Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lacey, Tyler and their really good, excellent, very good day

Today has been a really good day.

For starters, it's Lacey's 34th birthday, which is impossible, since I'm only 40.

She got brave last night, and finally posted on social media about the baby.

TALK ABOUT OVERWHELMING.   The responses.  The love. 

She was talking about it today, and teared up every time.  Our friend from Children's Hospital foundation, Linzy Hall, snuck over to eat at Irma's with us (sorry, Kip you weren't here)for Lacey's birthday lunch, and she said the same thing,  "I pretty much cried all night, all the way to work, and right now talking to you."


Our village is....well....overwhelming.   In love, in rapid response, in encouragement, in good times and bad.

Lace had her important appointment this morning, and after a gridlock wreck stopped them on I-40 for over 40 minutes, she ran into OU with about 4 1/2 minutes to spare.

No problem.

Our little boy still has his bright spots on his heart (which in some cases are indicators of Down Syndrome), but in 99% of the cases, it resolves on its own.   Lacey & Tyler both rejected the blood draw to rule out Downs (it doesn't matter to them).    So, we love him.   Bright spots and all.  I have bright spots.  Usually after I eat, down the front of my shirt.  So we should get along just fine.

SOOOOOOOO.   today was a very good day.  A good day, indeed.

I really haven't posted about the GENDER of our newest grandbaby.  I'm not sure why, except I've been distracted with all my kids here and LOVING EVERY SECOND of it.

My grandson's are just delicious and yummy (yes, I use food adjectives to describe them, because lately, I'm all about food)

 Deaton has been working on his smile.  He is quite, quite, quite the ham.  

 And if I could put the first picture of Dawson, with this picture of Deaton, I'd be in proud grandma heaven.  
 Deaton loved to snuggle Dawson, and didn't mind telling all of us,  "I'm going to have one of these".
 Aunt Hallie has found someone that has deeper dimples than she does.  Amazing.  

 Grammie was in great grandma heaven with all of her great grands and all but Sam of her grands there.  She almost had 100% participation.   This is a rare photo, and I just love it.

DD was so sweet.  he told everyone, "Aunt Kip really LLLOOOOVVVVEEEESSS her baby". 

But the funniest and GREATEST THING was Tyler Lee Holt, when asked about the gender of his baby. 

He would say,  "Oh, you want to see the ultrasound??"  To which the unknowing participant would say,  "SURE!!!" and then my SON IN LAW would show them this

And I swear..... 

My favorite reply, upon seeing the picture, without missing a beat, one of his friends popped off,  "Oh, so he's not yours?"

Now you understand why Tyler fits in so well around these parts.   He .  Is.  A.  Mess. 

So, I have so many blogs floating around in my head.   SO MANY BLOGS.   

But today.... I am so very happy to report that we have a baby with a couple of bright spots on his heart, which doc thinks 99% will resolve and everything else looked really good..... 

So, bless you for standing in prayer with us.  How humbling and overwhelming --  

For God is Good......all the time.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Prayer Warriors, let's go

I'm calling on all my prayer warriors.

About 4 weeks ago, my brother Brian had open heart surgery.  The doctors had told him, after running several tests, that he had an aortic tear and that most people didn't survive that sort of diagnosis.  That he was "lucky". 

What they didn't know in that statement, was how "lucky" was going to look to him.

After Brian's surgery (surprising short time) the doc walks in and talks and talks, and basically says, "I'm not sure what we saw on the tests, but it was a relatively easy fix and the most simple of all things to have wrong."  (Definitely shortening the 30 minutes he talked and talked to us).

I'm starting with all of this because something else has come to light, and I had to remind myself of this very story with Brian 3-4 short weeks ago, because another issue of serious value and worry has found it's way to our doorstep.

But I will and AM standing in firm belief that what is happening right now, will resolve itself and everything that is happening right now, will soon be something the doctors can't explain....again.

We found out Lacey is having another little boy last Friday.   Kip is here, and Hallie is home, so we wanted to all be together to find out and see what's in store.   Tyler called it a "glamour shot" ultrasound, because it was the 4d dealy, and of course, Lacey wanted to know specifics, and the lady there, couldn't give us any.

