Monday, August 29, 2011

Safe Families: First Call & Star Trib Article

We got our first Safe Families call today.   Maridel, our local director, gave us the scenario and wondered if it would work out for us.  I called Jason who happened to be almost home.  We prayed and decided we could do it.  It was a short stay situation, which we are somewhat hoping for in the beginning to get our feet wet!  While talking to Maridel she alerted us to an article in the Star Tribune about Safe Families.  It's exciting to see Safe Families get some press!!  Read the article....good stuff!!

Anyway......our family was excited and anxiously awaiting a call with more details about pick-up times etc.   We were bummed, however, when Maridel called to say the mom had made other arrangements.  Oh well!!  We know that's just how it works sometimes!  We have to be flexible.  Apparently God has another child/children in mind.  That's just fine with us.  But we'll pray for this family and mom.(As a side note:  We are obligated to privacy in regards to the moms, kids, etc.  So most of the details I give will be vague, generalized.....and obviously no pictures....unless my resident photographer does a great job of editing!:)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Safe Families for Children Training for Minneapolis Area Sept 17th!!

EDIT: Obviously most of this information is out of date...being it's almost OCT.....and Bethany went through website none of those links work...but I'm leaving this post up because I think the prayer requests are still needed.  Thanks!!
I got an e-mail yesterday from our local Safe Families for Children director stating that they will host a training day on September 17th in Eden Prairie.  This will satisfy the requirement needed to become a Safe Family.  If you are interested and want to know more leave a comment and I'll get back to you....or contact the number on the website.

Other needs that were stated in the e-mail are:

1. Drivers: Could you volunteer to drive a child to his Safe Family host?
2. Notary: Would you be willing to meet us when papers need to be signed when a child goes into care?
3. Fund Development Committee: Our program is only available through the generous gifts of our donors. 
4. Marketing: Social networking, advertising - we could use your help to get the word out to family and friends.
5. Event planning: Do you like planning/coordinating events? we could really use your help. 
6. Can you host a child OR provide respite to a host family?  We need 100 more families to volunteer. 
7. Administrative/organizational skills with data base background.
8. Pray for all the families in crisis who call for help. We are only able to serve 1/5 of the calls due to our limited capacity.

Please join us in praying for these needs!!!:)

Our far!!

UPDATE ON OUR STATUS:  They forgot to have us sign some paperwork when they were here last Friday, but we were able to get that completed this week.  We have been presented with a few cases that are coming up in the next couple of months.  Pray for our discernment as we strive to serve the Lord in His strength, yet knowing our feeble human strength can only take us so is a battle we face daily as we honor Him!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blogger Stats...

I was trying to get a blog out about how I survived my Facebook Fast....but I am too crazy busy tired.  If that makes any sense.   But I have enough working brain cells to write about my blog stats....which I find intriguing.  I know I haven't blogged in quite a LONG time, so to pick it up again and hope to get traffic to my new stuff is not going to happen spontaneously. why am I writing???  Don't really know.....other than to say that my blogger stats show that my most viewed post is.....drum roll please.....CHICKEN BUTCHERING!!!   Often people are searching for "mean rooster".   It's crazy how much traffic I get to this one post!!!  And the pictures are not appealing.  But I suppose it's a tutorial type of post.  

I'm thinking I may need to write another mean rooster post soon!!  We now have three roosters on the property.   ONE is extremely HUGE and MEAN!!!  Two of them are from a new batch that was hatched in April.  One of those is extremely aggressive already.  So we know one to three of them have to go!!!  I absolutely love the BEAUTY of our roosters......they are gorgeous.....but can't stand how mean they are!!  I know they are doing what God designed them to do.....but attack the hand that feeds ya!!  NOT GOOD!!

So now you know why I shouldn't blog late at night....when we are crazy busy....and I'm tired......

Ramble City!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carson's Breastfeeding Story: Part 1...Setting the Stage

I've been meaning to share our breastfeeding adventure with Carson but haven't found the time.....not like I have time now....but seeing that it's National Breastfeeding Month...I thought I'd at least start the story!!  Today I'll share my past experiences with breastfeeding because I think they "set the stage" to where I was mentally when Carson was born.

