Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

I asked the kiddos tonight at supper what three things they each were thankful for and here is the results in order of how they shared

Sophia:   1.  Boots (the girl loves her cowboy boots!)  2.  Syrup.  (the girl is funny!) and 3. Milk. (yah cows!)
Tobias:  1. My Family  2. Church and 3. Jesus.  **Heart sighs**
Courtney:  1. My family  2. Teachers and 3. Jesus. (this was hard for her so copying was OK!)
Anthony:  1.  Sutff   2.  Food  and 3. Dead turkeys that are ugly (Ok - not serious "teen" who only wanted to eat supper and the last one is a little family joke.....and all the good ones were taken?) 

Berkley:  1, 2 and 3 - a warm blanket in a warm place called "Home."

The kids asked me what I was thankful for and I told them:  1.  Salvation and the promise of eternity through Jesus Christ, 2.  Family - includes all friends, church family and family family, and 3. Snow days when they come!

Whatever your plans are, may you take time to Thank the good Lord for the blessings in your life....I am! Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Heart of a Giver

The Heart of a Giver
This past month was Mission Harvest Festival in church.  We usually pick a charity to donate to outside of our normal budget and get in a mission speaker as well.  We had John and Elaine Ratzlaff share about their passion for “Lifeline for Haiti” and the work they’ve done with them.  They are a non-profit organization benefiting children in an orphanage in Haiti.  Their stories and photos were moving.  We as a congregation share a fellowship meal as well.  When it was over, my son Tobias leaned over to me and said “some day I want to go there and help those people.”  It moved me to tears. 
Tobias has the heart of a servant.  He is a giver.  Someday I know he’ll do great things, great in the sense of growing God’s world and making it a better place in some way that he’ll be led.  It excites me when I see the spontaneous desire in him to be called, to serve.  
He is my helper at home too, doing what I ask without argument 99% of the time, being the first to volunteer and pitch right in, even when it isn’t a pleasant job.  He does this with a cheerful heart.  Now don’t think I’m putting him on a pedestal…he is a normal 13 yr old boy who makes rash poor choices in life as well….and learns from them most of the time. 
Are you a giver?  Do you recognize giver’s around you?  Don’t we all seem to know who is generous and who isn’t?  I can drive a hard bargain but I can also fold over like a limp noodle quickly when moved.  As a parent sometimes I’m trying to hold the line and then I totally cave into the moment and release with grace. 

So I’ll continue to nurture Tobias in his walk with the Lord, praying for his safety and that his path leads him to continue to be the heart of a giver like he is now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cross in the sky

On this morning’s commute I’m driving along….thinking “oh, here comes the sunrise…” then I notice two planes had make a cross in the sky and as the sun rose it became illuminated. (I used my work camera – believe me it was more glorious in real!) I thought to myself, “Yes God, you are here and reminding me of your son’s sacrifice for my sins.” It was great to have that reminder and some driving prayer time to focus my day on what is truly important in life.

Judges 5:31…..But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall things I love...

Fall things I love:
Playing outside when the temps are great.
Gathering acorns with my sweetie girl.
The smell of burning leaves.
The change of a season in all its splendor reminding us once again, everything is in constant change, growth and death are a part of the creative design we live in and to accept it is to know life and live life to its fullest. Guess I'm busy getting my acorns in a row.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Grief just slips up and slaps you in the face

Grief just slips up and slaps you in the face.

Grief. It is a word of its own. Lately, it slips up and slaps me in the face. I like to pretend “I’m fine” and say it enough and fake it enough. Truth is, lately I’m really ticked. In the stages of grief some call it the anger phase. I think I already went through all the stages but decided to come back to ticked.

I started to list my “ticked” items then deleted them. I know them, they are there and I don’t want to see them in black and white. I also know who I need to give them too – but I’m going to hold onto them awhile longer so I can be ticked longer. Maybe I like being ticked….no, not really. Sorry if I’ve vented it on you verbally at some point. I like my soap box once in a while.

I’m weary. I think I’m still sad. Well, ticked is a better word to describe it. Not sure how long I’ll hold onto this. How long I hide this from some. Hmm, wish I was better at processing this. Maybe writing this is processing it. Maybe not.

My friend Dawn's favorite saying "this too shall pass." I'm waiting for it to pass.

I think I'll hug my children extra tonight, gaze into their brown and blue eyes and let their hope pour into my soul so I have enough to get up and do it all again tomorrow.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too Good To Be True!

Too good to be true.