So fast forward to yesterday, Lacey has her regular 17 week ultrasound.  I get a text that baby is about 7 oz, due date of 11-15ish, and heart rate 140.

Big sigh of relief, because this ultrasound was the time period when we found out about Laynie.

My phone rings tonight and it's Lacey, and that's no biggie, because we talk a gazillion times on the average, and I'm not even on radar for anything weird.


"My phone rang earlier, and it was the doctor.  There are some bright spots on the baby's heart, they want to check out, and I have to go to OU".   She talks about grim diagnosis, that breaks my heart in two, and I just sit there, speechless.

Stunned silence, and I swear my first thought is,  "There is something wrong with their machine in Shawnee, Shawnee sucks, and there is something wrong with their machine"   (Sorry Shawnee, you don't suck, but I'm just being honest here, this is what I think)

People, the enemy is alive and well.  He uses ANYTHING TO STEAL OUR JOY.  I am standing in holy anointed faith that this little boy will be perfect.   He is NOT going to have any heart or genetic issues, and he will be strong and whole and healthy.

Just like Uncle Brian's tests, there will be no doctor that can explain it, because GOD is the reason.   

So I am asking you, fervently seeking, all my prayer warriors to come together and pray for our baby boy Holt.  That the heart is made perfect, that it's a blip on crappy Shawnee's machines. (again, I apologize Shawnee)

But mainly, I'm asking you to shower heaven with prayers for my Lacey.  That she feel peace flood her body and take over her aching heart and mind, and that she KNOWS that this little boy will be perfect and whole and NOTHING will rob her joy of this time.


Stand in prayer with us, friends.  I am humbly asking you to stand with us, again, and pray us through this time.

Specific prayers- A chamber that has "two bright spots"  are crappy machines in Shawnee.  Period.  Heart perfect and whole.

-NO genetic issues.  Zero.

-Immediate appointment at OU for ultrasound (none of this 4-6 weeks to get in business) IMMEDIATE opening.  (Prayer answered, June 20!  Praise)

-Her doctor to understand her precious, mama's heart, and be an empathetic warrior for her and her son. 

I've seen miracles, I believe in miracles, My faith is strong.

God is good, ALL the time. 

I already love these Precious little feet

Friday, May 18, 2018

Alaska or Bust

It seems like every year before my “award” trip, something weird always happens. 

Every Single Year

This year, however, has to top the charts for the sitcom that is my life. 

First of all, my brother Brian had open heart surgery yesterday, and I’ve been rattled out of my gourd for a few days, and packing and organizing the kids and making lists, and buying food, and running to and fro from the hospital (though JoAnn, his girlfriend, handled the hard stuff) AND STILL WORKING has just been the cat’s meow, people. 

(Side note…Brian is doing good enough for me to go on this journey)

So.   This morning.  Set my alarm for 3:45 am.   Dreamed about Justin Bieber over visiting the ranch and a tornado comes and he’s in our storm shelter with us, and for whatever reason I woke up at 3:05 am.  Beibs must have been singing a little too loud or something.   I go ahead and get up and finish packing, and do last minute things that I do, and after a good run through of  -wallet?  -Passport?  -Phone?  You know the drill,  I jump in my trusty 2003 VW passat and head out to the airport.   Plenty PLENTY PLENTY of time, right? Out the door at 4 am, and I don’t have to even board until 5:50!  What a deal!

As I turn on Highway 33, and am approaching Portland, I hear a pop and I’m like, “oh crap, what did I just run over?” continue on my merry way, until it becomes more and more evident that I have blown a tire.  I’m seriously just laughing at this point, because REALLY….REALLY?  REALLLLLLLLYYYYYYY?   I’m only about 3 ½ miles from my house, so my idea was to get back to the Valero station at the corner, put some air in it to make it home and jump in Hallie’s truck.   Good plan, right?

At Valero, the air machine is taped up.   I race in the door and lament to the worker behind the counter,  “Please tell me you have air, I have a flat and I HAVE TO GET TO THE AIRPORT, and I WAS for ONCE ON TIME!”

