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. https://youtu.be/zqOdQbxC7Gs

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, 

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