Friday, September 25, 2015

Timely Devotion and answering some questions.

From my Daily Guideposts devotion today...how appropriate for us as we begin a new journey in our lives.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die…”  —Ecclesiastes 3:1–2 (KJV)


It was picture day at my daughter's preschool, but Jada wasn't as excited about it as I was. She hated the skirt I’d picked out because she wouldn't be able to do cartwheels in it. She didn't like the wavy pigtails I gave her either, worried that her friends would laugh at her hairstyle; she wanted braids instead.

Why is my daughter concerned about her hair at age four? I worried. What will age fourteen bring? We finally compromised on the outfit, adding leggings beneath Jada's skirt. I won out on the hairstyle, insisting that her classmates would love her pigtails.

I drove Jada to school, feeling frazzled and frustrated. “Have fun today,” I said, bending down to kiss her cheek. As she walked away, my eyes suddenly welled with tears. My baby girl was growing up so quickly. It felt like just yesterday I’d held her in my arms and caressed her nearly bald head. Where had that mass of red hair come from? And when did she develop an opinion on everything?

Jada was growing up, letting go. It's time for me to let go too, I thought, wiping away my tears.

Change is hard. But I was learning that instead of lamenting no longer being home full-time with my daughter, it was time to be grateful for the opportunity—and the freedom—to use my gifts elsewhere.

Digging Deeper: Psalm 139:13–16, Daniel 2:20–21

**************************************

We have had many questions about our decision to move to Oregon...why would we leave an area we love being in?  why would we leave when we just got planted in a new church family?  we thought you loved GUMI and that was your dream job?  Thought you wanted to live fulltime in your motor home?  The list goes on....

Let me say that there were lots of things that contributed to our decision to move back to Oregon but foremost through everything that we have dealt with in our lives our faith and trust in the Lord has become stronger each and every day.  We truly believe that the Lord opens and closes doors for us and that He will continue to do so.

So let me answer your questions ~ why would we leave an area we love being in?  This is easy to answer...with all the traveling and moving around we have done in almost 40 years of marriage we have never been in a place/location we didn't like.  We love being by the ocean, in the mountains, in the desert and even rainy areas like Seattle & Portland.  We believe there is beauty wherever we happen to be living.

why would we leave when we just got planted in a new church family?  We have been so blessed being a part of Open Door Community Church and truly believe the Lord had us there for a season, our faith has grown, during our 3.5 years in Branson we never found a church home, we attended many different churches and worship services but we never felt AT HOME.  From the first day we walked into ODCC we knew we were home.  And to be honest, leaving Cedarcreek & ODCC was probably the hardest thing in this new adventure.  We felt loved and cared about, felt a part of a congregation, was fed in the Lord's word by Pastor Isaac's sermons.  We never quite got used to the fact that our pastor was young enough to be our son, but hey, we got to be Grammy and Grandpa to three of the most precious babies we have ever met.  I was able to do the bulletins for a season, something I had missed for a long time...we were blessed way more than we gave to ODCC and will never forget our church family from there!!  And now, they all have a reason to come to Oregon ~ to see us!!!

we thought you loved GUMI and that was your dream job?  We loved being out at GUMI Camp USA, we totally believe in and support the vision, mission and goals of GUMI and we will miss not being in the day-to-day activities of GUMI but felt that the Lord was opening doors for us elsewhere.  We will always be a part of GUMI, we are still on the Advisory Board and Ali is still doing the bookkeeping.  We stay in close contact with Angela and Tim and look forward to visiting often at GUMI Camp USA and the Branson/Cedarcreek area.

Thought you wanted to live fulltime in your motor home?  The list goes on....we loved our little home on wheels.  We lived and traveled for almost 9 full years in her.  She was old when we got her and now she is almost 30 years old and we all know that when you get older, problems and issues begin to appear :)  We have donated the motor home to GUMI Camp USA...it is fully set up and functional is now available for volunteers to use...and when we walked out the door for the last time we felt blessed to have had her in our life and know she is in good hands and will now be a blessing to many who come to GUMI Camp USA.

As we traveled from Cedarcreek out to Oregon we talked a lot about our travels in our home on wheels and realized we loved having a mobile home to get from one place to another.  And we definitely do not want to give up our camping life...so we have already started talking about getting a Class C motor home to go for weekend camping trips and of course we have 5 Grands to share our love of camping with.  And Ali really missed having her own bathroom traveling with her...I think we stopped every 90 minutes or so for one of the many necessary potty stops.

