Monday, November 30, 2009

The Rich Tapestry of my Life

My life is a rich tapestry of others lives that have formed mine. I am sitting in the living room of the friends I blogged about yesterday who have been either in the forefront or the background of my life for almost 25 years. They are faithful committed friends who have amazed me with their graciousness over the years. They are patient, committed parents, loving nurturing grandparents, and have blessed people in their church for years. They have been "pillars of the assembly" who have been key church members for most of their lives, providing stable consistent leadership year after year. Having them part of my life makes me a better person and always has.

Last night Bart joined me and brought Wilson and Jimmy. I gave a presentation at my former church and was thrilled to find that many of the people I had known twenty plus years ago have become foster and/or adoptive parents. It was really fun to reconnect with them, meet some of their kids, and talk about how God had brought us down similar paths. Again I was reacquainted with those who make up the tapestry of my life.

I have had the privilege of having lengthy conversations with some of my children this weekend and am reminded of how much they have formed who I am. The tapestry of my life has threads that are unique and unexpected, and yet it makes it more beautiful.

I am realizing how blessed I am today to have such an array of amazing people in my world both in the past and today. They have made me who I am. I am forever grateful.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ten Hours

That's how long I got to be on record for being grateful that MIke was out of jail. Apparently he was booked at 7:58 last night and I had blogged at 9:55 yesterday morning ... or something like that. But actually I had been grateful for several months -- he'd been out since March 5th with only one blip. The charges are theft, unknown level, unknown value -- other's property - or something like that. I'm just hoping he didn't steal from the people he was living with as he will then be homeless when he is released.

But while Mike was out getting himself arrested yet again, we were having a very nice day/night. Dominyk, Sadie, Jimmy and I drove three hours to Brookings where we are spending the weekend with some of the very best people I know. And I'm not just saying that because they read my blog. ;-) I met them when I moved to Brookings 24 years ago and they have been part of my/our lives ever since. They are adoptive parents of a grown daughter from Korea and birth parents of a brilliant son and now grandparents. They are dedicated active members of their church and are servants on steroids. I have never met anyone else before or since who sincerely love to serve others as much as thy do.

The kids who are with me have been exceptionally good. Dominyk found a big box of legos that kept him very busy. He suggested on his own that he head to bed about 10. Jimmy had sports to watch and Sadie had her phone ... so she was happy talking and texting.

I had a chance to relax, visit with friends, and work on my presentation for tonight. I played an online game of scrabble with Bart while i multitasked and it was all quite good.

Today we are going to church, having a potluck, and then Bart, Wilson and Tony are joining us for the presentation tonight at church. We'll all spend the night -- Bart in a hotel and us here, and thy will go back in the morning. I have to speak tomorrow night at an orientation and a couple of the kids will stay with me until then.

And after that, break time. Weeks of just my kids and my jobs.... and making a plan for my life.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Gratitude List

I'm finally taking time to make a list of things I'm grateful for this week as I pack for the last of my speaking engagements until January 23rd. I'm taking some time off to re-evaluate my life and to allow for me to be available to see my granddaughter enter the world. I am hoping to take some time away from work (I haven't actually taken a whole week away from my email for over 7 years) and to spend some time organizing and thinking about how I want 2010 to go. I even have a person planned to help me sort through my complex world.

But now I need to focus on my organized gratitude list...

This year I'm grateful:

» for Kyle's girlfriend, Christy, who is very supportive of him and who we love and are happy to have joining our family;
» that Kyle is employed, financially independent, contributing to society, a college graduate, and has a bright future ahead;
» that Rand has a driver's license and that he is almost always willing and cooperative when I ask him to transport his siblings;
» that Mike seems to have found a place for him that is chemical free (we think) and law-abiding where he is able to make a way, even if it is not here with us, and that he is in school;
» that John is in school and is keeping the terms of his probation;
» that Jimmy consistently makes us laugh, that he has found a good friend this year for the first time, and that he generally is compliant and helpful;
» that Salinda's pregnancy is going well, that we love her boyfriend and his family, that their relationship seems to be more stable all the time, and that our relationship with her has improved 1000% in the past 12 months;
» that Ricardo is compliant, fun, generally happy, involved in sports, and not failing any classes;
» that Mercedes is bonded to us and that when she gets off track we can guide her back because she listens to us;
» that Tony is better than he has been in the past
» that Leon made the B honor roll, that he loves his parents, is compliant and happy most of the time;
» that Dominyk is surviving 7th grade and is still able to live at home, in spite of his issues;
» that Wilson is adorable, compliant, smart and fun and brings joy to our days;
» for my parents who are beyond amazing people, have given me the best start to life a person could ask for, and that they are still healthy enough at their age to be able to live independently, among their friends, where they want to be;
» for my friends, new and old, who have made me who I am today. Some of them have branded themselves to my soul and because of them, I will never be the same.
» finally, for my husband. We have not chosen an easy road, but he is a man of his word, full of character, funny, articulate, super intelligent, loyal, honest, and admirable. He certainly undermarried, but I"m cool with that.

When I reflect on our lives and see our kids turning into adults one by one (Jimmy will be 18 in a few days) I realize that we have pushed our way through some difficult times, not always making good decisions or doing the right thing, but continuing to get up one day after the next, and put one foot in front of the other. and keep loving the kids, regardless of their choices.

And it is my hope that one day we will look at all of them and be able to say that they are the best people that the can be given their beginnings, their issues, and their backgrounds. And I hope that maybe at least of few of them will say thank you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's All Relative

Our day yesterday was actually quite peaceful and calm. Enjoyable even. We split Tony and Dominyk so they weren't in the same vehicle and that helped considerably. We arrived in plenty of time for dinner at Henry's (Salinda's boyfriends) and afterwards some of the boys played football while Henry's parents, Bart and I and a few other kids watched the original Home Alone that happened to be on TV. For some reason it was very relaxing for me.

Today I got up and decided to accompany Bart in the kitchen or cleaning all morning. We ended up eating around 2 and then cleaned up and played a few games. All in all there were only a few blips in an otherwise nice day.

However, if you were not us you might not have viewed things the same way. I was cussed out several times, a couple fights broke out, there were a few tears .... but seriously, compared to what it could have been like it was a good day. For the first time in 2 years (and only for the second time in history) all 14 of us were together. I attempted to take a picture and that was quite the ordeal. It did not go well. However, I did get a relatively good shot of everyone to put on Christmas cards.

