Adoption, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption

This post was originally written in 2017.

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption and his thoughts. After having three biological children, we decided to enter the realm of adoption. We believed our quiver wasn’t complete, so the decision was easy. What we didn’t realize is that adoption is HARD. It doesn’t matter what kind of adoption it is. Whether through foster care, international adoption, or one of your relatives, adoption is not for the faint of heart.

Adoption is Rewarding

 

However, adoption is very rewarding. Knowing that you have taken life into your home that otherwise was not wanted or was being mistreated, abused, or neglected is an amazing miracle. God intended for children to be raised by their parents, but circumstances sometimes do not allow that to happen. That’s why we took the plunge to care for the orphans.

Our Wild Ride to Adoption

 

As for our journey, it has been a wild ride. We have had a lot of good days and plenty of bad ones. But so far, we have stayed the course. We have tried to instill Godly values in our children while teaching them honesty, integrity, responsibility, and character. Sometimes we think that we are not making much progress, but honestly, we believe if we are consistent with the kids, they will turn out fine. Each child is different. We have learned how to parent each child with different behaviors and personalities.

 

At first, I was resistant to adoption, but after I met the little girl my sister-in-law and her husband adopted from the Philipines, my heart melted. I saw the love shown and given to her and believed I could do the same. So we decided to do it.

Our First Experience

 

Our first experience with fostering to adoption started pretty good other than the fact that these children were brought to us, and we knew nothing about them. It was hard, especially with Shay, because she was non-verbal at two years old. She never did warm up to me very much. Tay, on the other hand, was very happy and always smiling. Also, they were very sick, and we could not get them well.

 

Then the day that nearly broke us into the world of fostering/adoption happened. The kids were suddenly taken away from us by the Cabinet. We had no idea….one minute, we are raising these kids, and the next minute they are gone. We were told the reason but truly believed the social worker lied about us in a court hearing that we were not present at. I was furious, and it crushed my wife. To this day, she still has the scars of them being taken from us. We had to believe that the Lord had different plans for those sweet children and us.

Never Again?

 

At that time, we told ourselves we would not go through a horrible experience like we just had but decided to give it another go around. We started fostering D and G in the spring of 2007. At first, it was really good, but we learned quickly how many of these children in the child services system could be damaged. To find out the kids you just took into your home were previously abused is a tough pill to swallow.

 

Having to raise children during an investigation of abuse and ensuing court proceedings is not the way it should be. But the kids were safe, and we did our best to cope with the behaviors stemming from their past. We finally adopted them about two and a half years later. Since then, we’ve run the gamut of ups and downs with them. Some days are good, and some days are bad, but in the end, they are loved, and hopefully, they will be able to overcome the terrible start they had in life.

International Adoption

 

Our subsequent adoption was a foray into international adoption. My wife had always dreamed of adopting from the county of Ethiopia. After I met my new nephew from Ethiopia, my sister-in-law’s second adopted child. I was ready to go to Africa. The process was a lot of paperwork and a lot of money. (Not sure why it costs so much to adopt a child who has no home or no one else wants). Within a few months, we had a referral and got a picture of our son. It was amazing how we could love someone so much whom we had never met.

 

The anticipation was unbearable. But soon after that, we could travel to Africa and meet our son. It was an experience like none other. We met our son and spent three or four days with him. We went to court and were granted the adoption. The hardest part was leaving him there. But we were told that it should only be about eight weeks before we could return and bring him home. Little did we know then that eight weeks would turn into 14 months.

Huge Mistake Made by Home Study Agency

 

Our home study agency made a huge mistake, and the US government told us we did not make enough money to bring him home. How ridiculous is that? It’s a shame that money, or the lack thereof, keeps so many people from adopting children that need good homes. When we found this out, we desperately tried everything we could to get clearance from USCIS but were flat-out denied two months later. My wife was crushed beyond all belief. From December 2010 to about November 2011, she was just a shell of a person.

