Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dreams and ATTACK!!!!

 Is this little boy handsome or what?  How can he be turning 3 this next week?  I truly don't understand.  Wow is he so incredible and I am thrilled to be his momma. 
 First some noteworthy things.......dreams.  Now sometimes dreams are just dreams.  Sometimes they are what we are thinking about.  Sometimes they are a glimpse of God's love and provision, and I believe that God can also use dreams to tell us things.  I do not believe that dreams were only for those in the Bible.  :)
 So here is where I am headed.  BEFORE we announced that we were doing our homestudy update- I had 3 separate people who I haven't met in person, but have become friends with through FB.  Other adoptive families tell me that they specifically had dreams about our new addition.  In addition to this- I had a very vivid dream last night that I had given birth to a child.  Now for those who do not know my story you can go here to read why without a miracle from God that would be impossible.  :)

I love how God places dreams from others and through others to speak to me.  We actually received a phone call for a possible placement well before I posted about it here.  We are open to another special little one- who may be differently abled, are being patient (well trying anyway), and listening to who God has in mind.  Since we can't share private details you probably won't know about it.....until it eventually happens :). 
 OK so we know that we know that we know!  Satan hates our guts.  It's true....and not shocking.  Well not anymore that is.  Since our eyes were opened to spiritual attacks and the whole idea that when you are loving and caring for others, starting or being involved in ministry, adopting, raising children to know the  Lord, and fighting for your marriage in a good way- you will be attacked.  It may be through many different areas of your life that you don't expect.

In my many years I have seen and heard from others things like: job layoffs, appliances dying, tree falling on your car- as you are leaving to pick up your new child, financial difficulties, your children rebelling, crazy things coming between you and your spouse, health, and the list could go on for years.  The thing is I do not believe that all things are just random.  I do believe that there is a war happening for the souls of our children, our neighbors, our friends, our selves, and those we minister too.  You see if you are doing something God Honoring- then you should expect trouble.  I didn't say- LIKE IT.....just know that we need to keep going and not give in because of it!!  Because OUR GOD IS GREATER!!!!!  AMEN!

John 16:32-33

New International Version (NIV)
32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The thing is well this last week has been pretty rough around the edges for us.  Surprise- NO!  A big feeling of are you serious- YES!  So here is our list from this last week.....

*  We had someone come pump out our septic tank (yes we live in the city and have a septic tank- weird huh?).  He told us our "lines" are not good and they need to be replaced- $2,000-3,000.  Awesome right?

*  Our air conditioner has frozen over- or just stopped working daily.  Yes we live in Florida- and we are using our air conditioners already.  Sorry for those of you still scooping snow, but hey the humidity has already been well like Florida usually is at this time of year.  So for now we are turning it on and praying it works long enough through the day to help at least cool the house a bit before it flips a breaker or freezes over.  Fun times.  Cost $6,000+.....more awesome.

At this time we are thinking ok- enough!!!

*  Our dishwasher stopped working- the only thing on the list that is under warranty.  Praise God for that, but the repair person can't come until Friday.  Lovely....but hey it will make us appreciate it that much more when we get it back up and running right?

 *  Then a couple of nights ago I went to put some ice in my water before bedtime after Jason and I had watched a movie.  There was frost on everything and well.....yep our refrigerator had died!  Completely died.  The only good thing is that we do have a second refrigerator- and yes we use both all the time.  Remember we try to only shop once a week, and well just fruits, veggies, milk etc. alone is a big portion for our fun sized family.  ;)   Cost $2,000ish. 

This is now what our refrigerator that is in our garage and our countertops look like.  Yep- loads of fun.....except we can't find a lot - a little squished ;).  We are however very grateful for a few things- one we found out about it before all our food got ruined!  YEAH!!!!!!  Second we have another refrigerator, and even though it is far from ideal- it works....for now.  PRAISE GOD!  **oh and don't stress the mayo isn't open just in case you spot that on the counter top. 
So we would appreciate prayers because we are not sure of how and where God will provide.  We know HE WILL.  It may be living without some things for a while.  It may be through miracles we don't know about that are at work right now.  It may be through whatever God provides because - listen up- HE IS OUR PROVISION.  We do not look to this world we look to HIM!!!!