Have you been raised with this saying? Usually it comes with reference to a super deal, warning us to proceed with caution or have doubt. Lately my son clicked on the spam on facebook that went something like this: “Heh Anthony, you just won a Dell computer from facebook, click here to see your computer…” Yup, he suckered for it and SPAM – all his friends and their comments got the same stupid message. People let me know “heh your son got spammed or hacked or something.” Folks, it is a life lesson he’s got to learn and I don’t want to hear about it! **Sigh**

Made me think as I logged into his account, changed his password, removed as many as I could with my “mommy guilt” even though he did this himself…I didn’t’ do it (course I’ve done other stupid spam things!). Anyway, made me wonder how do I teach him NOT to believe he’ll will 1 million dollars, get a free car, etc.  The boys have been obsessed with McDonald’s Monopoly. This is sadly becoming a tradition as they amazingly reach into take coupons off other people’s discarded cups and find them on the floor. Tobias’s football team stopped at rotten Ronnie’s on the way back from a game and Tobias is convinced two boys gathering won $100,000….still tracking that one!

So, when the world lures us into these things and we try to teach them the odds aren’t there or it is a scam…..then how can we turn around and expect them to believe in Noah’s ark, lions not eating a man, dead people raised, a man dying on a cross and raised up in three days that gives us eternal life?  How do they know fiction from truth? Our world is tricky…..our faith should not be. How do I teach them that Christ isn’t too good to be true?

I want my son to wait until he takes catechism class, he needs more maturity. He needs Christ because he wants Christ and he needs to know on his own that Jesus isn’t a hoax or made up and that Jesus IS very good and true. For this I pray.

Meanwhile, I’ll go let them enter more Monopoly codes as their hope in a win (even if it is only coke rewards).  I find it  encouraging that they’ll have that type of belief in their own faith walk someday…..

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I’ve been here

Sophia leaves her mark in our bathroom…..the toilet roll is never the same after she visits. 
Let me talk about our master bathroom.  The older three have to knock and gain permission to enter our bedroom, let alone our bathroom aka first aid center. 

This little one with morning hair….
she just waltzes in because she is 4.  Because she can and does.  So, most of the time, she likes to use our bathroom, especially when I’m in it.  This might be showering, doing my makeup.  She brings in her blankie and usually a flashlight and sets up “talking camp” during the week while I shower/get ready.   I don’t have morning alone time usually.  I cherish both the mornings I can get ready by myself and with her. 
Most days I talk her out of showering with me because I don’t have time during the work week so she looks forward to weekends when I allow it once….and that usually means these……
come in the small shower for her entertainment.  I also spend a lot of money on leg shaving cream because she usually needs some in a tea cup, saucer or whatever.  It is very fun to smear all over.
The marvel of younger children is the trail in life they leave….this makes me ponder what trail in life am I leaving?  Do people see Jesus in me and know I strive each day to be His good child?  Some days I’m falling short, other days I’m feeling pretty good about my walk.   What am I leaving behind me?  We work hard at teaching all the kiddos to clean up after themselves that responsibility comes with a life lesson that can hold valuable.  That said, sometimes I think we are so busy erasing our paths behind us that we “hide” Jesus shining by the very essence of our trying to clean up behind us as we go.  

So, when the toilet roll shows Sophia has been visiting… makes me smile in my aggravation to challenge myself to leave a better trail myself.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The "It" has a name.

The “It” has a name. I’m not nuts. I’m not crazy. “It” was so hard to describe and others judged and others didn’t understand. “It” left me feeling like something was wrong with ME, that no matter how much love, structure and how hard I (and we) tried “It” wouldn’t let us in by normal means. “It” was the force in us non-renewing our foster license. “It” is R.A.D. = Reactive Attachment Disorder. Google it, it isn’t pretty.

We put her through extensive testing. When the Doctor talked to us as a couple and asked me if I felt bonded with her, I cried as I admitted “no, not at all.” And it isn’t because we got her later, it isn’t because we aren’t trying, it is because “It” controls her from bonding, she isn’t capable….YET! We’ve more work to do and we won’t give up. We are at a new line with the gun going off as the new race has begun. This time the blindfolds are off.

What does a title mean? It means we can research the correct way, it means we can study and learn to parent a R.A.D. child. Does it mean it will be easier? No, but we’re making headway with proper support and professional help to assist our family in dealing with this demon, and yes it is a demon, that has been pulling at the roots of our family.

If we hadn’t had the years of marriage to cement us, I can see how this can tear family apart. There is no “normal” anymore, we are tired, weary, stressed, controlled and pulled in directions we’ve no control over. NOW we can fight back with the knowledge of “It” with learning and growth.

