Sunday, December 25, 2011

HO HO HO Ya'll!













HO HO Ya'LL!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Different Christmas INDEED



J-Man trying on his new Roller Blades he picked out at Target spree shop
Little E bought me these beautiful earrings, love his heart!


I posted earlier about how different this Christmas will be for our family. How its been a rough reality, but we are just going to suck it up and do it. We decided early on that we can not give to each other or anyone else really, not even to teachers, or staff, or even to our favorite charities. We just can't. Then some school letters came home, you know the ones that ask you to give if you can to the stars on the tree, or the angels for families in need. I wanted to, oh I so wanted to! Then I got a special letter a personalized letter asking our family if we need any assistance this year. gulp. US? We were the ones that signed up to get gifts usually, or to donate etc. We were part of groups and churches that adopted families that needed help. It was something we have enjoyed for years, and now we were being asked if we needed the help!? This year the letter was coming home for OUR family. It was humbling, and to be very honest I was so sad that the tables were turn and we were that family in the situation. I filled out the sheets they asked for the kids the wish list. Turned it in, still having a hard time with my pride.
Then another letter came in from our school, our kids were selected to go on a "Shop with A Buccaneer"No kidding get this. The sister High school near our kids school set up an entire day where they match a few teens with each student as a chaperons, feed the kids breakfast at the school then with thier schaperones they all go on the bus for a ride to Target where each kid is set up with a $100 Target giftcard for them to spend tax free. Drive them back to school and feed the kids lunch. We were thinking it would be a blast for them. So, we decided not to let our prides keep them from a fun time.
THEN, I wake up one morning to the BEST surprise I had a friend give us a $250 Amazing gift Card. Oh sweet Lord, We were blessed!!
THEN, J-man filled out a card for free bikes from a local church providing bikes for the kids in our community. ALL OUR kids except Roo got one, a friend called me the other day and told me she has a tiny bike that her little one can not ride do I want it? YES!
If it was not for the above we would not have Christmas. I know, do I sound like I am playing the worlds smallest violin.
NOW this one will blow you away. Here it goes.
I was spent on cash. Cookies, here for class parties, little cash here for more class parites etc. etc. and more etc. I was out of cash till pay day. Come on, I know some of you can relate. Little E needed a strand of 20 lights for a class project. Went to Walmart, went to Target, went to the dollar store, and by the time I found out where to get the lights. Cash out. So needless to say I knew little E would go to school without his 20 strand of lights. I began to pray, let me back up. Little E has big faith, BIG faith in me, to supply his needs. THIS was so hard to work on, I was so sad I would let him down, he had been waiting for the lights. So, this is why I began to pray. Lord, just $10 bucks till Friday, PLEASE! The day passed, well I was waiting for a refund check, or you know some kind of rebate in the mail...nothing. Little E was just going to have to be disappointed.
We went to dinner at my folks, My mom is so awesome she has us come over for dinner once a week. Gives me a night off. We come home and see a tree on our door step. We were not expecting a tree. We brought the tree inside and saw it was loaded with gift cards. OUR kids were ecstatic! $250 in Gift Certificates for Groceries and Walmart.
Here is the best part. On the tree and I told no one about the lights there were two strands of 20 lights. ON THE TREE!
SO, We get to shop for fun things for the kids AND get our Christmas dinner supplies AND little E will get his strand of lights.
Did I mention my parents GAVE me their van?! Yes. They upgraded and decided to give us the title of their minivan. We are now the proud owners of two cash cars!

