Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Give Them Grace

I have been reading a book called Give them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. It's a lot heavier than the average parenting book and it is taking me awhile to get through it. I don't actually like to read the heavier books on my iphone - as I can't physically flip the pages and use a highlighter and go from back to front easily if I so choose, but I had no idea, of course, what it was like before I bought it for kindle. Worse yet, I can't even loan it out to my good friends to see if I can get some communication going on the topic. It has a good point to make and has gotten me thinking a lot about how I parent. I don't agree with everything par usual, but that's okay.

Basically the book teaches that as sinners we/ our children have been rendered incapable of keeping God's law on our own. We have no goodness of our own. Even our best behaviors are faulty and our motives are self centered. The only way we/the children can obey God is through Jesus' goodness that He imparts to us. Every step of our parenting should be done in the context of the Gospel. Present Jesus in such a way that they cannot help but fall in love with Him, and see each interaction is an opportunity to show them who He is, what He did for them , how He longs to have a relationship with them and how He CAN give them the grace to obey His law.

It was the answer to my quest which was a common thread of this blog - on how to present Jesus to the twins. Yes, the advice is very theological but somewhat practical, just don't expect it to be easy. There are a few but not many scenarios to glean from. I'm making the most of the real life examples of how it is done.  A person must depend on the Holy Spirit to guide her words and actions and  must be willing to be open with their kiddo about her own sin, how she falls short of obeying God and how He forgives her.  Yes, and don't expect it to be easy when they look you right in the eye and defy your very existence. The flesh would like to take 'em down a notch or two in great haste, but that's not how the Spirit works. The child that is open susceptible to spiritual things will respond much more quickly to this approach than the little outfit who could care less... that child needs greater doses of grace, more of Jesus, and a lot of Christ's love and it might take awhile.

I'm trying to apply what I learn as I go. It takes some meditating on the life of Christ and prayer in order to turn around and have something to offer the kids. James responds incredibly.... though not every time. Sometimes he requires discipline in order for him to soften to the point of actually listening and wanting. The real test of the application is on Missy. She is hard and unwilling. She just wants what she wants, when she wants it. At times there's no point in talking - like last Sabbath at the picnic. Just holding her hand and physically keeping her in line and looking for possible moments to make a difference and show her Jesus is all you can do. There are days, like today, where she just gets my goat and I don't want to show her grace. I just wanted to fix her little red wagon!! I'm here to say, it didn't work out so well (the fixing of her little red wagon). She just went off into a screaming fit as though I'm the one who was at fault for her brazen disrespect. Truth is, I have no idea if a different approach would have ended any differently, but this I know: She needs a change of heart. She came around eventually, but not without losing her swimming and needing a strong and steady hand.

I heard from my friend who was at the picnic this morning; the one who said she didn't know if she had that kind of patience and thought she would give in to pity... I had no idea what she really was thinking about it all and I was sorry she had to endure Missy's naughtiness. Well, she called this morning.  She said, "I watched you and I thought about it a lot. I thought I didn't have the patience to do what you did and stay the course, but I decided, though I am disciplining my children, I am not uprooting the cause of their disobedience. We keep going over the same ground. I keep thinking that I have LOTs of time to work with the kids on their characters, but I realize that now is the time."

The next day she put her thoughts into actions and worked with her children with new energy. And I have to wonder because she's got a very sweet and happy set of boy and girl. They are the prettiest children you ever laid eyes on, very personable and pleasant but with the slightest streak of independence.  You never know what influence your actions may have, even if those watching have no clue what it's like to get to the heart of a child from the hard places.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Little Warrior Loses a Battle - {But Not the War}

He did. He lost a battle with his toothbrush.

Being told he didn't brush well enough and that he has to do it again is somehow an insult. It required a lot of time and some extra firmness to get him back on track. He admitted to being hit by a fiery dart of the devil. Personally, I think he was feeling over confident; like he was the one fighting the battles and forgetting that Jesus is the one who fights for us. Self-sufficiency is a snare laid out to catch the unwary. Oh, to only learn the truth of John 15:5 while he is young "Without me you can do nothing." 

The twins are learning verse 4 of Ephesians 6 now. Missy doesn't quite "get" it. And you fathers, provoke not your children to laugh!!! 

Missy swam for two hours yesterday. Brianna made her work hard the whole time. She has improved her speed and is very nearly ready to pass the swim test to be able to use the slide. She was extra tired and went to bed and slept for 12 hours straight.

I'm feeling a tad better this morning. The cold has gone down into my lungs as expected and is nasty as always every year at this time. When I picked up Steve from work last evening we were both hungry and went out on an impromptu date. We ate at the Mongolian Grill. It's one of those places where you choose your veggies and noodles and flavors- garlic, ginger, sesame oil, etc... and then they stir fry it right in front of you. Vanessa is working again today... chelans were not quite done.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Obsessive Compulsive Soldier

So my little soldier all dressed in "armor" had a good day yesterday, as did his sister. We talked a lot about what it means to be a soldier for Jesus. I use his obsessive compulsive tenancies to my advantage when I can. He's obsessing over the felt set, the scripture verses and the fiery darts. He actually is gung ho about memorizing the whole chapter of Ephesians 6. He's up to verse 4. Word retrieval is still a bit of a problem with this kiddo, so it takes a lot of repetition, but his obsessive compulsive mode works well with this.

I thought of a fun story to read to him called Teddy's Button. It's about a little boy set in the Victorian era whose father had died a hero in a war. There was one button left on the coat when he died and Teddy wore the button with pride and aspired to be a soldier like his father. He got into fights with the village boys until his mother forbade him to fight anymore. Then along came a little sailor girl who taunted his father's story and he decided this girl was his enemy but he knew he couldn't fight her since boys don't fight girls. Eventually, he was led to see that his real enemy was self, so he gave "self" as ugly a name as he could think of and on his knees he learned to fight like a real soldier. Very sweet story that has been around forever and I knew I could find a copy somewhere, but lo and behold, it is free for kindle on Amazon. It would be best to have the illustrated book, but this is what we have for now.