A hard part has been to see our other children suffer too when the violence comes and sometimes is directed at them. I will NOT allow them to be hurt, we will draw the line in the sand on safety. That said, they need tools too to learn about this and know why their sibling does what she does, says what she says. Their education will allow them to be able to cope as well. We will find ways to give them respite and importantly, take respite ourselves so we can handle the waves that come sometimes gently, sometimes in tsunami force.

A book I just finished called “We adopted a Dusty Miller” was like reading something I could very well have written myself in a lot of ways, while there are differences, there are many similarities and I’d suggest anyone who wants to learn more about “It” read this book as a good start. There are two more books on the counter that we will be reading. If you have life experienced advice or good web sites / books / resources you’ve used please share in comments. If you don’t want it published, just let me know.

So, prayers and support are needed. We walk this walk….God has a purpose and direction for us even though we didn’t dream of this direction, we embrace what God has placed before us and as His servants will strive with His help to make it through this and grow in new ways.

Time for me to indulge in some more Dove Chololate therapy and HGTV!
I desire my soul to be like this lake!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Loss and Change

Loss and Change
Hi.  It has been a while again.  Our temperatures in KS have been 100 give or take for like 40 days and 40 nights.  Crops have withered and died, our grass is suffering greatly and we can’t get enough water on it this year. Rain comes with storms of late....too late for some crops possibly and we'll see if our yard rebounds.
Loss:  Summer was starting off wonderfully with a busy bang.   Then the big bang.  My Dad passed away on June 13th.  The world just stopped and we headed north to Canada to attend to his funeral, honoring a man who was larger than life to me and is so greatly missed.  This less than 1.5 years from my brother passing away from brain cancer.  Loss.  While he is released from the suffering of his asbestosis and restored above, he is missed greatly below.
Change:  In the midst of my Dad passing, I was looking at changing jobs.  When we returned to Kansas, I resigned after a collective 25 years with a company through mergers and growth….I broke away for a fresh start that showed me a better future in doing what I love to do.  That said, new challenges and starting from the bottom create stress too, no matter if we created the change, change is stress.
Prior to all of this, we’ve experienced some parenting moments that took us to a new low in having to call 911 on one of our children.  I’ve cried a fountain forever it seems….but this low brought forth the pursuing of new and more answers to get her the help she needs.  When at the depths, my wise mother-in-law said “I believe God gave her to you because he knew you wouldn’t quit on her and you’d pursue until answers have been found.”  Bless her wisdom, it gave me the strength and we are still doing that with testing, etc. 
Not but 30 days from my Dad’s passing away, my Uncle in Canada passed away too, this was really hard on my Mom….soo much loss, her first brother to pass away. 
So…..again, the song from Laura Story “Blessings” lifts me up in my weakness and allows my tears of healing to flow.  "what if my greatest disappointments or aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?  What if trials of this life; the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are your mercies in disguise?"  It is a great song - it challenges me to remember the Lord above has the ultimate plan in his hands.  So.....I'll pray for rain and mercies....pray with me friends.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Out of focus

Out of focus 
In a hurry, loved the little bird on the truck – snapped a picture and moved on.  Later as I downloaded pics I found this one shot – blurry, out of focus on the subject but the trees look nice and clear!  Missed it….lost the shot.
I was going to delete it when I thought, how many times do I lose focus during the day?  Going to email and a story grabs my attention, heading across the house to put away laundry and something changes my task.  I’m not ADD but live with two boys who are and sometimes I worry they are rubbing off on me!  So many directions we all can get pulled in physically or emotionally – derailed and out of focus in our lives.
Lately our town has had the misfortune of many morally sad events.  The media of Hollywood and politics sure have their equal share as well.  People who have it all out of focus on the important parts of living, making choices that ruin so much… then with those consequences, sins of desire and corruption overtaking all the good they had, changing life directions with no going back for a redo.  What is done is done. The holes can be patched….but will they ever be the same?  How do we get so out of focus….I want to learn from my mistakes and others….hoping that I can remain true to my focus and stay the path, strong and true.  Not easy in this world of temptations.  Especially with our humanness that God gives us.
So – I pray for clear direction in my life.  Keeping on that narrow path.  Not yielding to temptation.  Holding strong, holding to the strong people in my life and the faith I have.  Resting in Jesus for my daily decisions while forgiving myself when I fail.  Coming to know peace in new ways.  I am not perfect.  Recently Courtney in anger said “you think you are always right.”  I was like, “No, I’m not perfect, I make many mistakes daily…oh look, I’m right about that!”  She failed to see the humor in that. 
Ezekiel 34:17-19 (NIV)
 17 “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shake, Rattle and Roll!

