Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Time for Blogging

Salinda and Henry hear again. Isaac here while Courtney is gone visiting JOhn. I got home from a full day of training last night around 8:30 and was SO tired. Came home and slept about 10 hours and have been shopping, getting my hair cut, and watching grandkids.

Have hardly been at my computer the past couple days.... yesterdays training was SO long!

Just found out that there are is no shuttle to the airport between 8 am and 12:45 a.m. and the 12:45 won't get me ther on time, so i'm going to end up having to miss chruch which I HATE.

Not sure why all my traveling gets concentrated during the same months so I end up going full blast for a few months of the year and then staying home for months at a time....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Could You Please Hire a Felon or Loan us Some Serious Dough

There is a huge ministry opportunity out there that is not an easy one and involves some risk but the need is so great! We have several kids and a significant other who have things on their record that are keeping them from being hired. And to tell you the truth, I think they would be fine workers. But nobody will hire them!

For example, a kid who right after he turns 18 decides that he'll do his buddies a favor and give them a ride as they rob some private homes. He never touches anything... never steals anything himself -- but ends up with a couple felonies for transporting stolen property, etc... Because of that he can't find a job. He can't find a place that will rent to him. How is this helping him?

You might say, "Well there are programs for people like that that he should have taken advantage of while he was in jail." But you know what? State prisons have programs. Very few county jails have them and if they do you don't qualify for them unless you are in jail for more than 60 or 90 days. So.... the crimes that these kids are committing aren't serious enough to get them in jail long enough to qualify them for these programs, but they are serious enough to disqualify them for any jobs they might apply for.

Please explain to me how this is restorative justice?

Bart and I have a dream of starting a business that would not only employ our kids but also be willing to employ people who had things on their record that automatically disqualify them from employment at established businesses that have corporate rules. We have several ideas but no start up capital.

This is a huge social issue. I've come up with a couple ways that people can help with making a difference -- hiring people with records or giving people start up capital to begin programs that will.

And yes, I realize that this is way out of the box and scary risky living. But doesn't everyone deserve a second chance?

Wow.... Paybacks are !!!

Time is flying by and life is busy! Did the 11 hour training Tuesday and then ended up going out to dinner that lasted until 9 with some of the other trainers. Got up yesterday and didn't have a chance to blog before we left and drove the 7 hours home that were followed by re-entry into our lives and a night at church. I was so tired last night I literally had blurred vision. But I've slept and it's morning again.

The kids did GREAT while we were gone. But this morning it was payback time and Dominyk had a complete meltdown. But they are all safe at school now. Henry Salinda and Gabby are coming to visit today and we are taking care of Isaac while Courtney works, so we will have grandkid time...

I do another training tomorrow so I have to leave again this afternoon. My busy times come in spurts and April and May are crazy this year.

So that's the update.... Better get busy and get some stuff done. I have been working with my other jobs when not doing training -- but have some things to catch up on and I want to write another blog post with a topic too ;-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

11 Hours...

The training that we are doing today is for Mental Health Behavior Aides. It's a long day but it's fun to train with Bart and we're staying at a very nice hotel which is an added bonus.

We've not heard a word from home, so we're assuming things are fine. Two of the kids are staying with friends, and Dominyk's PCA is helping with him... there are 3 tennis matches and a track meet this week keeping others busy, so we're crossing our fingers.

The hotel we are staying in overlooks a beautiful lake and it's very calm and peaceful here. Of course, because MN is cursed beyond belief this winter, it's a dreary, cloudy, rainy icky day....

We're heading out to train -- training starts at 8 and ends at 5, but we have to be there at 7 to set up and we usually debrief for 30-60 minutes afterwards, making it an 11 hour day. Good thing we don't have to travel back tonight.

Want to break up my long day? Order a copy of the new book for your mom for mother's day. ;-) If you use the discount code "mom" at our online store you'll get the book plus shipping for ten bucks.

I check my email on my Iphone every 30 minutes or more, so book orders coming in will be a guaranteed smile for me in the midst of this long day.

Are you tired of hearing about the book yet?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adoption Resources of Wisconsin Happenings

Can be found here.

Spring Trainings in Minnesota

Click here for some great adoption and foster care related trainings around the state.

And We're Hitting the Ground Running

Did I tell you I have this new thinga-ma-jiggy that allows me to be online on my computer in the car? No, I'm not going to use it while I drive, nor am I using it now, but I'm going to have to use it later today as I need to work and be in the car at the same time. Bart and I are able to do a training together tomorrow in Bemidji which is about a 5 hour drive from here. We have the kids cared for and we are leaving in a few hours. Since my other two jobs don't just stop when I have trainings, I'll have my laptop with the thinga-ma-jiggy and busily and happily work from the road.

I finally fell asleep last night (afternoon naps and I don't do so well together) but woke up with my head spinning with a multitude of thoughts. Having everyone but John here yesterday made me start to think about what to do about him after he gets out of jail. I had sent him a very very long letter explaining why letting him live here was so stressful for me... he hasn't answered it yet. But us being separated from Isaac is not a good thing for Isaac as he is quite bonded to us -- and it certainly isn't a good thing for us! -- so I think I've come up with a plan that I won't blog about. If you're super super curious you can email me and I'll tell you. I think I'm willing to give him one more chance but I want to have a plan for what that one more chance looks like.

