What Could We Do with Hate?

I’ve thought long and hard about this post. For several years, in fact. It confronts an issue which is ongoing in my life and is indicative of trends in the world at large. Today is the day I take it on. What could we do with hate? It is a question that baffles me at its core and yet it concerns me in thought and deed daily.

Today Mayim Bialik wrote a piece picked up by the New York Times. She talks about the very issue in an article specific to Israel. And yet, not. In A New Wave of Terror in Israel she says “Collectively, we, on this planet, have the money. We have the resources. Someone, anyone, please. Enough is truly enough.”

I have watched as hate and anger has consumed another to the point that their very future and financial world could come apart. I shake my head every time an evidence of this arises. I feel compassion for a heart so lost inside. I wonder at the hours and money which have been directed at this vendetta. I see it in the world around me to the extreme, and the question arises in my mind “What could we do with hate?” If all the time, resources, anger and hate were directed toward the positive and for good, how would the world change?

A wise woman, LaShawn Williams-Schultz said “Go hard on the system but soft on the people. If we realize the system is the problem, then we can question that —not each other.” We ought to be sharing goodness. We ought to be serving others. We should be looking to send our hearts and resources to the ones who need it most. We ought to be looking into their eyes and truly “seeing” them.

We have enough and to spare. What could we do with hate? If we reached first for love, first for service, first to see another as Christ does, we could, quite simply, change the world. Regardless of what one has to give–whether it is time, money, or your heart, we can be that change one person, one family, one community at a time.

I don’t know at the end of my life what will be said of me, but I hope my children will see someone who tried, imperfectly it is true, but tried to be an example of this:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.
I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
― Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I want to really live.

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All It Took was a Few Daisies

What an in-tune woman! I know that feeling of devastation and loneliness. My heart goes out to you. Funny how sad the holidays can make you feel and how something so small can lift your burden.

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

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Things have not been going so well lately. Marie has been in the hospital for trying to swallow a box of staples during a PTSD episode. (The pain of the memories was just too much.) The staples, thankfully, passed through and did no damage, but her recovery from the incident has not passed so easily. She is sad and shaky as she works through her most recent memory, that of a “john” pulling a gun on her mother. She remembers hiding under the bed and watching in terror as his footsteps thumped by, sure he would find her and kill her at any minute.

Steven has had a similar fate. As a young adult, he chose not to take his medication anymore. He didn’t like it because it made him feel “sleepy”…instead he is hyper, agitated, argumentative, obsessed and out of control. When you have a mental illness when you…

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You Matter…I SEE You

The very condition of the human race in which we live is beautiful. There is beauty and joy if we but look. But there is also too much pain and hurt that spirals throughout all of our lives. We cannot be part of humanity and not see and feel this–unless we choose not to. Always, there are children in need crying out for us to hear them. They sit in homes where they are not safe, in shelters because there are no homes that welcome them, or in jail cells when they cannot conform. They are dying in hospitals, hidden behind childhood mental illnesses, or sitting quietly day after day in schools alone with no one to notice or ask questions. Yet they are still a child, still hurting, still in need of compassion. And then one day, they just quit and we ask ourselves how can this happen? An old film Cipher in the Snow painted this picture in stark contrast for me in a way I have never forgotten.

There are people around us who are struggling to stay here on this earth. Some lose that battle by choice or by illness, leaving those around them to pick up the pieces. Its easier to explain when cancer takes our fathers and mothers and children. We find it easy to share compassion and giving. But when its mental illness, that same mental illness that isolated them before they leave this earth, we turn away, show anger or indifference, and once again, leave others standing alone in pain. That pain of loneliness is all too familiar as others pull their children in close, turn away, isolate and leave alone those who struggle and those who love them.

There are those who struggle to feel valued, those who are hungry or homeless, those who are lonely, those who are debilitated by illnesses, those who are uneducated, those who are ignorant but who need our compassion anyway. And we turn away because it is easier.

We justify all of this with a plethora of excuses from how busy we are to whether or not we gave at the office. We turn away because we would rather stay comfortable in our world rather than face the man on the street begging for a meal. Or face the child who’s life experience shows them that if they need something, they better get it themselves, regardless of how that occurs. Or face the family who’s life revolves around a child who hurts medically, physically, or emotionally. We don’t want to know what happens to children who end up in the system. We don’t want to look at the why behind a young man gunned down in the street or another who takes his own life. After, we want to say “let’s shine a light!” and then feel justified as we walk away without staying in the fight.