Carson being child #6 means I've had some experience with breastfeeding.  Eighteen years to be exact!!!  Each of my children had their set of problems and trials.  That is the first misconception any prospective parent needs to debunk.....breastfeeding does not come easy or naturally.  I get all wound up when I read articles that state how easy it is!!  It isn't for a LOT of mommies and babies.  BUT..... is it worth all the trials.....YOU BET!!! SET THE STAGE....

Child #1.....This lovely girl came out NOT nursing.  She refused my breasts for the first 10 days of her life.  This was a huge blow to a brand new mommy wanting to breastfeed so badly!  I worked with a nurse from the hospital and began pumping.  I continued to try to get her to latch on and finger fed her until one magical day....I'll NEVER forget where I was and the excitement I felt......she latched on.  We had a beautiful breastfeeding relationship from that day forward.

Child #2.....This girl came out with a strong desire to suck and me having the experience from the first we started off pretty good.   However, at about 4 months into it the pain started.  I would nurse at night and 20-30 minutes after the session I was in EXTREME pain....deep within my breasts.  It didn't seem to hurt as much during the day.   I saw my doctor for it, but she wouldn't treat me for anything because she said she didn't know what it was.  I was in agony for 2 months before it went away.  Her bedtimes would get later and later, but my husband would plead with me to put her to bed at a reasonable time.  I just hated the pain.  Still not so sure what was going on with her.

Child #3.....My little peanut.  She was born with the cord wrapped around her neck twice and her body once.  This didn't pose a problem until about 3 weeks later when she began to vomit all her meals.  NOT SPIT UP!!!  I had so much pandering from my doctor..."Well, you know spit up looks like a lot, but it's actually about a tablespoon."  WHAT.EV.ER!!!  This child vomited for the first 2 years of her life.  We didn't nurse well because I felt like I was always nursing, then vomiting, then nursing.  It was really hard to figure out.  She wasn't gaining doctor wanted me to put her on formula.  UMMMM.....Let's work on the VOMITING before we try to put weight on her!!!

Child #4....This girl came out sucking her thumb....I'm not kidding!!!  She was a great nurser from the beginning, but we must not have had a good latch or something.  I ended up with mastitis often in the beginning.    I was in bed quite a bit getting over fevers and the pain.

Child #5....The "one I didn't nurse"!  There was something about him.  I started out instantly with extremely cracked nipples.  He would "chew bite" suck.  It was soooo painful.  Plus the mastitis.  I was in a daze for the first two weeks.  I had the other four children to care for.  I saw my doctor and 2 lactation consultants.  They were saying my nipples weren't recognizable and I needed to stop for a time to heal.  Me being as exhausted as I was and constantly getting high fevers, I succumbed quickly to buying formula and feeding him a bottle.  But I did begin to pump.  I tried latching him on a few times after the first couple of weeks, but his "suck" was so painful.  I instantly bled.  I did not nurse this little guy, but was able to pump for about 5 months before it got too overwhelming.

I think the fact that I didn't nurse baby #5 (which also happens to be my "diabetes boy"....apparently not a correlation, but this mom has a hard time not feeling mom guilt over it)....had a huge influence on what we eventually ended up doing with Carson.

So there you have my past experiences.   They all "set the stage" for BABY #6!!!

*****Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor/nurse/lactation name it.  I'm a mom!!  Plain 'ol MOM!!  So don't take what I write as medical advice....although it could be used to bombard your own doctor with questions!!

*****ANOTHER Disclaimer:  I share my breastfeeding story to encourage moms along their journey's.  I'm not here to DEBATE or be an ACTIVIST for or against breastfeeding.  I did what I did given the circumstances I was in and what I believed was best for our family.  You will do the same for your baby/family I'm sure!!:)  So don't be discouraged if you didn't breastfeed or tried and couldn't (see baby #5...been there, done that!). 

Friday, August 19, 2011

We're Approved!!! So why am I so nervous??

The final step in our approval process was this afternoon.  The director and her intern just drove away.  Seems like we "passed".

"When can you take kids?  I almost brought two with me today."  M.queried jokingly, yet seriously.