So a new season has begun for us.  Sunday, September 27th we fly to Dallas, TX for two weeks of training.  We have heard that the Texas State Fair is going on and we have friends who we made while we worked and traveled with the carnival who go to Dallas every year for the fair, so we are hoping to connect with them while we are in town.  Then on October 10th we fly to Spokane, WA for a week of hands on/mentoring training and then on October 16th we fly back to Portland and then prepare to move to our new home in Newberg, OR!!

We are looking forward to exploring Newberg, as they have lots of recreational opportunities which you can check out here or learn about Newberg here, along with some great wine country that just screams beautiful drives andbeing only an hour from our son, Brandon & his family and six hours from our son, Jamie & his family!!!  And getting connected to a church and new church family and making new friends in the community we will be living in as well as around the area.

Yes, we feel a bit

about leaving our friends in the Branson/Cedarcreek area and being a part of so many fun activities and we will never forget our friends there (and we hope to go back for some fun visits and reconnections quite often) but we are also excited to spend time with family and friends here in the Pacific Northwest! And we hope our Missouri friends can come out this way for a visit or two.

Hope this helps to explain a few things!!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

From Joplin, MO to Pueblo, CO

We have had two great days of traveling.

We left Joplin about 9:15 AM and landed in Lamar, CO about 7:30 PM.
We traveled across the state of Kansas and into Colorado.

Traveling by car is so different than with the motorhome.
No more making lunch or a snack while Ron is driving, potty stops 
are truly potty stops.  That's okay though as it gets us out to walk around a bit.

One of the places we stopped was at a historical marker
marking the Sante Fe Trail.





And we saw some beautiful homes



We topped off the evening with a date night.

We enjoyed a fun evening with Joey Thurmond  & Moody Molavi





After the show we went out for a late night dinner
where the laughs continued.

So thankful for how the Lord has allowed us to meet some wonderful people,
make new friends, see beautiful country and most of all enjoying each
other's company!!

Hope you have a great day!!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Life is Just Full of Surprises

Greetings from the road


Yes it's true...we are back on the road,
well for a few weeks anyway!

God has sure been busy in our lives.
A lot of things have been going on behind the scenes with us!

We began the process of looking for work closer to our children 
and grandchildren in July.  This Grammy has sure been missing all five of our grands
M, O, C, T
and A!!!
and of course our kids, Jamie & Suzanne and Brandon & Danalyn too!!

We applied for a job as Community Co-Managers with Holiday Retirement in the Oregon/Washington area.  After a series of emails, phone calls, and Skype calls
we were offered a position in the Portland, OR area...we will be about an hour
from Brandon and his family and seven hours from Jamie and his family!!!
This Grammy is so excited and Grandpa is too, if the truth were told.

Then planning the move.

First we had to share with Tim & Angela.  
It was with mixed emotions as our heart is with GUMI Camp USA 
and we totally support it and believe it is very much needed to serve 
our US Veterans YET we felt the Lord leading us back 
to the Pacific Northwest.

And then we had to figure out how to get the motor home and all our belongings to Oregon.
As you know we have lived in our motor home since November 2006!
We have traveled and worked in WA, TX and MO
and traveled through many different states to and fro.

The motorhome is almost 30 years old and with the last move to Cedarcreek, MO
something happened to the reverse/transmission. It would no longer go backwards.

So we prayed and felt like the Lord was leading us to
Donate the motor home to GUMI Camp USA
It is all set up and ready for occupancy and it will be available for volunteers and workers as needed.
And that is what we did. 

Many prayers were said, lots of emails back and forth, telephone & Skype interviews and more prayers were said.  Once we were offered the position things moved very quickly.
Earlier this week MoveBuilders dropped off a trailer for us to put all our belongings in.

Below are all of our belongings except for three suitcases,
a computer bag, and two other carry-on bags!!

 Here is Ron with the first of many loads!

Everything is in the trailer, almost ready to be closed up.

 All packed in and sealed up!
Hard to believe all our belongings fit in a space 3'x8'x9'

Trailer loaded and locked waiting for pickup

The Explorer towing the Jeep!  
We are ready to hit the road!!!

Thursday, September 17 we headed out, 
with our first stop being in Branson.
One last doctor's appointment, one last chiropractor appointment,
stop by Golden Corral to say some good-byes, stopped at F5 Diner
for a couple more good-byes, dropped off some stuff at another friends
and at 2:30 PM we got on 65 headed towards Joplin...our first stop for the night!

Today, Friday, our second day of travel
took us 500 miles to Lamar, CO.

Tomorrow we will be in Pueblo, CO
to see 

Sunday will find us in Canon City, CO
visiting family.

