Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One of THOSE days

Ever have one of those days?  This sums it up best....

I knew it was happening, but I kept giving it a thumbs up.  I needed to cry ALL day.  Overwhelming, satan ALL over me.... it was just a pisser of a day.

Speaking of pisser, BB managed to pee his pants AGAIN at daycare  (Worker, "I have no idea why, he had just left the bathroom") and hit a kid right in the kisser.  Clearly this was not BB yesterday...
as he just went ahead and punched them in the face 3 times.  

I was ready to chuck it all in the trashcan yesterday.  I am failing at work, failing at home, failing.  It's just overwhelming to me.  

Even praying, I was asking God  "WHY? What will I learn from this? Can you please just cut me a break here and send me some goodness?"  and then.... silence.  

I backed into Tyler's car on Saturday.  He came over to hang with us this weekend, while Lacey went to California to Kip's bridal shower, and he oopsily parked behind me.  He hasn't been in the family long enough to know what everyone else already knows and clings to....NEVER park within 1000 feet of mom.   I even gave my car a bit of gusto gas leaving the garage (something I never do) and boom, hello Tyler's front fender.   It was a $2200 mistake.   AwEsOmE. 

I hope this wicked funk I am in leaves soon.  It's really messing up my goal to be a better person.  Seriously. 

Prayers are coveted. 

Then I heard this yesterday and I remembered it ain't about me, it's just livin......

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Time to Start Healing

I woke up this morning and I already had emails waiting.  My village rocks my face off. 

I armored myself with God's promises and walked onto the mission field. 

After visiting with the kids last night, I really really really wasn't looking forward to making them testify.   I think they are doing terrific, and feel that everything is swinging in their direction, and then when I really sit down and talk to them, they are terrified.  Still waiting for the other shoe to drop, for someone to come and take them back to their parents. 

Yesterday in court, it was all attorney strategy working.  It wasn't feelings and emotion, it was all strategy.  The emotions came from my little lovelies, seeing their parents for the first time in almost a year.  And helping them overcome all the fear that consumes them, when they walk through those doors. 

Today was different.  I was different.  Somewhere in the midst of the sadness of the "loss" for the kids, I felt peace.  I arrived early (weird, I know) and the DA and kid's attorney both talked to me before court.  They were ready to battle it out, but that was NOT what I wanted for my kids.  They've battled enough, it's time to heal. 

So, I offered a compromise.  If mom wanted to take it to trial, ever seeing them again was never going to be an option.  The pain and suffering the kids would go through, would tip me (and them) over the edge of ever being kind enough to continue a relationship with her.   So, basically I offered her a settlement.  If she wouldn't put them through the trauma (yet again), I would allow them to see her, on their terms.  Phone calls, visits, overnight stays, those things MIGHT be options.  Of course, she has to prove to me that she is healthy and the kids are in no danger, but I want her in their lives. 

I did not start this process to adopt.  I was going to be a revolving door of bringing in the broken, training them in what they needed, and sending them out armed with tools.  That was my plan.  As in all things, God LAUGHS at OUR plans.  It's HIS plan, and HIS will, and HIS grace that gets us through.  And God has a plan.  I just have to be willing to hear it. 

I was not happy with HIS plan for me today.  Again, my goal was to push that baggage out of their lives and let them move forward with healing and no looking back.  But as I wrestle with this, I realize that the older children will ALWAYS remember how traumatic it was, the little guy would not.  I feel in keeping him from his mom, he may grow up resentful and always wondering why I took him away.  Sure he would hear it from his siblings, but, first hand knowledge, he'd never remember.  So this is a way to let him understand WHY the decision was made for them to live with me permanently and let mom be a "visitor", so to speak.  Of course, all of this is off the table if she continues with an unhealthy lifestyle, and can't keep them safe. 

No one poured into these children.  So, who has poured into the mom?  How will mom ever know more exists, if no one shows her?  I've loved watching the process of the kids realizing how much more there is to life as they knew it.  Mom deserves that chance too.  So, if she really, really wants to get healthy, I will help her.  Prayers for mom.  She gave up her kids today.  She was inconsolable in the courthouse.  I finally, with tears pouring down my face, took her in her arms, and told her it would be ok.  The kids would be safe, and everything was going to be ok.  It was just words to her, but everyone in that courtroom knew I was serious.  My caseworker said, "I can't believe you can do that."   She is God's child, she just doesn't know it.  Yet. 

