Friday, December 19, 2014

School ~ Fever ~ Candy ~ The difference in Schools

Today is James long awaited appointment. . .  and he woke up sick with a fever. The kids in his class have been dropping like flies. In fact over a hundred kids in his school were home sick by Wednesday and every day more succumbed. I should have just pulled him out of school.

Missy is not sick. It is one of the things we have noticed about her new school. There is no candy stream there at the Montessori. There are no cupcake and root beer float parties, either. She has had only one cold since September. Normally she is one snotty-nosed-kid most of the time. Her behavior is much more manageable. She does not have huge tantrums and kick and try to hurt anyone anymore. I think there are two factors at work here. LESS stress - and that is the most obvious thing, and less junk food being fed her. It really frustrated me last year how little control I had over her diet and sugar, dyes, dairy and "garbage" were a constant. She has no self-control. If you put it in front of her she's going to eat it all and her neighbor's portion, too. The Montessori teachers are all health conscious people. It makes a difference. The kiddo only eats what I send her. Nothing else is offered. 

Missy is still trying to learn place value in math. She demonstrated her ability to use the abacus to us last night. She can count money, and tell the time and use manipulative, but her understanding of place value is still non-existant. She has beautiful handwriting and she can spell okay, but her writing exposes her disorganized brain. She really cannot put her thoughts in order. The teacher has sweat with her over this, but to no avail so far.

I'm glad she is in this school even if it is expensive. So far, every month I have had enough little jobs to cover the whole thing. This is thanks to the providence of God.

We had a couple of Brianna's friends spend the weekend with us last weekend. It was great to get to know them. We had a really nice time. In a few hours Vanessa's friend, Glesni is arriving for this weekend. Hopefully we can keep James quarantined. I've made everyone kale, lemon, ginger, garlic, spinach shakes for breakfast and I'm dosing them all up with herbs and vitamins as if they are all sick. What won't cure will kill...

The sun is shining. What a blessing. We sure miss the sun when the grey fog settle in. We have had rain all week until this morning.

Monday, December 8, 2014

MTHFR

I have entered a world of which I have no desire to experience, but here goes... I had the twins DNA tested at 23andMe and it took me a couple of weeks but I found a website that interpreted the raw data for me. And it goes without saying they have mutations of MTHFR and several others. Missy has 7 heterozygous mutations and 3 homozygous and James has 5 heterozygous mutations and 3 homozygous mutations. Even though they are twins their mutations are not all the same...  I had a sneaking suspicion that James was having issues with B12. This shows that that could VERY well be the case.  I have an appointment for James next week with a doctor specifically to look at this data and to look for ways to support and help him. I have not made Missy's appointment yet. One thing at a time. Otherwise this gets overwhelming.

It might not be Greek, but yikes...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Help Me Out

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, 
but war was in his heart: 
his words were softer than oil, 
yet were they drawn sword.
Ps 55:21
~ First, this hilarious picture. 
I was trying to get them to stand back to back for a picture but they had their own ideas. Half an hour before someone had been doing a maternity shoot in this very location. The boys had been running around and it was not very apparent that they had been paying any attention, 
but Monkey See Monkey Do!

I am going to share a few scenarios of something that happens at our home multiple times a day. Nothing we have done has made a difference at all. It's exhausting.

Scene 1: 
School was cancelled for Missy yesterday because Montessori meets in the a part of the downtown museum and the museum was having all its hardwood floors refinished. The fumes were a good reason to cancel. Missy needed something to do so I asked her to clean the bathroom. She can do a very good job. Persistently teaching the kids to work has actually paid off. They can confidently do things about the house and yard pretty decently and they take pride in a job well done. Missy seemed fine with cleaning the bathroom. She accepted her task and went off. And then it started... She could not find a single container of cleaner, or a cloth to use in the whole house. I didn't say a lot. I'm used to the routine. I gave her suggestions here and there, but I honestly knew what it was about. After an hour of her "fruitlessly" searching upstairs and downstairs and through every cupboard fussing and complaining all the while,  I  went to the bathroom and the first door I opened revealed plenty of cleaner, but I could not see the comet. I acted as if a huge search party hadn't already happened and asked her to run downstairs and grab the comet. I didn't tell her where to look or anything. I figured after all her searching she would know where it was better than I did. She came back in 20 seconds, comet in hand.  It was all a stunt. I concluded her motive was that she was feeling lazy, and as kids are apt to do, she used up twice as much energy trying to figure out how to get out of the job as it took to clean the bathroom. Or at least that was my thought originally....

