Tuesday, December 31, 2013

FTDM - fostercare

Nothing like sitting in a meeting concerning two little people's welfare and being constantly referred to as "THE STRANGER" the young parents desperately want their children to avoid living with. Yes, being placed in fostercare is traumatic, Yes, it's unfortunate that the relatives have decided not to take care of the children anymore, but  parents, just think, who brought them into this unlovely situation to begin with? It's tough to go to those meetings. I am not particularly articulate on the fly - never mind in such a stressful environment. I tried to assure them we would love their children and work with them towards reunification.

Drugs and alcohol is at fault here. Interesting family dynamics. Some relatives showed up at the meeting. Great grandparents, aunts.... Great grandpa is a big mouth with lots of threats. There is much anger against the first set of foster parents which is a lovely way to get started.


The twins were invited to play at Peyton and Gracie's house. Such excitement. Invitations don't come often....  Unfortunately Missy was having a hard time being a part of the family yesterday. She wasn't listening, she was arguing, and manipulating.  I kept trying to salvage the situation but just as we were leaving the lid blew off Mount St. Helens.  That's not much of an exaggeration, either. Vanessa and I were done in by the end of it. I ended up taking her coat and boots back in the house and buckling her in the car without them. I had no choice but to go to the mtg and I had no one to leave her with. Taking her boots and coat would discourage her from doing something stupid like jumping out of the car. Vanessa and I took turns sitting with her. James played in the snow with Peyton and Grace on runner sleds for several hours. They live about two miles from us and we haven't a flake of snow at all, but around the corner in the canyon they do.


Brianna is in Florida with friends. Some people are just lucky.  :-)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Getting Organized for the New Year

 I'm a real pinterest fan.
It's not just about decorating and finding recipes.
Need help getting organized?
There are tons of ideas and photos to play with.
I have been spending all my spare time getting this family more 
Brianna leaves for Florida and the GYC today... then she'll be back for a week or so
and then she's off to Africa for 5 months,
THUS the clock idea. . .
And I think it's a great one since so much of our family lives over there anyway. 
Don't look at the times. I still need to buy batteries.
The other clock is labeled our town
and I figured if you don't already know which town that is you don't need to :-).

 we have refined and refined James and Missy's schedules and check off pages 
to the point I felt I could make them pretty permanent now.
It has the afternoon schedule on the back.
 It was out with the tree already. 
I love our stick tree... and because there are no needles dropping we usually hold onto it for awhile, but with new babies coming and all... it was time to put the harp in it's proper place.
BUT we couldn't part with the twiggy stars Brianna made for it, yet, 
so we hung them all over the wall.
 If I told you we have well over a hundred geranium plants in various stages of developement
in the house
it just might give you a glimpse into how this strange mind of mine works.
They will be for sale in the spring. :-)
That is the plan for Christina's plane ticket to YFJ this year.
In the mean time, I am making the most of their blooms.
The twins have been great.
It's hard to believe they can be this easy going after the way things were in November.
They can be little stinkers, but as long as we are able to work with them
and redirect them

I received a fitbit flex for Christmas.
So having fun with that.
Trying to make 15000 steps my daily goal.
I found out what a crazy sleeper I am.... 
It's nuts to see that I'm so restless and awake so much 
on a graph!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Foster Care

I've never had this kind of advanced warning before. It's all arranged. Two little boys age 18months and 3 1/2 years are moving in on Tuesday. They were in a relative placement and for some reason this placement was not working out for them. The mother is doing well and is nearing reunification with her children.... she just needs a house and to follow through on the process -  court, paper shuffle, and continued steadfast hard work in her recovery and compliance and the kiddos will transition back to her.


As usual DSHS is desperate. In fact the children's social worker called me. This does not usually happen. There is a designated person to make these calls... She's on Christmas break, of course. I don't actually like daycare. I have never used it with my children, however, I asked that these children  remain in daycare as they have been. It was my stipulation for taking them on and they agreed. Ours is a crazy busy household and I am getting to know my limitations. Normally DSHS does not allow stay-at-home-moms to use daycare.  It is reserved for working moms only. I told them I have a market garden - I know, I know!! It's December, but seed ordering and planting and organizing begins soon enough and I know how hard it was to get things done on time when the other little ones were here before. They agreed that it qualified as a job enough to let me have the benefits. They said they were desperate.

Tonight they called for another child. Steve is ready to open an orphanage. . . 

I made sure they knew I was in this for the short term. I'm headed to Michigan as the dean at Youth For Jesus for the month of July and I am really looking forward to that.