I have not attempted to read a book of this nature to the twins before. This has some old language that I have to modify because these kids don't have a natural understanding of language and context gives them no clues. So, I read one chapter and then we recreated that chapter orally. I'm hoping this will broaden his thinking and understanding of books a little. I might even have to read him the book a few times, but hopefully it will do a two-fold work for him and the next book will be easier for him to grasp. I already know that I will read Little Pilgrim's Progress next.

Missy's only obsessed with swimming and thus she was pretty easy to live with yesterday. The kids jumped on the trampoline with the hose for awhile. Her excitement about that was over the top and a little nutty.

Today might be Vanessa's last day working cherries since the Chelans are nearly done and before the next variety are ripe she is leaving for CA with Brianna for Youth for Jesus. I can't believe that's coming up already!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Put to the Test

James' experience was put to the test - of course.

It's a battle and a fight right there in the heart. And though he was enamored with the armor, he's not too experienced with it, yet. When a fiery dart comes flinging your way it's easy to become mesmerized and forget to put the shield up and next thing you know, you've been shot between the eyes. OLD habits, inclination, and new ideas all struggle for the mastery. . .

But I'm here to say he overcame by the grace of God. We pulled aside from our friends at the river and prayed and talked about the darts. He knew what he should do, but no one ever said being a soldier for Jesus was easy, especially after having been a slave of self for so long. I required him to hold Dad's hand for a little breather and he soon made a very good choice to accept a happy attitude. Actually, what happened is I had prayed and finding ourselves left behind by the group and in a stinky spot, we ran to catch up. The attitude threw a few sparks and it took me a moment to realize I had not given him a chance to pray and make his own decision. I apologized and we found a log to sit on. After he prayed and made a conscious, audible choice he was on track again.

Little Miss Muffet was out of control at the picnic and had gluttony on the mind and all restraints were rasping to her very core. She was very actively seeking out other "kinder" adults to take her under their wing in order to get what she wanted. She became disrespectful and rude when nothing worked out according to plan. She and I spent considerable time in the bathroom trying to get a handle on the emotions. She was mouthy and she made some statements designed to startle me. To her chagrin I held her to them.  She kept up the scene for the entire afternoon and into the evening and not one of the little children at the picnic paid her two cents worth of attention. I don't blame them. She was not the least open to spiritual things and while she prayed a little prayer once, it was not from the heart. I just kept her close, tried distracting her, played silly games with her, and finally required her to shut her mouth and not say another mean word.

My friend was in a state of shock and awe, or distress - I never figured out which. She would come over to me and say, "I don't know where you get the patience."

I was like, "well, actually, this is nothing.  Nothing at all in comparison to what it could be. She cannot get her way and she needs a strong hand to keep her in line."

"Oh," she said, " I just don't have the patience to last. I get completely overcome with pity."

My dear friend, pity has long left me. 
{speaking of the kind of pity that would give in and indulge a child's fancies}
We are dealing with self and desire for full control. 
In order to be truly happy this child must learn trust and contentment. 
She needs to have the security in knowing I do not change at her whim and I will take care not to let her hurt herself, (physically, mentally and spiritually) regardless of how great the challenge she presents me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

PTL! You Won't Believe It

But every word I write here is true.

We saw a miracle today. A REAL, Genuine miracle.

This morning was rough. When Little Boy Blue was pulled out of bed after being given chances to do it himself he was asked to stand by the garage door. Why there? I don't know, except it was in the sunshine and he needed a little brightening and it's close the kitchen so I could monitor things. He proceeded to pee his pajamas, spit, snot, everything. Each display of anger was dealt with a consequence and pretty soon he stopped and just stood there. Eventually I asked him if he was ready to make his bed and he proceeded to do most of his morning jobs because he was quite ready to eat breakfast. Except he did not get dressed. I didn't push it. I took him to town in his pj's. He was distant, but quiet. When we arrived home he wanted to play - but that was not in the plan and I had him stand by me in the kitchen. When asked to carry out the compost he once again had a total melt down. The whole time I was asking for guidance from the Lord and I believe He answered in a special way.

At the melt down over carrying a little bowl of garden scraps to the compost heap I told him he had to do it regardless of how he felt and there would indeed be a consequence, but first he had to go and do what I had asked.

When he came back he was screaming in my face, but I got on my knees and held his hands and looked him right in the eye and said, "You know, your way isn't going very well for you because 'the way of the sinner is very hard.' You know you are being naughty. And actually, you are quite a bad little boy and I don't know if you know this, but you could be always be a very, very bad boy for the rest of your life. Even if you wanted to be good, you couldn't be. None of us are good. No one is good, except Jesus. You are a sinner. All this discipline  is to help you see that you are a sinner. You couldn't be good if you tried and like we just said, the way of the sinner is so HARD and so your whole life is going to be HARD . . .


Unless you ask Jesus to take your naughty heart and give you HIS clean heart. You can have Jesus' goodness. He would be happy to give it to you. The Bible says, Taste and see that the Lord is good. You can trust Him to give you His goodness and you will be so much happier than you are now. All you have to do is ASK."

Right away he said he wanted to ask for Jesus clean, good heart.


I said, "You still have a consequence coming because of your unwillingness to help and  carry out the compost. Just because you do what I am telling you now will not get you off scott free. I know very well that you could be saying 'yes, I'll pray' to get out of your consequence, so first the consequence and then when you are through call me and I will be happy to pray with you."

