Wednesday, April 16, 2014

11 Today!

 Happy Birthday Elizabeth!!

Today is the day we celebrate Elizabeth's 11 years on this earth, since the day she was born!  What an amazing 11 years it has been.  Full of many days of laughter and joy but also with so many scarey and prayerful days as well. 

She came to us as a medically fragile foster placement. 
She had a trach, g-tube and so many life sustaining tubes and wires attached to her.  I prayed so hard because the responsibility of her care was so intense and overwhelming.  She was so much work.  Caring for a baby is a full time job but add in all the machines and their upkeep and cleaning.  The settings, the feeding pump, the suctioning machines, the oxygen settings, breathing treatments,.  She was around the clock care to keep her healthy and alive...But God helped us and helped her survive and grow.

So many times we were told by doctors bad things about her prognosis.  We were told she would never talk, eat by mouth, walk or be normal cognitively.  So many times she was so very sick or unhealthy we prayed fervently for her life.  So many life threatening surgeries we sat thru in prayer and tears and God carried her and us thru. 

Her case was one of the hardest and most serious we had ever had to go thru.  It was so hard to function every day in faith that God had her in the palm of His hand, with all the awful and scarey things DFCS kept telling us about the family and her case.  I had to keep reminding myself that God was in total control.  I had a very good friend at that time going thru a hard case as well and we tried very hard to keep each other encouraged.  We prayed and fasted for each other on our court days. (Thank you so much L. Love you always!)  Every court day was draining and emotionally exhausting.  But Gods plan was for her to be our daughter.

She has been the hardest child we have ever raised medically and behaviorally.  She has been a challenge on every front with her high activity and strong will....But...she has also brought us equally as much joy and laughter.  Raising her has brought us much closer to God.  We have seen literal miracles and had regular answers to prayer on her behalf.  Raising her has taught me so much about myself and what love really is.  I mean, unconditional love for another, no matter how they treat you or what they say to you.   I learned the lesson that we need to treat everyone with the love we show to the ones in our life we cherish the most, no matter how we feel.  I have learned that love is an action and a choice.  That, is the love of our God.

Elizabeth has grown, changed and matured so much over the years.  She had such a ruff start.  She has used her tenacity to push herself to do the things in life that were hard for her to do, but she wanted to do.  She is spunky and funny.  She is very social and loves to be right in the middle of gatherings and whatever is going on.  She loves ballet, wearing jewelry and dressing up nice every day.  She happily hums when doing dishes or is doing yard work.  She loves being in the kitchen cleaning or helping prepare a meal. She likes to be outside doing yard work or swinging on our playground swings.  I have seen her in just the last year playing with toys less and leaving childhood behind and embracing things like knitting, cooking, recreational reading and bead work.  She primps before going to town and spends time with her sister doing each others hair...trying out new styles.  She is really becoming a young lady now.

For her birthday we surprised her with letting her get a parakeet.  Here is Charlie!
She has wanted one for a long time.  I was very glad we took her to pick it out early yesterday as after ballet last night,  she flipped her ankle and we were in the ER till 11:00 getting it x-rayed.  They do not think it is broken, only sprained but are sending her to the ortho doc to make sure.  She can not stand to put any weight on it, it hurts so badly...and is splinted and using her wheel chair and crutches for now.  (Not a good way to end being 10! and your first day to be 11!)





Tim brought home pizza for a special supper and my sister made one of her delicious and beautiful cakes for her! 
Thank you so much sister for all the special effort and love!

We love you so much dear Elizabeth!  You are a blessing to our home and life.  We give glory to God today for you and your life! Gods blessings be upon you now and always!


Romans 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.




Love, Dad, mom, Stephen, Antonio, William, Carolyn, Zeke and two little toddlers!  


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

They Are Home!

I can not say how overjoyed I am to have my husband and William home once again.  Our long weekend started out when the guys left on Friday at noon to go on their trip.  All went very well till about 4 on Saturday when we had a few hours that really wore me out.  The older children were bickering and the toddlers fussy and naughty.  Sigh.  I was so tired and still had to get the babies asleep so I could go out to the barn late and milk the goats.  After a good night sleep God helped me get thru Sunday till 2:00 when the guys got back home.  I am so happy.  Just very relieved and happy.  Once again this reminded me that I do nothing in and of my own strength.  That I rely on God for it all and that we all do our small parts around here making life flow smoothly and everything gets done.

The guys had a wonderful time and came back well rested and sunburnt.  On Friday they had lunch at Steak and Shake and went bowling.

They ate junk and watched real TV in the hotel room.  On Saturday they walked around and looked at VolksWagens to their hearts content and ate more junk.

William said I had to put these two pictures on the blog.  This one because he is trying to make his bug into one like this.  Herbie!
Then this photo he wanted on here as well.