Scene 2:
When I had Missy work on her memory verse she suddenly could not read, she could not pronounce simple words no matter how hard I worked with her, and she could not remember all the little words like A, an, and, in, the AT ALL. The harder we worked the worse it became. She acted like she was totally happy to do it, but her brain would not cooperate. Nonsense! I'm quite familiar with that routine, also. She did not want to put forth effort and she worked three times harder than she needed to do the job to frustrate me. She enjoyed that. She didn't want to learn it - she never wants to learn anything from me. Was there more to it than just not wanting to learn?

Scene 3:
This scenario was from a different day, but it is a classic example of this behavior. I picked her up from school and as we are pulling out of the parking lot I asked her about her her day. She rarely offers any information. She just says it was fine. If I probe I get pat answers and often she will deny she did any reading.  She tried to have me believe for an entire month that her teacher does not ever have her read to her, that all her reading was done silently. Right! Anyway, this particular day she had nothing to say about her day, as usual, but then she remembered that tomorrow would be library day. "Oh mom, I need my library card. I don't know who took my library card! I looked everywhere and it's not in my backpack or anywhere!"  I suggested places to look and assured her that no one else would want her library card because it was in her name. I turned my head slightly and saw that all the while she was talking she was facing out the side window with her library card in her hand. When she saw that I noticed she gave me a triumphant grin. Sigh. Duped again. What is the purpose of this kind of exchange? She made no attempt to hide the library card while she made up the story. . . .

Scene 4:
Back to yesterday. After finishing her bowl of soup at lunch she asked if she could have something else to eat. I told her she could have a banana or an orange and packet of fig bars. I've been trying to teach her not to yell at me from across the room or house and call "mom, mom, mom, mom" over and over, so I have been using the same plan they use at school for consistency. She needs to come to me and talk with me not just shout. She's not interested in changing anything, of course, but when she wanted something else to eat she did come put her hand on my shoulder like they do at school and asked nicely. We were face to face, six inches apart. I clearly told her she could have a banana or an orange and a packet of fig bars. She acted like she didn't hear me. This is typical. I just said, "You heard me." So, she went and found a banana and then walked over to where the fig bars are kept. She came out with corn nuts and asked, "is this what you said?" I just shook my head. She went back and then the shouting began. "I can't find them. I don't see them anywhere!" She paced up and down the kitchen, but she never ever came up with a fig bar nor did she actually ask for help. I ignored the charade. It's all too familiar. I know that if I say what she is trying to get me to say it only gets worse. Eventually, she stopped shouting, and sat down and waited...( as if I was going to get up and get the fig bars for her! She did not ask, just sat and put on the silent pressure. This is an intense kind of battle that you could only know if you have experienced this. Mostly no actual words pass between her and I and yet the battle feels fierce).  I reminded her if she wanted a fig bar she could go get one, but after a certain amount of time I would be sending her to brush her teeth. When the time allotted passed I did send her out to brush her teeth. She fussed and fumed and cried that she was hungry. I just told her I didn't understand why she hadn't gotten the food offered if she was so hungry but it was time to brush her teeth. When I looked in the cupboard later I noticed that she had actually pulled the box of fig bars half way off the shelf and the box was ripped more than before.  IT was all an act.  This crazy charade had been more important to her than the treat. This from the kid who covets and LOVES food.


