Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Love This Stuff!!

Play Foam, oh  how I love you, you kept them busy all day....
I love you, beautiful Play Foam, on this cold day in May.
You don’t dry out,
you don’t stick to their clothes,
you leave my carpet intact.

Colorful Play Foam, oh I love you, strong still at mid day,
I love you, funny Play Foam, you’re so much better than clay.
You don’t turn ugly,
you sparkle and shine,
you bend into shapes abstract.

Play Foam, my lovely Play Foam, I would be in dismay,
cuz I love you silly little Play Foam, please don’t go away.
(silly little poem by me...LOL)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Are My Sheep Running Away?

The children and I had a good discussion the other morning on being a “living sacrifice”.
Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you many discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  
Since Easter was just this last Sunday, we had talked about the Passover, so the children understand that animals where sacrificed at the Temple and we had also talked about the story of the lambs sacrificed on that last night before the Children of Israel where released from Egypt.   Of course, the precious gift of Jesus as a sacrifice for us was still fresh in the children’s minds also.  (“The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29).  So I teasingly asked them if they ever wondered if the poor lambs knew what was coming and wanted to hide!!!  I presented a word picture to them of little lambs running all over the place trying to hide so that they wouldn’t be sacrificed.  They laughed, of course, at the idea.  I then asked them if they thought Jesus wanted to hide when it was time for him to go to the cross.  Quiet little minds began to think this over as we discussed Jesus’ prayers in Gethsemane in Mark 14, when He asked His Heavenly Father to “remove this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  We then discussed presenting ourselves WHOLEHEARTEDLY as living sacrifices to the LORD.  We discussed being conformed to the world, what that might look like and how that would interfere with our desire to do the will of the LORD.  I then told them is a light way “Don’t be sheep that run away!"

Then this morning, the LORD began to teach me some.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21
I’m thankful for His teaching...I have gotten entangled in some of the “wordly” things around me.  And these worldly things can began to dominate if allowed.  They can keep me from a WHOLEHEARTED devotion to the LORD.  I have 11 little treasures (with two more coming home soon) and I want to teach them through my actions as well as my words how to live as a “living sacrifice”.  And, honestly, that scares me sometimes, but then I remind myself of how very much My Heavenly Father loves me, that I am part of His Family and His Eternal Covenant, and that all He does if for my good.  I remind myself of how much sweeter and fuller my life is when I die to my sinful desires and live for His Glory.  And I remind myself that I can’t do this alone, I need Him every minute.  I want to make sure that I’m not running away from Him and that there is no need to fear what might come.  
On the other hand, I have also asked myself today if my “little sheep” are “running away” from me.  Am I harsh or selfish? Do I frustrate of hurt their tender hearts?  Am I a “good shepherd” to them or am I negligent?  Well, of course, yes, at times I do these things.   And by His grace and mercy, I confess this, accept His forgiveness and thank Him for the promise in I John1:9 that He will cleanse me from my  unrighteousness. 
We, as the LORD’s children have the opportunity each day to commit our lives to Him, to live for His glory, to willingly follow our Shepherd with adoring devotion.  It’s quite the adventure.  
May we encourage each other to be living sacrifices!!  Onward for His Glory!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Few Things...

Starting with this picture...there are a few things you know what?

 A few of these made me commit once again to exercising!!!

 My sweet husbands Easter breakfast blessed us all so much and a few more reasons why I love him!!!

 Yes, the baby is eating a chocolate cross for his breakfast...well, really, he ate three bites and began to gag; then he gave it to me to put back in the box.  Apparently, he has a chocolate threshold!  Which made me wonder a few things...can there really be TOO much chocolate?

 A few cute things here...

 A few cute things there...

And more cute things over yonder (in Texas you use this slang loosely for any space measurement),

 Here’s a few precious things enjoying their Easter gifts from Grandma.  

And a few of these hugs always makes any precious Grandma feel loved!

And the greatest thing of all is that the tomb was empty on the precious Easter morning because our LORD lives!!!

