To begin with. . .

This is more like a journal for me and therefore, I can't promise that the entries are grammatically free. I usually have time to write at night when I should be in bed or during a brief spare moment during the day when all around me I hear my name, "Mommy," being called. So enjoy the thoughts of Lori (and maybe at times, Kevin). God is awesome! I've been married for 21 years to my best friend. I have 3 precious biological children, 4 born in my heart and at least 4 precious babies in heaven singing and dancing with God's angels. God is good!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

IF You Need a Good Laugh

. . . Or what marriage could look like at 22 years with 7 kids! 😉

Happy 22nd Anniversary Kevin from 400+ miles away!

We found out Thursday morning that my Uncle Jim had passed away.  Due to commitments already in place, we knew we all couldn't come for the visitation on Sunday and Funeral on Monday.  The last time I had seen my cousins was 7 years ago when my other uncle died (and a few weeks before we knew about the girls).  Since not enough either could or really wanted to do all the traveling needed in 3 days time, and because our car is breathing it's last anyway, we decided I'd rent a car and so begins the past 2 days antics.

In May I had to rent a car to come up for my Great Uncle John's funeral so we knew from experience that renting a car without a credit card could be a challenge.  Kevin began investigating options Thursday night.  Friday morning Maleah took the car and 3 of her siblings to go to their last theater workshop.  It's about a 25 minute drive to get there, and thankfully the rain from Tropical Storm Cindy had subsided until later in the day.  The rest of us were going to come for their 1p.m. show that ended their week of camp. Kevin had some errands to run.  During breakfast we called the rental place and asked about doing the credit check so that today (Saturday) when I needed to pick up the car it wouldn't take as long.  I had limited time and had planned on doing some cleaning and helping Josie make her tie blanket (something she has waited to do "FOREVER" since she is the last to get one).  So I gave Kevin my debit card and license just in case he needed it.  As he was leaving, he asked me if I had seen his red folder with the stain samples in it.  He wanted to drop by and show a client her options so she could choose stain for her deck.  It wasn't in the office and he was now thinking he would have to drive the 25 minutes to where Maleah had the car to get it.  I told him I hadn't seen a red folder.  Kevin first went to the car rental place to have the credit check done and realized it was located in the same place as the other car rental that didn't work out in May.  He went in anyway, and was about to have the lady run the credit check when she said something about renting the car today.  He told her no it was for tomorrow (Saturday).  She responded that if she ran the credit check we would have to rent it today (Friday).  He went out to the car and called me.  It was decided he would go ahead and sign up online through Enterprise since we knew it would work with jumping through a few hoops.

After sitting in the parking lot signing me up to rent a car, he left for Hermitage to find his paint samples in the pouring rain.  AND the paint samples were not there.  Frustrated, he called me to tell me he can't find them.  Now why I didn't ask him that morning to explain a little more what the red folder looked like, I don't know.  My excuse is I was tired!! 😴 So I preceded to ask him what the folder looked like.  As soon as he said, ". . . what the adoption papers for the girls was in. . . " I knew EXACTLY what and where the red EXPANDABLE Files folder was.  He arrived home at 11:50 to pick up the red folder and take it to show the lady.  He came back, I brought his lunch out to him, I switched with him so that he could eat and I would drive and we (along with the 3 kids not in the camp) left the house at 12:25 in the down pour to go to the kids' performance.

The parables were awesome!  Our kids did great! Even Anamarie, who has never shown any interest, did a fantastic job!💗 It was still down pouring when we left, so Kevin drove the car with Maleah and Jaren and I drove the van with the rest.  He was headed to Auto Zone to buy windshield wipers for the car and I was headed home.  As I was getting ready to pull out onto the road.  A post office vehicle kind of made a U-Turn in the road to head back down the other side of the street.  As it turned I saw that it was dragging a fairly good sized tree branch behind it down the road.  I decided I needed to follow and try and make the driver aware that it was dragging a  tree branch.  I honked, I blinked my brights, but to no avail.  The driver finally turned onto another rode and stopped at a mailbox (remember it's pouring rain and we've had a lot of it). I pulled my van up kind of close so that I wasn't out in the middle of the intersection and jumped out of the car with my long skirt, white shirt and white flip flop type sandals to run up to the left side of the vehicle.  My hair is in my eyes because of the wind and rain, and I'm yelling to get the man's attention. I don't think he believed me at first. Or maybe he couldn't hear me. Or maybe he just thought I was crazy.  He acknowledged me, thanked me and then went back to what he was doing.  So I, being the kind hearted (or maybe just crazy) person that I am, ran to the back of the vehicle and begin to pull at the branch while trying not to get any wetter than I am by staying on the road and not in the overgrown grass.  As I almost had it pulled out, the drive starts to pull away.  So I am yelling at him telling him I almost have it.  I don't know if he heard me or not, but he did stop and I was able to pull almost all of it out (I didn't want to get to close for fear I'd be run over).  As I am running back to the van, I went to open up the door and just then the windshield wiper swooshes my way and I am caught in a mini drencher.  If nothing else, my children were entertained and I was able to laugh too.  I then had to figure out how to get back out to a main road, and we headed home!

