Saturday, November 3, 2018

Why It's Okay to Cry in a Barber Shop.

We started the day driving into the sunshine to get our son.  Three hours, just the three of us. Off campus.  Our hearts were anxious and that took many forms. 

The day started with lots of hugs- he was so excited to see us. We signed in, went over his goals, he recited the safety plan, we signed our release, got his medication and excitedly the three of us walked out of the locked doors.  

We were not sure what to do with our three hours- it was a bit awkward.  We hadn't been alone with him, just Mom, Dad and son in many months.  

Elijah- his smile slays me 

He wanted a haircut.  

We googled a barber and went blindly into the shop trusting they would do a good job.  It was an odd mixture of decor, and the one barber was not in any hurry.  His one customer before us took nearly an hour. I'm not exactly sure what took so long, but in the waiting Elijah and I had some one-on-one time. Rex ran to get some Kleenex- 'cause it is that time of year. 

We looked at some pictures on my phone, a video of Penelope and Silas, Halloween pictures and then he swiped left to the Mother's Day card picture.  He began to tell me how he remembered drawing that picture and what he was thinking when he drew it.  I told him I had blogged about the card recently in my recent blog post "Common" (you can read it by clicking here). 

He read part of the post, I read part and he began to tear up.  We talked openly about the hard of all of this.  I assured him that this isn't just his fault; we are all healing from the chaos and unhealthy that had become our normal.  He wrapped his arms around me and said “I love you Mom” and we cried.  

Elijah & me 

Together, in that strange barber shop, and then we smiled and chuckled because neither of us had expected that tender conversation in such an odd setting. 

That was the first of many tears on this beautiful hard day.

Eventually, after checking out Elijah’s abs, hearing more about his growing love for football, laughing about the normal boy stuff that follows a teenager wherever he goes, the barber was ready for Elijah.

Undivided Attention 
Sporting his new haircut 

At his request, we grabbed an early lunch at Chik-fil-A and we continued some difficult conversations.  And we saw even more glimpses of progress.  He is beginning to own his actions. Identify areas for change and honestly tell us what his biggest concerns about coming home are.  And he listened as we told him ours, tried to push him a little bit to see if he could handle the pressure and make it clear what will never be allowed in our home again. 

And over Sweet Tea and his spicy chicken sandwich he has been craving…we watched our formerly angry, rude, hateful, inconsiderate and uncaring son stop and think, listen and talk in a conversational way, almost surprised by some of the memories of the year leading up to Grafton and his acceptance of the ugly while offering his own observation he isn’t quiet ready.  We want him to understand that this isn’t his fault, but it is his control to not let it define who he is anymore.

Elijah enjoying his Sweet Tea 

Elijah & Rex leaving Chik-Fil-A

Elijah and me today at Apple Blossom Mall, Winchester, VA 

I get mad when I think about all my son lived through before I ever met him; and how that trauma affected his brain.  In Psychology Today, 
What is Developmental Trauma we are told about how the brain develops from the bottom upwards.  Lower parts of the brain are responsible for executive functions- making sense of our experiences and exercising moral judgements.  The upper parts of the brain can't develop correctly, like a ladder from bottom up when stress, neglect or abuse is activated over time in infants and toddlers, and the sequential development of the brain is disturbed.  With missing foundational steps, things get out of kilter.  Developmental trauma, or Reactive Attachment disorder can then manifest in a variety of ways.  Even Elijah is beginning to understand this, and that he is where he needs to be- where there are people, trained to help him work through the trauma, the triggers and help him develop plans for success.

After eating, Elijah called Penelope.  They love each other so much, and miss each other like crazy.  She doesn’t understand she just knows he is getting better.  So, in between the giggles and smiles she always asks, “are you almost home” and today she added, “because I want to be your best friend.” Rex and I dripped tears listening to them talk. 

FaceTiming with Penelope, she may be his biggest fan :) 

As we neared Grafton, Elijah asked if he could listen to a couple of songs. Take Another Step , and Finish What He Started , both by Stephen Curtis Chapman.  In 2014, I played these songs almost every day.  The fact he remembered them and asked to hear them shows a bit of connection and Rex and I knew that was huge. 

The familiar music started to play and I reached my arm to the backseat, the way I have since all my babies were little. Whether it was rubbing a cheek, finding a pacifier, handing them a drink, or just holding their hand it was always in some way to comfort them. 