A few other minor things...
-Corbin is having really bad asthma, but we are thankful for the medical plan that we have in place that is helping to keep him out of the hospital.
-Still waiting for the authentication on our paper work that is needed for our China Adoptions.  We didn’t have two of the papers right, but praying that we have them this week.
-Our little Keshawn must be sick...he threw up on Kalyn...being truthful, I felt sorry for Kalyn FIRST...I AM REALLY bad with throw up!
-I have been really sick for over a week now.  All is good weakness makes me realize ever more how much I need my LORD and I try to keep my Bible close by and open it any time I can to be encouraged and nourished by HIS Words.
-We got the wighted blanket that we ordered to see if it will help our precious Aiden sleep better at night.  He has hit his head on the floor ever night of his life that I am aware of.  It is part of the sensory processing things that we are becoming more aware of so that we can give him the support that he needs.  I will let you know how it works for him.

Baby Keshawn is crying so I must go...
here are a few things from our are your things going?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Loves To You

Praying that you are having a blessed weekend with your family and friends REMEMBERING Who we serve and His GIFT of Love this weekend.  Truly WORTHY IS THE LAMB!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Will They Hear My Love?

Most of us have heard the old saying about someone “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.”  Some of those places might be in sinful relationships, seeking acceptance or recognition, money and worldly possessions.  In desperate situations where true love and safety does not exist many turn to drugs, alcohol, any escape from the pain.  I will always remember some of the little boys in the slums of Uganda sniffing their drugs from the empty water bottles that they had picked up from the trash.  And why not...they live with out the most basic physical, shelter, safety; and the more important emotional needs of family, love and protection. A drug induced escape was a welcome. I held one of those little boys in my arms and it struck me that he was no older than my boys...age 7-10-ish.  As his drugged glassy eyes looked up at me, I prayed for him.  I prayed that the love of the LORD would free him from the hell he was in.  How will this little boy find that love?  How will he hear it if no one tells him?  How will he hear it?  

As I am journeying with my children home through adoption and considering some of the hard places that they have come from, I have been asking myself if I am defining love in ways that they understand.  Today, I failed miserably in this.  I’m sick and my arm is hurting REALLY bad.   My understanding and love for the children has been low today because I have been focused on me. My old goals surfaced - just wanting them to act right.  MY sin and theirs was making it very hard for me to connect with them...or even to want to.  Yet what a perfect opportunity for me to die to myself.  “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By His wounds you have been healed.”  (1 Peter 2:24)

Have you ever been around someone who spoke a language that is foreign to you?  I remember once being in a foreign country for just 3 and 1/2 weeks.  I had not realized how wore out I was trying to constantly understand what was being said and telling them what I needed until I got back home.  In such a short time I remember being so grateful to be around English again so that I could “relax”. 
Using this example with my children (but also for others that the LORD brings into our lives), am I using a “foreign” love language?  Are they feeling confused with what I am saying and doing?  
“...have we learned to “translate” our love into actions and a way of relating that will bring about connection, healing and transformation, or are we speaking a “foreign” love language that our  children (our others) are not equipped to interpret, understand and receive?” (From Created To Connect).   

The LORD gives me the perfect language to use to communicate His love.  I know that you know these verses, but think of them in terms of a language of love that others and especially those that we love, can understand.   
“Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love hears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.   Love never ends.” (I Cor. 13:4-8)  I was irritable today, and rude, and wanted my own way...But I LOVE them and I want them to know it.  
To end this post, one last reminder of HIS love and hope to us all from Created To Connect...
“Undoubtedly we will fall short far too often in consistently speaking and living a “love langage” that connects with our children in this deeply transforming way.  But we all must recognize that what we have been called to is a journey, and we are not meant to travel it alone.  God has provided us with helpful resources, insightful people, one another and intimately His Word and is Spirit as companions and guides for this journey.  As we continue to faithfully travel with our children toward healing and wholeness, let us pray that we become increasingly those who, by God’s Spirit, are led to love our children as we ourselves are loved by God.”
We Journey on for His Glory!!!!
(Thank you Karlie for these great pictures of my boys!!! Love you)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Remembering For The Sake Of Compassion....

