Monday, January 31, 2011

Setting a New Record

The Twins beat their own record today.

Buster showed up for breakfast at 7:30 and Missy at 7:50.

That's unheard of. I had made them each a little tiny photo album with photos of them doing their routine. On some pages I had clock faces that matched my expectations so they could compare to the clock in the hall.They can't tell time, but I'm creating a need to learn and trying to pique an interest.

I was gushing with praise and pointing out how lovely it was to have time to look at picture books and play. There were no time-outs, no grumbles, or pouts.

Missy lied once, I brought it to her attention and she went away for a minute but came back and apologized. Since everything, including school work was accomplished in record time we met up with Jared and Joyanna at the park and played for an hour.

I let the kids know they had done very well and that I was pleased, but that really they enjoyed the benefits of not wasting their time screaming and getting into trouble. I am grateful and relaxed.

Wisdom, Strength, Power

As Christ lived the law in humanity, 
so we may do if we will take hold of the Strong for strength. 
But we are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others, 
and wait for them to tell us what to do. 
We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. 
The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. 
If... we come to Him in faith, 
He will speak His mysteries to us personally. 
Our hearts will often burn within us as 
One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. 
Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, 
will know, 
after presenting their case before Him, 
just what course to pursue. 
And they will receive not only wisdom
but strength
Power for obedience, 
for service,
will be imparted to them, as Christ has promised. 
Whatever was given to Christ
—the “all things” to supply the need of fallen men—
was given to Him as the head and representative of humanity. 
And “whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, 
because we keep His commandments, 
and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 
1 John 3:22. 
– {DA 668.4} – DA Ch. 73 - "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

As It Is

I'm working on a blog book. The thing is absolutely huge even though I have weeded out a hundred and fifty pages. I don't want to lose all that I wrote the first year the twins were here, so it's going into a blurb book. Blurb slurps all the blog entries into the program and then I had to go and weed out the ones I didn't want to keep and add all the photos I couldn't put online. It's taking me awhile. I've got it down to 350 pages, but I really, really want to take out another 50 if I can.

Our days have been fairly predictable. Mostly good with a few sour faces and then unfortunately a real blow up this morning by Buster Brown. I confess I lost my cool and his ears tingled... I don't take to being called a stupid idiot very lightly. The cause of such disrespect?After I asked him if he had washed his face after breakfast and he said yes, I then actually looked at it and saw that it wasn't so. I reminded him that lying is NOT okay and to please brush his teeth and wash his face. His insolence grew by the second and he found himself on the porch with the request to please stay outside for awhile. I was hoping a breath of fresh air, space between us and time -out would cool the sparks.  This was not at all to his liking and the screaming and name calling commence while he tried to beat the door down.

At first I dealt with him with firm discipline and singing, but it soon turned to frustration and I let him know exactly how I felt about the way he was treating me. I am discouraged and disappointed in myself. I'm tired - bone tired. I've felt disapproval from some who have no idea. No one who does not live here can really know . . . I'm counting the days until our get-away.

I know the Lord cares and is guiding us. He did not ask us to care for these kids and then walk away. He'll be with us to the end.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Muffins

Turned out perfect!

Gluten free and all.

The photography,

not so much,

but hey, we don't eat pictures. Missy helped me all afternoon with the baking and cooking .She was as sweet as could be. It was kind of odd after she had been so edgy and so easily set off. After a particularly rough spot I called her to me and gave her a dress I had picked up at Goodwill. It made her day. She got all dressed up and after that she was my best helper. She even managed to dump an entire pan of muffins upside down on the floor before putting them in the oven. I laughed and scooped them up quick, but she couldn't stop saying she was sorry. However, when I dumped a box of cornstarch all over she loudly proclaimed what mess maker I was. I suppose you could say my mess was bigger than hers... hers had more at stake, but the muffins turned out anyways.

Fun with Friends

Jared and Joyanna did indeed come to play. It really pushes the twins into new territory. Their friends wanted to play hide-and-seek in the dark.  Joyanna even admitted that it's "kind scary!" but apparently for her it's a fun kind of scary.  The twins wanted so bad to do it they braved their fears. Buster needed constant verbal encouragement. He did so much better when it wasn't Christina that was hiding since then he could tag along with her.

The twins had to go to bed before their friends left and Missy struggled inside but didn't make a scene. She wants them to come back.

This morning Buster beat the clock by half an hour. He was prompt and happy and made his bed without a fit. I rewarded him with treats. Missy pushes the limit. Breakfast is over at 8:30 she always shows up about 5 -10 minutes late. She gets a bowl of the basics, the fun stuff is for those who are prompt. She missed out on raspberry bars and last nights left-over popcorn. If I didn't give her something the kid would starve to death. She just is stubborn like that. It was all very calculated this morning. I pretty much ignored the antics. I have even learned to move the rear-view mirror in the car so that I can't see her and she can't see me. It makes for a lot less attention getting behaviors. Her favorite, of course, is to hang her tongue out to the bottom of her chin. Really she doesn't do that anymore - only for attention. Used to be hanging out always for lack of muscle tone and habit. If I remind her to keep her lips closed as the speech therapists want me to she then uses it to her advantage as a way of control. Poor kid. Can't imagine always having to be on the lookout for ways to push the limits with authority.

The dog is back. We found her wandering and disoriented yesterday. She slept like a log all morning. Then someone started shooting somewhere and she took off. We were searching for her as late as 10:30 last night, but lo and behold she found her way home at 1:30 A.M.. For a dog who doesn't bark much, she welcomed herself home loud and clear and Steve locked her in the garage. She's terrified of gunfire and we don't know why.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Update

We've had a few successful days in a row. Pleasant attitudes, joyful play and genuine conversation with both. Yesterday they kept saying,  we've been good all day can't we go to prayer meeting? 