I think I was home for about 30 minutes until I decided I needed to get a few things before I left today.  Josie had been begging to spend her birthday money, so she and I headed out in the now beautiful sunny day to get what I needed.  As we pulled in the parking lot, I realized I didn't have my license or debit card.  I called Kevin to let him know, and then Josie and I headed into the store since I had enough cash on me.  We were in there about 15 minutes when Kevin called.  He was not happy.  My license was not to be found.  He was afraid it had fallen out of his pocket.  So on my way home I drove by the place he had taken the paint samples just in case it had fallen out in the parking lot.  We retraced his steps again, looked in the van and in the back of the car - NOTHING.  After supper we decided we would make a trip to Hermitage to see if it had fallen out while he had been there earlier looking for the red folder.  I had wanted to take the van, but he suggested we take the car.  He was so bummed.  I told him it was okay.  I could get a temporary one printed and a new one ordered, but he was not happy.  We had just sat down in the car and I had my door closed when Kevin found my license. It was not easy to spot, but it was in between the edge of the car and seat.  It must of fallen out when he drove the car home with Maleah and Jaren!

Today, Saturday, June 24.  Happy 22nd Anniversary to us! Everything went fairly smoothly renting the car.  The lady pulled it out of the back, parked it, and left it running while we went over it inspecting it for damage.  Kevin then left for home and I drove about 1/4 mile down the road to fill it up with gas. AFTER I parked it and I got out, I realized the gas tank was located on the opposite side. So I got back in and TRIED to start the car.  The key wouldn't work.  I began to panic and called Kevin.  He was already about 10 minutes away (oh and the rental company was now closed).  I tried again while I was on the phone with him and the message center read, "Key Fab Damaged," and I read it to him.  He turned around and headed back toward me.  After I couldn't get ahold of anyone at the rental place I called another one nearby that was still open. While I was on the phone holding, Kevin pulled up, took the keys, sat down in the car, and started it.  You guessed it.  I was trying to use the KEY not the key FAB.  UGH!!!!!  When the lady came back on to talk with me, I told her my husband and figured it out for me.  😌 So we had a good laugh over our comedy of errors, kissed, he left for home again, and I drove around to another pump to fill up.

The ride up with my 2 partners (Anamarie and Josie) was filled with singing praises to Jesus, talking and just riding in silence.  It was an amazing trip up!! These two have come so far in the last 9 months that Kevin has been home.  God knew!!!!! My heart is overflowing with thanks to God.

If there is one thing Kevin and I have learned, especially in the last almost 7 years, is we have to be FLEXIBLE.  We can make plans, but with our family it may not happened exactly how we'd like.  We had hoped to go on a D-A-T-E tonight.  It's kind a foreign word to us.  Ha!  One of our children even offered to pay. It will happen.  We've just had to postpone it for a little.

So thank you Kevin for 22 years.  It has been a journey to be sure, and I'm blessed to be walking alongside you. It's been bumpier than normal lately, but EVERY TIME we begin to question God's plan, we are shown another little piece. I've said it before, and I'll say it again that I wouldn't trade our crazy - most of the time.  😉 Mentally it has been hard these past 9 months as we have walked a road that we cannot mostly see what's around the next corner.  Our humanness gets in the way sometimes, but overall it has been a blessing to watch you trust Jesus for our future.  I love you!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A String of Thoughts

It is not often that I find myself not wanting to write.  It is usually when things in our family are not going well.  What I mean is that there are times when the brokenness that 4 of our children suffered in the past rears it’s ugly head and makes huge waves in our family.  Often those are little hills that we have to climb to conquer.  However, other times it is like climbing a HUGE mountain.  That’s where we have been.

