Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore, Ferguson, One Drop At a Time.

With all the chaos in our world today, it feels impossible to change anything. But today my children and I are going to visit our local police station with cookies for the officers. I want MY young, black men to trust and respect officers. I want the officers to trust and respect my young men. I want my fatherless, young, black men to fight for justice with their God given tools. I want them to NOT feel angry and powerless. I want them to be promoters of peace and respect for all authority. This starts at home with me... and my examples. Today I will make a tiny drop of difference. Join me


I also love this video by Tony Evans!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Allergies and Eating My Words...

I used to laugh at all those paranoid moms. Those moms who had kids allergic to everything, the hovering mom who never let their kid out of sight.Then I became one.

It all started out simple enough. Colic, reflux, and some minor breathing issues. But then we had hours and hours of crying from about 6 weeks on. 5-6 ER visits before he was a year old. Specialists from the Children's hospital...

Because Bubbie was a foster child, I first had to take him to the clinic rather then my pediatrician.
The clinic did not hear my concerns. Thankfully I had a nurse friend who was able to walk me through the medical protocol. With her assistance and some amazing caseworkers who pushed hard we were finally able to get an appointment  with a pulmonary specialist at the closest Children's hospital. I was not allowed to go to the hospital of my preference because it would be to far for the biological parents.

However, before our appointment, we had another ER visit with breathing problems. The amazing ER Dr wrote a referral for GI and a pediatrician  for us. He also gave us a Dx of reflux. The ER Dr's referrals were an answer to prayer as it finally allowed us to see the additional specialists we needed.

So now we were at the 6 months mark with a foster baby who cried for hours, slept no more then 2 hours at a time,  needed special formula and had the dx of asthma (clinic had told us not possible to dx an infant). He also was on meds for reflux, and had possible FPIES.

I was on the fast track to learning about asthma and food intolerance. I joined several  fb support groups and picked the brains of my friends who had kids with similar problems.

The specialists were not exactly helpful, very little testing was done. Everyone was happy to let me just handle it. I had no clue what I was doing. This was a foster child, I was accountable to not only my agency but a rather unforgiving CYS caseworker. I worried that I would miss something important with this Bubbie's health.

 I spend many, many nights rocking a crying baby for hours, quite often my tears joined his. During this time I was extremely grateful for several close friends, one who was a nurse with kids who had similar food issues offered valuable advice, the other a friend who had a husband with severe asthma who also had excellent advice,two other friends always willing to drop everything and come help when I felt overwhelmed.

The winter cold that was minor issues for other kids turned into pneumonia, 3 times for my little one. . I was giving breathing treatments around the clock. I was constantly monitoring breathing issues, watching for the signs that I should go to the ER. I was thankful for a neighbor friend who would come in the middle of the night to stay with the other kids.

He even had a ride in an ambulance before he was 2.

We learned some little tricks. Things like warm steam baths with eucalyptus oil and chest PT to loosen the mucus. We found a vapor rub that kept his oxygen levels up. Each ER visit added to our knowledge. Friends recommended meds that worked for their kids. Soon we had quite the variety of meds, all prescribed by different Drs. It was confusing and concerning to me.

Finally as we were further along in the fostercare side of things, I got permission to seek a second opinion at a larger Children's Hospital. We were able to get in to see GI. It was a long day in a large city. The caseworker accompanied me to the long first appointment. We were given hope. The FPIES diagnoses was thrown out. Fructose Malabsorption and Lactose Intolerance were the new diagnoses after some awful tests!

I found that having my child seen by the specialists during his sick times really helped us. Because Bubbie is a chubby, cute, out going little guy no one really believed me that he had the issues he did.

The answer to a prayer with our allergist came after a long hard night. I debated several times if I should just go to the ER before morning. But I knew having the Dr see his breathing would help more then yet another trip to the ER. This Dr (whom I LOVE!) listened to my sick little boy. She gave me a referral for a Pulmonary Specialist and an ENT. She also gave us a prescription for a very large dose of the much hated steroids. For the first time I felt like someone heard me and understood why I freak out. She saw the labored breathing etc...

This Dr has been a great help. She really helped me figure out what Bubbie is allergic to. She gave me an Epi pen, an allergy emergency plan and an asthma plan. She communicates with GI and nutrition to help us connect the dots between his breathing issues and his eating issues. She went over all his meds. She listened to me on what works and what doesn't. She explained why things worked the way they do. She helped me find the best solutions for his allergy/asthma issues.

Finally at almost 2 years old we have an allergy and asthma plan that works. We still have flare ups. We still  have long sleepless nights. But I am confident in my tools. I know that I have a good team just a phone call away. I can check oxygen levels and listen to his lungs at home, I know the danger signs.