I was like, I don't know... I was worrying about the effects on the next day.

I said to Steve, "But what if we have screaming tomorrow because they are in bed late?"

He replied, " well, then we have screaming, but I think they deserve to go since they've been really good the last couple of days".

So we went and they got to bed late and this morning was dicey, and we had to "redo" a few times, and endured one lost temper over making a bed, but they managed to make it to breakfast only a few minutes late. The stakes are high as they have known that Christina is babysitting Jared and Joyanna this afternoon and if there is a whole lot of trouble here she'll go to their house, but if the twins are sweet and happy the kids will come here to play.

There was a funeral at Valley View yesterday and Vanessa and Christina were asked to provide music, however Vanessa came down with a terrible flue and was sick enough that she came home from school after her first class. We called Ellie and she filled in.  Steve stayed home with the kids and took them to their therapy. I then took Christina shopping. She's been raiding closets every day... one rarely sees her in her own clothes, it finally dawned on me that there might be a reason for that.  Unfortunately, we didn't find much worth wearing for her age and size. It might be time to get the sewing machine out... but who has time for that?

The dog is missing. Has been all night. She rarely wanders, but when she does she can't find her way back. Old age stinks like that.

Steve and I are planning a get-away! He has some CE's to do in yonder big city and  I've arranged child care with a couple at church who do respite foster-care. It just happens that our dates mesh perfectly with her days off work. Her two grandkids live right there, too - so the twins will have fun with Grace and Peyton. I'm trying to prepare them and they are excited. I'm making up little gluten-free meals to put in the freezer to make it easier on Sheri. Last night I made lasagna and put part of it in the freezer.

We are missing Bri.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Success At Long Last!

The morning routine was accomplished in record time with incredible attitudes! They were done by 8 am and breakfast isn't even ready yet. They are enjoying the reward of a happy momma. :-)

I left them at home with Vanessa last evening still playing outside and riding bikes while I took Christina to symphony practice. I took a load of too small clothes to the goodwill and picked up a solar system floor puzzle. I came home and stuck it in the closet, but since we have such sweet happy kids today I decided they could put it together.

Last night went well, too. Vanessa brought them into the house before dark, gave them projects to do, fed them, read them a story and put them to bed. Missy was asleep in an instant. No one bucked her over anything.

I enjoyed my time out on the town. Old Navy was having a sale. I bought shirts, long-sleeved T's and sweaters for as little as $1.49 and the most I paid was $3.99.  I wandered up and down the health food isles of the grocery store loading up on brown rice flour and various and sundry expensive gluten-free ingredients. I needed the time alone. I savored every minute.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Creating My Own Break

I decided I must absolutely have a break. I am starting to react to the pay-backs and repercussions.  While I think a couple hours hiking would be the ticket to cutting back on the nonsense, I just don't feel like hiking in the mud today. There isn't any snow left on our side of the valley.

I sent them both out and told them they are on "time-out" outside. Two quick knocks on the door means they need to use the bathroom, otherwise they cannot open the door and holler at me every couple minutes. Basically, I put myself in time-out for some blessed peace. Christina is washing dishes I'm cleaning house with Katie Millea's CD turned way up.

Anyway, looking out the window I see he's riding his bike and she's chasing him up and down the road on foot, so maybe they'll get all the benefits of a hike their own way.

And here's my latest gluten free recipe experiment:  Berry Wondi Bars ~ A total hit for this fam!!


We almost made it this morning.

Missy woke up cheery. I had worship with them both. We had a very pointed discussion on the heart and choices. After prayer I let them know that they were to do their 5 things and I would reward them if they could do their routine with a happy face and willing spirit.

They were happy. First she made her bed, then she got dressed, next she drank water and she even watched her light without a struggle. Everything was punctuated with, "I love you mommy"s and "Thank you mommy! I'm praying for happy heart." etc... Actually it was a bit over the top, but I totally went along with it. Hugs at every turn, and thankfulness for the attitude.

And then she said, "I have one more job!!! I'm almost done!!!"

She went in the bathroom and I threw a few words of encouragement her way.

She sat down and immediately she was seized with a different spirit and she started whining, "I can't do it!!!!!!"

I called to her to stop and think about what she was saying. I asked her stop talking to no avail. She was either testing me or she was in spiritual warefare. "I can't do it, I can't do it, I can't do it!!!!!!"

I went in there and she was mad, but the strangest thing was that she HAD DONE IT and it was all hogwash.

She lost her treat. She is in time-out eating a bowl of beans and it's not even 8:30 yet, so actually, that's progress. She got mouthy when I put her in time-out which I quickly squelched. She's not hard. She allowed me to hold her hands while I prayed with her. She let me hug her and she knows it's nobody's fault but her own that she's in time-out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shhhhhhhh!!! Don't Tell Her I Said So

But I think I see a few cracks in her resolve to fight me.

It was a long day for Missy. Day 8 of this particular battle...

I kept her on tight restrictions all day and she's tired of it. I did send her out to play outside for awhile and she earned most of her freedoms back by this evening. I don't really know what to expect tomorrow, but I think if I hold out a bit longer she's going to cave. Her demeanor is softening and she stopped looking for ways to push the limits and disobey, at least for the time being. I believe she's getting weary. She wants what she wants and this isn't working out for her very well.

"Can I have one of those deserts?"

Not today, child. These are for people who do what is expected of them.

"Don't eat them ALL. I'll obey tomorrow!!!"

Well, I can't guarantee there will be any left, but I would seriously consider obeying from now on, you wouldn't want to miss out on what is next.

