Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

When God gives you Signs

Last you heard, I had put one of the newbies in the truck and drove to Shawnee to retrieve a key.

I didn't know why God told me to take this particular kid.... He just did.

And these days, I'm on full alert to His voice. 

So yesterday.

I had one appointment and it was all the way in Mulhall.

The day before my kid had told me there was another sibling living in Mulhall and how they longed to see him. Hadn't seen him for years. 

So. 

Here I am sitting in this house in Mulhall  (You know what I'm about to tell you, don't you) and as I get the biographical information I get on every appointment, and the lady was a TEACHER at Mulhall. 

So. 

I casually ask her if she knows a student by that name  (First name only, wasn't sure of last name, pretty sure it was a solid shot in the dark).

Uhm, not only did she know him (he's in her class), she is friends with the aunt that adopted him.

So. 

I'm pretty sure I'm suppose to have contact with this kid.  From what I hear, he is a pretty bomb basketball player, but the aunt isn't sure how to help him with that, and well....hello....I helped my kid get into a D1 college, and Trae Young's momma is on my speed dial, and that chick knows EVERYTHING about basketball.

So.

I wind back into wondering, and am taken aback how orchestrated all this was.  If my keys hadn't gotten locked into my Tahoe, I would never have gone to Shawnee, and if God hadn't prompted me to take just one kid  (I was initially taking two of them), I would have never had that one on one time to bond enough with my kid to even KNOW there WAS a brother. 

Sometimes, God's plan OVERWHELMS me. 

I am still sitting here in goosebumps wondering what is in store for me with this little boy?

And then, today my newbies are all struggling in some aspect in school, so instead of running in and running straight for the tv, we had "mock school"  (ACK!) and did spelling words, some math and my oldest newbie drew me a picture and presented it to me, and I'm not going to lie....I shed a tear. 

It's probably all good I'm feeling so sentimental, because it looks like tomorrow will be a snow day and I'm going to have ALL THESE CHILDREN in my GRILL again.

I'll just keep re-reading this little love note and it will be all good. 




All in All....a stellar week.  Even in the sleet. 


Sunday, February 18, 2018

When Worship is the Way to Live

Holy Moly Worship Leader.

Lifechurch was on FIRE this morning as Craig Groeschel delivered an ANOINTED message, straight from God.

I left sobbing.  Tears.  Snot.  Anointed.

I've had a hard few days.  I mean.

H. A. R. D.

These kids like to argue.

And argue.

And pick.

And argue.

I'm used to my vietnamese that run like a well oiled clock.

Now I have triggered, chaotic, little hot messes.

Usually, I'm on board.

Last couple of days.   Ready to blow my stack to Jesus and then some.

Then a friend, Stephanie Cramer (Fellow foster mom, she will tell you I got her in it, and I'm happy to take that label) text me on her way to a volleyball tournament (I AM SO JEALOUS, I miss volleyball, WHHHAAAAA) to see how I was.

As I unloaded on her poor self (boy did she hit me at the wrong time), she just poured wisdom and love all over me.  She hooked me up with a lady that has fostered over 100 kids and knows EVERYTHING in the world to say to a road weary foster mom of 4 under 10, and basically anointed me via text message.

Then today in church.  Craig talked about worship.  I MEAN, DID HE EVER talk about worship.

Let me back up.  First of all, the devil DID NOT want me in church today.   He banged up my knee (well I did it yesterday, but I'm blamin the devil), then the kids locked the ONLY KEY TO THE TAHOE IN THE TAHOE, and my other key in the whole of the world was hanging on Lacey's fridge in Shawnee.

Did I mention all my kids have been arguing, turd ball messes??

As I prayed my way through it last night, on my knees, begging for God's guidance and grace to not throw in the EVER LOVING TOWEL, I fell right to sleep, and woke up this morning with a plan.

I took one of the kids with me to Shawnee, and we treated ourselves to Braums sausage biscuits, and perhaps a donut hole or two, and we talked about our lives.  I shared mine, they shared theirs, and basically had some pretty fantastic one on one time.  I then carefully explained the house rules to them, and had them input some rules they would like to see to make the house be smoother, and by jiminy, when I got home, Gina and Steven had the other tigers by the tail, and the house was clean, bathrooms cleaned, laundry started  (LAUNDRY FOR DDAAAAYYYYYSSSSS, people) and 3 of the 6 were ready to go to church.

