A place to be real about a life of chaos, with eight beautiful children, homeschooling, special needs, adoption, sanity or the lack thereof.........a rubber hits the road sort of journey that I thankfully do NOT walk alone!

Sunday, June 21, 2015


It's funny how in the positive celebrations of life, this comes so easily.  When we were overcome with joy at the birth of our first child we celebrated, claiming what a miracle...a gift from God...part of His plan for our future.  When we added seven more precious children to our family, growing exponentially everyone celebrated with us extolling the great plans of our loving and faithful Father.  I had no problem walking the talk and praying prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude.

Even when trials came, and there were many, I could be honest and acknowledge my weaknesses. I still never faltered in my faith, my trust for things eventually all being o.k...cause, well you know, "the plan".  It has not been easy but overall, for the most part we have remained strong aka survived!

My friends may recall my answer often to be, "Whatever God has for us...we will accept that".  The difficult reflection of late has me recognizing those times were times of plenty, overflow, joy...more children, more diagnoses but those coupled with success...dealing, coping.  I was sufficient...did you hear that, "I" was sufficient.

Where along the way I ask myself did I lose sight of the all sufficient One?  The One who's "got this", the One when it suited me I was willing to "accept whatever He had for us".

When did my grateful prayers of thanksgiving turn to selfish prayers of "really?", "where are you?", "seriously, you'll allow this?"

It happened about the time I determined to suck it up, work through it, figure out the best solution, advocate, work towards my goal, fix it...solve it...change it...oh ya...and do all of this without the knowledge that the One who gave it, who felt me sufficient enough, was still right beside me.  After all something had gone wrong and I needed to fix it...by myself.

And so...I'm. Exhausted.  Is there any wonder?

F.R.O.G. ?

There were days I could muster up when asked, "How are you?" .... a hearty, "I'm doing o.k. and just know God is working things out."  If I'm honest I often struggled with that.  In fact lots of times I just didn't buy it.  But I found myself time and time again on my face desperate for answers, just wanting to hear it was all going to be o.k.  Longing for the easy commitment rooted in overflow and joy.  My faith is real...I mean REAL!  I would not, could not, ever, ever do my life on my own.  I know that with every fiber of my being.  I am embarrassed to think I ever thought I could...but...I'm human. Probably chosen for this exceptionally blessed life I live because I was weak, a cracked vessel leaking all over the place, but committed to trusting my Creator, promising to raise my children, all of them, exactly that way.

Because things don't always look the way I thought they would...does that mean my promises are any less?


And so today, when admittedly I'm feeling the weight of all the "stuff" going on in my life I was reminded...

A dear friend who, although she hasn't known me long, and we have so much more to learn together, gave me this simple gift.  She can't possibly know how significant it was!

She has been praying for me - really praying not just saying it - this I know.  I feel it.  She hugged me and told me she loved me.  I desperately needed that.  She said when I look at it to remember she is thinking about me and praying, and to always...

     F.R.O.G.   Fully Rely On God

"The Plan"...it still exists.  Just because I lost sight of the path doesn't change the destination.  I still don't fully understand the why, but I sure as heck know Who!

The people God places in my life at times like today are just simply part of that plan.

It's not irony that on Father's Day amidst my gratefulness for my earthly father and the relationship I have with him, I am reminded of my Father's unconditional, faithful, never faltering, love.

Today I am blessed beyond measure and Fully Relying on God...He's got this!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Just. Plain. Thankful.

For those "friends" on facebook you may recognize this as my status update a couple of days ago.

If I'm being completely honest here I wrote this at a time when my heart felt a little less than plain. thankful.   But, what I have come to realize in this journey I call my crazy life...I do not call the game...in fact sometimes I'm actually sitting on the sidelines just watching it all play out in slow motion and have absolutely NO control.   Yup NO control...my very favourite state!

So...in those times I choose to speak these words....   Just. Plain. Thankful.

Thankful that although my house is full of children struggling at different levels with medical/psychological conditions not within their control ....I am NOT alone and I find the patience
Thankful that I have a pediatrician who listens, and carefully treats my children.....I have support.
Thankful that medication is available to at least on most days, minimize the effects of FASD, ADHD, ODD, OCD etc...I have choices
Thankful that after the violent outbursts there is almost always a wonderful calm...I am resilient, I will love unconditionally....I don't do this on my own.
Thankful that the children are becoming a little more aware of the triggers for anger and as best as they can bite their tongue or just go with the flow...I will do my best to model grace
Thankful that any destruction of property is never more damaging than just that.....stuff.....I will keep it all in perspective
Thankful that all of my children are here...where they were meant to be all along...all of us...together....we have been knit together in a very purposeful, specific way....not alone
Thankful that like childbirth, once the acute pain and turmoil of any situation is over, the joy and laughter and love of just holding a child help to erase the tears....I will look forward with anticipation and great expectation to what our future holds.