Buster has been pretty good. He had a couple of moments and went to bed early, but he isn't made of the same bull-headedness that she is. He's more sensitive. He and I had some good laughs and did things together. About the most I could do with her was hold her on my lap and pray over her, but by this evening we could talk about other things.

Christina was babysitting the kids friends this afternoon. They would have loved to come here and play, but I said Missy couldn't play today. Missy felt that...

We had an interesting conversation about what would happen if I decided I didn't want to make my bed in the morning and shower and get dressed and make breakfast. Who would I scream at? Daddy?

She said, "NO!"

What if Daddy didn't want to get up and get dressed and go to work in the morning. Who would he scream at? What would happen to all the sick people in the hospital waiting for him? Etc.. .

She hadn't thought of that and she didn't really like the idea.

Whatever happens tomorrow, I pray for strength to carry through.... I'm starting to feel like I've been in time-out for a week and it's getting old.

The Flying* Apron*

Sometimes you just need a new focus.

I've spent more than an hour reading my new gluten free cookbooks since they have arrived the other day. It was time to tackle one of the bread recipes in the Flying* Apron*. Missy was calmly surveying her life from her time-out corner by the window, while Buster worked on his phonics worksheet.

I'm quite aware that gluten free bread cannot ever be just exactly the same as bread with gluten in it,
but I had high hopes,
after all, the picture in the book looks good enough to eat...

Well, doesn't it?

The girls and I had made sure we had all the ingredients the night before, 
but when we found out it takes 2 hours to bake the bread we opted to wait until morning.
 So here's my fancy loaf going into the oven.

An hour later it's really looking like an 'artisan' specialty crafted in some 
European bakery somewhere.

Yet another hour later,
we have the final product:
Okay, so there's nothing fluffy about it.
This is the
staff of life 
 ~ victuals of sustenance ~ of major substance~ . 

Now for the real test:

"Wow, Mom, that's the best gluten free bread, yet! It has wonderful flavor."

Me thinks it passed... just hoping there's some left for Steve to taste when he gets home from work.

500th Post

I wish I could celebrate this 500th post.... but the day is not going well. I've been on my knees more than off. I've been toe-to-toe with both children this morning. Buster has taken a turn for the right... Missy is hard as stone. I saw a glimpse of hope for 15 minutes then the light went out and we are totally where we were when she woke up this morning.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

To Church in Footy PJ's

She made quite a fashion statement.

Honestly, she asked for it. I reminded her that we had to be at church early today so she needed to get ready right away. She merely stood and watched everyone. She seemed not at all concerned that while everyone was eating she was standing in her pajamas watching. It was as if she was only a fly on the wall. People walked around her, did their thing, patted her on the head, gave her hugs, answered her questions, carried on and never blinked and eye and neither did she. Behind a closed door I complained to Steve that she was saving up the screaming for just when it was time to leave... It bothered me enough that I could not eat, but I didn't let her know in the least. I tried to appear as unconcerned as she.

Minutes before time to leave she asked if she could go to church. I calmly stated that she was going. And suddenly started accusing me of not letting her go to church. I looked at her in shock and said, "I never said you aren't going to church. YOU are LYING".

That's the way it is. She turns everything into me against her. I'm the one who made her pee her pants. I'm the one who made her cold. I'm the one who made her late....

Steve called out the "load her up, we're leaving" signal and she let out a blood curdling scream. We all walked out and she was yelling "I want to go to church!!!"

Yes, dear, get in the car.

"I'm not dressed!!!"

We walked out and she ran after us and slammed the door. She screamed in a rage in the car and Steve prayed out loud until she stopped.

We sit in the front pew. She was noticed by one and all. Thankfully, they are a understanding bunch and very supportive. No one seemed disgusted with me for allowing her to carry on in her folly. Many are praying for us.

Missy came home and quickly got dressed and did what she should have done this morning, and says she isn't going to do that anymore, but directly after lunch out of spite she spit toothpaste all over her clothes. She had the privilege of washing them out by hand and they are in the dryer, but we are going out for  a walk, so she'll get to wear her pajamas once again.

By the Looks of Things

She's back to her old tricks and will be going to church in pajamas?

Oh, Lord HELP us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Giddy With Relief

At 4:30, exactly 7 hours since she started screaming,
she stopped,
did what I had originally asked
and apologized on her own.

She was (still is) absolutely giddy with relief.

And it was my turn to cry.
I'll live in the moment and hope tomorrow never comes...

Almost 5 Hours of Screaming

from Missy

so far.

Deeds of Omnipotence

A friend posted this on her blog, for me, I think :-).

I asked her if she thought I was being asked to do deeds of omnipotence and she thought maybe so. It's reassuring that I am working with one GREATER than I.

"All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God 
will be constantly receiving a new endowment of 
physical and mental power. 
The inexhaustible supplies of Heaven are at their command. 
Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, 
the life of His own life. 
The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies 
to work in heart and mind. 
The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, 
and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their 
assistance in the work of saving souls. 
Through co-operation with Christ they are complete in Him, 
and in their human weakness they are enabled to 
do the deeds of Omnipotence."
The Desire of Ages, page 827.

Claiming Isaiah 49: 24 and 25 over Missy today.
She is struggling.

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty,
or the lawful captive delivered?
But thus saith the Lord,
Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered;
for I will contend with him that 
contendeth with thee,

I'm holding Him to it.
He has to keep His WORD.

The Ultimatum

I said, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday you CHOSE not to obey. Today is Friday. One scream, one disobedience, one lie, one disrespect, or one ugly frowning look at me and you will be in bed by the time our company arrives for supper tonight.

Yes, mom, I will obey!