And go to church we did.  Erin Crain bid us hello as we rushed into the service, and is crossing our fingers we "pick Edmond" to be our church home  (It's SO HARD, I have so many friends at both campuses, I am basically torn in two), and as the usher led us to seats, little did he know he sat me in my dear friend, Sandy Cannon's seat.   I watched Sandy sit in that very seat for years, worshiping so hard and loving her Lord and just being the hands and feet of Jesus.  We lost Sandy a few years back, but I think about her all the time, and how she always made me feel like a movie star when I saw her.  She just had that knack about her of making you feel so important....every single time I saw her.

So as I sat in her chair, I was already awash in emotion, and then Stephen Cole and team just flat brought it in worship...so my heart was so open to the Spirit, it was overwhelming.


Then the message.   Well you need to either a) get to a lifechurch and witness this amazing service in person, or b) watch it online.  (which will still be amazing, but I have to think seeing this in person is LIFECHANGING)

I was so fired up when I got in the car, I carried Craig's fervor to the kids.   I have found out from all of them this weekend, that all their moms are foster kids.  All. Of. Them.

Today I told them that they were not going to have the lives their moms had.  That as of today, we were not going to live our lives with victim mentality.  That we WILL be held accountable for what we do and do not do in this world, and that THEY ALONE can change their destiny.  (I was on fire, I'm telling you, Pastor Craig, stoked the flame).

I mean.....worship isn't suppose to just happen at church, WORSHIP is the way you live.  The way you breathe, the way you exist.

I don't want to be  the christian that just shows up at church and sings the songs and volunteers and heads home and calls it good for a week.   I want to be a living, breathing testament of Jesus Christ every. single. Day.

The peace that comes from this, is unending.  The devil still finds your cracks,  (boy does he) BUT the spirit of Jesus, that encompasses EVERY INCH of your soul, by being in CONSTANT WORSHIP, can crush him out.  By friends that call me, and check on me, and love me through some of the hardest, most wonderful, exasperating days of my life.  (Tyler and Lacey met ALL my kids, yesterday, and Tyler stopped me as I as leaving, and bade me to spend a LOT of time in prayer) LOL.  I live in prayer.  Every second.

God, just rain peace over every inch of my home.  I call on you to send your angels to rain protection and grace over the walls of this place.   Keep everyone in this house safe from harm, and allow us grace, when grace seems so far from what we are wanting to give.  Rain love and light on this home, Lord, and show me the way to guide these children.   Amen and Amen.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Life ain't all breezy

This crap is hard.

H A R D

I have one of my kids that triggers and poops their pants.  No particular reason.  No understanding or explanation.   Just does it for whatever.  

That's tons of fun.

Then I have one that is in complete denial that mom is guilty of anything.  Complete 100% denial.

Then I have one that non stop talks because if they aren't talking, they have to think about what is happening in their little world.

So, it's fun on the ranch.  And after bio visits, it's even more fun.  I remember the nightmares, and triggered responses back in the day from my trio.

Same story, second verse.

I look at the trio,though, and know there is hope at the end of the long, curvy, windy, confusing, frustrating, crazy rainbow.  

It will all be fine.  

Right?

One day at a time, Lord Jesus, sometimes even one minute at a time.  


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Meanwhile, over At West Point



Hallie is cruising toward being done with her first year at West Point.

Can I get a resounding AMEN?

On the West Point Moms page, there are new Class of 2022 moms showing up, bragging on their soon to be new cadets "appointments" and all I can say is......hold on for your lives, dear moms, your whole world is about to be shooken Hard.    (look what I did there)

Hallie had a hard start.

First the broken toe.

Then the stress fracture.

Then 23 hours and volleyball season

Then the APFT.

Then the tests.

It was all weird.  Different, hard, time management nightmare.

Inspections.

Formation.

No sleep.

Just a tough tough first semester.  In her physical portion, she did good on the sit ups and pushups and then had to run 2.2 miles.  She is allowed 18:55, she ran across the finish line at 18:56.  So that was a fail.