Above are a few shots from today and yesterday, concluding with Bart, the way he is at the moment. Exhausted from preparing a huge meal that included 5 dozen homemade buttermilk rolls, 23 pounds of turkey, 25 pounds of mashed potatoes, green been casserole that used 16 cans of beans, deviled eggs, a relish tray, sweet potoes, stuffing, and of course, 2 pecan and 2 pumpkin pies with whipped cream. Life just doesn't get much better than that.

So, even though it may not have seemed like a great day to others had they been there, I had a great day. Having all my kids in the same place and a husband that not only cooks but is just an amazingly wonderful person -- the day from my point of view was great.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Ending of an Era

A quick flash from the past -- Dominyk and Sadie, Thanksgiving 2000, with their pilgrim outfits from preschool.


This is the last Thanksgiving that we will be only have one generation at our table. Hopefully tomorrow we will have all twelve kids home, one fiance, and a significant other. But next year, Gabby will be here (Gabriella Marie, Salinda's daughter to be born January 8th for those not keeping up. Smile.) I'm a feeling a little bit whimsical this morning as I've been sorting photos helping Christy (the woman who will become Mrs. Kyle Fletcher on July 24th for those not keeping up. Smile again) get things ready for a wedding slide show. I've been looking at pictures of the kids growing up and thinking about how fast we have arrived at this point -- the point where it will no longer be "just us."

Today we are heading up to Salinda's boyfriend's family's place for dinner. John has opted not to go with us. He talks the talk, telling us often how much we mean to him, but always when it's time for choices he puts family last. But I'm not going to argue with him and make him come. Our day will be better if only those who really want to be here join us.

I am thankful for so many things. As I was sitting through Thanksgiving service last night at church, Dominyk and Tony were both being themselves and though it was annoying and difficult, I realized it was the best we'd ever had. It was the first time Dominyk had ever not had a huge meltdown about changing his close. It was the first time he had not had something rude to say about other denominations like he did last year. In 2007, I blogged, reminding everyone of the things that happened in services in 2006 and 2005 and last night he was the best by far.

Today though, I am thankful for laughter. I'm thankful that our family, regardless of how messed up we are sometimes, can good naturedly poke fun at one another and laugh a lot. Here are a few snippets:

1. This morning Bart and I snuck out for breakfast while the kids were still asleep. My feet, quite cold lately from who knows what, weren't getting enough blood apparently and I broke out into a rousing chorus of "I can't get no... circulation .. though I try, and I try, and I try, I just can't get no.... circulation."

2. Last night Wilson saw my foot from the opposite side for the first time. I have a crooked toe, and so it looks like I only have four toes from the back. He asked, "Do you only have 4 toes, mom?" "No," I replied, "I have a crooked one, remember?" When I turned it around he shrieked in mock horror, covered his eyes, and said, "Nighmares! Nightmares!"

3. Ricardo announced last week that my body looks a lot like a penguin and Leon added that I walk like I think I"m a tough body builder who can take on the world.

4. John, Ricardo and Jimmy were discussing their potential indigenous bloodlines (but not with that vocabulary). John speculated that his ancestors were most likely Aztec since they are from Mexico. Ricardo and JImmy, both Guatemalan, were listening as I pointed out that they were probably Mayan. Jimmy responded, "nope, I"m Buddhist."

5. Last night Tony we were at the Catholic church and had both gone to the bathroom in the basement. Tony was walking out of the bathroom, focusing on counting the money he had stolen off my dresser and didn't see me walking out at the exact same time. I walked up to him, stuck out my hand, and said, "Busted." We've been laughing about the timing ever since.

And so, while we don't live in a perfect world, and our kids have many issues, we have a great time laughing. Our foibles and issues keep us entertained and keep us moving ahead.

As I said at the last presentation I gave, "If you can't go to bed at night finding at least one moment of joy that one of your kids gave you that day, you don't have enough kids."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MidDay Survival Post

Well, we've made it through the morning. So far four of the kids have had melt downs and I've had a few myself, though mine have been short lived and did not involve tears, slamming things, or hitting anyone. I guess I'm growing up.

Does anyone else have a clutter pattern? Ours goes like this. When we clean, things end up either in the laundry room or in our bedroom. Then once the bedroom is cleaned all the stuff that doesn't belong there ends up in my office. And then I run out of time and have to sit in my silly office that's all cluttered. It's like the stuff grows and multiplies as it finds it's way to my office and then lands on me.

And I'm drowning......


Finding the Emotional Energy

Today I have a huge task.... finding enough emotional energy to get through the day. We have a couple kids who freak out over holidays, John hasn't been home, that i know of since he left for school yesterday and I have no idea where he is, Bart is stressed out about all the responsibilities he has, and I am just wondering where it's all going to come from -- this energy I don't have.

Went and saw Blind Side last night. A must see for adoptive parents as it shows a happy ending, something we don't always get, but sometimes we do. And that's why we try with every kid -- because we never know which ones are going to turn it around and make something of their lives.

Wish I had more time to post -- maybe I'll take a break and do it later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Too Much Griping

Considering it's Thanksgiving, I've been doing way too much griping on this blog. Probably a combination of my recent health issue, a packed schedule, and exhaustion have led me to this sniveling whining pathetic conclusion. I'm actually needing a good kick in the butt and no thanks, not from you. I'll give it to myself and get it in gear.

I know that I have a zillion and one things to be thankful for. All of our kids are probably at a better spot than they have ever been. They are daily making progress though for some of them it's slow.

I have jobs that motivate me working with people that I love. They love me to. Grant it is because they only see me sporadically and the rest of our contact is online, but still, they love me. And I am passionate about the mission of the organizations I work for.

I have a husband who is beyond compare. He makes me laugh, supports me in everything I do, and challenges me. Last night in bed he was explaining to me why I was porcine. Most people don't even know what that means as it is pronounced poor sign, but he cracks me up even when it sounds like he is insulting me.

I have great friends -- friends I spend time with now and ones I've known for decades.

And I have a God who is so big that none of my problems even phase Him.

Why do I even think about complaining?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Five MInutes to Update You

We had a very quiet morning and the kids were off to school uneventfully. I am now heading for a post placement visit, a court hearing, and then presenting in New Ulm MN at a support group tonight. My body is stiff, but not impossible to move around in, and I'm emotionally feeling fine.

I have a cool blog post brewing, so don't go too far..... probably won't get to it until tomorrow.

My "Three Hours of Peace"

If I had more energy I might be able to make this post hilarious. Instead it will most likely be just factual. But you never know.

