Monthly Archives: April 2015

Answers for Everything

Google has answers for everything or at least it’s a great place to start.  I didn’t recognize how much I used this resource until one night my daughter called me from college and asked, “How long does it take to microwave a baked potato?”  I replied, “Google it.”  She said, “What?  Google a Mom?”  Wow.  True.  The things we used to ask our Mom we can now ask Google.  When is daylights saving time?  How do you get an ink stain out of a sweatshirt?  What can I use in this recipe if I don’t have Cream of Mushroom soup?

However, I find it empowering to use Google.  We tease my son that he is the resident IT guy and I am constantly asking him questions and asking him to show me how to do things with my electronics.  How do I download photos from my phone to my computer?  How can I get Netflix to work on the TV? How can I use drop box on my iPad?  Finally, he told me the secret to his success!  He said, “Mom, you know a lot of the time, I just type your question in to the Google search bar.”  Amazing.  I, too, can find out the answers!  I have the ability!  It has been so freeing to be able to do these things on my own!

Just this week alone, Google has answered age old questions like, “How do I turn off the keyboard mouse on my new Toshiba laptop, What are Pepitas, & How do you replace the batteries in a Multiplication Twist & Shout?”

Though Google can provide answers, it can’t provide relationships.  There is nothing quite like the bonding that occurs as your son shows you yet again how to download the photos.  (I can download them, I can just never find the darn things again!)  Or the way he rolls his eyes when his answer is, “It’s not plugged in, that’s why it won’t work!!”

Since I have mastered the way to get answers to all my questions, I guess I’ll have to be more intentional in engaging my kids in conversation. This will free up our time to talk about things that really matter.  And, when they call me with questions, I’ll just be typing quietly in the background to find them out.

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My Cup

Last month I had the privilege of attending our church’s Talent Show.  This is an opportunity for our congregation to share anything they want, a song, a dance, a joke, some trivia, etc.  My Mom shared a poem that reminded her of her Dad who always drank his coffee out of his saucer.  I can’t express how touched I was to hear my Mom’s 85 year old voice read the following:

My Cup

“Never made a fortune…Probl’y too late now,

I don’t worry about that much…I’m happy anyhow.

As I go along Life’s Highway, I’m reaping better than I sowed,

I’m drinking from my saucer, for my cup has overflowed.

Ain’t got a lot of riches, sometimes the going’s tough,

But I’ve got a kid that loves me, and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for the blessings and the mercies He’s bestowed,

I’m drinking from my saucer, for my cup has overflowed.

Oh, I remember when things went wrong and my faith got a little thin.

But all at once the dark cloud broke and the old sun peeked through again.

So Lord help me never to gripe about the rough rows I have hoed,

I’m drinking from my saucer, for my cup has overflowed.

And if God gives me the courage, when the road gets deep and rough.

I won’t ask for other blessings, I’ve already been blessed enough.

But I hope I never get too busy to help another bear their load.

I’m drinking from my saucer, for my cup has overflowed.

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Filed under family, Inspirational, Life, Passages

Why I Work

“Hang in there…sometimes life hands you lemons, but then you can make lemonade.  Of course, sometimes life pulls down your pants runs a power sander across your naked butt, then pours lemon juice on your raw, abraded buttocks.  In that case, a cool citrus drink wouldn’t really help but, darn it…you’ve got to hang in there anyway!” –Just being realistic – I know this sucks, Love you and can’t wait to see you in Tulsa.  Judy.

That is why i work.  So I can meet friends just like Judy, the one who sent me that card last year.  You see, last June, my special needs son stole a gun and shot the end of his thumb off.  It was an extremely traumatic experience for him and for our entire family.  It was then that I reached out to my work associates from across the country to ask for prayers and support.  I work for Usborne Books & More and have for almost 20 years.  In Multilevel Marketing we often talk about sharing our “why.”  Each person has a unique “why.”  Why they got started in business, why it is important for them.  Well, This is my why:  When my son had his accident, my husband was working out of town.  After the trip in the ambulance and preparing my son to go by helicopter to the children’s hospital, I held it together.  I answered the questions (interrogations at times) & remained semi-calm.  When I returned home that evening at about 3 a.m., I broke down.  Sobs.  I got on to facebook and saw another Usborne consultant from Colorado post, “Why am I unable to sleep?”  I messaged Beth and said, “To keep me off the cliff!”  She “talked” to me through the night and recruited other friends to pray for me and encourage me.  A couple of weeks later, I was able to attend the National Convention in Tulsa, OK  to receive the hugs and kind, caring words from my supportive friends.  My roommate Susan listened to me & helped me process the whole ordeal.  It also allowed me a legitimate excuse to travel away from my home which was still in a state of wound care and sensitive feelings.

Later that summer, a different son, made the announcement that he intended to ride his bike across the USA alone. (In case this Mom hadn’t had enough to worry about.)  His plan was to couch surf (code for meet strangers on the internet and stay with them.)  He traveled successfully quite a while, but was concerned about some routes that would take him through Ferguson, MO during the time of the riots.  As my husband was on the phone with him, I got out my address book and started pointing to Charlene (another co-worker)’s address & phone number.  “Call her!  Call her!  Call her!”  He did and she was able to celebrate my son’s 25th Birthday with him.

