Category Archives: Inspirational

It’s my Anniversary…and yours too!

IMG_1444Last week my husband and I had an empty nest for about 36 hours.  Our daughter was going to a football game and then spending the night at a friend’s.  We decided to make the most of our time and plan a near-to-home getaway.  So, after she got on the school bus, we loaded our bikes, visited our parents and headed out for a beautiful autumn day.  We found a trail and admired the falling leaves and the creek and scenery along our 10-mile bike trip.  We then went to our river house and relaxed (I relaxed by reading, he relaxed by mowing the grass…but he says that’s how he relaxes!)  We decided to dress up and go out to dinner at a new restaurant.  I donned my black dress and we headed out.  We made a quick stop at the Widnoon Ice Cream stand to catch our last bit of ice cream before it closed for the season and then we went to the restaurant and had a lovely meal and some really fun conversation.  It was a really nice date.

The thing about the entire date though was that when we called for the reservations, the host at The Meredith Inn asked if we were celebrating anything special.  I thought about that a lot during the evening.  Were we?  Anything special?  This was definitely a date that felt like it should’ve been an anniversary.  (We’ve celebrated anniversaries before with very little fanfare.)  So, what were we celebrating?  Since it felt like an anniversary, I decided to call it that and in fact, it was my anniversary.  Since I journal daily, I can tell you exactly what it was the anniversary of!

In 2018, I was spending time with friends in Florida….so it was the anniversary of a wonderful trip. I could’ve also been celebrating the 9th anniversary of a day when I pitched a fit and I was in a bad mood (yep, I wrote that down too.)  Other years I attended college visitation with a child, hosted Godly Girls, watched George fix plumbing, listened to political banter (and prayed about it.) This date was the 2nd anniversary of a lunch date with a friend, the 8th anniversary of receiving the call giving us an adoption date and the 7th anniversary of the new porch at the Petroleum Valley Youth Center. So, I wonder, if we had responded to the host that yes, we were celebrating something special, would she have agreed?

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 
–Psalm 118:24
The fact that this actual day didn’t have any special meaning to us, did not mean that we shouldn’t have been celebrating something special.  Each day is a gift and we need to take some time to recognize it.  We should celebrate each day like it is something special…because it is.  Thank you host, for reminding me!
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Stay CALM

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6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.            Philippians 4:6-8  (NIV)  

 

In this passage, verse 6 has been a favorite of mine for years. In different translations it may say, Do not be anxious, Be careful for nothing, Don’t fret or Don’t worry.  All words meaning the same thing. I have taught this verse to my children and have said it so many times that when they are facing something and I start to share it, they roll their eyes and say, “I know, I know, Don’t worry about anything, pray about everything, tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for the answers.”  Yes, that is the translation that they use.  Is it King James? New International Version? The message? No, It’s the Mom-version.

The Mom version is my attempt to share scripture when I am not really 100% sure exactly how it’s worded but I feel that I have the meaning.  So, in my case, I feel that sharing the meaning of the scripture is important, but the exact wording of it is not.  I oftentimes don’t know where a scripture is found in the Bible, but I know it’s in there.  I don’t know how to quickly find the perfect verse, but I do know some basic themes.

This summer I did a Max Lucado Bible Study titled Anxious for Nothing.  In it, he does his own version of Phil 4:6-8 that I love and wish I could’ve taught my kids.

Stay Calm:

C – Celebrate God’s Goodness

A – Ask God for help

L – Leave your concerns with Him

M-Meditate on Good Things

So, whether you have the ability to memorize scripture verbatim or if you have to create your own version keeping the meaning true, be sure to come up with a way to share God’s message with others. And, remember to Celebrate God’s goodness, Ask him for help, Leave your concerns with Him and then Meditate on Good Things.  That’s what the Bible says (in a variety of different ways.)

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Shut the Window

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A few weeks ago, I had a very trying few days.  It seemed that everyone I knew was going through something that caused me concern.  I would talk to one person and hear about their struggles and wonder how I could help.  I talked to another and hear their worries and wondered how I could help.  I, myself, had a bunch of things going on and my mind was racing with how I was going to deal with each situation that needed to be addressed.  I spent my evening considering all the possibilities and had no clear answers on anything.

I dreaded bedtime, knowing that when it’s time for my body to shut down, it often signals my mind to wake up and worry.  Very frustrated, I went to bed, and couldn’t fall asleep.  The windows were open at our river house this warm evening and the songs of the crickets and frogs were not bringing me peace. As a matter of fact, the more I listened the louder they sounded and the more alert I became.  “What am I going to do about this noise?!  What am I going to do about these things I am worried about?!”  All of a sudden, an answer came to me….Shut the window.  Seriously?  Shut the window?  It’s that simple?  I got up and shut the window and the sound of silence filled my bedroom. The noise stopped.  I realized then that I could do the same thing with worries and concerns.  I could shut the window to the outside noises and problems that were confronting me.  Every time a worrying thought came to mind, I chose to shut it out.  I found that by “shutting the window” to those nagging concerns and thoughts, I could fall asleep.