The girls were calculating. Twenty foster children have touched our lives thus far. Sixteen of them this year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Books ARE

Parenting the Difficult Child  A Biblical Perspective on Reactive Attachment Disorder by Linda Rice.

The other book of the story of the girl with a lot of special needs is: From Stumbling Blocks to Stepping Stones Help and Hope for Special Needs Kids, by Shari Rusch Furnstahl

I should have said the names in my blog post, but I was on my way to bed and not thinking clearly. Anyway, now you have them.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

She's Over the Hump!

Vanessa caught a cold and was  sick the day after her school break started.... Last Friday night she gave us a very big scare. Her face swelled up and she had horrible pains in her hands and feet, her hands were swollen, she was coughing and her chest hurt.  It seemed viral. She ended up with pneumonia, and pleurisy, and the pains in her feet were unbearable. She still gets these episodes of pain that take her down....  but she has only had a couple of them today.  Seems related to circulation but described as nerve pain. If we do hydrotherapy (hot and cold water treatments) it gets unbearable. Eating can trigger it as does any sort of exercise. She just did some exercise now and is paying for it. She had one episode with her hands today and two with her feet.

A lot of people have been praying for her.  We are thankful for the turn around. School begins again on Thursday. 

She had her hair cut today and it's great.

Here's my not so good iphone pic.
Brianna bought her own camera and gave me back mine. That means I have to take my own pictures now. . .

Brianna switched from Nikon to Cannon. She wanted the video capabilities.That will make a lot of her friends happy. . . and I got  a really nice new lens for my camera because she can't use it on a Cannon.

Vanessa gave me a Fitbit for Christmas.... It means I have to start clocking some more miles. :-)

I can only say good things about the twins. It seems they might actually be quadruplets... two of them go into hiding while the other two come out and give us fits, and then they switch. I tell you, the kids I had at Thanksgiving break are NOT the kids I've had for Christmas break - NOT. AT. ALL. We have  NOT had one screaming tantrum for two weeks. Missy is Missy, and she can't just obey without some sort of detour, or delay or distraction, or whatever, but we've been fairly successful at redirecting her. There's nothing different about the way we are doing anything. It is unexplainable. But we'll take it and we'll thank God for the peace we are enjoying. Hoping she doesn't decide to switch with the girl in hiding now that the presents are opened. Her gift, a fuzzy orange ball of fur... has brought her absolute joy. Brianna caught the moment of meeting on film. Priceless. Have to show you the video when it's ready. It's SO cute.  Missy is one intense child even when she's cooperative and everyone has noticed that today was so easy because she was totally enthralled with her kitten. He's so very entertaining!

I'm reading a new book on RAD. I've read a lot of books on the issues we've been facing with the twins and I've thrown a LOT of books in the trash. There are a handful of helpful books out there, but a lot of not so helpful, child centered, humanistic, psycho-babble books, too. I've gleaned bits and pieces of useful information here and there.... I've been educated on where a lot of people are coming from as far as where they have gotten their ideas and all, but  there is VERY much that does not hold up to the standard of truth. A book I'm TRYING to read at the moment is proving to be different. I say trying. It's not one you can just sit down and just read. I feel like I need a notebook, some highlighters and a few good sharp pencils and a Bible as I study along. It doesn't help that it's one of those days where I can't seem to line up the words in my brain fog... so, maybe tomorrow will prove more successful.  I'm also reading another book about a girl who SOUNDS just like Missy on the cognitive level - low IQ, hearing issues, impulsive, clumsy, a mess, learning disabled, etc...  Well, it says a great deal when the author of the book IS THAT GIRL ~ now married with 4 children, a public speaker and a writer. Now, if that doesn't give anyone hope, nothing will. She describes Missy to a T when she shares how she used avoidance techniques, distraction, attention getting, etc.... to avoid having to put her mind to the task at hand which was learning ~ a task so incredibly hard for her. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Behind the Scenes

Talk about making memories!!!

PS. Vanessa has pneumonia. She's been sick her whole Christmas break. So SAD.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Gifts of Christmas

  James 1:17
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above."

John 3:16, 17
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."


Jesus had come to the world, bringing the light of Heaven. He came as the Redeemer of mankind, to limit the power of Satan and set the captive free. At his birth the heavenly messengers had borne the glad tidings of great joy to the humble shepherds upon the plains of Bethlehem, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”
The greatest gift of Heaven had been given to the world.
Joy to the poor, for Christ has come to make them heirs of his kingdom!
Joy to the rich, for he will teach them how to apply their earthly treasure that it may secure for them eternal riches in Heaven!
Joy to the ignorant, for he has come to give them wisdom unto salvation!
Joy to the learned, for he will open to their understanding deeper mysteries than they have ever before fathomed!
Every human enterprise sinks into insignificance when compared with the advent of Christ.
At the advent of Jesus, the angel exuberantly proclaimed 
Peace on earth, and good will to men. . .” 

