Tuesday, February 18, 2020

It's Coming!

It is on its way!!



The mail truck will soon be backing into our driveway and unloading will commence.


AWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

Breathe... breathe... breathe...


Stay tuned... we have been busy ... so much to share about this new book!!



Sunday, February 16, 2020

We Hide It Well

It's Sunday Morning.



Mary just finished her breakfast.

We won the lottery this morning.

Truly.

Sundays are hard.

A weekly battle that I have come to dread.


Our day of rest is usually one of anxiety and stress as we navigate around what epilepsy does to our little one. Going from sleep to wake for Mary is her absolute worst part of the day. We deal with morning time issues every single morning but somehow on Sunday it always seems worse.

By the time we get to church we feel like we have run a marathon and should win some kind of consolation prize for just showing up.

Some mornings it is all I can do to hold it in. The stress and frustration just below the surface.

We hide it well.

Most people at church are oblivious to how much effort it takes to get out the door.

But this morning she ate. 

She didn't start eating and then go into freeze mode. Not able to swallow or spit. 

She didn't chipmunk the food in her mouth. Seizures piling on with us helpless to do anything but wait it out.

She didn't refuse outright to eat.

She didn't go into status. We didn't have to rescue her.

She ate. She swallowed. She talked. She sang with Papa while he practiced the guitar. She took all her pills.

The lottery. It was the grand prize lottery this morning.

And we are breathing easy. Feeling like we could win if all marathons looked like this. Less stressful. Wishing every morning was like this. Especially Sundays.

Church. Worship. 

No marathon.


Thank you Lord. Thank you!


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Annointed With Oil


This last week as we have watched our little girl suffer over and over again, we have been raised up, carried, encouraged and loved by the prayers of all the saints who surround us.


Many of those prayers have been from those who follow this blog and are friends on Facebook. Unseen friends who are scattered across the globe who have come to love our three littles. 

Many are from family and friends who can't be near us but can still reach out and cover our little girl in prayer.

And many are from our church family.

A church family that has rallied for us this past week. Calling, e-mailing, praying, visiting. 

This morning in church our little girl tanked twice. Slipping into the abyss of seizures that have become her norm in the last week. 

Between tanking we carried her to the front of the church. She was surrounded by pastors and those who love her. And they prayed. Believing along with us that God hears our prayers. He loves her. He hears and He responds to our cries. He can heal. We know this. Mary was anointed by oil and lifted to the throne.

I am not one to lose it in public. I lost it in church today. The stress. The heartache this last week. The words of the doctors ringing in my ears. The raging. The crazy. I lost it. 

And God, in His loving kindness, moved into my spirit and whispered peace in my heart.

We carried her out and while Rob played the guitar for the offering, I sat on the floor in the back of the church rescuing my child for the umpteenth time in the week.

Every other time when she has come out of rescue she has been dazed, angry, agitated and aggressive. 


Today she came out with her eyes shining. Her impish grin on her face.



She has been that way this entire afternoon.

Bright. Happy. Talking. Seizures are there but few and far between.


Cured. Probably not in the immediate. She still is having seizures.

But an anointing that gave us a respite from the weary and the stress. An anointing that gave our little girl peace for a time. Joy. Happiness. A chance to go outside and jump on the trampoline with Papa.

He anoints my head with oil.

My cup overflows.

Surely His goodness and mercy follow me all my days.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Forever.

He is good.

He meets us where we are and carries us when we cannot go on.

And He CAN heal. We believe that. He can heal our little girl. For a season or forever. In this life or the next to come. 



Friday, January 24, 2020

Raging


We are home.

I won't lie.

The last 24 hours have been beyond brutal. 


Watching our little girl have non-stop seizures over and over again is hard.

Watching our little girl react violently to the drugs they give her is on an entirely different level.

She was feral last night. I spent well over 5 solid hours with a child who was scratching, biting, hitting and screaming. If I came too close she would try to scratch my eyes out. It wasn't until close to midnight that she finally fell into a deep sleep of exhaustion. They moved us out of the ER about the same time and after we were settled in the room, I curled up in bed next to her and held her. It was the only sweet moments we had the entire time she was in the hospital.

Today she is only a few degrees better. We are home and she is still raging. Everything sets her off and we are helpless to help her. The doctors tell us we should be grateful the seizures stopped. Grateful isn't exactly spilling from my lips right now. I want them to come be with my child to see the wreckage those drugs leave behind. 