So how do you conquer the mountains and hills in your life? What’s the first thing you do when you want to “fix” something.  Do you get down on your knees and take it to Jesus, or do you see what you can fix on your own? Is it all about me, or is it, “God, Your will be done.”  Kevin and I are trying to teach our children to go to Jesus first. 

The truth is we can't protect our kids from life.  We can show them the way to live so that hopefully one day they will choose on their own to seek Jesus first.  That’s hard!  It’s more than singing, “Jesus Loves Me,” or praying before meals.  Sometimes it means saying no when every fiber of our beings wants to say yes.  It’s not about being their friend or letting them do something just because their friends can.  

We do not have any single digit kids anymore!! Tonight as we were all standing together, I just had to shake my head and marvel at how tall they all are.  Micah is closing in on 6 feet and is barely 13!  It’s crazy.  Our kids are wanting to push boundaries, test the waters, express themselves, and sometimes it’s really hard to know what the right thing to do it.  Our counselor says we need to try and say yes as much as possible.  That’s all well and good, until you know that a yes could mean a consequence that just might hurt.  Ugh!  We also just aren’t navigating the waters of growing up.  It’s also filled with emotional baggage that just makes it messy sometimes.

God knew that this season was coming.  He didn’t create it, but he did create the timing for Kevin to be home.  What if we wouldn’t have listened to what God desired of us?  Obviously I don’t know for sure, but I do know that this is one time when have needed my partner to help navigate these waters.  God didn’t create us to live alone.  We need each other as we serve God.

Twenty-two years ago neither Kevin nor I would have ever believed we’d be where we are today, and for the most part, we wouldn’t change it.  :)  I will say though that the devil knows how to use our trials to his advantage.  It occurred to me a few weeks ago that my relationship with Facebook was not what it needed to be for where I am right now.  I was finding myself with feelings of envy reading happenings of my Facebook Friends.  Now I realize social media is a great way to brag about the positive and not dwell on the negative.  However, when the road you are traveling isn’t one that many can even comprehend, it’s easy to wallow in self-pity.  I wasn’t to that point yet, but I realized that I was not enjoying my wanderings on Facebook anymore.  I haven’t totally stopped my Facebook account because there are some people I truly would like to stay connected to that I can’t daily or even weekly due to physical proximity. So I will continue, at least for now, to have a love-hate relationship with my limited social media.  :)

This past spring, in the midst of the messiness, God created a beautiful space for two of ours to experience theatre with a homeschool group.  Even some of the others are now hooked in some way or other and can’t wait for the fall to try out for a play.  It is the first time our kids have felt like they belong somewhere (educationally).  Even now it makes me want to cry tears of joy as I think about how my kids are still talking about the memories and the ones to come!  Thank you Jesus!

I’ve navigated all around without really touching on what is on my heart.  But I do not feel that I can say anymore than I have right now.  Maybe one day. . . . However, I do want to give encouragement to those that are parenting adopted and foster kids right now.  If you are in the mess right now - the muck and mire - get on your knees and pray.  Seek counsel from your pastor.  Find a counselor/therapist who can help your specific needs.  If you are married, be united in prayer and in parenting.  Love your children - not in an one size fits all way (no one should be loved that way anyway), but with tough love that will build trust.  I’ve said from the beginning that it’s like taking 1 step forward and then taking 2-10 steps back!! Don’t give up! Jesus hasn’t given up on you.  Even when Jesus was at his weakest and he asked God to take it away, he ended with not my will but yours.  That is my prayer every day.  When I begin to worry, I will remind myself that God is already there and I ask for wisdom for Kevin and I to hear and follow His call each and every day, and then HIS peace will wash over me.

I am so thankful for the grace and love Jesus gives me everyday whether I deserve it or not!

Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Ephesians 4:2

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Daughter's Words

I have not written here in awhile.  It's not that I haven't wanted to, I'm just not sure what to say and how to say it. On one hand I try very hard not to get too personal when I write about our family.  Kevin said it best today to a counselor we met with for the first time.  A lot of times we feel like we live in our own little bubble.  We have some people who we can share things, but we really don't have anyone who truly gets our little world.  It was honestly nice to have Kevin say what I think a lot.

