Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Family Update


I haven't abandoned this blog altogether. I haven't forgotten all of you, either. This has been one whirlwind of a summer and some things just had to be shelved to wait...

Actually, there is plans in the works for a new blog. I'm making the leap from Blogger to Wordpress and I am refining my whole purpose for being online. Some in the family are not ready for me to retire this blog yet... so, if I have time infinite we'll see what happens. The new blog is not ready for unveiling. I'm totally stalemated on creating a logo. Computers are complicated things and the learning curve is steep.

Things are very good here. My sister and Vanessa and Steve did a great job holding down the fort while I was gone. Six weeks was a bit too long to be gone, though. I thought it might take more than a few days for the twins to accept me back as mom, but James and I had one day of jostling for position and Missy and I had 3 at the most. I came back ready to face the giants in our relationships once again and made it clear I was reclaiming peace and happiness for this home. The formula is simple; be at peace and harmony with all who are in the house, or find yourself with your miseries outside the house. Don't ask me why it's working right now, but it is. It might not be working next week, but any type of unreasonable combativeness lands a person at the picnic table with their lunch, or whatever instead of enjoying the company of the family at the table.

I keep praying that the children will have willing hearts. The resistance towards relationship is what causes problems. It's really that simple. And James is responding well.... He does have a heart that yearns family relationships. Missy is a harder nut to crack.... BUT she is responding. I believe God is answering my prayer.

School starts for James tomorrow. Last night we went and took his things to the school and greeted his teacher. She gave him a little hug and was all talking to him and then she stopped and looked at him... He was avoiding eye contact, turning red and quivering. She asked if he was nervous for the first day of school and he shook his head no just slightly. I let her know that he was emotional about seeing her again.... At this she said, "James!!! Did you miss me that much???" And then she gave him another big hug and he shed a few tears.  He's so excited about school starting.

Missy's school starts next week. She's torn because she considers the old school her school. One moment she's talking about her going to school there and the next she's begging me to homeschool her and before you know it she is talking about the new school. I think she hasn't quite figured out what is going on though I have explained it. She did spend a week with the new school for cooking camp and that helps, I think. I have not totally figured out how I am going to pay for it yet. Slowly the first month's money is accumulating. I took back the piano job Vanessa has been doing, and I sold a few tomatoes - (but there aren't enough to sell) and I'm looking for ways to earn a little money each week without it taking over our lives completely.

Vanessa is enjoying her small break from school. She has 9 months left to her nursing program. It's all consuming so she does not have a job at this time. Brianna has had a much harder time sorting out what she wants to do this fall, but I think she is going to move ahead to becoming a Montessori teacher, continue working with video media, and learn Spanish.  She has plenty of little jobs doing yard work, babysitting, teaching little kids art and music. Christina is in her last year of Running Start at the college. She works as a lifeguard at the high school.

Steve rides his bike to work (about 17 miles) and then puts in a 12 hour shift then rides home. Makes for very long days. We don't see much of him on work days as he gets home at 9 pm.

Thankfully, the fires seem to be under control and there is no smoke. That was a pretty serious problem all July. We are thankful.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Girls' Dean

Being a dean of girls is a challenge. Not sure I was made for this stuff. Whew! Today has been a day full of emotions. I've dealt with Sad, Glad and Mad and everything in between.... There are hurting kids everywhere. Here is no exception.

I don't pray enough.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Tribute to My Mother's Work in Africa

A touching post and song was written about my mom and all her work and efforts to making the AIDS orphans' life easier and productive these last 12 years. READ it here:

http://kibidulapilot.blogspot.com/2014/07/janet.html


I am thankful people have stepped forward to take on the burden. So is my dad. He'll be glad to have her home for good. Praying that she finds her new niche.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RAD


I sleep on an air mattress on the floor in a room with twelve girls in bunks. Brianna and Christina are in the other room of 11 girls.  My nephew is in the room with about 26 guys.

My biggest challenge is getting the girls to settle at night. . . .  Sometimes I’m dog-tired because our schedule is unbelievably busy. But these are great kids.  I am enjoying getting to know each one. We’ve been going at the program hard for a week and half. Today was declared a fun day and most everyone are involved in a huge water fight at the moment.

Brianna is publishing the “Daily” which is a photo journal of Youth for Jesus. The link can be found here:



Brianna and Christina are speakers for the meetings. They are both excellent speakers. My dad was here to start off the program and he took a lot of time to coach them.

The twins have officially gotten over their “honeymoon” with Auntie Julie being in charge of them while I’m away. They were doing well enough I thought maybe it would last long enough for me to get back home. Not so. This morning I woke up to a text that James had smashed the kitchen window in a fit of rage over a popsicle. It was a rather traumatic event for my young nephew to observe… even for Missy.  It’s her turn to rage today and that is likely fallout from the stress of yesterday.
In the crisis, when Vanessa could not get ahold of her dad she called a friend. This friend is a big guy that has stepped in before. Steve arrived before the friend, though, and took James up the mountain hiking. He didn’t say anything…. Just hiked. The friend met them at the back of the road and he did the talking with James. Sometimes it makes all the differences in the world to have a third party step in. We’ve said everything we know to say, as we have done everything we know to do to help this kid. The stores in our bank gets dry and it is helpful when people care enough to try and make a difference.