So far, so good. They have done their lights without a fight. I then said, Okay, it's time to get everything else done before breakfast closes at 8:30 (or they sometimes drag it on until noon). Missy immediately tried to engage me and have me tell her what to do as if she hadn't a clue in the world.

Sorry kiddo, my lips are sealed.

But why?


Brother, a whole week of trying to get this point across and she still would play dumb.

I'm praying very hard for balance. I am disconnected from the behavior because otherwise it's too much, but at the same time trying NOT to disconnect from the kid. I try to tell them good job and I like what I see when I can, and give hugs and hold them on my lap and try not to block out their conversations when they are not intended to control me, but honestly, this week has been incredibly intense and it would be easiest to just write them off and block them out completely.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time for the MOUNTAIN

VERY LONG afternoon.

Both kids are hiking with Steve. Can hear the screaming from in the house.

So silly. I think I'll go for a hot bath.

No End In Sight

One tantrum after another - both kids...

New Day - Same Attitude

For Missy.

Buster seems okay so far.

Yesterday's tantrum with Missy lasted 2 hours. I never blinked an eye or responded in any way. She pulled out every dirty trick she knew but she could not engage me.

Brianna flew off into the sky on an adventure with Dakota. Buster was an emotional wreck when she left. Vanessa is having a stressful week at school and Christina is pushing to get her math for the year done in the next couple weeks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The twins are at the school for pt, ot and speech.

They took a few of their traced pictures to show off. They are getting good at it and they have lots of time to practice in their lovely little corner. They were 15 minutes late. The attitudes wax and wane in strength... but they couldn't just walk from the door to the car and buckle up, or at least one of them couldn't. She took a very circuitous route with many delays and adventures so that when I arrived and buckled she was not in her seat.

I'm at home all alone - save Christina who is doing math out on the swing by the barn in the grand sunshine. In thirty minutes of silence I managed get gluten free bread started in the bread machine, gluten free brownies in the oven, split peas in the crock pot, pearled barley in on the stove top (- oops! I forgot barley is not gluten free, so) I put oat groats in the rice cooker since I am out of brown rice and I have time to work on the laundry. Think I have enough appliances? I could really get into cooking if I didn't have kids... okay, but who would eat it?

I bought two cookbooks on Amazon. The Flying Apron's Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book and The Virtuous Vegan - Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Cuisine. I'm ready to sit down with a cookbook... It's just not the same cooking off the internet!

It's Gonna Be a LONG Day

The same attitude that characterized yesterday is vividly apparent this morning in both children. They are both in their corners holding out on me. Someone showed me yesterday that these guys are used to winning battles of endurance. I made a change, and they don't like change and so they plan on holding out until things get back to "normal". Except their idea of normal is skewed. Missy is blatantly defiant - with a smile on her face hoping sweetness will mask the agenda. (A real a conundrum).  Buster is devious and frowny but quiet and determined.

I know. I am not a mind reader. It's just that for nearly 11 months I have been dealing with the same or similar scenario over and over again. One kind of figures out what is going on after awhile.

I've been praying for their souls. What else can I do?


The sun is shining and I woke up feeling great!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Floor Time

The two partners in crime are no longer screaming.

The children each have a bare corner of the room on the floor.

My headache is not unbearable, but my eyeballs are on fire and I am fuzzy headed.

 Today is so different from yesterday. The blue sky and sunshine and chinook winds are gone, replaced by grey and dead leaves and cold.

All Out Raging

I'm falling apart.

You never saw such strong willed children.

I Need a Bridle -- Update

'Cause I am having a difficult time keeping my mouth shut this morning. The twins are doing well, actually, and both are dressed and things are getting done... maybe not exactly how I would, but we are moving along.

I sort of thought today would go fine, it's tomorrow I am worried about.

Even so, I am having to turn away and close my jaw and pray for strength to carry through every time  I see something being done out of order or someone sitting around. I think they've trained ME to do a lot of talking! And they want me to. They keep putting out the bate. LOL!

We are really working on their habit of yelling Mommy over and over and over and over again. It's very controlling and very obnoxious and the more impatient they are the more insistent and loud they get.  I am learning to walk away until it stops and it is getting better.

I wish the weather would decide what it wants. I'm tired of all night migraines.

*** Update:

Okay, not so good. Tantrums and lying have commenced... Every time a tantrum starts the song, "I Will Sing of My Redeemer pops into my head. It's helpful!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hippopotamus Anybody?

Someone found my blog by typing into the search engine:

price of hippopotamus.

I bet they were really, really disappointed!


But this is really driving me crazy.

WHO in Alexandria or near, reads my blog?

Send me an email - we'll visit. I'd like to know who you are.
safords  at  hotmail  dot  com

Inspired By Paint

It's hard not to get inspired 
when there are artists in the house.

Brianna's been at it again...
and thus
Missy was inspired.

and in turn
Buster was inspired.
Tracing is so good for developing that fine motor skill.
The physical therapist really recommends having  the children draw on a vertical surface as it somehow develops the wrist action.
 Missy prefers the light table on the floor...

She appreciates Brianna's expertise and all the tips she will share (not to mention the tools of the trade).
She's also pleased with the end product enough to start on another painting thought she's been at it for 2 hours. 

I guess you can tell the twins gave up the idea of holding off on the morning chores
and they moved on to better things.
 Obviously, her paper was of a much higher quality than his.

I hope you were inspired by something today. 
As for me, I was inspired by the sunshine to clean the garage and burn a pile of cardboard boxes.
Now, I shall try and get inspired to finish the laundry.

A Little Hot

In more ways than one.

