderful and right about her future.... she has peered over the cliff and seen it.


Getting there has been hard work, and that was just the rim.  Getting a glimpse of the canyon, was a fearful experience for her. Why?
The reason is, because even in the world of normal, problems are still there.  Bad things still happen to people, and there are hard things to solve.  We learn to walk through them,  and conquer them.
She chose  to cling to the old familiar.... chaos..
This past week, a perfect storm brewed and came to a head.  As our social worker Kathi put it,


"This sounds like the perfect storm of hope, fear, anger, need, and trauma. It is all that Purvis and Post and Forbes talk about in one huge dose."
    And she was right.

It was a huge dose.  But remembering to stay present, stay calm, presenting a united front (tidal wave) of unconditional love brought the Perfect Storm to a halt!   I love the words of Christ in Scripture when he calms the stormy sea, "Peace! Be Still!".

We rested last night, and made some plans to bring our sweetie closer for a little while.  That means, going back to a more therapeutic parenting style, as some of her fears have returned.  The explosions in Texas and the Bombings in Boston had a huge effect on her fear level.  To a child with a trauma background, it can feel like their entire world is collapsing.
The memories of the past rushed in and reared their ugly head and before we knew it, she was a big mass of anger and fear.

Many do not get that an angry child is a fearful child.  If we only dealt with the obvious anger and not the root of what was causing it, it would be like pulling the top of a weed off and expecting it not to come back.

Instead, we addressed the entire problem.  But we had to start from a place of love in ourselves, not fear of the future or what may happen.


It is hard to look past the behaviors into the root cause.  But there is peace there. And in being at peace, we can help our children who are suffering, through a crisis.


Today, our sweetie is doing really well. We have definitely made her world smaller and will continue on that trajectory for the forseeable future, until she feels completely safe once again. She is relaxing in our love for her, and in our conversations, she fully understands that the life she can have, living in a healthy, peaceful way, is attainable!


 It doesn't mean the past never happened, it just means that how you interpret it, and deal with it, comes from a strength within that will turn all things into life lessons to achieve something better.

You don't have to let your past dictate your future. 
And you don't have to let your fears overcome you and rule over you. These are the lessons we learned this week.


We also were reminded in a very practical way, that LOVE NEVER FAILS, and love never gives up. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever!
I can see her hiking in that Canyon someday, with great confidence. :)



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why The Traumatized Child Clings to Chaos

For the child of trauma, chaos is their normal.  It can be very frightening to find out that your entire life before, was not normal, even if you didn't like it, or were fearful of it.

Obviously, a child will be relieved in some ways to be away from abusive people in their lives, however,  the imprint on their little hearts and brains is not so easily erased. 
Many of them suffer unspeakable nightmares, confused feelings, anger, aggression and more.

As healing begins to take place, it is also outside of their known "comfort zone".  Having to relate to a parent in a healthy way can be a stress trigger. 
Why?  Because it puts them in a place of vulnerability, and they are afraid to trust, ever again.

It is hard work, to switch that world around to where chaos is not comfortable.  The thing is, they don't necessarily like chaos. It causes obvious pain. :(   But it is a place that they are used to.

Imagine if going on vacation was more stressful than an 80 hour work week under a slave boss!
This is what it is like for our kids.  They sometimes feel safer with the trauma.

Working through this over the last several years with our girls has given us an understanding we could never get from a book. :)  When we see our girls headed towards chaos, we know that they are overloaded and instead of doing the obvious (to us) speaking kindly, saying "I'm stressed"..... they might act out with old behaviors.  Or, even go back and dwell on the past, which digs up all sorts of trauma memories. 
They can cling to their old troubles like a toddler holds a favorite blanket. 

We don't want them to find unhealthy comfort in the past, but  comfort  in the now, and in the future!  Comfort is in having loving parents, a good and decent home, healthy relationships and in forgiveness.
But with forgiveness, just like us, they have to face some things in themselves.  It is hard work!  And they can get tired.

Last night, we experienced a set back with Alli.  She was full steam ahead going in the wrong direction!  Anniversary time is here.  Memories have been flooding in, and she continues to worry about her biological brother and sister.  We intercepted her and stayed attuned to her, staying in the present and not falling into fear. She shared her fears with us after a slammed door, refusing to come off of her bed, and some hurtful words and actions,  all in about 15 minutes.... and then we were able to calmly talk, snuggle and reconcile.
Today, she had her toolbox out and was ready to use any tool that would work. :)
Tonight, was even better.  She was able to attend youth group with her sisters with no problem!

I am so thankful for our sweet girl.  She is trying HARD to heal and do what is right.  Sometimes she gets stuck....That is ok. :)
I look forward to the day, and it will come, when she clings to her savior and not old habits.  There will be a day when she no longer clings to chaos when she is stressed, but clings to what is right and positive!
That day will come, I am sure of it.
In the process, I am refined.

(For those of you with children who come from hard backgrounds, keeping a blog or journal is so helpful! (you can keep it private!) You can go back and re read what you wrote and be reminded of things that happened at the very same time the year before!  Many of the memories Alli has been experiencing, she experienced last year at this very same time.  The year before, she couldn't really verbalize..... I find the record keeping very helpful and insightful.)


LOW TECH

Rice flour, almond meal flour, and other flours for the gluten free family can be quite expensive.
I brought out my old grain mill from years ago and carefully decontaminated the grinding stones.
And as soon as we find a permanent place for our mill, we will be grinding our own flour once again, and gaining muscles in the process! :)

You Are Still Holy

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