Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Girls Big Night!

Well, this is it.  All the driving them to classes every week for months.  All the sitting and waiting in the van while they work under the care of their teacher.  (hours of playing seach-a-word on my cell phone :)  ) The sit-ups to build core strength.  The back bends, the stretching and practicing.  All of it for this one night.  For five minutes of them up on stage with us all eagerly waiting for them to show us their stuff. 
If years ago you told me I would have daughters I would have laughed at you.  No, really I would have.  My youngest brother had two boys born to his family.  My sister had two boys born to her family and I, at that time, had two boys born to me.  We never knew if we ever were going to have any girls in our family.  I never thought I would have the blessing of raising a daughter at all.  Then came our foster care years and our first ever adopted child.  Our sweet, beautiful Faith Ann.  Our first daughter.  For the first time ever I was able to enjoy the sweet giggles of a little girl and go into the girly section of stores to look at and buy pinks and purples, hair bows and ribbons.  I never knew what I was missing till I had a daughter.  I miss our sweet baby girl so very much.
If years ago you told me I would have daughters in ballet I would have laughed again.  As most people well know, I am a playing in the dirt, no makeup, wear clothing that is comfy kinda gal.  But as my number of daughters climbed and their personalities came out they so loved ballet.  So here we are.  Several years into tights and tutu’s and big nights on stage.   Nights like tonight.  Where I see my girls giddy with excitement, butterflies in their tummies.  They are so very excited that my sister and her husband (they brought them flowers!), sister in law and my niece (YUP! I finally got one! She hand made them cards for the evenings events!)  a friend and our whole family are coming to sit and watch them up on stage.
They dress and primp and practice steps together.  Coaching each other and hugging each other every so often as they are so excited.  I can’t believe I would have missed all this.  I would have missed this. This absolute feeling of joy at having daughters….watching their silly, girly, feminine actions and life.  Had Tim and I said no….no  to the call of God on our lives when He spoke to us.  Had we said no to either one of their referrals when we received them….I don’t even want to think of it. 

You see…..they…my children, are everything I never knew I wanted.  Never knew what I was missing.  Each of them.  All of them.  When I was pregnant with both of my biological sons I prayed for healthy babies as all moms do.  But as God lead Tim and I thru life and opened our eyes to many things, so many needs.  Stretched us out of our cookie cutter type life……..we said yes….one step at a time.  One child at a time.  And I never knew.  Never… much I would love, how much I would love being called mommy by a child with autism so much.  That I would enjoy daily the care and love of a child with Cerebral Palsy so much.  That I would want to have such wonderful children around me with so many different special, unique, amazing needs.  How much I would love being the help to them…the mom to them…..that I would want their struggles and lives to me my battles and struggle and life. 
I am forever grateful to God.  To the point of tears… what I might have missed out on in life.  With out my wonderful children.  My strong and courageous sons….My sweet giddy, happy, joyous  ballet taking daughters. 
And so my daughter danced.  And I cried.  And we applauded.  We applauded for everything that the doctors all said they would never do, for every hospital stay, for every therapy session, for every surgery, for every struggle in home schooling, for every fitting for leg braces, we applauded them in joyous gratefulness to God, of who they are and how they got there.   I sat there amazed.  Just simply amazed.  That God trusted Tim and I to raise them and call them our own……our very own…daughters.  

You girls did great!  We love you now and forever!!


Daddy and mom

Matthew 18:10 - Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Isaiah 65:23 - They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

Psalm 127:3-5  Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Ebb and Flow of Farm Life

I love farm life.  I really do.  I also believe it is a wonderful way to raise children.  It teaches them so much about life. It teaches them how to take responsibility and be reliable.  Helps them be aware of where our food comes from and the work to grow it all, so not to be wasteful. 
It allows them to have outdoor pets and animals and love them, have compassion and tenderness toward them and in their care. 
All of our children love being outside and spend a lot of their free time out around the farm playing and spending time with their animals.  
I am so very grateful to God for our life here.  Also to my dad for letting us live here on his farm. 
There is one part of farm life I don’t like.  I dread it. I have never been able to handle it well and it is hard to see the children work thru it.  And that is loss.