You see we have some BIG issues that have come up.  Issues that are effecting all 9 of us in one way or another.  Honestly, it snuck up on us.  We are in the muck and mire and it's like trying to push yourself up to grab a fresh gulp of air before you go back down into the water.  This time though all the kids are old enough to be much more aware of what is going on around them.

In the midst of all of this our oldest daughter has been struggling to practice her song she wrote and sang last fall.  This coming Saturday she is going to play it for a regional competition of Nazarene youth.  Last Thursday we went to church to practice (it has to be memorized which she has struggled).  Below is the post I made in response to Maleah's Facebook post as well as her post.  She is a writer like her Mama and I want her to get the credit for this blog post.  :)  If you think about it, pray that she will truly feel the Holy Spirit leading her this week as she prepares her heart to worship the way God has intended her to with this song and for the people who will be hearing it.

Lori Pippenger Bryant  feeling excited with Maleah Bryant and Kevin Bryant.

I have tried to blog for the last few weeks and always come up short. My promise to my family has always been to not share things in detail. This is a time in our family's life when I can't find the right words to say. Below is what our oldest struggled to write last night for about 2 hours. She wouldn't let me see what she was writing. Two nights ago the Holy Spirit nudged, no pushed me, to share my heart with her. Maleah (with God's urging) wrote a song for Kevin as he walked away from what society deems good to a plan God has not completely revealed to us yet. Little did she know God had designed it for our family as we have struggled on an entirely different level that has literally brought us to our knees. Some of the words have wound around my heart and won't let go. I am restating this because I know our family is not the only one struggling today or any day. Yesterday afternoon as she tried once again to practice for next week's singer songwriter competition that she is in I could feel her frustration and honestly didn't hear her song. I heard parts of it along with chaos and confusion. I knew it wasn't the song God had birthed in her and I prayed for a miracle...

Maleah Bryant feeling thankful.

Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing is the one thing that will set you free.
The past few months have been very hard for me in many different ways.
The devil has been whispering lies, planting seeds of doubt, and causing chaos in my life. 
It's made me want to give up on something that means a lot to me. 
My song that I worked so hard on writing last fall. The one I wrote to the scripture 2 Corinthians 12:9 
The last few months, I've made up a whole list of reasons and excuses of why I can't or don't have time to look over it and play through it again. 
The truth is I was scared. The lyrics to my song made me mad. How could I sing about God's grace being all I need and being brought to my knees? How has God been in my life the past few months, through all the pain the anger and the hurt?
I got home today after going to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie with the youth girls Sunday School class, and I got onto my computer to look at some of my pictures.
The first picture I clicked on said this, "Every weakness you have is an opportunity for God to show His strength in your life." 
I lost what little composure I had left and had a complete sob fest.  :) 
Then I read the lyrics to my song.
Your Grace Is All I Need©
Maleah Bryant
Must be a reason for this ache in my soul I’ll sit here and wait for Your plan to unfold
It’s hard to believe when I‘ve lost everything
That beauty will come from this suffering
If pain is what takes, then let me die every day 
CHORUS (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Your grace is all I need
It brings me to my knees
You take all my shame
When you break every chain
You are made strong when I am weak
Your grace is all I need
This thorn in my side is your mercy over me
Stripping my pride, making way for Your glory
I've pleaded and pleaded, Lord, take this away
But if You want me here, then I'll stay
If pain is what takes, then let me die every day 
Your grace is all I need
It brings me to my knees
You take all my shame
When you break every chain
You are made strong when I am weak
Your grace is all I need
Even in my weakness, I’ll be glad
Even in my distress, I’ll be glad
Even when I’m carrying the burden, I’m hurting, I’m searching for you
Your grace is all I need
It brings me to my knees
You take all my shame
When you break every chain
You are made strong when I am weak
Your grace is all I need
Your grace is all I need
Your grace is all I need
He has always been there. He's never left. He actually been pursuing me to get my attention trying to tell me, that I don't have to do it all on my own, I don't have to rely on my own understanding because His grace is all I need.
Thankful for God's grace and strength in my life.
And thanks Lori Pippenger Bryant (Mom) and Kevin Bryant (Dad) for never giving up on me even when I gave up on myself. Love you!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Priorities and Joy

I'm not sure how to even write this entry.  When I do write it is NEVER my intent to hurt anyone's feelings or to share anything that might offend someone.  However, the truth is whenever someone shares their view there will always be someone who will object.

