Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AN UPDATE on this GANG

My dad has been writing in his blog several times a week recently and I promised to start writing again if he kept it up... and so here I am. My mom even said something about my lack of writing. . . .  Problem is there are only so many hours in my day and it's been crazy busy and when I finally have a little down time my brain doesn't actually want to get in gear.

There are still a few boxes of apples and pears in the garage that need attending, there are still boxes of tomatoes to pick out in the garden and even a few potatoes to dig and pimientos to pick, but the fall harvest duties are nearly over. My kitchen "remodel" is pretty close to finished, thanks to my mom, and also the barn is clean, the potting room has more shelves and is neat and tidy. The summer accumulation of branches and boxes have been burned and a trailer load of stuff has been carted off to the dump. My mom was here a few weeks and she's a go-getter a lot was done. We even cleaned houses that are not mine - some for pay and some for not.

I have a small job with a card company stocking a couple of stores, I've been selling books on Amazon which keeps me running to the post office, and I play the piano for a Sunday church and do other odd jobs such as cleaning and babysitting to keep Missy's tuition at the Montessori covered. So far I have had sufficient money on time and even a little start towards the next month at each due date. I know that God has been providing and because He has I am more than sure that Missy is where she is suppose to be.

Missy is less intense. She is who she is, but she's not raging at all. I'll take it!!! She is liking the new school, though sometimes she tells me she wants to be homeschooled. She's heard that it's the "IN thing".  I laugh and ask her if she wants me to boss her around all day and she most definitely does not. It's not just me that needs her to go to school She really needs the break from being oppositional and antagonistic during the day. . . at school she is not, but she picks up where she leaves off in the morning  when she gets home. She still cannot just obey her parents. period. But she can obey a teacher. Somehow we need to shift that thinking, but I am at a loss and I am sure it is the RAD at play. She is constantly seeking attention. I am plain not good at handling negative attention seekers... Poor kid.

Those who have been reading since the twins were adopted will be glad to hear that James is doing well. He's happy, cooperative, and doing his homework without being told. He's offering to help and sings about the house. I see much growth towards maturity. He's also maybe a wee bit too giddy sometimes, not sleeping a lot, talking incessantly, and has me wondering when the crash is going to come. It happens every now and again. A few weeks ago it happened at church. I didn't notice at first but the girls were frustrated with his behavior in the service. It became obvious by potluck time and he grew more and more intense by the minute. By the time we reached home and were preparing to go for a bike ride he was screaming. There's no other way to explain it to anyone except to say he was "mentally unstable" there was no reason or reasoning and we had to keep him by Steve and even have him ride in a separate car from all the other kids. This lasted more than a week and then suddenly one morning he woke up happy again. He went from lethargic and extremely unwilling to offering to help.  I wish I understood why.

We had a little scene one morning that was a bit hard to figure out but he did not know how to handle some big feelings and it got a little dicey, and I ended up walking him to school and the teacher backed me up in a very helpful way. He came home and wrote me a letter of apology for being disrespectful.  First my mom read it and I could tell that she was quite taken aback by it and she indicated that I needed to read it. The letter was well written and quite amazing, actually. James was sobbing his little heart out and I held him and we talked for quite awhile. He bonded with me in that moment more than he ever has. He wants a real relationship with all of us and he hates it when he is filled with rage and anger, but of course he does not know how to handle it and I do feel sorry for him when he's helplessly engulfed.

Vanessa turned 21. She is moving along in her Registered Nursing program. Today we drove a few hours away so she could write her LPN exam. I was sick as a dog with a migraine and even though I was going along to help with driving I mostly did the crying and she did all the driving. We left at 5 AM in the pouring rain. We wondered if we would see our first snow of the season on the mountain pass but we did not. We didn't see anything, actually. It was so dark in the pouring rain.

Christina turned 17. She was doing too much, working and college and mentoring, etc... and she had hard classes and she was struggling.  She had to back off on work and mentoring and weed out the extras to keep her ultimate goal in sight. She has been finding people who can help her understand her classes. She was telling us that it's not the smart people who accomplish big things, it's people with grit. So, every time she started to share how she was feeling overwhelmed I would remind her that she's a person of grit. She would pull up straight and say, "YES! I AM!" Today she got the results from her latest calculus exam and it was an A. I reminded her it's because she has grit.

