Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Coming to a close - Goodbye 2014 and goodbye to my 40's.

Well I pretty much blew it on blogging in 2014. I would sign in many times and then delete what I typed. Couldn't seem to form any coherent thoughts....then I struggle to see clearly. Yes I need glasses and I am putting it off. Don't judge! Ha! Then my PC crashed....I did get a laptop later but I don't seem to type as well on it. Much better now than before though. So here I am in all my typo glory...ready to ramble on.. In June a few days before the school year came to a close there was a shooting at our high school. It was an emotional and overwhelming day. School was just a few minutes short of starting when an announcement came over the PA system the school was in a lock down and students were told to go to the closest classroom. They didn't take it too seriously at first until messages started being received over cell phones and ipods. That morning I chose not to watch the news and then I got a text from my oldest girl..."mom, we are in a lock down." I asked her if she knew why...but she didn't. We thought it was probably just a precautionary event..like what had happened a few months earlier at a dance held at the school. I then received a phone call from a friend who works for the Portland School district and she said,' Malissa, there was a shooting at the school....have you heard from the girls." My heart fell into my stomach....I got off the phone and then turned on the news. I attempted many times to contact my other teen to no avail. Fear gripped my soul. Oh how I prayed and prayed!More text messages...phone calls. Then....on the news...a report from the wife of the assistant principle...She said she was in communication with her husband...she asked him if anyone had been shot...he said, "yes." I sobbed. Literally sobbed! I couldn't believe it was happening...at OUR school. I watched the news, I prayed, I texted family and my pastor, I prayed, I texted my daughters...I prayed! Then my oldest texted me and said, "mom, someone is banging on our door." I told her...don't worry honey...just listen to your teacher and be quiet. All the while feeling like throwing up.It was about that time I heard that the police were making a sweep of the school. Then...a text came to me...my other daughter...she was safe...she couldn't get her text messages to go through. I could breath again. It was about 2 hours later after a tense wait in a mall parking lot that I had both my girls in my arms! hallelujah! That day there were two families there who did not gt to hold their children. It was a sad and painful time. I will never forget the feelings of that day. My high schoolers did not get to take their finals and summer started wonky. It was then a strange summer. This last June brought me a new grandson....I was blessed to be in attendance at his birth as well as my two older teen daughters. It was a glorious birth...aren't they all. He is so beautiful and joins 3 other beautiful and perfect grandsons. We then had a placement of a foster girl. One of the most difficult placements we have had. Not just the poor little thing herself but dealing with the state. A hateful caseworker and ridiculous demands of our time and energy. The affects the little one had on my youngest daughter and my two grandsons I had to make the decision to have her transferred. It made me sad to do so...but it was necessary. It was such a relief. I then made the decision to take a break from the state. It is such a sad mess. Such a broken system and yet they are in charge of precious children. Just terribly sad. July and August brought great sorrow and struggles regarding one of my children. When you think you have experienced great trials...and then a new one comes along...it can break you down like water on salt. It was a dark time....we came through it. Changed but we survived. In August my California Navy kids moved to Oak Harbor Washington. It is only a 4 hour drive. We have been blessed to see them about 4 times now. I love it. My grandsons love going to Nana's house. The first time they went to leave and head home my 4 yr old grandson got big giant tears in his eyes...ugh! Then we reassured him he would be back soon and they were....now it's not as hard when they leave. My two older girls were in the musical 'Little Shop of Horrors' and the oldest had a solo part. I was so proud of her...proud of both of them. This was totally out of their comfort zones. Closing night we had 16 family and friends in attendance. It was fun and really blessed my girls. All my kids are now in school. They have good teachers and classes...with the exception of a couple of teachers.... My Washington kids announced at Thanksgiving they are expecting their 3rd child. I am excited. I do hope for their sake they have a little girl...but not matter what...it will be loved. They also adopted their first dog. A 2 year old Springer Spaniel Pointer. She is a sweetheart and so well behaved and great with the kids. Her name is Stella. The baby is due in June but we are hoping for a May baby since their 3 year old has a birthday in June. Whatever will be will be! The middle schooler enjoyed a season of Volleyball though it is difficult when you are not the strongest player on the team to even get a chance to play...makes it hard to better your skills...but she stuck with it and worked hard. I now babysit a 3 month little precious boy. I want to bless his Mommy who is a single mother of two. I remember how difficult it is to raise kids as both mom and dad. One income is not easy and leaving your baby in order to go to work to make a living is not easy as well. She is doing a great job and I hope to be a blessing to her as someone she can trust her most valuable possession to and as someone who prays for her and encourages her. My parents are doing as well as possible. My dad is frail and has started using a walker. He celebrated his 81st birthday this last August. His parents and siblings all passed away by the age of 70...he never expected to reach his 80s. I am so glad he has. My parents have been married 62 years. I am thankful. My kids are growing all too quickly. Seems time truly does fly! They are all so wonderful...even the adult ones. I am so blessed and so grateful to God. If my children are the only thing I contribute to the Kingdom of God then a blessed woman am I. There was an opportunity to join Casting Crowns as a backup choir come this January...in New York at Carnagie Hall....ON my 50th birthday....seemed like a dream come true...Oh how my heart would swell at the thought...but it was not meant to be. Makes me sad....but that's the consequences of choices in life. Be it my choices or the choices of others. It's a huge bummer....my all time favorite Christian Band, in New York at Cargagie Hall? Wow!!! But I will pray for those who did have the money to participate. I will pray for Casting Crowns. I will pray for the Holy Spirit to fill that Hall on January 23rd...at least that is something I can do to participate. I guess that's that in a nutshell. Just the highlights. A new year....a new desire to blog more....God bless 2015. God Bless America. God Bless the servants of God. May millions come to know His saving grace this coming year...and maybe this will be the year we see Jesus return. God Bless you and keep you
 

Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm already 49?!?!?