I checked with Chief about writing this post, he is the provider and I never want him to feel like he doesn't provide for us or can not. We are in a sticky situation and really praying and seeking a way out. For now, this is the situation we are in, we are trying to make the best of it, while staying out of dept and working on being content with where God has us at the moment (forced smile.) He knows I believe in him as the provider and that I cherish his hard work. He also knows that the Lord provides through his people. He uses and has used us plenty of times as a vehicle in those provisions and sometimes we become the recipient of that provision. Friends, this is just the beauty of the body! Merry Christmas. I know we are having one! Praying that next year things may look diffrent and we can be the ones blessing you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Diffrent Christmas


In many Christmas past as in BA (Before Africa) Christmas was a mad rush to get the perfect gift for every single person on my list. Most importantly my children. I raced in all of the Black Fridays crazy made houses to get that gift at %60 off retail. I have it down to a science, going a few days to scout out a map,yes I said map, wearing the right runnners, and filling the pockets with power bars, to eat while I run the masses over for the mad dash to that one gift I HAD to get. I will even share that I would buy extra on these shopping spree times just cause it was a good deal. My kids did not need 6 lego sets per child, but it was buy one get one, so it went into the closet for extra. Birthday parties we attend in the year and so forth. Chief and I would outdo ourselves with something super nice. Ipods, clothes, nice things.
Then we went to Africa.

It changed our perspective on everything. The over excess of our country. The obsessions we have of needing to make things perfect. The insane amount of dept one can establish in the mad "need". Its insanity.
Then we came to Georgia.
Living in excess was not a choice any longer, it has become a reality and fact of life. I No longer had the "choice" to simplify Christmas. Its a necessity for us, and that changes our perspective even more.
When you make a choice to give up on excess, you have the choice, you feel good about it, because if you decided to forgo that choice you have the choice to.
When you do not have a choice, its a different ball of wax. It just is.

So this Christmas we are learning so much about the in depth true meaning or what Christmas is. We have nothing to give, we have EVERYTHING to give, we have our hearts for Christ and our family. Our children have been forewarned that this will be a very different Christmas.
I am not sure if you can see the photo above its a letter our son who is 11 wrote to Santa. We believe he knows the truth, but there are times when he still writes to Santa, and hides it so we can never find it. I don't find it till after Christmas, this time, I was lucky it was tucked behind a log in the fireplace, I moved the log because it was bugging me that it was out of place. Notice #2 on his want list.
I think he gets it. Love that kid!
Merry Christmas !

Monday, December 5, 2011

Perception




I posted this photo on Facebook with a post that said "Doesn't this make you want to curl up with a good book and a bowl of chili!" To which Chief (who is my FB friend :) responded "No, it makes me think of how much we are spending on heat!"..... "Perception"


Your perception of God shapes your reality. a.w. Tozer




My perception has really sucked lately, being that it has sucked the life out of what the reality is. Reality is that My God is Awesome, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Holy, a Mighty Provider.


My perception for the last year has me walking around with the reality that I feel God forgot about me, that life sucks and maybe its what I deserve, I am a sucky person. I have too many freckles, and my belly looks like I am now carrying a baby kangaroo (I AM not, just sayin) And in this season of Christmas when our budget is super tight (like one gift per child, tight~) and everything cost money, parties, kids school celebration etc... It has sucked the life out of reality of who God IS.


It has shaped and morphed me into moping around feeling totally sorry for myself, I KNOW BETTER.


I have been a Christian for a LOOONNGGG time. Yet I have allowed my perception to shape what my view of God has been. When I see God in this view guess what happens to my days, my attitude, my perspective....you got it...it stinks.
Heard this quote yesterday and it gave me a sharp pain to the pit of my stomach, convicted.


* NO MAS, no more can I allow these thoughts to shape me. I can not also let my reality of my circumstances to shape my perception of God. There is truth, I know where to find it.


Let's be done Nat. Say it with me NO MAS NO MAS NO MAS!


*No mas:No more

Thankful

Got to spend five days with Chief's mom and dad/my other parents! Five days to short, but we had a lot of catch up too do. They came with a super duper make me smile gift from my SIL Cindy, my very own delish pumpkin roll. Have you ever had a pumpkin roll, utter deliciousness Made my Holiday!



Did some antiquing at some Southern stores. They feel in love with the Southern accents and the Southern hospitality.
These guys got some father son time.





Lots of grandparent time! (notice the pose of one of my tribal children that one hails from Washington state!)




Sweet moments together ended much to soon. Come back Grandparents, we miss you!












Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ideal Mama/Wife



I have been a mom for 11 years a wife for almost 14 (this month!) For these years I have been devoted to my family and when side tracked the Lord has gently/sometimes not so gently brought me back to the base home. Early before kids Chief and I decided together that we really wanted me to be home with the kids, I took on some part time here and there. For the most part I was a stay at home mom/wife. Molding my children making my family. Figuring it out. I do not regret not for one minute the choice of being home with them. It was amazing to wake up to tiny feet sticking out of the bars of the crib, and snuggle with babies in footed PJs. Oh I could do it again and again! In the midst of it, there was so much of a fight in me, a fight to overcome the perfect stay at home mom/wife.

I took countless Bible studies where we read devotional books upon books on how to accomplish just that. Lead/and participated discussions on what a Proverbs woman embodied, and how to achieve it. At my bedside table there was always a plethora of "How to" be the better mom/wife help books. I would attain said goals for a few days, be so excited with it and then tear myself down inside when it was not to the standard that I knew was expected of me, by my own standard directed from these how to books. I remember Chief saying to me countless times "are you trying a new how to book?" Do not get me wrong there are plenty of great books out there on how to enjoy/embark/entertain/embody/ this ideal womanhood. Its when we cling to them as truth instead of right from the WORD itself where it becomes unhealthy.

What good was it to be at home with my children when I would be grumpy with them because of the guilt I felt of not cleaning up the home, cooking the great dinner, and then to top it off the guilt I felt because I was short with them at the end of the day. And still trying to achieve trophy wife status (not to the world standards in shape!) but I wanted to have the house totally cleaned and dinner roasting in the oven so that when chief came home the aroma would catch him at the door. It happened many many nights. Also there were many nights that the aroma that caught him at the door was NOT a meal waiting for him at the door but maybe a dirty diaper, I did not get to in time. It may have been a clump of messy shoes and bags and the 5:30 glare of what's for dinner lurking in the air. In those moments I felt like I failed.
Then came the decision every parent has to decide home school/private/public. Then there are the friends with the opinions on what they are doing, and then there is this pressure to decided from all sides.
Here is whats been on my heart lately where is the freedom in living to a standard set by man? I read this post today by Katie Orr. She wrote on her struggle on being a stay at home mom. She finished with this "I have had to let go of what the "ideal" mom looked like, and as I have it has freed me to be a better mom.

There is danger when we try to encamp in the ideal of what this Proverbs mom looks like. Yes our ministry is our home and our children and our husbands, but first and foremost our devotions in to the Lord, not to mans image of what this looks like.

I too am finding the freedom of letting this ideal go. Its made me free to be who the Lord has made me to be, Why did I not learn this 11 years ago! I would have saved my own heart from so many lies. I could have been my best friend instead of my worst enemy! DUH!

So what gives do we let it all go and become couch women that dictate orders in between commercials ;0 NO, There are clear directions of how we are to be busy at work, doers. For the grey areas, you let the Lord direct you in them, not a book, not someone else blog, or some ones opinion. You seek that between you and Christ. Woman be free. If you struggle with this "ideal" take if before Him he can free you from yourself. He always does! :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

One year and Counting?




We are coming up on our one year anniversary in Georgia. Its been the hardest year of our lives, wish that was an exaggeration. We brought two new kids home and moved across county. I have had a harder time with the latter. So have our big boys. The new kids are fine with where we are at. I think they find this more home than Washington.
In this one year being away from home. We have learned:

1. God is always with us, even when we don't feel Him. Even when nothing goes well and every door is shut.

2. Your past childhood has a huge indicator of how you relate to the stress in your life. How your parents dealt with stress is more than usually how you will deal with it. HOW YOU DEAL WITH STRESS may be HOW YOUR KIDS DEAL WITH IT TOO.

3. Normal is not NORMAL.

4. Our parents do love us more than we realize.

5. Let Go. Being far from home gave me a clear perspective of the things I was holding on to, bitterness from past hurts, rejections, is really not the freedom God wants for me. It was easier to let go being far away.