I could type scene after scene, some of them I get and some of them have me completely puzzled, but you get the drift. Can someone tell me the purpose of this behavior and how to turn it around? I'm so done with it. It's crazy making.

Their tongues are like deadly arrows;
they always tell lies.
With their mouths they speak friendly words to their neighbors,
but they are really setting traps for them.
Jeremiah 9:8

I know that most of the words out of that child's mouth are pure lies.  I don't like the idea that she is out to get me and is setting traps for me, but that is exactly what it feels like. So often she makes me out to be a fool. I want to be a good mom to her and give her the benefit of the doubt sometimes (not always, I'm usually pretty confident I know her game), but usually that backfires.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Teacher Conference and Coping with a Structure Resistant Child

We had James' parent teacher conference last evening. James is thriving with his teacher. She's the same teacher he had last year and she is really putting everything she's got into helping him succeed. He is making steady progress in everything. She gives him achievable goals to work towards.  She's moving him up one percent at a time. I know this sounds crazy, but I see how hard she is working and how much she is putting into him and it scares me for next year because no one is ever going to be able to do that for him again on that level. She has her own style and fights the system where she feels it would be a detriment to him. She knows what he is capable of and allows him to give her nothing less and really holds him accountable for that and even his behavior at home. It's making a huge difference. She suggested we should get a sleep study done on him.

We have a little foster baby. He arrived at 2 am yesterday. His case should move along quickly as this is not about abuse or neglect, but something outside of the child. I really don't know the story but mom was picked up Monday night and the baby had to go somewhere. She has been released and now has to go through the hoops to get her kiddo back. The SW is pushing for sooner than later, but the judge, or whoever must agree and go along with the plan.

The little guy is cute. He's 14 months old and gets into everything. He's funny and a copycat and very steady on his feet. He has a few words and a lot of teeth and he sleeps well. My house is a wreck. Drawers and cupboards had to be tied shut.

Steve is in Canada because of a family medical emergency. So far he has been able to prevent the hospital from discharging the family member way too soon in a  very dangerous situation. Patient advocacy is super important these days. You almost have to know all about your medical situation and terms and treatments so that you are not denied what is due.

I've gone back to making smoothies in the morning.  I tell the twins they can have a hot regular breakfast if they show up in the kitchen on time, but if they show up after 7 AM then they get a  smoothie because they can drink it fast and still be on time. Structure-Resistant-Missy's response when I remind her in the morning that she has a choice is to yell, "NO!!" which is basically letting me know that she doesn't want to be on time and she doesn't want the option that goes with being late. Well, don't we all, but that isn't how life works. We wake her up in the morning and then we let her do her morning however she wants to and whatever speed she sets herself on, because with that kid, if you push she pushes back hard. The consequences of her choices don't go away and she has to deal with it the best she can because, though we let her do her morning however she chooses, the expectations that certain things must be done before breakfast never change and she knows they are concrete. It's just up to her how she plans on getting that done. Her being late every morning feels like an attempt to push against me and the structure of our home and so we are trying hard to not push her  or offer any resistance personally to her manipulation. Fighting with an oppositional child like her can really make a person really, really frustrated if you are not careful. A funny thing is, she NEVER gets to school in pajamas, though she knows full well I would not have a problem with that if she chose not to get dressed. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AN UPDATE on this GANG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Missy

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

it's the raw deal...
REAL.

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

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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Almost 21

and almost an RN. 

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

So thankful to be her mom.

Friday, September 12, 2014

We are Traveling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Blog

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


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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Family Update


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Girls' Dean

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

I don't pray enough.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Tribute to My Mother's Work in Africa

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

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


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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RAD


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Still There IS Hope


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Foster Care Heartbreak

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

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

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

***

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

iPhone Trip Pics!



Mount St Helens

Rafting our local river with cousins.

Saltwater State Park

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

Peripatetic

I learned a new word. It means well- traveled. 

I spent nearly a week in Oregon without Internet at the Lightbearers Campmeeting. I could not blog if I wanted to, but the meetings were inspiring and we had a good time of fellowship. 