Other thoughts in my head including summer planning as I really enjoyed having everyone together and want to do it again at least once this summer. I was also thinking about the fact that Jimmy is graduating in a little over a month and what to do about that. He wants to go on a trip with Bart instead of having an open house but I'm debating some kind of informal family event as well.

Since I woke up at 5:10 to all those churning thoughts I've had a very early start to the day. Last night's photo uploading and blogging took me hours and I need to get some things ready for today.

The pictures above demonstrate how there's really nothing better than being a grandparent even if it isn't in the best of circumstances. We really enjoyed that role this weekend.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Some Easter Highlights

So.... we made it through Easter. I stayed away from the computer completely from Friday night at bedtime until tonight at six... but here are a few highlights from Saturday and Sunday:

***Kyle and Christy taking us out to dinner and having great uninterrupted conversation while the rest of the kids did fine here having pizza...

***Salinda falling asleep and trusting Gabby with us while Henry took Tony to the Y. She spent a long time on Bart's lap figuring out how to open plastic Easter Eggs and feeding candy to her Grandpa. She's very inquisitive and intentional. Her personality reminds me a log of how Salinda was when she was little.

***Playing a family game with almost everyone. Christy, our oldest son Kyle's wife, who is teaching kindergarten right now catching herself saying to everyone, "I'll know you're ready to play when everyone's quiet."

*** Having Tony, Leon, Sadie and Rand all willing to be at the church by 6 a.m. to have a part in the Sunrise service. The youth did a great job.

*** Having Sadie's friend announce quite loudly on in the second pew at the church, "Well, I'm not self conscious!" and bursting into quite loud laughter.

*** Leon leaning over to me and whispering, "Wilson has a jelly bean in his butt crack." Apparently, Leon had put one down the back of his shirt and it just kept falling. I don't think that most mom's heard that this morning.

*** Watching Dominyk do a great job accolyting.

*** Seeing eight of my sons in ties and white or blue shirts.

*** Getting my first kiss from Isaac. He's so cute! You ask him "Isaac, give me a kiss" and he reaches in and grabs both cheeks with both hands and comes in for a kiss. Heart melting. Seriously.

*** Bart's sermon as he instructed us to "Run Away and Never Come Back" -- to run away with Jesus from our selfishness, pain, sin and addictions and never come back.

*** Having 11 of my 12 children choose to be with us for both church and dinner and to have Courtney and Isaac here even if John is in jail. And not a single one of those visiting said anything negative or critical to us as parents.

*** Seeing my husband interact with both of his grandchildren at the same.

*** Having Sadie choose to sit by me in church and snuggle and hold my hand at her initiative even though she's 16...

*** Having so many of my kids willingly help get dinner on the table.

*** Bribing Ricardo to smile in family pictures.

*** Having everyone seem to enjoy each other and those who don't live here leave wanting to come back.

*** Having an uninterrupted nap and an incredibly calm evening as most have napped or quietly watched TV.

Lots more photos on Facebook -- including shots of Bart and I each getting Isaac kisses!

It was a much better weekend than anticipated and I'm grateful!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Adoptees have Answers Upcoming Events

Can be found here...

A Profound Experience

Last night I had a profound religious experience. If you are a Christian, you might want to read about it -- but it is definitely not a non-sectarian post. ;-- I blogged about it in my "Scripture As I See It" blog so you might want to check it out.

Today I have one home visit and then we get to babysit Isaac! The kids are home from school although a couple are at friends today. Last nights emotion has me exhausted this morning, but fortunately I'm fairly caught up on work so I will be able to relax and start getting things ready for Easter. Hopefully tonight's service will be less of a shock for some of our kids and they will be able to handle it.

If I don't blog much this weekend it's because I'm going to try and stay away from the computer as much as possible and be present with my kids.... I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Didn't Claudia Blog today?

Well, let's see. I was up late in a hotel last night after a couple family visits and so I woke up quite groggy and 15 minutes late for a conference call that I had rediculously scheduled for 7:30 a.m. -- I was able to do it in my pajamas however... but had to take a break from it to shower and check out and grab breakfast. I finished it up in the car as I headed to meet Bart for a quick lunch and then head to another home visit. I came home and laid down for exactly 22 minutes before I was awakened by children returning from school. Is started to blog then, but got no farther than half the title and had to deal with the nuttiest kids ever.

We have church tonight. And thus everyone is all thrown off. It's Thursday and we don't have church on Thursday and so their poor Dad has to listen to them complain and whine and swear while he is trying to prepare himself to lead a somber worship Maundy Thursday service.

Sometimes our quest for meaning collides -- the meaning we've found in our vocations colliding with the kids who can't take the implications. Any change in routine throws a couple of them off.... and then we have to deal with the repercussions.