Monday, September 21 we will be heading 
towards Gresham, OR to see 
Brandon and his family before we head off to 
Dallas, TX for two weeks of training
and then another week in Spokane, WA
before returning to the Portland, OR area and our new home and work.

Stay tuned and travel along with us
on our new adventure!!!





Friday, September 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Joanie


Happy Birthday Joanie!!

Even though you have chosen not to speak to me since September 2008
I want you to know that I think of you often, wondering how you are doing.

Like I have said to many, 
I don't know what I did to you
that makes you hate me so
but I want you to know

I love you!

I wish you would speak to me
and tell me what is wrong.

Matthew 18:18 tell us

and so I don't understand how you can claim to love Jesus
and be a Christian YET refuse to even speak to me.

Jesus tells us to love one another
and yet you despise me.

I just don't get how you can say and do things
that conflict radically from each other.

I asked our niece to see if you would allow her to give me your address
so I could send you a birthday card
Your reply - NO!

What gives?
What do you think Mom, Dad or Kathy
think about how you refuse to speak to me.

You have nephews who have grown into some of the
best young men around and yet you choose to act like they don't exist.

Your stubborness is causing you to miss out on so much.

Do you even care that you have a great niece or four great nephews?

I thought long and hard before writing this post.
But I have heard through the grapevine that 
you read my blog so I am putting this out there.

Happy Birthday Dear Sister!

I am saddened to think that you have no siblings in your life, 
no nephews.  I am thankful that at times you speak with our niece.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a family get together
and encourage one another?

I think so.
Your niece thinks so.
Your nephews would love for you to meet their families.

I can only do so much.
So once again, 
I am reaching out to you.

Wondering if you will accept the offer
to connect once again.

I love you.
Ron loves you.

Happy Birthday Joanie!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

God's Messages to Me Today

I am trying to get back into a routine.  With the extreme heat we have been having and not having internet at home I have found myself sitting in one of the many McDonald’s in the Forsyth ~ Branson area.  Thank you McDonald’s for offering free wifi to your customers…I think I have drank more unsweet tea and frappacino’s in the last two weeks than I have all year J

Part of my routine is to get up between 6:30 and 7:30 instead of sleeping in till 9:00 or 9:30.  I have been able to walk a couple of mornings (it’s been cooler and not super high humidity.)   So far my walks have been about a half mile…hoping as the days get cooler and I get in a little better shape the walks will get longer.  But hey, walking a half mile is better than no miles J

Having some time with the Lord before I get in the full swing of each day is important to me.  I am always amazed at how a daily devotion written by someone who I don’t know on a day way before the day I am reading them. 


One of the daily devotions I use is called “Bless Your Heart Each New Day” by Samplers, copyright 1987.  I picked this one up a couple of years ago at a garage sale for 50.  

Today’s reading (I made it a picture)

And life for us has definitely been an adventure.  We have had some wonderful times, some hard times, shared lots of laughter and many tears.  We have had planned adventures and then some that came out of nowhere.  But through it all we have kept our Faith in the Lord. 

My bestie, Dee and I are always reminding each other to keep the faith and to remember God has never failed us yet.  And then we laugh and say “sure wish God would tell us what to do in _____”

From my devotion in Women of Faith Bible, in Psalm 138:3 we are told “In the day I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” And verse 8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.  Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever!”

Two great reminders from the Lord that he hears us anytime we call out to him and that He will make things work out for whatever concerns me…what I am reminded is that God hears all my cries, knows the worries and concerns I have and most importantly, will never leave me which means I am never ever alone!!!

And the reassurance that no matter the issues I am dealing with, the problems I am facing or the concerns I have God is always with me and will be here for me. 

Have you ever woke up just feeling numb?

That was me this morning.  My heart feels numb and I know the reason why.  38 years ago our precious baby, Royce Alan went into the arms of Jesus at the age of 3 days.  It is hard to believe it has been 38 years ago as I know every minute of the whole day like it was yesterday.
The week of August 8 to 15 is always a difficult week even if I go into it thinking this year will be different.

August 8 – the twins were born ~ oh what a crazy day.  Royce weighed 4 lbs 8 oz and Jamie weighed 3 lbs 12 oz…just over 8 weeks early and in our eyes so tiny.  Ron and I both have some special moments of that first day.  Ron remembers seeing Jamie for the first time in the neonatal unit and Jamie putting his tiny hand around Ron’s baby finger.  I remember sitting in the nursery, caressing Royce’s thick dark hair.  We remember praying over each one of the boys individually, Ron over Jamie, me over Royce.  And being so scared, not knowing what was going to happen.