It was instinct today and as he tightened his fingers around my hand to the beat of the music we all felt the mood change when Elijah stopped singing along and started crying.  

This is hard y'all. 
We all knew what had to be.

We parked and sat in the car- Rex holding Elijah's face as the song finished. I looked at my son and told him again, God isn’t finished! The story isn’t over. Yes, this is hard. But if we quit now, if we scoop him up and bring him home, then we give in and lose out on the ending that gives other families like ours hope and gives God the glory.

God is healing our hearts.  We know, because leaving him here as an angry kid was so much easier than leaving him here today, as our hurting child. 

Signing him back in 

Today, we did the harder thing.  

If you have followed our story, you have no doubt picked up on the range of our emotions as we navigate these unknown waters. We are all over the place and have even questioned our ability to take another step. We have wondered if we should quit- if we can keep doing the hard and can he? 

But we won't quit because he is our son and we love him. As long as there is a glimmer of hope we will keep bouncing all over the map. 

This is what childhood trauma looks like- the reality of Reactive Attachment Disorder. And the family that loves through the beautiful hard of it all; and today we are reminded and are clinging to knowing that God will finish what He has started in our son.

Happy Saturday y'all! 


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Common... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Mother's Day...why am I talking about it in October?  Well, sweet cards from our children on Mother's Day is common, right?

I finally got my home office desk cleared off.  It may not seem like a big deal, but when I could see it from the disappearing piles, I realized my calendar was stuck here..

That's when I started to stop being able to care. Care for me. Care about my angry son. Care about bills. Care about most everything. Or at least being able to force my body and brain to work together to appear that I cared.  Care giving is tough; Care giving for yourself is sometimes tougher so if you can identify with what I'm saying, at least you know that you are not alone.

I opened the card. He was not at home this past Mother's Day; he was in the hospital for acute mental health needs. I guess he brought it home with his discharge papers, and I'm sure I knew about the card, but if I had read it before, I hadn't cared.  Too hurt. Too tired. Too angry. Too scared. Too done with the day to day trauma momma-ing to believe what was written on green construction paper.

10.23.06 just a common day, until the phone call.  Those little brown babes crashed into our world like a rocket coming back to earth and when they did, they brought with them needs that were anything but common.  Twelve years today- 12!  We've been loving and learning our sons. God trusted us with this job, one that I'm finally allowing myself to believe was for us, and us alone.

Our middle son is currently living in a psychiatric residential treatment facility. For twelve years he has battled the affects of early trauma. We had our weekly family call today. It started with him telling me about a frustrating interaction. But, he listened as I talked him through what for most people would be a common parenting moment. For us, it was definitely not common. He let me give instruction and even said "Mom, you're right." After I picked my jaw up off of the floor, we continued to talk about some baby steps of progress. 

We are desperately praying for progress, but then when we hear examples of it - I fear it. 

I went downstairs after the call and noticed another sign on our wall.  

And I really saw it today; my boys are the people.

Help me Lord, to see the best in him, forgive the worst, forget the bad we live through and know that you, you God, is where my faith and hope is.    

So, on this 12th anniversary of our boys becoming part of us, I'm choosing to celebrate both the common, and the uncommon part of adoption, attachment and trauma and the joy that we could have missed, and sometimes still do when our eyes, heart, mind and soul are focused on the wrong things. 

Elijah and Isaiah- you are so loved! 
Happy Tuesday y'all.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pray... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Pray without ceasing.

I heard it when I was young. My earliest memories are of being in church, usually three times a week. Unless there was a revival, then we were there every night.

I knew prayer was a real thing. Talking to God was available to me. But at that time, I thought in order to pray, I had to bow my head and close my eyes.  I remember kneeling beside my bed at night to say prayers. We didn't pray in bed because we might fall asleep.

How do you pray without ceasing if you have to close your eyes to pray? I wondered and tried to understand.

It was so freeing for me, to learn that I could pray at my kitchen window. Driving down the road. In the bathroom. At my desk at work. At the bedside of a dying friend. Sitting in the floor, straddling my young son's beds hand in hand with each of them, pulling me tight like Stretch Armstrong, begging God for them to sleep so I could.