Easter weekend is probably the most difficult of the whole year because there isn't as much hype as Christmas. At least at Christmas time there are gifts to distract -- a reward for the torture of going through the motions.

Fortunately there is a telemarketing company who have called me 11 times today and yesterday telling me that I have won a $100 gift card and all I have to do is.....

I never let them get that far -- but fortunately they called one too many times and I was able to vent all over them. Yay me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What makes your pulse quicken in a positive way?

About 10 years ago I heard about the Adopt American Network... a non-profit that focuses on matching. By this point we already had 9 children and my husband was beginning to say to me, "Is there any way you can help find homes for kids that doesn't involving them moving in here?"

So I got excited about the idea of becoming a volunteer matching specialist for Adopt America. In fact, the idea of being part of making families almost made me salivate. It certainly made my pulse quicken. If you know what it means to have a passion, then you know what it means when I say that matching is my passion. It took me a couple years to finally get hooked up with them, but since then I have lived out my passion every day -- finding great fulfillment in being a part of over 500 kids matched since 2003.

So, does this idea do for you what it did for me? Does the idea of being a volunteer specialist and working with me and a group of awesome adoptive parents to help put families together make your pulse quicken? If you are an adoptive parent that is the only qualification you need to have...

Email me privately at maeflye at mac dot com and let's talk! I'd love to let you experience the thrill of a match.... there's not much like that feeling that I've ever come across before or since....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


There is such a thing as compassion fatigue, but I'm not all that compassionate so I'm not sure that's what I have. I do have disappointment fatigue, or possibly meaning fatigue.

I married a man who said that happiness wasn't nearly as important as meaning and we began to build a life so full of meaning that it bursts at the seems. He is a pastor and I am an adoption professional and we have 12 kids. Does that just scream meaning or what? We are certainly attempting to do meaningful things with our time.

However, I gotta worn you, the more people's lives you touch, the more opportunities you will have to be disappointed. People make choices and they aren't always good ones. People say and do things that are unkind and hurtful. Many people are so wrapped up in their own lives and issues that they don't even notice when they are affecting others.

And so today I'm just feeling tired -- tired of being disappointed. Tired of people letting me down when they don't even know it. I refuse to live in the kind of world where I have such low expectations that I'm never disappointed -- who wants to live like that? But even as my expectations have lowered over time, I am still disappointed sometimes.

It's not really anything specific today - just the collection of things that surrounds me everywhere I look.... people not living up to their potential, people making poor choices, systems made up of people who fail others, and lack of sleep!

I may not be able to fix other people, but I can take care of me -- so I may just have to have a nap before Isaac comes over today! It's sounding like a very good plan (I've been up since 4:30....)

Courtney sent this picture after she fed him baby food for the first time last night. I'm not thinking he was thrilled with the whole idea based on his expression but she said he ate them!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Want to Win One of My Books?

My awesome friend Lynne is doing a book give away for a copy of my new book -- so if you'd like to read it but don't want to pay for it, head over there and leave a comment and you might win!

Note: I forgot to hit publish on this -- and it's a good thing that that's the reason nobody is heading over to Lynne's blog ecause I was feeling quite sad that nobody wanted my book even for free!

A New Twist on the Day

19 year old Suspended Jimmy is coming with me to clean my office today. It needs cleaning and he will be working every hour that he isn't in school... Apparently he decided he needed to smack someone right in front of the liaison officer at the school. He says he got suspended for three days because he hit him three times, but I'm pretty sure he would have gotten three days for just one smack.... Sigh.

Last night Dominyk decided to do his own laundry for the first time. I think he managed to get both loads done but the whole thing is quite an undertaking and the whole area now looks like a tornado took over in the night.

I slept horribly last night but got to the Y by five with Skinny Butt who lost three pounds more than I gained and I gained a lot! Two weeks of ignoring a plan isn't a good thing. But I had a great workout and my endorphins are flowing like crazy.... so we'll see how long it lasts.

This is a busy week -- 6 home visits in 5 days in 6 different towns that span about 165 miles of Minnesota both east and west of me. That involves quite a bit of driving but when it's done it will be done....

Next weekend or oldest son Kyle and his wife, Christy are coming for Easter... there is a rumor that our oldest daughter and her daughter might be joining us as well, and we get to babysit for Isaac both the good and the stress of all that is heading our way.

Need to pack up now and head to the office.... lots to do, lots to do....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday, another Sunday

In the process of being told to shut up and being cussed out... must be morning.

Good day of training yesterday -- I left the house at 7 and got home at 5:30.... we had a few major meltdowns and then settled to watch the Fox Family Movie night, even though only half the family was willing to join us.

Today we are going to the international festival at the High School. We tend to have a good time there.... this is the third year we've gone as a family. However, Leon is quite sick with a cold so he most likely won't join us.... Not sure who else will choose not to come... but we have decided that when we force everyone to join us for a family activity it isn't very fun, so we are now doing optional only family activities.

Our oldest daughter and her boyfriend both found out that they didn't get jobs after all because of the background check. Our daughter only has a juvenile record, which I thought became private when they turned 18, but apparently in health care it counts. Very disappointing for her and I feel bad for her.