When we take our eyes off of HIM is when we start to sink.  I will NOT say I have not been a little overcome- ok A LOT OVERCOME this last week processing this all.  Oh and of course there were other things in our home too that always make you feel even more frustrated right ;).

So there you have it.  Our life is sometimes really crazy.  Sometimes we feel like we can't handle it- and to be honest we can't!  God CAN!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Empowered to Connect Part 4 What our kids need

 Throwing in some fun pictures......because we all needed to know Joanna is queen ;)  Riding around in her royal laundry basket. 
 Now- no comments please......yes sometimes we are a little twisted.  Sorry if you didn't know this.  This is my hubby who melted chocolate on a diaper.....and making Andrew go nuts!  he he he he he....yes we are those parents.  It is only funny for Andrew because our other kiddos just aren't as worried by bodily functions. 
 This was an event we were invited to attend.  It was for Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza
 If you note on the picture above- there is fire shooting out.  That was supposed to be a hot air balloon and they were going to drop mini Murph pizzas from the hot air balloon with cute little parachutes.  Unfortunately the weather started getting yucky and they couldn't do the you can see our kiddos had fun with the parachutes anyway......and we walked away with 11 mini murph pizzas!!!!  SCORE!  Oh and coupons for more for free too.
 So our kiddos had fun anyway and we had free pizzas!!!! 
 So the next day we made up our pizzas and added some fun ingredients!  We had a blast- so it was a success!!!!  :) 
 OK so today I want to cover what our kiddos need.  You may be thinking I know what they need a good punishment, or ??  whatever.  What if though our kids sometimes need tools?  We talk about tools all the time for parenting.  So why not our kids?

Sarah is modeling one of the calm down tools.  Put your finger under your nose and above your lip.  Press and count slowly to 10. 
 Another calm down tool......put both hands over your eyes with your  palms on your cheek and count slowly to 10. 
 Or take some deep breaths.  As many as is needed to regain control. 
 We have added a few that were not specifically talked walking away.......sometimes we visually need a break to regain control of our bodies and minds. 
 Sometimes with sensory issues- and they talked about that a lot, but that could easily be a whole other conference!!!!!  These are our new "headphones"  they are just as easy as ear plugs and you don't have to worry about trying to us ear plugs.  I ordered 4, and so far in the last week our kiddos have used them a lot! 
 Oh, and bring on the fidget toys........can really help soothe and reconnect their brains so they can reconnect to you!!!  There are many we also have plastic air filled with 2 different sensory sides- seat things.  He he he he....totally technical terms here!  Velcro is great, play dough, soft plush pillows, beans and rice tub- have all those too!  This can satisfy their needs for sensory input- which can look an awful like disobedience.  When your child naturally craves having input- or not having more is an actual need.  **Oh and things like a weighted blanket can really give kids the feeling they had when they should have been wrapped up in a blanket and snuggled as an infant.  We don't have one yet......but will.

You can get these on,, (baby massage- great way to connect),, (lots of stories about this issue) and plenty of other sites!  In fact if you know of others- please let me know!!!  I want to add to my list :). 
Never underestimate the NEED for water and a snack!!!!  MOST PEOPLE on the planet are dehydrated- MOST!!!  If your urine is yellow- you need more water!  This greatly affects our ability to make decisions and focus.....and it is a healthy thing that we in the U.S. do not use near enough.

Snacks are just a little bit of something that can keep your kids going.  I - in the last year have really found my need for more sugar stability- making sure my stress is not coming from my need to just eat something.  It's true!  If it is true for much more for my kiddos.

There are many other things you can do "calm down" and refocus- what are some you do in your home? 