In an article today written for “The Concourse” and entitled America is Not for Black People, the author states “By all accounts, Brown was One Of The Good Ones. But laying all this out, explaining all the ways in which he didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street, is in itself disgraceful. Arguing whether Brown was a good kid or not is functionally arguing over whether he specifically deserved to die.” How have we come to a place in our world where we can even have a discussion about the worth of a soul’s life and future based on a few pictures and a surveillance video?

The author’s article “America is Not for Black People” bothers me. It bothers me because it was written, thus sharing the life experience of the author. It bothers me because it shouldn’t be true. Europe is not for Jews. Iran is not for Christians. This world is not for children. But shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t we each be standing strong facing our own fears and comfort zones, living the life of compassion that is within each of us? Shouldn’t we be reaching out to that neighbor we have never met? Or to the Mom standing alone outside the door taking a breath before she enters or picks up the phone? Or the man who deflects your question “how are you?” with a joke and a question about yourself? Or the children sitting alone in the shelter wondering if today will be the day someone says “you matter” and brings them home? Or to the downtrodden on the side of the road who do not need our judgment on whether or not they “deserve” our gift? Or the victims of abuse who bear the scars inside and often out? When will be the day we step out and say “I see you?”

There was a discussion recently online on a closed group for parents of children with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) where the questions was asked “would you adopt your child again today?” Out of many, many replies, only two or three answered “yes.” It saddened me. It angered me. Not because the parents felt that way, though there was a little of that–but because we live in a world that left them alone without resources, without support, without services, without options and really? Who can blame a mom for being worn out and tired and hopeless? It reminded me of our beginning when we were at educational classes for adoption and a couple stood up in front of the group and said “If we knew now what we know now, we would never adopt our three boys. It ruined our lives.” Sitting on the front row, were their three boys. Listening. I blamed the parents in horror. Now I understand. I do not agree, but I understand. I think that is when I decided that the children we adopted would be the ones who sat waiting and listening and hurting.

In between all the sadness, there are those who step outside of their comfort zones to work at changing the world. The gifted photographer who takes not a dime for herself, but donates it all to charities for beautiful children in orphanages. The woman in church who says “I don’t care what your children do–I choose to be your friend.” The man who chooses to work at CPS or the social worker who works with them, both capable and gifted and able to make much more, but who stay to enact miracles for the children they fight for. The family comfortable with their one child, but who instead take in the baby broken by abuse and neglect, then the brother who was not part of the original bargain, and make them part of their forever family. The doctor who chooses to live in Africa with all of its hazards, and nearly pays with his life, but plans to go back. The woman who takes in eight children, not her own and all who have special needs, who gives her health and all that she has to give them opportunity. The sister who chooses to sit through a play about foster care that scares her, hurts her, depresses her, but she does it anyway in an effort to understand those around her. Humanity shines through their quiet acts of service and give me hope. Perhaps one day those lights will spread to the person next to them, or the woman across the road watching, or the family member who says “It is enough. You matter. I see you. What can I do?” and then…does it.

[To each of the individuals listed above–you give me hope. You know who you are. And thank you.]

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Pardon My Dust….

…but I just went to a different server…so there will be repeats posting on FB…and in the meantime, his this link, and it will take you over to our new site where I hope you will subscribe!  Have a beautiful day!

Barefoot in the Chapel

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From a Mother’s Day Past

This blog will probably be a mix of the old and the new:  the happenings now with the things of the past. This year I promised myself that I was going to help my family give me the gift of the heart for Mother’s Day–an overnight weekend alone. That way there will be no pressure for them and no expectations for me.  Everyone wins! That won’t happen, of course, because Mother’s Day is another opportunity for teaching. Its another opportunity for loving when they feel particularly unlovable. So I thought I would publish this, written in 2013 on Mother’s Day, now. Because this year is going to be totally different. Really. And if it isn’t, then the next year, it will be. Hope just keeps rising!