Brianna has finger in every pot. It can be a challenge when you have too many interests. Keeping herself organized is a task and a half. I haven't a clue when it comes to Spanish, but I was duly impressed when she read me a story in Spanish and translated it to me. She did a couple of photo shoots for people and the quality of her pictures has improved a lot due to her online classes...

Steve is determined to save money by riding his bike and the bus. It's a little harder now that it's dark when he leaves and when comes home. It's sort of yucky now that we are getting our fall rains, too. I'm wondering how it is going to pan out when the snow falls.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Missy

http://snapandquack.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-love-that-is-inspired-by-our-love.html
Brianna posted this picture of Missy on her blog because she enjoys photography and this is a great picture.
 Maybe not everyone can see what I see, but
 I'm sharing this picture because it is a window into Missy's soul. . .
 I love this portrait of her because it's real. 
There is no fake smile, 
or cheesy grin, 

it's the raw deal...
REAL.

This child has more internal struggles than most people I know, 
but her eyes are beautiful even if they are not joyous. 

The quote Brianna posted below the photo is truth, too.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Almost 21

and almost an RN. 

We are so blessed to be Vanessa's parents. 
She is dedicated, single minded, and compassionate,
and very capable.

So thankful to be her mom.

Friday, September 12, 2014

We are Traveling

This photo depicts one of our favorite get-a ways!! 

We enjoyed a wonderful visit with friends in Idaho and took time to canoe Priest Lake and the Thoroughfare to Upper Priest Lake...

When we left home we were enjoying decent summer temperatures. As we traveled Idaho it coold a bit, but as we turned North to 
"Alberia" the temps dropped by 40 degrees and we drove through fields and fields of snow for hours. It's pretty much winter here.

We are visiting family. Yes, we pulled the twins out of school for a week when it's hardly started, but we feel it was necessary as Grandma is getting older.

Missy has had some sickness, so in all she has enjoyed 2 days of Montessori! James has been in school 2 weeks.  His days are long as his bus ride is LONG because he's on the regular  bus in the afternoon. By taking the special-ed bus he was missing half of math class. School is all of 3 miles away, but his ride takes him up and down all the canyons and he's dropped off last. I may start picking him up on days that I am not running to the other town to get Missy from the private school.

All in all the twins are doing well. Putting them in separate schools has cut the intensity of their competition by three-quarters. I'm serious!! It's wonderful. They have so much less to compete about.

We've been listening to a series of CD's by Dave Ramsey while on the road. It leads to a great deal of discussion with the teenagers in the car. We are not the best at finances.... we hope they learn something from this series than we have failed to exemplify.

Our big discussion has centered around the crazy schedule coming up when everyone returns to school. It's like having a household of adults going a hundred different directions and 2 kiddos needing some stability.  If we think we are busy now~!!

We have been canning applesauce and tomatoes and pears and peaches.... I'm not getting too far on the new blog. September has to be the busiest month of the year.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Blog

It's up and running. It's not quite how I want it to be yet, but the new blog is up and running. I lack time and brains, I think, but I am confident I'll eventually figure out what I am doing.


You are welcome to visit the new site. www.rootsreachingdeep.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Family Update


I haven't abandoned this blog altogether. I haven't forgotten all of you, either. This has been one whirlwind of a summer and some things just had to be shelved to wait...

Actually, there is plans in the works for a new blog. I'm making the leap from Blogger to Wordpress and I am refining my whole purpose for being online. Some in the family are not ready for me to retire this blog yet... so, if I have time infinite we'll see what happens. The new blog is not ready for unveiling. I'm totally stalemated on creating a logo. Computers are complicated things and the learning curve is steep.

Things are very good here. My sister and Vanessa and Steve did a great job holding down the fort while I was gone. Six weeks was a bit too long to be gone, though. I thought it might take more than a few days for the twins to accept me back as mom, but James and I had one day of jostling for position and Missy and I had 3 at the most. I came back ready to face the giants in our relationships once again and made it clear I was reclaiming peace and happiness for this home. The formula is simple; be at peace and harmony with all who are in the house, or find yourself with your miseries outside the house. Don't ask me why it's working right now, but it is. It might not be working next week, but any type of unreasonable combativeness lands a person at the picnic table with their lunch, or whatever instead of enjoying the company of the family at the table.

I keep praying that the children will have willing hearts. The resistance towards relationship is what causes problems. It's really that simple. And James is responding well.... He does have a heart that yearns family relationships. Missy is a harder nut to crack.... BUT she is responding. I believe God is answering my prayer.