Learning this brought praying without ceasing to life- it was no longer reserved for the altar call at church but a conversation I could have all day everyday.  And now, when someone asks me to pray for them, I can, and often do right then.

Don't get me wrong- there is something special about the reverence to God in that humbled position on our knees, He is so deserving of our respect. And when I can't get any lower than my face buried in the carpet crying out to Jesus, I feel closest to my Savior. Those prayers are life changing because they drain me of everything that is me.

I often pray in bed now...and even fall asleep sometimes pouring my heart out to the one who is always listening.  As parents, don't we love it when our children fall asleep on our chest, in our arms.  They are so comfortable and safe they drift off, often in spite of the noise or chaos happening around them.

Do you think our Father loves it when we are so comfortable with Him that we doze off in His presence? Even when the noise and chaos of life is happening around us. I like to think so.

I'm sure many of you, like me, have discovered that prayer is more than just a thing to do, it has become my lifeline-infertility, breast cancer, and trauma parenting are a few of the unexpected stops in my journey that have taken me to my knees- eyes open wide praying for guidance, grace, mercy and healing and just telling God what He already knows.  Some answers I received loud and clear immediately, some answers came after fourteen years of praying and some I'm still waiting on.

But this I know, praying without ceasing is a blessing. It allows us to storm heaven on behalf of others when sometimes, there is simply nothing else we can do.  And oh my goodness how thankful my family is for the prayers we know have been lifted up for us.

Rex, me, Elijah and Isaiah
10.16.18 - first time we've all been together in months 

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 
The Message, I Thessalonians 5:15- 18

So keep praying, even if you fall asleep in the arms of the one who has the answers.  Don't have the answers yet? We still have much to be joyful and thankful for.

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Door... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Do you have a phobia/fear from being a kid?  I do and it drives my husband crazy.

I hate closed doors.

I remember one time when we were young kids, visiting family friends in another state. My entire family slept in the same room and my brother, sister and I slept on the floor.  I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and because the door was shut, the room was pitch black. It took me forever crawling around that room trying to feel for the handle. By the time I got the door open I was sure the room had closed completely in on me. Don't you know it, I left that door cracked when I crawled back to my place on the floor.

When we were kids, the last thing my parents did when we went to bed at night was close our door. I hated it. Immediately I felt cut off and far away from them. I can't explain it, like most fear it doesn't make sense, but it sure is scary for me. I need to know what is happening or who might be on the other side of the door.

Rex and I have slept with our bedroom door open since our wedding night. I can definitely say it is one thing he has given on, because I know many times, especially when we have guests, that he really, really wants that door shut.  For me, even with guests I'm gonna leave it cracked- even just a little- but enough to convince myself it is open.

I know it is silly.

Doors in our family get a lot of attention, especially the slamming of them.
Drives this momma up the wall.

I could live with that until the slamming turned to locking which became a problem for us not knowing whether or not our son was safe on the other side.  If you've parented kids with self-harm threats, you understand the panic this can create, especially when they do not respond when you talk to them.

Doors take a beating in our family.

When Shayne was a baby he kept climbing out of his crib at ten months old, but wouldn't stay in a toddler bed- he would lay down behind his door and fall asleep. Every time we would check on him, we would wake him up. We solved the problem by cutting an entire panel out of his bedroom door so we could keep him in his room at the top of stairs; but still see him.  We got really good a dropping a blanket through that hole so he would be warm in his favorite sleeping spot.

We have sawed locks and handles off of bedroom doors to make sure our son, who had locked himself in, hadn't done something really stupid.

And our recent favorite is just taking the entire door down. I've drug that dumb door to the attic more than once.  It serves as a reminder to angry boys that doors are a privilege, not a right.

With all of this talk about about not shutting doors, I need to tell you that I do appreciate a locked external door.  Because that door locked up serves the same purpose in keeping unwanted people out.

I guess my fear and my comfort just depends on which side of the door I'm on.

Happy Thursday y'all. Check your doors.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Are you a How? or How! thinker?

I often want to know how something happened.  I'm a curious one.  Actually, I'm a secret Crime Scene Investigator wanna-be. When I hear breaking news, I'm quick to start searching for details on how the thing happened. I put the pieces together in my head and have it all figured out. I'm right about 40% of the time, which is why it is good that I do Marketing and not CSI for income.