When the boys were 12 hours old, our hearts jumped for joy ~ Jamie came off the critical list to serious, his breathing was normal, his heart rate was perfect, he was just so small.  And then we felt like our hearts were ripped open ~ Royce went from stable to critical, emergency transportation to the neonatal unit.  Something was seriously wrong.   His breathing was labored and his blood counts were out of control.

I was still in the hospital 6 miles from the neonatal unit so Ron was spending most of his time with the boys.  There were no cell phones, so no instant pictures. 

August 9 – tests were being run on Royce, antibiotics and fluids being given.  Jamie was upgraded to stable, just tiny.  Prayers were being sent all around.  I had been put into a private room so I couldn’t see all the other mothers with their new precious baby’s.  But I could hear them when they cried and would wonder if our babies were crying for their momma.

August 10 – finally I could leave the hospital.  The doctor told me he would release me if I would promise to go home and rest.  Sure, sure, I agreed to anything and then when we got in the truck I told Ron he had better take me to see the boys.  But, he started to say…I must have had that look as he said okay and we drove to Sunrise Hospital where the neonatal unit was.  I slowly hobbled/walked in.  We got gowned up and got to go into the nursery where the boys were.  We first went to see Jamie, he was so tiny in that incubator.  At 3 lbs 12 oz and 19 ¼” long he just looked like skin and bones, with light blond wisps of hair and looked so fragile.  Oh how I wanted to hold him. 

And then we moved over to Royce.  He was on what they call an Ohio Open Bed, it is elevated and open on all the sides so that the doctors/nurses treating him had complete access to him.  At 4 lbs 8 oz and 18” long he was short and even looked a little chunky and had quite a bit of dark hair.  My mom commented that he had hair like me when I was born.  He looked like a human pin cushion with tubes coming out of his arm, his belly, his foot and his hand.  Oh how I wanted to hold him.

We stayed for about two hours and then I knew I needed to go home and lie down for a while.  It was so hard to leave the hospital.  

Later about 11 PM, I had my mom take me back to the hospital to see the boys…Royce was struggling with continued blood issues and infections running throughout his little body.  They had put a gavage tube (feeding tube) down through Jamie’s nose to get him nourishment.  We only stayed about an hour and then headed back home.  It was so hard to leave them.

August 11 – we were getting ready to go to the hospital to see the boys when the neonatologist called and said they needed permission to give Royce a blood transfusion.  Of course.  We were told to wait to hear from the doctors when it was over before heading up to the hospital.  About 2:15 we got a call that the blood transfusion had not worked and that Royce was failing fast.  So Ron, my mom and I got in her car and headed to the hospital.  I just wanted to see my baby.  Ron was driving fast and scaring both my mom and I and then we got to the light at the turn into the hospital and he stopped…yes the light was red but no one was coming.  I remember both my mom and I yelling at Ron – GO!  Go!!  And he did!!  We stopped by the door so Ron and I could get out and my mom went to park the car.  
Ron and I headed straight to the NICU.  As we walked in one of the nurses said we couldn’t come in and I said but  the doctor called and said come.  Someone else came up and said it was okay.  We were ushered into the room by Royce’s bed.  He looked so peaceful, yet how could he be so sick.  A chaplain introduced himself to us.  I remember asking the doctor if Royce was in pain, he assured us he was not.  My mom came in and joined us.  Ron and I were rubbing Royce’s legs oh so gently.  And then my mom told me to ask Ron to ask the chaplain to pray.  And as the chaplain said “Lord Almighty God”…Royce went home to Jesus.  As soon as the machine started to make noise they turned it off.  We stood there for a few minutes, holding each other, crying and touching our precious baby.  How could he be gone, he just arrived?

The doctor then ushered us into another room.  I asked if I could hold Jamie.  I needed a baby in my arms.  They brought Jamie to us.  I sat in a rocking chair just rocking back and forth for a bit.  Then it was time for Jamie to go back into the incubator.

We just sat in the room, feeling dazed and confused.  I remember when Adrian, our pastor, walked into the room and I jumped off the bed and screamed “How could God just give me a baby and then take him away like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Adrian hugged me and said he didn’t know.  I remember crying and being held by Ron…our life was in ruins…our baby had just died.
I don’t know how long we were in that little room.  

We did get to go see Jamie in the nursery again and then we headed home.  While in the room we made plans for a funeral for Saturday morning.  Adrian said he would come and see us the next day to put the final plans together.

We met with the neonatologist, discussed having an autopsy done on Royce to find out exactly what happened.  No way…no one was going to cut on my baby…but after lots of talking we gave the go ahead after promises that the cutting would be minimal and no one would be able to tell.  I remember thinking as we walked out of the hospital…Lord, please, please don’t let anything happen to Jamie.  We drove home in silence and tears.