Empowered To Connect Part 1
Empowered To Connect Part 2
Empowered To Connect Part 3
Empowered To Connect Part 5

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Empowered to Connect Part 3 Your Buttons and past

 Today's pictures brought to you by the Dupuis family who we get to babysit for sometimes.  Today their mom was taking a class for foster care.  They too have done international, domestic, and are now doing foster care. 
 The white things that look a little like garbage bags in the picture are actually mini "parachutes", more on that later, but the kids had fun! 
 So about YOUR BUTTONS.......this should hit you between the eyes.  One thing I learned is that children from trauma or those who grow up in a wonderful home with no stress, alcohol, or drug use- we still ALL HAVE BUTTONS! 
 So this is for everyone!!!  Think about a movie of yourself.  When your child gets upset- is there something they do that really irritates?  Like if they scream, cry, or start bugging?

What if in general you are a Type A person like me and hates being late?  Let's picture child A that is doddling and fussing at putting on their shoes, and you will be late getting to church......again......  What does that do to you?  Does it make you feel "out of control"? 
 Let's say you love to have things picked up and well child B just dumped for the 10th time a box of legos on the floor you just picked up.  What would you be feeling?  Would it drive you to lose control?  Would you "punish more" because you felt "attacked"? 
 Every person has buttons.  EVERYONE!  We all have ideas of how things should go or how people should act in different situations.  Some come from how our family did it when we were younger.  Some come from just how you like it to be done. 
 These are actually "triggers" for us.  You know what- sometimes those things can make us crazy and nuts without any help of anyone else. 
 I would encourage everyone to sit down and think about what your  past includes.  Does it include an absentee father, mother, a brother who was abusive with his words, a grandparent that was a main caregiver, large family or small, Christian environment or not, did you eat junk food all the time or was everything fresh baked.......
 All those things really change our perspectives on our surroundings and who we are whether we realize it or not.  Denial can happen but it doesn't change it.  So how do those things change us? 
 How about your relationship to your spouse?  Does that reflect the relationship your parents had to one another?  I bet in some ways it does. 
 ***Oh look - all those cute faces!!!  LOVE IT!!!!!  OK so our family could have this many children eventually ;) 
 So there you have it- we have to deal with our own stuff, buttons, past, how we tend to deal with things, our personality types, all enter into how we discipline, train, and love our children. 
Don't fear though- because no matter what our hangups are - GOD can help us!  So start praying about it.  If you are "wired" to have a hard time with letting go of clean floors (he he he he - not me) then ask for God to help you with it.  That way when you are training as you go you won't allow floors to stand between you and your child :). 

Empowered To Connect Part 1
Empowered To Connect Part 2
Empowered To Connect Part 4
Empowered To Connect Part 5

Monday, February 18, 2013

Empowered To Connect Part 2- Connection First

 This was the part of our Valentine's Day :).  We went to visit my GG who lives close by. 
 It was good to see her and think of fun things to say to get her to laugh! 
 The kids had done cards of course and we pretty much just play.....notice the "swinging Michael".....he was giggling and we all were laughing. 
 Even my GG.......
 She doesn't get to get up and move around often now.  How much more important for us as a family to surround her with as much love as we can? 
 I won't lie- it gets a little crazy with 9 kiddos in that small room, but keeps the nurses on their toes, and to be honest they like it. 
Our girls sure brightened up the day of grandma's new roommate!  :)

So I have a lot of posts in my head swirling around and I am trying to put them in some kind of order so I can share effectively with you.

I wanted today to write something that was KEY to my understanding of what Karen Purvis was saying.  CONNECTION!  In my years as parenting I have thought of connection with my children this way- playing games, going on walks, table talk, having "dates" with different kids when we can, watching a fun family film with them, spoiling them when you can and when appropriate.  I think that is a pretty good list, and I am sure Karen would likely agree.