He burst into more wailing because he really thought he had found a way out... But then he decided to just get it over with and he did call me and he prayed a beautiful prayer of repentance and asked for a new heart.

He was still on restriction and was told to stay by me, but I had several jobs that needed doing and I finally gave him a choice of two. He chose to clean the bathroom and he very carefully and cheerfully went down the checklist and did a very good job. Next he did odd jobs for other people and most surprising of all, when I mentioned that I needed someone to put the vacuum away, he got up from the couch where he was looking at a book and quietly went and put it away. I was in SHOCK! I had not even asked him. I just said it in passing. He has never, ever, ever offered to do anything he wasn't point blank asked to do. He smiled a huge smile at my surprise.

I said, "You know, I do believe the LORD is really working on your heart! I see the goodness of Jesus displayed in your actions right now!"

We got in the car later and he was being cheerful and kind and I said, "This is the Holy Spirit working in your life James... It's kind of like you were driving your own truck but you kept crashing and getting in wrecks and then you asked Jesus to take over the wheel and He knows how to drive!!!" The illustration had just popped into my head, but it totally resonated with him. He loved it.

From one thing to another he was helpful and cheerful and chatty. When he had a chance he brought out his Bible and turned to Ephesians 6. It's amazing to see all the teaching that we have done over the months all come together. He was "reading" children obey your parents out loud and then he brought out his little drawing of the Armor of God. He was talking about the fiery darts of the devil being, "Selfinish" and "Mad" and "Screaming". So I brought out a felt set I have had hidden away that he never had seen before of the Armor of God. Both kids loved it and we went over the Bible texts and used the felts and it made a big impression on both of them. Except, Missy said, "I not bad. I be good all day!!" and in James prayer he said something that sounded like "thank you God you help us with the devil's fiery farts..."

It's amazing. ALL the teaching we have been doing this kid has soaked it in. He knows a LOT! If he can only have a meaningful experience with Jesus all the nonsense could be history. If you could have seen him before he made his decision in contrast to what he was after his decision you would be blown away!

Thank the Lord.

I did talk to James about how he could get hit with one of Satan's darts and he could have his old heart back, but if he chose Jesus' new heart moment by moment, every single day, he never had to have the old way back. The old Devil is tricky, though, so it had to be his conscious choice to have Jesus.

To Give a Dog a Bath


A mother is likened unto a mountain spring,
That nourishes the tree at the root,
But one who mothers another's child
Is likened unto a water that rises into a cloud
And goes a long distance, to nourish a lone tree in the

The Talmud
A friend shared this with me.
Thanks, LaDonna


After one afternoon of tight restriction
Buster Brown humbled himself and apologized!
He actually looked me in the eye
with those clear blue eyeballs of his 
and connected.
This morning he cheerfully said good morning and  reached out to me.
It's nice to see the boy back.

He is still on restriction for a week.
We could be in for some hard times,
but probably no harder than it has been.

Praying for the right spirit to deal with it.

PS... but while I was typing this, he was disobeying orders to get up and make his bed.
So, take everything with a grain of salt,
or as manipulation,
or as fleeting resolves such as ropes of sand,
because he cannot obey and be truly humble for long
without a GREATER MOTIVATING FACTOR in his heart.
Okay, so I'm off to see if I can persuade him to give Christ a try.

O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.
Ps 34:8

oh, and one more thing; someone asked if the little guy was grieving or sad, or angry or looking for control.
It appears to be none of the above.
He is lazy.
So long as he can sit and do nothing,
or play as he pleases,
he's happy as a lark.
He doesn't want to be bothered.
Once the upset has started then the control issues come into play.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wishing It Didn't Have to Be

But it seems there is only one way to get through to the little fella.
Every thing I have tried in the last weeks - aside from going camping-
has failed.

He has screamed in the hospital.
At the therapists.
At the pool.
and every where else that his silly nilly will was crossed.
And his will is apparently crossed at the drop of a hat.
He wants to be left alone to do as he pleases or else he's gonna cry.

If anyone says anything to him that requires him to 
move or
stop or
eat or not,
he cries.
If you ask him to control himself
he screams.
If you try to rein him in
he turns to spitting,
and ugly words.

Unless someone has words of wisdom
I'm going to clamp down hard.
He will lose ALL 
{and I mean ALL}
He will stand where I put him
and he will sit where I tell him.
He will eat what I give him
and sleep when I let him.
He's gonna be stuck to me 
like glue.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To Lay It Down

It's a full blown sickness and indeed I did get my nap today,
thanks to my hubby keeping the kids with him down at the garden
as he put a beautiful new sprinkling system in the greenhouse.
I had some energy first thing this morning.
I pruned the tomato plants and tied them up and hand watered.
James came and completely weeded the entire patch.
Which, was not really a big deal considering everything is mulched well,
but there were the odd sneaky weed here and there.
It was an exercise in actually seeing them, pinching them from the bottom to pull the rootlets,
sticking with the job and moving in a systematic way.
All things this kiddo needs.
All things most people take for granted.
Just SEEING the little weeds takes concentration for this little gaffer, 
you know.
I felt safe enough.
It's hard to confuse a 3 foot tomato plant for a weed.
He's quite impressed at the number big green tomatoes out there. 
He even managed to find the the one that I have been watching that is almost ripe.
I guess it will be his.
His working attitude was excellent
and completely opposite that of his attitude towards making his bed this morning.
He spent his play time "building" a sprinkler system with Steve's scraps.
He loves to tinker.
I don't know what Missy did all day
except that it is taking her more than 2 hours to make her bed, get dressed, drink water and feed the cats and rabbit.
Then she talks about swimming all day,
and if she "thinks" that it might not happen
even though no one has said anything to indicate that
she goes into a rage,
which of course,
seals it for her.
I don't pretend to understand what is going on with her.
I have NO clue.
She rarely chooses to obey of her own volition.
I have been training my face to be blank
when the screaming starts,
and to say nothing
as it seems her intent to involve me.
She would like to be bold and slap me
but she won't go that far.
Tonight she slapped the bed I was on so close to me I felt her nails on my skin.
I thank God she doesn't really want to hurt someone.
As for me, I want to draw away, rather than love on her.
I'm sick with a fever, after all.
All the manipulations that go on to get me to say or do or think in 
the direction she wants me to go
disgust me
I know she needs love modeled.
And so, while I didn't hold her because
I really am not up to dealing with sick kids on account of my own bugs,
I did my best to show forgiveness and a matter-of-factness.
No, she did not go swimming.
The RULE is NO tantrums regardless of how they start.
There are moments of sweetness.
Shocking kind acts.
Even thoughtful words.
So unexpected as cause me to stop and take notice and appreciate.
It will come.