When we first moved to the farm 14 years ago we all worked hard to turn part of an old chicken house into a very nice barn.  Before long we started having a few mice here and there around in the barn.  We all decided we needed a barn cat.  A friend of mine had too many barn cats.  She offered us a mother cat and her single large male kitten.  They were both orange tabby cats.  They had both been  in her barn with goats.  She had a similar set up as we did.  It would be an easy transition for the cats, so we accepted the wonderful gift.  She said the mother was from a good line of mousers.  She said their names were Jake (the mom) and Junior (the kitten male).  (Her kids had named them  :) )  She also had them fixed before sending them here.  They were both not handled much and kind of wild.  But over time they would allow us to pet them for a few moments once in a while.  After years of caring for them Junior would even let us pick him up every so often.
Carolyn with Junior.

The kitten grew till it was larger than the mother.  They both looked so similar, that from a distance it was hard to tell them apart.  I would sit and watch them a lot.  Once you got to know them you could see the mother was slightly fuller and less muscular and a bit lighter yellow in color.  The male Junior was big boned and very muscular. 
Jake the mother.

Boy, were they good mousers.  They would regularly leave me mice and moles at the feed dishes in exchange for the food we fed them.  If the barn was clean they would bring me lizards or work together to take out full grown wild rabbits.  Two wonderful hunting machines.

Over the years we have had many stay cats show up that we have trapped, fixed and released.  I don’t mind feeding them as long as they aren’t making more.  Needless to say a mouse does not dare to show his whiskers in our barn anymore.
Over the years Jake and Junior started to slow down in their hunting.  Within the last few years both of their fur has faded and their faces are more white and grey than tabby orange.  They slept a lot more and just enjoyed being lazy barn cats and let the younger group do all the work.  There muscle tone is all but gone.  This past winter Junior started really sleeping all the time.  I could not keep weight on him.  There was nothing wrong with him, he was just really, really old for an outdoor cat.  I have always fed our outdoor cats dry cat food but started feeding him wet food two or three times a day to try to keep his weight up and help him keep warmer.  I have heat lamps out in the barn and he kept close by to them or would snuggle up to a willing cat or goat.  We were so happy when he made it thru winter.  Dad and I were talking one day and figured Junior was 14 and his mom 15 or 16 years old.  We said how surprised we were that his mom was doing so much better than he was for their age.  But surprised, that for outdoor barn cats they had lived that long.   
In the last month Junior has started just sleeping and getting up only to eat and potty.  He sleeps at the base of a round bale of hay,  just a few feet from his food dishes.   He was not suffering or I would have done something.  He was just really old and tired.  Still purred when we petted him and always happy to see us and meow to remind us to feed him when we came in the barn.  We tried to make his life as accommodating as possible.
I am sure you know where this is going…….As today when I went out to the barn we could not find him.  We searched high and low.  We finally found him.  I will never get used to this part of farm life.  Never.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.


May the Lord God in heaven, who cares about the details of our lives, be with us all as we live and grow in Him.

Friday, May 24, 2013

For The Least of These

Holiday picture 2005!

Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I have wanted to do a post for a while about adoption.  It is a topic that is very dear to my heart and I believe, from reading Gods Word, dear to Gods heart as well.  As after all, we are all adopted too, into Gods family!

Romans 8:14-16   For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Before I got married, when I thought about adoption, I always pictured it as a way for people to have a child when other means had failed.  The people that I had met who had adopted, adopted a baby at birth and raised it as their own.   I believe that is a wonderful thing to give a home to a child and bring the joy of raising a child to a couple.  But once I started doing foster care my eyes were opened to a whole new world I knew nothing about.  At first it was not an easy thing to see or feel comfortable about. It is over whelming and sad.   

The need was so great. I wanted to fix the situation, help them all, my heart was heavy from seeing it and learning it.   When we first started doing foster care I saw children that languished in care (in the system) and them needing homes to be adopted.  The children that had their parental rights terminated on, for terrible things, if the foster families could not or did not want to adopt them…they often just sat in foster care waiting for a family to come forward to adopt them.  Tim and I literally watched many of these children grow up and age out of the system.  After seeing that, my eyes were then opened to how large of a number that was.  How there was a website for almost every state in the union showing picture after picture of children that had their parental rights terminated and were wards of the state. (AdoptUSkids) Snap shot after snap shot with brief descriptions under them telling a little about that smiling face.  That is how we found Antonio.  I stumbled upon the Georgia website called My Turn Now. 