This post is because I felt the LORD stopped me while I was reading some scriptures and The Connected Child.  To pre-face this post...we were very encouraged to find hope this last weekend at the Empowered To Connect conference.  We came home knowing that we needed to do an “intensive” in our home to really bring hope and healing to our children from “hard places.”  This will require a huge change for us as we focus on learning what is needed to help our children.  Yesterday was “not good”, and I say that with a tired sigh.  I did things wrong, but I don’t know what to do “right” yet.  They did things wrong and don’t know how to overcome the things that are keeping them stuck.  So, I felt the LORD told me to write this post and “remember” where they have come from.  I don’t know most of their stories before they came home to us, but I do know that their behaviors give me some “clues”.
(These picture are my children and are private not use without permission-thank you. Also, the pictures do not match the the individual stories, but I did want to remember where I began with them.)
-When we went to bring home one of our little ones, she had scars from IV’s...why where they there?  What medical issues did she face?  She was nick named “the roaring mouse” by the other adoptive parents on the trip to bring her home...what had she lived through that had instilled such a low threshold for dealing with fear and frustration?  She wouldn’t allow us to hold her face to face and is still uncomfortable with hugs.  After she came home she would “fall apart” (at 12 months of age) and even holding her we were unable to comfort her.  She still “falls apart” and we are trying to learn to help her find the safety and trust that she needs.
-Another little one who was adopted at birth needed help immediately after his birth with some “heart” issue.  When we arrived at the hospital a little later we were not able to see him for awhile till he was stable.  What happened pre-natally or in birth to create this early trauma? 
-Another little one had so much stress in her 15 month old body that I thought I might die from the sheer and exhausting demands that came from her fear!  I honestly didn’t think that I would make it.  Her fear and stress was easily the size of Texas.  She was so hungry that she would try to take food from strangers at the airport.  A dear lady finally found a banana for her after hours of her screaming and crying.  This was after another lady rudely said she hoped we were not sitting near her on the airplane.  (On a funny note, in my exhaustion, I said what was on my mind...”Believe me, if I am anywhere near you I will ask the stewardess to move me anywhere else!!!”)  She SCREAMED (my baby, not the lady-LOL) in sheer terror at any unfamiliar or loud noise; cars, airplanes, dogs barking, pop sounds, flushing toilets.  She fell in love the first time her feet touched carpet and would run on it and roll around on it.  Unfortunately, she discovered this new delight at a funeral.  But she would have NOTHING to do with grass.  She overreact to almost everything still. 
-Another little one reacts very quickly to frustration and anger...still.  He had to have pure goats milk when he was a baby because he was unable to eat anything else.  He also has always gaged on certain foods and always tried to hide foods he didn’t like.  I thought the most cleaver hiding trick was scrapping them down the window well and then proudly displaying his finished plate.  
-Another little guy gets mad at himself for getting mad and closes up like a turtle.

-Then there is the mischievous one...scared to death of anyones anger, but has a hankering (Texas slang for urge) for exploring and doing what she shouldn’t.  She has certain reactions that show us that at some time in her three years before she come home she was treated very harshly (NOT BY US).  She has perfected that art of lying and “hiding” so that she wont get into trouble.  She was also very sick, and very close to death by the time she came home.

-And then there is our precious Aiden, whom I have talked about here, who seems to have some huge sensory seeking desires that are unhealthy and unsafe for him and others.  He has banged his head, hard, every night since we brought him home at 5 months.  He still does this and it can be heard downstairs.  In fact a friend of Jace’s stayed the night last week and he told me the next morning that he hadn’t slept at all and he thought our house was haunted...he said that all night he kept hearing these rhythmic banging sounds and he was envisioning a ghost stomping above him.  Aiden seems to have a strength that is not normal for his age, and yet at his heart he is one of the most sensitive and loving people I have ever met.  

With my biological children there are piece of a puzzle that make some sense to me.  Caresse has these horrible bone knots in her body...but so did my grandmother, my mother, my uncle, me and several other people in our family.  Jace is so much like Steve AND me in personality, but he is MOST like my father.  Kalyn is exactly like my darling husband - easy going, relaxed, creative.  When I look at my biological children I see the amazing person that they are, but I can also SEE where they came from to some degree.  There is at least a generational “map” for me to look at.  

With my children home through adoption, there are so many puzzle pieces that are missing, and the “map” is at best, for me, incomplete.  None-the-less, we have made a commitment to them...we have entered a covenant relationship with them and though we may not know everything, HE does, and I find hope that HE will show us what we need to know to fulfill our commitment to these love them, the help heal them and to set them on the path that the LORD has for them.  

My purpose for this post is best summed up in a few quotes from The Connected this is where I will end for today.
“Adopted and foster children deserve deep compassion and respect for what they may have endured before they were welcomed into your home.”
“The difficult history of these children means that you, as a caretaker, have to work harder to understand and address their unique deficits and make a conscious effort to help them learn the skills they need at home with a caring family.  Certainly, your children may exhibit manipulative or assertive behavior, but instead of faulting them for it, respect that it enabled them to survive and cope in profoundly difficult circumstances.”