6. Never purchase a home you can not afford, to buy into a bid from the lender to say they will work it out a deal with you and a year and a half later find out you owe 25,000+ more than you started with. And bullied by them to get out of your home. never again.

7. Home is not where you hang your hat! My hats are hung in Georgia and my heart is in Olympia.

8. Your finances define you more than you want them to, sadly.

9. Most people mean well, look at the heart behind it and never assume. Assume makes an ASS out of u and me.

10. My life is DEFINITELY not my own. Sometimes. Most times, I go kicking and screaming about what I want it to look like. We are far from that mark, that's not what it was to look like for my KING.

Amazing how God takes us somewhere else to teach us something about ourselves we were not seeing at face value. That sometimes means geographical that sometimes can mean in a journey being right where we are at. He will and can go to extremes to change us from the inside out. My heart hurts literally hurts because I can be so stubborn that He HAS to go to extremes to press me, refine me, JOB me, until every single breath every pore in my body every cell in my being, recognizes over and over its not about my own Glory just HIS.
How about you?
Are you in a classroom of faith right now being pressed until you sweat out all of your impurities of the stench of YOU? Welcome we are classmates, can I borrow a pen ;)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Living in the SOUTH

Its been almost a year that we have been in the South. Its a different culture here than that of little Olympia and even the city of Seattle. Let me give you a few examples. Church. There are probably more churches here than Starbucks, and McDonald's combined. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SHOP for churches they are EVERYWHERE. We love Four Points Church, we didn't even have to shop we were invited and it was love at first sight! Its a three year old church and the pastor is extremely hysterical and is dead on with the gospel. Its a little comical have you can even hold your breath in-between driving from one to another.

School. We loved our kids school in Oly. It was small we knew the families I would say its under 300. BUT, the separation of church and state was OVERLY present. I remember calling Christmas break ...well CHRISTMAS BREAK and being corrected by a teacher You mean "Winter break". Last year I walked into the kids school and was shocked to see a Christmas tree up and everyone saying Merry Christmas. I even heard some God Bless yous. It was not a big deal to everyone, it IS the culture even though they know your not suppose to its almost comical to bring it up in conversation when they hear we are from the west coast we get and we tell them how it was were we are from they giggle as in disbelief. Our kids school calender is packed with activity to gather socials are weekly. Opportunities are endless! I really like it, it would be hard to go back to the same environment after being here.

Education. Before we moved we looked at test scores parent reports class sizes etc. and picked the best district. Our kids were far behind according to the reports we got from the teachers and professionals at the new school, they were even frustrated with I think having a larger district that had more money helped have more services allowing more opportunity for the kids to learn more. Our school is a Franklin Covey school, the program believes in enabling greatness to allow your child to succeed, and teaches kids 7 habits to achieve success and become leaders. Each teacher has been trained in the steps of success. It will also become a lighthouse school the 16th in the whole world! Its been awesome to see the kids flourish and grow in an environment set up for success. Also the kids that are lacking are getting and immense amount of support all around them. IMMENSE! If a fan of their teachers, they are brilliant and truly LOVE teaching.

SPORTS: This is one I have not embraced as yet, because I do not understand AT ALL. FOOTBALL and JESUS are almost on the same level sometimes the latter gets dropped down a notch for the other. Kids are signed up for every sport under the sun and people are super busy because of sports. Football is not something they take lightly here at all. The high schools have on staff at least 8+Football coaches. Here is an example of one of our school choices this one has 12!!. At a game there will be literally thousands of people, I am not talking about a high school game either I am talking about a kids football game. Its insane. I remember having our kids in sports at the YMCA in WA and the coaches were parents just like here, but you hear "do the best you can do, its okay, next time you will get it, if you don't want to play buddy you don't have to!'' here its SO not the same you will here this on a field "YOU will win, You will Get it, YOU will not Surrender, Don't CRY, NO such thing as quitting child!" I am not kidding. Its serious stuff, don't mess.