About 8:30 that night Ron and I went back to the hospital to see Jamie.  We had made phone calls to let others know that Royce had died.  When we returned home around 10:30 my mom told us we could not have the funeral on Saturday…Ron’s dad was flying in from Alaska and we would have to move the funeral to Monday. 

August 12 – one of the hardest days ever…we had to go to the funeral home and pick out the casket.  After talking with the man there, he reminded me of a grandpa…he was soft spoken and was very caring he took us into this room with a bunch of caskets…I remember seeing two…one that was for a child all white and satiny and then this little pine box so plain looking.  I remember holding onto Ron’s hand and then just to the right of us was this little blue casket…that is the one we chose.  We finalized the plans and then went to Sears to pick out an outfit for Royce.

Looking back I feel bad for the first gal who approached us…she was probably in her early 20’s and asked us if we needed help picking out a baby’s outfit…guess we kind of looked like a couple of deer staring into headlights…no, we need to pick out an outfit to bury my baby in I blurted out…she walked away and then this grandmotherly looking woman came up and started chatting with us, amongst our tears she said she would help us.  We found a little blue knit outfit that came with a blue giraffe, picked out a receiving blanket (do you know back then you could not buy just one blanket…they came in packs of two) and we also picked out a pair of blue booties.  I am forever grateful for that grandma who helped us through a difficult situation.

We then had to go back to the funeral home to drop Royce’s clothes off.

August 13 & 14 – are a blur in my mind.  I know my sister, Kathy, arrived.  I know we went to church on Sunday morning.   I know we went to the hospital to see Jamie two or three times each day.  The doctors were a bit concerned as he had dropped down to 3 lbs 7 oz and they were hoping he would start gaining weight.  One thing they were thankful for was that his lungs seemed to be okay.  

Late in the day on Sunday we went to the funeral home to see Royce.  It was the only time that Ron and I actually got to hold him.  His body was so cold.  One thing we found out while holding him was that a friend of ours had placed the cross necklace we had given her for making my wedding dress, around Royce’s neck…that was so special to us.  I think we sat there holding Royce for a couple of hours.

Later in the day Ron’s parents, brother and sister Kathy arrived…we took them to see Royce too.  Anne asked if we wanted some pictures of him.  NO!  Who wants a picture of a dead baby…OH how I wish we had those pictures now…

August 15 – woke up feeling such heaviness over us.  We went to the church.  Sat in the front pew.  That little casket right in front of us.  I don’t remember much of the service…the pianist played Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Loves the Little Children.  Adrian preached from John 14 and I remember just staring at the little casket, wanting to just open it and grab my baby and take him home with me.  But we couldn’t.  When the service was over, I remember people walking past us, giving us hugs and feeling numb.  NUMB!!!  Confused…still asking inside “why would God give me a baby and then take him away?”  In a daze.

We went back to my mom’s house where my stepdad had made a bunch of food for people to eat.  I don’t know how many people came over but there were many.  Late in the day we went to the hospital to see Jamie…he had been transferred back to Women’s Hospital where he was born.  I remember holding him, Ron holding him and never wanting to let him go…

August 16 – woke up to the news that Elvis Presley had died…who cares…my baby is dead!!!

And life went on…so much has happened in the last 38 years.  So many good things!!!  And yet each year this week is filled with heartache mixed with joy…such mixed emotions…we celebrate Jamie every year and give thanks that he made it through a difficult birth and rough first few days of life.  

We are so proud of him…he is such a wonderful young man, though for the life of me I can’t figure out how he can be 38 when I just don’t feel old enough to be the mom of a 38 year old J  Jamie is a wonderful husband and daddy and has faced challenges and overcome them and we are so proud of him.

It is so hard to express how in the same instant we feel so much love and gratitude to have Jamie as our son and yet at the same time wonder and miss Royce.

August 11, 2009 – another day mixed with joy and pain…we were so excited to realize that Brandon’s adoption of Max happened on August 11th…and how we celebrate him…can’t believe in one month he will be 17!!!  Seems like just yesterday he was the 9 year old playing Lego’s with his Grandpa.

And then this past week, Brandon was in Las Vegas for a conference.  I had asked him if he could take flowers or a balloon to put on Royce’s grave.  And then told him never mind as we were having internet problems so I couldn’t find the address of the funeral home…but Sunday night, August 9 we got an email from him with pictures.  He had found out where Royce was buried, couldn’t find a balloon or flowers but found a darling Teddy Bear and took it to the cemetery and placed it on his brothers grave, a brother he never knew, and took a bunch of pictures for us.