Yesterday Bart had a three hour meeting giving me what I envisioned to be three great hours where I could just enjoy something relaxing. I had planned to use it to sort through digital photos on my computer, organize them some, and free up some hard drive space. Five of the kids had been at a lock in the night before and thus I figured they would sleep all afternoon. Of course the cooperative ones did. But Tony didn't think he needed to sleep, more than likely because he had snored through church in the back row where I couldn't reach to wake him as I was busy poking Sadie up front.

I can easily divide my 3 hours of piece into three neat segments:

Segment One: Tony Begging. The first hour was Tony begging for me to take him to buy a game for his X-Box. He said his Dad had given him money (which was true, I confirmed it with Bart later) and he wanted to get a game. Since he had thoroughly done his dishes, something that has never happened, I figured he was due for a reward. I was just not wanting it to be during my "Three Hours of Peace" I finally realized after the first hour, that if I were to just take Tony that maybe we could get back and I could have 90 minutes of peace.

Segment Two A: Taking everyone everywhere. John needed a ride to a friends and since I was going to be in the van anyway, why not? Except that the friend lived five miles in the opposite direction. So it took almost a full hour to get everyone where they needed to go. And Jimmy and Tony came back in from the game store reporting that they had not found anything cheap enough to buy. Something was fishy when they didn't push me very hard to go to another store, but I just let it go. Upon our arrival at home, Tony was being very rude to me. As I'm walking to the house, I turned to tell him that I was regretting my decision to take him if he was going to be that rude.

Segment Two B: All H*** Breaks Lose. As I was turning, I slipped, and fell on the concrete. My ankle turned and I landed on the other knee and both elbows. My phone, which had been in my hand, went flying and Tony immediately grabbed it, insisting he was going to call Bart and interrupt his meeting. I was not dead, nor was I going to die, and it really wasn't an emergency. So I was trying to persuade him to give me the phone. He was screaming curse words at the top of his lungs for the ears of the neighbors, and I was trying to get him to stop, though it was a bit difficult as I was managing my own pain and trying to figure out how I was going to get my low-thyroid, overweight, out-of-shape, exhausted big self off the ground.

Dominyk came rushing out to see my lying there and quickly went in to tell the others in the house what he had assumed happened -- that Tony had pushed him down. This incensed Tony who took after Dominyk, injuring him slightly, so Dominyk came out to cry to me because apparently crying to ones ownself (as they would say in the south, right Cindy) isn't nearly as satisfying. So Tony, not able to stay in the house any longer because he has already made Dominyk cry, comes back outside to yell at me some more. So I'm lying on the ground with both of them yelling above me, crying and screaming and arguing and blaming. At that moment, Jimmy walks out to tell me that Tony HAD indeed purchased a game -- but that it was a $20 game because he had stolen money from us. They start to argue very loudly about the whole situation. Finally I pulled myself off the ground and hobbled into the house.

Segment Three: Listening to Tony and then listening to Dominyk. The next twenty minutes were spent with Tony at the top of his voice (his remote is broke and his voice is stuck on the highest volume) telling me what his consequences should be for stealing the money and how Jimmy should have equal consequences because he had gone along and lied too. All I wanted was for Tony to go away and let me nurse my wounds and my pride (as if I have any left) but that was not going to happen.

I finally got him to leave when Dominyk came in, completely agitated from all of the events and started to chant about what time it was and what time it was time to leave for youth group. That lasted for a full 50 minutes until it was time to leave when he headed out to get in the front seat and Sadie, seeing that was his goal, slipped by him and got the front which sent him into a complete meltdown where he was trying to break everything in sight. Fortunately Bart came home to end my 3 hours of peace at that time and took him for a drive to calm him down.

My ankle is swollen, my knee is bruised, my elbows hurt, and I was seriously planning on going to the Y this morning, but that provided me with reasons or excuses not to go.

Next time I plan on peace, I'm going to remember today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

There's got to be a morning after

We had five kids at a church lock-in last night. I don't know why it was scheduled on a Saturday night. Don't ask me. But being the horrible mother that I am I'm still expecting them to get up and get ready for church this morning. They are not being very enthusiastic about the idea.

For the past several Sundays I have not been on time to church. I hate walking in late. And usually there is one person to blame. John should be old enough to be ready but he takes forever to primp for everything. One night he literally spent 90 minutes getting ready. Ironed his jeans. Did something with his hair, his face, all that stuff. Who knows. But 90 minutes later he was finally ready to go out. And where did he go? He went to McDonald's to rent a movie from the Redbox. I kid you not. who knows, maybe he had other plans that fell through but that night that is the only place he went after 90 minutes of preparation.

This morning we have a large number of people who haven't showered. Usually people shower at night, but because of the lock-in they haven't showered. I can imagine I'm not going to be in the best of moods by the time the next hour is over. Going to church crabby isn't much fun.

I know, I know. Control my response, don't let them get to me, yada yada yada. I wish I could quit hearing my own advice in my head. I'm annoying. :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's Not Fair, Mom

I've just to 67 straight minutes of "It's not fair mom" because I have told Dominyk I'm not going to let him go somewhere and do something fun unless he gets his room cleaned. He is screaming how unfair that is and how I'm being so mean to him. It's as though he is 4 years old. However, he is 13 and a half and it's very waring. He just gets started and doesn't stop for a very long time. I try so hard to disengage and not escalate the situation, but he just repeats and repeats and repeats.

Bart and I have had a very long week and we're both really tired. Late nights several nights in a row. And I don't know how much longer I can be patient. I have long since stopped wanting to do something fun with him and now I just want to head to bed and rest. Of course, that isn't in the cards.

I'm worn out from the whole interchange. And now he'll probably go finish the task in 14 minutes. SIgh.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Entering Another Generation

I am currently seated in a place called "The Tea Garden" on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. I am surrounded by people who are of a much different generation than I am. They have very different colored hair and they are talking about things that I don't realy talk about. But they are all having quite a fun time. I don't think even the people who are working here have seen 25 yet.

I enjoyed my lunch with Janell, my old friend from college, immensely, and I"m looking forward to picking up my husband and having dinner with Kyle and Christy. It's been a good day, but I'm too old and too unhealthy at the moment for this all day long without a nap thing.

Off to attack the in box.

Careless and Selfish

I did something selfish. And in my haste and carelessness in planning, didn't realize exactly how selfish I was being.