I may have to post more about that later....

Friday, April 15, 2011

National Alliance on Mental Illness MN News

Can be found here.

MN Zero Kids Waiting Newsletter for April 2011

Can be found here

Lunch Break

Yesterday I cranked through the work.... just really got a long done. had an empty inbox for a while, which hardly ever happens to me.

Today I'm doing the first of two all-day pre-adopt trainings. It's going to be an interesting day... I enjoy these trainings, but they are long....

I wrote a long letter to John but I haven't been able to send it yet. It's pretty harsh.... kind of like an intervention letter. I really don't think he understands the impact of what he does and how it affects others.

Whether to let him move home or not is running through my mind constantly as a backdrop and it can be fairly annoying. There are so many other things to consider now that there's a gf and a baby in the picture.

Missing my husband today. He's doing a tough funeral -- a very lovely elderly woman in our congregation -- and I wish I was there with him.

I opted to not go out to lunch and just stay here and have a muffin and catch up on email. There's something very alluring about an empty in box.

However, I wouldn't mind seeing book orders come into the website so if you haven't ordered my new book yet, use the coupon blogreader and save $3.00... AND make me smile.

Now I KNOW that making me smile is high on your priority list.... :-)

You can order it from our online store or read more about it here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adoption Day Camp, July 21-22, Bloomington, MN

Check out the details here.

Adoptees Have Answers Newsletter

you can find it here


I'm sorry I never got to blogging, but I was also in a pretty sorry state yesterday, exhausted to the point of tears. I have been trying to decide what to write in a letter that I need to send to John about whether or not we are going to allow him to return home after he gets out of jail. There are so many reasons not to and it has been so freeing not to have to live with the stress of having him here, though it was balanced with the joy of having Isaac with us. SO that has been weighing heavily on me.

However, we do have some good news here at the Fletchers. Rand starts his orientation today! He will be working at Lowe's through the vocational rehab program. Even though it took over 3 months to get him this job through them, he will now have support and hopefully won't mysteriously lose this job because there will be others involved that can help to resolve any conflicts that arise. With his FASD (undiagnosed, but there just the same) he has been able to have a few jobs, but he was let go and never was able to explain why (and we are never really sure if he even knew why).

Salinda has a job starting next week as well and Sadie has told me that she is getting an apartment. We received copies of her county assistance paperwork here and while that was never the hope for us to have any of our kids on welfare, I know her dream has been to have her own place forever, so at least in her mind she is achieving a sense of independence and success, which should help her feel better about herself. I'm proud of her that she never asks us for anything now that she is out on her own. I think she realizes that her choices have made that an inappropriate road to go down (something that a couple of her older brothers have never been able to figure out).

Sadie has a second interview today at Pizza Ranch and we are hoping she will ahve that job. Leon and Sadie will find out this weekend about the job at my favorite coffee shop that they applied for and interviewed for last week. I know that they will both feel better about having some extra spending money and something productive to do with their time.

SO things are hopping along. Even though we do get continuously frustrated with some of the choices of our kids, as we listen to the stories of others we seem to have been blessed in many ways. The children who are living here never make me feel honest fear that I'm going to get hurt -- something that I live under constantly when a couple of the kids who aren't here are living with us. So having 8 kids at home who, while not excelling by the definition of anyone else in society, are functioning fairly well, not raging very often, and putting nobody in danger, that's huge for us and for most families like ours.

Today I'm off to my office to prepare for a two day training that starts tomorrow. I always enjoy going through pre-adopt training with new families. Their enthusiasm is always motivating to me and I enjoy the interaction. Sixteen hours is a long time to listen to any one person, so keeping their interest is tricky, but I think I'm a bit more entertaining than at least some of the others in the world who give the training. And I'll tell you this much... I'd much rather be giving than receiving 16 hours of training!

Hope all is well in your worlds...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The last 26 hours...

So yesterday I get to the clinic and meet with the cardiologist who explains that his recommendation is for me to stay on blood thinners for the rest of my life because we never determined a cause for the blood clots in the first place. Therefore, he explains, if I follow his advice I won't need to have the icky painful procedure done and I'll be free to go.

Well, with a husband like mine, there really is only one choice -- and that is the safest one. So I'll be taking medication the rest of my life and we were free to leave at 10:45 instead of 2:30. So we hurried up, called the woman running the meeting we had said we couldn't make it to, and hopped in the car to enjoy a fun day together. We arrived home after stopping for supper and to watch Jimmy and Tony's tennis match for a bit and were in bed soon after.

Got up this morning and left again together for a couple more meetings. Had one at 10 this morning and then went out for a delicious slice of pizza at Cossettas and now we're at Dunn brothers working on our laptops. I am looking across at him and he looks quite consternated while he works. ;-)

We have a meeting from 3-5, then dinner with some old friends, and back home again to get reaquainted with our kids....

It's been a nutty 26 hours... but the kids seem fine and we are, so all's good!

Monday, April 11, 2011


After he visited with me the doctor canceled the procedure and won't be rescheduling it. He convinced me that staying on the medication was my best bet and that a reocurrance wouldn't happen if I stayed on it --... It's kind of hard to explain.