Sunday we drove towards Seattle and camped at Saltwater State Park. Early in the morning, my nephew Caleb and I boarded a plane for Michigan. My dad picked us up at the airport and here we are at Youth For Jesus. I am the girl's dean. I have no idea what I am doing. But I am learning. There's no internet. So I'm typing on my phone. You might follow  on Facebook or Instagram.... Angela.rootsreachingdeep

It's worship time. My dad has worship. The topic: Righteousness by faith - the same as the whole Campmeeting we just went to. I guess I need to understand well!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swimming and Life at Home

Life has been a whirlwind of busy activity, and when I have moments to write all I can think about is all the things I need to get done still. We got back from our week and half vacation on Sunday. Monday VBS began. Brianna is in charge of VBS, so that has meant our family is on the front lines. My field tomatoes and garden and yard are all needing serious attention after our vacation, of course. This coming Sunday Brianna and Christina leave for Michigan to prepare for their speaking engagement through YFJ. My sister and her boys begin their journey here today. We plan to attend Lightbearers Campmeeting next week and then I leave on Sunday to join the girls in Michigan for several weeks as the girls' dean of Youth for Jesus.

We made the decision and filled out the registration packet yesterday for Missy to go to the Montessori school this fall. She likes the idea, but is a bit sad to leave her old school and the people she knows. I am signing her up for the Montessori day camp at the end of July and I think that will convince her that this is the right decision for her.

If you look at our pictures of the road trip you will notice we had a few extra kids with us. We took Buddy and the Duckling and their siblings with us and they were real troupers - all of them! Even the two year old was a good traveler. We did a lot of swimming. We tried to get some swimming in every day. We traveled to Arizona and camped at Lake Powell where my parents joined us. We visited the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park. We drove through Monument Valley in a dust storm and camped at Daystar. We visited a hot springs and ended the trip at campmeeting. It was a once in a lifetime kind of trip for us. 

I probably prayed more for those kiddos and their future than ever.  They are precious kids. When we returned we dropped them off at their new place with their dad and grandparents. The kiddos were happy to see their family. Court happened yesterday and so, it's all settled for the next 12 months that their dad has custody. Mom needs to go to treatment and stick with the program if she expects to have any part in their lives in the future. She didn't try to keep in close contact while we were on the trip, but yesterday she called crying before court as she was about to lose everything. I reminded her that the best thing she could do for herself and her children was to go to treatment. AND WHY NOT? There are no excuses left. Please pray that she goes. As long as she has life she has HOPE. Her hope lies in what Christ can do for her if she will but let Him.

The twins handled the whole trip very well. They really had no major melt-downs that could not be redirected. Missy could get intense sometimes but if we sandwiched her between the big girls in the van, or had her ride in my parents car we could keep her from getting into the other kids business and annoying everyone. She had a moment where she could have had a real problem. It was over a piece of clothing at a KOA, but all the other kids were headed to the pool and she knew she was on the brink of losing the privilege if she didn't choose to make the best of it so she did. All in all, the kids enjoyed the trip and I saw no sign of depression or manic behavior. They were pretty much happy.  They even calmed down about food near the end of the trip and were not pushy and hoarding so much.

We visited the twins' bio-mom for our once a year visit just before arriving home. It was a short visit. She was disappointed the kids were not interested in her at all. She told us a story about her health .... therefore, "could we up the visits to 2 a year?" In the end she spent so much time on that part of her quest it shocked her when the visit was over and she hadn't really spent any time with the kids. The answer was no. The kids found it awkward at best and it will only get harder as they get older. While we think the visit is important, once a year is enough.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Road Trip!

We took a vacation.  This is the gang and our mode of travel.

I have a ton of pictures

but I also have a 

ton of weeds to catch up on. 