For the whole semester.

For this overachiever, that was just almost the blow that took her down.

So fast forward to this semester.

Totally on top of her classes, now that she knows what to expect.

Did 33 pushups, 71 sit ups (timed in 2 minutes) and ran that 2 miler in 16:40.

Like she was the stinking boss of it.

So she had a pretty good valentines day....except for that whole HOMESICKNESS that hits her like a brick between the eyes.

And she had me somehow BLOCKED on her phone and thought I was either ignoring her, or locked in a bedroom away from children.

She was almost right on there.  :)

The volleyball girls went and supported the Men's Basketball at one of their games, and the coach's baby came too.   So cute.

And West Point also has a DANCE MARATHON for Children's Miracle Network, and she and her friends went and powered through to dance FOR THE KIDS.  Lacey was especially touched, because everything about Children's Miracle Network is all about Laynie for us.   Just super super special.

So the girl is doing the dang thing.  Making super excellent grades this semester, gearing up for Spring Season in volleyball, I'm excited that she will actually be playing this season, and will be returning to the middle position, where she kicks it in the face.

So it's a good semester to be Hallie.  (remembering with a smile when everything goes her way, her favorite saying, "It's a great day to be Hallie")

Proud much?

You bet.

Keep on kicking it, girl.

We are all right behind you, cheering you on, solidly believing in you.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

When Mom is a Verb

Every day on Facebook it gives you your memories from that days for years back.

It's pretty fun to see what has transpired in my life.

Here was my blog from 4 years ago.

Time to Start Healing- 2014

I read that this morning, and that day in court came flooding back into my memories.

Fast forward 4 years. 

Here was yesterday....


Time has healed my kids.  They are healthy enough to not only see mom, but dad too.   Three years of weekly counseling has helped them heal from the trauma that was their everyday life.  We saw dad for the first time at Zach's birthday last year.  We had been seeing mom and sister pretty steady the last few years, but kids never were ready to see dad.   Until October, and mom begged again for kids to let their dad come.   I looked them all square in the eye, and told them,  "You are ready.  You are not the victims anymore, you are the overcomers."   Steven told me,  "It's time to forgive."   #cuekleenexes

So the last visits have been odd, healing, hot messes.  Mom can't come without an entire carload of food to bring the kids, and she spends most of our time together, kissing everyone, including me.  I'm getting used to it.  #notawkwardatall

The kids always cry when they leave, and I feel helpless and want to be sarcastic and all snarky to try and get them back right.  But we do it, and always plan the next one so the parents know when we will see each other again.

It's weird, it's hard, it's the right thing.

So my two newbies.  Doing good.  Sis is a DIVA.  I mean, D I V A.  Sassafrass diva.  Lacey was NOTHING compared to this kid.  So we've had the "Talk" about respect and boundaries, and what is expected.  She may be going to bed at 6 pm the entire time she is here.  I'm talking.....W O W. 

Mommin' is hard.

My friend I work with, Katelyn, came over yesterday and watched the newbies, while the vietnamese and I did our bio meeting  and we were talking when I got home.  I thought for ten seconds I would be doing emergency placement for a 4 year old boy last night.  Gina and Steven and Katelyn and I were talking and I told them that Mommin' was tough.  The younger they are, the harder you mom.  I'm using MOM as a verb here.

And I'm back to mommin' hard lately.  I have 3, count them, THREE 7 and 8 year olds.  Not only are they clueless as heck, they are developing sassafrass tendencies and whoa, nelly.

So, I'm back to hard core mommin.

Pastor Craig talked today about indifference.   How most people live in lukewarm indifference about their relationship with God, a "Meh" attitude.  The thing that really resonated with me was his call to us to Every Day, do something that requires FAITH.

People.  If I didn't have Faith, I couldn't do this deal.  You know the other day when I said I stinkin' love this? 

I might have been a bit hasty. 

Naw, I'm kidding.  It's just hard as heck to mom hard.  So pray for me.  Pray for my SASSAFRASS diva, and my tattletale son, who thinks it's his call to duty to report EVERY LIVING LITTLE THING to his MAMA, like the planet would cease to turn if he didn't tattle EVERY LIVING LITTLE DETAIL to his MAMA. 