Entertainment choices: In Olympia I remember being frustrated having to travel to Seattle or Tacoma to my favorite restaurants becuase the selection was not as vast in Oly. It has been said here you can eat out every night and NEVER eat at the same restaurant twice. There are tons of things to do for entertainment. Its Metro ATL, its a happening spot!

So an incredible difference in culture as you can see. I think If Southerners were to hang out downtown Olympia they would be culture shocked in 0 seconds flat, and visa versa. Different as Night is from Day. I STILL MISS HOME! I am still struggling with purpose here. The more we stay the more we see the benefits for our children. The more home becomes less possible, the more sad and nostalgic I become about what was. I miss my best buddies. But I keep keeping on, enjoying sunshine everyday and cooler weather, and all the above amazing things about being in the South.
xoxo, Your Northwest Southern girl!

Roos new school





Doesn't she look so tiny compared to the other kidos.


Its been one month. A busy month. Birthday month and first days of schools for some. Let me start with this little one. Little Roo. Its her first time in Pre-school and we lucked out majorly with being in Georgia and having a Pre-K program. Get this its FREE but this is the one we had a hard time with she is gone all day. Its from 8:30-2:45 seriously. This is my baby girl. This baby was hand delivered to my hands and it was one of the sweetest moments of my whole life. She is growing oh so big. The first week I was home and I even cried some. The next week I began to hit the ground running searching jobs AGAIN. I found one. Its the best option right now for my kids. I sub as a Food and Nutrition Assistant in others words I sub as the school cafeteria lady without the hairy mole! Our districts has 141 schools and if there are any man down I can get a call to fill that spot. Its so difficult to get in with the school district. There are folks with teaching degrees working in the kitchen just to get in. Its been one week that I have worked straight and its been at my kids school. AWESOME. Our kids school has 750 kids so its a busy cafeteria and its makes me feel so blessed to know our kids eat from a highly sanitized kitchen ;0! My hours are great I get off at 1:30 leaving me one hour of quiet. Its been a HUGE blessing, so I am hoping they keep me busy!
Signing off till the next post!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Plans Change

Remember when I told you I want to be where God wants me to be and I will be okay where ever he plants me. I lied. Because on Thursday chief and I had to make a HARD decision based on our circumstances. I am not one to make a decision based on circumstances I loath the cliche "when God closes a door, that was not his Will!" Simply because if that is the case, the minute any biblical hero came to a closed door, or a difficult circumstance it would have been easy to say "I suppose that's not the Lord" and walk the other way. Time and time again in scripture we are encouraged that the Lord is with us through those hard trails. That when we doubt ourselves or others point to us and say "what the heck, are you doing!?" He is there to Hold strong the course with us. If you know me, you know I never see a closed door as a NO from the Lord, but rather a challenge to stretch my faith strong.

This one has me dragging my feet. I said my good byes I was ready to reunite with my old friends and my old house. I was there, emotionally. So, when we were hit with the news of the IRS changing their mind for the fifth time we had to change course to "maybe" we can't move. I was okay with that one because I KNEW if God wanted me there, He would totally get my back on this one. We had to make a decision all of a sudden that really made me want to throw a tantrum. All the reasons of why we were moving became stronger in my mind, and one of them was the stinking humidity so I didn't even want to walk outside. That was just me. Then I had to share the news with the big boys.
Our big boys are Northwesterns BIG time. Big A asked me the other day "when is it going to rain, I am so tired of the sun!" J-man "I want to skip fall and go right into winter!"
I didn't want to make this decision.
We both called in the big greys ...okay if our parents read this there would be a smack down ;) BUT both our parents have lived journeys before us, and have wise words. Sometimes we take them, some times we don't and sometimes they were wrong ;)...most time they are right. Both sets, shared with us some wisdom. Hard to hear, but one the same token, if felt awesome to have parents who can give sound advice! Then chief made the call. We need to stay put ...for now. There are so many uncertainties with moving back. Chief does not have a job, there are no certainties that he will get something secured. There are situations with our home in Oly, to much to even share here. There are no certainties with that. I could be in the PNW without my husband and struggling to make ends meet for a Looonng time before we are united. Right now, its not wise for our preteen boy to be without a dad, and not right for our new kids to have dad not be present. Many old feelings will arise for them.
My heart HURTS. I want to be home. To be honest I don't want this to be home.
I want things to go back like they were. I want Him to tell me, just another few months Nat, just hold strong. Nothing.
Chief says focus on the positives. So I need to write them out.
1. MY FAMILY
2. KIDS LOVE THE SCHOOL
3. GREAT EDUCATION and RESOURCES
4. AMAZING CHURCH!
5. SUPER COOL FRIENDS (I need to work harder on plugging in there!)
6. DOUBLE COUPONS (I know the dumbest thing to maybe you, but here they double coupons!)
7. SUNSHINE
Not sure when the "doors" will be opened to go back home. I pray one day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Ideas for the old space