I shared this story with my friend and the following week I got a T-Shirt in the mail and it had “Shut the Window” printed on the front.  Friends, it is that simple.  We can choose to shut the window to a lot of situations in our lives and we can give those concerns to God. “Do not let your hearts be troubled, You believe in God.”  It’s that simple…..Shut the window.

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John 14:1-4     Jesus Comforts His Disciples (The title could read “Jesus Comforts Insert your name.)

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

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Filed under Adoptive, Big Kids, Inspirational, Little Kids, Parenting, Scriptures, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized

“Please Pray”

please prayWell actually it said “Please Pry” but I knew what he meant.  I received the familiar text while visiting my Mom. The pit in my stomach is as real as the PTSD I suffer from parenting a child from hard places.  I now get to sit and wait for the phone to ring with the explanation of why I need to pray.

It could be that a friend is sick, it could be that he lost his key or more probable, he’s in trouble.   He admitted at work to some wrongdoing on Friday so I knew that he may be facing consequences today and I thought I prepared him mentally for this.  Did I?  Does he “get it?”  Will he learn from these consequences? Is there any way to rectify this wrong? I don’t know because I don’t even know what I’m praying about.

But, I do pray. When the bible says to “pray without ceasing” I didn’t realize that it meant that I would pray without ceasing for this child from the moment I met him. I didn’t realize that he would be in constant need of prayer. And, I definitely need more direction for the prayer. WHAT IS GOING ON? What am I praying about? There is a chance that I am the one needing prayer.  I need prayer to actually be able to pray about this situation whatever it is.  I am betting that I need to pray that I will have the grace to handle the call when it comes. I need strength to hear about yet another failing. I need prayer to not allow this situation to undo all the good that we have been working on.

So, you know what…I will pray.  I will be thankful and pray that he will use the skills that he has been gifted with. I will pray that he is with someone who can comfort him. I will pray that the consequence is fair and just. I will pray that he will learn from his mistake. But in all honesty, I’m praying that the phone will ring and that this suspense will be over soon!

I’d like to tell you that I will fill you in later, but chances are, it won’t be something that I will care to share.  BUT, I will give God the glory for getting us through whatever it is that we are going through.

And, hey, “please pray.”

 

Pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

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Filed under family, Inspirational, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized

Dear Person,

 

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Dear Person who was kind to my kid,                                                        I applaud you. I thank you. I am so grateful for all that you’ve done for him. You and I are a lot alike. We care deeply for Paul. We see the potential and the way he manages his disabilities and we are amazed at all he can accomplish with his limited IQ and other challenges. We see his charm and we love the way he can make us smile at times.

However, we also can be disappointed, resentful, and frustrated by him in a way we didn’t think was possible. We question his motives and exhaust ourselves trying to figure out why he does what he does.  Why would he not follow a simple rule? How could he take advantage of us like that? What does he expect from us? We give and give and give and he just takes. We try to teach him, we come up with plans, we motivate, coach and inspire and some days, he does things that make us wonder why we ever bothered.

Paul has Reactive Attachment Disorder and whether you have to deal with it for 9 months or a lifetime, you will never understand it. It is a maddening mental health diagnosis where because of early childhood trauma, he has difficulty forming bonds with others.  He can appear kind and caring on the surface, but in his heart, he protects himself from getting close to others who have the potential to reject him as his own biological parents did. He was denied the basic right as a baby to be cared for and nurtured, so he doesn’t value things the way we do.  His brain developed differently than ours and in instances when we would seek others, he pushes others away before they can reject him to “protect” himself.  He is in survival mode at all times and truly only trusts and relies on himself.  He is very uncomfortable being dependent on others.

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around RAD for over 15 years and recognize that this is beyond my understanding. I will never understand why praise would make him uncomfortable. I will never understand why he self-sabotages the good things in his life, why he breaks his own belongings, why he hurts himself, why he can’t see how much others care for him and want him to be happy.  Why he can’t accept love.

As a person who was loved and cared for as an infant and toddler, as a person who had someone pick her up when she cried, who fed her when she was hungry & who sang to her and kissed her boo-boos, I am incapable of understanding and feeling his pain or understanding his brain.