And while Rob was washing the junk out of her hair this afternoon she had her first seizure since the massive dose of drugs thrown at her yesterday.

Respite from seizures is short-lived around here.

We are searching for the whys at this point. There could be many and none. On the paperwork they sent home they said it could just be the progression of the disease. I want to rage against that. I want my raging voice to join hers. 

Not for her.

Not for her.

We want a reason.

A reason means we can fix it. A reason gives us direction. A reason gives us hope.

Their words are too final and hopeless and I rage against them.

We just will keep trying.

And try not to despair.

And keep hoping and searching and praying and fighting for our little girl.

Even when she tries to scratch our eyes out.






Thursday, January 23, 2020

Unexpected Admission


It’s been a rough week. 

Little girl couldn’t get a break from status seizures.

Our rescue drugs were not keeping them at bay.


Unfortunately the cocktail offered by the hospital sends her into orbit.


It’s going to be a rough few days here as they work to break the cycle and try to figure out why she is tanking.

Her reputation preceded her. She gets the sad prize for being her neurologist’s most complicated case.


Praying for answers.


Praying for patience. She’s been raging for hours and we anticipate many more. 


Please pray for little girl. 


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Saying Goodbye


Yesterday our Lucy left our house for forever.



Our silly, wild, over enthusiastic dog who loved her peoples with an exuberance that often left them flat on the floor is gone.


She was Little Girl's best friend in the world. They were Trouble One and Trouble Two. 


Loyal. Happy. Sweet. All great descriptions of our Lucy.


But also crazy and reckless. Wild. Uncontrollable.

Nothing was safe with her around. Every tool, toy, bike, piece of equipment, amazon box etc. was her personal chew toy. The amount of things she destroyed could fill a landfill. 

No one was safe. Every person who walked on our property was fair game for her. Little people were especially fun. Slamming them to the ground and rolling over top of them was her favorite pastime. 

My poor 85 year old dad took his life in his hands each time he came over.

Chewing and destroying we could handle. She's still a puppy. She will outgrow that destructive tendency.

The jumping and uncontrolled wildness we could not.

We tried. We tried to train her. She would sit and listen and stay at mealtimes like a pro. She understood commands. She was calm and quiet in the house with us. But as soon as a car drove into the driveway she went into frenzy mode and we could not reign her in. She was too big and powerful. We had friends try to work with her but hit the same wall we did. She would not come or sit or stay when people were around. She just went crazy. 

She was too wild. And we couldn't risk her harming the little people who so often visit. We couldn't risk her hurting my dad. Our UPS driver and other delivery drivers were traumatized by her. 

Last week she took out my friend's little girl. Knocked her over and when the child tried to get up she took her down again. It was pure joy for Lucy. The child was her plaything. I ran and yelled to get her off, but she was having way too much fun. At the expense of a little girl. 

It was the last straw.

She left yesterday. She has a great new home. A single man who loves wild and crazy dogs and who has the time and energy to work with her. She will be well loved and cared for. She will run and play with his other dogs, sleep in his room at night and be his special pet. He will feed her fresh cooked food and give her all the love and attention she deserves.

It's a win for Lucy. 

She went to the best kind of place for her.

But a loss for us.

She left a hole in our hearts.

We loved her. She was our crazy puppy. If we lived in a  bubble with just our family we would never ever have given her up. But too many people come here. And we had to consider their well-being. 

So yesterday we said goodbye.

And today I cry for my dog. Missing her crazy wild self. Missing her company while I work. Wishing we could have figured out how to stop the jumping, the crazy.


The kids and I, we loved our Lucy.

And we are really really going to miss her.


Truly.




Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Yearly Yell... And Why...



What do you do when you get notice that it will be ugly sweater day at school in two days and no one has an ugly sweater and the last thing you want to do is go to the store????


You make your own!!

Well...

We didn't make Little Girl's.... I  bought her adorable Christmas outfit last April when it was on sale.


But all the boys had were matching PJ pants and red shirts.

But with a bit of felt and some beads and string...


We happily made our own!!


To match Little sister's....


Win!

------------------------------------------

Thank you to everyone who took the time to click on Ernest's picture.