It's balmy weather after all our rain. The sun is shining in the windows heating this house up to more than I can take when I am housecleaning. All the sliding glass doors and windows were flung open to refresh the place.

Got to feeling a little warm under the collar when both children refused to follow directions and do their morning routine.. Both just waiting around to be prodded and pushed and coaxed to get the morning stuff done before breakfast. I reminded them that the restaurant closes at 8:30 and they started crying and fussing and getting stubborn but still not doing their jobs...

So, I told them I'm done talking.

In the morning they do their lights, make the bed, get dressed, drink water and use the bathroom before the restaurant closes - on their own. That's not a lot when you consider they get out of bed at 6:30. No one is going to push and prod and drag them through their morning.There's plenty of wood to be carried up and down the hill if they don't  want to. It's their choice.

I asked them, "whose choice was it to not make the beds this morning?"


"Exactly, good answer, so whose fault is it if you don't get what you want later?"


"Good answer. Think about that."

Tomorrow is speech therapy in town. Don't be surprised if someone ends up there still in their pajamas.The hard part will be for me to follow through and NOT try to get them going. I talk too much. It's a waste of breath. It doesn't teach them self-government.

I have plenty to do today if we never get to the school work and all that. The weather is beautiful outside so if the twins choose to carry wood up and down the hill in the sunshine they'll be getting their vit. D anyway.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Missy Speaks Up

I'm so glad Christina decided she was well enough to go to church. We would have so missed out!!!

The twins love children's story. I'm not sure they are always listening... it's just fun to go up with all the other kids and collect the offering, etc.. Well, today Missy chose a spot on the platform right dead center in front of the story teller.

The point of the story on skating was that you don't give up when things are hard because you can always ask God for help and He has promised to help you. So, anyway, Becky was asking the 30 or so kids if homework was hard... Oh, no, apparently no one has trouble with homework. Was doing their chores hard? No, no, no one would admit to that, etc... so finally she asked them to give her ideas of what they thought was hard. Only one little hand shot up - dead center on stage. . .

Missy had something to say.

I cringed.

Would it be appropriate?

Was she even listening?

Did she understand the question?

Becky directed the question to her once again,

"What do you think is hard?" and put the mic under her chin.

Missy never batted and eye.  Clear as anything everyone heard her say "OBEY".

There was a chuckle from every corner of those who know her . . .

I had to think about it, although I agreed with everyone who talked to me about it after church that it was an amazing little answer for her, I was still thinking, because what I heard was slightly different -  I heard her say "Not Obey".

I thought and thought about it. Did she really, really mean that it is HARD to obey - which is very true for her, or was she actually trying to say something else? And it finally hit me.

She had meant what she said,  "Not Obey"

because she is learning what we have been teaching her.

". . . The way of the sinner is HARD".  Proverbs 13:15

She knows that while it is hard to go against inclination and obey,
 life is harder when you do "Not obey."

She'd put the word HARD in the text with the word HARD in the question and the answer was that it is HARD if you don't obey.

We've been talking about this for weeks. Sin may seem easier but it leaves you in a hard place. You don't have to look very far to see what sin has done to humanity. The misery, the pain, the sorrow, the sad, hopeless lives people are existing in. I have sought  to impress on the children, in every possible way,  the truth of the Scripture: "Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the sinner is hard."

Having seen where these kids come from I know that unless they truly understand this and are converted they are headed towards a HARD life of misery and pain, destroyed relationships, perhaps jail or worse.

The sermon was on Epigenetics which the blogger spell check doesn't even recognize. I shouldn't even go there as I'm really not smart enough to attempt to share this. Tom has been thinking about this for weeks... He a scientist with a scientist's mind. He is reading and researching hundreds of studies and journals and he says the implications are fascinating and mind boggling and should absolutely make us think about and understand what God meant when He said in the second commandment and Exodus 34:7 that He would  "visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children's children unto the third and fourth generation". God is not arbitrary. The sins we commit,  the lifestyle choices we make, the thoughts and habits of our lives have an effect on our genes. The DNA does not change, but the expression of those genes can be altered. This effects our offspring for generations.  (Google it, it's complicated.) I find the whole study is not really very good news for adoptive parents (actually any parent in this imperfect world)...  The point of the sermon, of course, was not to discourage, but to help us to realize that the mandates God has given us in how we ought to live, act, think are not arbitrary, but indeed have an altering effect on our very bodies and minds and our offspring.There is a branch of epigenetics that studies the effects on the mind and brain that according to Tom are so deep and complicated that he struggles to understand the very language they use in writing the reports and journals.

I am horrified in this light at the twins' heritage and the mountains they have to overcome, HOWEVER, I still cling to the promises:
God makes no compromise with sin. 
A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.

Christ's plan is the only safe one.
He declares,
"Behold, I make all things new."
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature."

2 Corinthians 5:17

Letter 105, 1893

When they choose the new life in Christ He can and will heal and erase some of those epigenetic expressions in their genes. This won't be an overnight process... sanctification is continual dependence on Jesus.

He sent His WORD and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
Psalm 107:20

Yes, kiddo, the way of the transgressor is HARD, so very very hard, but there is another option. 
'I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, 
that I have set before you 
life and death,
blessing and cursing:
therefore choose life,
that both you and your children may live:'
Deuteronomy 30:19


They were out the door and on their way to church by 8:42 with cheery faces and pleasant attitudes! Just how many weeks ago was it that I thought this could never be possible?