Bart has an all day meeting today in St. Paul with hotel last night. Kyle's birthday is today and surprisingly he and his girlfriend were free for dinner. So I got this wild idea that I could come up with Bart last night, spend the night and then we could go out to dinner after his training at 5:30 and then head home. I would have a blissful morning in the hotel to get work done in silence.... ah yes, a really good plan

Except that I didn't think about Bart and how he usually likes to leave mid afternoon and have a quiet night alone in the hotel. And I had an orientation last night that might last til 8:30.... and all those details just seemed to pass me by.

And so we did it my way and I am here enjoying my luxurious morning in the Crowne Plaza alone while my husband, tired because we didn't get in until late last night, is doing an all day training. I'm fighting guilt, but he's been very understanding about it all.

Guess if I get a lot done today it will help me not to feel so guilty.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Revisiting a Former Home

When I was a teenager I loved Ziggy. Remember Ziggy? I had a calendar and some of the things that were on my ziggy calendar were so profound. Phrases ike "you have to enjoy here while your'e here because there is no here there" were excellent reminders to me during my back and forth trips between college and home.

But one of my calendar pages says, "There's no feeling like revisiting a former home and realizing you don't live there any more." That is what we did last night when we went back to Luverne for our book signing. Except that it was a good feeling -- not unsettled or awkward, and we got to see some of the most amazing people.

I've given up trying to figure out who does what and why when it comes to book sales and book signings. People that I expect to be enthusiastic about the book and purchase one right away are ambivalent and those I don't think we are that close to or would care have been some of the first to purchase the book. It's just a very odd thing.

But regardless of numbers (and there were quite a few more than the night before) or sales (more of those too) it was a chance for us to remember seven wonderful years surrounded by some of the best people who live on this planet. And while the trip was quick (we were gone about 9 hours, taking five boys with us in the van) they were hours very well spent.

We had our challenges during those years in Luverne, but we had a wonderful church family that supported us every day. So even if we didn't sell hundreds of books, we did bring to mind hundreds of memories, wonderful memories, than money can't buy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's My Party and I'll Enjoy it if I want to even if...

If I were at my parents double wide today I'd go out to their storage shed and look for the family pictures. I have one picture in mind that I would love to post here.

My little brother Nathan has a late March birthday and there is a picture of him, at about six, all dressed up, strawberry blonde cowlicks tamed and combed, standing in front of a table all decorated for a big birthday party. It was the year of the late spring blizzard in Colorado and nobody came.

I sort of felt like him last night at our book signing here in our home town. We had invited literally thousands of people by the time we sent invitations to every church in southern MInnesota, every newspaper, and sent out postcards to every foster parent in nine counties. But I sort of felt like little Nate at six....

Fortunately our friend Jill came along to help serve cookies and lemonade and we had a steady stream of people. The stream however, was a series of one or two people and they each stayed a long time. One of our friends from church dropped by right at the beginning after work to buy a book. Then the historical society director who was there already bought a book and visited a bit until our friend, Tim, Sue and Sarah came with their already purchased book that Bart hadn't yet signed and stayed a while until our other friends, Tom and Margie, with their already purchased book, arrived. They stayed and visited for a good hour until our friend Meg showed up. It was great to see her-- she drove quite a ways to be there -- and she bought two books. We had a nice visit.

Yup, 4 books sold, and 9 people there (if you count our faithful lemonade helper). But we had a really good time, no harm was done, (other than the couple hundred dollars of printing costs we have to eat) and Bart and I enjoyed the adult conversation.

Tonight we have a book signing in Luverne. Five of the kids are going with us. We're kind of hoping for a bit higher turnout. :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Opportunity for Minnesota Families

Why I Love My Job (most days)

I get to be part of making families.

Like this one

and this one.

Happy Adoption Awareness Month Y'all.

I Had a Dream

It's been two years since I we added children to our family and more than two years since I have had my recurring dream.... the dream that we have more kids suddenly and that I had no idea how they got into our house. My memory of the process of the match is completely empty in those dreams but the kids are here and I know they are ours.

This time it was a sibling group of three girl (Amanda) 17, Boy (whose name I did not know, and that was very very frustrating), and girl (Casey) 13. Caucasian. Average looking, somewhat calm kids, who took school seriously. And it was the first morning for us to take everyone to school.

I was in the basement of a church that had a hardware store in it (because all hardware stores are located in church basements) and there were a bunch of men there selling things. I needed to take my shower in order for me to get everyone to school because Bart was folding laundry. When Tony finally got out of the shower, all the sudden the shower had moved itself into a big room in that church basement and there were small chairs set up and people were gathering to watch me shower. I had no choice but to do it -- in front of all these men and boys -- because the compelling need to get all 12 kids to school as soon as possible was driving me to do ridiculous things.

WHen I finally got clean there was nothing to wear and the kids seemed to be everywhere. It was then that I realized that there was no way everyone was going to fit in the vehicles that we had available. I remember having the thought "this time, we went too far. WE're never going to be able to give these kids what they need.

Bart awakened me right as I was going downstairs to give JOhn instructions about his ride only to find three boys trying to pull Tony off of the top of John.

I never did learn the boys name.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Icky Feeling of Being Manipulated

Do you know what I'm talking about? That icky feeling in the pit of your stomach after you've been manipulated and lied to and fallen into the trap of deceptive and manipulative teenagers?

Oh sure, I should stop myself right there and be more understanding and patient of their special needs and how they don't always understand the truth and how they get their facts mixed up and maybe they weren't really lying but..... yeah, yeah, I know that.

But this entry isn't about them, it's about me.

you know that feeling? Where you get caught doing exactly what they want you to do because they set it up that way? Where you walk right into a trap and then feel foolish at the end.

Today it had to do with computer passwords and how they had been shared and the master manipulator got exactly what he wanted. He got someone in trouble, made himself look innocent, and made me feel icky. Bottom line is, he was guilty the whole way through. Maybe not of the offense itself (sharing the password) but of all kinds of minor infractions that led up to the big discovery on my part.

He told his brother that I threatened to kick him out of the house if he didn't tell me something, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Now of course, he said he was just kiding.

Icky. Living in a world where I could be told the truth would and wasn't consistently being manipulated would be so nice. Dream ..... dream dream dream dream.... dream....

There is An Answer to the Health Problems

Thanks for nagging me to go to the doctor. Blood work revealed that my thyroid is all out of wack and I have a prescription. Within 6-8 weeks I should be completely "normal" and that will be awesome. Knowing there is an answer has made me feel better already.