He went over the 1,000 wall and beyond.

To all those who reached out in the last few days to thank me for reminding them about the Angel Tree/MACC... Your Welcome.

And here is your reminder again....

As of this evening...

60 babes still need to cross the 1,000 wall.

Yesterday morning I took the bit of Christmas money I had and was able to bump a child or two over the wall.

It was the best part of my day yesterday.

Those babes had NO IDEA I loved on them for a few minutes.

Their future families (Oh please families step up) will never know that I gave to their little one to help bring them home.

It doesn't matter to me that they are unaware.

The pleasure is in the act.

Knowing that in the future - my little gift is going to make it a tiny bit easier on a family.

Do me a favor.

Just click THIS LINK.

Scroll down and look at all the faces of all the children.

The top 9 children have families who are racing across the ocean to get them.

The rest...

They are waiting.

And waiting.

Go click.

Look through the waiting babes.

11 years ago I did.

I had NO INTENTION of adopting at that point.

Not international. Not special needs.

I clicked because someone shared.

I picked three children off the tree that year and gave to their grant accounts.

I felt good.

I felt like I had done something beautiful and holy.

I had no intention of adopting.

None.

But after Christmas I went back.

I looked again.

I looked for those three children.

And then I clicked farther into the website.

And a little face popped up at me.


And the rest is history.

He wasn't on the Angel Tree.

Yet God used the Angel Tree to break my heart.

He used the Angel Tree to connect me to that picture.

So each year I yell.

Knowing that somewhere - someone might just CLICK HERE.

And they may just give and that is amazing and wonderful.

And they may go back.

Look again.

And the Holy Spirit just may speak.

So click. Look. Pray. Give, so that we can get all the babes over 1,000. And if you feel called by the Lord - Adopt!!















Friday, December 27, 2019

Teeny Tiny



I promised a friend I would yell for him back in November.

I promised that I would share him and get him seen.


Time got away from me and I didn't yell as I wanted to yell. 

Every day something took my time and energy and I just couldn't pull myself together to get a blogpost written.

Every time I checked the Angel Tree I would look for him on there. Up until yesterday he was hanging around the  bottom of the tree - his grant account rising slowly. 

Then last night I checked and saw that he was less than 50 from jumping over the 1,000 wall.

I was happy to see him jump, but recognized I had failed in my desire.

He needs to be seen.

He needs me to stop and share with you how precious and worthy he is.

His Reece's Rainbow name is Ernest.

He's not just small... He's teeny tiny.


Do you see how teeny tiny he is???
His little chin barely makes it over the table.


Oh Mama!!

He's got a beautiful smile and a precious personality...

Packed in the tiniest little body.

SEE HIM!

He's 6 years old.

His diagnoses are bigger than his tiny body.


He won't survive over there.

If he's transferred to a mental institute like Aaron's he won't survive.

He's too tiny and fragile.

Mama - Where are you??

Papa - go pick him up!

He need less than 50.00 to reach his 1,000 goal which is wonderful. but his family still needs to find him.

Please share Ernest

Please shout for him today.

Please pray his family SEES him.

Teeny tiny boy so desperately needs to be seen.

Click here to help Ernest get over the 1,000 wall.

CLICK HERE to see a whole host of other very worthy children who desperately need a Mama and a Papa too. Many of them are NOT over the 1,000 wall and we only have 5 days to reach that goal.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Motley Crew


Martha Stewart would laugh us out of her catalog.



Our ornaments are an acquired assortment of ragtag balls and memory-laden pieces with the wild mess of homemade ones added in.

None of them are worth anything except to us.

Our tree is no longer the hand cut tree we acquired each year tramping around on the Christmas tree farms. We loved hunting for our perfect tree although none of them would have ever made it into a catalog.

One year our hand cut tree died half-way through the Christmas season. By Christmas day it was a bare naked tree with a million needles littering the floor.

Our tree is now a store-bought one due to having to exile the last hand cut tree to the garage for the duration of the Christmas season after Ben had a serious allergic reaction to it. That year our presents were pretty forlorn without the tree standing over them.

Our kids hang the ornaments.



Wherever they want.

They have no sense of design.

They don't think about balance.

They just enjoy putting our ragtag assortment on the branches.

They hang based on their height or reach.



Which makes our tree lopsided and heavy-laden in certain sections. Usually down-low.

