Monthly Archives: March 2016

Change of Plans

journal

I just have to share my journal entry for today.

March 30.  Good Morning Lord.  It’s still dark out this morning and the house is quiet.  Another start to a new day.  What a gift.  A gift waiting to be opened.  A day so filled with options.  What should I do?  Go and get my nails done? Go shopping? Furniture shopping? Clothes Shopping? Grocery Shopping? Stay home and clean? Read? I need to read. Write? I need to write.  Prepare a lesson for Godly Girls on prayer? Prepare an opening lesson for Sunday School? So many things I might do.  Let me start here….with you….and maybe you can hep me decide.

I looked up from writing and on my table I see a hot pink post-it note with some scrawled notes: “Don’t hit send.” “Don’t react.” “Journal Entries.” “Phil 2:3-4.”  Not having any idea what those notes meant, I decided to look up the scripture before tossing the note in the garbage.

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

OK – so to look to the above list again.  Through the eyes of selfless ambition?  Wow.

The Lord spoke to me and as much as I hate to say it, I don’t think I’ll be heading to the nail salon today.  However, it did prompt me to check one thing off the list.  Write. Done.

I hope you’ll join me each morning in pausing before you make out your plans for the day to ask the Lord what He wants you to do.  You may be surprised when he actually answers.

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New Jeans

l-145314            I am wearing new jeans.  I bought them for myself as a “treat.”  Well, actually they were a necessity as I needed to size up for comfort after my winter of snacking and too much TV time.  Regardless, I bought a new pair of jeans.  I wanted to buy a tall size, but no stores seem to keep that size in stock, so I put on the average length and thought I’d make do.  It felt like a good idea.  I was comfortable with my decision.

Today, however, I am not comfortable with my decision and also not comfortable in my new jeans.  My ankles show a bit, I’m constantly tugging on them and I simply do not like my new jeans.  But, I bought them so I should wear them.  I wore them yesterday…tug, pull, twist, shift.  I put them on today, the same tug-pull-twist-shifting is occurring.  I am not comfortable.  The KonMari method of tidying asks you to consider “Does it bring you joy?” when you are deciding what you want in your home.  I evaluated my clothes last year and I touched each piece and recognized that tugging, pulling, twisting and shifting do not bring me joy.  I donated many items that cause me to do those things.  But, these jeans?  They’re new!  Can I donate them?  Can I justify owning them for less than 24 hours?  I figured out how to do just that.  OK, so I spent money on them.  Probably the equivalent of a dinner out.  A Bourbon Street Steak, with an Apple Chimicheescake dessert and drink at Applebees.  I do that lots of times and I don’t hold on to those items.  (The dinner probably made me almost as uncomfortable as these jeans do!) The result is the same.  I spent the money and have nothing to show for it.

These jeans are going.  They don’t bring me joy like I had hoped.  If I choose to wear them they will be a constant reminder of my poor purchase and the cash that could’ve stayed in my wallet.  They might bring me joy when I picture the lucky Average (not Tall) shopper at the Salvation Army who happens on this pair of nearly new jeans.  They will be thrilled and will talk about the wonderful deal they got!  My congratulations to them, and, also to me.  My donation to the Salvation Army shopper is probably better for both of us than a dinner out alone. Maybe she’ll take the cash she saved and treat herself to something special too.

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Proverbs

stock-photo-the-word-proverbs-one-of-the-books-of-the-holy-bible-in-cut-out-magazine-letters-pinned-to-a-cork-167707772Many of us are not Bible scholars and we even struggle with what to read in the Bible when we do get the notion that we should.  Where do we start?  Many people suggest reading the gospel of John where you’ll find the message of salvation. Others suggest Genesis.  It’s at the beginning which is usually a really good place to start & many of the beloved Bible Stories from your childhood are there.  Very interesting.  So, no matter what else you may want to start to read, I’d like to suggest the book of Proverbs as a way to get yourself into the Bible.  This book is unique in that it has 21 chapters of useful information.  One chapter for each day.  So, simply put, you can read Chapter 1 on the first day of each month.  If you skip your Bible reading for a few days, just pick up on the chapter that corresponds with the date.  Easy.

These wise sayings that help us in everyday life, offering us advice on how to behave in various situations.

  • A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 17:22
  • There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. 29:20
  • Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. 21:19
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 3:5
  • As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. 26:11
  • Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. 22:6
  • A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; 27:15
  • He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. 28:27

Solomon gave us these proverbs and many wise suggestions for our daily living.  May I suggest we read them and heed them?  Let me know how you make out.

 

Proverbs 27:15-16 (New Living Translation)
A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.