SO thankful for Pintrest, its a site that lets you make up your own pinbords of things you like, things you want to make, want to cook. For people with borderline ADHD, its a mess! It has helped me "Pin" (pun intended totally) down my style, so I can PiNp my house! OF COURSE I will have to do plenty of this little by little when the pennies are saved. sigh.Here is whats on my Pinboard looks like as of late. You may look at more of my board here.
Scroll bellow for how the old pad looks
I want to paint a wall this chalkboard color and make it a wall of Goodness. Have Psalm 23: 6 "Surely Goodness and Mercy will follow me all the days of my life" then in small computer font add statements of how good God has been to our family thus far. I may need a BIG wall ;)
Inspiration Jones Design

Pillow Love:


The walls will be this color wheat/grey. Inspiration Emily from Jones Design
I will attempt to do this painted wall paper...don't laugh. I will try!

Have I told you I love scripture? I EAT it sing it, can't live without it. I love the way my bible smells and nothing is more calming than the pages that turn. Why not have it all over my house?!
Say Hello to this couch grey, tufted love!
Alas the ottoman I will attempt to do own my own!

PINTEREST: and Old space

Like I need a new hobby while packing...but I admit I am excited to get into my own walls so I can repaint the walls, and make it "home". I have changed my decor taste, seriously I think this happens to people every five years! My old house looks like this. There is a combo of Cottage beach and French. Don't ask it just happened. This is a 70s house we redid the floors and trimming still needs a ton of work!! But here it is.
The Kitchen CLEARLY needs updating, but until I can come up with 32,000 it will have to do! Do you see the classroom cabinets, come on...right?


This fireplace is begging for a re-do and a mantle. Should I paint that paneling white? would you?






I can do the chepo chango like painting and just change up a few things right?


Go ahead give me Ideas I need them!!!



Busy days-2 week count down



We pack, we take down, we repack, we find loose change, we find lost toys, we toss the lost toys. We find the lost toys in the garbage that certain say individuals take out. We rummage through the goodwill pile to find possessions we forgot about that all of a sudden because valuable.

Its been crazy emotions round these here parts. <------ take note of the Southern.
We are crazy sad to be leaving awesome family. When I say awesome that in itself is an understatement. My little cousin Oscar takes the prize for best ever. He takes the kids to fun places the other day Jman lost his free ticket he earned with a reading program to Wild Waves. Oscar purchased his ticket and they ventured out together all day. He comes over on his days off to just hang, watches alien series with us. I want a little Oscar is Washington ;(

Excited to see Washington family, excited to get reconnected, excited to have them get to really know the new kiddos. Excited to see old friends and make new ones.

This is torture for me. Horribly terribly most definitely desperately sad that my hubby will have to leave again. Wanting a miracle to happen in the job situation. When you think of it pray for us will you. Tonight he did two things I would not be able to figure out myself. I am not a dummy. This babe has brains, but, Cell phones, and the sound of the HD system...well I can't figure them.