I can't forward think this.  If I do, it's too much, too overwhelming.  I will "WHAT IF" myself into a pysch unit.  So, I'm learning from the gift of is what I have.  What will I do today to  make my life and my kids lives a better place?  And today I chose forgiveness. And in doing that, I am on my way to making these three kids mine.

We go to court in July.  Around the 10th if I remember ..... a new joyful memory to add to the playbook of my family's life.   July 10, 2010...we lost a precious life.... fast forward to July 2014...we will be welcoming 3 new lives into the family. 

AND WE ARE GOING TO PAR-TAY!  I'm serious.  It will be a party to beat all parties and everyone is invited!!! 

I just have to repeat again ...... God is good, all the time. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

One step forward two steps back

Without going into much detail.... things were good and bad today. 

Good because one parent terminated rights. 

Bad because now they are using that to get the other parent custody.

I believe in the goodness of people.  I believe that everyone should be given second chances.  Without that belief, I would be condemned to hell for eternity.

I want to believe that everything has changed, and that everything will be different for these kids.

But as their counselor and I visit with them and have "pretend court", and ask them the hard questions that will invariably be asked of my precious little loves.... so many tears.

So much heartbreak and fear and worry.  And what hurts me to the marrow of my bones is this is real live fear for them.  They worry daily (though rarely showing it) of the very thing that could happen.

So I covet prayer on this.  I pray for the juror's hearts.  I pray for the DA and kid's attorney and for wisdom and guidance.  I pray for the parents and their attorneys, that they truly take into consideration the best interest of the children in this case.

I pray for peace and words for me, when the time comes.  I pray my sarcasm stays deep in my soul where it belongs, and that I can only speak loving kindess, when all I really want to do is kick and scream at the injustice.

Watching these children cry their deepest fears to me tonight wrecked me. I can't promise them the perfect ending.  I simply don't know.  But I can promise them God will not fail them, and we have to stand firm in belief that whatever happens, He is there.

I pray for the miracle of forgiveness.  Because it will take healing and time to undo the pain and suffering all of this has caused.   It's just sad and miserable and awful.

I need no other adjectives.  I just need your prayers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy bday Bubba

Today is my brother's birthday.

I'm not sure how old he is, because I quit thinking about how old I am a few years back, and numbers don't matter to me anyway.  We must be in our 50's, but that's about as much as I recall.

Anyway, today is the day he was born many years ago.

This is a weird post for me, because I don't always talk about my bubba.  He's pretty private, and will be most likely unhappy with me for writing this, but it is my blog, so tough tots, bub.

My brother was born to my parents almost 9 months to the day after they were married.  (Yep, that happened).

He was the most beautiful baby, and so playful and a delight.  The only weird thing was, he had a deformed ear.  No reason for it, an "anomaly" if you will.   That was 1958.

Technology wasn't too advanced then, but my parents were determined to give him a normal childhood (however, normal can be).  So he went through plastic surgery after plastic surgery after plastic surgery, to no avail.

The thing is, though he had a birth defect, he was a brilliant pianist, sportsman, the most intelligent person in his class.  It was just an ear. It didn't define who he was.

As a matter of fact, I never saw anything but my brother.  Same true to this day.

But, I think after having Laynie, I finally have somewhat of an understanding how he must have felt all these years, with people taking second looks and sometimes staring a little too long.  And I never felt that pain with him.  I always thought they were looking at him because they knew how cool he was.  Clueless, with sister eyes, how I looked at my brother.

But the pain he has endured, I will never understand.  To say he is the bravest man I know is an understatement.  He's roll on the floor, pee in your pants funny, he can fart on demand in any key, and usually clear a room doing it, and can play any sport like a professional.  He is a master on the piano, can hear a song on the radio and go figure it out on the piano (I hate him), and can sing like a virtuoso.  In fact, when we were growing up, we had an act called, "The Dancing Brothers".  We should have been stars. 

This is what I see when I look at my brother.

He has fixed my toilets, my kids bikes, replaced garage doors and fences.  He has hauled me water, and food, talked love life strategy and we have lost our dad together. 

We share a mom we adore, we have given each other nieces and nephews that are irreplaceable, and he has been known to whistle like a wild man at my kid's sporting events.

He is my protector, my rival, my biggest pain, and my friend.   He has recently realized that life is better spent walking with God, and he is doing everything he can to find his way to Him.  And I pray for him everyday, that he will love God, with the same passion and fervor that I do. 