On Sunday they woke up and went back to look at more VolksWagens and then came home after lunch.  A quick and wonderful get away for them both.

I am grateful they had a great time but also that the once a year weekend is over with and we can get back to normal.  Thank you to all of you who kept us in your prayers.  All went well!

1 John 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.


Blessings,
susan  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gearing Up For A Long Weekend.

I have one word... Bug-a-paluza.  Yup, the once a year, huge, fun, exciting, Tim and Williams get away for the whole weekend, weekend.  Whew.  Tim had owned several VW bugs while growing up and of course William saved his money up and bought his first one when he was very young.  So they are both VW bug enthusiast. 
Williams bug in the snow earilier this year!

Tim and William have been going to Bug-a-paluza for 5 years now.  It gives them both a wonderful time away together alone, making happy memories together.  Getting away from it all.  They leave on Friday and come home Sunday.  It always seems like they are gone a lot longer, as I stay busy doing all of theirs and my chores and tasks while they are gone.

Tim is my best friend and other half and that makes it hard enough when he goes away... but add to that my right hand man, William, going too and it makes for a very hard, long weekend.

Please keep us all in your prayers.  For Tim and Williams safety.  For me and the children left here at home.  I will have all the farm work...All of Antonio's toileting, bathing, tube feeding and care and the two new toddlers to care for.  

God is so good.  I am cleaning the house and preparing for them being gone this week and plan to just batten down the hatchet and do the basics while they are gone in order to get everything done that needs doing.  I know God has helped me every year they have gone before and He will this time as well.

I am so glad all my goats have delivered their babies or I know it would be doubly hard.  As sometimes I am out in the barn for hours with a delivery.

I am hoping to have all the baby goats gone by this weekend so I don't have to go out and bottle feed them though out the day.

I am looking forward to this special time away for Tim and William.

Isaiah 41:13  For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

 

Blessings,

susan

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Our New Normal

Finally, I think we are here.  Finally, I think we are entering into our new normal for our family. 

After some very, very hard days and nights.  After days of us all climbing into bed exhausted for weeks, from extra work, dealing with hard behaviors and screaming all day and many nights.  After days and days of getting only the basics done in life every day.  After so many appointments and many family adjustments...life seems like we are finding our niche.  God is doing a work in us all, in our lives and the beauty of it all is starting to shine thru.

Everyone knows what is expected of them and what needs to be done.  Everyone is relaxing and enjoying our days again.  Every day.  No, the toddlers aren't perfect and behaving all the time.  Bless their hearts they have been thru so much in the last six weeks of their life.   Well...really for their whole lives.  All things considered, by the grace of God, they are really doing exceptionally well.  No, Elizabeth isn't behaving perfect either.  But praise God, back to like she was before we took in these two little guys.  No, life is not perfect and easy.  It actually never has been or will be but it is the life God chose for us and we love it and are grateful for it.  We are a happy family and have the peace of God in our unusual life we lead.  But praise be to God.  Life seems normal and doable again.  It is still hard.  But God is helping us all and we seem to have fallen into a routine and what feels normal for us all.  It is like a huge exhale after the last many weeks.  God is so faithful.

I have many baby goats being born right now, needing attention to bottle feed them and get them off to a great start.  I am back to milking twice a day.  God has worked out my schedule every day to get it easily done.  I am getting the garden area around the house cleaned up for spring and our raised beds ready for planting.  God has worked out our schedule so I can get these areas worked on as well.  I pray every day for God to organize and ordain our day and time and I see Him daily work out toddler napping schedules and even melt downs, so I can be there for them when they really need me and work outside while they nap.

I am getting a glimpse of the great plan of God for us and for these two little boys.
I am grateful to be a part of it all.  We all are.  

I feel a huge amount of joy the last few days.  Pleasure in seeing my husband getting enough sleep and coming home with energy again.  That when he walks in the door he is overrun with squeals of "daddy" and hugs from all ages of children that love and missed him. 

Joy in seeing my older children work around the house with the sense of helping us all out as a family and being compassionate toward the new toddlers.  Great happiness in watching these two little guys learning, growing and bonding to us as their safe place.  Their home.  Their family.  For as long as they need us.  Praise God for His mercy endures forever!  May God receive all the Glory.

Isaiah 61:3  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.



Blessings,

susan

  

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Much Needed Day Out with My Dad

Life has been beyond busy.  God has been beyond faithful.  In the last month we have had many adjustments for us all.  Many changes.  Many sacrifices from not only Tim and I but from the children.