I know.
I would like my blog to be something beautiful.
Something encouraging,
helpful and uplifting
as Christina wrote today
it's downright depressing.

We all have valleys in our lives where there are dark shadows.
And interestingly enough, 
these dark shadows are not actually mine.
They belong to the twins.
My job to get them on the path and into the sunshine of the mountaintops
however, I had to go into the valley to retrieve them
and since they don't know anything about the joy of the mountain air
they are resisting, hanging on to their fears, their burdens,
their insecurities, their habits, their anger,
and crouching down in the bog deep in the Slough of Despond
at the bottom of the deep, dark valley.

But my head doesn't need to be buried in the muck,
and I don't need be mired down with their burdens.
I know the Burden Bearer
and I can still breath celestial air.
Of course, it is so much easier to say when I have just come back from a 4 day spiritual retreat.
Even the therapist who works on my neck can't get over how much 
stress-relieving that was. 
All the muscles relaxed significantly.

There was an appeal made at the end of one of Mark Finley's sermons.
Mary felt an urge to go up.
The call was very specific
and I didn't feel it was for me,
but I went with her to encourage her,
and then,
he made another appeal
and this was for me.
To lay the burden - the big, heavy impossible thing - that I am grappling with
in Jesus arms
and let HIM
take care of it.
And I did. 
I put the twins and their future in Christ's arms.
It's not mine to stress over at all.
Probably, I have done that a hundred-
no, a thousand times already,
but it was important to me to do it again
and this time I hope not to take it back.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Forget THAT Idea!

 Silly me.

I thought I would have a little nap this afternoon.

There's something in the air. I've been expecting it, though I don't know what it is. At this time of year something is floating around in the air that causes lung problems, but this year I am prepared. I have my inhaler. Let's see if we can ward off a full blown asthma season....  I'm feeling it, though, and I thought I would take a little nap.

Good luck, Charlie!!!

The girls took two very excited, very worthy children to the pool and I lay my head down on the pillow and closed my weary eyes for a whole three seconds.

I tell you what! My house phone never stopped ringing.

So I unplugged it.

And then I lay there trying to distinguish the quacking of the duck from the quacking of the cell phone.

I told you I was silly.

If I weren't the cell would have been turned off, and it would have a respectable ring tone instead of mimicking a very common sound around our house. The quacking was sooo incessant I got up at last  to see if a some predator was after the duck.

It was Vanessa.
Not after the duck, calling my cell.

She'd just been through a replica of last year's fiasco at the pool.

"You're kidding, right?"


Well, that puts an end to his freedom of going places with the girls.  He's done. I'm done....


I just learned that I can't say that. Cookies and cakes are done.
Apparently I have to say, I'm finished 'cause people are finished and things are done. 
Can I just say I'm THROUGH? 
How come I never learned this in school?  ...........
Oh, yeah. 
I never went to school
and no one told my mother about this rule
even though she did go to school.
Or maybe they did and she forgot to tell me.
Unless, of course, the whole conflict is obsolete in French school.
Never mind. Just keep learning.

So, little boy blue is sitting on a stool in his room. Hopefully thinking of the folly of displaying such outrageous behavior in public. Wishful thinking, I'm sure.
And I?
I have given up all dreams of nap.

I leave you with a pic of Missy from this morning. 
She was caught flat on her back on her bed talking on her  (dead) cell phone.
"Hello Jesus....."

Snaps from Camp

At first glance
you can see how beautiful these two little pals are
and how much they adore each other.
At second glance,
do take note of their name tags!!
The teacher wrote them out exactly how it sounded to her,
we loved it!

 Campmeeting is about friends...
surprise friends :-)
 Fun Times
 A spiritual refreshing
 Kids Bible Classes
picnics and large gathering of friends

 Camping and sharing

  and sweet fellowship.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Consumed With Christ

Was the theme of the campmeeting. Wish I could encapsulate the experience for you somehow. It was a real spiritual treat. We especially enjoyed Mark Finley's sermons. It was a good thing we rented the tent trailer as it was raining and cold. The weather didn't dampen the overall pleasure of the campmeeting.

The twins did exceptionally well. We had NOT one single tantrum for 4 whole days. I think the solution to our behavioral issues is to go on a perpetual vacation with the scene constantly changing.  Dream on... I know, but it was nice while it lasted. Missy has had a tantrum since we have come home when her requested toast did not instantly land on her plate this morning, but it only lasted 10 minutes.