The thing I would say I did not understand fully is the need to connect while doing discipline.  Pretty much I am more authoritative in my style of correction.  You know sometimes I find myself saying- umm...I am right, you are wrong, get over yourself.  Now if you are in shock, pick yourself back up off the floor.  I am not mean, but I don't mess around either.  Can I have fun? Sure!  Do I?  YES!  However, in the day to day I expect my kids to listen up and obey end of story!  Right?  I mean my job is to make sure my children listen and obey so that they follow the guideline on in faith to listen and obey.

So reading the book "The Connected Child" by Karen Purvis I thought- what is the connection thing?  How does that look.  What I found in the conference surprised me.  It really has an easy basis- You ask to have your child's hands and eyes.  Really creepy huh?  ;)  Then you speak to them in a low slow voice.

First off if you tend to yell....maybe not even on purpose, but hey' you do.  This will completely help you in that area!  For real.  I don't yell as in scream at my kids all the time or anything, but you know they are upstairs and I want them to come because we are starting school then you raise your voice pretty easy huh?  Yep me too.

So taking time to get on their  level, asking for their hands, and please give me eyes is pretty awesome!  Pretty simple and lots of parenting books I have read have said something about this- closer and quieter is what we called it at school when I was a teacher.  Easy, everyone can do it, and you know what I found my blood pressure going down.  If getting hands and eyes is the first thing I do when correcting then I don't have to yell, don't have to get more upset because looking into their beautiful eyes reminds me of the gift I have!

Matthew 6:21-23  New International Version (NIV) 

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

You know what else you are doing when you are asking for hands and eyes?  You are saying I want to touch you.  I want to look into your eyes and see you.  Not just see you from a distance, but really see you.  Praise God!  Isn't that what we want to happen in our relationship with God?  We want to hold His Hands, gaze into His Eyes and be touched and seen.......really seen for who we are- beautifully and wonderfully made. 

 For me......this is where I started to really sit up and take notice!  I thought- HA!  I can do this, and it isn't so strange after all.  It can really be helpful.  Pretty sure this will change my temperament as well as my child's, and it will definitely connect me in a way that we have not experienced before!

So.....there is your first tidbit.  I will keep adding more so if you want more information right now on all of this Empowered To Connect- go to their website and look at all the videos they have.  Most are a few minutes long and worth watching!  :)     

Empowered To Connect Part 1
Empowered To Connect Part 3
Empowered To Connect Part 4
Empowered To Connect Part 5

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Empowered to Connect- Part 1

 This as you can tell - is  our Valentine's Day :)  A while ago my brilliant and wonderful husband came up with a plan.  He buys flowers and chocolates for me!!  Told you he was brilliant! 
 He also takes a flower for each girl, gives her one flower, and this year he gave them each a tube of M&M's. 
 He gives them their Valentine's gifts with sincerity. 
 Because this is how your future husband should treat you, with love, with kindness, with sincerity of - I love you always!  Not just when I give you flowers or chocolates.  In the day to day too. 
 Hope your Valentine's Day was wonderful!!!  Ours was....more on that later :). hubby and I went on Friday and Saturday to the Empowered To Connect Conference.

I pretty much stirred the pot probably with my comment on FB about the large families.  It was NOT a main point during the "teaching".  It was mostly a caution.  I am not sure why?  Because the point is adoption is costly - whether it is one adopted child or 20+.  HA!  We know that!  I think most people who have adopted know that.  I am not just talking cost as in money of course, but time, efforts, and consistent love and care that can be different, but not always from a biological child. 

I believe the point was- the more children you have that come from hard doesn't necessarily get easier.  Agreed.  If you bring home sibling groups- it can be even harder!  Agreed.  That was really the jest behind the "larger family" comments.  I found it slightly irritating because I have nothing against smaller families, and nothing against bigger families.  I think it is hard.  There are sacrifices.  Enough said.  That is pretty much it.

In the depths of my heart I believe that those of us who have a larger family- we have already sacrificed.  So sacrificing more- comes easily.  We don't think of it that way.  We see the gains!  We see the benefits!  We see God working even more!  So we don't let people convince us otherwise.  So in my opinion- sometimes it is a part of society.  As we know the world around us can be a little more than staring down their noses at larger families.