Shake, Rattle n Roll Van
OK, our Honda Odyssey is hitting the 260,000 miles mark.  We’ve loved this van but lately it has developed a quirk.  You see, what we believe is happening is there is a small short between the brake pedal that causes the electrical portion to have amnesia occasionally.  What that translates to is….the vehicle will be running, but we’ve NO lights on the column and the ability to shift into drive or reverse is GONE.  Yup, just sitting there using gas and not going anywhere.  Our side doors are electric only as well and they don’t open or close when this happens either….was tough when 80 plus year old Grandma was in the van and the kids just told her “Just hop over and go out the passenger door!”  NOT gonna happen.
So, the first time this happened to me was when I was in my friends driveway….I was SOOOO embarrassed and no one was around, I didn’t have a CLUE what to do….so some type of non-mechanical instinct took over and I opened my driver’s door, stood up and pushed in anger against the vehicle….the lights popped on and I was able to back out and drive away.  I didn’t tell my husband.  Not sure why, but just didn’t.  Weeks go by.  Hubby goes somewhere and has the same problem….ooops.  He calls me, I tell him “get out and shake the vehicle.”  It works again….he was like “how did you know to do that?”  Hmmm – divine intervention and I didn’t even call Click and Clack!
So, after numerous more times of getting out and shaking it – seeing the lights come on, jumping back in, then they disappear before I can get it in gear….repeat….we learned as a family we can all sit in the van and shake forward/back, jump up and down and the lights pop on again.  Yaahhh!  So…if you are out there and wonder what is wrong with that family in the white van……we are just a rockin’ n rollin’ down the road of life!  This Sunday when it happened in the church parking lot, the boys broke out singing "Shake, Rattle and Roll, Shake, Rattle and Roll"  Too funny!

When life gives you lemons….make lemonade!  We have gallons of lemonade so come on over.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Proud of You!

Proud of You!
Proud of you.  You didn’t pick up GPA awards, you didn’t get a Citizens Award or outstanding this or that.  You sat there and clapped for the many classmates that picked up award after award…but they didn’t ask me, because I’d give you award after award that despite the rocky year of 8th grade – you survived. You made it. Not always your best but…you MADE IT and I love you no matter what.  I’d much rather you receive the award of going heavenward in your life someday than any paper mankind could give you.  That is the reward that will mean the most because then I’ll know that Christ is center in your life.
I’m proud to be called your Mom and I will support and push you through the next 4 years of school because there is life after High School and it can be your dream to do whatever you want….you are smart, funny, talented, kind hearted and I am blessed to be in your life and call you my son.  Even when I’m grumpy, yelling or angry at the last thing you may have destroyed or lied to me about, I’m still there for you and will be. 
So – using some of the words from Laura Story’s Blessings my prayer for you is may your blessings come through raindrops and your healing come through tears and that if it takes a thousand sleepness nights to know God is here so be it.  When friends betray you, when darkness seems to close in and you are aching of this life, these storms and hardest things are mercies in disguise.  Amen.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

When hiding Easter eggs.....we were missing one last egg - Sophia just couldn't find it!  Where did that egg go?

Funny Anthony!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Faded Memories

 Faded memories of an era gone by always lure me to abandoned places.  I wandered about this old drive-in movie zone saddened by the decaying wood, flapping metal and signs that life had been here but won’t be again. 
I walked and heard the movie playing while children played on equipment now abandoned – their voices ringing with laughter as they ignored a horror show above them or some kissing scene.  

 Cars out here where now the Kansas wind blows and blows…things happened in those cars, a first kiss, a virginity lost, arguments, laughter, a child conceived, marriage proposals, break ups….so many possibilities.  Not to mention the popcorn, candies and sodas.

 Old signage left with messages not to be heeded again stares up in abandon. 

 The ticket booth vandalized – change drawer open sadly waiting for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that won’t come. The thick glass broken by someone who didn’t appreciate the beauty of this timeless era. 