(Sorry I didn't finish this earlier... I thought I had -- but I was doing it from my Iphone and apparently didn't... sorry to leave a mysterious post).

Post Adoption News from Wisconsin

Can be viewed here.


Uneventful evening. Uneventful morning. Leaving in 20 minutes for the "Echo" which I am dreading. Will be glad when it is over.

Once today is done there is a marathon that lasts almost 2 months with lots of travel and fun.

Yesterday at lunch a couple of women who were strangers to me stopped me to complement me on how well I did Thursday night. So apparently I was a local celebrity for a couple days. How fun is that?

If you'd like to save three dollars on new book use the coupon blogreader. This will be the best deal you can get on the book.... so get one now.

Has anyone started reading it yet? What do you think?

If you think of me around noon you can picture me gagging on a popsicle stick. Sound fun?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Not sure why but I'm a bit anxious about tomorrow and really wishing it was over. I can feel anxiety buzzing inside my brain. But 24 hours from now it will be over and that's very good.

Might have time tomorrow to blog before I go in....

Ever get that feeling of Deja Vu

I remember when I was about 15 my very sophisticated and intelligent younger brother bought me a birthday card and on the outside it said, "Ever get that feeling of Deja Vu on your birthday?" When I opened it it said, "Ever get that feeling of Deja Vu on your birthday?"

I get that feeling of Deja Vu whenever I sit here on a Sunday morning blogging quickly before church. The routine is the same every Sunday. Dominyk and Tony have both cussed at me already. The others are quietly getting ready. It doesn't change a whole lot.

Yesterday I took Tony, Dominyk, Wilson and his friend to the adoptive family get together yesterday and had some fun times visiting while Wilson and his friend enjoyed the recreation center and Tony and Dominyk enjoyed torturing me and the other adults there. It was fun visiting though and a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than in the house being tortured by them. ;-) At least the other adults found them somewhat entertaining.

Today we are planning to have "cheap chinese" for lunch after two services and Sunday school this morning and then heading to the cheap theatre for a movie. Cheap Chinese is a great deal -- even though this particular place serves it on styrofoam with plastic forks, the food is good and we can all eat, drinks free on Sunday, for less than $6.00 a piece. We can't even go to McDonalds for that any more and it's all you can eat, although we don't encourage everyone to eat all they can, at least these growing teenage boys don't complain that they are hungry as we're walking out the door.

Youth group tonight.... and then I have my echocardiogram tomorrow, something I am completely dreading -- it was awful last year when I was in the hospital and I don't anticipating it being better tomorrow. They are going to check and see if I still have the blood clot in my heart that I had last year.

This is going to be quite a busy week so I'm really hoping that the procedure doesn't get me all groggy for days or something....

P.S. I now hate my blog because I have some memory issues and had forgotten about the procedure, but thanks to blogging, I just went back and read it and now I am dreading it more than ever.....


Saturday, April 09, 2011

It's early Saturday morning

I have nothing scheduled until noon, but of course I woke at six and couldn't go back to sleep. So I'm sitting next to an open window listening to the birds sing and feeling the cool breeze touch the parts of me that aren't covered by a blanket.

We only had 3 kids plus a friend here last night. Several are participating in a 30 hour famine with the church youth group and Ricardo is with a friend. SO it was a calm night. The Coffees came for dinner where Bart inadvertently poisoned them, and then we hung out for a while, giving rides to several children here and there.

I went to bed with this song on my brain. I listened to it for the first time yesterday and it's quite catchy so I listened to it so many times that I even woke up with it on my mind.

Hope it starts your day off with a .... smile. The really cool graphic one can't be embeded so it's here if you have the energy to click....

Friday, April 08, 2011

Always Bracing Myself for the Worst

Tonight Bart and I went together with Wilson to pick up his friend and we were talking about last night's event and all the kind words, emails, Facebook messages, etc. I've received since I spoke at Sisters in Grace last night. He said, "You should be a pastor." I said, "I don't want to be a pastor." He said, "Hey, it's a calling." And I said, "but it's not a calling. God hasn't called me to be a preacher."

Wilson, from the back seat, pipes up, "It's a good thing He didn't!"

I said, "Why's that?" (cringing and expecting something like 'cuz you'd suck at it, or you'd be horrible" or something like some of the other kids would have said).

He simply said, "Because you're supposed to be helping make families."

I love it when I'm pleasantly surprised!

From Crabby to Happy

Wow, yesterday I got SOOOO crabby. I found out over a period of a few hours that several different children had been stealing again, I had a troubling conversation with Mike via text, I found out I had been repeatedly lied to, and a few other things that are unbloggable (yes, I know, I'm being vague) had upset me.

By the time I left to speak to the "Sisters in Grace" crowd, I was a mess. I couldn't find my makeup. That's how long it has been since I wore it. I couldn't find one of my dress shoes so I ended up wearing shoes that made me look like I was 86 and had orthopedic issues. When I got there, I was told my slip was showing -- of course I only wear a dress 4 times a eyar any more and it wasn't easter....