The two new foster toddlers have been with us over a month now.  My children have learned so much from them being here in just that short amount of time.  They have seen...  Seen what deep neglect does to a child.  They saw it before when we did foster care.  But now it is all real and fresh again.  My children are all older now and understand so much more.  It is changing them all for the better.  They see the intense behaviors and issues with these toddlers.  Several of my children have come to me and said..."I am not going to ever do drugs mom and do this to my children"  OR "Mom, I am going too love and teach my children as they are growing so they will not do these things"  This experience is helping them see the way they want to parent.  They are seeing how some bad decisions effect not only you but all those around you, especially your children.  They have said they want to raise their children in love, guidance and discipline from birth.   This experience has at times filled them with compassion to see these two little ones struggle so much.  It has also been trying for all of us to listen to constant screaming and see the daily violent tantrums.  To see children so small hit, scratch and hurt themselves when upset.  We have all suffered more than one headache from it all.  One night, Carolyn jokingly came to me and asked to sleep out in the van for the night to escape the noise.  My children also know that every bit of what we are doing for these babies is for God.  God is so worth it.  His plan is so worth it.  These children...are so worth it.  To give their mom a break, the opportunity to work on herself, is so worth it.

We have all seen the hand of God on them and working in them since they have come. 
They are no longer doing so many of these bad behaviors, doing them less frequently or with less intensity.  What a joy to see them hug each other and us in happiness.  Or to watch them learning and growing so fast.  When the little one falls down, now the older one says are you ok?  What a difference, what a change. 

They don't know what to make of us praying at the table before meals.  The 2 1/2 year old thinks we are all pretending to sleep.  So cute and innocent.  The good days are more frequent than the hard days now.  I can see them wanting to please us and that they love us as we love them and want the best for them.  This is the reward.  This is the joy.  Just to know we are making some small difference for God in the world.  Making a difference for these two little boys.

I have been with these two little ones non-stop with out a break for over a month now.  The requirements put forth by the state are so intense and expensive for anyone to be a sitter... that there is no one to ever baby sit them for me, except for another certified foster parent.  So... my wonderful husband.  My precious, gracious, loving husband...gave me a wonderful gift yesterday.  The gift to run away with my dad for the whole day and go antiquing. 
My dad and I have done this at least once or twice a month for years.  But because I have the new toddlers, I have not been able to go anywhere alone without them.  I need to keep things low key and as uneventful as possible.  Only the necessary appointments we must go to and no company at all.  They have had a huge upheaval in their lives and are on a huge learning curve right now.  We need them to bond with us and know us and what life is like here well before we add things in.  They need routine and stability as much as possible.  My husband said he would let me go away with my dad alone, once a month for a break.  Boy, I love that man.  Thank you God!

Also, every Sunday for the last 14 years or so I have been the Sunday Chaplain at our local hospital.  I go in first thing in the morning and do my rounds to see every patient that is in the whole hospital.  It usually takes several hours depending on the patient load.  I offer prayer or just visit a bit with every one.  My sister has been making crocheted hearts to hand out to every patient all these years as well.  Tim has said he would continue to care for all the children on Sunday mornings as well so I can continue with that ministry.  Thank you God and thank you Tim!

I am blessed, blessed, blessed above and beyond what I deserve.  I am grateful for my God and His great care of my life.

Oh!  I almost forgot.  We have one more new four legged kid!  If you want to read about him here!  He will not be here long but sure is cute!

May God lead and guide you in all you do for Him all the days of your life!

Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;



Blessings,
susan

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So Many Appointments! A Bad Cold Rolls Thru!

I wish I had a great post all ready to post today.  I wish I had taken at least a few pictures of the kids this week to share.  Sigh.  God is so good to keep us going, moving and getting things done but I admit, I have had little time for anything else this last week and a half.  Last week and this week so far, has been a whirlwind of appointments,blowing little noses and rocking toddlers.  Normally, we have a lot of appointments, just because we have so many children with so many diagnosis.  But throw in two new foster placements and we have had a lot of extra running to doctors and specialists.  Hopefully once the initial appointments are done, things will calm down to our normalish routine.

When a child comes into care they have to have a physical within a day or so.  Then, if they are very young they need to be evaluated for PT, OT and speech because often they have not developed on par.  Often they have been left in car seats with bottles propped and not allowed down to play to develop normal skills.  So these evaluations are important to get them therapy of they need it, quickly before issues arise from the neglect.  Then, there are the appointments that need to be made for anything else the doctors are concerned about.  (In this case the children's hearing is in question.)  So, needless to say I have been on the go almost daily since they have arrived.  They have been here for one month now.  Wow, that went by quickly!  I have literally felt God help me daily.  Thank you God.

Here is our last week and a half...On last Monday we had to go to town to get Carolyn's leg brace adjusted as it was causing a sore spot on her leg.  After that we had an appointment for Elizabeth's dog, at the vet, as it is very old and not doing well.  Twice a day antibiotics for the dog and surgery for it in two weeks.  Sigh.

