Thursday, June 15, 2017

Beach Day

We went to the beach today..
   We don't do birthday parties.. instead we do a family memory day.
           So Elizabeth had a birthday today and she chose to go to the beach.
                It was the perfect kinda day.


Matia asked if we could go to the beach for her birthday. I decided I was ready to try another beach trip. It's been awhile. I don't particularly like hot, sandy beaches. I don't like lugging stuff up and down the beach. But I do enjoy a nice cool day on the beach.

So we decided to go to Slaughter Beach. I remembered that somewhere around 6 years ago we had done a daytrip to Slaughter Beach. Would you believe that despite being extremely directionally challenged and always getting lost, we made it to Slaughter Beach and parked at the same spot we did 6 years ago?

Slaughter Beach is not a nice fancy touristy beach. It is a quiet, dirty, little beach. You park by the fire house.. if you go early, you will have the beach to yourselves. It's not that clean, but it has clean bathrooms. It is handicapped accessible and it is only 2.5 hrs from my house.

We picked up Miss C, my mother's helper. She was excited to join us on our trip. I wanted an extra set of hands to help with Nesiah. I was so thankful for her help. It totally lightened my load.

WE had the most delightful day. The child we were celebrating has had some struggles recently. We are working hard at having healthy relationships.. But today was just the perfect kinda day.

We picked up Miss C at 8:30 am. We never made it to the beach until 11 am. But the beach was empty when we got there. We parked, unloaded and unleashed antsy kids.

The kids had such a  total blast playing in the waves. The water was just perfect and this momma could relax. We had a picnic lunch and dinner packed.  The kids had brought a stack of books, they played catch and football..

I got to sit back with  Nesiah while Miss C played with the kids. Later I got to play with the kids while she sat with Nesiah. I laid down and almost dozed off.. yes, with 6 kids at the beach! I took a long walk down the beach with 3 of my kiddoes. We found horse shoe crabs and lots of fun rocks.

At the end of the day, after we had eaten dinner and everyone was doing one last thing on the beach.. I walked down to the edge of the water, to breath, to pray, to just be.. (you know with 6 kids that doesn't happen very often). I love to see the powerful waves, the beautiful blue skyline and just marvel at our Creator's beautiful design. I imagine heaven will have beautiful waters and skies..There is something about the ocean that is good for the soul.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jumbled Thoughts...

I have been mulling over a lot in the past couple days..

Do you know that there are actually quite a few stories in the Bible of how God provided for the widows? God used the widows to do his work? They are prominent women that God chose to use for His glory..  As a widow with a lot on her plate at the moment, that has been very comforting.

Lately, I have been mulling over the stuff my kids went through before they came to me. It is their story to tell, not mine.. We live a "normal" life.. a life where we do things like normal people do, we are a little weird maybe? Ha. But reality is, every one of my kids has endured things, seen things, suffered things that I can't even imagine. Some things they remember, some things they don't, some things they heard/felt in the womb, some things they talk about, some things they refuse to talk about, some things fester, some things brew, some things bring healing, some things are best forgotten, some things are best worked through...
 It is my job to discern who needs what and when.. to help them talk through it, walk through it.. I am a matter of fact sorta person. Life is hard. Deal with it. Pray, talk, process and let go. Life is to short to hang on to baggage. Unfortunately each kiddoe has their own personality type and this makes it hard to meet them where they are at..But with wise counsel and lots of Holy Spirit guidance, we are making progress..

All that being said.. I am often in awe of everything my kids have overcome. They are the statistics. They are the kids that were in the system. They are the black kids, that spend their early childhood years abused, homeless, moving from foster home to foster home, older child adoption... Now being raised in a single parent home... They are the kids that should be doing drugs, making babies and in trouble with the authorities. But they are not. They are strong, country kids. They spend their days playing with animals and playing legos. They dream of wild camping adventures, visiting amish relatives, being the next president, being missionaries.. I have put up some strong boundaries. They are going to be happy, carefree children as long as I can possibly let them. They are going to dream big dreams, they are going to be able to be anything they want to be..