I've never rearranged.

Not since our first born hung his first ornament on the branches.

It's their tree.


It's their fun.

I don't need a perfectly balanced tree with gorgeous ornaments.

I don't need to 'fix' what they have done.

I may rehang one that has come tumbling to the floor.

I may rescue one that is hanging precariously on a branch.

But I'm fine with our mess of a tree.


I don't need picture-perfect.


Our lives are not picture-perfect.

We are a motley crew.

We rarely dress up pretty. We don't go out to fancy places. We are a crew of ragtag kids, homegrown and brought from overseas.

We live chaos and crazy most of the time.

From the outside looking in we look a bit of a mess, unbalanced, uneven and definitely ragtag.


But we love.

And we are fine with how we look.

Who cares if we don't make the Martha Stewart catalog.


Who cares if we are not picture perfect.

Who cares if the lights on our tree this year have completely died!

We love our motley tree and we love our motley crew.

And that's all that matters!

















Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Sweet Tale About Pink Socks

Let me tell you a tale this Tuesday morning.

It won't take long.

It's short. It's sweet.

It's about a little boy in pink socks named Conrad on Reece's Rainbow.


It's about a blogpost I wrote as his Angel Tree/MACC Warrior. You can read it HERE.

It was prayed over and posted on Friday, November 1st. The first day of MACC.

I don't know how many views it received. I rarely look at those stats.

I do know that it was shared.

Not once but several times.

Friends on my wall read the post and shared on their wall.

And some of those people shared on their walls.

About a little boy in pink socks.


One of those shares was seen by a family who had been praying about adopting a little one with arthrogryposis.

DID YOU READ THAT??

Let me state that again. One of those shares was seen by a family who had been in prayer! They had a little one with arthrogryposis and had looked around their table and saw an empty seat and had been praying. They had been praying.

And on that Friday - they read my post. 

Because someone shared. And someone shared. And someone else shared.

And one of those shares touched a family.

And the Holy Spirit whispered.

Of course they were afraid. Of course they wondered. Of course they had to ask a ton of questions.

But as they voiced their fears and worries and questions - the peace of God filled their hearts....

And love... Love filled their hearts.

Love for a little boy in pink socks.

And they said YES!

And all your gifts of love to Conrad were encouragement and confirmation.

AND CONRAD HAS A FAMILY!


And next Christmas - next Christmas - he's going to be surrounded by a Mama and a Papa and brothers and sisters and lots of love... a whole ton of love.

And that's my story.

Short. Sweet. Simple.

A blogpost written. A share. or two. or three. God whispering. Yes, Lord. 

Thank you, Jesus!

Amen!

P.S. Conrad's family still needs to raise a ton of money so CLICK HERE to say thank you for saying yes!!




Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Fabulous

Did you see????



My sweet Conrad jumped over the 1,000 wall and beyond!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS POURED INTO HIM.

But those who haven't yet... I'm not letting you off the hook.

You see it costs 24,000-30,000 to adopt from his country. So even though we hit our goal... if you didn't get a chance to give to Conrad... Please do! 

I would love to see his grant account climb and climb. When his family claims him, every dime in his account will be one less dime they have to raise to pay his ransom!

So please don't stop!

CLICK HERE to donate to Conrad!

And keep praying for Conrad as he waits for a family!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Lies, Lies and the Hard Truth


I don't know Conrad's story but if it is anything like John and Aaron's - he was abandoned at birth.



He was left behind - his crooked little body rejected.  His Mama probably cried a river when she walked out of the hospital empty-handed. But in that world - most Mamas don't look back. If they do it is to console themselves that they are better off in the orphanage. That's what the doctors tell them. That's what the nurses say. That's what their family whispers. Better off. Leave them. The government will take care of him.

Lies.

Lies.

Lies.

I know.

My boys were not better off.

  

No child in an orphanage is ever better off than in a family.

No helpless baby is better off learning that their anguished cries will not be heard.

My boys screamed for their Mamas in those first weeks of life.

They cried tears that were not consoled until they learned to not cry again.

They learned to not cry.

They learned that wet, dirty diapers were not often changed. 
They learned that hungry bellies were not always filled. 
They learned that meal times were rushed and food was expected to be eaten quickly.
The learned to gag down their food fast.