:-)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Certified Scuba Divers


Another thing crossed of Christina's bucket list.
Her goal is to become a rescue diver.
Not sure what Ellie's goal is, but it is kind of a natural for her as her dad dives as part of his job and her mom does it with him for fun when they go to interesting places.
Diving is not something that has ever crossed my mind... I doubt Steve's either,
so Christina is more adventurous than we are.
She got the idea during her lifeguard training when she learned how to rescue a diver.
The divers were impressed enough to offer her a partial scholarship...
and the rest is history.
Everything is always more fun with a friend!
Missy would have joined them if she could have! She's adventurous like that.
- Jame on the other hand... not so much.
My job was to sit on the beach and enjoy the sun.
What a job!  :-)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A New Instrument

has Been Added to the Collection . . . 




It's obviously very portable (as compared to concert harps and pianos), and will take a beating, I'm sure (as compared to treasured violins and flutes). This was one of the unexpected side benefits of Brianna's African sojourn. One of the student missionaries had a ukelele and she shared it with everyone. Brianna caught the bug. :-)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's Done

It was very painful. Gut wrenching hard.

The kids are now in their father's custody. 
I prayed with my whole heart that the right thing would happen and so I totally believe that this was the best move that could have been made under the circumstances.

I won't see the kids any less. 
In fact he needs to be at work early, early tomorrow morning 
and I need to get to the house by 6:30 to see that the children 
are dressed and showered and fed and taken to school/ daycare.

One weight was lifted. 
The children are safe.

One weight remains.
I worry she won't go to treatment as no one is going to force her. 

Meth is slow suicide and she is its poster child. 

She's so very thin, so very, very sick, her skin raw with rash and open sores. 
She despises her addiction but is so helplessly bound by unseen fetters,
 an evil villain stronger than life. 

It's truly heartrending. 
It doesn't seem so long ago
that she had dreams and goals,
plans for her children, a vision of what life held for her family.
When healthy she is a most beautiful girl. 

The children's father don't think she will seek help.
 He thinks she's gone - gone for good. 
So many told me that once released from her responsibility
she would run for freedom.
There's no joy in it for her, though, if it is actually so.

I still hold out hope. 
For all the prayers we prayed,
this penniless, homeless, rock bottom could be her start for a new life.
For with God all things are possible.

Still praying.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Garden Help

We have been so busy that it's all HAND-ON-DECK!  
This is the 2nd driest year ever recorded in this area
and I can tell.
BUT the sprinkler system is going now so we won't be watering each plant by hand anymore.
Mulching is next on the list.
How can you tell we are a little behind the times?

I have no idea what will happen at the FTDM tomorrow at CPS.
I am confident that all our prayers are heard.
I trust that what is needed will happen.

I am so thankful for all who have prayed for this family.
Please don't stop praying for them.

*****
 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean:
 from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, 
will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: 
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, 
and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, 
and cause you to walk in my statutes, 
and ye shall keep my judgments, 
and do them. . . . and ye shall be my people, 
and I will be your God.

Ezekiel 36:25- 28


 "Christ can look on the misery of the world 
without a shade of sorrow for having created man. 
In the human heart He sees more than sin, 
more than misery.
 In His infinite wisdom and love He sees man’s possibilities, 
the height to which he may attain. 
He knows that, 
even though human beings have abused their mercies 
and destroyed their God-given dignity, 
yet the Creator is to be glorified in their redemption."
- 7T 269.3

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Screeching Halt?

I thought something big was going to happen.

I was so sure.

But the days passed one after another . . .  and the horrible roller coaster ride appeared to be going off into infinity. No one could stop the madness.

I don't know if I have ever prayed so much. I know that ultimately God can and will over-rule. He sees. He knows. And He is holding His hand over those kids.

There's nothing like watching someone get sicker and sicker and sicker and being helpless to stop them from destroying themselves - And destroying themselves so fast!! I've been saying to Steve that at the rate things are going she won't live to see her children grow.

Today DSHS scheduled a meeting for later this week. No one knows what is going to happen. . .  As grateful as I am that someone is finally going to throw out a life-line and attempt to save this person, the timing is awful. I wish it had happened months ago.  I have obligations and plans and a plane ticket...