These are just a few of the recent examples of how the people are my “WHY.”  In the past, I met a woman at a home show, she later became a consultant and mentioned her husband was going on a mission trip to Haiti.  My husband overheard me telling her that maybe he should go along.  George said, “Be careful what you wish for.”  My husband did go with her husband to Haiti (without even meeting him first!) & my son and husband joined him the following year!  After adopting my daughter, I found that I was in need of some new friends….I needed moms who had younger daughters.  Usborne allowed me to meet those moms and now my best friends are past consultants or hostesses.  When I look at my contact list on my phone, it utterly amazes me how Usborne has introduced me to all of these quality people.

When I started with Usborne the CEO, Randall White,  suggested I surround myself with successful people.  My joke is that I do surround myself with successful people, I just didn’t become one of them.  In reality, though, I have been extremely successful in my business.  I have met all of these people and can call them true friends.  Oftentimes, the Why is about so much more than the work.

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Filed under Adoptive, Big Kids, Life, Parenting, Travels

I Am Someone’s LaLa!

Nicole, my daughter, lives in NYC and her two boys are 3 and 1.  Finally, the 1 year old says, “LaLa” into the phone.  I am someone’s LaLa.  We facetime at least once a week, but I only get to see the boys a couple of times a year.  I appreciate the facetime calls and know about the minutia of their days.  I always bring B raisins & send them in the mail sometimes as a treat.  B didn’t like the last book I sent because the sick teddy bear in the book made him sad, but he asked me to send him another one with trucks.  It is so difficult being long distance. And, now, Dad has taken a job in Denver, moving them even further away soon.

So, being long distance is difficult, but being someone’s Lala is even more complicated than that.  You see, I have a daughter who has 2 boys….well, they aren’t her boys, but she spends a lot of time with them.  Nicole is a Certified Professional Nanny and B & T are her “charges.”  She has spent 17 months with these boys, 50 hours a week.  I refer to them as my Grandcharges instead of my grandchildren.  I know their milestones, their likes and dislikes, the way they frustrate my daughter at times.

Nicole calls to ask me advice and to share the cute things they say.  She sends pictures and drawings and I am always sharing stories with my friends about these adorable boys.  They are similar to grandchildren except that I am nothing to their parents.  I don’t know the parents, but I know these boys well.  I play peek a boo via facetime, but I have no true connection to them.  They will move, my daughter will move with them, but eventually she may find another job, these treasures will grow up without me knowing what happens next.  Strange.  How does one prepare for this “letting go” process?  Who can relate to this experience?  How can you talk potty training and eating peas and blowing kisses with a child that you have no real rights to even know.  I’m just not sure.

I do not know what this kind of a relationship is supposed to be like or even what it will become, but I can tell you that right now, I love these boys.  Their calls brighten my days and I am so proud of the young lady who spends her time with them.  I guess we can say that though we aren’t all family, we have created one big happy “Nannily!”

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I Just Finished A Book

I just finished a book!  Not writing one, just reading one, but I still feel a true sense of accomplishment.  I love finishing a book. I write it down in my “Books I’ve Read” journal & then I pin it in Pinterest.  I’ve kept track of every book I’ve read since 1993.  What a fun way to review the years.  1993 found me reading 26 books, 10 of them on audio.  I remember listening to those ones while I walked a fussy baby at night.  The titles included Siblings Without Rivalry, The New Dare to Discipline, Is There Life After Housework & What Kids Need Most in a Mom.  I read a few Danielle Steele novels for fun.  But, I think you can see what my life looked like then.  I had two children and was pregnant with the third.  My focus was on my kids and my home with a little escapism thrown in!

1994 I read 15 books, 5 of them audio.   Enough said about that year.  Too busy to read in any way, shape or form!

1997 – 29 books read, a few audio at the beginning of the year, but I must have lost my Walkman cassette player!  (Anyone remember those?)  Fun titles of that year were:  Mom on the Run, Kids Who Do Too Little, PMS – What It Is & What You Can Do About It & Helping Your Child Succeed in Public School.  Being back in college made Deaf Like Me, Deaf Culture: Our Way, & What’s That Pig Outdoors – A Memoir of Deafness required reading.

I can see the seasons of my life by the books I’ve read.  The Difficult Child by Stanley Turecki, MD was read when I thought I had a difficult child before I met and began to raise my actual difficult child! (I wonder if there is a sequel?) I became an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books at Home so 1996 is full of motivational and goal setting books…yes, I had to read those more than once!  In 1998, I met my friends from Mitford thanks to Jan Karon who made that small fictional community part of my life for a couple of years. Fostering and Adoption became major themes in my reading in the 00’s.  In 2003, I read only 12 books and wrote “Is this all I read?  Probably So…Newborns lived in our home!” – I didn’t read much but I fostered 4 different newborns straight from the hospital.  Ann B. Ross introduced me to Miss Julia in 2009 and I’ve enjoyed that series ever since.  You can also see that in certain years I had more time for reading as I recovered from various surgeries.  So, it’s a reading log, but it’s also a life log.  A journal written in book titles.