Praising no matter what
Experiencing Joy
Accepting God’s Will
Content with Life
Expecting God’s blessings

Of Christ, the prophet Isaiah had written, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Christ bearer of the title of “Prince of Peace,” warns His people, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but in me ye shall have peace.” The peace that he GIFTED his followers was not a peace that would prevent all affliction, division and persecution; it was a peace given and enjoyed in the midst of fiery trial.

Jesus is ever ready to speak peace to souls that are troubled with doubts and fear. This precious Savior waits for us to open the door of our heart to him, and say, Abide with us. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Our life is a continual strife; we must war against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness, and foes that never sleep; we must resist temptations, and overcome as Christ overcame. When the peace of Jesus enters our heart we are calm and patient under the severest trials.

 Love IS:
The gift of God in his beloved Son was the expression 
of an incomprehensible love.
The same God who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, “has not left the purchase of the blood of Christ to the mercy of the adversary of God and man. Having given to the world the best gift of heaven, He gave heaven itself. The love and benevolence of God have not ceased; his mercy is still directed toward the fallen children of Adam. Through every age, through every hour, the love of God has been exercised toward the world, notwithstanding the perversity of men; and when the fullness of time had come, Deity was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation was fulfilled. God so loved the world, that having given his Son, who was equal with himself, he could not withhold heaven itself. Having given the greatest gift, he could not withhold that which was less. ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ ‘God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

God so loved the world that he would not suffer it to remain possible for it to be said that he could have given us more, or manifested for the human family a greater measure of love. He knew that the great manifestation of love, displayed in the life and death of the Son of God, would awaken the fiercest jealousy on the part of Satan. The gift of Christ to the world was beyond computation, and no power could compete with God by giving a gift that would bear any comparison to the value of heaven’s best treasure. The greatness of this gift was to furnish men with a theme of thanksgiving and praise that would last through time and through eternity. Having given his all in Christ, God lays claim to the heart, mind, soul, and strength of man. Looking upon the treasure which God has provided in the full and complete gift of Christ, we can exclaim: “Herein is love!”

“God so loved the world, the he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”…..  It is through the inestimable gift of Christ that all our blessings come. Life, health, friends, talents, reason, happiness, are ours through the merit of Christ. O that the young and the old might realize that all comes to them through the virtue of Christ’s life and death, and acknowledge the ownership of God....

Even when we were under the control of a cruel master, even when the prince of darkness ruled our spirits, the Lord Jesus Christ paid the ransom price of His own blood for us. You have been bought with a price, even with the precious blood of Christ; you are His property, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s....

Were it not for the love freely given us of Christ, we should now be in hopeless despair, in spiritual midnight. Thank God every day that He gave us Jesus. Will you not accept His gift? Will you not be His witness? Time is short, and it becomes you to work while the day lasts, living an imperishable life, hiding your life with Christ in God. Then “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

"Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift"
(II Cor. 9:15).
A little trip to the nursing home with blankets and soft socks for all the residents.
 with a little music....
(Some quotes were taken from Youth's Instructor and Ministry of Healing and a part of the Christmas Program).

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hurry Scurry.... It's almost Christmas!

There's a table under there somewhere....
If you could see the rest I would have to tell you there's
a floor, too.... even kitchen counters!

Having a blast with the girls CRAFTING!

Tomorrow is the Christmas program at the church....
there'll be a flock of angels and I was short a few costumes so out came the sewing machine.
 This is the littlest angel's frock.

Crafting and sewing is not all we're doing.
Creativity abounds.

A dozen guesses for what is going on in that last iphone pic? 

Okay... let's start with the fact that THAT IS A COMPOST BIN! Eww!

OH! Did I tell you, Nina went home? Well, she did. 
Judge ordered reunification and it happened quick as a flash. 
She was thrilled!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


We've settled on a blog name for the new addition. She enthusiastically greets other children with a "hi, Niñas!" To her, James is Niño and Missy is Niña, so Steve hit on the idea of calling her Niña here. It even starts with an "n" like wanted so it's perfect. She is very verbal but we have to remind her we don't speak Spanish!! 

Brother! she's taken to calling me Grandma, much to my family's great amusement! I tell her I'm auntie and she says, "okay, auntie"but she turns around and calls me grandma anyway. I figure she'll be calling me mom like the rest of them by the end of the week. A gal can hope.