The sweet kid working at the Subway, came running out and said, “I will help you” and we rush outside.  Seems the air compressor is broken.   Sigh.    Young muffin says,  “I will change for you and I can do it in 30 minutes or less”

Yay ?

However, a Subaru pickup drives up (pitch black outside still, understand) and this voice says, “I heard you in the store, and I am going to the airport and can give you a lift!”   My heart started racing, as I think,  “do I do this???” and I flip my phone light on AND PEER IN HIS CAR FOR LUGGAGE (I swear I did).  My tire changing kid in shining armor pipes up,  “Yeah go ahead and lock your car and I will finish this tire and you can pick it up later.   We will fix you up”. 
My mind is racing one hundred million miles an hour.   Do I leave my car?  Do I trust this young servant?  Do I jump in a car with a total stranger with a suitcase in his back seat?

The answer amazingly, was Yes, Why Yes I do. 

Thankfully, after 5 minutes with my would be kidnapper /murderer/sex trafficker/mafia leader/serial killer/rapist/stalker, I realize he is a precious little neighbor that lives about a mile from the ranch.  He didn’t know me from adam, so he took a pretty big risk as well.
We visited and talked all the way to the airport, me finding out about his late first wife and all her cremation information (I am a riveting conversationalist, I am telling you), and boom, we are at the airport.   I know his name is Ken and he lives really close to me.  I also know he is going to fly Southwest, to go to his stepsons graduation from college. 
As he dumps me at the door, and I grab my suitcase out of the back of the Subaru, I am carrying items in my hand, so naturally I assume I have all my things. 


I realize about the time he pulls away from the curb, he has MY BACKPACK in the back of his knighted Subaru.

“KEN, KEN, KEN, KEN”  I scream, as I chase after him down the ramp, pulling my 54.5 pound suitcase and waving my arms. 

Old Ken is so relieved to have the would be kidnapper /murderer/sex trafficker/mafia leader/serial killer/rapist/stalker woman out of his car, he didn’t even BEGIN to glance in his rear view mirror. 
So close your eyes with me if you will.

I’m running in the door or the airport, turning around and running out of the airport, only to turn right around and go back in to the airport, yelling “I don’t know what to do”.

Just wonder what all those poor people thought I was on at this point.

I had decided if it wasn’t so pathetic, it would have been hysterical, and formulated a plan.   Thankfully, Justin Beiber had woke me up with time to spare, so I still had minutes before it was too late for luggage and all the people at the airport sigh and look at you in disgust.  So I settled myself down by Southwest, knowing he would be there to check in and I could grab his keys and go get my bag.

So many things ran through my mind, “What if Ken goes and gets a sandwich before he heads here”, “Did Ken only do this to steal my backpack?” “What if Ken parks in the back parking lot and I miss my plane”, texting Melba (my friend attending my trip with me this year, at Atlanta, where she is getting on a plane, and her telling me, JUST STOP AND PRAY).   So, I did.  I shut my eyes right in the middle of the airport and said, “God, Let Ken find me. And if you are super duper, please let him have seen my backpack in the back seat”

I can’t even imagine Ken’s horror of seeing me standing there, literally bobbing up and down waiting, and him thinking “Oh my GOSH, what now??” when I told him, “MY BACKPACK IS IN YOUR BACK SEAT”, he looked at me crosseyed for 12 seconds and said, “I will go get it”, staring at his suitcase, and the line he was in, and I gallantly offered, “I will hold your place in line” (As I have Vietnam flashbacks of running through that airport two years ago, in search of errant wallet) and off he goes.  Skipping, walking.  While I am babysitting his bag, Ashleigh Muse comes walking in, all beautiful and cute and tan, as I stand there, sweating in my Seattle clothes (where weather is 40 degrees cooler) and wondering how in the world I get myself into these “Laura” situations?  She laughs, and about that time, Poor Ken comes running back, having forgotten the keys to the car.   Seems like I am rubbing off on people now.   Off he goes.  Ashleigh keeps me entertained, and I dang near got Ken checked in before he made it back, but sure enough, here he comes, holding my big old freaking heavy backpack.  Poor Ken. 