I am at home with Christina. She had a sudden episode of vomiting in the night. She thinks she caught it from her cousin :-) He lives all the way in the Yukon and had a similar trial the night before and, of course, they'd been visiting each other via skype... I've heard of computer viruses before, but this has to be the first virtual transmission of the stomach bug. {I looked up virtual.  Virtual being such in  power, and effect, though not actually. She might be on to something. So, get off the couch already!! I really want to hear Tom's sermon.}

Back to my thankfulness;

A few months ago we decided we had had enough of being so isolated. It was time to start having people over. It was a hard decision to commit ourselves to weekly having people over for a meal and reading the gospel stories from the Bible, singing and praying together. The twins were so unpredictable and I was unused to preparing for company anymore. Our schedule was busy, etc... We had a lot of reasons to do it, but just as many excuses not to. Finally, we just took the plunge and invited people. You could say we stayed on the safe side when we invited people with foster kids.

It took me two days to prepare for that first evening. There were numerous difficulties, some major behaviors leading up to the hour when the guests would arrive, etc.. I was exhausted when it was over... but the next morning was even worse. Preparing for church was more disastrous than ever. The twins were tired and as uncooperative as they come. Oh, the trials!!

While we had enjoyed our time with the guests it was hard to see its worth in the trouble leading up to the event and the aftermath, but we persisted. We had three families joining us every Friday night and slowly it got easier. Each of the twins had their turn being put to bed before company arrived for tantrums and such. They LOVE having the friends over, so they never want to repeat that again.

I'm glad we persisted. It's been so worth it. HARD at first, but the twins have learned so many things by this. Preparing the house and the food takes us a half a day now and, for now at least, we have licked the Sabbath morning trials. We've learned to just put the kids to bed when it is time, whether or not people are still here. They understand why.  We really enjoy the fellowship very much and we actually had a couple of different people join us last night.

I let the children know how very proud I was of them this morning getting ready for church, eating their breakfast and being by the door ready to go before everyone else. What a great morning!!

I know that we will still have some bad church mornings. We'll still have trials just before company arrives, but the less we have of it the more the children will realize what is normal and what is not and I am pretty sure they also appreciate the good times.

One of the big things I noticed in Buster last night was that he mingled with the other children - just like the other children. He was not needing to be front and center. He was not manipulating the conversations with the adults. He was content to color the Bible story picture during the Bible reading just like all the other kids. He sang his heart out holding the battery operated candle while we sang This Little Light of Mine just like the other children. He prayed a very beautiful prayer when we were having popcorn prayer praying for each of the children who had come by name. There was nothing random or strange about his conversations and interactions. There was little stuttering. For all this, I am THANKFUL!

{She did get off the couch and got dressed for church. I guess I get to hear Tom preach after all. Let's hope it was a virtual bug and nothing serious....}

Friday, January 14, 2011

Did I Mention?

Brianna is going away to Colorado for a month?

Boy, what am I gonna do without her for  that long? Today she's done laundry and vacuumed the house, made muffins and cleaned the barn.

She going to take the Missionary Training program at Eden Valley with her friend Dakota. They'll stay at my parent's house, and Brianna is going to try the hyperbaric chamber for her chronic pain. They leave next week already!


He sent His Word,
and healed them,
and delivered them from their destructions.
Psalm 107:20

Someone kindly sent me a book called 
Biblical Response Therapy
Healing God's Way

and under the title is written
Psalm 107:20

I had never seen that text before. I'm enjoying the book. Actually, it's more of a guided Bible study written by a pastor from Black Hills Health and Education Center. This isn't going to be a quick read. I'll let you know what I learn.

Missy has stopped making the morning routine such an issue. She moved on to other things, but it sure is nice to change it up a bit :-). We are still going after the heart. . . it doesn't matter what her chosen trouble of the day is, it is all of the same root. Though, I must say that disobeying, ignoring me, being totally random in her offenses beat tantrums and persistent foul moods any day.  Oh, to teach the heart to love and care when all it is concerned with is itself... Happiness isn't in serving self, but the heart is deceitful above all things....

Would you believe it? I forgot the cat at the vet for a whole 24 extra hours. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Skate Skiing Weather or NOT...

Went skate skiing today....
The fresh snow was great until it started raining!
What fickle weather.
The sunshine was amazing and so warm.
The gray skies were annoying.
The ski trails finally turned to ice.

Yes, all today.

Ran into one of our puppy buyers.
The dog is 3 years old but he acted like he remembered everybody - probably just loves kids.

It's always so much fun to run into one of  "our" dogs and see how they turned out. This one is definitely pretty, smaller than most of our males, and a little wired.

A Bit of the Remodel in Pics

Especially for my friends who are dying to know...

The foyer:

 The carpet:

 The addition and porch:
 The enlarged platform:
 The awesome, amazing beams scraped clean of layers of ugly paint:
 The extension on the back:
 The overflow for when we have big crowds :-)
All in all it's coming along... I think the building committee has done a marvelous job of picking colors in paint and carpet, lights, and every thing. Glad I'm not responsible - cause it's not my gift.
So many talented hands donating time. 
Can't wait until next week.
Believe it or not, the carpet will be laid, the pews in place, the toilets installed, and the pulpit returned to it's rightful spot for next weekend!

By the way, the pics don't do it justice.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some of Our Lighter Moments

Just so you know...
not all kittens are cute.
This little stinker didn't have to try hard to be loved though.
He is a survivor.
All three kittens found a home together in a warm, heated tack room, with heated blankets and everything just right by a family that if I told you their name you would be able to figure out where I live very easily.
Oh, and we have a cat at the vet... the era of the kittens is over.

There is no end of paper airplanes,
and algebra scrap paper at our house.

We have figured out that we actually wore out another cd player. 
We are having to plug the computer into the sound system to play 
The Nutcracker while we hipity-hop for exercise.

Buster enjoys his activity pages very much.

Making tie-dye snowflakes is addicting
We've worn out a whole set of washable markers.