Because I cannot imagine my life, even after I've gone to heaven, without him.

For, who will carry my crown??   My bubba will.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How much is TOO much?

Everyone knows I have been fanatically watching the biggest loser because of one thing.....David Brown.

He worked with Lacey on staff at Lifechurch, and Melissa was pregnant with Trinity same time as Lacey was with Laynie, and he and Melissa were 2 of Laynie (and Lacey's) biggest fans.

So to say I've been a loud spokesperson for the show this season....well, that's an understatement.

We've been ridiculous at our house watching it.  On Tuesday mornings, the first thing out of the kids' mouth would be  "BIGGEST LOSER ON TONIGHT".

And Tuesday's would drag.......

So fast forward to finale.  I have Lacey and Keri Austin on facebook messages (since weather wouldn't permit a watch party), and we are all three watching and commenting throughout the show to each other.  I'm trying to keep a fun commentary running on Facebook, to keep my other friends Wes and Jessica Powell entertained (David married them, and is one of Wes's biggest mentors in life), because Jessica was about to puke all day with nerves.  We are all ridiculously invested in this fellow.

First Lacey posts this picture to us and amps everyone's blood pressure up about 20 points. (Correction, this was an Austin original, not Lacey)

Then we have to go through one hour of all the other contestants, with Lovely lamenting, "Can't we just get to David?" and saying things like, "That girl still eating too much" and "Why that guy not take off his hat?", enough to keep me rolling on the floor.  And the commercials.....mighty a frighty, the commercials.  Enough to make me poke a pencil in my own eye.

FINALLY......the final three .... First Bobby comes out, and I'm just floored over his transformation. He looks amazing.   

I'm so ready to see my friend!!!!Then DAVID, and BOOM, here's the warrior.  In his shiny, James Bond suit.

And I'm shocked, and bawling, and literally shaking for him, I am so in wonder.  I'm looking for any sign of the David I remember (Big ole teddy bear) and I don't see him, then he starts to speak, and I think, "There he is".   He is really really really super skinny.  Wow.  He has twelve layers of dimples.  Who knew this stuff?  I'm a mess.

Then, Rachel hits the stage.  We are all in stunned silence.  Then lovely says, "That girl too skinny, she needs to eat a sandwich."  and I don't know what to say.  Keri pops up on the message, and says "Trent thinks he needs to go on the biggest loser and get down to 80 pounds." (Trent, fully dressed and a good full meal on him, might weigh 140 at best).  My house is speechless.  LB ventures, "She too skinny, Lolly" and I have to agree.

We have been on this adventure with David to watch these people reach their full potential.   Rachel is 24 years old.  I remember at 24, I was pretty able to keep my weight in check and weighed in at 137.  That is Skinny Skinny for a 6 foot tall drink of water.  So, I'm not judging here, I am making a statement.

There are many small women out there that absolutely weigh 105.  They probably range in height from 4-6 to 5-2.  I was a trainer at Magic Mirror all during college and I saw all kinds of women, all sizes and shapes, and I helped them work their weight.

I was kidding on our conversation thread, when I popped off, "100 pounds" when she stepped on the scales.  I was heartsick when I saw 105.

So were Bob and Jillian.

She tripped going up the stairs to weigh, and someone on my facebook said, "She is so frail and sickly, she can't even walk the stairs".  I don't know, I would probably fall up the stairs,  myself.  My valid worry,  What does she see when she looks in a mirror?  Does she see a very very thin woman, almost too thin? Or does she see her old heavy self?  I, myself, see a very big version of myself when I look in the mirror.  I get the whole competitive "I'm going to win, so I'm going to lose a bunch of weight" stuff, but how much is too much?

Hal plays competitive sports.  The top competitors are rock solid lean.  None of them look like this.  This isn't a healthy look.  This was NOT the intent of the biggest loser show, I have to believe that.  I had a long talk with the kids after the show, telling them that every body is different, and what is good and right for one person, may not be good and right for you.  It's not a message we need to send the kids.  Being healthy, is a whole other thing.

Then, the king for the evening, said, "The winning step wasn't being here tonight...The winning step was the first one" 

Preach, brother.  He may not have won the dough, but he won the prize of health and the hearts of millions of people.  His family will have him for many years, and he will go on to help thousands and thousands of people overcome obesity.  He is the winner.  No loser in that man, only Winner.  