On Tuesday we had Antonio's Massage Therapist come and Ballet for Carolyn and Elizabeth. (Antonio's teacher canceled for the morning) I was grateful as the youngest foster toddler came down with a bad cold and was very clingy for the day.

On Wednesday we had therapy day when I take all the children to get their PT, OT and Speech for the week. (still had a clingy little one)

On Thursday was our much awaited heart appointment for Elizabeth.  Her EKG and echo showed we could go another six months without a heart cath or surgery so Glory to God for that!  We know that she will need those things done soon,  The doctor thought that she would need it done this spring but praise God!, nothing got any worse in the last six months!  I can not tell you how grateful we are about this.  The longer she goes before her next open heart surgery the better.  (Now, Elizabeth has the cold as well.)

On Friday we had Antonio's long awaited toe surgery!  He was actually very excited about it, to finally know this surgery should fix the ongoing wound on his big toe.  We have been dealing with this toe for several years.  It went really well and he is doing great! (Now. Three of the children have the cold, sigh)

Saturday we rested up.  Praise God for the Sabbath!   Sunday, was Tim's birthday and it was busy.  We went out to eat as a family and met Tim's parent's and Stephen at a local restaurant.  During that meal we got a call to take a three month old baby that needed placement from another foster home as the foster mom had to go to the ER.  It was supposed to be just for a day or so.  So we said yes.  I learned a lot while she was here.  First and foremost, the two little ones we have now can not handle sharing me right now.  The youngest toddler boy sobbed on the couch like I broke his heart, crying for me, every time I had to feed or hold the baby.  As a matter of fact he cried or clung to me almost the whole time the new baby was at our home.  We got a call from the baby's foster mom after 4 hours saying she was home from the hospital could she come get her baby, she missed her so much.  Praise the Lord, YES!  I about fell on my knees in gratitude to God for such a short placement.  The baby was so good.  But our little guys could not handle it.  So no more extra children now at all.  The toddlers need me totally to themselves right now.  Which is good and well.  I don't know what I was thinking!  Lesson learned.

Monday, of this week,  was supposed to be a day to stay at home clean house a bit and be in routine but hit the ground running by having the two and a half year old become sick.  He got much worse after supper and ended up in the ER late in the night with Strep and an ear infection.(Now, I have the children's cold as well.)

Tuesday, of this week, we had Antonio's teacher come for the  morning, his massage therapist  in the afternoon and Ballet in the evening for the girls.  (The only ones not sick now are Carolyn, Tim and William)

And now today, Wednesday, I am finally starting to feel better and so are the children.  Tim was off, Glory to God!!! And he helped me take the two foster toddlers to the therapy place for Speech and PT evaluations.   They both scored very low in speech and will be needing Speech therapy. 

I am so grateful to God for helping me thru this very busy time, while being sick and having a few sick children.  It was not easy but God has also given me encouragement and hope in this time...for the first time... this week I am seeing things shift in our family.  Elizabeth has been as good as gold for the last week or so.  YIPPEE and PRAISE THE LORD!!!  The two and a half year old foster toddler is not tantruming anymore and obeying very well!  He is learning new words every day, is learning to help dress himself and is eating much better.  The little one and a half year old is tantruming less, screaming less, and does not need to be in my lap every five minutes to feel ok.  I can leave the room into the adjacent school room with out him melting down because he can see me right there.  (believe me this is great progress)  But if I get out of his sight he melts down.  So, he is improving as well.  Tim and I are now sleeping thru the night with out interruptions at all from the toddlers.  So more sleep for both of us equals a much better functioning daddy and mommy.  God has helped us to keep up the home schooling and house work with us all working together and doing our part thru it all.  God is so good always!

Psalm 33:4-6  For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.  He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.  By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.



Blessings,

susan

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Tim!!!!

Today is the most wonderful man in the worlds birthday! 

I rejoice in the day he was born!  I am grateful for the Christian upbringing he had.  For the intense love of the Lord that he has and strong core family values.  He does Bible study with the children every Saturday and makes time to spend time with the children.

I have always been so impressed in the non-shakable even temperament, love and kindness he shows to all he knows.  For the gentle ways he can get the children to comply. 
I even find myself being led and moved into a more Godly position in my ways by his words and example.
He has never yelled at me or raised his voice at me in all the days of our marriage.  He always handles me with the utmost gentleness and care that makes me know he cherishes me to his core and makes me want to serve him in all I do in life. 

To please and serve God as my Lord and Savior... and Tim as my husband, set over me but yet part of me...  is exactly where I want to be in my life.  I am content, happy and fulfilled in all I do.  I give all the glory to God. 

Words can not express my appreciation and love for this man.  May Gods blessings, health and peace always be upon you!

I love you Tim!  Happy Birthday from me and your quiver full of children!


Proverbs 8:17   I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. 


Your wife,
susan