I know that everyone is going to need a lot of guidance from above. Pray for us.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

You Think?

Yesterday was the first time a professional has voiced the word that has been at the back of my mind for a long time.  She only mentioned it as an idea to consider based on our story and based on the biological history of mother, aunt and grandma.

I have not but mentioned the possibility to a few close friends over the last couple of years. I know nothing about it.

The word is Bipolar. 

This week, out of the blue, my 16 year old sent me a youtube link on bipolar. She gave no explanation and I asked why she had sent it to me. She just said, "Watch it. I think you'll find some of it eerily familiar."

Missy is definitely on the UP. She is talking NON-stop. Even while we are talking- she talks over top of us, even when she is brushing her teeth, even when she is standing in the middle of the pasture all alone. . . She's loud and insistent. She's happy and animated, though. We can live with this much easier than the depressive misery.

Her twin on the other hand, is crying at the drop of a hat. I can't ask him to do a thing without his tears. He can't see through his glasses most of the time because of the dried tear stains. He's lethargic and passive aggressive.

I'm not going to rush to find a diagnosis. I am just going to start collecting daily data on a calendar.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's a Mighty Competition

One kiddo had an amazing 2 weeks of incredibly happy, healthy behavior. It was downright fun while it lasted. I told Steve the kid is gearing up for a showdown, though. I have to watch myself because my fear of him taking the leap has me on edge and I am super ready to react and mostly over-react in an instinctive effort to halt the inevitable.  It's an accumulation of many small behaviors and his moments of hollering and name calling that have us on alert.

The other kiddo is suddenly on the upswing from a really, really rough two weeks. It's over the top sugary at the moment ~Kisses and hugs and exaggerated manners, but I'll take it. She's like this mostly when he's struggling.

Competition seems very much to be the drive behind these highs.
RAD seems to be the drive behind the lows.
They can only hold it together for so long.

It's hiking season!
It's always good to have friends along.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Aunt Bertha Comes to Visit

I am not sure it's worth the fight and consequently I have not been real excited about fighting it. Every day it's THE bone of contention to be dealt with.

I understand the benefits. I see the potential. He even appreciates the final outcome, but it does not diminish the intensity of the malevolence that accompanies every single

piano practice!

But I am not sure quitting is the answer. He has a similar angst against math homework, and work in general. . . and really, you can't just quit life that easily.

Today when the choice was presented, after a passive aggressive stand-off, to choose to practice or miss the bike ride and picnic planned with friends he proceeded to wail loudly instead of choosing. So it was left to me to decide.

That is when I magically turned into Aunt Bertha*. She's a little mean, kind of loud because she tends to  match the decibels of the kid and she's in your face, and means business. She's even a little sarcastic and makes faces. If he can't muster some decent respect for dear old mom, then Aunt Bertha has the opportunity to appear and take over. Truth be told it's better than the alternative name he screams at me when he's mad; "Ihateyou youstupididiot!" I am so done with that name that I  told him "no more! never again!!" But of course I couldn't stop him and so I made him call me Aunt Bertha for the rest of the day. He hates it. Ha!  But you know, you have to come up with some humor somewhere. I got a laugh out of the girls and I even had to chuckle myself and it felt awfully good to fling those piano books through the open window. Eventually  I went out and picked them up and brought them back in for another round this evening, though. In the meantime while everybody else had a grand time at the park biking and eating ice-cream, Buster Brown was mowing. He wouldn't exactly cooperate, so I had to walk next to him giving orders at every swath. He completed the lawn and the orchard. The self-propeller on the mower is broke so it was tough, hard work for a skinny kid, but there's no better way to grow muscles than by good old fashioned work. We shall see if it builds willingness in the brain for the simpler, daily task of practicing two or three little songs each day.