I cry just a little each time, I wake to morning fresh brew.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

One year and counting



Our new kids have been home from Accra Ghana for one year and a month. I am not sure how to word the last year. Its been a journey. A testing of faith a testing of self.
Our daughter came with much fight in her. She is a survivor what her little 8 year old heart has endured is nothing short of a miracle that she just didn't crawl into a corner and die. She was a wild child when she entered into our doors. Orphanage learned behavior. Fight for what you want, lie when you want it, self- sufficient and self persevering. She was a three year old stuck inside of a 8 year old body. Fight, was (is) her survival instinct. She wanted to show me why she was unworthy of love. When I loved her I was telling her that she was a lier because she was (in her mind) unworthy. I have never parented a child like this. I was failing and it was in my face multiple times a day. I was weary from the war scares left by other people on this girl, it was not even my fault but every day it became my fault. I was the one that wanted to love and so I was the wrong in the automatic wrong. So how did we cope?

Entering into a family DOES NOT make everything go away. The journey is NOT over when the paper chase is done. The Hurt and trauma that took a few years to have will often be a lifetime of healing. Going to Conferences such as this one and this one made me much wiser in what I was dealing with and how to heal heal my daughter and son without losing all the brain cells I once had :)! Joining forums and groups that had similar families have been a life saver. Books written from professionals that deal with kids from traumatic backgrounds like this and this were key. Becoming therapeutic parents was the answer. Trying to escape the books we read for our first kids was difficult all the messages we were given for the first kids WOULD NOT WORK on kids like this. Also being a person that has abuse in her background (NOT FROM MY PARENTS...just to clarify!) and has had some deep pain and nasty scars for years because of it, I feel connected in a way I never would have to my daughter. Watching her unfold even a tiny bit at a time has been therapeutic for me. Watching the rage inside her, reminded me of the rage in my own heart. God used her for me and me for her in ways so profound only a Masters hand can be involved in .

Our boy: OH LORD AL MIGHTY! This one came to us at 4 but really at 24 months emotionally. At night the little man became a baby. Baby talk, wanted to be bottle fed. We did. Wanted to be rocked. We did. Wanted to be swaddled. We did. He is also totally a sensory kid. All over the place wild child. Nothing slows him down. He is destructive even though it has slowed down (the destruction) not the energy its still something that lands him trouble daily. Stinker. We had a better bonding experience with little man. No rages, No crazy emotional roller coaster. He is so comfortable with us. Now he openly tells me how much he misses his birth mother. We allow our children the opportunity for this and never shut it down. I want them to miss their birth mothers. If I was in the same shoe, I would want my biological children to miss me. Plus if we speak about it often the less it will come out as an anger outburst. He shares this with us a few times a month. I have found the more open we are of it, the better they both are. Some days I see someone that reminds me of Birth mom and I say "look who does that remind you of, oh she is so beautiful just like ___!'' Or we are at a store and G or E say birth mom would LOVE that. To which I always say something along the lines of "you are probably right, it would be so nice in her pretty dark skin too!" I never get offended. In fact I think of her as a third parent in our relationship her presence is here as long as it is welcomed by them.

Where are we now? One year later. We have come a long way. We have a super long way to go. Sometimes things regress back to the old days. I am better at gauging the future. Some days its very unpredictable some days I say to Chief "this one will send her for a loop, be prepared!" We are MUCH better at keeping our cool. Some times he more than I sometimes I more than him. Sometimes we BOTH loose it, because it can be very draining. Parenting non-traumatized kids can do it to you to!! For the most part our girl is NO where close to what she looked like entering our doors. There is more confidence in her walk. There is more thought process and she makes a choice. There is some days even some good emotion talk " I am so angry right now, I want to throw something! Good talks. There are plenty things still there. We cope, we help heal, we go back to the books and ask questions. We take breaks to give to our biological children and our baby (who is 4..tear), they need us just as much.

ONLY in Gods Grace. Not at all by my own power is this even possible. I fall short, every time. He has to go before me daily. I have never gone to his Throne like I do now.
One year later, I am a different person.
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Pray for sweet Abby Riggs!!