Paul is an adult. He is minutes away from transitioning completely out of my home and the security of the school system. I’m sure he’s scared to death.  I must admit, I’m scared too. During his school years, he has met so many wonderful people who worked with him and wanted the best for him. He has had the opportunity to learn many skills and he even implements many of them, but he can’t be taught some of the things that are so basic to us.

So, friend, if you are hurt, disappointed or resentful, I’m sorry.  I validate your very real feelings. I encourage you to only give what you don’t expect back. I encourage you to take care of yourself and your feelings. I beg you to see your success in working with him from what you put into him and not what he’s given back. I can’t promise you, but it is my hope (and hope is what I cling to!) that those things that it seems like he isn’t quite getting right now, will surface later.  You may not get to see the success you are so hoping for in his life, but please feel success in your own about all you are teaching him. I am slowly learning to do that myself!

God Bless You!

Linda

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Some reminders: “His brain is broken. – It will never make sense to us. – Don’t allow his craziness to become your craziness. – He just doesn’t get it. – It’s not that he doesn’t want to, he just can’t. – We are only responsible for our own behaviors, not his. – Protect yourself. – He’s not losing sleep over it, you shouldn’t either.”

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There is surely a hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  –Proverbs 23:18

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

 

 

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Tuesday News Day!

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Sarah is working on a new procedure at work, Nicole bought a TV, Lori had her friends build a human pyramid, Kevin made a new friend, Paul saw a movie, Linda was sick with the flu, Kaylee had a school snow day, Cale bought a couch and George has been busy cleaning up after the house flooded. These are all examples of the latest news in our family.

Starting in January 2019, I wanted to come up with a way to stay in communication with all of my kids who live in varying parts of the country and to try to keep them in contact with each other.  Hence, the creation of Tuesday’s News Day!  The group text is sent to Seattle, Denver, Richmond, New Castle and to some within the same house.  I begin with a short recap text of what I’ve been up to in the last week and invite the rest to chime in.  It’s been such a fun, easy way to learn more about each other and what our typical or less than typical week looks like.

Scrolling past over the last 8 weeks I see where I finished reading Little Women, George is grateful for the book Cale bought him for Christmas, Nicole spent time in Florida, Kevin has been trying new recipes, Sarah binged on a podcast, Cale is trying to walk more, Lori took a Lyra class, Kaylee was cast in a musical & Paul went with his Dad to see the movie Escape Room.

Though I wish we all lived closer, I take comfort in knowing that on Tuesday, my phone will chime multiple times as people report in.  Gone are the days of waiting for handwritten letters in the mail, even live voice phone calls are sometimes hard to fit in, but the well-timed Tuesday text brings joy to all!

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“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”  –Romans 10:15 NKJ

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I’m so grateful to those who bring glad tidings!!

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Halfway There

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The plans are made, or at least the plans were made. We are all going, we are inviting friends, everyone is excited, “let’s do this!” Then, one by way, attitudes change, things come up, schedules conflict, fatigue at the end of the week, the excitement wanes and instead of enthusiasm, you are met with obligation. We are all going, but only half of us want to. The “want-tos” have to tolerate the “have-tos” and the whole event has changed. This event is no longer something even the “want-tos” want to attend.

So, do we go or cut our losses? Completely discouraged, I try to decide.  I turn on my computer and see the video link of my son’s cross country bicycle trip.  I don’t bother playing it, I’ve seen it a million times and can visualize it completely.  It usually inspires me, but I’m not even sure I want to be inspired.  How would it make me continue on in making plans for this failing event? The video shows a lot of close-up footage of his feet on the pedals going round and round. Spinning sprocket, he just kept going. However, today, though not in the video, I think I’ll join him in the times he sat at the side of the road and cried.  (I’m sure he did.) I’m sure as he pedaled on and on, at times he stopped and sat. “Nope. Not going any further. Not doing another thing.”

What now? How long can I sit here? What do I do or think while I’m not moving forward and not going back? Can I just stay here? I wish I could, but decisions need to be made and plans need canceled or carried out. I’m halfway there and it’s not a good place to be. The start was fun, halfway there is hard, who knows what the finish will be? My son kept going…he kept pedaling….in the end, I believe he was blessed, but geez, halfway there must’ve been really hard.

Halfway there, Ugh. I guess I can’t sit here any longer. I will make the best of the plans.  Maybe change the goal a bit, lower the expectations and concede that the “have-tos” are probably not going to change their position, but, the intent was good in the beginning and if we just keep going, we may actually win a few over and have a good time.  Sometimes when you are halfway there, you are at the top of the hill.  Let’s hope so.

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Photo by suzukii xingfu on Pexels.com

 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.                                    –Acts 20:242 

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.      –2 Timothy 4:7

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