Sunday, March 27, 2016

Repatterning Mind Grooves

 The Problem
Most people have developed a few thought patterns they would do well to consider changing, ~me included. It's not always easy to recognize these negative patterns and how they destroy us. Sometimes it takes years of experiences, a new level of maturity or input from other people to even recognize a deeply entrenched thought pattern that keeps us from making progress in our lives or that affect our relationships.

Does anyone else's children have an automatic go-to rut in their brain every time someone asks them to do something or asks a hard question?  These usually begin with; I don't know, I can't, I don't want to, I don't know how, I can't remember....  I've  decided to be the person that pointed out these ruts and offer a solution to my kids. It's not the first time I decided this, of course. Parenting is pointing out ruts and showing a better way over and over and over again. But it seems to yield little results in certain cases. And in some very, very hard nuts to crack the ruts are actually concrete trenches, (figuratively speaking).
 The Solution
One day this past week I was making breakfast and I asked Jimmy Bean to, "please, get me a jar of home-canned pickles."

His response flew out in typical fashion. "I don't know where they are."

We only keep the home-canned food in one place so I didn't acknowledge his words. I just gave him a quick "I'm waiting expectantly" look and turned away. If there's one thing I have learned on this journey it's to just stop talking. Don't try to clarify, don't argue, don't take the bait, don't even notice half of what is being said.... Life is sweeter if you let it glide right on by. If you feel you have a fraction of a chance at changing the outlook later, think before you speak and have a plan.

While he was off to get the pickles, which by the way, he went straight to the pantry to get, I thought about his response and how so deeply dug his comebacks indicate those ditches have been laid. When he produced a jar of pickles I had him look me in the eye and I said, "It's a funny thing how the brain works. Sometimes it gets stuck in deep ruts doing the same thing over and over even though it doesn't always make sense. I would like you to notice that your brain is trained to think 'I don't know... I can't...' This is your automatic response to me for everything. In this case you actually knew where the pickles were, but your brain is so used to going down the path that says I don't or I can't. The Bible tells us that we are suppose to say, 'I CAN. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' People can make new brain pathways and change the way they think."

Seeing that he was actually listening I chanced a question. "Do you know where that verse is found in the Bible?"


"What? You didn't say, 'I don't know'!!!! High five!  You didn't let your thoughts slide along the easy route, you just plowed a new road!! Where did you learn that verse?"

"I learned it at Pathfinder Camporee."

"WOW! You just answered my question and you are doing well on building a new brain pathway! Good for you. If you keep telling yourself 'I CAN' instead of 'I CAN'T' you will dig some positive highways in that brain of yours that will serve you well."

 So THAT was VICTORY.  And the very first plow job toward building new ruts in his brain. Half an hour later he might not have been remembering his job was to keep bulldozing, but I'm remembering it's my job to keep parenting.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


It's hiking season again!! I bought 6 pairs of hiking boots last week.

 The Struggle
I'm trying to push through some writer's block and it's not going too well. I guess I have some pretty strong unresolved feelings about this blog and I find myself kind of loathing everything written here. Well, maybe not everything. Those early posts were so full of hope. I used to enjoy sharing my heart and I kind of miss those days.

I'm not sure if I should try and start over somewhere new and fresh or keep trying to press through.  I'm really conflicted about the whole thing.  I know that writing gives me a lot of clarity... My foggy confused brain could use some clarity for sure. Should I be writing a blog, or just a paper journal? Should I be sharing the failures and pain of our struggles with our adopted children, or should we be keeping it all private and putting on our "everything-is-just-fine-&-dandy" face? Do I have anything to offer anyone else who might be in the same boat navigating the same seas, or is this a total waste of time and space?
Fancy feet

 What's Up
We're battle scarred and wary. We've lost our innocence along with our youthfulness and I don't trust people as much as I'd like to.  We have learned that a lot of people have a lot of opinions they would like us to make ours. We've also learned many a good lesson. We've learned who we are and who we are not. We've learned we are dependent and we've learned that we are weak. We've learned we cannot do anything to change a person or improve their lives even as we offer them everything we have.  We've learned that our opinion is nothing to hold dear.

Our stairway to heaven at the back of the house...

Did I mention that we've learned that we are weak?  I read this blog post yesterday:

Read it if you will. I totally resonated with this piece -  at the same time I am grappling with it's challenging significance in my life. This is hard stuff. Really, really hard stuff.  I don't like being weak. I don't like not knowing how to handle things. I'm heartbroken when my child refuses the best I have to offer. I wince at the "I told-you-so's", I shrink from people telling us we were wrong, and that we are doing it all wrong. I don't want to hear that this journey will ruin us.  I shudder when they tell us we should look for a way of escape. Actually, it doesn't matter what other people are saying. at. all, but the truth is they are only telling us what we've been tempted to think already and we wish them to rather come alongside and hold up our hands. 