Thank you Brandon for going out of your way to do something so special for us.  You will never know what your sweet actions mean to us. 

Again, the good is out there…God has blessed us with two wonderful sons who have blessed us as parents and grandparents.

And so even though today is filled with mixed emotions I know that God is in control and has been all along.


Jamie and Ron, May 2015
Jamie was able to be with us for the Grand Opening of
GUMI Camp USA

Jamie, Spring of 2015
He has come a long way from that 3 lb 12 oz baby!!!

Brandon and his sweet wife, Danalyn
New York, June 2015
 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Don't Even Know Where to Begin?

Where to begin?  

I am not even sure where to begin.  Yesterday I got a note from a friend, Kristy, asking me to call her, she had some news that she didn't want me to read on the internet.  She assured me her family was okay.  So with trepidation I called.  The way my mind works, I could only imagine the worst ~ someone we knew mutually had died...well I was some what right.

A friend of mine had been involved in a horrible tragedy.  You can read about it here.  How sad to learn that a sweet lady I have known over 13 years had admitted to shooting her hubby and baby and then tried to commit suicide.  I just sat quietly on the phone.  Neither Kristy or I saying anything. 
Oh, how E must have been hurting.  Oh, how my heart hurts for her now.
 After a few minutes we hung up.

I went to find the article, still not believing what I had heard.  I contacted my friend, Dee.  I was just feeling the need to be on the phone with someone, especially since we are in Missouri and all our mutual friends are in Washington state.

And I sat and zoned out, trying to get my mind around it.  I must have sat in the chair, reading what I could find out about the whole thing.  Seeing her name in print and reading the details made my heart hurt.  Feeling horrible for E, thinking of how desperate and hopeless she must have been feeling.

And then I thought "but by the Grace of God go I."


Some of you reading this blog, know my story yet many of you don't.  
Remember a couple of weeks ago I went to the Story Rope retreat and wrote about telling my own story and how I felt that the Lord is leading me to share it over and over again.

And now today I am sharing another part of that story.

But by the Grace of God...I could have been E.
Yep, that's right.

Many years ago, when our son's were little I struggled with the issue of child abuse.
My own abuse as a child and as a teenager began to reel it's ugly head in my own life,  I was the abusive parent.  Am I proud of that ~ Absolutely not!!  Am I thankful that I was able to get the help I needed to change my parenting styles ~ You bet!!!

And yet as I have sat here the last two days I could E in this story.
One afternoon, I became so overwhelmed with everything in my life, trying to take care of my family on a very limited budget, multiple life problems ~ a car that didn't run, children who weren't the perfect children I expected them to be ~   I know, I know children are not perfect, heck we as adults are not perfect but in my warped mind, if my children weren't perfect I was the lousiest mother there could be.  I was dealing with PTSD due to abuse in my own childhood that was rearing its ugly head and I didn't know what to do.  I felt so alone, so helpless, so hopeless, believing my children had the worst mama in the world, hubby had the worst wife in the world and life would be better for everyone if I was not here in this world.  Yet I couldn't imagine anyone else raising my children.

And in a moment of extreme
I lost it!  I mean I really lost it!!
I drove like a mad woman, yelling and screaming at my innocent children in the backseat of our car that I was going to kill them when we got home!!!  Over and over I yelled that.  It was not something said in jest...I was at a point I could not take it any more...life was more pain than I could stand.

But by the Grace of God, 
when we got home, our children went into their bedroom. 
All was quiet!
But in my mind I knew something had to change...my children could not live with a crazy mom!!! Heck I couldn't live with the crazy woman I was in that moment.

But by the Grace of God, I could have been E.

I called a friend, actually hung up on her three times,
before finally letting the phone ring long enough for her to answer.
I told her what I had said.
She said, stay in the kitchen, leave the kids playing in their bedroom and I will be right over.  She lived about 30 minutes from our home, but she was there in less than 10 minutes...God had her flying on his wings to get to our home.  Just after Karalee arrived, another friend arrived and went into the bedroom and asked the kids if they wanted to go to a sleepover - they jumped at it!!  They gathered some clothes, hugged me tight and in their little voices told me they loved me.  I told them to have fun at the sleepover and then I watched them walk out the door.  Not having a clue about what was gonig to happen next.  I just knew that something needed to change, I could not and did not want to be the awful mom I felt I was at that moment.

And for the next twenty years I battled depression.  

It reared its ugly head in many ways
~ anger at the world, any and everyone
~ suicidal thoughts
~ destructive behavior 
~ embarrassing family and friends
~ tears and more tears
~ hospitalizations that others didn't understand

Yet by the Grace of God
I never pulled the trigger.