Everyone else there was so polished and beautiful and I felt old and dumpy and dumb. But when I got up front they were with me. For all 24 minutes that I spoke I had them... they laughed and laughed and I shared with them how God views us as "enough" even when we are fat, and dumpy, and can't find our makeup. I was real, I was authentic, and I think that, more than anything else, can make a connection.

I was also quite nervous -- I had never done the "Christian Women" crowd before. There were about 270 women there -- and I was afraid that I would do or say something inappropriate. (i know, I know, you're thinking, "YOU?" snark.

But I connected very well and now I'm not afraid to "market" myself, though, as you know if you read this blog, I stink at it. But I can definitely do an all women's event and relate even though, as Bart says, I'm not exactly a woman by definition. ;-)

By the end of the night I had sold more books than I ever have in one setting, signed them all, and heard so much good feedback that I was beaming.

But really, the message that I was giving to them is a message that once again I had to learn for myself. God accepts us AS IS. There is nothing that I can do to make Him love me more and nothing I do will make Him love me less.

When it comes to God, He is enough for me, and because of Jesus and His grace, no matter what, I am good enough for Him!


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Busy Day Ahead...

Doctor's appointment first, then taking Isaac and Courtney out to breafkast, babysitting Isaac for two hours, dentist appointments for Tony and Dominyk, and then getting ready for the presentation tonight....

I'll be flying from one thing to the next today.... Hopefully I'll see a blog reader or two tonight ;-)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Free Event This Saturday

Who all is going? We're thinking about it...

American Indian Film Series at the University of St. Thomas

The Augsburg Native American Film Series and the American Culture & Difference Program at the University of St. Thomas Present:

April 13: NDN Shorts: American Indian Film Series
Hosted by Elizabeth Day

This evening of films follows a nouveau comedy theme and will highlight the short films:
"Smoke Break" – Director Sally Kewayosh
"Cousins" – Director Sally Kewayosh
"Other Halves" – Director Migizi Pensoneau
"Scared Talk" – Director Migizi Pensoneau and Dallas Goldtooth

Place: University of St. Thomas
Screening Place: John Roach Center Auditorium (JRC 126)2115 Summit
Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Time: 6:30-8:00 pm.
Free Admission
For more information contact Lois Dament at

Pre-Adopt Training

If you are thinking of adopting in MN and you would like to take the state approved training for free and have me be the trainer --- let me know and I"ll sign you up for training April 15-16 in Owatonna, MN. 9-5 each day and once you're done you'll all set to sign up with your own county or a private MN agency to get a homestudy done to adopt from foster care...

Two Options for Tomorrow Night

If you live anywhere near Mankato and have nothing to do tomorrow night there are two options for you!

Two Kinds of Regret

I have a few of my adult kids who make me wonder sometimes why I worked so hard to keep them out of trouble. Ten years ago I was busting my butt to make sure they did what they were supposed to do to keep them away from the life they are currently living. And it didn't make any difference. And there are days when I regret all the effort I put into that project that at this time feels like a huge failure.

I was watching the Biggest Loser last night (I know, I know, weird culture we live in where we define entertainment as watching fat people cry, but it's my only two hours of TV a week). Watching them and their ups and downs and struggles is kind of a microcosm of many situations in life. If you've been following the show, last night, because of a weird turn of circumstances, one of the girls had to go home before anyone thought she should. But SHE was ok with it. She had no regrets. She knew she had given it 100%. And I thought about the regret that she would have had if she had slacked off last week...

I was thinking about both of these things this morning and realized that there are two kinds of regret: Regret for doing too much, and regret for not doing enough. And if I'm going to have regrets, I'd rather regret doing more than I should have than not doing enough.

It's a tricky situation now, talking to new adoptive parents, because with some of them I know where they are headed. I don't really believe, for example, that there are a lot of reasons to hold out hope for huge success for kids with the RAD and FASD combo. But what I want to try to do is to help parents find the balance between doing all you can as to not have regrets and letting go of needing to have visible results to feel good about yourself as a parent.

Could it work out that you bust your butt for ten years to end up having a child who visibly has no success compared to the rest of society? Sure it could. But if you focus on the relationship you have with that child instead of the behavior you might have a child who loves you, has you as a support, and will do much better with you than if they didn't have you.

But the key, at the end of the day - whenever the "weigh in" is, so to speak, is to know you've done your best. That you held out hope, kept believing, encouraging, prodding, advocating, and loving... no matter what.

I believe that is what we are asked to do... and the results? Well, do we really know the end result if our child is 20 or even 30 or 40 or 50? Nope. Cuz it ain't over until the fat lady sings.....

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Got this email from an acquaintance.....

I’m proud to announce the official publication today of my new book. I kindly ask my friends, colleagues, relatives and complete strangers to please consider buying a copy (or multiple copies for your own friends, colleagues, relatives and complete strangers). Here’s a link to purchase: or go to your local bookstore and, if they don’t have it, ask why and place an order. Feel free to forward this email freely, post it on your own website, blog, Facebook page, tweet it, etc.