They learned to swallow their vomit to keep their belly full.

They learned that they had to create their own soothing tricks to comfort themselves against the dark nights and lonely days.
They learned that by rocking their bodies back and forth in the crib they felt better.

They learned to know who the nannies were who cared. 
They learned to know who the nannies were who harassed and harmed them. 
They learned that hands are often harsh and fast and quick. 
They learned to turn off their desire for gentle, loving touch. 
They learned to recoil when hands came close. 

They learned that no one was going to teach them anything. 
They learned only the world inside their section of the building. 
They learned that disabled children are second class citizens. 

They learned tricks to get attention. 
They learned that their dimples got them favors. 
They learned to smile.

 Even when smiling was the last thing they felt in their hearts.

They learned.

And that was just in the first few weeks of life.

In just the first few weeks of life they experienced abandonment, neglect, hunger, pain, fear, harshness, loneliness, distress

In the first few weeks of life they learned to shut down emotionally.

In the first few weeks of life they learned the coldness of a world inside an orphanage.

In the first few weeks of life they learned coping mechanics to survive.

In the first few weeks of life they came face to face with the reality that they were completely alone.

In just the first few weeks of life.


The damage and trauma from that cannot be erased apart from the grace of God.

They are not better off.

And that is the plain truth.

But not the full truth.

Because in their country - a family with a disabled child faces challenges that equal Job's troubles.

Sometimes hospitals won't take or care for a disabled child unless the family is able to pay bribes.

Hospitals that do take them are often unwilling to go the extra miles for them because, "They are disabled, what do you expect."

Therapies are difficult to access.

Special education does not exist.

Navigating around is next to impossible as there are no modifications for wheelchairs. Buildings are not accessible, sidewalks are broken and treacherous. Buses, trains and other public transportation have no accommodations for the handicapped.

The attitude of the people is that disabled children need to be put away. The pressure is intense on families who want to keep their child. They fight to even validate their child's existence in the society.

There are some charities and some programs but not everyone has access to those programs.

It's a steep hill for families to climb if they choose to keep their child.

Most can't afford to climb that hill.

Most can't handle the pressure from their families and friends that they need to give the child up.

Most have to face the reality that they have no money or means to care for their babe in the ways they need.

Most latch onto the words of the doctors and the nurses who urge them to give their child up as a lifeline to their child. Believing that their child will truly be better off in an orphanage. Believing the lies. Because they have little choice. 

And so they leave them behind. Hoping. Praying. Crying. Not looking back. Few ever look back. 


And their tiny little babe is left alone in the world. Stuffed into a crib beside 10-20 other cribs of babies who also have been left alone.


Babies who stopped crying after weeks and weeks of abandonment.

Babies who learned at the tiniest of age that life hurts.

It just plain hurts.

And that's the hard truth.

I don't know Conrad's story but I can imagine it is close to what I just wrote.

Because it is a common story over there.

It is a story both my sons share.

It's why I can't just walk away.

Because if we don't yell or advocate for the forgotten ones - the least of these - who will?

Conrad needs out.

I know hearts are being stirred for him. His grant account is rising. Please don't stop. His Mama and Papa are listening. I know it. And they are looking for signs. They are looking for a fleece from God. Reassurance. Is this cliff one we should jump??  

Our gifts to Conrad are one simple way to encourage, reassure. God's going to provide. Bit by bit. Little by little. Money can't be the reason that stands in the way for Conrad to find a family.

Please help me get Conrad to 1,000 and beyond!!  Please sow into his life. Not all of us are called to adopt but we are all called to care for the orphans. 

And this happens to be a really adorable little orphan!!


CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO CONRAD'S ACCOUNT.

P.S. - The tragedy of the disabled in Conrad's country is something that needs to be fixed in country. Rob and I support adoptions but we also believe in supporting ministries that come alongside families so that they can keep their children. Some of these ministries are listed below if you want to help families keep their children at home.

MTU - They bring dignity and hope to children with special needs and their families by offering medical, therapeutic, educational, psychological, spiritual and social services to their clients.

HU - Their ministry includes children from troubled homes, children with special needs, refugees, graduates of the orphanage, families who have adopted and/or are fostering children, and meeting the needs of the older generation

MAYA'S HOPE - They provide families with the basics they need to support their children - formula, diapers, medicines, therapies and more.