Congrats, David and to your family.   You are a warrior.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Volleyball fever

I have been looking forward to this weekend for awhile.  Hallie is playing club volleyball and we had our first away tournament this weekend.

Not only was it fun watching her play, it's a nice break from my bonus kids, who stay with their awesome respite provider, and we all have a "break".

I LOVE IT Infinity x google.

Mostly because I have become a volleyball addict, and I must have my fix.

I haven't really talked about our first tournament.  It was at the Cox Center first weekend of January, and if you have never been to a tournament (which I hadn't been until last year), you are all "ranked" and then placed, by ranking, into "Pools".  There are 4 teams in a pool, and according to "rank" you play 4 games through your pool and the winner.& runnerup of the pool goes to "Gold Bracket", 3rd place goes to Silver and 4th in pool goes to Bronze, or refs, if there isn't a bronze bracket.

So in January, we killed in our pool.  We swept it, and moved to Gold Bracket.  We aced our first game in bracket, and then in the semi-finals, might as well have laid down on the court, and let the other team just wipe us up, because that's what happened.  It was an embarrassing slaughter.  Each game has 25 points, and we basically GAVE 19 of those points (in each game) to the other team.  It was embarrassing, and Hallie was so frustrated.  We did take 3rd, and the team that beat us went on to win it, so frustrating or embarrassing, we still did good. 

Fast forward four weeks to our first tournament.  We are in Texas, and Texas takes their volleyball VERY seriously.  In fact, in a pool of 64 teams, we were ranked 50th.  That's totem pole low.  And in our individual pool, we were ranked 3rd of 4.  This never bothers me, because they think we will be an easy win.  Our first game, before I had even worked the sleepy out of my eyes this morning, was against the #1 team in our pool.  We spanked them.  25-15 to 25-21.  I was so surprised, because the coach let Hallie serve today.  She normally is a front row player and leaves the serving to the strong back row players.  But today, coach let her serve, and ZOINKS, so proud of her.

In the first game, beating the #1 seed, Hallie had3 blocks and served 4 aces and hit 3 kill shots.  That was a decent game right there.

Then in the 2nd game, we played the #2 seed, and didn't even look like the same team.  I kept grandma stats today (longhand and only I can read them), and we had so few errors on the first game, and an entire page of them on the 2nd game.  Lost the first set to them 15-25 (they spanked us), but Hallie had a great game, 3 blocks and 2 serves, and 1 10 ft kill shot (hard). then we came back second match and won 25-22.

Third game was with the 4th seed, and we beat them handily 25-16, 25-14.  Hallie had 3 blocks and 3 kills.

So with the final tally, we took 2nd behind the #2 seed, who beat us in our pool by 4 points.  That isn't shabby, people.  We represented.  

With Hal Smacking her gum all the way like the redneck she is.  "Gum keeps me having fun".  Whatever, I will buy stock in Juicy Fruit if that's going to have her play like that.

Fun was had people, and tonight they all went to eat at a nice restaurant, and dressed up, since they all missed their "Semi-formal" dance at school to be here.

It all boils down to commitment and stamina, and these girls have it.  We will see how they do in the Gold bracket tomorrow.  Bet we are the lowest ranked team to make the gold.  Whatever happens, we can walk away with our heads held high, because we came and did the "Dang Thing".

You know your kid is doing something right, when the snarky loud grandpa from the other team says to the other parents around him, as YOUR kid walks off the floor,  "Good!  I'm glad that girl is getting off the floor".   Yeah, you old fart, that "GIRL" is my kid and she just ate your kid for breakfast.  BUT, I took the deep cleansing WWJD route, and just smiled and said, "Yep, that's my daughter".   Shut that old jackhat right up.  :)

Ain't sports fun?

P.S.  If anyone has a brilliant idea on how to video these things (short of hiring someone to do it), I would love advice how to get these things down for college recruitment.  She had some plays today that I would love to send all over North America.  Don't say I can do it, because do you know me at all?  That's really not an option.  I don't even take pics at these events because I think it jinxes us.  :)

P.S.S.  There were MANY other brilliant plays by other brilliant players on our team, so please don't think I wasn't appreciative of all of them, I just kept better notes on my kid.  Or at least the ones I can read.  I know it must have been a good shot when I accentuated it with !!!!!!!!!'s and a circle.  I'm a weirdo.