“If you remain mindful of a child’s unique history and how early growth was disrupted, you can even admire the strength that allowed this little child to survive adversity and have compassion for the ongoing struggles he faces.”

I had lost my compassion for where they have come from, and tonight I am praying for my heart to remember and to be broken...
with the hope and assurance that the LORD causes all thing to work together for our good.
I want to again, say “Thank you” for reading my blog post and for walking this journey with me with your prayer, support and encouragement.
FOR HIS GLORY we journey!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

And In Other News....

It is so glorious to be able to say that our documents have been sent to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago for authentication...the last big thing to do before we send in our dossier for the adoption of Asher and Noelani.   YEA---and praise the LORD.  We are ALMOST there.  I am praying so hard, that if it is God’s will, the children will be home before Christmas.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Use Every Opportunity To SEE Their Preciousness

Yesterday I shared that in the “life-ness” of the days my motivation had changed to controlling my precious darlings more than I was really connecting with them.   

Another thing that I have, for a better word, “neglected” was to remember that my children that are home through adoption have come from hard places.  I have tried to parent them the way that I did my 3 bio children, and I am grateful that from the beginning having a healthy attachment with my children has always been my ultimate and highest goal.  BUT, I believe now that I was overlooking a very important piece in mothering my precious children who have had different “risk factors” then my bio-children; like:
-prenatal stress
-difficult or traumatic birth or labor
-medical trauma early in life

I now realize that I was minimizing the impact of these risks factors and somewhat ignoring that “my” children might have been impacted.  I can say now that I was being blind and impractical here.  I needed to be reminded of my children's beginnings so that I can help them move forward.  I want to help my children not just behave, “but to blossom and to empower the healing connections that will bring greater joy..”  from Created To Connect workbook.

The workbook also says “There is an undeniable truth that everyone who loves a child from the hard places must remember: the past affects the future...but it does not have to determine it.”  This journey that we will walk with our children must be firmly established in a steadfast faith in and dependence on the One Who delights to redeem and restore the brokenness of this world.
See, here’s my real goal and motivation and my hearts desire for all of my empower them to fulfill all that God has called them to be and do.  And I realize that for my children from hard places I will need to learn “new” things.  Now, really, there is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  

The LORD has created us all with a longing of the heart to connect and belong.  And I believe with all my heart that God offers a wealth of wisdom in the Bible for us to apply.  
A phrase that you will hear often in the Empowered To Connect teaching is “Trust Based Relational” parenting.  In the workbook they write, “His (God’s) love for us is made tangible in practical ways, and we believe that our parenting must also make our love for our children tangible in practical ways that they can understand, accept and apply.”  Because of the back ground of some of our children, their ability to “understand, accept and apply” my love for them may be very weak.  

So where am I beginning....
-First, my goals for each day are different (I’ll come back to this);
-We have given ourselves permission to set apart the next 6 - 8 weeks (longer if needed) to do some “intensive” in our home ... I will be blogging about what that looks like;
-Steve and I are reading some books to better understand the needs of our children home through particular Sensory Processing issues, but there are other things;
-I need help...plain and simple...I can’t do this we are hiring Kalyn to be our house cleaner and our meals for now are becoming even more “super simple”;
Back to number one...what are my goals for each day?  To connect!!!  So I am using my daily chores, jobs, work...what create connection with one, several or all of my children (NOT EXCLUDING  bio-children...hey they want to know that they are precious too!!!!!)  An example from today are the picture in this post...I love to hang my laundry outside when it finally gets warm enough here in Colorado.  

And lest you warmer weather states think that is is at least 80 degrees based on the pictures, I will let you know it was a balmy Colorado 58 degrees.  Hey, we even took a walk because it was so nice - LOL.  However, my GOAL was not to hang the clothes up, my goal was to connect with my focus on the PRECIOUSNESS of each one of them.  My heart is where I start!  Making sure that I am SEEING the God created preciousness of each of my children and show that to them.  
By the way, all the ADORABLE pictures where taken by my extremely talented oldest daughter Kalyn, who gave me permission to edit them to black and white.  Thanks Kalyn for sharing your preciousness with me. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Empowered To Connect - So Much!!!