I know that most of these children have special needs.   Special needs to the state can mean anything from being over the age of 3 years old, to a large sibling group, to a child of a minority, to a child that has been diagnosed with something.  I believe all children deserve to have a family.  To have love, to feel and be safe.  I was so sad to learn of it all.  Since finding out then about these kids, it has never left my heart and mind.  I speak of it often to people.  I try to advocate for the children that need homes.

The next situation that was brought to my attention was after we had Elizabeth come into our lives.  After she came to live with us, we spent a great deal of extended stays in hospitals.  It was there we learned about “border babies”.  These are babies or children that have entered the hospital and been abandoned and have such medical needs that a foster home could not be found for them.  I have met, played with and seen many of these children.  Many of these children living years in the hospital. While staying in the hospital with Elizabeth, by the grace of God, I was able to help at least one child out and into a home and is now adopted.  The mother of that child was able to get another child that had been in the hospital her whole life (five years) out and into a foster home that was a nurse.  But most “children’s hospitals” across the nation have some of these children in them.  It is just not discussed or spoken of.  The hospitals absorb the cost.  We all pay the price.

The next adoption situation that I learned about was international adoption.  There are soooo many children, especially those with special needs that are waiting in foreign countries to be adopted.  I pour over their pictures as well.  The ones on Reece’s Rainbow and other sites.  (RainbowKids)  I pray for them.  Some of those children are living in just deplorable situations.  I have seen them die before being adopted.  Many so tiny for their age.  A 14 year old child that weighed 11 pounds.  Yes, you read that right.  11 pounds.  Child after child that needs to be redeemed.  That need to be set free.  That need a mommy and a daddy…a family….a place to call home. 

Psalms 68:6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

Please don’t go to this link if you can’t handle the sight. (Fair warning) But this is a blog page of a dear sweet family that have went to adopt these institutionalized children time and time again.  They gave them a home and loved them thru their institutional behaviors and these kids flourish!  This particular blog page I am sending you to, is a page she compiled of before and after pictures of many of the children that have been adopted and saved by many different families.  Praise God.   The images never leave my mind. No Greater Joy Mom "seeing is believing"

I don’t feel it is every persons calling to adopt.  Matter of fact…I know it is not every families calling to adopt.   I understand that we are all different, have different talents, and are able to serve the Lord in different ways.  We are all a different part of the body of Christ having a different function from each other……..But there are a few things in God’s Word that we are all called to and two of those things are to care for the widows and orphans.  I am a quiet person.  I try to never ask for help and do things on my own with Gods help.  But I am going to ask something from you.  It is something God asks of you as well…. Something that won’t take you very long or inconvenience you.  I am asking you to join with me and many others to please pray.  Pray daily and often for these orphans to find families.  For God to raise up Godly men and women to come forward for these children and provide the finances for these children to be adopted.….. If you feel led… look at these websites and fervently pray over these children’s pictures, using their names, bringing them before the throne of God for help and a family.  To make it easy, pick one child a week.  Print out their picture and put it on the fridge and every time you see it, touch it and pray for that child.

I am also asking anyone who reads this, if you are very brave…and truly feel led of God……. to please pray with an open mind and heart…listening for Gods answer for two weeks about orphans.  To pray about, if it is His will for you to sponsor a waiting child.  Every bit helps so much.  Maybe sponsor, pray for, or give a small donation to,  a family that is trying to reach the amount of money they need to go and get their child.  And for the very brave, those who maybe had a seed planted in their mind and heart about adoption, waiting to hear from God what to do with their lives….to pray if God has a child, your child, out there waiting for you to bring them home and redeem them. 

Again, I know that every family is not called to adopt.  Adoption can be a scary thing for us as well as the child….…Adoption is time consuming , to complete all the paperwork and classes.  Adoption is life changing, it will totally change your life to bring another child, often with huge needs into your pretty calm and normal life.  Adoption is a lot of work!  To raise a child as unto the Lord is a lot of work and prayer! No matter who that child is.   Adoption  is costly, it is very expensive to pay for an adoption, but if it is Gods will,  He owns it all and will provide every penny.  Jesus knows adoption is costly as it cost Jesus His very life.