 Father's Day.. For some of my children this day is hard. For other's it's a sad reminder.. For others it brings anger.  They hate church on Father's Day.. I used to get them to make their crafts/cards etc.. for their mentors or grandpa. They don't want to do that anymore.. They don't want to do Father's Day.  So.. we won't do Father's Day. We will take the day off, we will talk through their emotions, if we feel motivated we will do something fun, if we don't we will just be home.... some of my kids have birth fathers out there, we know where they are, and we know why they are there.. others have no identified birth fathers.. others we don't know where they are.. Fathers Day seems to bring up birth dad discussions.. One of mine seems to think his lives with the Lone Ranger... He also was quite proudly telling all his friends where his birth dad "lives". SMH
There is sadness cause they wish God would not have taken away Mesh (my late husband, who died before they came to live with me). They wish he was here to be their father.. Some are angry cause momma refuses to look for a new daddy for them. Ha.
There is Jesus in Heaven, who provides and loves them.. He is their father, and they must wait until they get to heaven to have a daddy...

I watch my friends with housefuls fo little ones, fostering, praying for their adoption dates etc..I remember those days. I remember the older wiser foster parents telling me, it only gets harder.. it is true, it has been harder then I ever imagined it would be. But reality is I would not trade all this for all the world. I am so thankful for this journey I am on, I am thankful that I get to parent these kids. I am officially the mother of one teen, another one soon to be a teen. We have been through a lot together, no matter where we go in life, I want to remember the slow days of summer... the summer days where playing with dogs, legos, cats, goats, swimming in the neighbors pool, or at the pool with friends, going to the library, listening to hours and hours of Jonathan Park, and just being home together.....

Saturday, May 27, 2017

When God is Your Daddy,..

Fayth is my girly girl. My sweet girl that is often left behind because she does not like animals. She is not a tomboy like her older sister and her momma. She enjoys girly things, pink, frilly, fancy things..

Fayth is also my sweet girl. She often helps me care for Nesiah. She has a special relationship with Nesiah and makes many sacrifices to help care for Nesiah.

Fayth loves to play dolls and had this special 18" doll, named Taryn. She loved Taryn and took her everywhere with her.  So when we came home from our trip to the bay and Taryn was missing. I was not too worried. She would show up. Fayth did not fuss much, but every couple days she would comment again about Taryn being missing.

Finally about 2 weeks after our vacation, it registered in my mom brain that this doll was really missing. She was not just hiding. So Fayth and I started discussing what our options were. Fayth decided to buy a new doll with her babysitting money.

We had some discussion about buying a brown doll vs a white doll. I usually buy her brown dolls, but all her friends have white dolls.... This led to an interesting discussion on fb regarding which doll she should buy..

This is where the story takes a turn..

A friend fo mine on FB, ironically name Faythe, messaged me that she would like to buy Fayth both a  white doll and a brown doll. My first reaction was to refuse, telling her that Journi could buy a doll with her babysititng money and I would buy another one for her birthday. But I felt like God was prompting me to accept. That quiet voice in my heart said "Let me show her my love. Let her know that God is a daddy that cares."

So my friend Faythe and I had discussion on what dolls to get Journi. At the end Faythe shared that she felt that God wanted my Fayth to know that He is a Heavenly Father that cares and He loves her. It was an incredible moment to share with her that God had told em the same thing!

Meanwhile a friend had offered to sell Fayth a doll at a very discounted price. Fayth was so excited to get this used doll with her babysitting money. She felt like this doll was an answer to her prayers. This doll had thick brown hair and pretty light tan skin.

Several days later, a package arrived from Target. I told Fayth they were for her and she could open it...Inside were 2 beautiful dolls. One white. One black. She could hardly believe her eyes when she saw her two new dolls.

I told her that these dolls were a gift from God, that a friend she does not even know listened to God's promptings and obeyed. She is a loved daughter of the King.

It took her  a couple days to fully grasp the magnitude of this. Of God's great love for Her. That just like an earthly daddy might buy his daughter a gift, her Heavenly Father was sending her a special gift.



video


She came to me and asked me if God really cares about dolls, cause He is a man and men don't care about dolls... It was my pleasure to explain again that God cares about the things that are important to us. Even dolls.