I race to United, the line is to Egypt.  I have 5 minutes before they sigh and groan at you, and I bravely made my way to the front of the line where a really mean blonde lady told me to take a hike.  However, the really nice OU student behind her allowed me cuts, and I walked through security and I had a 10 whole minutes to spare. 

I forgot to tell you that I was 5 pounds overweight on my luggage, and dug through it in front of the LINE I JUST CUT and fished out my laptop, which I am typing on now.  49.5 pounds later, the entire line behind me sighed a sigh of relief and watched me WALK AWAY FROM THEM.

I saw Ken as I sped by Southwest to the other side of Egypt to my gate, and I waved and he just kind of averted his eyes, as if to say, “I can’t run through the airport for you again, lady”

So, it’s taken me about an hour and a half to get my blood pressure back to good, and a quick call to the neighbor to go pick up my traitorous car and it’s dime store tires at the Valero station later in the day (and to retrieve all my jack and paraphernalia that we liberated from the trunk by the light of my phone) because I shut the trunk before I drove off, leaving him standing there with all my stuff. 

This was all before 6:00 am people.  Before 6 am.

You got to get up early to dance with me. 

So if I don’t either a) fall off the pier in Seattle or b) fall off the boat heading to Alaska, or c) choke on a piece of pie, I will be Alaska bound and back in a week.

Here’s the morale of the story.
No matter how dumb you is, God got you.
What were the odds of KEN being in that store?  The kid being willing to change my tire?  Ashleigh walking in at that precise moment to lower my blood pressure (she immediately started mashing on my shoulders, knowing I was probably going to stroke in the near future with my knots in my shoulders named Shirley and Judy).  Then the sweet girl giving me cuts, and the laptop weighing the EXACT amount I needed to check my bag?

God is good, people.   Especially to me.

Who wants to go with me next year?

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Best News In the World....

And I thought having another grandson in 2018 was
just the best thing that could happen.....

Lacey and Tyler decided to double the fun........

(and Deaton, upon seeing the ultrasound, and being told it was his new brother/sister, informed his parents that "that not my brudder/sisser, that a cave" !!!     And he is pretty insistent that it will be a brudder.)


Come November 2018..... my fourth little blessing....

My cup runneth over.  

God is so good.   All the time.   

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Dawson Goes Home

Dawson's second night was amazing.  He slept like a champ, and didn't even want to wake up to eat.  He was just amazing.  He woke up in the morning, after I got there and was so alert and so cute, I had to call Aunt Lacey and cousin Deaton and show him off.

It was OH SO cute and so very special.  Deaton wanted to know if I was bringing Baby Dawson to his home, and just where I was exactly.  I told him California, and he said,  "I want to go to Falicornia".    And I think he should.  How sweet are they!

Dawson was so alert this morning for about an hour, then he ate twice like a champ, pooped the grossest diaper and initiated his lolly into the I Pee Freely Club.   I mean like drenched me, drenched his bed, and his clothes... the boy has mad skills.

He is also so strong he pulled his head off my shoulder and turtled around like he's a month old!  We just were amazed. 

After he got an A on his hearing test, and an A on his oxygen saturation test and another A on his bilirubin level, we were packing up all our gear and heading home to meet his giant black sister. 

I just want to tell you that preeclampsia is a big big deal, and I am so thankful for my prayer warriors sending up prayers to heaven for me on my flight out and all day on the 5th as she labored, with that horrendous magnesium drip keeping her blood pressure down.  Nothing about that stuff is good and Kip (and Dawson)rocked it like a boss.  She is a natural at this mommy thing.  
However, her feet look like staypuff marshmallow man, so we could use prayers that all that mess subsides and she is able to start feeling back to normal.  I mean, wow.  

Brielle did amazing.  She was so respectful of him, and really left him alone while mommy held him and the funniest thing when I held him, she felt compelled to come and stick her nose on him and see what in the world lolly was holding.  Both Dawson and Brielle did amazing.  Baby didn't even budge when Brielle barked when the door bell rang.  He's totally used to hearing her bark.  