The need is so great, and we desire to help, and we know the Lord is with us, and is leading I'm nervous.  Before it was all about filling out paperwork.  Going through training.  Passing the home assessment.  Each step along the way I asked God to stop the process if it was not what HE wanted for our family.  So now we are approved, and in waiting mode.

It all started with the first week at Camp Good News.  This particular week they had almost all homeless kids.  Two of the volunteer workers were not "regulars" and as I sat and talked with them I was informed of the inner city crisis in a new way.  A tornado had swept through North MPLS in May.  Some of the landlords decided to abandon the houses instead of fixing them.  Many families became homeless or continued to live in the condemned homes.  They didn't have anywhere to go.

The conversation with these ladies and the difficulties they were facing, seemed so foreign to me.   We have a support system of family and friends that would be here in a heartbeat to help us in our time of need.  Many people don't have that luxury.

Jump ahead a few weeks later.  I stumbled upon a need on our church community website.  It described an organization designed to help people in crisis with their kids. I hopped over to the website and watched the videos.  I called Jason and described the program as I saw it online.  He didn't hesitate and called the number I gave him.

At first M. said "NO."  We are too far away.  How would they get the kids to us?  Jason told her that wouldn't be a problem because he's all over the map....his office is in the cities, he's always on the him the cities are not that far.  When she heard that, she was more on board with us.  We were signed up online for the training.

I took forever to do the training.  Mainly I wanted to NOT do it, but knew I had to.  It's so hard to get stuff like that done.  BUT...I'm thankful I did.  I learned sooo much!!!

We then went to see the founder, Dave Anderson, speak the following week.  So much of what he talked about had me nodding my head in agreement.  Safe Families is a ministry of hospitality.  A word lost in our culture to the Martha Stewart's and Better Homes and Gardens of this country.  I've always known that hospitality as it's used in the Bible actually means "love of strangers".  I never understood how that definition jived with what we Christians like to call "hospitality". (Oh...I have so much to SPEW FORTH about this....but I will hold off and maybe write separate blogposts!!!) we are today.  It's no longer a what if?  It's no longer...Are we going to pass?  We are now a SAFE FAMILY!!!  We are hoping to be a home where we can minister to parents in crisis....who need someone to help with their children, but have nowhere to turn.  Please pray with us and for us!!   We know the road will be difficult but we also know that we are called to serve.....God is with us!  Amen!!

I will now write down my fears and put them in my Faith box!!  God is FAITHful!!  He is always with us, and we don't have to fear....O.K....I will...but I'll give it to God...AGAIN!!:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Signs of a LARG(ER) Family......

I make signs hoping they will help to alleviate bring order....because living in a larg(er) family means that every person has his or her own idea of where things should go, when things should happen, etc, etc.  So here are some of my signs....lets see if they've helped any:

Last year I had one huge tub to collect all these.  Not fun to separate this year...SEPARATION and SIGNS!!  My hope was that they would actually read and follow them.  I must say they aren't doing too bad.  But already you can see the screen(for caterpillars no less!!) in the glass basket!  I've also discovered the broom, dustpan, and vacuum in the baskets. 

AHHH.....our weekly dinner menu!!!  I put this up in hopes that it would alleviate the barrage of questions I get asked about our weekly schedule.  It has helped some.  When they were little I would pull my hair out with them asking the same question 5 times!!  Alas, it's not foolproof.  No sooner had I put this up my first question from an inquisitive 10 year old.  "Are we having Tator Tots or Chips with our Hamburgers?"  And from our 8 yr old "So, can we have pop for dinner?"

I had this sign made to let people know that we are changing the rules around a bit.  I used to have one person doing the kitchen area, but now I'm having them each bus their own dishes!!  Did it work.....NOT REALLY!!!  Old habits are hard to break.  They blame it on the baby sleeping....but I told them if he was sleeping they still needed to RINSE their dishes and get them ready for the dishwasher.  We are still in training!!( took me a day to realize the misspelling...oh well...he's a hard worker!!)