By 4 this afternoon she had been awake a total of 2 hours since ten pm last night. Being taken into care is trauma. There's no way around it. It doesn't matter if they've come from a bad place or not, being separated from your mama in a dramatic scene at the age of 2 is trauma. Anyway, I was getting very worried about the time she decided to come to life!  She's great in the car... Well, so far all she's done is sleep.

We are in the big City. Vanessa had a big test today. She passed! Across the street from the testing center was a skating rink. So we went skating while we waited. Then we went out to celebrate Vanessa's accomplishment at the vegan Thai place. We filled up our time with shopping and sight seeing. Alyssa and Savannah are now at the airport and we are headed home.

Alyssa and Savannah are amazing girls. We enjoyed them very much. They are very helpful, funny, and interested in everything. They made an elaborate humorous video together while they were here... Hilarious ~ mostly because of the great lengths they went to create it. Savannah was one step ahead of all of us in anticipating Niña's needs ~Yes, even before us who are old hats at this foster business. 

It's 53 degrees here at 8:30 at night. Man, I am not sure I want to head back to our side of the mountains! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An Unexpected Twist

You won't believe it.

I almost didn't.

I got an email about doing respite for the three little girls we've had several times now. It's just for 24 hours and it's because the foster mom has to work, but during the holidays there's no daycare available. We'll get them for a day in the week after Christmas.  I thought, well, you know, I told them I wasn't doing this anymore, but we sure like those kiddos and we can do 24 hours! I mean, why not?


In the evening I got an urgent call from DSHS that they had just picked up a 2 yr old girl and they hadn't been able to connect with relatives yet... Friday evening and no homes available. The caller was not the usual lady who knows me and knows our situation AND I misunderstood her.

I thought she was asking for help for the weekend so that on Monday they could get her placed. A lot, a LOT of families have quit foster care in our town. They are very short on homes. I hate hearing stories of social workers and kids having to hang out in a hotel room for the weekend because there's no beds available.... so, I said yes.

When the usual gal brought her out to me, she said she was so surprised that I said yes, and then she handed me the paperwork for a PLACEMENT!~

Oh! ! ? !  So maybe we were suppose to do this? Steve and I believe God had a hand in orchestrating the unusual way things came about. Maybe we are not suppose to close our home.  I think we'll ride it out and see where things are going to go.

Anyway, she is really sweet, cute and chatty. She mixes her English and Spanish 50/50. She is super friendly, but so far she doesn't like Steve. She has the same name as my girls' close singing friend, N. We'll come up with an blog name for her.

Getting her to sleep last night was a challenge. She wanted her mommy. Poor little dear. I think she's been well loved. Still waiting on a police report and the investigation. The issues may not have been about her at all, but other crazy choices.

A heartbreaking legacy left in the wake of broken lives. Lord, please use us to bring His comfort and love into her little heart.

PS. James has made a complete turn around. He's back to his old self. He also got sick.  Missy is mellower. We have 8 kids-young people in the house...  Good thing we didn't sell the van. Right?!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Choreography Script?

James is pulling out of his funk!!  YAY!! What a blessing. I'm handing out a little extra TLC to get him through what I know are his hard moments - before they actually get hard in an effort to keep him encouraged, and he's coming back around. It has been a long few weeks, but I can enjoy the Christmas season now.

Missy is, well, Missy. None of us are expecting anything of her right now. Just letting her know the benefits and rewards of happy movement and goals met and ignoring the blatant desire to stir the pot.  She has learned enough to do the minimum in the morning to save herself some grief, but a lot is being left undone and I'm having to be okay with that. There are blessings that come with compliance and there are naturally, downsides to resistance. She feels that. She would love to engage someone ~ anyone, in a power struggle and she goes to great lengths to get us involved, but we're sidestepping and dancing our way through the morning. At the last second, as the bus pulls into the drive, she goes ballistic and tries to do all that she should have done to get ready. She can't do it, of course. This morning she was screaming as I put on her coat, Christina put on her shoes and Brianna was putting her things into her backpack. You can't do anything but laugh at the comedy of it. She has to know it's  gonna happen. It's predictable. She hears the verbal cues I'm offering James so she knows without a doubt. {She resents any cue given her directly and I'm trying to get her softened enough to work with me again, so avoiding all that hardens her heart.)

I'm rewarding cheerful cooperation and turning my face away from disrespect and oppositional stuff and letting life teach it's own lessons with its absence of blessings. Sometimes it takes us a while to figure out just which dance we're suppose to be dancing for the particular moment. . .  If someone could just give us a script!!  It just keeps changing.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Enjoli's 15th birthday party.