 

This isn’t one of those posts that I’m spinning.  I’m kind of raw–letting it all flop out there.  It’s supposed to be therapeutic to write, but I wonder if it really just showcases what a basket case I can be.  For Mother’s Day this year, it might be worth my kids’ while to just circumvent the whole process and put me in a home now.  Kind of my gift to them and theirs to me.  You know–Halloween was supposed to be fun but has turned into yet another holiday in which I have to “perform”:  for the kids, for the teacher, for the neighbor kids.  And it is no longer sufficient to just give out crappy candy–it must be the good stuff with really awesome costumes instead of the ones you found in your Mom’s closet.  And lets not forget the horrible images that have turned from fun to downright evil feeling.  So that’s kind of what Mother’s Day has become to me.  It’s my all-time “hate” holiday.  It’s a big serving of guilt (mine) followed by hysterics (not mine).

I have been given the most awesome of gifts: them. I have also been given Mother’s Day gifts I would think would not be on anyone’s fabulous list: fits, destruction of property, complete ignoring, “I hate you’s,” a shredded wedding dress (mine), shredded and destroyed Mother’s Day Cards from school (theirs), a suicidal child who chose that day specifically (not her fault but let’s talk about subliminal psychology here), and my most favorite:  Poop on My Plate.  Really–but you gotta’ give the kid props for creativity.

I’m not just a “normal” mom.  I’m mom to children who have been hurt.  The process of choosing to adopt and grieving (not mutually exclusive nor inclusive activities), your personal life on display, and the endless parade of “you should’s” that are given to you come with the territory of adoption.  I’d choose it again, of course.  But it gives rise to the endless guilt.  Guilt about what I should be doing.  Guilt about not being there in the beginning.  Guilt about your shortcomings.  Guilt because you’re just tired and you missed it.  Guilt for not seeing it.  Guilt for not finding the answers to it.  Guilt for feeling hurt by the entity of the fantasy parent.  Most of all–guilt for not being perfect and the possibility that you might have added to their pain.

The hysterics come because Mother’s Day is hell for a child who has been hurt.  Who wouldn’t be feel that way?  A holiday to celebrate the woman who pinch hits for the one who should have been there.  No matter how much I love my kids–I get that I am always second best.  Not second rate, but second best.  First best being bio Mom and Dad keeping it together and being great parents to their children.  I know that there are plenty of women out there who have lovingly placed their children for adoption.  I have been the beneficiary of their selflessness.  Frankly, I think most of my parents are selfless to some degree or another.  At any point, there was always abortion.  Instead, they gave birth to a life that I celebrate.  Make no mistake–my kids are all amazing–but unless I’m ok with second best, they aren’t ok with sharing their thoughts and dreams and wonder at the people and world from which they came.

But if I tell the truth, and I promised to on this blog, I’m tired.  My very soul is tired and pained.  I’ve got PTSD and insomnia and a host of other labels, I’m sure.  I’ve a special kind of pessimism born of sleepless nights wondering if my child has a roof over their head, if they are safe, if they have food, if they are even alive–and yet optimism, because I still see the miracles that they are and the person they can become.  It’s an exhaustion that cannot be appeased by sleep.  Its a fear that rises in your throat every time the phone rings or someone comes to the door that you do not know.  It makes you afraid to pick up the phone, yet you are too afraid not to and sleep with it under your pillow. It is giving your health, peace, wellness, safety and every dime you will ever have to a child who cannot love you back.  I ache and cry with and for them.  I beg God to take away their pain and protect them.  It’s a knowing when that call comes from the hospital and you already know what the answer to your “Hello?” is.  I ask Him for strength just to keep breathing and to look–at e-mails, texts, or facebook–hoping you will see and hoping you will not.  Its the shearing of the soul and knowing that one small puff of wind might be the small gasp that makes you fall.  And yet…

Tomorrow I will get up and look again.  I will try and find another answer, another program, another therapist, another doctor.  I will look for answers where I am told they do not exist.  I will tell my child that I love them enough for both of us when their voices spew violence and hatred, yet their souls cry for love and healing.  I will continue to thank my Heavenly Father for the gift each one of them is.  I will tell them I love them, knowing I will not hear back.  I will keep breathing because I simply do not know how to quit. Once upon a time, I was told that God knew he could depend on me.  That means I cannot stop.  Most of all, I will keep seeing them:  separate from what they do, whole and shining for I know their souls.  Someday, those chains that bind the heart will fall away when He heals them, and they will stand beautiful and holy and magnificent.  And I will know that I was blessed to know them that way all along.

But tonight, I am tired. I will crack with the whisper of a breeze.  I am worn.  I am awake.  Still searching.