The best part is that God has blessed her abundantly above what she could ever imagine. She now had 3 dolls, 2 brand new dolls, and one used doll. She kindly without hesitation gave her used doll to her sister who only had one doll.




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another God story..

Because God cares about every detail of your life.. So Nesiah's insurance will no longer pay for her prepared food, Real Food Blends. I loved them and they made my life so easy. The cost out of pocket is approx $400 a month, so I am not able to fit that into my budget. Meanwhile I have been blending table food for her. She struggles to maintain her weight so she needs large volumes of food, which I blend in large batches twice a week in my amazing Blend tec. She eats as much as my other girls do. She is also dairy, gluten and rice free.So it takes a lot of food. In addition we carefully monitor her labs so I have to make sure her meals are balanced enough that she gets all the nutrition she needs. We have a vacation coming up, plus busy summer days of picnics, lunch at the pool and outings with friends. I was praying how to handle this. I really did not want to drag the Blend tech with us on our vacations, mostly because I was afraid that it would break. My options were to make blends at home, water bath can them or freeze them so we could take them along safely.
Meanwhile God has it all under control.. Yesterday I ran to the discount grocery store for groceries. They had a whole bunch of organic, gluten free single serving soups for $.99 a box. They were dairy, gluten and rice free! They were soft meltable texture so they don't even need blending. Basically heat and go.. Not a complete meal, but add in some homemade yogurt, some cheap carrot juice and she has a balanced meal! But.. best of all, where God answers prayers in ways you don't think about.. Today a friend dropped off 2 small nutri bullet style blenders. They are single serving blenders. Small enough to toss into a bag and take with us, when we go out with friends. Small enough to easily pack up for a vacation. The perfect size to blend up an individual meal in minutes. Now, it had never even crossed my mind to buy one of these, yet God provided the perfect solution for us! I can actually stick one in the van and leave it there, so if we get a last minute meal invitation I can just pull it out to blend on the go.
Bonus points: Bubbie loves his smoothies. The blend tec is better suited for large portions (which is exactly what I need for the big kids). But this nutri bullet type blender allows me to make quick, small smoothies for Bubbie too. I just love how God uses various people in our lives to bring His blessings to us. I want to be mindful of the promptings, the soft whispers of his voice that led me to help others. I want to be a dispenser of His grace and blessings, as I am filled up, I pour out on those around me.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Provision..

We are continuing to see God's Hand on our lives. The journey has been hard but so worth it. We have overcome some pretty big obstacles and God continues to Renew our lives. He continues to grow us.

I look back about 9 months, I see a time of desperation. A time of struggle. I never want to forget that God is in the valleys and on the mountain tops.

In Oct 2016, I cried out to God. I was concerned. We needed community. We needed emotional, physical and financial support. I am quite proud of being totally self sufficient. But I realized that I needed a community, I needed more than what I had. I couldn't do it alone.


First of all, my dear friend who has always been my rock, my support, my listening ear, one who ahs never abandoned us, no matter the choices I have made.. No matter that we do life differently.. that friend insisted that I seek some medical attention for my pain.

Answered Prayer #1. I started seeing a holistic chiropractor. MY very first visit it was clear that God can use anyone anywhere.. I had an incredible divine appointment and this Chiropractor has been used by God to totally change my life,  both physically and emotionally. I have regained so much health, so much of my personality. I praise God every day for this.

Answered Prayer # 2. We made some new friends. As my health improved I made efforts to connect with various people. I prayed specifically for friends for my girls and for friends  for myself,  friend who have teens. I have connected with 2 very different groups of people who meet those needs. We actually have a very active social life again. (active for us, who are introverts. )

Answered prayer #3 Out of the blue, randomly but totally God ordained, people from my past, from my time as a young bride with a sick husband.. those people who I have had little to no contact with for 10 or so years... those people started contacting me, telling me they felt led to give.. family members too, for the first time.. we received food,a blender, money, getaways, more food, a used fridge.. It was truly shocking to me. God was telling me, no matter where  I go. No matter what I do,He has got me in the palm of His hand. He cares and he can use anyone.. He doesn't need me to plan out every moment of my life, but He does need dme to simply obey and wait on Him.