And so I sit here, thinking of E ~ wishing I could have reached out to her, 
in some way, some form to let her know even the darkest of days can have a 
little light at the end.  

Yet I know it is hard to share ~

Sometimes the prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.

to let E know she was not and is not alone!
More than ever, E needs her friends and family to love her.
We may not know exactly what she is going through,
but it is not our place to judge,
it is our place to love her!



WE MUST 

It is not easy to discuss Mental Illness.
It is not easy to ask for help for something you don't understand.

And answering the stupid questions when you do try to share is so hard ~

Example 1:  After being in the hospital for two weeks, I had a friend (I say that loosely) ask me what was it like being in there with all the crazies?  Umm...I guess I must be really crazy.

Example 2:  Stop being so emotional.  You have a great life, a great husband, wonderful children..what do you have to complain about?  Umm...yes I do have a wonderful husband and great children ~ don't you realize it is not them, I have something wrong with me.

And after many years of dealing with mental health issues I finally came to the conclusion that because people can't see the hurt, the pain, there are no broken bones, I can talk and smile along with the best of them, I can work out in the public and function "correctly" most of the time, that because no one can put a pretty

on it, it is kept a big 


Who wants their friends or family to think they are
crazy?
sick?
lazy?
YES I have been called all of these.

So question arises ~ What do we need to do?


We need to be able to 


that when we risk to share our deepest and darkest secrets, fears, inadequacies, pain

that others will not 


and 
then 
come beside me,
listen to me,
cry with me,

but please don't judge me;
please don't judge E either


In closing, I want to encourage anyone who reads this, family, friends, people I may or may not know, IF you are feeling alone and hopeless, I ask, please reach out to me.  I may not know the answers but I don't want anyone to go through their pain alone.  And know together we will move forward on the path of life, we may not know how but we won't have to go it alone.







Monday, July 13, 2015

God's Agenda Not Mine ~ updated 6:30 PM

Life has been crazy for me:  emotionally and physically and spiritually my walk with the Lord has not been where I wanted it to be.    I have whined, pouted, hibernated, cried ~ you name it I have been doing IT to avoid finding TRUTH for me.  A few weeks ago I was invited to a ladies retreat hosted by True Stories Ministries.  I had heard about Story Rope Retreats by a friend in WA state and I thought this might be interesting.  So I sent off an email, got the details, made arrangements for sharing a hotel room with a gal I connected with via my friend in WA.  

And then two weeks before the retreat we were hit with some difficult times and information and so last week Monday I wrote an email to the gal who I was supposed to ride with and said it didn't look like I was going to be able to go.  She suggested contacting Holly or Cathy (the facilitators of the retreat).  So I did.  Holly and I wrote back a couple of times and then I got a phone call from Cathy saying "come, it is all going to work out"   and I was feeling like I really needed some down time.  Ladies retreats are fun, get to meet new friends, eat lots of good food and by getting away I might get a new perspective or a new idea on how to deal with the situations we were facing.

But by Friday morning, the devil himself was telling me I shouldn't go and I tried to think of some really good reason why I should stay home...but God would not allow that...so off to Branson to meet up with Jo, who had driven from Wisconsin to pick me up to go to Eureka Springs!!  If you know me, I have a hard time doing something or not doing something if it is going to disappoint someone.  I can't do that...so off to Branson!!! and then to Eureka Springs.

It was a relaxing drive, we made a couple of Uturns but in the end we found the motel.  Country Inn of Eurkea Springs.  It was nice and clean, the beds were super comfortable.  And it was right across the street from a cute little restaurant and pub.  The manager/owner was wonderful and ready to help out in any way possible.  I wouldn't mind going back there for a few days with Ron.  

First off, here  is the description of a story rope retreat: What is your story? Everyone has one!  Have you wondered what purpose or value there is in your story? STORYROPE™ brings to life TRUE perspective of who you are and why you are here. As you see the presence and purposes of God in your story, you will find that you are part of His BIG story, 
and your story is of great value.
​  
Of course​, I went with  my agenda - how can this help GUMI Camp, be utilized here?  

​But GOD had other plans...this is what I wrote during our 2nd Quiet time (we had 5)  "As I am sitting here lookingat lies, truth, grace and looking at my story rope I am wantng to take it all apart and redo it ~ make it right ~ it feels like I have done it all wrong.  It is a jumbled mess which how I see my life ~ I work hard to make things right and to do it well.  I just see mess after mess and no matter how hard I try I just screw up, getting it all wrong.  