First, this is probably more like 2 entries than one, and honestly I'm not sure which to begin.  I think I will begin with what my thoughts were focused on today.  Maleah and I (and my parents) had to get up a little before 3 (2 central time) in order to get to the airport with plenty of time (the traffic or potential fog can be crazy).  My eyelids are at half mast right now, but I know if I lie down now I won't sleep tonight.

We arrived at the airport at about 5 a.m., unloaded, said good-bye to my parents, and began the long trek to where we would wait for the plane. After we went through security (much easier at that time of the morning) we roamed a little and then sat down to wait.  There were just a couple others already there waiting.  As we waited I noticed a gentleman already connected to his computer.  Okay so I didn't actually go up and look at what he was doing, but from his actions it appeared he was in work mode.  IT'S 5:30 AM ON A SUNDAY!! As more people gathered there were a few more that began to pull out what appeared to be work (computers) and began intently working with heads bowed oblivious to what was going on around them.  I started thinking about how God created in 6 days and rested on the 7th.  Then I began feeling sorry for those that were working.  We have become a society that doesn't stop thanks to the wonders of the internet.  And the thing is it's not an evil thing in itself. However, we have accustomed ourselves to an attitude of non-stop living.  In our present age of "nowness" we have forgotten what it is like to wait - to be rewarded at a later date. There will always be later to rest.  But what if there's not a later? What if something happens to you (or I) and there is no later - no time to make up for what we are sacrificing right now. I somehow don't think God is going to give any of us a free pass to heaven because we were sacrificing time that should be spent with Him and our family for work or whatever other vice it might be.  Sorry.  I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes in particular. Kevin walked away from a nice salary, good benefits and an overall good place to work.  God told him to.  NO seriously. There's nothing like dragging your feet when God is trying to tell you to do something. All the benefits might have been nice, but there was really nothing else.  All because we live in a world of NOW.  In marketing it is always right now because we can shop 24/7 7 days a week. Unless of course you work for one of the few companies who do not open their doors on Sunday. But it is for a good cause, right?  I'm earning money to put food on the table, pay the mortgage, the car payments, the insurance, the dance lessons, the. . . . You get the idea. Are they good reasons??

So this morning I began to pray for those around me that looked a little frazzled as they waited to board the plane and were already working before 7 a.m.. We are actually in a sermon series about how things don't always add up the way we think they should.  Today's message was on the rich man who asked Jesus what he must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and Zacchaeus.  The rich man couldn't give it all up to follow Jesus.  Zacchaeus said he would give back more than what he might owe to anyone he had cheated.  God just wants our hearts.  He wants to bless us in all we do.  When we choose other things or even people over Him we are hurting God.  We sang a song today called, "It Is Well" that struck a cord in me.  Here are some of the words:

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

Read more:  Bethel Music - It Is Well Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Now for my second part. . . .

The past 5 days I have had the privilege of spending time with Maleah one on one (with my parents in FL).  Oh I could tell you about all the fun things we were able to do, but that is just stuff.  Yes, I hope she will remember this trip for her lifetime, but more importantly I pray she will remember the true joy she had.  I've always had a tinge of guilt as I think about how much Maleah has had to endure at times because she shares bedroom/bathroom space with 4 sisters.  No, it's not because she is sharing a room with sisters.  It is because of the drama that can unfold in a matter of seconds behind closed doors when some or all of them are upstairs.  Some of it is just girl drama, but the reality is there is a lot of trauma drama also most days.  My point is not to bring it all up because honestly there's a lot I'm sure Kevin and I never hear.  I know it happens because of the body language and manners in which they talk and act toward each other [SIGH].  Maleah has had to learn to be almost stoic in order to not create even more chaos.  No, she is not perfect, but there is a lot of drama that plays out between various ones of the 4 bio sisters that creates tension and discord. The past 5 days was like a ray of sunlight as I watched her relax and just enjoy. It's not that we never see that Maleah, but honestly it's been few and far between.  :(  Besides having a lot of great time to talk and connect I was able to encourage her to remember her hope is in Jesus and even the every day trials of life are nothing if she is seeking God. I know those of you that know Maleah don't see the side we do.  She can be very good at hiding her feelings (can't we all!?). It is my challenge for however long it takes to try and encourage and help (and of course pray) each of my children choose JOY.  Which means I have to do a better job of modeling it also! I'm so thankful for the last 5 days.  Thankful to be with family and to have a time of respite.  If I were to write about a 3rd point it would be about how important respite care is needed and that would lead into more dreaming about Rebecca's Rest.  But I think for today I have written enough.