I called to talk to the twins yesterday. It was a very RAD conversation. James was not interested in talking to me -like not at all. He was flat and unresponsive and he quickly handed the phone to Missy. Missy on the other hand chatted intensely for a full 15 minutes and hardly gave me a chance to put a word in edgewise. Her deal was to let me know that I had done her a great wrong by not saying goodbye at 5 AM before leaving for the airport. I had hugged her and told her goodbye the night before and had told her I would not be seeing her in the morning. She got totally stuck on that. Steve says that they have been pretty much ignoring him and Auntie has been the one they go to for everything even though he is right there a lot of the time. We may think they are attaching to us and then something like this comes up and we see quite clearly that their attachment is far from normal.

We surely don’t know how this story is going to unfold. Some days are scary.

BUT I’m enjoying the break. Not one person has tried to manipulate anything here. Its absence is very noticeable when you live with people who manipulate from dawn till dusk.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Still There IS Hope


Bit by bit she’s dying.  You can see it in her face, and her eyes…. She’s but a mere skeleton. Her mind is losing its ability to reason. Her own lies have clouded her reality to the point she can hardly tell truth from fiction and not a single believable word escapes her lips.  Her beauty is gone. So is her husband: even her children. Her vehicle is destroyed; her house stands empty… no power, no water, no garbage service, and her rent has been unpaid for months…  If she goes near her mother’s house, someone will call the cops. Most of her pals are used up and burned out. The ones still hanging around are as miserably messed up as she is. She is afraid to be alone at night. She finds herself preparing meals for the kids that aren’t there in her sleep; sometimes hallucinating and always afraid of drug dealers showing up to demand payment.

Yesterday her friend died of a heroine overdose. Someone, who, like her, had recently been celebrating her recovery from a drug addiction; someone way too young to die. Is she next?

I can’t really tell if she resents my urgings to get help. She seldom answers my calls, but she will respond to some of my text messages on occasion. Usually she tells me what she thinks I want to hear… that she’s going on a certain date to the local treatment center and that she’s just waiting for an open bed.  It’s always a week away  - never today.  She lives only for the present moment. She is in complete denial of the fact that she’s dying. Slowly, but surely she’s dying.  I can see it in her eyes.

I tell her I love her. I tell her that God loves her. I tell her that He sees her as she might be, not as she is. He’s just waiting to relieve her of her pain and suffering and He wants nothing more than to bring healing into her life. 

But no one can force her to make the choice that would change the direction in which her life is hurtling.  I feel helpless and incapable of doing anything to stay the tide… Everyone does. She is still alive, though and where there is life, there is HOPE. We are still praying; praying for a miracle and always looking for an opportunity to show her Christ's love. Sometimes that looks like tough love.

I'm sad. Please pray for her because there is still hope.

“The love that is inspired by our love for Jesus
will see in every soul, rich or poor,
a value that cannot be measured by human estimate.
 Let your life reveal a love
 that is higher
than you can possibly express in words”.
6T 279

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Foster Care Heartbreak

I learned something new!! Learned that I could use my phone as a hotspot to provide my computer with internet access. Well, what do you know? All this time I thought I could not use my computer and I had everything I needed at my fingertips - an iPhone and an Macbook!

Vanessa has been picking up Buddy and Ducky and their siblings and taking them to Abundant Life's VBS program and church, hiking and swimming. I am thankful she has the heart to keep these kids connected to us while I am away. They are doing well and bonding to their father and paternal grandparents in a good way.  I am grateful.  Their mother promised me a week ago that she would be going to treatment today. I have no idea is she will actually do so. She blacked out and ran her car into a tree and totaled it in the middle of the night on the 4th of July. I can only be grateful the kids are not with her. I pray for her every day. I text her and try to stay connected to her and also try to encourage her that God loves her so much that He would be willing to help her if she would just ask him.

I heard through the grapevine that all is not well with Oscar and Pieter. I have heard they only stayed at their grandparents house for maybe a week or two. Then they were moved to a foster home. That foster mom was presented with an opportunity to foster a newborn that was likely to end in adoption and she chose the baby over the boys after having them two weeks. The social worker then tried to get the grandparents back involved and to take the boys and they would not. I have no idea what is going on or what the trouble is. I know these are difficult boys... but they are their flesh and blood... and so I have to believe there is something more to the story. And so, the boys have been moved to a new foster home. MAKES ME SICK. That poor baby. He simply cannot understand. His attachment struggles can only be that much worse. The behaviors must probably have skyrocketed.  It's a horrendous story that I wish could have fixed or else have had no part in.

***

Brianna preached her first sermon last evening and it went beautifully. Christina is next. They have been getting a lot of coaching from my dad. It's a good experience.  I'm jet lagged and feeling like I've been run over... BUT all the girls are great kids and I am enjoying getting to know all 24 of them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

iPhone Trip Pics!



Mount St Helens

Rafting our local river with cousins.