I did not get a ton of sleep, but a change is as good as a rest, as they say, and having 4 days of peace was all it took to revitalize me. BUT then we came home and well, it's amazing how fast weeds grow!!! Apparently it was not raining and cold here, so everything grew noticeably.  I spent until 9 pm in the garden. We are blessed with fabulous little neighbor children. They did an awesome job of taking care of all the critters and watering things for us. I really have a ton to say about what we heard and learned at campmeeting, but I'm going to bed instead. Just had to drop by and say that we are all alive.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pure Exhaustion

I'm tired.

Actually, make that exhausted.

I'm barely surviving the usual home duties.

Actually, I'm hardly doing them. What would I do if I didn't have the girls? Yikes. What will I do in July without the girls????

I drag myself to bed and I drag myself out of bed and I drag myself from one thing to the other all day and I can't wait till I can drag myself back to bed for another night of tossing and turning. At least the pain in my neck is slowly subsiding. The treatments do trigger migraines for sure, though. Tylenol or advil help me survive the headaches but  causes stomach problems. I started doing green drinks instead of regular food and the stomach is a little better today.

 I have to be packed and ready to leave for campmeeting at 11 this morning. We started on the food and made granola and muffins and bread and unsausage... but getting all the gardens ready for us to leave and keeping up with the tantrums and appointments is all that I could do so far. Steve has been home for two days and he's been working furiously on the watering system for the garden, but it won't be finished in time. He has a procedure at the hospital he is working this morning.

Steve pretty much took over the tantrums, too. James has responded positively to some very firm discipline - although he hasn't given up his nonsense completely. He cries every single time I ask him to do something.

James, please hang your coat, don't throw it on the chair. 


It's time for your shower, kiddo.

Booo hooo hoo hoo

Can you take this down to dad?

Boooo hooo hooo

Put your shoes on.

Booo hooo hooo hooo.

I think you have had more than enough to eat.

Boo hooo hooo hooo!!!

Ad nauseum.

And then a few minutes later he's sitting there and laughing and smiling and smirking like he has a secret joke and if you ask him what's so funny he always says, I dunno.

Missy's reaction to extra firm discipline is combativeness coupled with over-exaggerated compliance alternating. She wants what she wants - and she'll do almost anything to get it, except obey. It's akin to insanity.

I'm praying for God to teach me how to show them grace, how to present to them the gospel. Until they know Jesus and want His saving power in their lives not much is going to change. I'm reading a book on my kindle app on my iphone along these lines. I just don't have time enough to sit and read much. Looking forward to the drive to campmeeting, but I have a tendency to sleep in the car so might not get much reading done. Mary and her kids are coming with us, or rather, following us tomorrow with Vanessa. We rented a tent trailer, so some of us will be inside and some in tents outside.

I've been listening to different speakers on Audio Verse. I was attracted to one title, Optimizing Brain Wellness; How to promote emotional and neurologic healing, but I was sort of disappointed since he didn't really get into the topic like I thought he should. Some of it was good just not applicable....However, it did make me stop and remember that we have gotten off the track with the flax recently and I wonder if that might contribute to James emotional instability. The speaker was citing research studies done on inmates using Omega 3 and the powerful effects on the behavior.  Also, we ran out of the niacin capsules the twins were taking . . . could it be?

I have appreciated all the kind comments on my posts and the prayers that go up in our behalf. God bless each one of you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


It was bad. REALLY BAD.

So bad I don't even understand it and I don't know how to start so I won't.

Very discouraging to say the least.

I'm a wreck. I  think the tears must have been still visible when I got to the chiropractor for my neck treatment because he told me a bit of the story of a very, very hard time in his life and then he told me I needed to read the book that helped him to see the joy in life even when his mother was dying of cancer and his wife was divorcing him for no good reason. Of course, I know he is a Christian and the book is something along the lines of finding our joy in Christ despite pain. I'll see if I can find it.

Anyway, I'm off to go swimming with Vanessa and Brianna and two little people are going to sit on the bench and watch us.

And no, they didn't make it to speech today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chalk That Up

as lesson number 1 of the swimming season!

They were in their swim suites ready to pile into the car when I suggested that they needed to drink water before leaving. James went for a tiny little cup. I said, "No, Bud, you haven't really had very much water today and you need a big cup". He went over to the counter and staging an accident dumped the Brita water pitcher over. It takes me a second to comprehend sometimes. I wondered if it really were an accident. Asking questions doesn't help much, he always says what you want to hear, so I just told him to get started on cleaning it up....

Well, it was nearly a gallon covering the stove, the counter, the stack of stuff by the phone, all down the cupboards and even in the drawers. The floor was wet and turning a strange yellow from the water running out of the oven. The girls waited for him and even tried to help a little.... but I shooed them away. Finally it came out that he was mad that I asked him to drink a big cup and he had purposely knocked the pitcher over. I signaled for the gang to leave. It took him and I awhile to clean up. He cried and begged to go the whole time. I sympathized with his disappointment, but that's as far as I would go.

After he carried all the towels and tea towels down to the laundry I held him and let him cry his heartbreak out. I then asked him to go and drink his water and the anger has come back full force. He's very angry now, but he has no one to blame but himself. I have no vehicle to take him, either. He owns that it is his own fault, but it doesn't stop him from shrieking his frustration out.

I think I'll put him to work folding laundry or something. Got to help him get his mind off his self-made trials.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

See, They CAN

They CAN behave. They just proved it.

You never saw nicer, sweeter kids. They are adorable. Loveable. Happy. Kind.

They had a blast swimming.

And they want to go again tomorrow. YAY! :-)

They swam for 2.5 hours with friends. The other mom and I were busy on a project together so Brianna was their personal lifeguard. I have a feeling Brianna will be a personal lifeguard with a number of little kiddos this swimming season until she leaves for California. The girl can't get a job this summer. There's a problem with her social security number, that can't be fixed immediately because there is a problem with her green card, which is going to cost an arm and leg to fix, but is in the process of being fixed, but since we are dealing with government it's going to take a half a life time to fix, so Brianna can't get a job this summer.  (Like my run-on sentence? It's  reflective of Bri's job issue. In case you were wondering.)