That and the fact that yesterday I spent the afternoon reading a book with my feet up, trying to get rid of all that swelling. It seems to have helped. ANd I had a nice long meal with my husband away from kids while they were at youth group. Not working for a few hours and getting lots of rest helped. And finally, Bart agreed to "do the morning" this morning, and I got to rest a bit, not having to get the kids up or out of the door. So I'm now at the office, having had a healthy convenient breakfast that works for me. I'm in the process of restructuring my life and getting myself back.

Anybody else need to do that? A couple years ago I started down that road and made a lot of progress. Felt better than I ever had. Now it's time to discipline myself to get back there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Keynote is NOT the Hero

I spoke at the TAP conference yesterday in Philadephia and it was such an awesome conference. In it's eighth year, the founders of Tap, Derek and Phyllis, put a lot of effort and energy into their support group. Tirelessly they have organized conferences and trainings and Christmas parties.... They have six kids and most of them have helped in some way or another over the years.

I arrived an hour before the conference yesterday and sat back and watched them pull things together. There were so many details. And then I watched people arrive. People who obviously had been around for a long time. People who knew each other, knew each other's concerns, each other's kids, and had been supporting each other for years. Some you could tell genuinely loved each other.

And the kids. Day care for kids, a program for teens. Lots of kids who were enjoying each other. The food was wonderful, both breakfast and lunch ... really really good.

I know that Derek and Phyllis had a lot of help and they have a good team of people who work with them, but it is their passion and motivation that have made the group what it is. They have stayed committed and hung in there for a long time.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that a couple people can make a huge difference, they really can. And I hope that yesterday my 90 minute talk was good. i hope that it encouraged, helped, and motivated people. But I wasn't the hero yesterday. I was a blip in the life of an organization that has been touching lives for years.

Derek and Phylls are the heroes. Their blood sweat and tears have built something that made my 90 minutes possible. That picture was clearer than ever to me yesterday.

So if you are one of those people who thinks "i could never make an impact because I can't write or speak in front of people", get rid of that notion and do what you can. Persistence over the long hall, being faithful in the small things, is what makes a person a hero.

Hearing myself in my head

Sometimes the day after I speak to parents I am confronted with so many things that I immediately don't follow my own advice on that I hear my own voice in my head scolding me for not obeying myself. And no, I don't think I am ready for a Multiple Personality Disorder diagnosis.

I got home after a full day of speaking, mingling, and then travel and arrived here about 10:00. I was too tired to deal with anything that involved confrontation to I just let it go.

But this morning, after sleeping pretty well, I'm not that tired. But I awakened to find the weirdest conglomeration of people sleeeping everywhere.

We have moved the house around to accommodate a room for Salinda nad the baby when they visit and we had moved in a crib and bassinett this week. Sadie's stuff was sompletely out of there and her bed was covered from stuff from the shower two weeks ago. Knowing that I would definitely do it wrong, I didn't move anything off the bed or put it away. I figured when she got here she would do that. Apparently not. So her bed is unavailable,apparently.

Salinda's boyfriend was here this weekend with her and she also picked up a friend on the way home. Sadie insisted on having a friend over. This results in 15 of us sharing two bathrooms to get ready for church in the morning. When I woke up early to get a shower I realized that nothing was as I had originally invisioned it. Sadie, who had promsied that she and her friend would sleep in her room, was on the couches with her friend, Salinda sleeping in the recliner in the living room. Henry was in Sadie's bed and there was a mattress on the floor in Salinda's room where her friend was sleeping. Not even Tony was in his bed -- he had to sleep on the couch too. Everywhere I went there was sleeping teenager tht didn't belong in that particular spot.

Now, I realize that this does not matter AT ALL. No boys were sleeping with any girls. No huge rules were being broken. But I am a control freak and I don't undersrtand why it is so hard to just sleep where we agreed on everyone sleeping.

So, at this moment I'm having a little emotional internal argument. Part of me is saying "do you know how happy some families would be if they had all of their children up getting ready for church without protesting?" and the other side of me is screaming, But DANGIT, why can't they just DO WHAT I SAY!!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good day, a very good day

Howevere, I am at the airport waiting to get on an evening flight and I am simply exhuasted. I still have, as a famous poet once said, "miles to go before i sleep" and I can barely see straight, so I will blog about the great day later. Now that was worth posting. Not.

The Morning After a Night of Nothing

Last night I decided to do nothing productive. My flight was uneventful and I got in I tried to nap but couldn't sleep so I played computer games, read a little, had room service (which was actually very tasty, and enjoyed the three room suite that was reserved for me. It was a relaxing evening. However, my night... not so much.

My room is only on the 2nd floor and opens out into an atrium that last night was full of people until very late. The noise made it difficult to fall asleep and when I finally did it was only for a couple hours before a middle-of-the-night argument broke out outside my window. Two guys in the parking lot sounded a lot like a couple of my teenagers verbally assaulting each other except that I wasn't there to break it up. It went on for at least 30 minutes and I could hear every word (about one out of four was a naughty one). It jarred me and was a bit frightening nad i had trouble falling back asleep.

And then for some reason I woke up at 4:50 and afraid that my alarm was not going to go off and that I would miss my ride, I never really went back to sleep.

I'm sure I'll be fine.... just don't like starting a very long day with so little rest.

Once November is over I am going to completely overhaul my life And yes, you can hold me to it. It's been an exhausting 3 months. Hope everyone enjoys their Saturday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Found 10 of the 19 pounds and off to the airport

Last night when I took off my socks and shoes I found 10 pounds. My ankles were so swollen I couldn't believe it. I must be retaining lots of fluid. That relieved me a bit.

I stopped by my computer this morning to say hello on my way out the door. Leaving for airport in 30 minutes, plane leaves at 9:52 and will arrive in Philly at about 1:30. And then it is my plan to go to sleep. I woke up at 5 this morning and couln't fall back asleep after being awake past 11:30 last night. I don't sleep on planes either.

But I have a good book to read and a mac magazine and my endless source of entertainment, my Iphone, so I'm sure I'll be fine.

May blog something of significance or a whole not of nothing from the airport if I have time.

Otherwise, hope you're days good.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Doctor's Appointment

Could you hear me screaming from very far away? I am so frustrated. According to the scales I had gained 19 pounds in 3 weeks and I just]t don't know how that could be. I am disgusted with myself. She took some blood, is going to run some tests, prescribed an inhaler for my wheezing and said it should go away in a couple weeks. Said it might be thyroid related. And of course we both know I'm overbooked, overworked, pushing myself too hard, and probably menopausal on top of it all.