I get frustrated when I can't explain the how. Are you like that too?

I'm sure at some point in your life, you have heard people ask how on earth do you___________? I'm willing to bet, you have even thought or asked it yourself. 

It's a question that comes up when we witness people doing something that seems hard. Exhausting. Something that requires energy and effort that seems beyond normal. Caregivers - parents with Alzheimers, spouses with ALS, children with cancer.  Missionaries thriving in environments and cultures that collide with American privilege.

How? do they do it.

Maybe it's just their love and dedication. Commitment or obedience.  I can't say for sure, but I would be willing to offer the How! has something to do with faith and finding strength from God and not themselves. 

Yes, God's love and His commitment to us, in our obedience to Him is how on earth we ________________.

Happy Wednesday y'all!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Comfort... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Sitting in my rocking chair next to an outdoor fire
Warm sunshine touching my face or watching it shining through the trees
Hot coffee in my hands on a cool morning
Swinging in the afternoon, just because I can
A hot bubble bath
A blanket and snuggling with my family on a Sunday afternoon
The way my grandkids light up when they see me
Listening to the ocean waves crash

Comfort food
Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Chicken casserole and macaroni and cheese
My momma's mashed potatoes

By prayers and support when there is a death of someone precious and dear
With extra help during recovery after surgeries
When my people show up and listen... they may not have the answers, but love me anyway
When my husband holds my hand, puts his arm around me or just holds me
When my adult son and DIL offer hugs just because 


Happy Monday y'all!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

HOPE... 31 days of five minute free writing.


If you asked me what one of my favorite things God gave me was, I would say hope. 

I don't do tattoos, but if I did, it would simply be the word Hope, with a sunflower.

Hope is everything.  Right?

About four months ago, I hit a low.  Trauma Momma parenting caught up to me. Major depression, anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD symptoms became my norm.  At the same time we were making decisions to bring chaos to order and safety to our family, resulting in our middle son being admitted to Psychiatric Residential Treatment. 

At that time, it felt like hope was gone. I couldn't grasp it, because everything was so dark and heavy and scary. I struggled with defining reality vs. hope.  I was looking for hope from the physicians, therapists and teachers, etc.  I wanted them to assure me things will be okay.

We are adjusting to living day-to-day with our son living his somewhere else. The days for me aren't as dark as they were a few months ago. We are functioning as a family much better. But, we still ache for a child who himself can't seem to grasp hope.

As much as we hope and continue to pray for a miracle we get slapped with reality.  Like Friday, the phone call advising of his choices that are so familiar yet unhealthy.  It would be easy for hope to come and go based on circumstances. Except...

My hope is in Christ alone. He promised to never leave me. If he is with me always then my hope can't be gone. 

On a recent visit with our son, my husband and I went to kill some time at the local mall.  We had left him earlier that day thinking we might be seeing tiny steps of progress.  So, when I saw this sign it seemed like it was there just for me. 

Both of these signs hang on the walls of our home. As reminders.
We need hope, but we need to know where our hope is found.

Got hope? If not, I know where you can find it.

Happy Sunday y'all!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Belong... 31 days of five minute free writing.

You don't belong here. Get out. 
Ever heard that before?

It can be devastating when we feel like we do not belong. As humans, we seek to belong (be a part of; to have the proper qualifications) and being rejected can be difficult and painful. 

Many organizations require us to meet certain criteria to belong- good credit, integrity, dependable, etc.  Or we have to agree to to adhere to specific rules. Belonging depends on our worthiness. 

There is a song that became important in our family a few years ago when we were trying to get our son to understand that he did in fact belong in our family.  And more importantly, he belonged in God's family. 

The song says 
You're never too broken to belong 
Never too wounded never too far gone
When you find Jesus you find you're home
And you're never too broken to belong

You can listen to Gold City sing it here.

Isn't that beautiful to a broken soul? 
No criteria to meet.  No rules to follow. 

We are part of God's family because we have the proper qualification- Jesus. And He will never, never, ever tell you to get out.  

Happy Saturday y'all! 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Share... 31 days of five minute free writing.

You have to share.  Be nice and share.

I hated hearing those words when I was little.  I shared a room.  I shared a bed.  I was taught (forced) to share everything.

