Monday, December 30, 2013

Quest #2

The last few days have not been easy. Sometimes, it seems as though when I set a goal, everything seems to go wrong as I try to accomplish it.
      I often wonder, am I the one sabotaging myself. If I am, then why would I do that?
      Yesterday was my 43rd birthday. My kids were giving me all kinds of grief yesterday. I ended up staying home from church with a few of them. I realized a few things during this time.
      I have missed more church in the last few months than I have in the entire 20 years as a member of The Church of Latter Day Saints. During this time of reflection I realized that I have been slowly pulling away from the One who will help me the most. Heavenly Father is the one who will always be in my corner. He will always guide me and help me. He will always give me the strength and support I need to succeed in all of my endeavors.
    So, now for the honesty part. This is hard for me. Not because I can't be is because I don't like the thought of being judged by others. I don't like to be seen as weak in any way. But, I promised you I would be honest it goes.
    I believe I an creating most of the contention in my home. There are many reasons for doing this but, it comes down to my insecurities. My kids often give me a really hard day on my birthday and Mother's Day (ugh! I really don't like these days). I am the one who almost looks for the sign they show me that they think I am a bad mom. I look for those sometimes because it reinforces some of the things I already feel.
     So, back to sabotaging myself. If I don't meet the goal I have set for myself (which is often ridiculously high) I reinforce to myself how unworthy I really am. I deliberately want to tell myself how lousy I am. How I can't accomplish anything etc... It is totally unhealthy.
     Also, I am well aware of my good points too. I just find those harder to believe.
      Like I said, this a journey. This is the first step. Honesty! Trying to figure out my part in sabotaging myself. Trying to figure out how I can make my family stronger and how I can meet my goals.
      So, someday has come. I am figuring this out now. I am also being kind to myself by realizing, I am a work in progress. I have faults and I am working on improving them. I have a long road ahead of me but, I am worth it. I deserve the best and I can make it happen. One step at a time.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I am on a quest...

I am not one to make resolutions at the beginning of the year. If  I need  to make changes I feel like, "why wait" ? I have been contemplating a few things this past month and it just so happens to begin at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. That being said....
        I am going on a quest. A quest to discover who the "real" me is. I am well aware of who I am. But, i have always been a people pleaser. There is nothing innately wrong with wanting to please people. I have been a "must be seen as" person. So, I do and say a lot of things that stress me out, because I don't want to make waves or because I want  to be seen in a certain way. Again, I am not sure there is a lot wrong with this personality type. We need all kinds of people in this world. We need people like me. However, in the past year I have been making some changes in my life..
      I have lost 50 pounds. I have made a goal of running a half marathon. I am almost at a 5K in 6 weeks. I couldn't believe it! just yesterday, I ran 22 minutes in a row! At about 15 minutes into the run, I started to like it.! Who knew?
      I have already committed to losing at least 20 pounds in 2014. I am going to shoot for 30 though.
      I am also contemplating more changes in the near future. Some I can't disclose at this particular moment.
     I want to clarify, I am not talking about selfishness here. So many people talk about "what about me? what about my time? what about what I want?" I am talking about improving myself. I am talking about not doing things because I don't want to disappoint  people. I am talking about not overcommiting myself when I am already overwhelmed.
      It will not be easy. It has taken me 43 years to be this person, it will take more than a month to change. I am going to be gentle with myself as I endeavor to make these changes. I am going to talk positively to myself and give myself permission to both succeed and fail. I am going to handle both of these with honesty, courage and hopefulness.
      I am going to give my children more of my time, love and compassion. I will give them less criticism, anger, and judgement. I am going to give my husband more support, strength and encouragement. I will give him less excuses, frustration and whining.
     This is the year! This is the time for less justification and more honesty.
    So again....I am on a quest. A quest to find me. A quest to be more positive. A quest to do what I feel is right. A quest to become a better, stronger me. A quest to not only help and please people but to be true to myself and to make me happy too.
  Any one want to join me for an opportunity to makes some changes? Healthwise? Emotionally? Let's make this journey together. Judgement free and honestly. One day at a time, one hour a time,or one minute at a time hand in hand.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The difference between your Mother's Day and mine...