I'm so thankful that God loves me for who I am - His Child - broken and messed up, but perfect in HIs sight.  If you don't know Jesus or you have not made it a priority to love Him, find someone to help you!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Late Night Ponderings

Honestly as much as I'm looking forward to the next few days with Maleah and my parents I'm wishing I hadn't created this whole scheme.  The anxiety filling this house  is CRAZY!!! I did so well at keeping my emotions in check until tonight when I just couldn't take the cold shoulder any longer from a two.  When I confronted them the one tried to deny it and the other fled (yes I called her back and made her sit near where I was working until we could talk).  AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!  Ironically the one tends to have a better relationship with Kevin than me and I'd never know me leaving was going to bother her except a birdie told me so.  She did eventually talk with Kevin (although I don't know about what).  The other one - well we got to a whole lot better place.  I promised her she can sleep with one of the blankets I normally sleep with, and she went and asked Maleah if there was something of her she could have.  And poof we had smiles, hugs, "I love you's," and apologies.

I have no doubt in Kevin's capabilities.  I feel kind of guilty leaving though.  It's a crazy schedule at some points plus there are things he needs to work on. Oh how I am thankful that he is willing to do this.  YOU ARE THE BEST!!

I know once I have left both here and there it will be okay - everyone will survive.  I guess the more I am aware of how anxiety affects some of ours I just feel a badly.  So I'll keep praying! Praying that they will feel God's peace, for safety, and trust.

I was not doing well today on another front.  We found out the car needs some TLC (it has over 250K) at a not so pretty price.  I am allowing the fears and doubts to creep in instead of keeping my eyes on the cross.  [sigh]  A friend of mine posted Philippians 4:6-7 today on Facebook.  It is my favorite verse and I think God knew I needed to see that verse today.  Many years ago (I think I was pregnant with Micah so that would be 13!!) I led a Bible Study and in the book the author had paraphrased Philippians 4:6-7.  I carried it everywhere.  It was even stuck to my visor of our van.  Soon after we moved from Jackson to Nashville a friend sent me her copy (I had given it out to everyone) to remind me of God's love and care for me.  So that is what I'm going to end with tonight because if I need to hear it, I be some of you do too!!

Be anxious about nothing.
Be prayerful about everything.
Be thankful for all things.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Too Much That Is New

Earlier this evening when the kids should have already been in bed, Kevin spent almost 30 minutes talking through what is going to happen tomorrow.  As I sat downstairs and listened I had to remind myself that tomorrow's fun event was still new and that meant a lot of anxiety.  We have to be proactive whenever possible and talk about new things before time.  This particular event has been known about since last Thursday, and we have talked about it with them each day since.  BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER.  Tomorrow morning will be painful.  NO, I'm not being pessimistic.  I'm being proactive.  I have to remember this or I will go crazy in the morning.  :) Their brains are running on adrenaline right now and I wish I could do something to stop it.  Sleep will not come easy tonight which means tired and cranky added to anxiety. It has been awhile since we've add this kind of anxiety to work through.

It doesn't help that Maleah and I leave Tuesday.  My knight in shining armor will again be picking up the slack for me.  He's the best! We have been talking about this time period for quite awhile now with the kids, but the anxiety continues to build.

There's a word that we've been using more frequently now that the girls are getting older:  SELF-REGULATION.  For that matter it's a good word for all of us to know and use.  Let's be honest.  We all have situations that make us uncomfortable.  In a perfect world when something happens that triggers our fight, flight or freeze behavior we can control our emotions and reactions to whatever the issue might me.  When a child from a hard place finds themselves in a situation that causes the fight, flight or freeze reaction, TBRI comes into place.  Part of that is helping the child learn self-regulation or to find calming techniques that will work for them.  We know that as our girls grow older and are more independent that they will have to have practiced different ways to help calm themselves down.   Call it a bag full of tricks! It's not easy. Kevin and I struggle sometimes in the heat of the moment when it would be easier to say, "Stop acting that way." Obviously for someone in "trauma mode" it would be easier to fight, flee or freeze than to deal with it.