But then again, 
"The degree to which I allow myself to be weak is the degree to which I experience true, God-originated strength (crazy, wild strength)." 

And maybe I'd rather experience that miracle when we are all alone and at our weakest.
Then there will be no doubting the source of our surge of ability to hang on and to keep praying.

wildflowers from the hillsides

The Promise

He gives power to the weak, 
And to those who have 
no might
He increaseth strength.
 Isaiah 40:29

 Not one who is earnest and persevering 
will fail of success. 
The race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong. 
The weakest saint, 
as well as the strongest, 
may wear the crown of immortal glory.  
AA 313
The girls decided to take the kids camping up in the mountains. Nobody died.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 
 But he said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you,
 for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, 
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  
 That is why, for Christ’s sake, 
I delight in weaknesses,
 in insults, 
in hardships, 
in persecutions, 
in difficulties. 
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2Corinthians 12:8-10
The little Duck is still my best little buddy.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

In-home Caregivers

We have used in-home caregivers on and off for the last few years paid for through the Department of Developmental Disabilites. We've had a variety of caregivers. Some are worth their weight in gold. Others are more work than the kids are by themselves.

Our one gal just went on maternity leave.  She was perfect for us. She's been calm, confident, dependable and the she's not manipulated by the twins. She enjoys cooking with Missy - which is perfect. It was a bonus that she is vegetarian, too, as she was used to our kind of food.

The young male caregiver is just that,  young.  He's laid back and easy going and the kids trample all over him. They manipulate him to death. He does not recognize how they get what they want. He's fun and goes out of his way to try and do fun stuff like making volcanoes with them and playing tag, etc... Nice guy. But Missy is ALL over him. I had to talk to him about not letting her push the boundaries. I also talked to the agency. She is not allowed climb on his back and hold his hand, etc... She is something else around him. She gets so intense for his full attention that pretty soon her voice is LOUD, High Pitched and insanely irritating.

When the gal went on maternity leave they put the young man in her shifts as well as his. I had to call and tell them I cannot handle that much of him. It's not really him... it's his inexperience. So, I guess we are about to be introduced to a new gal.

I wish we could go back to Twyla. She was here for a few years. I had gotten her when I requested the agency find me someone with grey hair. She was lame, so Missy could get out of her reach and would throw tantrums for her because she had expectations.... She was calm and would wait. Missy would eventually come around.

I wonder what kind of caregiver the agency is sending us this time?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

About the Meds

So, Missy has not screamed since she has been on the meds. She has not been groveling in her misery day after day, hour after hour and we are seeing a lighter side to her. She nearly lost it this morning at James, but for some reason she was able to reign it in at the last second. And this is how it has been. It is so, so much easier to live with.

However,  the medicine prescribed her is NOT a mood stabilizer as I had asked for. I am not a medical person.... I did not know what I was picking up at the pharmacy the day it was prescribed. It had some weird name I did not recognize at all and  I took the doctor's word for it and gave it to her.

Turns out it is plain old Prozac.

Great! I don't see a long term benefit to a child taking Prozac. Especially for a child who seems to ride the waves, as it were. If she has any kind of bi-polar disorder it could in the end make it worse for her. It could make her manic and we have seen manic a few times in the last few weeks. We've seen talking nonstop in a high pitch tone very loudly, with incredible intensity a handful of times.

What I was looking for was something that might supply the lack in her brain chemistry. 

James is in his slump and has been for a few weeks. He's in tears every single time we ask him to move a finger. He's refusing to do his school work, skipping chores, avoiding tasks, acting helpless, refusing to answer me, even waving me off with his hand and walking off. He's building towards a blowup. I have a mental health evaluation appointment scheduled for both of them.  This is for them, but it is just as much for me, for our family.

We have seen many good things coming out of homeschooling, but having this intensity of moods and stress takes its toll. I need to put them in school next year if I can find an appropriate setting. Public school is not it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Today the twins have lived with us for 6 years.

As of last week the twins are 12 years old.

Today we started Missy on a mood stabilizer. I can only hope and pray it helps her even out.

She is crabby three weeks and half way decent one week each month.

James is much more unpredictable.  Mostly he can be okay.... but when he flips out we struggle to get him back. IF the mood stabilizer helps Missy we shall be going back to the doctor to try him on it, too.

I really have no desire to write about the twins and this part of our life.

LOTS of other good things are happening, though. Sometime I'll write more.