AHHH....the story behind this one....we were away for a few days at camp when I came home to discover I had left out a bad plum.  Plus I think there were some bananas out (they always breed fruit flies!!)  Anyway....I got on the internet to figure out how to kill the annoying things, and made up a trap that involves apple cider vinegar!! It was working like a charm until someone came along and dumped my trap!!!  I was bummed....o.k...actually a little frustrated.  So I made another trap and added this "sign".  It hasn't been thrown out yet.....but the culprit hasn't been home since I made another one!;)

These signs are to show the kids how this cupboard is arranged so they don't just throw stuff in there and hope it all fits.  It's so annoying to try to find things in such disorganization.  I figured if I put up the signs they would have absolutely NO EXCUSE!!!  Did it work???  You be the judge!!

Is this like the photos???
I put my most successful sign up last!!!  It works every time I remember to put it up!!!:)

Well.....What do you think.....signs good?  Not worth the paper their printed on??  How do you organize a larg(er) family?

Perfect Perceptions.....

A few days ago Jess happened upon this necklace over in ETSY.  I thought the phrase was fitting for the trials that have been sovereignly placed in our lives.  These trials have to do with perceptions of our family.  Perfect perceptions.....we put off an air of perfection....we try to be perfect....."acting" perfect. UGH!! 

So what have I learned from these perceptions of us......

  • We need to work on pride.  Perfection=Pride.  Plain and simple. 
  • People's perceptions are a result of their own lives....where they've been, where they are now, their outlook on the future.....not necessarily based on reality.
  • I am not responsible for other people's perceptions....they may be accurate or false...I need to seek the Lord to sift through my heart....and be humble, willing to learn and change if needed.
  • GOD will one day bring me to perfection....AMEN!! (Phil 1:6)
I am saddened, yet thankful that this was brought to our attention.  I've walked the path of role-playing in the churches we've attended.  I've seen that destruction and resolved NEVER to walk that path again.  I am a person that wants REAL.  Always have been....I can't stand FAKE(see last post!).   For the past 4-5 years I've tried really, really hard to make sure people know we aren't perfect.  I am who I am....take me or leave me.  Seems that many will leave....I can't control that.

The perfect perception is hard one to combat.  I don't know how many times I've had someone say to us:

"I thought you believed such n such".  Homeschooling for example.  Because we have followed the Lord's call to homeschool people assume we believe that everyone should follow this path.  We've had people "argue" their public school stance, and are surprised when we wholeheartedly agree with their choice.  Homeschooling isn't biblical anymore than washing your sink with Comet verses Soft Soap.  It's a preference....a choice....a decision everyone makes for themselves.

So I completely understand that sometimes our choices make other people uncomfortable with us.  That I can't change.  But I do ask that they don't assume they know what we believe.  They might be really surprised at the responses we give.

I know within our family we've tried to model forgiveness.  We show our "true colors" daily to our children.  We've had to ask them many times to forgive us....that we were wrong.  Something I didn't hear much growing up.    I appreciate this article..."Living by Conviction without being a Hypocrite" over at ends with:

"Our children and anyone else we minister to do not expect us to be perfect. In fact, if we pretend that we have it all together, they will know we are lying! But they do rightly expect to see progress, which means living lives of integrity that start with admitting when we fail and then doing something about it."

A great friend to our family gave me this plaque the first year I met her.  I absolutely love it!!!  I look at it all the time and nod my head in agreement to it.  Especially "We do LOUD really well"....but also we do "REAL"....we do MISTAKES....we do I read it again....I am agreeing with it all.  That's what I think our family is!!   This is what I hope it to be.  Actually my hearts desire is to have our family be a fragrant aroma of Jesus!!!

And this is the funny thing about perceptions.  On the heels of the perfection perceptions I get a phone call yesterday and out of the blue this person started praising our family.  How she'd wish we lived closer so her kids could play with ours.  It seemed like she went on forever.  I was in tears, however.  I shared with her  the perfect perceptions and that we aren't perfect.  She knows that, but she said (and this is what really got me crying)....."You guys are living for Christ.  That's bound to convict some people.  It may depend on where they are at with their walk with the Lord.  You should never have to apologize for that."  We talked a little about pride and perfection. So I'm thankful for that phone call....all 12 minutes of it!!  Thankful for the situation that precipitated it....(even though it was another trial....see... our family isn't perfect!)