Mother's Day brings up a lot of different thoughts and ideas. Some look upon this day as the most wonderful special day in the world and others look upon this day with dread. This day can bring emphasis to women not being able to be a mother, women who have lost their child, and women who feel they will never measure up to the image of what a mother should be. I feel I fall into a different category altogether.
        My category is one that I have to share with the other 7 other mothers who brought my children into the world. This is never a day of sunshine and roses at our home. This is a day of reminders and anger. This is a day when it is shouted from the rooftops "You are not with your biological mom right now!!" This day leads to children who can't regulate themselves but they want to.
        I had to come home early from church today because four of my children were very difficult during our service. I have had hugs today. I have had smiles. I have had pictures drawn and cards given. I was able to Skype with my son, Josh who is serving overseas. One of my daughters brought over a present and attended the beginning hour of church. Now, she is on her way to enjoy Mother's Day with other women in her life.
       I am not whining because the day isn't the best. i am merely wanting to share what this day is like for me.  I know my children love me. I know they work hard to show me they love me. This sometimes comes at a high cost for them. They are so wonderful one day and then crash (into old behaviors) for the next week.
        Mother's Day is somewhat dreaded around our home by all that are involved. We have brought these holidays to the calendar to honor events and people in our lives. Many people don't want the reminders. This is a day like any other day and that is the way we try to address it. However, my kids know what this day is really about and it hurts them. They hurt for what they have lost and I hurt from the backlash of their feelings.
       Mother's Day is merely a day to honor the women in our lives. Whether adopted or biological, influential   friends, cool babysitters, dear friends and anyone else who has made an impact in our lives. Please understand, what your children are going through, has nothing to do with the love they have for you. You are not their second mom or their inferior mom. You are the mom who loves them. the one they know they can rely on. They trust you. They want to be secure in the knowledge of your love for them no matter what they do. They need you to not take this day as a personal attack on you.
        I guess, in my babbling, what I am trying to say is, "Be aware of what we do and say. Be mindful of the struggles and trials of others. Understand this day represents lots of thoughts and emotions from women, men and children."
        Enjoy this day your way. You don't need to use this day to enumerate all of your shortcomings. You can use this day to appreciate women hood and the role you play

For you childless sisters and those without companions, remember the eternal timetable of the Lord is much longer than the lonely hours of your preparation or the total of this mortal life. These are only as microseconds when compared to eternity. Your willingness and worthiness are surely known to Him. The spiritual rewards of motherhood are available to all women. Nurturing the young, comforting the frightened, protecting the vulnerable, teaching and giving encouragement need not—and should not—be limited to our own children
--Elder Russell M. Nelson, Lessons From Eve, October 1987 

"Be useful in [your] sphere and [do] not be discouraged because of difficulties in the way, but trust in God and look to Him, and His marvelous blessings." — President Lorenzo Snow

"There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman." — Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve

"Let me say to you sisters that you do not hold a second place in our Father's plan. You are an absolutely essential part of that plan." — President Gordon B. Hinckley

        Enjoy this day as you would any other day. recognize the beauty of being able to be a woman in this time and in this place. You are a beloved daughter of God who Loves you. He knows what you struggle with. He knows you. He has a desire to have you be the best person you can be. Recognize the blessings in your life. There are many so days you just have to look harder for them.
      I love my little bit of heaven on Earth. It is never perfect but I live for the little moments. When I see someone hugging a sibling. Or, sharing a graham cracker. Changing a diaper without being asked. Hugging for no reason. Enjoying shared laughter. creating memories. These are the moments of perfection. Please recognize, no one has a perfect or easier life than you. They just have a different one. 
      Take a deep breathe and live for the tender mercies that the Lord bestows upon you through those around you. You are loved. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Patience, Love, Charity, Humility..Oh my gosh, what are you kids doing now?