School starts for James tomorrow. Last night we went and took his things to the school and greeted his teacher. She gave him a little hug and was all talking to him and then she stopped and looked at him... He was avoiding eye contact, turning red and quivering. She asked if he was nervous for the first day of school and he shook his head no just slightly. I let her know that he was emotional about seeing her again.... At this she said, "James!!! Did you miss me that much???" And then she gave him another big hug and he shed a few tears.  He's so excited about school starting.

Missy's school starts next week. She's torn because she considers the old school her school. One moment she's talking about her going to school there and the next she's begging me to homeschool her and before you know it she is talking about the new school. I think she hasn't quite figured out what is going on though I have explained it. She did spend a week with the new school for cooking camp and that helps, I think. I have not totally figured out how I am going to pay for it yet. Slowly the first month's money is accumulating. I took back the piano job Vanessa has been doing, and I sold a few tomatoes - (but there aren't enough to sell) and I'm looking for ways to earn a little money each week without it taking over our lives completely.

Vanessa is enjoying her small break from school. She has 9 months left to her nursing program. It's all consuming so she does not have a job at this time. Brianna has had a much harder time sorting out what she wants to do this fall, but I think she is going to move ahead to becoming a Montessori teacher, continue working with video media, and learn Spanish.  She has plenty of little jobs doing yard work, babysitting, teaching little kids art and music. Christina is in her last year of Running Start at the college. She works as a lifeguard at the high school.

Steve rides his bike to work (about 17 miles) and then puts in a 12 hour shift then rides home. Makes for very long days. We don't see much of him on work days as he gets home at 9 pm.

Thankfully, the fires seem to be under control and there is no smoke. That was a pretty serious problem all July. We are thankful.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Girls' Dean

Being a dean of girls is a challenge. Not sure I was made for this stuff. Whew! Today has been a day full of emotions. I've dealt with Sad, Glad and Mad and everything in between.... There are hurting kids everywhere. Here is no exception.

I don't pray enough.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Tribute to My Mother's Work in Africa

A touching post and song was written about my mom and all her work and efforts to making the AIDS orphans' life easier and productive these last 12 years. READ it here:

http://kibidulapilot.blogspot.com/2014/07/janet.html


I am thankful people have stepped forward to take on the burden. So is my dad. He'll be glad to have her home for good. Praying that she finds her new niche.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RAD


I sleep on an air mattress on the floor in a room with twelve girls in bunks. Brianna and Christina are in the other room of 11 girls.  My nephew is in the room with about 26 guys.

My biggest challenge is getting the girls to settle at night. . . .  Sometimes I’m dog-tired because our schedule is unbelievably busy. But these are great kids.  I am enjoying getting to know each one. We’ve been going at the program hard for a week and half. Today was declared a fun day and most everyone are involved in a huge water fight at the moment.

Brianna is publishing the “Daily” which is a photo journal of Youth for Jesus. The link can be found here:



Brianna and Christina are speakers for the meetings. They are both excellent speakers. My dad was here to start off the program and he took a lot of time to coach them.

The twins have officially gotten over their “honeymoon” with Auntie Julie being in charge of them while I’m away. They were doing well enough I thought maybe it would last long enough for me to get back home. Not so. This morning I woke up to a text that James had smashed the kitchen window in a fit of rage over a popsicle. It was a rather traumatic event for my young nephew to observe… even for Missy.  It’s her turn to rage today and that is likely fallout from the stress of yesterday.
In the crisis, when Vanessa could not get ahold of her dad she called a friend. This friend is a big guy that has stepped in before. Steve arrived before the friend, though, and took James up the mountain hiking. He didn’t say anything…. Just hiked. The friend met them at the back of the road and he did the talking with James. Sometimes it makes all the differences in the world to have a third party step in. We’ve said everything we know to say, as we have done everything we know to do to help this kid. The stores in our bank gets dry and it is helpful when people care enough to try and make a difference.

I called to talk to the twins yesterday. It was a very RAD conversation. James was not interested in talking to me -like not at all. He was flat and unresponsive and he quickly handed the phone to Missy. Missy on the other hand chatted intensely for a full 15 minutes and hardly gave me a chance to put a word in edgewise. Her deal was to let me know that I had done her a great wrong by not saying goodbye at 5 AM before leaving for the airport. I had hugged her and told her goodbye the night before and had told her I would not be seeing her in the morning. She got totally stuck on that. Steve says that they have been pretty much ignoring him and Auntie has been the one they go to for everything even though he is right there a lot of the time. We may think they are attaching to us and then something like this comes up and we see quite clearly that their attachment is far from normal.