A HGTV moment of my soul cried out “Wouldn’t it be great to restore it?”  But as the farmers drive by and the kids on their way to school – no one has time nor money to invest in something seasonal that doesn’t pay the bills….Netflix and Dish have taken over.  Sometimes change hurts…but it doesn’t change the reality.
 So I wander on ; looking at the next place that moves my soul with love for the old and the sadness that it brings in its state of neglect, yet it draws me in with my mind every time.  Oh the parallels of life I find in these places.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I have to remember there will be days like this

I have to remember there will be days like this. And when they come, Lord give us the protection to guide us in your wisdom to ride this one out.  We've stepped on the hornets nest and she is rearing her a bucking bronc here we go.......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Beer Bottle

The beer bottle:

 Day 1 – oh look, there is a beer bottle someone tossed out.  **pain** 
Day 2 – oh look, it is still there, wonder who threw it out?  **pain** 
 Day 3 – oh look, there is the same beer bottle sitting there, empty.  Who was drinking it?  Were they intoxicated and driving? Or just like “havin’ a Coca Cola” person? Did they make it home safely?  **pain**
Day 4 – oh look, there is the same beer bottle I’ve been pondering about.  I remember my cousin Kurt Friesen riding his bicycle home after visiting his girlfriend on a nice evening like this in 1981 late August , when a drunken man struck him from behind, leaving him a vegetable in the ditch until someone came along, found one of his shoes and upon further looking found Kurt unconscious in the ditch.  Kurt didn’t make it.  He was 17 years old and I still miss him.  His whole life gone.  Bottle of beer – shame on you.  Driver who tossed you, shame on you for littering and reminding me of this pain.  Kurt.  And others like Brandon, my bestie's son who was only 27.  And so many more.  That was a life changing year for me that altered the direction of my life back in 1981.
Not only do I hurt for those loved and lost – I hurt for the control this alcohol has had and does have over people I know and don’t know.  Family and friends.  Habits are hard to break – this is one bad habit.  This habit of another person has given us three of our children. 
Day 5 – oh look, there is that damn beer bottle.  I’m going to stop and get rid of it.  I’m going to pray before I recycle it that the mouth and hands that held this only enjoyed the hobs for their flavor like I enjoy a Coca Cola.  And that intoxication didn’t come into play on this beer bottle.   May the people fighting the demon of addiction for whatever substance of choice be given strength in their battle. Because I care - and love you too.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

White Lies

What is a white lie?  Is it the gray area between black and white?  I’ve been struggling with this one with my children.  If I allow white lies – then how do they discern the difference between lying and telling the truth?  This is hard for them given their backgrounds, people; especially adults they’d loved and trusted lied to them constantly.  We have real wounds from those lies that will last a lifetime and take therapy!
So in trying to show the better path of truth, one area as a parent I’ve been adamant about in telling the truth is in having a Facebook account.  You have to be 13.  That is what the company requires.  Today Tobias is 13.  This week he gets his Facebook account.  He has waited for this and I admire his patience in the wait.
I’d really like to hear from all the conservative Christians out there who have allowed their children to have a Facebook page, knowingly putting in a date other than the TRUE date of birth to activate an account and how they justify that?  Just a little white lie?  It’s OK because I monitor my child’s activity?  Their friends have it?  I’d like to hear from the kids who lied to get their pages and state they are Christians in their status – how does God see that white lie?  If we lie about this, do we white-cheat too?  Where does it stop?  Where does it begin?  What is honesty?  When does it apply – only when we want it to?  What worldly rules do we follow and not follow?  Do we speed past speed limits because we don’t get caught?  Underage drink? Do we only have to tell the truth in court after swearing on a Bible? When is it OK versus not OK? 
I’m not trying to present a “holier than thou” attitude; I truly struggle with this as a right from wrong perspective in wanting to set examples for my children.  I’m not perfect and fail regularly.  This one I just don’t get.  So enlighten me….challenge me, grow me, so I can understand societies need for deception in a very visible form and be OK with it. Why do you have a Facebook page if you aren’t 13 yet and if you are a parent why do you allow it?  What is the thinking that I don’t see or understand?
Wikipedia defines white lies in positive way:  White lies are minor lies which could be considered to be harmless, or even beneficial, in the long term. White lies are also considered to be used for greater good.
Harmless or even beneficial.  Hmmm.   
12 Whoever of you loves life
   and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
   and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
   seek peace and pursue it   Psalm 34:12-14
 17 An honest witness tells the truth,
   but a false witness tells lies.  Proverbs 12:17
What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.  Proverbs 19:22
 So, thank you Tobias for allowing me as your parent to hold to my ideals and be honest...and yes, I'll be your first friend as well!  Luv Mom

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break Reflection

While hubby had to work....we made the best of it with "day trips" all around Kansas and had a great time....a bonding time....  Oh the places we've traveled and the memories we made.  Life is a journey and only you hold the map!

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