Patience, Love, Charity, Humility..Oh my gosh, what are you kids doing now?
Well, here we are at the beginning of another week. I haven't graded the papers I brought home. I need to finish prepping for my 2 weeks teaching World War II (I wish I could get the cliff notes on each area I am teaching). Sunday, is the day of rest for me. I don't do schoolwork, prep for lessons, actually I don't do much of anything except eat and clean up from the meals.
What I have been thinking about is patience, love, charity and humility. The love, charity (most of the time) and humility I think I am doing okay with. It is the patience that is tested way too often for my liking. Patience is the elusive element that is missing from my life.
Patience works well for a few minutes. It is one of those things. Boy, do my kids know how to push my buttons. I love those days where I am centered and they don't have any power over me. Those days are awesome and I have them more and more frequently.
Patience takes practice. Unfortunately, to practice you have to have opportunity. (sometimes, I wish it didn't work like that but it does). I get lots of chances to practice.
I am not ever trying to make myself sound better than others. (so please don't think that) My family is unlike other families. Even after years with us, my kids still struggle with hoarding (food, pencils, books, paper,clothes etc...). This is a concept most of you will never deal with in your home. How do you react when your child gets up in the middle of the night and eats 2 boxes of cake mix and frosting too? Patience, yeah okay. How about when they systematically take all the food in the cupboard and hide it in their backpacks and you are left without the needed items for tonight's dinner? Patience again, yeah I know. It is hard. Of course, I can understand the reasons behind it but when you have  a backpack full of cake mix mixed with water and in no container (that's right, just mixed in the backpack) then patience doesn't usually come to mind.
Now, I have only briefly talked about one single instance and only one child but, there are 5 that struggle with hoarding.
Then, you have the breaking things, putting holes in walls, writing with permanent marker in public places, ripping clothes on purpose, destroying beds, rooms etc...  One of these happens daily.
Don't forget the wetting that is continual and during the day and night.
This is just a small sample.
But, I wanted to talk about patience amidst this craziness.
I struggle sometimes with finding the right words and doing the right thing. One thing i don't struggle with is loving these children. Maybe that is where my patience will come. It will build over time. I am sure I am doing better than I was even last week.
These things come with time. We shouldn't look at this list and say, "I need to be perfect in all of this today." This is a process. A refinement, if you will.
We are being refined so we can become the person Heavenly Father needs us to be.
How do we become refined? Well, we have to be put in the refiner's fire. How does that occur? We have to be tried and challenged. We have to have the opportunity to improve.
I have faith patience will come. If we hold on and continue to behave in a pleasing way (does that mean we can't get mad? I sure hope not) No way, it means we try to do better every second. We look at the mistake we made and try to do better next time. We make small little improvements.
Change takes time. Never forget that! Change takes time.
It is a refinement process not an instantaneous one. So hang in there.
Know that you are not alone.
It is a process. Sometimes I feel like I am being refined way to fast. I am experiencing way to much practice time. But, the truth is, I am just not there yet. I am just not where I need to be (I am sure my husband wishes I would hurry up). And that is okay.
As long as I am working towards the goal.
Don't be hard on yourself. Don't be hard on others. We are all on this journey. We are at different levels but, we all have the same goal.
SO, patience, love, humility and charity...I say "Bring it!" I am ready to be refined and that is one of the first steps. We need to be willing to make those changes but, it takes time. Don't give up and don't give in. Stay the course.

Then, you too can come through the refiner's fire perfect in all aspects of your life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When is enough really enough?

I am writing again. I know, shocker right? I am actually avoiding some things I have to do and this is as good of a diversion as anything.

I have been wondering when enough is enough. I sometimes say, "I have had enough." or "I have taken on enough." but, I always end up taking on a little bit more and more. So, when I say "enough" what do I really mean?
I think it means, "I feel like I am overwhelmed and one more thing feels like it is going to break me." Have you ever had those kinds of feelings? Like you just couldn't take anymore?
I sure hope I am not alone in this.
I always draw strength from a spouse who is able to listen and not judge the stupidness that pours from my mouth. Sometimes, I just need to vent it out.
When I am feeling at my most overwhelmed the only way to find comfort is on my knees. Heavenly Father is willing to share the load with me. Too often we pray to take this burden from us. I think it is important to distinguish between the 2 sharing and taking. Heavenly Father can certainly take things from us. If He does than, when is our growth happening?
I am who I am today because He didn't take my trials away, He shared them with me. He eased my load when I thought I couldn't possibly do more.
He can do that for you too.
Many people ask, "How did you get so many children?" Let me assure you, this wasn't in our "master" plan. But, this was in our Master's plan for us. I have made no secret of this fact. I thought we were crazy adopting more children. Then, when we pray to know what to do, we would get the answer "you aren't done yet!" I am the first to admit it takes me some time to accept His will for me. It doesn't mean He will give me too much, it means He will stretch me and support me while I do His will.
That being said I often have cried in despair. "But, I can't take any more children."  Then, I feel the Holy Spirit touch me. I am then reminded, it isn't about you taking on more, it is about you being willing to do My will.
The bottom line is, we are His creation. Not just in the beginning. But, if we do His will He will continue to create the person He wants us to be. We are engraven upon His palms. He doesn't forget. It is us that forgets.
So, stretch yourself. It is painful, make no mistake. it is easier to be in the comfort of what we know. But, there is no fun in that! :) and more importantly no opportunity to grow and progress.