The conference was really a gift from the LORD that we were not expecting!  
Where do I begin...there is so much.
I guess at the beginning.
Many years ago (“b.c.” - before children), I felt that the LORD showed a verse to me and spoke to me that it would be foundational in raising our children.  The verse is “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,...” Isaiah 43:4. 
I wrote what I felt the LORD said to me beside that verse “Tell my children that they are precious!” (Of course, this is for ALL of us...I pray that I appreciate that Truth in every person I meet and I am so sorry when I fail!!!)
Now, all these years later, with 11 little darlings I attended the ETC (Empowered To Connect) conference and one of the first things that Karen Purvis says is that we must see our childrens’ preciousness.  As I was writing this down in my notes, I knew that I believed this, 
however, in the “life-ness” of things, I had stopped actively communicating this to my family.  I felt a "God conviction" that I was no longer mothering my children the way that I really desire to. 
And part of the truth for me is that I have gotten off track with my real motivation.  I realized that I am not the mother that I want to be any more .  An amazing and wonderful article that helped me think this through is on Lisa’s blog, called “I used to be a good mom".  Please take the time to read this.  But don’t leave me yet....
I would like to write more, and I will share this...
Look at the “preciousness" of the children in your life and show this to them.  

Steve and I are spending this next week planning some changes that we need to make in our home and our parenting.  Remember I said earlier that I have gotten off track from my real motivation?  You might   ask, what is this motivation?”  Honestly, and painfully, my motivation has become “control”...control the arguing, the fights, the yelling, problems and the disobedience.  However, my heart motivation is to have a relationship of love and respect with my children, and to show them that they are precious to me and to the LORD. 

Please journey with me as I practically bring hope and healing to my children over the next months.  Honestly, today has been hard...there have been several melt downs (one lasted for over 45 minutes).  We are not in a “crisis” situation”, however, I can say that we are “wore down”.  But, Steve and I feel that we are on the right path to helping our children who have come from hard places and giving our family hope and healing. 
I can’t do this alone....and I pray that what I am learning, you will journey with me, because, one way or another, we all are in relationship with someone who needs to know that they are PRECIOUS.  
But before you start your tomorrow, can I tell you,
Let’s shine some PRECIOUS light!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Empowered To Connect

I know that some of you are familiar with Empowered to Connect and the amazing work of Karyn Purvis.  A large focus of their work is equipping families, churches and professionals to bring hope and healing to adopted and foster children.  One of my favorite resources from Karyn Purvis is Created to Connect, which is a free and wonderful study guide applying Biblical principles to bringing hope and healing to our children.  Steve and I are really excited to be going to the Empowered to Connect conference in Denver this weekend!  (Besides all that, it is two days - just the two of us!)  I am praying for the LORD to give us the wisdom needed to raise these precious ones for Him.
 Here are a few fun pictures from the last few days.  Our dog is so funny to us...he loves to sit, well, like a cat.  

I thought it was cute when I came upon these two “reading” to each other.  Ohhh, the beautiful times when no one is fighting, yelling and arguing.  It does a mommy’s heart good!

 This little doll was saying how tired she was when she was cutting the celery for lunch.  We all laughed at her because we figured it was her silly way of trying to get out of the job.  Besides, this child never takes naps, HATES them.  
Then when lunch was ready and Caresse was calling everyone to the table, she calls me to come look, and this darling angel is what was fast asleep on the couch.  I think a week of playing with Jace and Karlie must have wore her out. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let Them....

Let them be happy...

let them play...

let them enjoy...

the fun in today.

It was 8:30 and time for Bible,
but it was SILENT in the house.  Kalyn and I kind of held our breath as we sat on the couches...her with her book, and me with a bible study book that I have been wanting to get into on prayer.  The children were being SO GOOD playing outside together, and even though it was time to start school, I continued to sit there on the couch enjoying this rare moment to study the Bible and journal.  Kalyn looked up after 20 minutes or so and asked if I was starting school yet.  I whispered “No, they are being so good".  A few minutes later she whispered “It is so quiet.”.  

Well, it is now 9:40, and I am still hesitant to bring them in...
but I really should start school...
Goodness, what’s a home school mother to do?
Should I call them all in now?
Should I tip toe over to that sewing project?
May be I should bake some cookies?
Or read a book?
Play in Adobe Elements with some photos?
Noooo, I think I’ll just go out on the trampoline with them for awhile.
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