And the highlight was Aunt Nancy and Uncle Lavonne bringing us some delicious chicken tetrazzini and all kinds of goodies, including her famous lemon cake, that I love and adore.  
I am so full this evening, full of yum food, and a full heart, so filled with joy that we have such an amazing family, and such a precious, little angel baby that really is so chill, it's just almost too good to be true.  I remember Hallie being an extraordinary baby (and she was one ounce smaller than him), and someone commented that big babies are so much more content, and man, I believe it.  He is just really the best baby.  I thought Deaton was a great baby, and Dawson is joining an elite club of amazing young men.  He is just a precious little gift. 

I love this picture of Kip and his GIANT FOOTPRINTS that didn't even fit in the little newborn box !

So first night home, big Brielle doing good, Mama doing better (I will feel better when her swelling subsides somewhat) and a big day planned tomorrow, with Uncle Brad (his namesake) and Auntie Brooke coming with his cousin, Rhett and grandma Pam and Grandpa Don.  Should be another fun, good day.   Brandon's doing great, loving on the big dog and easing into his role of loving dad with no problem at all, and all is peaceful and full of love in Redding, California. 

I didn't think I could love anything more than I loved my kids.

And then they gave me grandkids.

God is oh so good, All the time.  

Friday, April 6, 2018

California Dreamin'

I've been planning for Kip & Brandon's baby's arrival since August, when she told me. 

In fact, when I moved on the ranch, I told everyone involved, I was going to be gone two very important weeks....

one for the baby

one for my yearly company trip.

So fast forward to April 1.... due date.....

Nothing going on in California...cancel flight and engage in Plan B.

Meanwhile, teachers go on strike and there is NO SCHOOL FOR ALL THE CHILDREN.

While I am solidly BEHIND THE TEACHERS and believe they are absolutely doing what I want them to do....





Thank the lord for Henderson Hills Baptist Church, who allows the K-5th graders to come to a program from 9-3 (which stretches from 8:45- 3:15, if you're single and HAVE 2000 children), so the littles have all been partaking of the day camp.

HOWEVER, it is a LOT of driving.  So when my phone rang on Wednesday and it was KIP, calling from her appointment at the doc's office with these words to her mom,  "I was going to go shopping at Michael's after my appointment, but I guess I'll have a baby instead"..... my mind went into hyper mode.

I called my reinforcements  (Johnelle Evans (and don't forget Jon), Katelyn Magruder, and Cameron Ramsey) and told them all systems were go.

I had typed a somewhat funny "How to Live through the Eight One Eight One" guide, and left it for the adults, and had somewhat packed some clothes (shorts and underwear and a few tshirts, come to find out) and had made a sketched out itinerary for the home front.

THE BABY is COMING, is all my brain can manage.

I had already cancelled my flight from the Friday before, so one Southwest App flight booked later  (it's almost 11:30, and I booked a 2:55 flight)  seems easy, right?


I ran in the airport at 2:18.  I was suppose to BOARD at 2:25.  I threw my luggage at the lady at the counter who acidly informed me "That we will NOT guarantee this bag's arrival", and all I could think is, "Fine, I'm not even sure what's in it anyway", and ran for security.   I'm having flashbacks of a "wallet Incident" Hallie and I had had a couple of years earlier, and dang it, I'm still not in shape for the running in the airport thing. 

Group A was lining up at the gate, and I was a far end B, so I skipped to Schlotsky's and grabbed an ice tea, and jumped on the plane.   Prayed a fervent prayer that my bag might just accidentally make it.  and sat in front of one of my LONG TIME Laynie fans, Sara Avery, who said,  "LOLLY? is that you?" and had on a TEAM HOPE tshirt and made my entire day.

11:00 pm I drive into Redding (WITH MY SUITCASE) and head to the hospital.    Seems that Kip had a touch of preeclampsia, and the doc was NOT going to take any chances, and DANG, that baby was a solid basketball. 
I knew that they were going to decide what they were going to do at 3:30 am, so I thought I would just hang around and see what they said, until I sat in a straight up chair for about 45 minutes and at 1:30 am (3:30 OKlahoma time) I bade them good night and blearily made my way to their house to catch a few z's. 