My next step is to find answers for the food issues. Watch for a post on that....


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Old McDonald Had a Farm..

I have decided to take some time to just regroup and recover. This past 3 months of paperwork and stress, in addition to the LONG winter gave me a bit burn out. I needed to recharge and rest.

So since the adoption, we have been relaxing. We are maintaining a strong school schedule, while doing a little bit of outside clean up, which is theraputic for me. I love diddling around outside.

We had to babysit yesterday but not the rest of the week. I am thankful for this break. I took a long nap while Bubbie napped today. Ahhh, it has been a long time since I did that. Unfortunately, my big kids took advantage of that time to get into some scraps. After a firm scolding on being trustworthy without direct supervision, they decided to try to earn that lost trust back by mowing for me!

I had a phone IEP, because at scheduling time, I had thought I would be babysitting today. Nesiah is doing well. Exceptionally well. We are so happy with her progress.

The kids have been enjoying the outside. I bought a bag of tennis balls, which have been put to good use the past week. The kids also bike every day. We live on the side of a hill. I can see for miles and miles. But best of all with the intersecting roads, the kids can ride for a good, hilly (very low traffic) mile, all within view of my kitchen windows.

We have planted our garden and sprayed weeds. Flower beds were cleaned out, all in the last week or so. It is so therapeutic for me.

We are also working on some animal projects. I actually have time and energy to get out to the barn and do extra work. The kids always do great at taking care of their animals. But I try to get out and check to make sure things are they should be. My kids are incredibly responsible with their animal care.

We currently have 18 chickens/roosters that Elizabeth takes care of.  We have 4 sheep, a steer and a pony that David takes care of.  We also baby goat and a golden retriever that Lee cares for. The girls also have a Bichon that they care for. Fayth had been responsible for the baby goat but lost her right to take care of her. Bubbie loves all the animals but especially the chickens and the baby. He insists on going to the barn every single day with the kids.

They love when I come  outside and we play with all the animals. I rarely have time or energy lately for fun stuff like this. Today was the perfect.

It is not all fun and games on our farm. Animal care can be hard. Animal care can be disgusting. But it is sooo valuable for our kids.

Our steer has not been gaining well and on Sunday was really sick. I did some research and thought I knew what was wrong. I prayed for wisdom and decided not to call the vet. But Ben get getting sicker and sicker... we were afraid he would die. So we prayed. We gathered together and prayed that God would heal our sick steer. He did. Ben was still off, but not looking like he was on his deathbed by Monday morning. I was able to stop by the farm store where an old timer gave me some tips on how to manage his care. He is well on the way to recovery now! We praise God for caring about steers and healing him!!

Yes, I know it makes us strange that we pray for steers. But we believe that God cares about every detail of our lives. He cares about helping single moms feed their kids. He does still work miracles. We attended a really good mission conference at a local church recently. It was so inspiring and encouraging. Here were people who did crazier things then us. They saw God work in ways we can only imagine. My kids sat spell bound for 2 hours, as the speakers shared stories! It has often been discussed since that. How God works... How He cares.... why He calls us to be crazy.. why He cares about every aspect of our lives.

We have an entire week ahead of us with no babysitting, no real responsibilities other then really working towards the goal of finishing school strong! I plan to do some cleaning, some animal care, some training with the kids.

What do you have planned for the summer?

Friday, April 17, 2015

He is adopted!

Some day I will blog our story. This story has God's fingerprints all over it. All over it. It was a long hard journey, but Moses is now adopted.

I got the phone call and 24 hours later I had an emergency kinship license and a 6 lb baby boy...

He was such a tiny peanut. 

We were so blessed that God gave us yet another April adoption date. It is almost to crazy to be true! 

We were blessed by everyone that came out to support us! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I dare to believe in incredible things.

April.. it has long been a month of pain and answered prayers. Beauty from the ashes. Redemption. Spring. New life from the dead ground. Green grass. New growth.

I love spring. It feels like spring inside and out...

God has answered some pretty big prayers. I got my April miracle, even tho everyone said it was impossible. (they did everything they could to help make it happen! I am blessed with an amazing team of caseworkers/adoption workers)

My friend says today: "I am never quite sure if the things you do are stupid or just really truly a faith walk." Two hours later she comes back and says.. Well, it appears God has answered your prayers again. ;)

I dare to believe in incredible things, because you are the God of the impossible.   

Two years of praying. Two long years of worry, sleepness nights, tears. Sitting with my kids, praying together, fervently begging God to protect. He has answered. 