I want to tell JoAnn just take me back to teh hotel and just hibernate and be alone so I can figure it all out on my own ~ I just want to be home with Ron where even in the chaos & mess I feel safe with him.  I just want to SCREAM ~ it is so much easier to just leave the stuff behind and buried and go on and live today just dealing with stuff in the moment, each day as it comes."

I was feeling so angry...​I have dealt with things from my past over and over, God has healed me from so many things.  Why do I need/keep going back again and again.   And I have shared my story so many times!!!!  But I was there so I continued on.  I didn't hibernate though during the 2.5 hour free time I did take a nap and slept for about an hour.

​After that session it turned to HOPE​ and I felt the Lord tugging at me and working in my heart.  One of the things that was shared was that we are like a computer.  We have the M drive (MIND) and H drive (HEART) and we have a Firewall between the two  and sometimes we get a V (VIRUS) ~ wronged, hurt, bruised, etc.  and that we have to get rid of the viruses (satan's lies!!!)   and the biggest lie in my life is "I am not good enough!!!"  and God reminded me through scripture Exodus 3:1-2  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose, a time to be born (I am not a mistake) another lie and Colossians 2:10 ... and you (ME) am complete in Him!  If I am complete in Him I must be ENOUGH because more can't be added to me if I am enough!!!

​And I don't believe the Lord wants me to hash everything out over and over again BUT He does want me to tell my story, to be an encourager to others, to let others know that though we may face some difficult times in our lives, God is with us all the time, He does have a purpose for me and every time I share my story, or even a part of it HE shows me how He has been with me all the time, how far I have come in my walk with Him and how healthy I have become: emotionally and spiritually and with His help I can get healthy physically too!!!  

It was a good time, I cried and laughed and cried and laughed some more.   So many women came up and told me how much they appreciated my gift of humor...gift of humor?? never thought of that...I was just sharing different times in my life when I have done things or been involved in things and looking back they are pretty funny! One of the stories I shared was what I call one of my not so proud momma moments.  When our boys were 4 & 2 I was not having a great day ~ in fact they were really stressng me out and I was getting more frustrated by the minute.  And finally in exasperation I sent them to their room.  Brandon, 2, was put on his bed (top bunk) and Jamie, 4, was told to sit on the bottom bunk and don't move!  I put one of my artificial eyes on their dresser, started out the bedroom and told them "don't you move!" and then walked out and slammed their bedroom door.  After about 45minutes I was feeling pretty guilty about scaring them like that and so I walked into their bedroom.  Brandon was sound asleep; Jamie on the other hand was sitting in the same exact position he was in when I walked out. I mean, sitting there with his hands in his lap.   Now years later, Jamie likes to tell me I am the reason kids go into counseling and it is the mom' fault.***  In fact, one gal said I should become a stand up comedian!!!  

And I am so glad I went.
I made new friends,
saw some beautiuful country


Beaver Lake Dam open wide!



And I was reminded how important it is to 



And so today I choose to



What do you choose today??





*** Shared with permission of my son, Jamie.  In fact he wrote back to me when I asked if I could share that story here on my blog "Yeah, go ahead I find it a funny story"

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sometimes I Just Don't Understand

Graphic Created by Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy 

It is after 1 AM and I can't seem to shut my brain off, so here I am just going to purge from the inside out.  Sometimes I just don't understand.  I don't understand why people have to be passive~aggressive instead of just saying what they are feeling or thinking.

Sometimes I just don't understand how people can't be an adult in a situation but has to act like 7th grade girls in middle school or a 4 year old who takes her Barbie's and goes home because she doesn't like what was said.

Sometimes I just don't understand life in general.

Sometimes I just don't understand.

Sometimes I just don't understand what makes people tick.  Sometimes I just don't understand why adults can't be adults.  And sometimes I don't understand how one day you say you are my friend, you will always be there and then you disappear.  What happened to being adults and talking about things?  Sometimes I just don't understand.

I just need to say 

Right now I just want to yell

"I can't be the nice person anymore.  I can't be the strong one anymore.  I can't just let others use me and then toss me at their convenience.  Sometimes I just don't understand.

And to those who are wondering "what the heck is going on?"

I am okay.  

I am tired.

I am concerned about stuff in my life.

Sometimes I just don't understand.

And I know some of you reading this are probably thinking
"oh no, there she goes down that slippery slope!"

No, I am not going down any slippery slopes
I just need to voice 
Sometimes I just don't understand.

And for tonight
not understanding things
is just the way it is.





And through it all


I know this to be true!!!

Sitting Here

Sitting here not sure if I should cry or not cry, laugh or scream.  I hate  dislike that I take things so personally.  I just want to scream...