Answered Prayer #4 We found a church. For the past 3 years, we had done home church. It was just easier. It was to hard top juggle the kids, Nesiah and Bubbie were so disruptive that I rarely enjoyed a message. Every once in a while when the guilt of not taking my kids to church would overwhelm me.. or when I had a really good week healthwise, we would visit churches.. but the kids hated it...
Finally, as my health improved, and my energy improved I felt like God was nudging me to step out in faith. My children were very resistant at first, they loved homechurch.. So in order to motivate them and myself, I promised them that every time we went to church, I would buy them pizza. Now they love pizza and it is a rare treat.. Suddenly my children were highly motivated to go to church. (Don't judge me. I am only human!)
We connected with a local church. We found it to be perfect for what we need right now. we made connections and doors opened.. We are now plugged in again. We have a church home. This has been a 3 year long journey, of healing and growing. (and no I don't buy the kids pizza anymore. They like church now)

Answered Prayer #4 I was invited to join an adoptive mom's support group. A group of mommas deep in the trenches of strong and hard parenting. It has been such an encouragement for me.

Answered Prayer #5 In my pursuit for health, dealing with the fact that 2 of my children have pretty aggressive lyme disease, Nesiah is having a lot of seizure activity and switching to homemade foods vs commercial formula, dealing with my own lyme (and other health issues), dealing with my son who is prediabetic and all the food allergies and asthma issues we have dealt with.. I have decided to use all the knowledge I have gained over the years and put it to good use. I am working on getting certified as a natural health consultant. I hope to educate people on the use of whole foods, herbs and other holistic methods of getting healthy and staying healthy.  While helping stabilize my financial situation.

We have found community. We have connected to so many different groups of people, our homeschooled friends, our adoption group friends and  our church friends. We are babysitting/doing respite alot which allows us to reach out and serve others. We spend a lot of time praying for the burdens that so many of our friends carry. Because being plugged in, is not just about taking.... it is about giving, continuing the cycle of being the hands and feet of Jesus.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

I Need An Intervention

It is baby season...  



This was our view to the birthing pen.. we spend a lot of time hanging out here waiting and watching.


This year has been a lot of fun, because the kids can handle most of the animals. They keep after everything for me. I go to the barn to help milk and keep tabs on the babies once a day. 




The one momma totally rejected her baby. She refused to lick her etc.. so Elizabeth got to bottle fed her. 



Another momma was unable to feed her babies, but she supplies us with an abundance of milk, so we are bottle feeding her babies. The first week, they need round the clock feedings, so Elizabeth kept the babies in a box by her bed. 


We were rather disappointed that our 6 mommas only gave us 8 babies. Many were new moms so it was not a big surprise, but it was still disappointing. So I found a couple goats on craigslist and somehow.. still not sure how.. I ended up buying 6 more goats. So now we have a total of 14 baby goats, 9 which are bottle fed. I think I need an intervention...  cause if my counts are right, we somehow ended up with 20 goats on the farm. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Valentines Day

Ten years.. Ten years ago, I celebrated my last valentine's day with my love.
Sometimes God just blows your socks off..



 Valentine's Day a delivery man shows up with these beautiful chocolate covered strawberries, no name attached.  They were such a special God hug. It is the kind of thing that makes you feel truly loved by God.

Later that same day, I got a call from the local pool. Someone had send in money and was paying for a family membership for us! I had just been praying about finding a way to fund a pool membership this year! Another wonderful little God hug.

The week BEFORE Valentine's Day a good friend  of mine had blessed me with 40 lbs of chicken, some spinach and 2 doz beautiful pink roses.

This kind of thing totally blesses us beyond measure. Two things are so clear here. 1. God loves us and cares about the things that make us feel loved and special. 2. We have no idea who blessed us with these two special gifts. But it is very obvious that someone was obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit and allowed themselves to be used to carry out God's message to us.





Several weeks later, I had a birthday.  This season of healing and regrouping has been so amazing. God is doing good things. I don't always understand the how and the why... but God is always good.