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DSM V – Reactive Attachment Disorder

checklist

Do you know about this?  Do you have any idea what it is?  Is there anyone you may know that may have adopted out of foster care who may be suffering in their home?  It’s not just for adoptive and foster families, but this real mental health issue exists and wreaks havoc in homes in your neighborhood.  It would help us Reactive Attachment Disorder Parents out if more people knew about it and made an effort to understand the disorder that is impossible to understand.  We’d like you to try to make sense out of this disorder that makes no sense.  Please read and try to understand…if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

The DSM is a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the handbook used by health care professionals in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders. It is like the check sheet that you need to have to get a diagnosis and you need to get a diagnosis so that you can get the help and services you need.  AKA – how insurance will pay and how much they will pay depending on diagnosis.

DSM-5 Criteria for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

The DSM-5 gives the following criteria for Reactive Attachment Disorder:

A. A consistent pattern of inhibited, emotionally withdrawn behavior toward adult caregivers,(NOTE THE WORD CAREGIVERS – That means to everyone else this child may appear helpful, polite and pretty typical) manifested by both of the following:

  • The child rarely or minimally seeks comfort when distressed.(Is used to taking care of himself, so will do so even if he doesn’t know how.)
  • The child rarely or minimally responds to comfort when distressed.(Doesn’t respond appropriately to any kind loving attention….again….from the caregivers….he’ll let everyone else love on him, just not the ones who love him the most.)

B. A persistent social or emotional disturbance characterized by at least two of the following:

  • Minimal social and emotional responsiveness to others (might care about you, might not.)
  • Limited positive affect (refers to the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness.  Looks very distant and isn’t really joyful at typical times like birthdays, holidays, etc.)
  • Episodes of unexplained irritability, sadness, or fearfulness that are evident even during nonthreatening interactions with adult caregivers. (Just ticked for no apparent reason and the more you try to help, the more irritable he gets. At home will rage since home is his most threatening environment for him.)

C. The child has experienced a pattern of extremes of insufficient care as evidenced by at least one of the following:

  • Social neglect or deprivation in the form of persistent lack of having basic emotional needs for comfort, stimulation, and affection met by caring adults (Babies need someone to respond to their cries.)
  • Repeated changes of primary caregivers that limit opportunities to form stable attachments (e.g., frequent changes in foster care) Something needs to be done about this to help prevent this disorder!!!!!
  • Rearing in unusual settings that severely limit opportunities to form selective attachments (e.g., institutions with high child to caregiver ratios)

D. The care in Criterion C is presumed to be responsible for the disturbed behavior in Criterion A (e.g., the disturbances in Criterion A began following the lack of adequate care in Criterion C).

E. The criteria are not met for autism spectrum disorder.

F. The disturbance is evident before age 5 years.

G. The child has a developmental age of at least nine months.

Specify if Persistent: The disorder has been present for more than 12 months.

Specify current severity: Reactive Attachment Disorder is specified as severe when a child exhibits all symptoms of the disorder, with each symptom manifesting at relatively high levels.

Thank you for your interest in reading this post to the end and learning a little bit about this very real, very disruptive diagnosis.  

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The “H” Word

HIt’s the rainy Monday morning after we adjusted our clocks and lost an hour of sleep this weekend.  To say this family was slow moving is an understatement and the one who had to wake the latest was by far the slowest, yet she always is.  The 9 year old love of my life is pokey.  When out and about and playing, she is full of energy and on the go, go, go, but to get ready to go, go, go anywhere is a challenge.  Even if we are planning to go somewhere of her choosing, she just takes a long time to get ready.  The only thing that makes her move slower than the snails’ pace she is already moving at is to use the “H”  word, “Hurry.”  Add an “Up” at the end and it slows the process even more, throw in an exclamation point at the end and she may just sit down, stop entirely & have a good cry.

This has been an ongoing problem in our family and I recently attended Calm Parenting University (yes, I’m serious) for some pointers. I learned a lot, but implementing the tips and tricks is going to take an incredible amount of awareness & patience.  Though I have only briefly studied Kirk Martin’s method and cannot claim to add calm parent to my resume, he did give me some food for thought. I’ve decided to try to implement my own version of his approach.

One thing that was pointed out in class was the stress our kids are under and many times it is stressed placed on them by their parents.  I get it.  I do.  I don’t know how to fix it, but I get it.  I did become aware of some of my stress inducing behaviors.  One being the “wake-up-we’re-late-hurry-up-get-moving” morning greeting I wake my daughter up with each school day.  Yeah, not my finest moment as a mom.  Kirk suggested we just sit on the side of the bed as they begin to wake and then ask them something fun to get their thoughts headed in the right direction.  As he was saying this, I thought, as he predicted I would, “Where the heck am I going to find a few minutes to sit on the side of the bed while she gently wakes?”  However, I’m doing it and Kirk was right, I get the time back in the end as I prevent melt downs and tears.  So, I am pleased to say that I am on day 5 of my 21 days to try to develop a new habit regarding this.  As I am doing well on this front (5 days….I am doing okay) I cannot seem to remove the word, “Hurry” from our morning, even though I recognize how detrimental it is to really accomplishing the act of hurrying.  Each time she hears the word, she seems to slow down.  It’s obviously a trigger for her, so I need to attempt to remove it from my vocabulary.  What does that look like?