It was the day after J2B and a "let's just play", kind of a day.

It's also the end of the quarter.

Vanessa finished her finals! Whoohoo!!! And got top grades in her first quarter of nursing school. She works very hard for her grades so we are very excited for her. Her next clinical experience will be in the same hospital her dad works in. He was thrown for a loop when he went to clock in to work yesterday and he had to go through a few extra loops to sign in. He thought, "Oh, man. They hired a new person with my last name!"  And then "Vanessa" popped up on the screen. Well, that explains things. She'll be doing a rotation in OB and Peds there.

Christina has one more exam. So far we know she got an A in English and all possible points for her research paper. She wrote on the evils of coffee...  :-).  

Today two girls are flying here from North Carolina. Christina became good friends with the one sister at YFJ in Florida. Brianna really got to know the other sister in Oklahoma. We should have a lot of fun. Hoping for a little snow around here!!!

Missy is in trouble on the bus. I'm hoping James is pulling out of his funk... I've kind of given up on a few things right now. Let's just get through the month with the least number of fireworks as possible.

Oh.... and my husband is back.  Or at least the beard is gone. YES!!! :-)

Friday, December 6, 2013

We're Okay

No screaming today.

We did  their animal chores for them.... IT"S COLD outside!!

They still could not get it together.

I announced times and countdown.... otherwise they were on their own.

One had a couple of bites of breakfast and the other did not take time come to look at the food served on their dishes BUT they made sure they had their coats and shoes on. :D  Did I mention it is COLD and snowing? It's 20 F degrees right now.

Journey to Bethlehem day #1 went well. On to day #2.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I'm not okay with it this morning. I cried.

The bus schedule changed and it arrives 20 minutes earlier. It really doesn't matter. It's all the same.

The kids had both Steve and I trying to get them to get ready this morning but they would not. Missy was doing everything opposite.  If you push, they push back. If you don't push they work very hard to engage us in pushing.

They got on the bus. No coat. Breakfast half eaten. Teeth not brushed. Lunches are still sitting on the bench. And I cried.

Why do we have to be the enemy?

I was able to connect briefly with James last evening after I took them to swimming lessons. I gave him free range at supper and he over-ate and made his tummy hurt to the point he needed me.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

That Time of Year!!

Rehearsals and tons of music practice.
Yup. It's that time of year.
Journey to Bethlehem starts tomorrow.

Square One

We are back there as far as the morning and catching the bus goes.

The charts are no longer having effect. Consequences mean nothing  Screaming and crying and throwing tantrums that escalate to  rage is happening daily.   I'm struggling to connect on any kind of level with either of them. There's no honesty so we're trying not to ask anything. Very little is done correctly. Coats are thrown behind furniture. Boots are thrown helter -skelter. Teeth are not actually brushed, drinking water is dumped, timers are set short, skip counting is in vogue, chores are half done, stories are made up. It's constant.

It makes me so sad. In a way I'm defeated, but in a way I accept it as "the way it is".  However, they are hurting themselves and they're my children and I can't help but be heartbroken for them.

{ But I can thank God
I'm not tired or depressed.
I'm getting the upper hand on my bronchitis.
I'm enjoying the season.
I'm walking every day and I've dropped a couple pounds.
I'm not completely overwhelmed, even though I am not at all successful in my parenting of the twins.}

Oddly, the kiddos seem to know and have a conscience about certain things. They don't steal. They don't falsely accuse people of things (which usually goes hand in hand with the other behaviors we see).

Here's an interesting story. When the twins were at our friend's house Thanksgiving morning she was looking for something for them to do so she could get some cooking done and after trying a couple of ideas she landed on putting in an old video. An Andy Griffith show... I don't know what it is personally, but she said it was an old time family movie of some sort. The scene was of a school teacher getting frustrated with her class of unruly boys. James was beside himself that she was yelling at the children and at  the way things were playing out in the story to the point the friend had to turn it off before it hardly got started. He was very upset with the behavior being exhibited,  and said it was "wrong and disgusting". (Part of that I attribute to him not being desensitized to TV as we do not do movies here, but he knows... he can point out inappropriate behavior.)

He knows. He absolutely KNOWS right and wrong,

but . . . .  absolutely devoid of the power. (About as powerless as I feel in being able to help these kids).

And that has got to eat away at his heart. At times I know he thinks, "what is the use?"

 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. . .

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Dark Matter of Love

Oh wow. This brought up a lot of emotion. It's a journey with many stages. Still living the dance...