Several days before my birthday, a sweet friend brought us all the above pictured meat. My children eat an incredible amount of food. So this is an incredibly much appreciated gift. We canned 23 quarts of chicken breasts. We made the ribs for a birthday lunch. We popped the rest of the food into the freezer for later! This friend also brought us subs, soft pretzels and a ton of cheese! My kids love food and this was such a wonderful gift!

My birthday was a wonderful day. I had Nesiah stay in respite for a couple days prior as I really needed to do some thrift shop runs to get summer clothes for the kiddoes. We made it to a number of thrift shops and discovered a GoodWill where you buy clothes by the lb. I bought 30 lbs of clothing! My day did not go quite like I had planned but we had a lot of success in finding nice summer clothing for all 6 kids!

The morning of my birthday, the kiddoes presented my gifts.  Lee had made a bird feeder, the other 3 kiddoes bought me a necklace, bracelet and an umbrella. My in laws brought us a yummy dinner and spend the evening with us.

I feel incredibly blessed to savor these gifts, these blessings from my Father, the God of the Universe. The God who cares about the smallest details of my life.


I keep finding random photos of the kids legos on my camera. So I shall leave you with this random set up of the vet clinic that the girl's set up.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nesiah Update

This one here.. she is heavy on my heart....
She has been making some amazing progress in life. So many exciting things are happening for her.


Bubbie and Sunshine on the boat (aka chair) looking for sharks, while listening to music with Nesiah.




She pulled herself up on the sink, so that she could slosh in the water, it's one of many new skills she has mastered. 



Fayth loves her well..

Nesiah has been having many seizures. After much discussion via email her neurologist and I agreed to switch up meds. We changed her meds today.. She (and I ) could use some prayers. I think it's hormonal and her gyn is agreeing..


The other day, in the midst of so many worries, I heard this song. I am claiming it for our current journey.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Redemption

All of life is a journey... we never know why God gives or takes away. It can be hard to understand the big picture.

Last night I for the first time ever, started rereading my blogs from 2007-2006. The last 2 years of our journey through cancer.

I was talking to the kids about all this. So this is where beauty comes from the ashes... redemption.. so many things that only God could see. God can totally use the bad things in our lives for His good.

My older kids were 1-2 yrs old at this time. Nesiah was born over this time. They were living in bad situations.. I was walking the cancer journey as a young bride.

We all lost so much in 2006/2007. They lost first mommies and daddies, birth siblings, they lost everything they owned, their toys, their beds, their homes, their cousins, aunts/uncles, relatives, their lifestyles.  They moved through several homes. I lost my husband, my soulmate but I was surrounded by people who loved me and supported me.


In 2008 God brought us all together, 4 preschoolers from 2 different families, who needed a family. 1 very young, niave, heartbroken widow, who just wanted to make a difference in the world, because she saw that life was so very short and fragile.

God knew that I needed a purpose in life. These kids brought me purpose, a goal, something to focus on outside of my own heartbreak. They brought joy and fun and a whole lot of love into my life. These kids need someone who would fight for them, someone who keep them safe and tell them about Jesus.


Today I look around me... The woman, that blogged on caringbridge has surely changed...These heartbroken little kiddoes, who never had enough to eat, never knew if they were going to be safe, never knew about Jesus have surely changed.

I look around my living room.. a  couple big kids snuggled under blankets reading books, one kiddoe playing drums, another one reading the blog on the computer, 2 more taking naps and me with my warm peppermint tea.There are toys scattered everywhere, my house is never clean, the amount of food  I cook in a day is astounding... My life is consumed with teaching, directing, training, and educating these little people.  I am the sole provider, decision maker, and teacher. But I would not trade this life for any other.


God knew this, even then. He knew we would survive and thrive. He knew just which kids were supposed to be mine. He knew that on the day of Mesh's funeral, 2 of my kids would be removed from their bio home. Two stories, totally different worlds, two heartbreaking moments... Their story was all over the news. I never knew it until a year later when I was called to take 2 young children into my home.

ONLY GOD COULD WRITE A STORY LIKE THIS!

Ten years from now, these kids will all be adults, except Bubbie. I will once again be a in a totally different stage of life. I am excited to see what God will do in the next chapter. Because ten years ago, parenting 6 kids, including one with special needs, homeschooling and running a small farm were NOT even close to being on my radar. Not even close.