** Hopefully I am not offending any Bertha's reading here.  I picked the most unused, old fashioned name I could think of off the top of my head and it just happened to be Aunt Bertha. As far as I remember I have never met a Bertha in my lifetime, but you never know...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Scavenger Hunt

I wanted the year-end choir party to be different. I get tired of musical chairs.



I thought and thought and thought... and studied pinterest until I was going cross-eyed, but I finally came up with a scavenger hunt that wasn't your typical "find a feather, collect a pinecone, and pick a red flower" type of treasure hunt. About the time that we were planning all this Brianna's friend on the other side of the country texted her and said, "I have to plan a scavenger hunt for the kids at campmeeting. Do you know anything about planning a hunt?"



Well, maybe just a little. Therefore, you will get the whole nine yards here, so if you ever decide to plan a scavenger hunt for your brood it shouldn't be too hard to execute. :-)

We started off with clues that had Bible verses and scrambled letters that led the kids to the potting barn where in an earthen vessel (clay pot) were the maps that Brianna had helped me make.   The Bible verses were:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels
that the excellency of the power may be of God, 
and not of us. 
2 Cor 4:7

 I will instruct thee and 
teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: 
I will guide thee . . . 
Ps 32:8


Our hunt had a hiking theme.  Each of the things they would find would be something they would need on a hike or camping trip; a backpack, walking stick, light, trail mix, water bottles, maps, mountain money :-), matches, etc...



We had one crossword puzzle. You can easily make crossword puzzles online. Just type: Make your own crossword puzzle into Google. Ta- da! So, so easy!! free, too.

We had a word search: Word search puzzles are just as easy to make online. Type: Make your own Word Search puzzle into Google and it's as simple as figuring out what words you want to use.

I use Bible Gateway for finding the verses in the Bible that make good clues. Then I copy and paste and print.

We folded some of our clues into shapes... There are a ton of origami tutorials online. One of ours we folded into a flower which was really the fortune cookie fold and stuck them on wire stems in a flower pot.

We made some rhymes and used this site to help find the right words:  http://www.rhymer.com/

We also wrote Bible texts that had to be looked up in "invisible ink" which was only white crayon on white paper. We provided dark markers for them to rub over the words to reveal the texts to look up. You could write with lemon juice and such, but then they need a way to warm the paper and for our crowd that was too much.

I was suppose to take photos which was nigh impossible.  You see the sum total of my pictures! Bri was to take video and she then made this little 3 minute clip for the kids when she was done.

Obviously, we are blessed. Such wonderful kids and such a beautiful country to live in!

What I learned:  that our kids need to play more TEAM BUILDING games. *smile* and that instructions need to be super duper clear! But the kids had fun, I think, and it would be worth doing again.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Capturing the Team Work via an Iphone



Smoothing out the tomato patch

James weed-whacking the long grass on the banks

Missy picking up trash from the burn pile that didn't burn (strips of metal, cans, and nails)

Stretching out the water lines
taking a break!


lining up the rows
and this is a sneak peek at a couple of maps for tomorrow's  project.... stay tuned. :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Putting on the Miles

The running with the twins is paying off. They managed this back road trip up and down the hills between our place and town (10 or 12 miles) with no trouble.We met at the park for a picnic.

Brianna has not acted like she has jet lag at all. She went to bed that first night and slept all night. The next day she and I walked about 5 miles in all and had a very busy day and she slept all night again. Today she was up all day and did this bike trip. One would expect her to be waking up at early hours wishing for breakfast, but so far so good. I think the exercise helps a lot.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Some Ducky Turned 2!

This little man sat at the table about ten minutes ahead of everybody else and declared, 
"It's PARTY TIME!!"
So cute!
He was so pleased with blowing out his candles 
and the singing and the clapping that we had to do it twice!! 
He kept saying, "Again, Again!!"
Big brother kept saying, "It's my birthday, too!!"

I love these kids.
I'm heartbroken over their circumstances.
Life is not fair and these guys have a very large portion of unfair.

It's so hard to sleep at night when I worry about them.

Please pray.