We surely don’t know how this story is going to unfold. Some days are scary.

BUT I’m enjoying the break. Not one person has tried to manipulate anything here. Its absence is very noticeable when you live with people who manipulate from dawn till dusk.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Still There IS Hope


Bit by bit she’s dying.  You can see it in her face, and her eyes…. She’s but a mere skeleton. Her mind is losing its ability to reason. Her own lies have clouded her reality to the point she can hardly tell truth from fiction and not a single believable word escapes her lips.  Her beauty is gone. So is her husband: even her children. Her vehicle is destroyed; her house stands empty… no power, no water, no garbage service, and her rent has been unpaid for months…  If she goes near her mother’s house, someone will call the cops. Most of her pals are used up and burned out. The ones still hanging around are as miserably messed up as she is. She is afraid to be alone at night. She finds herself preparing meals for the kids that aren’t there in her sleep; sometimes hallucinating and always afraid of drug dealers showing up to demand payment.

Yesterday her friend died of a heroine overdose. Someone, who, like her, had recently been celebrating her recovery from a drug addiction; someone way too young to die. Is she next?

I can’t really tell if she resents my urgings to get help. She seldom answers my calls, but she will respond to some of my text messages on occasion. Usually she tells me what she thinks I want to hear… that she’s going on a certain date to the local treatment center and that she’s just waiting for an open bed.  It’s always a week away  - never today.  She lives only for the present moment. She is in complete denial of the fact that she’s dying. Slowly, but surely she’s dying.  I can see it in her eyes.

I tell her I love her. I tell her that God loves her. I tell her that He sees her as she might be, not as she is. He’s just waiting to relieve her of her pain and suffering and He wants nothing more than to bring healing into her life. 

But no one can force her to make the choice that would change the direction in which her life is hurtling.  I feel helpless and incapable of doing anything to stay the tide… Everyone does. She is still alive, though and where there is life, there is HOPE. We are still praying; praying for a miracle and always looking for an opportunity to show her Christ's love. Sometimes that looks like tough love.

I'm sad. Please pray for her because there is still hope.

“The love that is inspired by our love for Jesus
will see in every soul, rich or poor,
a value that cannot be measured by human estimate.
 Let your life reveal a love
 that is higher
than you can possibly express in words”.
6T 279

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Foster Care Heartbreak

I learned something new!! Learned that I could use my phone as a hotspot to provide my computer with internet access. Well, what do you know? All this time I thought I could not use my computer and I had everything I needed at my fingertips - an iPhone and an Macbook!

Vanessa has been picking up Buddy and Ducky and their siblings and taking them to Abundant Life's VBS program and church, hiking and swimming. I am thankful she has the heart to keep these kids connected to us while I am away. They are doing well and bonding to their father and paternal grandparents in a good way.  I am grateful.  Their mother promised me a week ago that she would be going to treatment today. I have no idea is she will actually do so. She blacked out and ran her car into a tree and totaled it in the middle of the night on the 4th of July. I can only be grateful the kids are not with her. I pray for her every day. I text her and try to stay connected to her and also try to encourage her that God loves her so much that He would be willing to help her if she would just ask him.

I heard through the grapevine that all is not well with Oscar and Pieter. I have heard they only stayed at their grandparents house for maybe a week or two. Then they were moved to a foster home. That foster mom was presented with an opportunity to foster a newborn that was likely to end in adoption and she chose the baby over the boys after having them two weeks. The social worker then tried to get the grandparents back involved and to take the boys and they would not. I have no idea what is going on or what the trouble is. I know these are difficult boys... but they are their flesh and blood... and so I have to believe there is something more to the story. And so, the boys have been moved to a new foster home. MAKES ME SICK. That poor baby. He simply cannot understand. His attachment struggles can only be that much worse. The behaviors must probably have skyrocketed.  It's a horrendous story that I wish could have fixed or else have had no part in.

***

Brianna preached her first sermon last evening and it went beautifully. Christina is next. They have been getting a lot of coaching from my dad. It's a good experience.  I'm jet lagged and feeling like I've been run over... BUT all the girls are great kids and I am enjoying getting to know all 24 of them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

iPhone Trip Pics!



Mount St Helens

Rafting our local river with cousins.

Saltwater State Park

Mount Rainier plus Mount Adams, Mount Hood And Mount St Helens in the background.
Over Canada
YFJ worship music