Most kids hate to share don't they? Often, one of the first words a toddler learns is "mine" and we watch little ones grab and take from each other.  I get it, for a long time in our early marriage we worked so hard to have anything, that the thought of sharing it was scary.  If I share then I might do without.

Now that I am adult, I get annoyed really quickly when I see a lack of sharing. If I'm organizing an event, it's usually a bring and share event, which I prefer over the ones where it's you bring for your family and I bring for mine.

Inevitably, other people sometimes have things we want, or maybe just something we would like to try that we just hadn't thought about but we're scared to try it. When people share with me, often it becomes something I purchase or use regularly because it worked. Or tasted good. Or brought joy, like a game, or tent for a camping trip, etc. Sharing what we have can help others know what they want.

Not sharing is part of our nature, it has to be taught and exampled out of us. Which is why many parents start with the little ones, telling them to share and that "mine" isn't nice.

One of the ways I've learned to share through the years was by example. My in-laws were great and welcoming people in and offering whatever they had.  Rex and I benefited often from their generosity and led us to our own "open fridge" policy in our house. If we have it, you are welcome to it. That doesn't always sit well with my kids, especially when a guest wants the last Gatorade, or Little Debbie; but we want to be giving and try to teach our kids to do the same. That doesn't mean we don't have many conversations daily about sharing, because it can, at times feel intrusive and scary for our kids.

As Jesus followers, we should share so much more than our Diet Coke and fried chicken.  Sharing our faith can be life-changing for others. I'm not talking about telling our family, coworkers and friends, even strangers, what their faults are and declaring they are hell bound. I'm talking about simply sharing, in conversation, invitations and interactions each and every day in our own lives, by sharing our story. Our people sharing their lives with us and our lives with them has carried us through some pretty ugly days. There is a saying- double the joy and half the sorrow, when both are shared.

We have a great hope in Jesus, let's share it. And keep sharing the chicken :)

Happy Friday y'all!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Why... 31 days of five minute free writing.


do I get a different look with hot curlers on different days, when I curl my hair the same way every time?
does only one sock disappear between the washer and dryer and not both?
can I carry my cell phone in my hand to not miss an important call, and never hear it ring?
does the dog need to go out as soon as I sit down?
does climbing stairs make me breathe heavy but digging holes in the yard and hauling dirt does not?
does the person zooming past me on the interstate going >80 mph not get the ticket, but I do for going 15 over?
does hotel coffee never taste as good as home brewed?
can two people eat the same things and one gain weight and one lose?
does time on the weekend go by faster than time during a work day?
can my toddler grandchild figure out the iPhone quicker than me?
does the same pair of shoes only rub a blister on one foot?
do I cut my own bangs again, when I know how terrible it will turn out?

There are a million why's, aren't there? Just start answering a three-year when they ask you a question.  Any question.  With every answer, there is another why? Eventually, they can why you right out of answers and you end it with Because. 

Some of our why questions are silly, like the ones above. And some of our why's are serious and sad and come from a place of hurt and even anger. Some have logical, scientific answers and for others, there isn't an explanation.

The answers to some of our questions won't be answered here. Or with science. 
So instead of solving the why, I ask you to consider...

Why not?

Happy Thursday y'all!

For more perspectives on why follow the link below.

        Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Believe... 31 days of five minute free writing.

Just because I believe it, doesn't make it true.
And when true, even if I don't believe, is still true.

Believing doesn't change truth.
Believing changes me.

One of my favorite verses when we were going through infertility was in Mark 9:24, where the desperate Daddy said to Jesus, I do believe - help my unbelief.

This is me. Everyday. Always.

I want to believe so much that mountains move. But that ugly friend, unbelief shows up and I get all confused when Jesus said everything is possible for the one who believes.  And it is so tempting to fall into the thought that I hold the power of if I believe hard enough I can change what is true.  Like God ordered our days before we were born and He is in control of all things. Not me. So, I find peace in knowing that what is true, God's sovereign plan, is not shaken.  It is true, whether I believe it or not.

So, when someone I love desperately dies from an ugly disease, the pressure is not on my lack of faith in believing; but knowing God's plan is greater.  Even when I cannot come close to understanding it here.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God and in His name is power.
I believe God is the Father, who always was and always will be.
I believe the Holy Spirit comforts me, helps me, and goes to God with my hearts cry when I can't make sense of it.
I believe these Three are one.
I believe Jesus is coming back.