It will cost us ours, to devote to a child to raise it.

Tim and I are normal average every day people.  We didn't adopt to be popular, because we had a lot of time or money, because we wanted a huge family, because we thought people would like us or admire us.  We adopted because God asked us to do it and the need is so very great.  He asked us to stretch out of our comfort zone time and time again.  To walk into very scary territory at times where we felt less than qualified or able.  But once we stepped up to what He asked of us, He was there every step of the way and we have literally seen miracles and been blessed in such huge ways that we never would have seen if we had not lived the life God asked us to.
Yes, if it were not for adoption I would not be a child of God.  I would not be saved.  If it were not for adoption I would not have the wonderful family I am blessed with.  Look at our children.  It is not just pictures on a computer screen.  We are a blessed and happy family.  Adoption to me is personal….it is a beautiful thing.


John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.


May the Lord God in heaven lead and guide you in all you do,



A few more stories/things pertaining to this topic if interested:

The Blessing of Verity - the story of Katie's adoption

Stuck - place to buy a documentary about the orphan crisis

Sweet Esther's Story - video put on their blog as to why they are adopting 

Twelve Blessings

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Toilet Talk

I know I said I was not going to do any more projects for a while but this one was a necessity. 

Antonio wears diapers.  He can not tell when he has to use the rest room.  He was born a micro preemie at 23 weeks gestation.  He went thru a lot.   When he came to live with us at 6  years old no one had been able to potty train him but I gave it a try anyways.  They were correct.  He was not able to hold or even know when he was urinating.  But…..and this is huge….he could his bowels.  I would much rather change an adult sized child of mine, for the rest of his life, in a tee tee diaper than the other.  So praise God he can use the potty and get all his BM’s in the toilet.
Antonio has Cerebral Palsy and his tone is very spastic and tight.  He arches his back and he uses his whole body to speak or he does not have enough strength in his diaphragm or breath control to talk.  He uses his tone to expel the air to speak in quick burst.  His muscles from contracting all day long are rock solid.  When he gets excited or startled he jumps so strongly his whole chair rocks and bounces off the ground a little and his chair is very heavy.  He has been in various therapies his whole life and we weekly pay a pediatric massage therapist to come out and do massages on him to try to stretch him and relax his tone some.

All these years he has always had a potty chair/shower chair we have just loved.  It saves us so much time and energy in morning toileting and showering.  Using this chair we can get him up and out of bed and into this chair.  Easily push him over the potty and then once done there wheel him right into the shower to be bathed.  Great and functional chair.   It is called the Blue Wave by Rifton.  It has been very functional and a great chair all this time, until now.  He has gotten so heavy and strong that when he talks while sitting in this huge plastic potty chair he breaks it.  Pops the back right off if it.  It is cracked now and if we replace it the same thing will happen.    When he does this we are having a terrible time to safely get him out of the chair as he is belted to the back and seat part.  It takes several people working quickly and all lifting him to get him undone.  It is just dangerous.  I have researched and looked high and low for a solution.  I have found a few sturdier shower/bath chairs that might work for him but they will either not fit in our bathroom or offer his body enough support.  :(  We have a very narrow space on each side of the potty in his bathroom for the chair to fit and the rifton was the only one narrow enough. 
 So I prayed.

I knew I needed to come up with a solution quickly as what we were using could be dangerous and decided to build one to fit the boys bathroom commode myself.  Now I don’t know how to build a handicap potty chair.  But I serve a God that knows everything.  So I prayed, drew up some plans and went to Home Depo. 
I prayed 
and cut 
and glued 
and drilled. 
 I was having trouble with trying to find out how to attach a seat and a therapist friend of mine had the solution!   
And my husband came up with how to do the backing.   

Praise God, it turned out well.  I am so grateful.  So very grateful.  I am going to use the Velcro belt straps from his other chair to belt him in.  I am just amazed at how God helps me every day in EVERY way.  Even with building a toilet!  At a fraction of the cost it would be to buy one too!

Daniel 2:22-23  He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.  I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

May the Mighty God in heaven help you with the details of your life as you live and grow in Him.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

So Hard to Prepare

This week has just been so very busy with all the appointments and things we had to get done.  I really need to set aside some time, next week, to get some gardening done as the weeds are making themselves welcome right now.  I also have a lot farm work to get done next week in preparation for baby goats that are all due to arrive the first week of June.  I have four pregnant does!  Time is ticking.