So....I want to wrap this post up by saying bold and loudly.....


I also want to say.....although we know we aren't perfect and really aren't trying to act perfect.....we won't air ALL our dirty laundry.....NOBODY does!!!  See my post about FB!!!  No one is going to share the deep secrets of their family, children, wives, husbands, themselves.....unless God calls them to minister to others in that area.

Finally I'll end by asking for grace as we work on our pride and arrogance.  Please forgive us!  We really aren't trying to be or act perfect.  We try to walk with the Lord...obeying Him....but we are sinners. 

O.K.....NOW....I'll REALLY end with....... how I began....

Any good you do see in us is because of JESUS!!!

(NOW...hop on over to the ETSY shop and get your's for a good cause....they are trying to earn money to adopt!!)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Facebook Fast

It's official...I'm not on Facebook anymore (for now!!).   I've wanted to wean from the addictedness that is called Facebook for quite some time.  I'm not sure what even draws me there in the first place...but isn't that how it is with addictions(idols)?  We are hooked and we don't even know how we got there.

I remember that fateful day sitting at our dining room table while my father-in-love showed me this cool site they were on.  I'm always the cynic....skeptical one.  I even said...."Looks like a waste of time to me.  Who has time for this stuff?"....  Much to the chagrin of my FIL I'm sure!!

Yet here I am a few years later weaning myself from it.  This is my second attempt in the past year.  The first attempt was thrust upon me like a baby with a dirty diaper.

I was trying to show how one of my darling children was addicted to that other addiction we women tend to crave.....CHOCOLATE.  I challenged her to give it up for awhile, to which she charged back....

"If YOU give up Facebook!" 

OUCH!!  WOW!!  Snarky teenager!!

"Fine!! Challenge on!!  Let's see who gives in first."

I'm the ultimate competitor.....I'm gonna WIN!!!

So I set out.....NO FACEBOOK here I come!!  I made a list of all the activities I could do instead of waste my time on FB....(you know really.....I wasn't on ALL THAT know how kids exaggerate!?!)  The list was long....really long.  I even put it up on my bedroom wall...right by the light switch so I would see it every morning as I got ready for my day.

I would show you the list....but it's gone...not even on my computer!!  That about sums up how well that worked!

But seriously....I don't know exactly what drew me back.  Maybe Extreme Couponing??  Sooo many companies were offering great deals for "liking" them on FB!!  I couldn't miss out on that!  Or was it that most of my "friends" contact me through FB?  I don't know.....

I do know I got back on.  I don't know who won the bet!

So jump to last week.  Another challenge to a teen....another counter challenge to me.  Actually this one was different.  I offered my fast.  I desired it.  Facebook is really not good for me.....not good for my health!!


Yes, my health!!  Because my brain was beginning to think in STATUS UPDATES.  Short 180 character updates.  I would go through my day not thinking in long, drawn out, fully descriptive I used to.  My journal was non-existant.  And even now as I've started to write again....I can only write in "bullet points".....not paragraphs.

The other problem is that Facebook is fake.  Who is going to post that they threatened death upon their kids?  Kicked out their husbands?  Have anorexia?  Are a closet smoker/alcoholic/lesbian/pornography viewer/(put your own vise in here)?  Who puts on there that they are in a deep severe depression?  That their kids are felons?  Their teen daughters pregnant?    I don't know....I could make the list a mile long!

When I first heard that psychologists are now diagnosing teenage Facebook depression, I kinda scoffed.  But now I don't.  It makes perfect sense.  When we log on to facebook we see such "perfect" lives.  We only see the good, fun parties everyone(but you) is attending!  But of course we see these things.....who wants to throw out their dirty laundry to a bunch of  "friends"??

So I'm off.  Really off!!  (O.K....I only "deactivated" it....the next leap will be "delete"....but I'm not there yet.)  It's only been a week and I have high hopes this time.  I am hoping to regain the way I used to relate to people....personal notes, a quick "hey, howya doin'?" phone call, an invite for dinner, swinging by to say "hi"......and even blogging!!!

So here is a salute to the DARK AGES......before FB....quill pen here I come!!! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I needed this quote today....

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
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