 

Yes, she lived and breathed, but that was about it. She was vacant. And there was nothing I could do about it. I believed that there was no way God would allow us to travel 7000 miles to meet a boy and tell him he would be our son, then him not ever come home. Not necessarily for our sake but for his. He was an innocent child growing up in an orphanage with 50 or 60 other children like him. But God made way for us to get our clearance to bring him home, and in December 2011, we brought J to his forever home. We were made whole.

Here We Go Again

 

After we brought J home, we thought our quiver was full. But God had other plans for our family. In November of 2015, we had an opportunity to take in our great-nephew, H. His mother, our niece, had been in trouble with the law and could not take care of him. H had been living with a man who believed he was the father. He had troubles of his own and agreed for us to keep H for a while. We decided to file for emergency custody of H mainly for his safety at the time. The man he was living with turned out not to be the biological father, and we were granted temporary custody of H.

His Biological Mom

 

His mother got into even more trouble later and was facing a lot of time in prison. She made a tough yet mature decision to terminate her rights and allow us to adopt H. I can’t imagine how hard that was for her. I am very proud of her for sacrificing for her son. H invigorated our family with joy. He has so much energy and is very sweet and funny. However, in June, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder called Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. He has been through a lot, which has been tough on him and us. But we take it one day at a time and trust in God for healing and comfort.

Adoption is Tough

 

So those reading this and considering adopting do not have preconceived notions of lollipops and rainbows. Adoption is challenging and not for the faint of heart. But the rewards are unending. Giving a child a home and stability is a beautiful thing. Whether they know it or not, children crave structure, discipline, and a sense of worth.

 

That’s the beauty of adoption.

 

Guest Blogger

Is Your Family Ready for the New School Year?

Is Your Family Ready for the New School Year?

COVID-19 Resources You Need for a Safe and Successful New School Year

Is your family ready for the new school year? If not, you’re probably not the only one. After all, it can be difficult to navigate pandemic challenges along with the normal back-to-school concerns. You need the steps and resources below to make your life easier.

First, You’ve Got to Have Some Faith.

This year’s going to be tough, but you’ve got this! 

Then, You’ll Need to Keep Things Clean. 

Home-school or regular school, keeping your home clean is crucial.

Next, You Can Start Shopping for Supplies 

No new school year is complete without shopping, so use these tips to make it easier.

Finally, Work on Getting Kids Into a Routine

This may be the most challenging part of the new school year, but these resources will help. 

  • It usually helps start with smaller changes, like setting an earlier bedtime.
  • When insomnia is an issue, changing your bedtime routines could also help.
  • Start reworking your morning routines once you have a solid sleep schedule.
  • Online learning can be more tiring for kids, so try to schedule a few breaks.

This year is going to be a challenge. So put the resources above to good use. Also, have some faith and patience with yourself and your family.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Resources:

Raising the Next Generation

jennasherman@parent-leaders.com

 

 

Guest Blogger

I Wonder What I Will Be Like

 

I Wonder What I Will Be Like

I Wonder What I Will Be Like

I wonder what kind of mom I will be

{I} get anxious thinking about it

I wanted this for so long

But now that it is here, I am scared

 

Love and Fear

I love you more than life itself

But you scare me 

I don’t want to blink and you will be gone

The thought of losing you is unbearable

And you aren’t even here yet

 

My Desire

I want to be a good mom

But I know I will make mistakes

I want to admit to you when I make a mistake

So you know that it’s ok to make mistakes

As long as we learn from them

 

What I See

I see so many families

Hurting, every day

Because of poor choices, the parents made

I can’t be that kind of mom

You don’t deserve that

 

What You Deserve

{You} deserve everything

You deserve the world

I want to preserve your innocence

Shield you from this world

 

Will I?