As our adopted children grow and develop, some of the diagnoses they have, become more prominent and in all honesty...excruciatingly difficult to handle.   Sometimes this is because I feel so helpless to affect change, sometimes I am so darn frustrated with the lack of effectiveness of my parenting tools, but mostly because it makes me so desperately sad...for them and the struggles, for us as a family unit and selfishly for me...I am tired.

From the outside looking in....our children are well behaved, polite, well adjusted kids.   I'm thankful that we have given them the security of a safe place.  Here is where it is safe and no matter what, we are family, forever.  Don't get me wrong...it is not easy and for some of us (we are 10) we handle it very well...for others...it is too much and coping manifests itself as isolating, acting out, or sometimes provoking the very child that needs no provoking!

Right now my life is dictated by one of my eight children primarily....I don't speak this out loud usually....I just quietly die a little as I face situation after situation that wears me down.   He is the most lovable, compassionate, caring child that has unfortunately been forever damaged prior to his birth by exposure to multiple drugs and alcohol.   He has FASD but will one day be whole!!  This is the truth I hang on to as together we brace ourselves for a new day.  

He rises for the day anytime after 5:15 and thanks to a new schedule is now downstairs with me having breakfast by six....this has actually been a blessing because he used to rise and disrupt/wake everyone else, wrestling, fighting, etc...now he and I start his school before 6:30 because he is incapable of concentrating once the others are awake.  We finish the foundational stuff and I am thrilled with that.   The rest of the day is filled with excessive hand washing (his hands are constantly bleeding) , organizing, dictating, controlling behaviour that often results in violent outbursts and swearing.   He's broken his and others' toys and belongings, furniture and ripped kitchen cupboards off.  We have had to remove doors to prevent him putting his foot through it.  No impulse control, no rhyme or reason or pattern to his behaviour....just turmoil.    No one would believe me!  I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't living it!!  He regularly refuses to do what he's asked, balking at my authority and then encourages his siblings to ignore me also.   He sometimes refuses to come with the family if we are leaving for an event or church...my life is on hold.  If I am leaving the house on an errand, he hugs and kisses me demanding eye contact and a routine of blowing kisses and words, often coming out of the house more than once to continue the process...most often it's just easier to take him with me.    He refuses to move from a chair, go to bed, or bathe.  He doesn`t eat what we eat requiring separate meal preparation every single day.....and then there is the other side.....He is first to offer help to prepare meals, seeks out quality time with me...loves to bake and cook, build and create...He loves to read to his little brother, play cards, cuddle the cat and play Angry Birds.  He is destined for something great in this life.   His struggle will be his strength...and it's my job to make sure he gets to whatever earthly destination is for him.  He is a child of much faith asking in a calm time how it is he could tell people about Jesus because everyone should know... He is adorable and innocent and not to blame and a child of God just like any other.  And I love him...unconditionally, forever, fully, no matter what.

Not more than I can handle...there are days I beg to differ ... but most days I do understand this sharpening of my faith...you see my weakness, my incapability to "handle" this, my lack of control, my shortcomings.....all cause me to lean on God.   God is using little old, incapable, frazzled, tired, weak me to do great things in my childrens lives.   They aren't mine...but His and with that in mind what a privilege to have some who need me as they do!

Just. Plain. Thankful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Counting my Blessings in 2013!!

dusky light, surprising reflection, lovely shadow.....

64.  Glimpsing the last bit of daylight through the schoolroom window as supper simmers on the stove
65.  Seeing myself in the lives of my children...it`s not all bad actually!
66.  The dancing shadow creating by the bare oak tree blowing in the wind

  You'll find the "Joy Dare" here....

Monday, January 7, 2013

Counting my Blessings 2013!!

3 graces from people you love...