My birthday has come and gone and I am now in my last year of my 40's. Seems rather odd saying my age...49...it just doesn't seem right. It's not that I am so 'young at heart' but I did get kinda stuck in my 30's I guess. Though my mind and heart are still not caught up to my chronological age, my body has. Aches and pains and failing eyes. gads! I have managed to lose a few pounds since January 1st and keep doing some sort of work out. I have not been consistent but I am doing something most days. I reinjured my back in November and I am still struggling through that. It's pretty frustrating not being able to do what I normally do or as long as I normally would do something. I am still hopeful it will get better and it will go back to it's pre-existing condition. I know my extra weight has contributed to the problem. I have been able to walk farther on the treadmill without wanting to throw up due to the back pain and I can walk through the grocery store longer without whining and whimpering as much. So, I guess it is improving...some. So, 49! Hm...I remember when my mom turned 40...she seemed 'soooo old.' 49 doesn't seem too old these days. I would prefer to be in my 30's but it is what it is. Age never really bothered me too much. I think maybe that's because I was the youngest in family, I was always the youngest of my friends (due to marrying someone when I was young and they already had kids...moves you up a few age brackets) and then when I worked outside the home I was usually the youngest in my departments. Now I am one of the 'mature' women at church. I no longer work outside of the home but when I get around the moms of my kids' friends...once again I feel my age. Because of adopting my younger kiddos, that now puts me into a younger age bracket. Life is weird...interesting...surprising...just as it should be. I do wish I had advanced electronics when I was a young mom. What a difference in my life it would have made to have the ability to connect with family and friends and people from school. Oh how I would have loved pinterst. All I had was a library in a small town with very outdated craft books. I couldn't afford to buy them. When I left the Willamette Valley and my husband and kids moved to Easter Oregon, oh how Skype, FaceTime and Blogging would have helped. My faith was as strong as it should have been and I didn't rely on God as much as I could have. I felt so alone and so trapped. I made a few friends but it wasn't like my family. My family was 8 hours away and a mountain pass stood between us. I felt I was in another world. There were so many blessings. We had 43 acres. We had cows and chickens, and pigs, and horse. I milked a cow and gathered eggs. I made home made butter, bread, and canned our garden goods. It was the life I had so wanted....but I didn't have my family or my church family. I never connected with anyone as deeply. It made it hard. I tried filling my time with my kids but even that was struggle. I became a mom too young. I didn't know how to parent. Only what was modeled to me and that was not necessarily the right way. But twist and turns in life take you in different directions especially when you are the one controlling the ship. Making choices I shouldn't have. Going down roads that were not the best choice...and then somehow getting to where I am and knowing now God was with all the way. I know in my heart my choices did not please Him. I know he had an easier route for me to take, but nerveless...He still loved me through it. He will still get me to where He wants me. I still suffer painful consequences of the past choices I have made, but I also experience the blessings of a life redeemed. Still not where I should be in my faith walk, but still walking. Gaining strength everyday. If this person I am could go back 20+ years and take with me what I have learned, I do believe things would have been different....at least less consequences to experience. I must keep moving forward though. Life is not what I would desire it to be right now...but I know it could have been worse and I know I am not dead yet so there is still more life to come. More weirdness, more surprises.... I have a husband who goes to work everyday to make wages for his family. A husband who works hard to be able to support us so his wife can stay home. I have 5 (at home) amazing kids that bless me everyday! They are so beautiful and so perfect. I have 2 adult kids who married wonderful people. They have given me 3 grand sons and there is one on the way. How beautiful and amazing is that?!?! God is blessing me more than I deserve. After I have turned my back on him twice in my life...He still continues to bless me. What an amazing God He is! Soooo...I'm ONLY 49 and God willing I will walk this amazing life for many more years to come and will be blown away to where He allows this life to go. Oh how I hope from this day forward I can impact peoples lives for the better. I pray I no longer lose loved ones or acquaintances due to my selfishness or my blindness...speaking out of anger! I pray I can impart love at all times....even when it's hard. I pray I can keep my trap shut when God so directs. I pray I can be found good and faithful when my time on this earth is over. I pray when I celebrate my very last birthday I can say, 'Hallelujah' this was a great ride...take me home...I am ready for Jesus to write my Epilogue...yes...my Epilogue! Hallelujah!