Back to our children, we trust that He will make up for our shortcomings. (Trust me, there is alot of short comings to make up for) Sometimes, I am able to do 90% of the work and some days on 20%. I definitely try my best but sometimes it is not very good. He makes up for the rest.
So, be bold! Be brave! Believe !  Trust! Growth is hard but so worth the effort.

Smile when life is hard. There is still joy to be found. Find it!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

peace, love, acceptance and chocolate

It has not been a secret that life can hard. Certainly there is joy to be had. There are moments that we will never forget. There are memories that are imprinted on our minds that carry us through all of trials and struggles.

Life as a foster parent is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. It is also one of the most heartbreaking thing I have ever done.

We have had 63 children bless  our home in about 9 years time. Obviously, many of them have gone home or they have moved to a different foster family for a variety of reasons. There is only one child we have said wasn't a good fit for our family. This was after 2 full years of intense struggles. 

There is never a day when we don't think about these little ones. I can't name every little one but, their face is engraven upon my heart and in my mind.

That being said, "our newest little ones", have been in our home for 13 months now. Mom and Dad just couldn't pull it together. Sad, right? It really is. I feel for these parents and the loss of their little ones. I NEVER take a placement hoping I will get to adopt them. I take a placement hoping that I can influence parents and children to change their lives. I take a little one so I can protect them and love all over them. :) 

These little ones quickly become a part of your life. They always feel like "my" children, from day one. They call us mom and dad. They do everything with us. We change diapers, comfort throughout long nights, take care of them when they are sick, bathe them, feed them and everything else you do for your own children. It doesn't take long for them to fit in your family. 
These particular little ones were 2, 1 and 3 months when they came. Now they are 3, 2 and 17 months and they have been joined by a newborn sibling who is currently 9 weeks old. I am fully supportive of them being with their parents. People often think that is not the case and the state and foster parents just want to take kids away. That couldn't be farther from the truth, for my family.
Anyway, on court day, the judge announced they are moving towards adoption. The mom was understandably upset. We feel her pain. However, what happened next is on the phone was their Native American tribe. This was the 2nd time in 13 months they had been by phone for a court date. They announced they were going to take the children. Now, we knew this could happen. But, I am not sure how this is beneficial to the children. They will leave our home (not transition out) but just leave one day and move to a place where they don't know anyone. Sad right? But, this is the name of the game.
What people can't understand is the feelings that we as the foster family experience. Our feelings are often brushed aside. Everyone is concerned about the bio parents and the children but, sometimes it seems that our feelings are a "casualty of war". At this point, we and the children have bonded. Our children call the children their brothers and sisters. I know we can't take into account everyone involved but, at what point is removing them really in their best interest.
What people don't understand is this is harder than you think. This tears you apart and you grieve as you would for the loss of a child. This time they are pulling the band aid off slowly and the kids are here until the oral arguments in April. Few people know what it is like to see children everyday that they know they are going to lose and never see again in this earthly life.
I know you can say, "well you knew this could happen when you took the kids". You are right I did. But, I can't turn off the emotion and love that come with it. I would rather suffer than be a robot taking kids and not caring about them.
I draw peace and comfort through my knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan for us. I truly believe we experience what we need too. I know He doesn't give us anything we can't handle. I know the many truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't imagine His pain when He loses one of his precious little ones. But, if it is even a 1/16 of what I am feeling...
When we are struggling, we turn to many things to find peace. We cling to anything that gives us hope and comfort. The trick is to not be deceived by those things that bring us temporary comfort and those things that will bring us eternal comfort. You need to always strive to know that Heavenly Father loves you and loves them. He will make things right in the end. The little ones will know eventually, that we loved them unconditionally and that they left because of other peoples choices and not ours. We will see them again one day and our eyes will be opened to the understanding of why this happened. 
Until then, we will continue to pray for them and love them. We will grieve and our hearts will ache daily and eventually the pain will lessen a little at a time for them and us. Hopefully, the love and safety we were able to provide for them will allow them to have a healthier start in their lives. 
Please don't discount the pain we are experiencing. It is heartfelt and overwhelming. Sometimes when I am putting the little one to bed, she clings to me and her left leg slowly kicks against my stomach and the tears flow freely down my face. This is my baby and she will think that I am the one who abandoned her. The heartache is so intense I almost can't swallow.
But, then I remind myself for the 8,000 time. The Lord has a plan for us. He understands our pain and theirs. He will bring us comfort if we rely on the strength of His arm. Finally, in the end everything will be corrected. Love and healing will happen for all involved. 
Until that time....bye my littles until we meet again my sweet babies. Mommy and Daddy will always love you.