55.  simply being surrounded by my eight children and husband on a "back to routine Monday"...a difficult transition made easier by the chance to look at them and be thankful
56.  my oldest offering to do some "taxi" driving today while I struggled to get "on track" with the schooling of the younger 4
57.  my Dad arriving with a beautiful space heater that looks like a wood stove for our sunroom/schoolroom so the children are warmer in the biting cold temperatures  (the room isn't insulated so they layer up, but much cozier with the heater! )

58.  my dogs wet nose on my arm as he rests it there looking for some love
59.  homemade pot pie...comfort food
60.  the singing of my 11 year old while playing with his brother
61.  The understanding look from my 13 year old son while holding his tongue and not chastising his brother ( he looks like a man but still a boy!!)
62.  watching my girls play rummy at the table after dinner
63.  the early morning quiet as I rise before everyone else

You'll find the "Joy Dare" here....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Counting my Blessings in 2013!!

Although it's only six days in I've managed to get a couple days behind here!   I refuse to NOT count!!  So...I will make up these days focusing on JOY!

old, new, and blue

39.  Our beautiful loved home...generations of memories
40.  New vanilla candle flickering on the dining room table
41.  Cozy navy sweatshirt

something I'm reading, making, seeing

42.  "Kisses From Katie" a truly inspirational story of sacrificial love and devotion
43.  Homemade fleece snuggie covered in T Rex dinosaurs...for my feisty boy!
44.  Rows of smiling faces hanging framed on my wall

one thing in my bag, my fridge, my heart

45.  old photos of my children
46.  homemade peanut butter fudge
47.  overwhelming joy for the blessings I call my kids

48.  wonderful service at church this morning
49.  Saturday visits with Mom and Dad
50.  reminiscing about my childhood
51.  old dog snoring on the couch
52.  5 minute nap on the couch
53.  jalapeno poppers
54.  the revelation I'm not in this alone!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Counting my Blessings in 2013!!

three graces I overheard
31. The sweetest "I love you" from the lips of my sleepy child
32.  Happily playing boys in the living room
33.  "I'm sorry...buddy"  an unexpected apology to a younger sibling

34.  Visits with precious friends
35.  Late night quiet time
36.  Words of wisdom
37.  Steaming coffee in the evening
38.  Unexpected cuddles at midnight


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Years "Revolution"

Websters defines a revolution as "a sudden, radical, or complete change.

Hmmm...Is that what I'm really looking for?

Forget the resolving to do this and resolving to do that.   We have all done it and we have all failed on some level.   I have decided this year that all of the good intentions, best laid plans, and lists are not going to bring about the change in me that is necessary.

I need a personal "revolution"!!!  

So...I focused on how I define myself...what do I think is the most important role that I have?   Most who know me would say "being a mother to your eight children of course"!   Perhaps it is being a better wife, a better teacher, better nurturer, better daughter, better neighbour, better listener, better friend, better example.....STOP!!

This is the "revolution".  I need to suddenly, radically and completely recognize the role that God gave me is exactly what I'm doing.   I realize it is not about changing how I define myself, making a resolution to change, but about accepting where I'm at, and most importantly understanding that there is a "plan".   It may not always look reasonable, or even logical but I will do "it" to the best of my ability.

When I am feeling the most inadequate, incapable, intolerant, and completely done...God still believes in me.   When I am at a loss for what to do next...and I'm thinking "I can't do this any more!!"  God is saying..."I know that,  (duh!!!!  well... I added that bit) and I don't expect you to do this on your own....I will always be here."

So my resolution for 2013 is to live a revolutionary life.....one of radical commitment to being the best I can be and living in the peace of knowing that is good enough.   When I am weak, yet am I strong.  

The challenges that 2012 presented were no less than overwhelming some days.   My "parenting skills" were tested, revamped, and finally filed.    I have come to realize that each of my children carry their own need for revolution and it is my job to focus on their eternity!   My time is worth it!  Some of the individual struggles I will expand on here in the coming days, but suffice it to say that parenting children with special needs is not for the faint of heart.   The daunting task of raising eight kids, dealing with raging hormonal teens, and defiant preschoolers is tough enough but throw in some violence, aggression, medication juggling, unpredictable outbursts, attachment disorders, OCD, FASD, RAD, and a whole host of other acronyms and the behaviours that result, and I am living the very humble existence of inadequacy!   Owning this in any public way has become my new normal...I am after all seeking a complete, radical and sudden change in the way I approach my God given role....I'll chant this for a while and let you know if it actually sticks.....Not my comfort zone!!

So 2013....I'm ready!