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A Beautiful Heartbreak

One of my favorites that brings peace to my heart.

 

A Beautiful Heartbreak

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Adoption Day!

Today is adoption day! So we’re taking a minute to be excited and not do anything productive that doesn’t involve food, computer games, movies, and probably more food. None of it healthy. This is important.

 

Like all adoptions, it has been a journey. She has been through multiple placements that promised to be her forever family, but for some reason or another (and some very valid), it didn’t happen. She has been through a failed adoption day when a last minute appeal was filed. She has been through anger and tears and frustration and rage and lost her trust in others along the way. But today we will just enjoy and “be.” We will take pictures and smile and enjoy the moment, knowing that tomorrow she will test our commitment.

 

I will be happy and excited and sad, knowing that our joy is only possible through the pain and suffering of others. I will reflect on her biological parents, who couldn’t find a way to heal themselves enough to take care of her. I will wonder where they are and if they even comprehend a little bit what a wonderful, beautiful piece of humanity slipped through their fingers. I will be grateful to them because even at their worst, they still chose life. And that beautiful life is ours to love on–a gift that no matter the circumstances of the moment, I will thank God for on bended knee.

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Healthy Minds? Maybe not..but still…

Now I’m not particularly sure that I have a completely healthy mind–obviously anyone reading my blog or talking in person to me knows there’s a special place for me. My 13 year old son tells everyone I am warped. He’s right. So maybe that’s why I understand my kids. We are all weird together. But one of the most awesome tools we have found in that last several years to deal with all things emotional is doTERRA’s essential oils. I am posting two videos–one is a shorter one call the Mood Matrix and the other is a conference on Healthy Mind that will give a lot of good information. We use diffusers in the main part of the house, in individual bedrooms, and directly on my children. If you are interested in my protocols, let me know. Otherwise, enjoy the recordings. I’d love to hear your questions and what you think.

 

http://new.livestream.com/reinventinghealthcare/healthymind1march

 

http://www.oilsmentor.com/doterra-mood-matrix/

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Parent Visits…and other Traumatic Events

Parent visits are traumatic. They just are. It doesn’t matter from whose perspective you’re talking, they are just trauma, trauma, trauma, drama, drama, drama. If you’re talking about the child, in our case, he doesn’t want to visit. He’s sad and clingy and easily frustrated for several days after, or in the last case, over a week later. He is a completely different child with his biological Mom than he is at home and it breaks my heart. If you’re talking about the bio Mom, she’s got to feel bad about that, and I feel so sad for her. No one else does, but I have so much compassion for her. For the fact that she doesn’t get whats going on because she only gets a snippet of time. For the fact that she is in this position–regardless of the genesis of it. For that fact that she is missing every moment of his tiny little fabulous life except for that one hour every other week. But mostly for the fact that she somehow hasn’t learned what she is missing or we would not have been here in the first place. I want to give her a hug and teach her how to be a parent, how to love her child, how to connect.

 

Foster care and adoption is just traumatic and dramatic anyway simply because of its nature. On the other hand, we have awesome drama, too. We have those moments that you just want to crack up but can’t. Scratch that. Shouldn’t. Like the day that my new 8 year old strung together the MOST impressive string of swear words I had ever heard. Not one repeat and probably ten or more in a row. I couldn’t stop laughing which prompted a finger wagging head shake when she said “What in the HEY-YELLL is wrong with you?!” which was even worse. I had to sit down. Or the time she flopped down on the ground, in response to me telling her at our house we aren’t allowed to call names, and writhing around screamed “You just have SO many rules!” Or when my son with special needs announced to the table at dinner “Boys have penises and girls have vaginas.  Deal with it, folks!” Apparently he just figured that out and needed to share.

 

We deal with all this with two major weapons:  humor and…ok, mostly humor. What else is available to you?! There are lots of options but none of which are too exciting. We could get mad. We could be shocked. We could freak out and see our kids as crazy/mean/disturbed. That happens with other parents. A lot. I hear it all the time and it makes me sad. I choose how I react. I choose how I see them. I choose how to love them. And really, there is just so much joy and laughter in that. Maybe its gallows humor. I’m ok with that. As long as we are laughing together.

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RAD in a Song?

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fUM86eL6tVw

I had never heard this song until tonight. It made me cry–several children in my home could have written the words.

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