Saltwater State Park

Mount Rainier plus Mount Adams, Mount Hood And Mount St Helens in the background.
Over Canada
YFJ worship music

Peripatetic

I learned a new word. It means well- traveled. 

I spent nearly a week in Oregon without Internet at the Lightbearers Campmeeting. I could not blog if I wanted to, but the meetings were inspiring and we had a good time of fellowship. 

Sunday we drove towards Seattle and camped at Saltwater State Park. Early in the morning, my nephew Caleb and I boarded a plane for Michigan. My dad picked us up at the airport and here we are at Youth For Jesus. I am the girl's dean. I have no idea what I am doing. But I am learning. There's no internet. So I'm typing on my phone. You might follow  on Facebook or Instagram.... Angela.rootsreachingdeep

It's worship time. My dad has worship. The topic: Righteousness by faith - the same as the whole Campmeeting we just went to. I guess I need to understand well!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swimming and Life at Home

Life has been a whirlwind of busy activity, and when I have moments to write all I can think about is all the things I need to get done still. We got back from our week and half vacation on Sunday. Monday VBS began. Brianna is in charge of VBS, so that has meant our family is on the front lines. My field tomatoes and garden and yard are all needing serious attention after our vacation, of course. This coming Sunday Brianna and Christina leave for Michigan to prepare for their speaking engagement through YFJ. My sister and her boys begin their journey here today. We plan to attend Lightbearers Campmeeting next week and then I leave on Sunday to join the girls in Michigan for several weeks as the girls' dean of Youth for Jesus.

We made the decision and filled out the registration packet yesterday for Missy to go to the Montessori school this fall. She likes the idea, but is a bit sad to leave her old school and the people she knows. I am signing her up for the Montessori day camp at the end of July and I think that will convince her that this is the right decision for her.

If you look at our pictures of the road trip you will notice we had a few extra kids with us. We took Buddy and the Duckling and their siblings with us and they were real troupers - all of them! Even the two year old was a good traveler. We did a lot of swimming. We tried to get some swimming in every day. We traveled to Arizona and camped at Lake Powell where my parents joined us. We visited the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park. We drove through Monument Valley in a dust storm and camped at Daystar. We visited a hot springs and ended the trip at campmeeting. It was a once in a lifetime kind of trip for us. 

I probably prayed more for those kiddos and their future than ever.  They are precious kids. When we returned we dropped them off at their new place with their dad and grandparents. The kiddos were happy to see their family. Court happened yesterday and so, it's all settled for the next 12 months that their dad has custody. Mom needs to go to treatment and stick with the program if she expects to have any part in their lives in the future. She didn't try to keep in close contact while we were on the trip, but yesterday she called crying before court as she was about to lose everything. I reminded her that the best thing she could do for herself and her children was to go to treatment. AND WHY NOT? There are no excuses left. Please pray that she goes. As long as she has life she has HOPE. Her hope lies in what Christ can do for her if she will but let Him.

The twins handled the whole trip very well. They really had no major melt-downs that could not be redirected. Missy could get intense sometimes but if we sandwiched her between the big girls in the van, or had her ride in my parents car we could keep her from getting into the other kids business and annoying everyone. She had a moment where she could have had a real problem. It was over a piece of clothing at a KOA, but all the other kids were headed to the pool and she knew she was on the brink of losing the privilege if she didn't choose to make the best of it so she did. All in all, the kids enjoyed the trip and I saw no sign of depression or manic behavior. They were pretty much happy.  They even calmed down about food near the end of the trip and were not pushy and hoarding so much.

We visited the twins' bio-mom for our once a year visit just before arriving home. It was a short visit. She was disappointed the kids were not interested in her at all. She told us a story about her health .... therefore, "could we up the visits to 2 a year?" In the end she spent so much time on that part of her quest it shocked her when the visit was over and she hadn't really spent any time with the kids. The answer was no. The kids found it awkward at best and it will only get harder as they get older. While we think the visit is important, once a year is enough.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Road Trip!

We took a vacation.  This is the gang and our mode of travel.

I have a ton of pictures

but I also have a 

ton of weeds to catch up on. 

:-)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Certified Scuba Divers


Another thing crossed of Christina's bucket list.
Her goal is to become a rescue diver.
Not sure what Ellie's goal is, but it is kind of a natural for her as her dad dives as part of his job and her mom does it with him for fun when they go to interesting places.
Diving is not something that has ever crossed my mind... I doubt Steve's either,
so Christina is more adventurous than we are.
She got the idea during her lifeguard training when she learned how to rescue a diver.
The divers were impressed enough to offer her a partial scholarship...
and the rest is history.
Everything is always more fun with a friend!
Missy would have joined them if she could have! She's adventurous like that.
- Jame on the other hand... not so much.
My job was to sit on the beach and enjoy the sun.
What a job!  :-)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A New Instrument

has Been Added to the Collection . . . 




It's obviously very portable (as compared to concert harps and pianos), and will take a beating, I'm sure (as compared to treasured violins and flutes). This was one of the unexpected side benefits of Brianna's African sojourn. One of the student missionaries had a ukelele and she shared it with everyone. Brianna caught the bug. :-)