We moved beds, we rearranged rooms, we cleaned, we kicked some move in butt today.  I am exhausted but wanted to process. 

They are good kids.  We will figure it out.  I raised Lacey DeeAnn and she is the most amazing adult, so I know sassafrasses can turn out ok.

Just living the dream out here on the ranch.  Mommin' it up. 

Pray for me, cause God is Good.




Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Children No's. 7 and 8

Ironically that's how old they are, too.

Except #7 is 8 yrs old and number 8 is 7 years old.

They are siblings.  Precious little loves.

I got brother on Friday night.  His heart was pumping so hard when I met him, I could feel it pounding under his shirt.

As I led him into the melee of activity that is our monthly "Birthday bash" at the ranch, he quickly recognized 2 or 3 little boys and I felt him physically relax.

He relaxed further as he ventured in our house, and met Daisy and saw his bedroom and showed us his stuff.

He came with one tiny bag of clothes.  Very worn, nothing without a hole in it.  My heart broke just about in two.

We just had lemons (I'm such a great hostess) (Hey, it's what he wanted) and we watched a bit of Nick, and it was already time for bed.   Saturday rolled around and Brian's birthday party happened, so I had one little boy wandering aimlessly through the house most of the day.  He is joined at the hip with Zach and happily, the little boy across the street is in his class, so they ran like banshees all day at the house.

He really didn't settle in until Sunday after church, when we met his sister, with her current foster family from Norman, and they drove her up to the ranch, so they could see where their little precious daughter of "Heart" was going.

Her story is much different that her brother's.  Her foster family loaded her up.  She had at least 3-4 tubs of stuff, clothes so nice, a brand new bike, toys galore, a BAG OF SHOES, and at least 4 coats for different seasons.  She has new glasses, been to the dentist, got her asthma under control,gorgeous braids in her hair, and a tutor in her corner.  Her foster mama talked to me on the phone for the longest before she was able to be "ok" with her girl leaving her home, and coming to mine.

I get it.

Boy do I get it.

Her foster family was just not at the place to adopt yet, and termination is coming quickly for these two.  Mom's not working her program, they've been in the system awhile....it's all just the same old story.  Second verse.  So fast forward -- her brother coming to the ranch. And the chance for them to finally be together.   Her foster mom, Diane, reluctantly (and oh so lovingly) hands over her little princess.

These two.

I've fallen hard, people.  They are a pair.

Brother finally started breathing easy when sis got here.  I gave brother some of the clothes I have stored (CLOTHES FOR DAYSSSSSSSS), and he was so touched.

It humbles me.   I have this dorky little suit (pants, vest tie) that I bought one of my boys for Easter a year or so ago.  It's hanging in the closet he occupies now, and he gazed at it, and said, "Can I please wear this to school tomorrow?"  and my heart just broke a little.  Pictures are tomorrow and by golly, I'm letting that boy wear that tie and vest to school.  If he walks a little taller, and feels a little prouder, then let that boy wear the vest.

Gina took him over on Sunday and gave that nappy head of hair a good buzzing and shaping and he strutted like a peacock.  I wish I could share pictures.  I mean.  I mean.  I mean.  A good haircut will make the man.

Because God overflows with blessings, my phone rang on Sunday and my dear friend Nancy Roy told me she was bringing me some things.  The "things" turned out to be two mongoose bikes for Zach and brother.  Zach has never had a "good" bike (always Steven's hand me downs) so he is over the moon.  Of course it's been zero degrees since then, so they look good in the garage.  But the boys go out every day and lovingly rub all over them, dreaming of the day, very soon that they will be on their first bike roadtrip.  Friends like mine are amazing.

Another classmate sent me $ to help with groceries this month, when she heard my plight of NO SALES.  :)  Exactly what I needed to get through.  Exactly.

God provides.  Every time. 

I have an entire blog (in my head working) of how when you just surrender to God's will for your life, how simple it all becomes.

The surrendering part is the hardest.

Everyone thinks what I am doing NOW is the hardest.   People, getting here was the hardest.  The life I lived before I became a true servant of God was the hardest.   All of this stuff now is gravy.