There was a couple in the waiting room that really should be in doctor's waiting rooms everywhere. Probably only 15 years older than Bart and I, he was missing a leg, in a wheelchair and weighed at least 450 pounds. His wife, using a cane to walk, could only take a few steps without breathing hard. She was probably pushing 400. I know for sure that they represent us in 15 years unless we make some major changes.

So I went, but going has not resulted in me feeling better. Hopefully it will result in me being angry enough with myself to channel this energy into something positive. I don't know why in the world I was going to lose 47 pounds if I was going to gain back 67. I SWORE to myself I wouldn't let this happen.

So I'm leaving in the morning to go to Philadelphia REALLY crabby with myself. And with an inhaler. Trying to fit myself into a plain seat at some kind of horrible weight wheezing my way through airports.

And LInda, you don't want to hear my keynote. You already heard it. I ain't got nothin new ;-)

Training for Professionals in Our Area

It's another day. Eight a.m. and the kids are safe at school and I"m safe at my very very quiet office. Three days a week I get to spend in an office my agency shares with a local therapist and it is amazing to have a place to focus without being constantly distracted by things at the house, primarily Rand. I know that people who work at jobs think that they would love working at home because you "never have to leave the house." The problem is that you never get to leave the job either. I was filing paperwork at 9 last night ... and between appointments was pretty much at my desk from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Tomorrow I fly to Philadelphia to provide the keynote at this conference. I understand that it is an amazing group of adoptive parents and a very responsive audience, so I am excited to be able to be with them for a day. It will be a quick trip as I fly home the same night.

I must have jinxed Dominyk because yesterday I told the psychiatrist that he hadn't had a fit in the morning for over a week so then this morning he had to have one of course. Sigh.

Heading to three very busy weeks, and then a reprieve for a few months as we wait for the baby. I've intentionallly not scheduled anything from December 1 until January 23..... I think I need to catch up on some sleep and get sane again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shopping with Kari

Today Kari and I went shopping. We had lunch at Barnes and Noble and I took a picture of a book called "B****, In praise of difficult women.. I was going to buy it for Bart, but I'm a preacher's wife so I couldn't. I can't even say the word. Unless I'm quoting someone. And I was going to quote it here but I can't even do that. Cuz I"m too pure.

Then we went to Catherine's (a very big lady store) to buy sweaters. Don't even ask me why. But when we got there Kari insisted on undressing the half woman on the hanger. She is so embarrassing. Then she went up to the counter and said, "WE couldn't get her clothes off" or something like that and I was all like, 'What's this WE busines?"

And all day long I kept talking to people about the weather. Saying exactly what every other silly Minnesotan has been saying all week. "Can you BELIEVE it's NOVEMBER? What LOVELY weather we're having!" Except that when I say it they look at me funny like i'm some kind of idiot, instead of a normal Minnesotan.

and this is precisely why nobody likes to go shopping with me and why my husband is secretely relieved when I don't feel well because then I don't go around town being all hyped up and stupid and embarrassing.

Well it isn't working now

I came home unexpectedly a couple hours early to find that nothing on the list had been started yet. So my vision of him following my instructions yesterday must have been a pipe dream.

And I set up a Doctor's appointment for tomorrow afternoon. Happy?

It worked .... Kinda

Yesterday I set out a schedule for Rand that was minute by minute from the time i left the house until I got home. It included everything he needed to do, including taking his own shower. I told him to watch the times.

He got everything done on the list.

So today he has a new list. His first task is to go fix all the things that he didn't get done right yesterday, and I list them. At least he stayed on task somewhat it appears and I didn't have to give him step by step directions all day.

We'll see how today goes.

I'm off to IEP meeting, Psychiatrist and to the store. We are out of everything that I usually buy. Toilet paper, shampoo, Downey and Tide, etc..... so I'll go stalk up. They'll be happy to see me. It's been a while.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On Being Married to a Cynic

This morning I awakened feeling quite good compared to the last few weeks and said to my husband, "Isn't it great to wake up in the morning and be alive?"

To which he responded, "I've never known anything else."

Monday, November 09, 2009

I think I found me

I think I'm back. I rested this afternoon and when I woke up I felt like myself again. Finally!

I'm still going to have the doctor check me out to appease ya'll, but I'm feeling like maybe I'm going to be OK.

Calm night tonight. Bart is at a MACMH board meeting (now that he's hit the big time) and the kids are all being really calm while I sit and catch up after a week of being non-existent. Nice calm feeling in the house. Bart did the morning by himself and said it was a completely calm morning.

Tomorrow is 2 hour late start so we are going to sleep in a bit. Then I get to have breakfast with a wonderful friend.

Things are most definitely looking up.

Now if I could just walk more than a few steps without getting winded..... THAT's why I still need to call the doctor.

Meant to Share this Last Week...

but with my email problems, i couldn't send the photo that Bart texted me to my phone.

Here's Sadie with no braces. ;-)

Nope, Not at the Doctor

Had an early court hearing. I'm feeling a bit better today after sleeping a lot yesterday but I may listen for a change and go to the doctor. We'll see. Thanks for all your words of support and encouragement as well as your nagging.

I also wanted to let people know that if I thought for one second that our 21 year old son could survive on his own I would have no problem giving him fair warning. However, at this point he qualifies for no services, would not have anywhere to live (unless he begged one of our church folks to take him in -- he has no other friends) and cannot get a job. He would literally be on the streets. Considering he has siblings who have done much worse than being lazy and lying who lived with us well beyond 18, it doesn't seem humane to give him "notice." He appears to at least try half the time and he does all my driving, so he is probably doing more than a lot of kids in his situation do for their parents.

I just get exhausted trying to make sure he is doing something. He's so scattered. We have gone over and over what the priority list is for him..... shower, change the laundry, and then if hte kitchen is clean find something else to do. So today he times it so that he is actually outside raking the leaves when I get home from my trip, but I walk in and laundry isn't changed and the kitchen is even dirtier than before because he made a snack of 4 hot dogs and a full blender of smoothie, not even cleaning up the mess he made. Sigh.

So we'll just keep going.

And for those who are interested, precious little Wilson is in in-school suspension for pounding on a kid who had told a little girl in his 4th grade class that she wanted to go out with him. We were trying to figure out how many of our kids had never had in school suspension. We're thinking maybe 1, possibly two. Three at the most.