We had one this morning that for whatever reason could not self-regulate herself before church.  I tried and tried and tried.  Not going to church was not an option.  Although she did relax some as the morning went on, it wasn't until the late afternoon that we were able to really reconnect. I hate it when that happens.  There's still a fine balancing act of knowing when to be silent and when to push a little.  :( I had a beautiful conversation with one on Friday about self-regulation.  On a good day I can talk about tough stuff and even though it might hurt a little they understand and aren't offended by what I'm talking about.  It was a beautiful time and even as we were connecting I was thanking God for those moments and tucking them deep in my heart to remember the next time the hurtful words come flying at me.  JESUS HEALS!!

So there's one last thing I want to write about.  I had a very sweet moment with a friend's child recently.  I don't want give too many details to protect them, but their child faced a lot of trauma early in their life.  The child was upset (the parents weren't nearby).  I got down at eye level with the child, touched the child on the hand and shoulder and the child immediately came into me for a gentle "hug" and then backed off (this is HUGE IN ITSELF).  I continued to talk quietly with the child and playfully got the child engaged in pretending to be a fish and blow out big bubbles.  It did 2 things instantly.  The child had to breathe which meant the crying stopped and the child relaxed a little because I was being playful.  When one of the parents came up the child started to get upset again, but again I focused the child in on showing the parent how to blow fish bubbles. We don't always see the beauty of TBRI with our own kids.  I think because we are mom and dad partly.  Also, they are getting  old enough that blowing fish bubbles is a little too childish. ;-)  But it was sooooo amazing to watch it work with this sweet little child.  No, it was beautiful and amazing because the child trusts me enough now that they initiated a "hug."

I awoke this morning with the words from "Overwhelmed" by Big Daddy Weave floating through my mind.  Tonight I am hearing the words from "Priceless" by For King and Country.  I'll save space on here and not post the lyrics to each song, but instead I will challenge you all to listen to them if you haven't lately. We are irreplaceable to our Almighty God!

I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know his love— although it can never be fully known— and so be completely filled with the very nature of God. EPHESIANS 3:17-19

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Health Insurance - Blah!

Let me just start out with saying that I've never taken health insurance for granted.  We've had really good insurance and we've had it not so good.  For instance, when Maleah was born our insurance basically paid for the room I stayed in after she was born.  That's it!  Thankfully for the last several years we were blessed that Kevin's income was enough that the cost of insurance didn't effect us. So now we've entered the real world.  :)  Let's just say it's been quite the roller coaster as we have sought out different options. We even thought we had a solution until we got the quote back.  :( So now we are looking at one that is completely outside the box.  As many of you know it is ridiculous really.  NO, it is just sad that we live in a country with so much to offer yet we can't figure out health insurance (and a whole lot of other social issues).

Now before any of you start thinking I'm getting onto a political bandwagon - I AM NOT!!!! But I do believe that there is a bunch of red tape and political favors that are tying up a lot of serious issues. Enough said. Except one more thing. :) I put my trust in God and will pray that our leaders and those around the world will seek God as they lead.

Speaking of Blah! I still feel blah.  Granted I'm improving everyday and I am thankful!  Our kids are for the most part too.  Kevin is still wearing his mask though and eating in the garage on the mini trampoline.  Ha! :) It's really sad.  I can't take his picture because I have no more storage on my phone. Seriously though,  I am so thankful that he has been well to help fill in all the gaps: dishes, laundry, handing out meds (especially to the ones who do not like to take anything), making meals, errands, etc.. Thank you Kevin!!!!!

One last thought on this time of illness we have had.  One of our kids pointed out that we have not been getting milk from the Farmer's Market in several week and wondered if that's why we have been sick.  No, we will never know for sure, but there have been a few other times when most of were sick - you guessed it - we hadn't been buying our milk from the Farmer's Market.  Interesting thought . . .

My verse for the day:

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.  Psalm 55:22