                        You hear me when I call.... whom shall I fear? You crush the enemy... 

The God of the angel armies is forever by my side... he is a friend of mine... 

It seemed that we heard this song EVERY single week for almost 16 months as we made a weekly drive to visits. It always encouraged me to keep praying...

Check back soon for the official update on this answered unbloggable prayer!

Ironic... Ten years ago I stood at the side of a wonderful man. I pledge my life to him, through sickness and health, until death do us part. We were blissfully happy. We took our honeymoon to Hawaii. We also planned a trip to Hawaii for our tenth wedding anniversary. 

Through good times and bad times, they shared them together.. 

they cherished each moment... but now he is traveling ahead in the distance. but he made me this promise I hold in my heart. 
He said I will leave you a message on the far side of Jordan, I will draw you an arrow down in the sand. 
I will point to the place I will be waiting and we will go see Jesus hand in hand... 

They sang this song at his funeral. I always cry. every single time. I listen to it.

It is now my tenth wedding anniversary...

Hawaii is not even in my wildest dreams.. reality check: I dreamed of going to this excellent training for connected parenting this weekend. Even that won't happen!!  Instead I will be  babysitting for friends! 

I look around me. I see the 6 beautiful children God has given me. I am blessed by some pretty incredible friends. I am living a life, that I could not even have begun to imagine. I love this story written by God. The broken beautiful.. some days I lose sight of the good things God has done. Some days are hard. Some days the tears fall.

some days... I get tons of hugs. My son writes in his language arts " being loved and cared for means... being adopted into a loving family that cares for you". I get to watch the excitement of a little boy experience so many firsts. I get to watch the big boys grow in confidence, into Godly men. I get to watch my beautiful daughters, heal, grow, nurture, love and just enjoy life.

This is my current favorite song...

I know that I don't bring alot to the table..
Hold me together when I fall apart.
Your love will never change.. you can take broken things and make them beautiful..
You say that you will turn my weeping into dancing.... 

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Today I am thankful for a Jesus who died for my sins. I am thankful for Easter.

We had an amazing service last evening at church. Today we will our own little celebration here at home. We were unable to travel to out of town family and are choosing to celebrate here at home.

We have lots of eggs to dye and good food to eat. We hope to visit Grandma E this afternoon.

But most importantly, we want to focus on what Jesus did for us. We don't want the Easter bunny crashing the celebration of our Savior.

Have a Blessed Easter! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Budget Challenge

I am motivated by life challenges. So we are doing several  "do without" challenges.

 Last summer we started a with not eating out. at all. for a month. It turned into not eating out hardly ever. The same thing with buying coffee. It takes thinking ahead but truly saves so much money. For ex. I will prep a meal before we leave the house or I will make a coffee to go as I am leaving. Both these steps help us to save money.

So I decided to get serious about these challenges, trying to a do a different challenge each month.

The month of Feb. we hung all our laundry out to dry and switched to cloth diapers. I finally caved at the end of the month and allowed a friend to bless us with a wonderful dryer. (I am still using cloth diapers, much to the shock of those around me) ;)
I was so thankful for the dryer that I totally quit hanging out laundry! lol So not sure that one was really helpful long term!

I skipped the challenge in March...

For April, my challenge was to use up all the meat in the freezer and  go a month without using burger.

I have 3 freezers. Currently 1 is empty, a second is only half full and the third is almost full. (mostly fruits and veggies)  It is time to turn our steer into beef. But I wanted to fatten him up a bit more. So we decided to do a, clean out the freezer challenge. It has proven to be quite the challenge to cook gluten free with  the meat from the bottom of the freezer and no burger.

My friend ended up blessing us with a large of amount of meat, chicken, grillers, canned meat etc.. my children were thankful that this challenge did not last more then a week. They love their meat!

When I first started the challenge in Feb. I was sharing with a friend that while we were doing well and God was abundantly blessing us, I felt like this  challenge was important for my finances. So when my explorer needed replaced (some insurance money), my large van needed a good bit of work, my dryer died, my printer crashed, my hard drive died, and my kids burned up 2 tanks of oil in March,  we were ahead of the game because we had saved up.

There are days when I look around me in awe. Several people have told me recently that I am not getting "what I deserve" from several financial resources. That I really should be fighting for more. But I rest in that God directs every aspect of my life. My obedience in tithing and in never fighting over money, has brought back ten fold blessings.

My children and I pray over our finances. I explain how and why we can afford things. I make sure they pray AND acknowledge the answered prayers. You can't teach this in Sunday school. This is the real deal. Real life where God hears and answers.

Have you ever done a "do without challenge"?