Back to the twins... They are fully capable of CHOOSING to be HAPPY when they want to. Isn't that just amazing?!!

And I knew it all along.

I'll Make No Predictions

But the pool opens today

and wow! you never met such courteous children as I have this morning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Well, Blow Me Down!

It's an old expression of my very English father-in-law.

And it suits the occasion.

James could care less about my predictions yesterday. At least in part. He cared not a wit about pleasing or displeasing anybody. Nor would he get dressed or obey or be respectful one bit.


Hence my very serious migraine last evening and all night.

The part of the prediction he did fulfill was that once he was on the downward spiral he chose to go all the way. It was his purpose to make me angry and by mid- afternoon he had succeeded very well. Once there he didn't like it, and though I lost my fervor fairly soon I gave him no end of letting him think I was where he had wanted me and that it was no easy trick to get me back to sweet and easy. While I repent of my failure,  I hope he will learn something from it. People in real life, people who don't love him, people who he will have to rub shoulders with someday will not put up with such nonsense with patience.

Truth was, I was exceedingly disappointed in him!!

All the while Missy played the part of a saint. . . .

Oh, such exasperation!!
Such, foolish, foolish games!!

I know the truth that no one can make me lose my patience. Only I can do that. I don't really want James to believe he has that kind of power over me, either, because he can't take my Joy in the Lord. I am totally the one at fault, there. And it goes both ways. I am not responsible for his peace and happiness. I can show him the way, but I cannot compel him to BE happy.

He has the choices before him. Choose Christ and His joy, or choose Self and misery. There's no in between.You can't have a part in both worlds. You can only have one.

No man can serve two masters: 
for either he will hate the one, 
and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, 
and despise the other. 
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24

Friday, June 10, 2011

This and That

There's not a lot to write about.

The children are doing as well as can be expected with an average of one outburst a day. It's Friday, though, and tomorrow they don't want to be stuck to me like glue, they want to go to their own classes at church, so they will have self- control all day today. It's predictable. However, if they mess up they will go all the way crazy because they'll have blown it and that in itself will make them mad and there's nothing left to work towards. They don't get it. That's how they think and that is what I have to work with for now. Someday they will learn it is about love and not just love of self.

The pool opens Monday. This is the greatest incentive ever invented by man to behave like docile children. A single tantrum will ban them from the pool for 24 hours - says me. I hesitate to sign them up for lessons since I will have to pay for those and I will be the one that says they can't go if they are having trouble with self-control. The children next door have never come back to play since the tantrum in the garden.

I spoke to Christina the other day for 40 minutes. She was her usual vibrant self. She was preparing to give a health lecture at their evangelistic campaign, working along with a girl who speaks about as much English as Christina knows Swahili, creatively making cabbage turnovers and pizza on that wood stove with limited ingredients, and generally having a good time... it was good to talk with her.

Today is Vanessa's piano jury and her harp jury at the college. I know she will do very well, but praying for her anyway because that's a lot of stress for one day. She called me from the college yesterday all excited. "I'm happy!!! I'm so happy! I got an A in Spanish!!! and the teacher did not dock me for not attending class those three days when they were watching a movie because, she said, I was not attending on account of my convictions. I never told her anything of my convictions. She just knew somehow." The Lord really blesses that girl. It remains to be seen what her grade in history will be. She's worked as hard as she can and yet seems to still have time for housework and laundry and doing stuff for other people.

The garden is doing wonderfully. We are eating very well!! The Lord is growing that garden despite the weather.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oh, Make that Tantrum Number 3

When I least expected it......


Yep! In the hospital waiting room because he didn't want to go to speech first.

They love speech. They would fight over who gets to go first except that I just usually send her in first, but I thought I would just let her sit quietly in the waiting room with me to give her more time to relax. I was never so surprised. I took him in the bathroom and tried to find out what the problem was. He would have NONE of it. I could tell he was digging in his heels for the long haul.... and considering my options I came to the conclusion I had only one. Putting my hand over his screeching mouth I marched him to the door as I left Missy with the speech gal and took the little unhinged fellow straight back home. I set him on a low stool in his room and asked Bri to keep an eye on him, while I raced back to beat the clock to the end of Missy's session.  I proceeded to hit every red light and get myself behind farm tractors and other slow and impeding traffic. Brianna said Little Boy Blue stopped the screeching almost immediately as I pulled out of the drive, but he was madder than mad and the best approach was for her to make her observations of him very scarce so as not to give him the desired attention.

It took me a few hours to get back home which was just long enough for him to give up his delusion.

Unfortunately, we missed his dentist appointment in the mayhem.

I have decided my teenage girls are either going to be awesome mothers someday or they will decide they will NEVER EVER have kids. Brianna handles things exactly as I think she should. Vanessa, too, but she isn't home as much and the other day when I left them with her to go to my massage she was tested big time... I was about to get instructions from the massage girl when my phone rang....

"James didn't like what I served for lunch so he said he was too full to eat anymore. I told him that was fine. He then asked for dessert, but I said no because if he was too full for lunch he was too full for dessert and he proceeded to vomit what he had eaten all down the hall carpet and all over the place on purpose."

Just the kind of relaxing message I needed right then. I told her to have him clean it up and I hung up. Not two minutes later she called again.

"Missy's screaming 'cause she pooped her pants!!"

LOL. Really, there's nothing else to do but laugh!! So much for relaxing.... actually, I went right to sleep. It's just the sad but true fact that life in our house is not nor may ever be again, "normal".