I get to watch kids learn about trust, and see a fully functioning (well........) family.  I jump out of bed and figure out breakfast  (thanks to Shauna Thomas, I have bran muffins! (Oohlala) and these delicious cookie things and sausage balls, she is just a wonder!) and make 5 lunches and push kids out the door by 6:50.

That's A.M.

And I love it.  I freaking love it.

We have a new routine around here.  The bigs do homework and the 3 littles gather on my bed and we are reading through the bible.  They are soooo fun and full of information.  I will ask them questions, and they are amazingly articulate.

You know how you raise a huge family??????

One stinking day at a time.   Give it all you got, love them hard, wallow in the goodness of the day, and when you lay down on your pillow at night.....Thank God for that marvelous day and ask for the same tomorrow.

I wish it hadn't taken me 50 some odd years to figure out.

But I'm still learning, and man, I love it.

God is good, All the Time. 


Bubba is 60

My brother turned 60 yesterday. 

6-0. 

That's a pretty impressive number. 

I had a party, his oldest friends, some cheese dip and snackies, some strawberry cake made by his mama and seriously, fun was had. 

It was just warm enough to be outside (almost)
We tried to take a serious picture....you know one of the group...

but this group......Well.........







I don't think we ever got a good picture of anyone, Except Kevin Jacobs, who excels at looking nice at all times.  :)

If you are wondering who all those old farts are....it's Steve and Cyndi Izard Bracy (surrounding me), then Bobby Gerdes and Kevin Jacobs.

Brian and his girl that's his friend, Joann Smith are sitting down.  Due to his old age, and her boot on her foot.  :)  And because it made for better pics to have them sitting.

Steve and Cyndi came up from Gainesville... (Lake Kiowa) to be exact in her gorgeous Lexus, and zoinks, I am so glad that I told them to drive like turtles on Western (by my house) because that car...for.the.love.

This is super cute of Joann and my mama.   She is looking good in her purple, though for most of the day she wore a blanket around  (My house doesn't get super warm with doors opening and closing and children running in and out all The Live Long Day)
See her looking like an Indian Princess with her blanket on??  

And I just want to throw out here how NICE it is to have a house that can hold 20 people in my KITCHEN???? A life long dream of mine to have a house to hold PEOPLE.  So we can spread out and have fun.

Except as you can see by the picture, there was no spreading, there is gathering, in the kitchen area.  Which is still super fun too.

We sit out on the back porch and basically laughed at Brian and Bobby.  They should have their own comedy act.  They are just silly on steroids. 

 Meanwhile, while we were outside laughing at the big boys, the littles were inside enjoying cake and things. 

Lindsay's girls-  Makayla and Maleah   (12 & 5)
 Me, Tyler and Lindsay having some of that nasty cake.   Ooh ee..  So nasty.  I had two pieces. 
 And here is Lacey & Tyler and their matchmaker, Lindsay.   I'm still thankful for all that.  Remind me to tell you that story some time.  

This girl and I have been friends for so long, I can't even remember how it started.  That's how long it's been.  I just remember when I was a lowly 9th grader and she was in 10th, (before driving and having us all at the new high school) We would RUN from MidHigh down town to Benton's Cafe and because we were solid regulars, the waitress would see us hit the front door and by the time we hit our favorite table in the back, she would have our basket of french fries and a DP waiting at the table.  We would woof that down in about 5 minutes, pay our $.98 and race out the door and be back to school in 35 minutes.  I wish I still had the metabolism (and energy) to do that deal.  
We still look good though.

Across the yard, Tyler had put together the trampoline given to us by Bill Junk and the Methodist Foundation and he and Deaton were having a big ole time on it.  



 SO MUCH FUN!

We had some cake, couldn't light the candles because I had no fire in my house (I am DHS approved and accidentally threw out all my matches....LOL)


But my #1 brother is 60 years old.  It is not lost on me that we lost our dad 24 days after he turned 60 years old.  He spent his 60th birthday in the hospital, the doctors doing everything they could to figure out why he was so sick.  So all day, that ran through my head.  How lucky we are that we have such amazing health and an 80 year old mom to make us fabulous strawberry cake, (and by golly, pack up the last 3 pieces and take them home with her!!!!)

God is certainly good, and here's to 30 more birthdays Bubba.   Let's celebrate them all.