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I have many times signed on to write a blog post and then there are too many interruptions or I feel I have nothing of value to write...so I end up signing off. It's been several months since I posted last. Our last three foster placements were all transferred, either to other foster homes or family. It was a huge challenge this time. The last wee one we had (or was allowed by us) to have the power to keep our home in a turmoil. She was only 3 years old (turned 4 while she was here) but she had a very challenging personality that did not mix with the majority of my household. She, for good reason, had a very negative spirit and could throw the biggest screaming tantrums I have ever experienced. If she didn't have such a negative effect on my family, I really believe she could have been loved through it. She did get returned to a parent and in this case I believe that was a good thing. So, we only had her 4 1/2 months and I hope we were able to plant some seeds of love and joy...because she sure needs that. The state transferred while my other kids and I were in California. I was not happy about it and it all started coming down the day before I left for our trip. It was stressful and ugly and for that...I decided to take a break from the state...not the kids but the state. That is the most challenging aspect of foster parenting, for me that is. Enough on that... We decided to send my husband to Texas for a visit with his mom and some of his sisters. I have been trying to get him to go but he always backs out. He would want me to go but its so difficult finding someone to help with kids and dogs so it was just easier to send him. I finally talked him into going alone and it went great. He was thankful he went and so was I. We then decided to send the kids and I on a vacation. We went to San Diego to visit my two grandsons and their 'parents.' Hee hee. Ok...I went to see my daughter as well. While we were there we surprised them with a trip to Disneyland, California Adventure, and Knox Berry Farm. They were shocked and excited. I had bought each of them a Disney Tshirt and wrapped them and had them open them at my daughters house. It was so cute to watch their faces. I had to leave my daughter and grandsons behind when we went to Anaheim, but they handled it well and we were only gone 3 nights. We had a great, yet exhausting, time. The rest of our vacation was spent at my daughters house. I loved being with them. My heart started to ache a couple of nights before we had to leave...just the thought of leaving them was so painful. Never knowing when we would see them again is so hard. The boys get so sad when we leave too. Little did we know though we would get some great news.... Once home, we barely adjusted to being home when my dad took a tumble in their carport and broke his hip. My mom and I spent the night in the hospital waiting for him to have surgery. It all went well. The next day was Thanksgiving and I woke up from a nap...sick! So Thanksgiving was...different, but some family members showed up and pulled everything together for my mom. It was nice. Dad spend a week in the hospital. He had problems getting his bowels working right. He was in a lot of pain. When he was discharged they admitted him into a rehab center...aka Nursing Home. He did not handle that well and I don't blame him...nI have worked in them...I know what they are like...but it couldn't be helped. He needed to get stronger before going home. A week later my mom and him checked him out without permission...they were done. He is now doing great. Needs to get stronger...but otherwise doing great. Christmas then showed up in the blink of an eye. I wasn't ready. Had the few gifts bought that we had agreed on, but I wanted it to last longer. I enjoy the lights, the music, the feeling...it passed too quickly. One highlight for me is on Christmas Eve, my two oldest girls (15 & 16) and I sang trio of O'Holy Night. I loved it. It was a blessing to me and from reports, it was a blessing to others. Here we are, into a new year already. This year will be different...it will be better! My husband and I will get healthier and smaller. Praying for the foster kids that will be coming into our future. I still have a heart for adoption but we are getting older. My husband turned 50 on the 1st of January and I will be 49 this month as well. It is in Gods hands. His will be done. This year will be focused on digging into Gods word daily, increasing my prayer life, speaking more positive in all situations and taking better care of myself. As my pastor said, "rebuilding the temple." Amen! God is leading...God is Good...and God is my King!