I’m very proud of this book and hope it will make a real difference in people’s lives. Thanks immensely for your help and support. Adam.

Note from me: If anyone reads it or has read it, come back and let us know what you think...

Why I Don't Have Time To Blog

In order to clear my head I thought I'd share with all of you how my day has been so far. It might explain to you why I haven't been blogging as thoroughly lately.

I got up at 5:40 to head to the Y by 6 instead of 5 because it was a two hour late start for the kids. When I got to the van the oil light was on and we've been having trouble with that for the past couple days and I was told "NEVER drive it if the oil light is on. So I went inside and asked Bart if he needed the car before 7:30 because the oil light was on. He told me to take the car.

Now, before I go any further, this was already destined to be a difficult day with two vehicles. Late start combined with two therapy appointments and me agreeing to watch Isaac (adorable grandson above wearing the outfit we got him in Alabama -- his mom texted me the picture this morning)

I picked up Mrs. Coffee and we went and did our workout and came home. I went to Bart and decided there is no way we could do the day with one vehicle. I called and cancelled the two therapy sessions and went to buy oil. When I got back Bart reported that the oil was full. ??? So i told him to go ahead and go to his meetings and I would deal with the van. I called and our mechanic can't fit it in today.

Tony and Leon are leaving on an overnight high school concert choir trip to Iowa, so I woke Tony up and let him know that therapy was cancelled, which resulted in me being cussed out immediately. I told him he needed to get up and pack because neither of his parents were going to be there to wake him up multiple times.

I then got in the van to leave and there was no oil light on after all. I took Sadie and Leon to Dunn Brothers for breakfast so they could meet the amazing Leah and turn in applications. She is suggesting she will interview each of them on Saturday which would be awesome. On the way home we stopped at the bank for cash for meals for the choir trip boys.

During our time at Dunn's, Courtney, John's girfriend texted asking if I might be willing to go pick up our oldest daughter (an hour from here) and babysit Gabby so that she could go with Courtney to jail to see John (even though John had told me that she was never going to speak to him again). I said no. I can't imagine why suddenly she is having such a great need to see John when he's been here for the past 3 months and she's only seen him twice. For some reason the subculture she lives in glamorizes trips to see people in jail. But I'm certainly not subsidizing a trip for her to see him when she doesn't even have time to come see me. Of course, all I did was say no, because anything I say to anyone of these kids will be repeated and twisted to meet the needs of whoever they are trying to convince of whatever drama filled manipulative ploy they are involved in.

Through text messages I offered to take Courtney to breakfast Thursday so she and I can talk before I write to John. I'm not sure what exactly to say to him after the things that have happened the past couple weeks and I want to know where she is with things and how she feels before I misrepresent her by mentioning something she said yesterday or the day before.

Came home to take kids to school and suddenly realized that not only was the neighbor unable to take Jimmy and Tony as she usually does, but that Sadie had had a friend spend the night and I was going to have to make two trips. As soon as I was getting ready to make the two trips the phone rang and it was Mike, asking for a ride to court by 10 (it was 9:15). He gave me an address and I told him I had to make two trips and that I would get there as soon as I could. He told me his ride hadn't shown up and that he would call his lawyer and tell them he was going to be a bit late.

I took the first three and then came back for the rest which is a two stop trip. However, Ricardo decided to tell me he knew where Mike lived, which surprised me since he isn't supposed to go there and he knows it. So I got all involved in that conversation and completely forgot that Wilson was in the vehicle. He's very short and sits directly behind me and never utters a sound so it's easy to forget. So after I dropped the High School kids off I realized that I still had another stop to make and that was going to take me way out of my way and I wouldn't make it to Mike's on time.

I got to the address he gave me and it didn't exist. And he was nowhere near there. I texted his cell and got no response but who knows if he has minutes left as he uses pay to go phones. I called home and Rand reported he hadn't called back. I waited 15 minutes and then came home My guess is that his ride showed up and he forgot to mention to me that he didn't need a ride afterall.

By the time I got home it was 10:30 and nothing is done here. So now I have 25 whole minutes to work before Isaac comes for me to babysit. And then we begin the complex evening of spring sports where we have practices for 3 different kids until 5:30 and another one that starts at 6:30 and we try and fit supper in between. And I have a meeting from 4:30 to 5:30. And Sadie babysits and 6:30. And I think Bart has a meeting somewhere in there too.

And somwhere today I should fit in between 9 and 11 hours of work, but I'm thinking that may not happen.....

So, understand why somedays I just don't have time to blog? Is your head spinning yet? Mine sure is!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Foster Care and Adoption Resources of Wisconsin Newsletter

Can be found here....

Support Group in Mankato

In case you weren't aware, there is a meeting tonight...

The Mankato area adoption support group that meets on the first Monday of every month will meet tonight, Monday April 4, from 6:30-8pm at the Nicollet County satellite office at 2070 Howard Drive in North Mankato. All adoptive, kinship, and foster families in the process of adopting are welcome and encouraged to attend.