Junior Monopoly is the "in game" ... and it's a fun introduction to money.
Not only is the neon hat hard to miss,
it makes a great snow shield.
He pulls it down just before take-off.
Obviously, where he is going is the least of his worries.

You can hear this child a mile away. The crazier the better.

Missy's latest creation.
Even the smallest things are useful in learning to achieve 
developmental milestones.

I found the twins "washing" my car with their mittens the other day. 
They were quite pleased with themselves and had only missed the spots they couldn't reach.
Yeah... so how do you tell them you don't appreciate all their efforts?
This pic doesn't show the half of it.
It was dirty before,
but at least it matched everybody else's car...
It was so, so embarrassingly filthy I ended up having to go to the car wash being it was too cold to run water on my icy driveway. Buster was thrilled with the experience. The attended was having trouble with his machine and I had to wait an extra 10 minutes so he gave me a free car wash coupon for next time.
So, there you go... I actually will have a clean car two times this year.
A blessing in disguise.

And we were blessed with another peaceful, happy day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Way It Is

A normal day is a luxury.

Both kids were fine this morning.  
They did their morning routine in 45 minutes. 
I wasn't even ready with breakfast yet. 
I was so surprised.


My husband and I were on our knees last night until late with me bawling.

Yes, it had been that bad.

I needed to take Christina to symphony practice and then pick up Steve from work. We're constantly juggling the car situation - two cars, three drivers. Vanessa couldn't go to town for me because she had quite a bit of homework to finish and so she and Bri offered to babysit if I would go to town. I figured it would be fine. Yes, it had been a trying day in every sense of the word, but they were calm now and really, if they could do whatever they wanted there would be nothing to worry about. There was nothing to ask of the twins. It was playtime, supper, story time and bed. I couldn't predict any kind of bad behaviors, 

except I forgot about teeth brushing after supper.

Who'd a thought?

Vanessa handled it expertly, but it was bad. Buster raged out of control just because he didn't want to brush his teeth. For safety's sake he was put out on the porch and she tried to talk him down through the open window.

Later she cried.
"It's scary because he was out of his mind. He looked demon possessed".

I know.

It's very distressing.

I won't ask the girls to babysit again for a long time.

Steve was able to get off work a few minutes early and we drove home as quickly as possible. It was over and everything was under control, though. In fact, Buster was in bed, but we got him up since he wasn't asleep because we wanted him to know that treating Vanessa like that was NOT acceptable in the least. 

Later the 5 of us read from Child Guidance and we realized in a forceful way that we do not do everything right. (Not that we really thought we were handling everything well, mind you.) The Lord has a much higher standard for us to attain. We struggle because sometimes these kids are impossible. Nothing works. They are not willing to give themselves to God. They are in rebellion... and it's sooooo stupid!!! Frustration takes over sometimes. I have been working on how I react. Modifying the tone of my voice, leaving the heart problem in the Lord's hands, spending more time reading the Bible, claiming the promises, seeking new and better ways to manage the attitudes and disobedience, etc... it has been a journey and half, but we still fall short.

One thing we have decided is to delay the consequences. I have been very quick to deal with everything. I let NOTHING get by; NOTHING EVER. If a child is in sin I cannot and will not  turn a blind eye. My mom taught me well. This was her strong point also. But I tend to want to "fix" everything up right now. 

Straighten up, smarten up and take that frown off your face NOW!!
Or I'll fix your little-red-wagon!

My fear is if I don't deal NOW it will drag on all day. . . and it might. But we have decided to start trying delayed consequences. They will be told that there will be a consequence, but that we need time to pray before we decide what that will be. They need time to cool and hopefully think before they are dealt with. This will give me time to hear the Still Small Voice. This will give me time to "get over it", too. I can then maybe talk it over with Steve so it can then be a joint decision. 

Obviously, if the kid is going to rage out of his head we have to deal with it then and there.... but the consequences for allowing himself to go crazy will be delayed. (Yes, I know he can control this - he would not have raged over brushing his teeth if I was standing there. He was testing Vanessa to push for his agenda and to scare her into letting him off the hook. She still had him brush his teeth, though, so good for her!) Later when he is in his right mind he can carry fire wood from the lower barn to the upper barn, and then vice-versa, or whatever the consequence is that he must serve.

Another thing that we decided is that Steve and I are not always on the same page. We always back each other up regardless of how we feel about it, but we don't always have the same idea of what needs to be done. This is partly because we are busy and don't take the time to share what each of us is learning. That has to change.

We need more patience, more love, more forbearance.
in short, we need
more 1Corinthians 13 being lived out in our lives.

Anyway, I try to be as open here as I can be,
I don't want to lead anyone to think we've figured this out, 
have it all together and are doing it all perfectly, 
'cause we are just learning, growing and hopefully finding our way.

One kind lady believes that parenting skills come to me naturally.
Nope, I assure you they do not.
I am naturally hot tempered and impatient.
My natural inclinations are self-centered.... Only I want to do God's will.
I am grateful for the twins.
The lessons in patience and surrender that I somehow did not master with my first three girls I'm revisiting on a new level. It's kind of a second chance for me. I want to be ready when Jesus comes and my character needs refining and remaking before that great day - and God has seen fit to allow me to enroll in the school of hard knocks!!

I wish you could all meet the twins, though,
they are naughty as all -get- out,
but they are cute and have potential.
I don't mean to make them out to be the devil - but the devil has had his way too long,
and the battle for their souls is a tough one.
It's all out war.

Monday, January 10, 2011

School Yesterday

Buster is doing well with his new reading program.

I bought the first unit of Rod and Staff because I was frustrated with what I had and I knew I had taught two kids to read with R&S .