Sighing again.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I guess I'm feeling a bit better this morning. You've convinced me I should probably see a doctor, though I think maybe I'm just getting old and don't have the energy I once had and I keep packing way too much into my life and it wears me out. Plus I haven't been to the Y for a couple weeks.

One of the things that I think is most difficult about parenting children with mental health issues is keeping oneself free of resentment. There are so many things that frustrate me and aren't as I prefer and it can easily fester underneath my skin until I am carrying an undercurrent of anger that I have to force myself to let go.

These last few weeks it has been my "adult" children who are not working nor working very hard to get jobs. Having them here while I am overworked gets under my skin like nothing else. I think that you probably know that from recent posts.

This past week John kept saying over and over again how badly he needed to get a job. And then he rented 4 movies and watched them back to back. Last night he went and finally picked up 20 applications at the mall. He has spent the afternoon in front of the computer watching YouTubes.

Rand has literally (and you think I'm kidding but I'm not) filled out over 100 applications over the past 3 years that he never turns in. His goal is to LOOK like he is trying to get a job, not to get a job.

And then of course they will say whatever they think they need to say in order to fool me into thinking something different than the truth. As you can imagine, it doesn't work well with me and only escalates my frustration.

I am having to tell myself more each day things like "breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out" as I monitor my own resentment.

I know that if I could let some of this go then I would feel better. I'm going to have to do just that....

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Really not feeling good...

And I am sure you are just groaning and you're all like, "Why do I log on just to listen to her whine?" But I'm just not feeling like myself. I am having some struggles with my vision all the sudden, and I don't feel right. I'm exhausted all the time and just feel weird. It's not like being completely sick, but it's this Malaise that i just can't shake.

It's also a big pain in the butt that I can't get my details right. I keep messing things up when I am trying to be my own agent. I hate it when my imperfections glare.

So I'm tired today -- tired of being me. However, I've seen your life, and I'd still rather be me.

:-) (just kidding. kinda)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tech Issues and Lots of Paper

If you sent me an email between Tuesday night at 10 and last night about 8 at my .mac account then it was automatically forwarded to a law firm in Argentina. Don't ask me how or why, but that is a bit spooky and creepy and the twilight zone is playing in my head. Someone hacked into my account and set it up to forward my emails. The whole thing still makes me feel icky.

But now that is all resolved and I only have one more tech issue to face. But that doesn't affect very many people and thus it will go on a back burner as I currently have 1,000 postcards and 1000 flyers about the book signings on my desk that need to be distributed immediately. So if you are anywhere within a couple hours of either my current home town or the home town I used to live in (listed here if you don't know them) and you have a boring weekend planned, you could hang up posters or pass out postcards if you'd like. Just let me know and I'd be glad to have some help.

The kids and I will go on a "poster trip" or maybe two or three this weekend. A few of us head out in the van and we hit little rural minnesota towns to put up flyers in gas stations. This led to the placement of a sibling group of 7 once, so I know it's effective. We go to three or four towns and on the fourth town at one of the stations one person can get a snack. They aren't nearly as cute any more, being teenagers and all, so I may have to overuse Wilson, but it's a way to get them delivered.

My friend Jill is going to help me with postcards at some point. This morning I will work on mailing lists.

This speaking/writing business isn't all that glamorous. It would be nice if I had a huge staff of people. I could really keep them busy.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Great Read

I seldom have time to read fiction, but being an author, I wanted to support my friend Todd, who wrote a novel. So in one plane trip I devoured his book, Justice for All.

You know when you have a friend and you buy their book, it's always a big risk. You hope it's good, but what if it isn't? Then what are you going to do?

But Todd's book was not a disappointment at all. I was pleasantly surprised -- not that I didn't think Todd would be a good writer, but because it was just so very captivating.

Now, I recognize that this is hardly a book review that is professionally done but it's just good fiction. Here's some information about it.

A series of gruesome murders…
Bodies discarded, one piece at a time, along interstate highways…
An almost-total lack of clues…

FBI Special Agent Lukas Breyer has been given a task: find the killer. The media and the public are screaming for results. The entire expertise of the FBI is behind him, but there isn’t much to go on. Patrick J. “PJ” O’Reiley, Jr., is also waiting for that killer to be found. He’s the prosecuting attorney in King County, Washington , where the first body was found and where, he hopes, the killer will be put on trial.

Justice For All is amazing! Because of all the years I've been in investigations my mind is trained to automatically look for things—I almost can’t help it—but I have to honestly say there are no holes in the plot of Justice For All. All the bases are covered, but also the book tells the story of realistic people with believable personalities. It is such a great book!
—Maria Sliwa
Former undercover NYPD officer and
director of corporate investigations

More information can be found at

OK, so get this ... my head is just shaking back and forth

so I come home this afternoon and I am heading downstairs. And Mr. Unemployed 21 year old says, knowing that I am going to walk through it, "I cleaned the laundry room."

Except that he didn't. At all. It was not at all cleaned. It looked not better but worse than it did when I left the house.

I'm just so confused as to why he would go out of his way to tell me he did something as I was heading there to look at it. He volunteered the information. I didn't even ask him if he did it.

Sometimes living with FASD is beyond frustrating. Just makes me crazy. Seriously.

Can't or Won't

The biggest dilemma that we as adoptive parents of older kids who come into our lives at a later age is the "can't or won't" question. When a child or, in my case this morning, a full grown adult, is not doing something is it because they can't or because they won't? Are they trying their hardest to do what they should or are they trying to avoid work at all costs?

With most of my kids after a while I've been able to figure out after a while which one it is. And when they are younger, I encourage parents to assume can't because I think that is less demoralizing than to assume won't. (and often defiant kids, if you assume they can't, will go on to prove you wrong). But i'm really not sure with adult children that assuming they can't do the most basic things is a good idea.

I am at my wits end some days with the cluelessness (whether it's real or faked) of a couple of our older kids. Generally good natured and appropriate among other adults, our 21 year old at home becomes helpless. The smallest tasks become impossible. He is no longer getting scheduled at his former job and can't seem to turn an application in to find another. His saving grace is that he runs lots and lots of errands for me and keeps me from having to live in the van, but other than that most contributions that I insist he make to the family system are a real struggle.

Today I think I'm going to drop him off at the mall. Most of the places there are hiring and he can at least be there for a while and pretend to look for a job. While he's home nothing much is happening and even when I make a detailed list of things he is supposed to do. We'll see how that goes.