I don’t know if it will work, but I’m going to increase my word power and attempt to use some new “hurry” words.

  • Dear, let’s advance to brushing your teeth.
  • I like the way you expedited the dressing process this morning.
  • Wow.  You are fired up today, look at the way you threw those covers back.
  • Please quicken a bit, the bus is on its’ way.
  • Rev ‘er up girlie, we’ve got places to go and people to meet!

Thanks to a thesaurus, I could also try: Get the hammer on, hasten, lay a patch, make tracks, open up, peel rubber, & step on the gas, but somehow, I’m not sure those would be beneficial.

Actually, I’m not sure how any of those will work, but at least I’m thinking.  As I try to eliminate stressing my kid out with the hurry up in the morning, I hope you might become a little creative in your verbiage too.  Maybe if we do, we could have a better start to the day….especially the rainy Monday after Daylight Savings time.

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Crazy Faith

 

crazy faith

In October, I saw a video that changed my fall and possibly my life.  It was Crazy Faith by John Waller.  This song and video moved me and I didn’t exactly know why.  Why was I drawn to this song?  Why did I listen to it over and over?  Why did it become my prayer?  I don’t know, but I do know that it has changed me in some way.

My journal entry for October 5, 2016:  “Lord, I want a Crazy Faith – I want something where I am scared and have to rely on you and not myself.  That’s a scary prayer!  It scares me but I know I need to do something for you that I can’t do on my own.  I want to take a leap of crazy faith.  Lead me Lord.  I want it to be of you.  Let me hear your call.  Let George hear your call.  Fostering was crazy faith, adopting was crazy faith. Lord show me where you want me.  I sincerely feel I am on the brink of something big and I don’t know what it is, but it’s scary and exciting to know it will be a part of your plan.  (If I can stay out of your way!)”

When we were foster parents, it was very clear that we were responding to God’s call to help these families.  We would get a phone call and not miss a beat with our family.  We would grab a newborn at the hospital, take an older child to the dentist, drive someone to practice and then make dinner.  It was so “easy.”  We relied fully on God to grant us the supplies, the time and the energy to assist each one of these precious children and He did just that. We relied.  He provided.  With over 50 children, the phone rang, our busy schedules got busier and we didn’t fret or worry about how things would get done.  God made it all work out.  We relied.  He provided.  We had a crazy faith.

Since those days, we have had a few occurrences that we have had to hold on to God and his direction to get through the situation, but I didn’t feel it like I did when fostering.  I continue to feel like most of what I do, I could do without including God in every single detail and as scary as stepping out in faith is, sitting still in complacency scares me more. I began praying for a Crazy Faith situation.  Daily I ask God to let me know something crazy he would like me to do.

So, what has happened?  What crazy thing have George and I done since we made this our prayer?  I wish I could say that we have built an orphanage in a foreign country, or sold our house and gave the money to the poor, but quite honestly, though we are prepared to answer a call, we haven’t heard it just yet.  That said, we have done some things that appear “normal” but are really “crazy” to us.  We have intentionally taken ourselves out of our comfort zone and have begun asking questions.  We are seeking our Crazy Faith opportunity.  We have been consistent with prayer and Bible study (crazy for us at times.)  We have reached out and shared our desires with others. (Really crazy for us to share like this.)  We have attended 4 different churches to listen, learn and grow. (Crazy, I’ve sat in the same church pew for over 50 years.) We’ve asked others about their ministries, we’ve toured places, we’ve read books, we’ve kept the search alive.  We want a Crazy Faith.

As we hope for an opportunity to arise, we also recognize that we are already pretty crazy when we are able to be faithful.  As I shared in my last post, things here at home are not good many days.  It takes some Crazy Faith to love a child who has difficulty loving you back.  It takes crazy faith to repeat the same set of instructions to a child a million times. (No exaggeration.)  It takes crazy faith to keep trying to fight the good fight when the situations look so bleak.  As much as I want a new Crazy Faith experience, i’m starting to think that God has decided that we are crazy enough.  We may not need a new ministry or opportunity to present itself but we may need extra prayers and commitment to stay faithful in the crazy opportunities we have already been granted.

I do hope you’ll continue to pray for my family and our crazy faith.  And, while I wait for the next “big” thing to come along, I’ll continue to have crazy faith while serving in the capacity I already am.  I’ll have crazy faith and pray out loud with someone.  I’ll have crazy faith and volunteer for something that I don’t have the complete skill set to accomplish on my own.  I’ll be crazy and offer to help someone when I don’t think I can fit one more thing into my day.  I hope you’ll join me and have some Crazy Faith of your own!

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