Believing doesn't change truth.
Believing changes me.

Happy Wednesday y'all!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Afraid... 31 days of five minute free writing.


For as long as I can remember, I took these words as a commandment.  Like DO NOT KILL, HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME.  The words felt harsh to me.

On September 20, I was in a meeting and was summoned by one of our HR Staff.  "There's been an accident with one of your sons" she said.  My husband was at the front reception office, visibly shaken and all I got out of him was "we have to go, now, Shayne's been shot with a bow".

Shayne is my firstborn.  I've seen him hunt and kill with that bow since he was a young teen.  Y'all, I was afraid. I had to tell my body to breathe, and my heart to beat.  It was about 7-10 minutes as we hurried toward my son and his family, before I learned he had been shot in the hand.  I calmed a little, knowing he would probably not die on this day, but I couldn't immediately calm my fear.  It was a terrible accident that caused him great pain and there were many what ifs over the next several days.  He is okay, but with scars he will bear for the rest of his life.

Over the last weeks, I've thought much about being afraid.  I'm afraid when my husband is away overnight.  I'm afraid when I sign papers admitting my son for care that we cannot give. I'm afraid when the phone rings at hours it isn't supposed too with almost always sad news. I'm afraid that depression will last forever. I'm afraid that I am not living up to the calling God has given me.

But, what if...what if DO NOT FEAR, is supposed read, (insert soothing voice from our Daddy)

Oh sweet child of mine, don't be afraid.  I am here with you. I won't leave you alone and you don't have to put your big girl panties on.  You just be, in me.  I'll carry you, scars and all. 

We all get afraid.  But we don't have to live in fear.

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Story... 31 days of five minute free writing.

I tell him all the time, this is just part of your story.

It isn't the end.  And it isn't the beginning.  It's just a part of it.  For him, the pages are long and exhausting and full of hard that we know as Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Because his story is so trauma filled, our story is too.  Our stories have a ripple affect on the people around us.  

He called me a couple of weeks ago from the Residential Facility where he currently lives. He was telling me about some unkind comments that had been made to him that day.  The peer told him that because he was adopted, he was probably unwanted.  I reminded him that wasn't true.  We confirmed to each other that God created him and he was most certainly wanted.  Then he asked,  "did God know I would be this way".  

This way.  I knew what he meant.  Inside my gorgeous kid with a huge smile is so much hurt and anger and fear and shame.  

It stopped me cold for a second, but I quickly answered yes.  Yes he did.  He created you to be here, to be part of our family.  He knows your story and He is still writing it.  My son's hard, your hard, mixed in with all of the day-to-day, from brushing our teeth to landing new jobs, to being healed from disease to not.  It is witness to the greatest story ever told.  The one where Jesus died for us. Because of love.  And he redeems every single part of our story. 

But, we do have some creative rights.  We are free to choose Him to trust his writing of our story or we can take control and try to rewrite the parts we don't like. We might even spice it up a little, make it more interesting, or calm it way down so there is no risk at all.

Sometimes we fight it when it doesn't match up to our dreams. Sometimes, we consider writing our own selves out of the story because we can't imagine an ending worth fighting for. 

But just like I tell my son, oh sweet boy, when your story is more complete, when you have let the trauma and control go and let God fill all those hurt places, your story is going to ripple to so many places where there are other people who need to hear it. Because our stories affect each other and we use them to share hope and to encourage others who have similar stories. Who may just be wondering if their story is worth it.  

You have a story! This day, and the next day, and the next...they are just parts of your story but they are not the end.  So be encouraged, the great story writer is at work and you are a best seller. 

Happy Monday y'all, 

Friday, September 28, 2018

FMF: Potential

Five Minute Friday...writers taking five.  Just five, minutes that is, each week to write our thoughts on the prompt assigned.  This weeks topic is potential.


- someone or something considered a worthwhile possibility

I saw a picture today about recycling- she had taken what looked like a water bottle that had been made into a small purse.

So many Face book posts from  a couple who have been waiting and praying for their future adopted child.  Today was the day for the placement.

The look on his sweet face when he bit into the chocolate chip cookie that he happened upon, it was clear that he enjoyed every crumb.  At nine-months old, he knew its worth.