It is written out clearly in the staring, the rolling of eyes, the counting, the "you have your hands full", "I can't handle my 2", "wow glad it is you", "where did you get them all", "are those kids all yours", comments that we get daily.  I think I have pretty tough skin, and stock answers for that.  I don't let them get to me.  I usually am not offended.  Somehow though the slight undertone in comments- made me uneasy.  Momma bear came on out and I was defensive!

In hearing the rest of the conference- there was soooo much good though that I believe it is like anything else that is not the Bible- you take the things that are great and you say- awesome.  You throw the rest in the trash where it belongs.  You take the things that will help you parent- GOD'S WAY, and you say- ummm.....whatever to the rest.

It is like those comments and stares.  You take the sincere conversation starters and you say- I would love to talk more with you about adoption, large families, GOD, any time.  And those that are sarcastic or overwhelmed----- you just smile and give them a stock answer.  As far as I know there is no where in scriptures that prohibit a large family, whether by birth or I am not going to dwell on this.

However, I will give you some of the main things I really LOVED about this conference that we will be implementing more.  Really the things we have already started using in our home are things that can help each of us to remind ourselves, and our children about the use of connections.  Our connection to God, to our spouse, to our children.  I have already found myself being more at ease in how I handle things because it is actually more stress free in a lot of ways.  So I look forward to sharing a lot more!

Hope you had a great weekend!!!!  :)   

Empowered To Connect Part 2
Empowered To Connect Part 3
Empowered To Connect Part 4
Empowered To Connect Part 5

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What? BIG NEWS you say? Why YES!!! IT IS BIG NEWS!

 Today's pictures brought to you by fun times at Lettuce Lake Park......and the letter A and number 10.  Did you catch the hint?
 Oh ok....well yesterday we posted a picture of trees.........lots of them.......that was one hint. 
 Then we posted a picture of a police station...........
 Oh cool- look a bird.......
 Another bird......
 And another bird........
 Don't you just love the "knees of these trees"?? know how sometimes I string people along.  I think it may be a sickness, but not sure..... we love our family time. 
 Is she gorgeous or what?? 
 And this sly one let me tell you.  I am pretty sure we need to go to "she's fresh .com" and we would see her picture!  OYE!  Another blessing......  ;) 
 But, I mean what would our lives be without them? 
 BORING!!!  We love to see them laughing, giggling, playing....
 Dramatic fun....
 Silly fun...
 realxin' fun....
 Cuddle fun.....
 Even when there is severe drama - caught on camera....
 In more than one picture......  he he he he.....I know you know what I am talking about. 
 No idea what a turtle has to do with anything.
 Even when the littles need a lift. 
 Or even when 2 littles need a lift - my hubby rocks!!!  I mean that takes a lot of muscle and a lot of LOVE!!!  My husband is my one and only true love!!!  Ahhhhh.........
 So- let's review- the letter A?  10? Trees?  Police Station?  Doctor's office? 
 Oh and a roller coaster for sure!!!! 
 Sometimes a huge roller coaster. 
 It might leave us climbing the occasional tree? 
 He he he he he..........
OK it's true-

We have been to the POLICE STATION and the DOCTOR's recently!!!  

We have started the engine for another ROLLER COASTER ride!!!

We have at least used that many TREES in our last 9 "A"doptions........

SOON TO BE "10"th ADOPTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  


PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYER as we seek who and what God has for us.  Some think that because we have been blessed enough to do this many times...that we must not get nervous, out of our comfort zone, we must surely be sooooo patient in the wait, and of course we know everything?  HE HE HE HE HE HE HE...........Ummmm......let me answer that this way- NO!  As in NO WAY!!! 

BUT one thing we do know- GOD is faithful!!!  HE alone sustains us, provides for us, allows us to do what we need to do, allows us grace in our marriage, in our relationship to Him, in our parenting- so that we can attempt in our feeble ways to follow HIM!