(If anybody cares to know, I have come to the conclusion that Missy can't help her bowel trials and it is just that  -a real trial. She has no feeling. She can't even tell if she's moved her bowels or not.  If I ask her if she has gone she either says no or doesn't know even when she has. We have come to the conclusion that I must be vigilant to have her sit three times a day. If I am hard on her at all about producing she has the possibility of  turning her bowels inside out and that is just not worth it. It's terrifying for her and possibly painful - though it's hard to tell because panic takes over.)

For those who ask... James was thoroughly tested for autism and Missy observed. They are not on the spectrum.

Tantrum 2

It's only the second one of the week, so I count my blessings. It is Tuesday after all. But tantrums last anywhere from an hour to 4 and we're only starting the second hour. Really, she's not all that out of control. It's  all very staged. She's making a conscious choice as to what she will do or not do.  I know because I went into her room and watched her for a full minute before she noticed me. She was screaming her "rage" (very convincing sounds) but she was carefully moving things around on her desktop - totally in control of her actions. The noise was for my benefit.

The trial?

She wanted to sit in the same chair James wanted to sit in for breakfast and since they were going to argue about it Brianna chose different chairs for them.  Her breakfast is still sitting there untouched. I am only asking her to sit in her time-out chair quietly and when she is ready to talk to me she is to tell me she is ready to talk nicely. She won't sit in her chair, she won't stop the hollering and whenever I walk into her room she has plenty of ugly things to say. She'll only go so far. She doesn't stray far from the doorway of her room. I could make her sit on the chair, but that might be giving her too much attention, so I'm asking her of her own free will to comply with the plan.

There are two things she does that I have no idea what to do with. One is that she screams owe, owie, owie as if she is in pain or that I am hurting her when she is being disciplined. This when I am not even touching her, but should I pick her up or anything you would think I am killing her. She'll yell, "My back, my back, my back!! Or, My head, my head!! Owie, owie!! Sometimes, like this morning she screams "I'm starving!! I want to eat breakfast!!!  Breakfast is sitting there. All she must do is stop screaming, sit on the chair and speak respectably to me.

The other thing is she will yell, I don't want my dolls anymore. Throw them out! Or some other prized possession will be hurled and she will declare that she doesn't want it anymore. It's all nonsense. A pity party, if you will.

The last tantrum was in the garden. I asked her to fetch me something and she didn't want to because she was having fun with the neighbor children. She went into full blown tantrum - not one of those 7 neighbor kids stuck around to witness her folly and they didn't even hint at coming over to play yesterday at all, though the twins did their best to entice them.

PS. This took me a long time to write. Tantrum is over!! YAY!  She finally conceded and is eating breakfast. She voluntarily prayed with me. She apologized to me for everything on her own. She told me exactly the steps that took her to a tantrum and how she could have avoided it. She went and found Brianna and apologized. She knows exactly what she is doing.... so why does she continue to do this? The other day I asked her if she had ever just once gotten her way here by screaming and crying and her answer was NO! We aren't talking about a kid who is missing part of her brain, or can't learn, or can't make connections. She has them all connected and she knows exactly where her screaming will get her. Somehow her previous modeling, her genetics, her frustration levels, her coping skills are extremely poor and somehow, even though she knows it will do no good she goes the old way...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Picnic

Friends and fun in rainbow colors :-)

The girls led us in sundown worship
Each giving testimony as to what God had done for them
and providing us with beautiful music.

Near the end we heard a great crash.
The sound of a huge tree falling 
in the direction of the parking lot.

We wondered, but made no move.

Then someone called to us to ask if any of us drove a van.
more than one of our number did...

Never park under a cotton wood.
Our car was in the next spot over.
But thankfully spared.
End of picnic.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fifty Cows

Steve called Africa last night. Mom said she was offered 50 cows for Christina. Steve jokingly said he was holding out for a hundred. The guy who offered 50 cows was apparently a doctor. Yeah, what kind of a doctor?  A witch doctor? The kid is all of 13 years old.... but at 5 feet 8 inches a lot taller than the kids there. Reminds me of my days in Zambia. My dad had a lot of fun bargaining with border patrols and soldiers to see how many cows he could get for me. He thought he was being funny. I wasn't the least impressed and the guys were rather bold in their hopefullness.

I was at church earlier. I'm having muscle spasms so bad that I had to come home for a muscle relaxant. The treatments are doing their thing.... making things worse before they get better. As soon as the relaxant kicks in I'll head back.

I had a fun chat with my sister-in-law and girls in Africa on Skype. They just got skype so we are all loving the opportunity to talk and hear each other's voices. Too cute to hear the kids. Their little dog was very sick but is on the mend, thankfully.

The weather is gorgeous and we planned a picnic for this afternoon with a bunch of friends. The twins are really looking forward to it.  They know how to be good when something is planned!! Missy is relaxing a bit so James is picking up the slack with a little stick poking... but not today, because he wants to enjoy the picnic. Smart kid. ;-)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Scripture Typer

Need a new, fresh way to memorize scripture that uses a kinesthetic approach? Let me introduce you to the Scripture Typer. Awesome! Your kids will be memorizing scripture and improving their keyboard skills all at the same time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ready for Battle

An explanation of Ephesians 6: 10-18 for James

I Got the Blessings I Needed

An entire day of happy kids, 
a little sunshine, 
some pain relief, 
a great babysitter, 
and time alone with my hubby. 

God is good.