Brielle (their very rotten spoiled great dane) greeted me with kisses and hugs and Brandon's parents, Don and Pam were already there awaiting my arrival (along with the grandson).

I lay down at 1:50, totally wide awake, and here comes the grand daug, up beside me, all in my grill and in short order was lying right beside me in bed, snoring her head off.

2:30 rolls around and I drift off.   3:30 my message beeps and it's Kip with some questions. 

About 6:00 am (and 3 hours ish of sleep)... I head to the hospital with the Hall's because Kip's water breaks about 5:30 with a contraction.

YAY, that means the baby has to be coming, right, right, right?


Stop by a MacDonalds for the much needed sweet tea, and find Kip, finally starting to have some pain with contractions, and crap of the crappities, it's back labor.


Then figure out the baby is facing up, instead of down, and then miraculously get him turned and her back labor isn't as severe.

EPIDURAL time.   The elixer from Jesus Christ himself.  If you think you need to have a baby natural for whatever reason..... you just need to take your temperature and think again.

Epidurals are the ONLY WAY TO GO.  She went from kicking our butts out because she couldn't even string a sentence together, to having us all back in.   HELLO.  To inviting Pam & I to stay and witness.  WHAT?  Epidurals all around!

3 hours of pushing later, our miracle baby made his miraculous appearance.   And what a beauty!

Even though I gave birth to 3 babies, and witnessed Laynie being born c-section (behind the veil), this was my one and only time I've ever witnessed a birth.

And it was miraculous.



And so many words I can't even put to paper.  It's just something else. 

I knew he was a giant when he made his way out, but we got kicked out fairly quickly after (which really was fine with me) 7:19 pm  April 5, 2018

Dawson Bradley Hall made his way into the world, came out crying like a champ weighing 9 pounds and 10 ounces.   My skinny little beanpole daughter gave birth to a 10 pound whopper.  21" long, he might walk out of the hospital on his own.

And dimples for days, (like his dad)  dark hair (like his mom) and soooo sleepy (like his lols).

So much love for this little man.   So much love.

We had a wonderful first day of life, with Kip still solidly stuck to the IV poles for 24 hours, still monitoring her blood pressure, and Dawson, sleeping all day.   Aunt Nancy brought us the most amazing taco salad for dinner and we ate it like starving wolves.  Deliciousness.  And homemade choc chip cookies, so .... Yum.

Expect the crew to come home tomorrow, so I am resting up with my GIANT GRANDDAUG staring at me, wanting to sleep with me, ALL IN MY BUBBLE. 

So enjoy these pics.  I will share more over the next few days as I cherish my days with the newest little in my life. 

Grandbabies are a special gift.   And I am amazingly blessed. 

Thanks to  my village for making this trip possible, and thank you to the Lord above, for the miracle of life and the protection He bestowed on my Kip. 

God is so good, all the time.

Never mind my turkey neck.  I don't even care. 
 Hi Lols, I'm bright eyed and it's DAYTIME isn't that so smart of me?
 Yes, you sweet little boy, let's keep our days and nights straight.
My cup runneth over.  

Friday, March 23, 2018

Life at the Eight One Eight One

It's been a while since I've written.

I've been a bit overwhelmed.

I'm going to rant first.  Then Praise.  Because, well, I can.  It's my blog

And my LIFE COACH (i suggest everyone get one) tells me I should "Self-care."


(wiping eyes)  So, I've decided that writing is my self-care.  (and my love of cookies in my room)

Newbie #2, if you recall is female, 7 yrs old going on 12 and full of sass and fire like no other, has really taken a turn and become one of my favs.  She is hilarious, and just enough sass to appreciate now.  She suffers zero fools and will tell anyone like it is.  I do have to tell her to take it down a notch when she feels slighted but WHOA, that girl.   She watched bio mom beat every one up in her path her whole life, so I'm guessing that would color relationships a bit for her.  She is learning and I am learning, and we are settling into a routine.  She is much more content now that newbie #1 (her brother) is gone, and seriously, this kid rolls me. 