The Technology Demons

It took me almost all of yesterday to solve two of my three technology woes. One of them is quite spooky. It seems that my .mac account has been messed with and even Apple can't figure out why. I'm not getting my mail and my name was changed. Makes me paranoid that it might be personal, but other than my kids there are few people I've completely pissed off in m life.

The second issue involves a firewall and my server for work, which I have yet to fix.

The third was internet throughout the house. Our wireless network went down and everything had to be reconfigured. I finally got it done about 6 last night.

So today I am going to try and catch up on all the things that I should have been doing while I was doing that.

Online book marketing has been at an all time low the past couple weeks. Seems like I Just can't fit it in. So if you'd like to help with that, anything that you do would be appreciated.

I'm off to wake up what used to be several small children and now is one small child and several smelly teenage boys and their beautiful sister who got her braces off yesterday. Unfortunately, the only picture is on my phone and since my email is down I will have to figure out a creative way to get it here for you. That can be a project for today.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bart and Sadie

I love this picture.

Torn Down for a Remodel

When I look back at the past few years, my life could be compared to a remodel project -- kind of like the Home Extreme Makeover. I needed to be gutted out before I could be rebuilt.

When I look back at how things were over the past several years -- basically since the summer MIke and John were taken into county custody, I see so many rough things we had to go through. Rebellion, mistreatment by the system, court involvement, and other things were so very hard to live through.

While going through them wasn't easy -- and I am still going through some of them, I have realized that sometimes God has to tear us down in order to remodel. There were things in me that needed to be taken out in order for there to be room for the growth that He planned for me.

My harsh determination to control and change my world, and thus, my children, had to be eradicated before there would be room for me to enjoy them. My drivenness had to be reconstructed in order for me to stop and enjoy the good times. My strong grip on the future of my kids and my desire for the life they would live had to be rearranged in order for them to have the freedom to succeed and change on their own.

What is it in your life that must be torn down in order for you to be remodeled? Have your children been part of that journey for you?

When It Rains is Floods Me Until I'm Drowning

All the sudden I am having serious internet issues. It's a long story that begins with Dominyk driving me crazy on Sunday night with his endless chatting, even after being warned multiple times that he was going push me over the edge. Unfortunately, I didn't go over the edge, but ironically a glass of pop did, falling into my firewall, which apparently ruined it. Thus, I had to reconfigure our internet and now only one computer at a time can have access to it and I can't get into my server at work.

Now this morning my main email program isn't receiving emails.... either on my phone or on my web-based app or on my regular mail application. It looks as though someone may have hacked my account.

I had already planned to work from Panera this morning, but that leaves the house with no internet, so I will need to fix that this afternoon, something I wasn't planning on.

I had a few other things that needed to get done today besides buying and configuring a new firewall. A post for later today: Tearing Down for the Remodel.... I'll keep you guessing on that one.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sadie and I

Or Mercedes Confirmation Video

For Those Who Couldn't See Salinda's Shower Video

Not a Tear

It was nearly a perfect morning this morning. Tony dropped the F bomb once and stole a pop and Dominyk nearly made me go off the road by finding my tripod in the van and trying to shoot everyone with it but that was IT. That was the extent of all the drama this morning.

Dominyk did not shed a tear, which is so very odd. He found his clothes, got ready on his own, and didn't complain, whine or beg. I had woken him up 10 minutes later because I wanted to reduce the crying time. you better believe I'm going to try that again tomorrow. (the picture above is obviously not from this morning -- but from Saturday).

My week is nearly free of meetings, a welcomed switch from the last month or two. The rest of November gets crazy, but I"m going to need to catch up on lots of work the next few days.

I was just wiped out yesterday -- slept all afternoon and was still able to sleep at night. This morning I'm still feeling tired, but have enough energy to at least look forward to my day with some enthusiasm.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A Few Pictures from the Weekend

Videos as Promised

The video Sadie and I made for Salinda's Shower is here.

The video Sadie made for her confirmation project is here.

So Tired

Wow what a weekend. Yesterday was an awesome day but I am already having trouble keeping my eyes open and I've only been up for 90 minutes. Yesterday was a great day but it was too full. I ran out of energy by about 5 and I think I appeared comatose. But my friends are amazing, the events went very well, the girls were grateful, and I felt very blessed, but I am not sure how I'm going to stay awake for my day.

I'm getting the videos uploaded now so you can see them later today, in the midst of the other things I am doing. Maybe I'll get a second wind later today and blog about yesterday in great detail. Or at least better detail than this.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Not Always How We Plan Things, but Eventually It's OK

Mercedes is getting confirmed today. The church instituted a new policy that the grade in school did not determine confirmation date, but the demonstration that a youth was ready to be confirmed. Sadie has done everything she was supposed to do and has been enthusiastic about the process, demonstrating that she really understands what is happening and that she is ready to take this step. We didn't necessarily plan for her to be confirmed at 14 while her almost 16 year old brother still is not, but it's turning out OK.

Salinda is having a baby girl. She is due in a little over two months. Her baby shower is today. This isn't what I planned, nor what we dreamed for her life to be. But at the moment she is happy, I felt my grandaughter kick my hand last night, and at least for right now it seems like everything is going to be OK.

I became the family member solely responsible for making the food for two big events today with help from friends and my children. I certainly was nuts to even think I could pull it off, but thanks to my friends and very helpful children, it looks like everything is done and we might just pull it off. It's going to be OK.

It wasn't my desire to have older children, 19 and 20, still not graduated from high school, but right now they are going and it looks like they might graduated. So eventually it may be OK.

It wasn't my plan to have Rand living with us when he was 21, unemployed. But yesterday and today he has been as helpful as possible in the kitchen and with rides, and so, at least for today, it's OK.

I could go on and on with examples of how our dreams aren't coming true the way we imagined. I could articulate time after time where we were disappointed, almost crushed, but it all seemed to work itself out. Gotta make you wonder if maybe Someone Else isn't in charge of the whole deal.

I was watching the two slide shows for today for each of my daughters (I'll post them later). I was choking by 7:00 a.m. on this significant day just reading the words to the song we used for Salinda's shower video. I'm going to give her a gift from my own mom who can't be here today and that makes me miss her and makes me sad that she is too old to travel. It's a teddy bear that my mom made for me when I was a baby and she saved for her first grandchild.

I gotta quit blogging. I'm making myself cry again.

A big God who irons out the most wrinkly of life's messy situations., the best parents anyone could imagine, a husband who is beyond compare, twelve children that I truly love, and some wonderful friends -- from the past and present -- who could ask for more?