One of the Reasons I Love Vacation

I realized this morning why I like vacation. Teenagers tend to like you quite a bit if you don't make them do anything. And if the influence of their friends and their responsibilities are removed from their lives, they can be pretty dang enjoyable.

But vacations don't last forever and we're back....and I'm making them do stuff and the influence of their friends and responsibilities is back and here we are...

It was great while it lasted!

I blogged some thoughts on Ananias on my Scripture blog this morning....

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Time for an Update

This morning I woke up around 6:15 and couldn't sleep any more. That hasn't happened on a Sunday maybe ever. Got tired of lying there so I got up at 6:45 and came down to get a few things done on the computer.

Apparently Mike was out of jail for a day or two but is now back in. John went back on Friday night and he and Courtney have had a big fight so she and Isaac moved out while we were gone. She is going to have us taking care of Isaac while she works a couple times a week so we will get to see him.... whew! I've missed him. In fact, he is coming over today! Yay!

The night before we left for vacation John had a complete meltdown and refused to do what we say. Thus he has his girlfriend and his parents both fairly unhappy with him. He is calling from jail but we aren't accepting the $9.99 for 20 minutes collect calls. He has asked me to write, which I probably will do today -- simply to explain that we aren't going to take any calls.

He was hoping that Courtney would bring Isaac over to see him every week, but I'm not sure she is going to do that and he may spend the next sixty days with nothing to think about. He knew he was going to jail but he didn't save any money to buy even paper and stamps while he was there. As far as I know he went with nothing and I"m not giving him anything because he borrowed money again that he didn't pay back. So I will probably let him know my intentions and then let him spend the next 60 days coming up with a plan other than taking advantage of us.

We have heard very little from Salinda, though she texts once and a while. She keeps saying they are coming to visit but we have yet to see that happen. I bought an outfit for Gabby on vacation so if she doesn't come down for a while maybe we'll take it up to her and spend a bit of time there.

It looks as though Rand has a job! All he has left to do is pass drug test and a criminal background check and it's his. He will be working at Lowe's.

Jimmy is anxiously awaiting to hear details about remaining at MSU in their cafeteria where he has been all year as part of his special ed work program at the high school. I may have mentioned before that they have mentioned they want to hire him.

Sadie is supposed to have a Taco John's interview this week. She really wants to be working again.

Ricardo has no plans to work or even play a sport this summer, but this past week he was more engaged with us than he has been in years so we're hoping it will be a jump start to get his act together. Before we left on vacation he was having a really bad time with attitude and behavior at school. And we recently had to movee him from the track where he might be able to at least go to a community college on an IEP over to a work program. He simply cannot read.

PCA hours will be over for Dominyk on June 30th unless something changes. And Tony will be staying here this summer though he doesn't know it yet. He was hoping to return to Bart's mom's, but his behavior last year was too awful and she has too much to do to have him coming there to "help her" when he isn't very helpful. But his PCA hours go until October, so at least we will have some breaks from his incessant attempts to drive us all nuts. His words to me a few weeks ago were, "If I can't go to Grandma Mary's this summer I"m going to stay home and torture you every single day." Lucky, lucky me.

Sadie and Leon both got their licenses the week before we left for vacation. They were quite excited and we are now happy to have two more people who can run errands. However, we still only have two vehicles, so their licenses add complexity to the ever changing juggling act of our lives.

I convinced Bart to grow out his beard while we were on vacation but he shaved it off this morning. :-( Thought you might like to see how grey it is. :-)

I took this picture on my phone on our last day at the beach and Bart laughed at me. "Are you taking that because they are so rare?"

But no, I took it because I wanted to remember that hour that he and I sat together in silence. Eyes either closed or watching the seagulls and dolphins, the sun shining bright on our faces as we ended a wonderful week with some of our kids. I'm remembering it now as I look out at the snow that still remains by my window and contemplate the snow that is forecast to come down here today or tomorrow.

My sigh is one of both contentment and foreboding as we dive back into two very busy months. April and May are PACKED with trips, trainings, and special meetings in addition to babysitting for Isaac and parenting the kids. But after that we are going to have a very unusual summer as Bart is taking a sabbatical and thus I am from church responsibilities as well. It will be very strange for us to be able to be away for a weekend as a family -- or even partial family-- and not be at our church for a few months.

SO there you have it, a brief update on my Sunday morning. Are you glad I awakened early?

The Crucible

Last night we were able to go see Tony in his debut acting experience in the High School play, "The Crucible." It was so fun to see him perform. He has so little success in his life but this is something he did very well. He played Giles Cory who, as you can see in the playbook, is an 83 year old man who ends up choosing to die rather than to admit to having a pact with the devil. He was very convincing -- in fact, there were several moments in the play when I actually forgot he was my son!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Home Again and Sorry It's Over

For the first time ever I was sad to see a family vacation end. The kids we took with us did so well! It was so fun being with them.

Tonight we get to watch Tony perform in a school play and then we're back into the fray. But we really had a nice time and I'm so glad we went.

And my book is here. ;-)

So fun to see the finished project and so far I haven't found a single huge mistake....