She does visits every other week with sibs and mom.  Last visit, Gina had tried a new hairstyle on her, and I have to tell you, it wasn't our best work.  Our mornings around here rival a stampede, and that morning, we failed her on her hair.  She left semi ok, but when I went to pick her up from mom at the visit, she had managed to give herself a full out fro on one side, and the other side was still arranged the way we had worked it that morning. 

In other words, kid looked like a hot mess. 

And in addition, she had put on something other than I had laid out for her to wear, and in the rapid fire of assault that is our mornings at the Eight One, Eight one (my new name for our house), she slipped out dressed in mismatched clothes, her high heels shoes and a hot mess hair do.

Her last home she lived in took immaculate care of her,  made sure she had the perfect hair, the perfect clothes, the right "look".  I mean, kid has CLOTHES FOR DAYS!  And for this particular day, she dragged out clothes I had NEVER EVEN SEEN and picked those to wear.  And buzzed by me so fast for the bus, I didn't see that little stink for her final approval before hitting the door.

So, fast forward to me going to pick her up at visit.

I'm sitting here typing, deep breathing because my heart is palpitating so much.  Lamaze breathing, people.

My little sassafrass is sitting on her mom's lap, with her hair looking like Girls gone wild, wearing clothes, I didn't even know she had, and where she dug them out of , it's still a mystery to me, just laying such a line of "Poor me" to her, it still makes me sizzle. 

In these visits, the bio and sibs stay in one room, and you and the case worker stay in the adjoining room with a one way mirror so you can watch the goings on.   It's really awesome.  (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

So imagine my delight when I got a load of her.  Just imagine.  I turned around in horror to her caseworker and said,  "What the absolute HELL?" and he, I'm not kidding, rolled on the ground laughing at me. 

He told me, "I figured you didn't know she looked like that"...  I just shook my head, with my mouth hanging open.

THEN, mom asks case worker to speak with him away from the kids.  And of course I can hear everything and she tells him she is NOT happy with Sassafrass's care. 


I walked in the room, and everyone (especially Sassafrass) went silent.  I walked up to her and said, "So you picked your own outfit today?" and "What did you do to your hair?" as I pulled the ponytail holders out of it, and pushed it to a bun on top of her little sassafrass head.   "I am figuring out how to do her hair" was all I managed to say to mom, when inside of my head......

I wanted to say,  "Well I'm not happy with your inability to GET YOURSELF TO YOUR CLASSES for the LAST TWO YEARS"

but WWJD  ???

So we left the premises and I didn't even bring it back up, except to tell her that I expected her to wear the clothes and ONLY THE CLOTHES that we AGREE ON and we lay out the night before. 


I'm tired. 


I got Kid #6 (newbie #5, if we are keeping count) and she is a 13 yr old female, taken from a hoard.  Sewer backed up in the home, food sent home with her from school on Fridays to keep them fed until Monday.  That kind of bad situation.  Came with zero clothes. 

Imagine, if you will, her wide eyed wonder of the Eight One, Eight One.  (remembering Gina's "I can't live in this mansion" her first day at Norman home).    Multiply Gina's overwhelmedness by a million.  Humbling, heart breaking. I know I still look around in wonder at my new home, so I.  can't.  even.  imagine. 

This kid.  I got her clothes from the closet at the ranch,and a quick trip to TJ Maxx, and you would have thought I had taken her to Neiman Marcus and bought her designer.   New shoes, a bra (imagine that) and girl clothes.  She's lived with grandpa most of her life and has zero female influence.

Gina took her over and now it's a different story.  Plucked eyebrows (ouch), clean hair, fixed in a stylish little messy bun and her "designer" clothes. 

God is good.  I don't expect to keep Kid #6 very long, grandpa is doing all he can to clean up the place, but she has already expressed that she would like to "Stay" and "live here". 

Slap my face and call me shirley.

It's hard, friends.  This fostering life.  It's brilliant, and humbling, and  sometimes, HORRIFYINGLY EMBARRASSING and amazing and life swallowing and did I say, brilliant?? 

God calls us to be more than ourselves.  He calls us to be missionaries on a battlefield. 

My battlefield is here, and I WILL win this war at the eight one eight one. 

For He is Good.