First Cookie 

Whether it is the sweeping of a porch, clearing debris from so much rain so it can be enjoyed again, or the prayers for a son who is not able, at least for now to live at home.

Potential is all around us. Sometimes we see it like a flashing light and we can't miss it, the new job that found you, a new house, a new love relationship. But other times, it is subtle and we have to search for it to find it.

Whatever your situation today, from loving a special child, finding a sweet treat or making new things out of trash, keep looking for the worthwhile possibility- you might just be the potential game changer.


Happy Friday y'all,

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

When The Broken Thing is Me.

I don't usually get too upset when something breaks.  Whatever... it's just a thing.  But recently, two special things in my kitchen were broken.

The first, was a little round bellied chef sitting down stirring a bowl of something.  The years of sitting in a kitchen left it stained with what looked like grease, but would not wash off.  It was in my mother-in-laws kitchen when I met her, and it was one of the items I chose when her home was consolidated to pay for her care.  It reminded me of her and all the memories we made in her kitchen, always open and always something on the table.

During our kitchen remodel, I knocked it off of my own counter with a broom handle.  It was broken beyond repair.  I scooped the pieces up off the floor and threw them in the trash.  My little chef is now just a memory.  I was sad.

More recently, the other item that was broken was a Magnolia cake plate lid.  I had purchased it for myself- mainly because the top, made of glass, was super tall. I could now store our leftover birthday cakes made by Priceless Cups & Cakes that were always taller than my lids.  It was pretty and on my newly renovated kitchen counter, held goodies for my family and grand babies.  Like my mother-in-law, I want my kitchen to be welcoming and comfy and always something on the table, or in the cake plate. I had just said to Emily, my Daughter-in-love, that it was my favorite thing.  Within an hour it was shattered into a million pieces on my kitchen floor.  It took a good while to sweep up all the teeny tiny slivers of glass. I wanted to cry, but we had guests over so I just swept. As I emptied dust pan after dust pan into the trash, I thought about another broken thing in my life.


It was Friday, June 15th.  I was sitting in the living room floor and instead of hearing her tell me I was over-reacting and I just needed to relax- it would be okay, this respected professional was telling me things I wasn't expecting to hear; but it was truth. The night before had been my a-ha moment.

I hung up the phone and I broke. Shattered like that crazy glass cake top.  And in those minutes, I knew I would never be the same. I couldn't fix my son and I couldn't fix me.

In these years of trauma parenting, I thought my strength was measured in my ability to keep pushing through, stuffing down and not breaking. In caring for my family I had failed to take care of my own self and that just won't work long term. 

Do you know what? We are incapable of fixing ourselves. Someone has to come alongside and pick up the pieces. Jesus is the one.  He comforts and binds us up- He can take our brokenness, all the tiny pieces and super glues us back together, if you will.

I saw a quote recently on a friend's Instagram:

Strength isn't about how much you can handle before you break, it's about how much you can handle after you break (author unknown). 

We all break. We all have our stuff, and our stuff hurts. Some of us break because of the death of a parent, spouse or child.  Some because we are caring for a parent with Alzheimers. Some because we've been personally touched by teen suicide. Cancer? Divorce? A child who can't be healed? Some of us because we lost our job. Our dreams were crushed. 

Are you the broken thing?

Just know that there is beauty in the breaking.
Nothing is wasted, and nothing is lost.

In my weakness, in my brokenness, He is strong. 
I am stronger because I've been broken. And you will be too. 

Guess what?  Today is my 51st birthday and look what my sweet husband bought me...

I'm thankful to have a new cake plate, but more thankful that God doesn't scoop us into the trash and have to go looking for a replacement when we break. He just makes us better than we were, filling those cracks with His love and mercy binding us together into a better us, because we are more full of Him. 

Happy Wednesday y'all,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

When Dread and Relief Collide.


It sits on my chest like an elephant and consumes my thoughts, both waking and sleep, and it sticks like glue; dread has become part of our everyday.

Generally, dread isn't part of our happy- just the hard, hurtful, painful and inevitably sad things that we know are in our path.

Today, dread and relief collide. Today is July 17, 2018.

For weeks, Rex and I have dreaded how today would play out; weeks that included multiple police visits to our home, several Emergency Room assessments, discharges and ultimately a hospital admission. Weeks of crisis intervention and a child who continued to spiral out of control. A child we no longer recognized and feared.