At the beginning of the week I had a wonderful mother’s day.  I got up early to go to Chaplain at the hospital and do my rounds.  I saw 66 patients.  When I got home my grown son Stephen, came to visit, brought me flowers and played me a really intense game of Scrabble. 
My husband grilled out for us all.   He had bought me a steak.  Yum!   DFCS did come on that day and do our home inspection.  It all went very well and we felt encouraged and relieved once the gentleman left.  It was a very lovely day.

Monday, I went antiquing with my dad, for the day, for a fun time out.  We do that about once a month.  I found a really nice used wooden high chair that matches the look in my kitchen.  I always see so many toys from my childhood.  If I had kept them all, in good condition, and in the original boxes……I’d be rich!  But would not have enjoyed being a kid as much as I did!  :)

Tuesday, we had one appointment after another.   The whole day went by so quickly that I fell into bed exhausted  late at night after four appointments thru out the day.

Wednesday, I take all our kids for their therapies they get, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech.  They each get various ones they need.  We have to be there by 8:00 am.  That is… get all the kids up, Antonio toileted, bathed and dressed, all the barn chores done including milking and all the normal morning things done and to the therapy place by 8:00am.  Whew.  We have done this once a week for 14 years.  I would rather all the kids go in all on the same day and get it all done and over with, than to come to town so often at various times to do it all.  We would never have time for home schooling.  Last year we cut back to every other week therapy sessions and it settled down our schedule a whole lot.   None the less it was a very busy day.

Thursday, I had a doctor’s appointment in a town thirty minutes away, first thing in the morning.  So we had a redo of the day before getting ready and out the door.  I sat on the doctor table (you know the one, covered with white crinkly paper?)  and had this view for over thirty minutes waiting on the doctor to come in and see me.  I hate sitting still.  

Then we proceeded down to Marietta to pick up a very nice used crib a family was selling at a great deal, Praise be to God.   I usually don’t drive that far anymore as I get very tired when I drive.  But on the way down we had a break at my doctor’s appointment and on the way back I stopped for a little while to let the kids window shop and got a break.  So Praise God it was not too bad.

Friday, I had to clean my sorely neglected house.  Catch up on laundry and get the house picked up, cleaned and back in shape.  I was sooooo tired by Friday night.  I fell asleep while I said my prayers.

I am sharing with you our very busy week so you can see a little of how our life gets sometimes.  Each of those days we still had farm work, meals to prepare, and daily care of our family to do.  We home school year round because we have days that we have so many appointments at times.  Also surgeries and unexpected hospital stays.  I try to get several appointments on the same day if I can to help with our home schooling schedule.  

But...... the whole time I was working or driving or whatever I did all week long.  The one thing that was always on my mind was preparing our home and family for foster care.  It is so hard to prepare for something when you don’t know what exactly that will be.  You know?   I mean we are opening up our home for ages newborn to 3 years old.  We have nothing for children that young in our home anymore.  We have had to put safety plug in all our outlets, put latches on doors where we keep chemicals and dangerous things.  Think where to put baby gates if we need them and think about sleeping arrangements.  (Zeke is praying for a girl.  I thought it was odd.  When I asked him he said, so it won’t be in his room and he won’t get woken up in the night or have to smell diapers.  I thought that was cute.) But in the next breath he said he hopes its a boy so he will have someone to play with his wooden trains with.  ;)  The crib does happen to be in his room right now.  We can easily move it if a girl comes.   

We prepared a changing table area, bought a crib and a highchair.  But what else can I do?  What else to get when you don’t know age, gender and perhaps special need of what child might be coming?  Back years ago, when we did foster care, I had boxes of a few sizes of all clothing, both gender, on hand all the time.  Now, I just don’t want a lot around that might not ever get used.   So I guess we wait.  I have found a good deal on a used swing.  But we might get a 2 or 3 year old that might stay a long time and we would never use the swing.  So I guess we wait and trust God to provide, as He always has, for everything we need when we need it.

Philippians 4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  May God keep you safe in His mighty hand where ever you go, in all that you do.