He is enjoying it.

He is doing very, very well with it, actually

and he rarely makes a mistake.

BUT that was before yesterday. He had one page of stuff left to do and I got a call asking if I could go to the church and help the gals stain 15 doors. 

I told Buster that since he was nearly done his school he could go with me.


He got overly excited. Decided he didn't want to finish and proceeded to do everything WRONG on purpose. He was requiring a ton of help and crying and carrying on. It was nuts.

Finally - I said, "Look, you never make mistakes in this book. You know how to do this. You either get it done, and done right, or I leave without you."

And I walked away.

He panicked and cried, but somehow suddenly he remembered how to do it perfectly.

End of story.

Minute by Minute

Been singing: Will You Love Jesus More? to the twins.

From the very second I called them from their beds life has been a struggle.

My heart is burdened.

I can only pray for a change of heart and HOLD the lines tight.

(BUT you've got to know it's exhausting and I have no brains left for writing!!!)


Will you love Jesus more
When we go our different ways
When this moment is a memory
Will you remember His face
Will you look back and realize
You sensed His love more than you did before
I'd pray for nothing less
Than for you to love Jesus more

I've been reading in Deuteronomy
I have set before you life and death, 
blessing and cursing: 
therefore choose life, 
that both you and your seed may live.
Deut 30:19

Ah, that word again...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

* Sigh of Relief *

She gave it up.

Don't know what finally caused her to come to her senses.

I wish I could tell you I handled everything well. 

I didn't. 

I had to ask for forgiveness.

The whole house is vacuumed and some parts re-vacuumed.

She has apologized,
Her demeanor is softened. 
She sat on my lap and gave me a hug. 
When I was done praying she said, "My turn" and prayed for a new heart.
Now she is singing "Gloria".

It's only a few short hours until morning and the
"dreaded morning routine"
where all her promises will be put to the test.

(The morning routine is just the thing she has chosen to gain control.
It wouldn't matter if I did anything to change up the morning routine.
She would find something else to have an issue with.)

A quote brought in yesterday's sermon stuck with me and I haven't stopped thinking about it. 
Wishing I had controlled my emotions better, 
but I'm thinking
I'll have thousands of opportunities just like today's to redo. . .

  The real greatness of the man is measured by the power of the feelings that he controls, 
not by those that control him.
{Patriarchs and Prophets 567.3}

I have had quite a number of beautiful, encouraging emails and comments, lately.
Much appreciated!
One gal wrote me a little poem about Buster.
A young lady shared how she struggled as a child - and the root of the trouble was a lack of love.
Her words of advice well taken.
Lots of moms sharing that this week is particularly hard for all of them and their adopted kiddos.
One reader shared how she was an adopted child.
And of course, one mama keeps encouraging me to stay connected to the WORD.

Blessings to all.


It's a rough day with Missy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Missy Saga

The kids played outside a lot yesterday - like it or not. Friday is a busy day cleaning and preparing for the Sabbath. The attitudes were not the best in the twins and so they got to play outside.... finally Missy decided she would do some vacuuming so she could come in. Buster helped carry folded clothes, etc...

When all was done and Christina  offered to take the twins for a walk, the twins were so excited, but I was worried.

Sure enough, it didn't go well. I am proud of Christina. She is handling the nonsense very well these days. She just carries on and tells them what they are doing is silly and that it won't help the situation. She brought them home and Missy was in full blown rage by the time she got to the door. We wouldn't let her in until she stopped screaming and beating on the door. Steve sat on the porch and when she was calming down he talked her through...

When she came in she knew she had crossed the line. She looked at me with utter sadness. I didn't have to say a word. We gave her a hot shower, fed her supper and put her to bed. A tear or two slid down her cheeks, but she  never questioned.

It's almost strange these days. We've learned how to deal with it. No one reacted. No one said a word. It just was and nobody let it effect their mood in the least.

All our company arrived a half hour later and we had a nice evening. Missy had looked forward to this all day but  alas for poor choices.

I don't believe Missy is a true RAD. She can be affectionate and sweet and funny and cuddly. She is all that and very loving this morning, but I haven't crossed her will yet. She wants what she wants when she wants it. Slowly she is learning self-control and some days she controls herself well. Other days she has no control whatsoever. If she wants to be happy and obedient she can be that. She came as the most impulsive creature I have ever met and I see great changes. She is strong-willed and stubborn and someday that may be her asset, but at the moment it's to her detriment.

I'll just keep praying, claiming the promises and being firm and loving her when she allows me.  I don't know of any other way to help her.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Difference

between the two kids is that for him repentance and a change of heart happened in less than 5 minutes, but for her took 12 hours (and the change of heart part still is debatable).

I'm really, really wondering. She has been completely cold and non-affectionate. Anger and frustration are about the only emotions detectable. Is this the "holidays are over" let-down? or is it those fruity snacks I bought the kids with food coloring in them? or is she just being naughty and testing?

Today started off okay. Here's praying she's turned the corner.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another Day

Same battle.

  We know that the law is spiritual; 
but I am unspiritual, 
sold as a slave to sin
I do not understand what I do. 
For what I want to do 
 I do not do, 
but what I hate
I do.
As it is, 
it is no longer I myself who do it,
but it is sin living in me. 
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, 
that is, 
in my sinful nature. 
For I have the desire to do what is good, 
but I cannot carry it out.  
 For I do not do the good I want to do, 
but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
  Now if I do what I do not want to do, 
it is no longer I who do it, 
but it is sin living in me that does it. 
I see another law at work in me, 
waging war against the law of my mind 
and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 

O, What a wretched man I am!

Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 

Thanks be to God, 
who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:14-25