Today, our son will be discharged from the hospital, spend several hours alone with us in the car, endure a tedious admission process and then say goodbye. It is in the admission and goodbye, where we find the relief.

He was waiting at the door at six am ready to go. He would have preferred going home, but that wasn't possible. Not now. So he made the best of it. As we drove up I-81, Fear is a Liar began to play on the radio. Tears began to fall as I sang "it will rob your breath, stop you in your tracks" and he took my hand. He told me it would be okay. My 13 yr. old son who days before proved we were not safe in our own home, was comforting me.  That is part of the confusion of parenting a child with complex trauma. The words they say often don't align with their actions. And as I heard the words, "when he told you- you could be the one, grace could never change" I wondered, again if my son would ever be able to recognize and accept that grace; but because of our own trauma and hurt and exhaustion, on this day I didn't care.

Our family is desperate for relief, a remedy, removal of oppression.

I was driving home from the beach this past June when this scene caught my eye- it was hauntingly close to how I was feeling. I turned the car around to take this picture.

The two trees in the middle look like they are surrounded by vibrant, green trees but in reality, there is a great distance between the two and the hundreds of trees in the background. The dead, fallen remnants of what once lived seemed to almost swallow up the tall but so very thin tree.

I was this tree.

I wasn't sure how I was still standing; surrounded by many but so alone. Loss of hope nearly swallowing me alive. So fragile, fearing the next storm could easily break me.

We pull into the parking lot at Grafton, gather his things and we take a family picture. It is our stone of remembrance because this is part of our story, not the end.

Elijah, me and Rex,  7/17/18

Dread brought us here.  Dread of the hours upon hours of physical aggression and confrontations. Fear tells us that hope is gone. Statistics tell us that that our son may not be healed. Dread tells us that no matter how much we love him, he has needs beyond what we can safely provide in our home.  And that is a dread that no parent wants to experience. Dread that in trying to "fix" our mentally ill son means losing another. Losing us. Dread in making this decision that we know is right, but feels so wrong.  Dread of the enemy because he lies y'all,

And that tree that was so close to breaking back in June- there were more storms. Oh so many, and the storms broke that tree. Shattered actually.

I am that tree. I am shattered. 
We all are.

So many prayers were answered on this day- and in looking at those answers we find relief. Relief that we were able to transport him from the hospital in our own car, without incident. That the time alone with him was sweet, tense and sad, but sweet. Relief in feeling confident that the facility itself its a safe place, with caring staff who specializes in complex trauma and here, our son will be offered the highest level of care.

Today, we left our son in a psychiatric residential treatment facility. He will live here, go to school here, get medical and psychiatric care here. He will have a team of people who will do what we cannot here. And we desperately pray, he will find healing here.

Today, dread and relief collided. Relief that with time our family will heal. Dread of the days ahead and the pain and confusion and guilt and fear and all the lies the enemy will tell us to keep us broken.  Relief that our God is the Great Physician and He doesn't despise the broken, but binds up our wounds.

This is a painful post to share and we don't know how our story ends. The enemy wants us to be embarrassed and ashamed. He tells us we have failed. He tells us that real love would never send our son away. He tells us there is no hope. He tells us we are quitters.

He lies.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


So today, Rex and I exhaled. We are breathing again. In and out, for the first time in months. (No, not literally or we would be dead, but often lately we felt sure that we couldn’t catch our breath.)

While I have been writing all throughout this day because it is one of those, lay down a stone to remember days, this post from five years ago came up in my facebook memories.

Much of what I was praying for then has been faithfully answered. My oldest is loving God and guiding his sweet family. My boys are pooping regularly.

But honestly, much of what I was praying five years ago as it related to youngest two sons, is still what I pray today, yet unanswered.

Many of my prayers recently have been simple, Dear God, Jesus help or, simply JESUS!

I am so thankful for our friends and family and church body who are lifting more specific prayers on our behalf.  We are commanded to pray without ceasing, yes. 

Sometimes, Jesus help is the most powerful of all prayers.

So, I share this repeat post because if no one else does,  Rex and I need it today - to look back and see God’s faithfulness on this journey and as a reminder to keep praying for the answers we still seek.

Happy Tuesday y’all!
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