Though many are reluctant to journal because of the time and discipline to keep at it, I urge you to start today logging the books you read one book at a time.  Right now, it will only be one book, but some day down the road you will be excited to see your life unfold in fiction and non fiction ways.  My “Books I’ve Read” journal is simple.  I document the title, author and if it was given to me by someone.  I include a few words, “great fast read,” or “perfect beach read.”  But every now and then, I’ll find a gem like a quote from the book.

6-21-01 The Rescue – Nicholas Sparks – “Romance about a boy with speech problems, his Mom and a fireman.  Good Book – Interesting thought – People come, people go – They’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a  favorite book.  When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story & you start up again with another book, complete with new characters & adventures.(page 89) – To expand – My Thoughts:  Some are keepers to be saved, re-read, some bring comfort by just being on the shelf, etc.”

I am so grateful for books, for people and for journals that can revive all those feelings as you flip through those pages.  I hope you’ll consider joining me on this journey.

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Reactive Attachment Disorder – What is it?

My recent post,Reactive Attachment Disorder stinks! created some buzz among my readers.  Those who have a child with RAD, understood and probably felt some relief knowing that others are in the same boat.  Others, those who know my son personally, find it very hard to believe that life in my home is as difficult as it is sometimes.  He simply does not display these behaviors around others.  BUT, that doesn’t mean that it is not true.

I am the parent of a special needs child, however, my kids’ disability is the inability to receive love from his parents.  This makes treating this disorder extremely difficult.

While researching for a fact sheet or a tip sheet on Reactive Attachment Disorder, the shortest one I found was 3 pages in length.  Who wants to read that?  Even those of us in the trenches get bored with all of that, so it is my hope to share some information, the Cliff Notes of RAD – In a nutshell:

Paul has RAD which means that he did not develop an attachment with his primary caregiver early in life.  This lack of connection influences his physical, neurological, cognitive & psychological development. It produces ongoing feelings of rage, deep shame, a lack of trust and a fear of attaching to anyone. He has an inability to understand cause and effect and a compulsive need to control everyone and everything. He has difficulty regulating his emotions and his behavior.  His fear, rage & distrust is so bad that he may explode when a limit is set or a line is drawn.  He truly believes that he will die if he is not in control.  He was deeply hurt, afraid & lonely as he survived severe neglect.  He developed strategies to survive this time in his life and those strategies are to manipulate and control any situation he considers unsafe.  The battle for control is constant.

So, if I ask Paul to put his shoes on…he may feel out of control.  He doesn’t put his shoes on so that he can control that situation.  Even the smallest of things.  If asked to put his plate in the sink, he may put it beside the sink to remain in control.  If you don’t live it every day, you may not even notice the little ways in which he controls things.  Some subtle attempt to control can be interrupting, asking someone to repeat themselves even when he heard, mumbling, ignoring, fidgeting, refusing to put forth appropriate effort, & telling lies.  Children with RAD often maintain control by demonstrating learned helplessness.

You may never see Paul rage.  He’s not angry at you…he’s not even angry at us, but he is angry at the situation of neglect that he experienced and he will take it out on those who love him the most now. You may get the opportunity to see some of the other symptoms:  Lack of guilt or remorse, blames others, difficulty with cause and effect, stealing, lying, manipulative, lack of empathy, poor impulse control, overly friendly to strangers, mood swings, tantrums, refuses to do assignments or does them poorly, & has abnormal eating habits.

That said, I love Paul.  I knew I was meant to be his forever Mom after just a few weeks of knowing him.  I knew I could make a difference in his life.  We’ve come a long way…yet we have a long way to go.  Please keep us and all those who are parenting children with this confusing diagnosis in your thoughts & prayers.  We need them.  Thank you for understanding that this disorder just might be something you will never understand.

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Let’s Play A Game!

This Easter I had the opportunity to visit with my Mom and my Aunt Martha.  We were reminiscing about different times in life and I had to share with Aunt Martha how impressed I was with her one time and how I feel sure that if I were in her shoes things would have looked a lot differently.

A few years ago, Aunt Martha fell and dislocated her shoulder, she was in a lot of pain and went by ambulance to the hospital. My Mom and I met her at the hospital and were able to stay with her while she waited for treatment.  The poor thing had to wait for what seemed like hours for doctors to come in and decide how to best treat her injury.  She was feeling miserable and was trying to think of a way to distract herself from the pain.  After a bit of moaning & whimpering, she said, “Let’s Play A Game! Let’s play books of the Bible!  I’ll go first: Genesis.”  My Mom took her turn, “Exodus.”  OH GREAT!  Can you even believe this?  Who thinks of a “game” like this? I’m sure I’m going to take the Bronze in this event with its’ three participants!  I muscled out “Leviticus” but after that I knew my goose was cooked!  I couldn’t compete with these godly women, avid Bible readers! They had a few laughs at my expense as I muddled my way through the ones I knew and remained amazed at their knowledge.

I continue to be impressed with these sisters. I feel so blessed to know women who know the Bible and call it up when in need of distraction and comfort.  God Bless Them.  I know He will.

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