Friday, March 28, 2014


A friend sent this and it is powerful.  Sadly, it honestly depicts the path many abused children face.  While emotional, it gives insight into how past trauma continues to affect children's behavior for years.  It also sends a message about the huge need for more foster parents like the one at the end of the video.  For easier access click the link here:  video.  (not suitable for young children)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ten Years Old

The authentic self is soul made visible. 
   ~Sarah Ban Brethnach
I once read that after the age of ten, girls start to lose their authentic selves.  It's true.  We become self-conscious and start turning away from who we really are.  Before the age of ten we are free to dream wild, crazy dreams; we know what we want and how we feel. 

And then, somewhere along the way, most of us are trying so hard to become who we aren't that we forget who we are. 

As adults, we can often look back at our ten-year-old-selves to know our true life calling, simply by asking ourselves the question of what we loved when we were young.

I love the photo above because I'm still so ME.  Even though my hair is crazy and my freakles are crazier, I love myself.  I remember calling that dress my "Hollywood," because I felt like a movie star wearing it.  I loved babies, and riding horses, and going to my grandparent's ranch.  I loved walking with a friend to the store for ten cent candy, building forts in the basement with my cousins, and going to the Pendleton Round-Up.  Family.  Friends.  Faith.  Freedom.  We didn't have a lot of money, but life was simple--free.  I didn't care about what I looked like, I cared about looking for life.

And then the teenage years came and self-consciousness with it.   And more years of wondering who I was, and where I was going.

And I don't know when I realized it, but I kinda feel like that ten-year-old again.

It's a gift that comes with age--a chiseling back to my true self.

 "My business is not to remake myself, But make the absolute best of what God made."  ~ Robert Browning. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Birthday Boy

Patrick is 12!  Where have the years gone?  I miss your days of rubber boots, fascination with all things construction, and even your Bob The Builder shirts!   
But you are still my more-boy and I love your "quotable quotes," philosophical thoughts, sense of humor, creative mind, and giant hugs!  Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Life is Good

I was going through photos as I prepare for Mei Mei's two year post-placement visit (can't believe it's been two years!) and found this photo.  

Mei Mei had only been home a few months but she was already completely immersed into our family.  I love the picture and the memory it represents--my love for summer, laughter, kids, roadtrips, ice cream, and all that is good in life!  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thankful for the Kindness of Others

I am so thankful for the kindness of others.

Last weekend Patrick had a basketball tournament at the beach.  We had planned to make it a family affair and stay overnight, but a few days before, Hubby became really sick with an unknown illness (he even spent the night in the hospital!).  It was a crazy, stressful few days.  It deserves its own post, but I was reminded how fast life can change and how much I love my husband! 

When the weekend arrived, Hubby was feeling better, but I still worried about leaving him.  Patrick really wanted to go to his tournament, so I decided I would drive some of the kids up, just for the day. 

When we got to the coast it was sooo stormy--high winds that made the pouring rain come down sideways!  I thought between games we might enjoy the beach, but this was as close as we came. 

Instead, we went to the carousel.

And the hat store.  I told them they could try on hats, but we would not buy any. 

And as you can see, when we got back in the car not a single person had talked me into buying a hat (and don't let Patrick's glum face fool you--he got a new sweatshirt)!

Once the second game was over it was getting dark.  We went through drive-through and started home.  It was storming.  S-T-O-R-M-I-N-G!  Torrents of rain.

Now you have to remember.  I know rain.  I live rain.  I drive in rain year 'round.  I am a drowned rat!  But this was different.  This was coming down harder than I've ever seen and there was so much flooding on the country roads I worried about hydroplaning or getting stuck.  Wind was shaking the car and branches were coming off the trees.  I was worried.  Quite frankly, I was so scared my legs were shaking. 

And you know that little voice that exists in your head when there is danger?  Uh-huh?  Well, I was hearing it.  It was saying, "Turn around!  Turn around!  This is not safe!"  And I was arguing back, "I'm used to driving in rain.  It's fine.  It'll probably get better up ahead."  I knew it wasn't safe.

I did know that a friend of my husband's had offered us his beach house.  If I turned around we could sleep there.  But I didn't want to use it!  I mean, I don't even know the guy that well and Hubby wasn't even with me.  And I wanted to get home.  We all wanted to get home.  I was still worried about Hubby.  We couldn't turn around and go back.  We didn't even have any extra clothes or anything we would need to spend the night!

But that feeling of foreboding grew . . .  along with my shaking legs.  The storm grew in fierce gusts!   And about 20 minutes into our drive I found a dark, lonely driveway, turned around, and headed back.

We stopped at a drug store and picked up all the essentials--snacks, toothbrushes, and mascara (yes, mascara is an essential!).  Hubby assured me he was feeling fine and texted me the address.  It was with great relief that we walked in the front door of the beach rental, turned on the heat, and made ourselves at home.  We made microwave popcorn and watched Mrs. Doubtfire before covering up with spare blankets and catching some sleep fully clothed. 

I thought about how kind it had been for my husband's friend to offer us his vacation home.  I know I am not so generous as to offer my home so easily, so casually, to others. 

The next day was sunny and beautiful. 

Do these clothes look like they were slept in?
Patrick played two more games and then we headed home noting all the downed trees--including giants that had to be cleared from the road.

It made me pause and think about how our friend's kindness may very well have saved our lives that cold, dark night. 

And I am truly thankful. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getaway--And Learn Lesson in Large Family Living

Hubby and I decided it was time for some couple time.  I don't like leaving the kids, but I'm glad Hubby insists or we would never get away.  We usually stick close to home--sometimes we go to my parent's cabin, or get a hotel, or we have even stayed in a campground yurt.  Our main goal is to get some hot, passionate, unadulterated sleep!  And have long conversations without interruptions!

This time we had some frequent flyer miles that were about to expire so we decided to go somewhere warm and sunny.

Except, somehow we brought the rain with us.  It didn't keep us from finding an In 'n Out Burger.

Or Starbucks.  And yes, I did get a collector coffee mug.  I LOVED seeing Starbucks with a huge ship right behind it.  So cool!

Day two brought some sun and beautiful walks on the beach.

We also found some cute shops near the ferry landing--and a great bar-be-que place!

We both love history so we enjoyed a tour of a naval ship.

It is amazing to think of thousands of men all together on a ship for months and months.  I especially loved seeing how they fed and clothed and cared for all those sailors.  Lessons in large family living!

The laundry room was a dream come true!

And the kitchen?

Wow!  They cooked ten TONS of food each day!!!  The cooks would bake 650 pies in one day (and I whine when I make one--even with store-bought crust!)!  Big everything!

Now that's a pot of beans!

It was a very relaxing weekend.  Our flight was delayed so we didn't get home until 3 am, but it was worth it! Now, back to reality!  I might even bake a couple pies and make a big ol' pot of beans!