Both kids were angels all day. When I went to town for my neck appointment Brianna baked gluten free muffins and cookies and pie with them all the while pretending with them that they were chefs, store keepers, delivery men, and restaurant owners.  They had a blast and it's good for them to have someone model this kind of play for them, and like I told James this morning this can only happen when they have cooperative spirits.  Bri also took them biking down the road,  read them a goodnight story, and put them to bed before I ever got home.  (I had to pick up Steve from work and we went out to eat together.) James' first words this morning: Mom we had FUN yesterday! Now they are trying to get their morning chores done lickity-split.

 Yesterday was the twins last day at the school for speech, ot and pt. I have to start thinking about the next school year and come up with a plan.  It seems crazy to even think of not using the one-on-one free services at the school, but I also don't know how much once a week is really doing for them. I'm really considering taking a break from speech at the hospital for the summer, too. Maybe I'm just tired of running around. When the kids are cooperative it's well worth the time, but if they aren't up to par and just won't learn, what's the point?

Today the clouds are high and supposedly we are headed towards a streak of better weather.

Oh, today I get a full 60 minute massage on my neck, shoulders and upper back!! Vanessa is going to watch the twins for me. Bri and I have similar neck troubles according to the x-rays. Only she has a giraffe's neck and mine is short. Hers is worse off than mine and mine should be easier to fix. Pain relief is in sight!!! Ca-Ching!! Yeah, well the Lord will take care of that, too....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grey, Grey Days

It causes me a lot of pain in the back of my neck and upper back. I don't sleep well, I can hardly move, my motivation is in the dumps, and my allotment of patience at an all-time low.

And it won't stop raining!

I'd be a basket case if I lived in Portland, I think.

A whole row of cucumbers is dead due to damping off. My peppers are drowning.  The clouds were so black it felt like night in the middle of the afternoon.

Apparently, it effects the kiddos, also.

Missy was the biggest, blackest storm cloud we dealt with yesterday. I should say Steve dealt with. He asked her to do a simple thing and she put up all her walls. He sat down beside her and patiently waited for more than three hours for her to comply.

I escaped to town. Just watching her blatantly disrespecting him was sending my blood pressure up into space. Thankfully he wasn't fazed. He had the day off and it was raining a downpour so he had all the time in the world to see that she obeyed.

She finally did.

I'll note that this kid who puts on a front that she knows nothing, can do nothing, and is just a helpless, incapable toddler.... yes, this same child it has been discovered.... CAN READ.

Not amazingly, or anything, but totally appropriate for her age and far better than one would expect for the amount of instruction in this area. Here I thought she didn't know her letter sounds. I knew she had learned a few, but it had been a long time since I had fought hard enough to try teaching her and I didn't know she retains everything. She has a stellar memory - we are finding out. SHE KNOWS far more than she wants you to figure out.

I caught her in a good moment day before yesterday. I believe it was a miracle straight from heaven after I fell on my knees sobbing out to God that I didn't know how I was going to get through the day with these kids. She made a turn around. It wasn't obvious at first. James turn around was more apparent. He and I sat down to read a story - me reading to him, and him reading to me and she wanted in on the cuddling. She was in stand-off over a pre-school picture I had asked to color and paste. She wanted to do a different one, but this was the one next in the book and I wanted her to learn to be disciplined and do things in order. She wouldn't . Well, then she wanted in on the story time and I told her that she could come sit on my lap soon as her page was done. And she did.

Next I was doing phonics with James in his workbook. The jealousy over who gets the full attention ranks right up there. . . So she asked to do "school", too. Both her speech teachers have been trying to teach her sequencing with these picture squares and trying to have her put them in the right order and use the words: first, next , then, last, etc... She's giving them grief over it. She acts like she can't. I brought out the box of sequencing pictures and handed her a set. Of course, she couldn't do it, and needed a ton of help which was taking away from what I needed to do with James. All by design of course. So I got up and grabbed a container of carob chips. I said, if you can put these pics in order by yourself with no help you may have a carob chip. If you can't, I will get a carob chip.


She did a ton of sequencing stories all by herself and naturally used the words: first, last, next, before, then, second, third, and last. What a rat! She did this for more than an hour.

Next she played with a box of analog puzzles and she did very well! We played the analog game with James and she has no trouble with the concept.

Brianna saw her good mood and asked if she could teach her some phonics. They went over the 26 letters and their sounds a total of 3 x's and she knows them all. She even read a Bible story to Steve from one of those really easy beginner books.

So, caught off guard, she showed us her stuff.... and the next day she was MAD!

All DAY.

I came home from town and sat down to do phonics and reading with James. Little Miss Muffet said she wanted to do school, too. I brought out a sequencing story and she could not do it. There was drama, drama, drama until I told her she had to be outside so James could think in peace. Outside she screamed and carried on. I called her for supper and she never came 'cause I had the audacity to ask her to wash her hands...... When she did come she found something else to be mad about and was bursting with with miserable words.

Eventually, I just held the crabby outfit on my lap for 45 minutes while I listened to the book of Ephesians from my audio Bible on my iphone. I had prayer with her and sent her to bed. She never did eat supper.

It's horrible to watch. She can't want to be like this. Sometimes you can see that she's trapped like a caged animal pleading with her eyes for a way out, but refusing to do what it takes. She cannot give in, or give up, or lose face. She is totally consumed with her stubbornness and feelings. It's heartbreaking.

This morning James struggled  - but went to make his bed and came back a different person. Give him a little time and a little space and he can overcome.

I had x-rays of my neck done. My spine is a mess. The guy asked me if I had been in an accident where I had been hit on my right and if I had been rear-ended a couple of times. Yes. AND MORE than that. I think it's true that the constant stress of my kids exacerbates my pain issues, or at least I am not handling it as well as I should.

Looking for a blessing from the Lord. Showers of blessings?

I have a whole hour and half where the twins are at the school for services and everybody else is in class or at work.... What will I do with myself? LOL!