I wonder if I will be good enough

That is the theme of my life

It has always been there

It always will be

 

Love

I love you more than life itself

But I wonder if I will be a good mom

You deserve a good mom

I want to be that for you

 

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

The Reality of my Nightmare

The Reality of my Nightmare

In The Reality of my Nightmare, my guest blogger writes about her interpretation of the trials that surrounded her. She writes it as if she were me. I read it the morning of my friend’s funeral. She is pretty spot on in all that she said.

The Reality of my Nightmare

Writing this seems like a nightmare

I am waiting to wake up from this nightmare because of how real it feels. But when I open my eyes, it will all go away. No. This nightmare is real. I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why? Why me? What did I do wrong to cause these people to knock on my door? Who has been watching me and observing my every movement? 

I am afraid

Afraid to raise my voice even the slightest bit because someone might be watching. Also, I am scared to take my child to the other room for fear that someone might think I will punish them. Afraid to go out in public with my child for fear that someone will judge me the wrong way and call them again. Why me? 

Raising Kids

Raising kids is hard, especially 7 of them. They are all so different in so many ways. Yet, I would not change a single hair on their head because I love them so much. I love my kids with every fiber of my being. I would gladly take any strife or burdens off their shoulders. I will put them on my own if it helps them and their future. 

My kids are special.

Some have mentally challenging issues. Then, others have some physical problems that need my constant attention. Being a mom is hard. It is tiring even. Yet, I am glad God chose these beautiful children to be mine. 

I love fiercely and will do anything in my power to protect them from the world and its temptations. Sometimes, I help others before I think about myself and my needs. I have run ragged, going in different directions to help those in need as God calls me to do. Honestly, I try to open myself up to other moms in various clubs and organizations my kids participate. I try to help them and converse with them when they need a friend or a shoulder to cry on. 

But You

You took care of my child when he played sports on your team. He became best friends with your kids. I thought you loved him like one of your own. He stayed at your house and slept over so many nights. Every time, he had a blast when he came home beaming from ear to ear. He would tell me all about how fun it is at your house. 

Invitation then Betrayal

I invited you into my home, which we manage to keep clean amongst the chaos of having multiple children and animals in the house. And yet, you betrayed my trust by calling them. Why? Why me? 

You know my child is well-fed. We give him clothes and things to toys. Furthermore, we keep him involved in sports. Importantly, we teach him the love of Jesus in everything we do. We fight for him daily because he is different. And that’s okay because I love him so much.

How Would You Feel

You are a mother with kids of your own. How would you feel if someone called them? They showed up at your doorstep asking to be invited in. Then ask you probing questions about your home and relationships with your kids? And what if you found out that it was a supposed “friend” who called them on you. 

How would you feel? 

Betrayed? 

Confused? 

I should hope so. 

That is how I felt. 

Terrifying Agony

The terrifying agony that my kids could be ripped away from me with no warning. Sadly, the wailing and uncontrollable sobbing happened in my car when I got the call. My heart can’t take it anymore. I am so tired of having to justify myself to these people. Justify every action that I do and every word that comes out of my mouth. 

How would you feel? 

Would you demand an explanation from your “friend” and say some nasty things to them in retaliation? Would you constantly look over your shoulder to make sure no one was watching you if you ever had to punish your child in public? Or are you one of those parents letting their children run amuck and do whatever they want? 

Either way, I want you to know that it is understandable if you did not know the family or had never been in their home and seen how the family operates. It would be understandable if you didn’t know my son or me. 

But you did know us. 

I was at every game. I talked to you all the time. And yet, you still called. I could trust you. You have betrayed my trust. But I choose to let God be in control of my situation. I prefer to let God judge your actions when you get to Heaven instead of judging you, which I am not called to do. 

Honestly, I choose to love like Jesus with skin on and be the city on a hill for you. I prefer to let God listen to my sorrowful prayers and collect my tears in a jar. Furthermore, I choose to let God pick me up and comfort me because he knows I am the mom He called me to be. I am not perfect. But God does not call us to be perfect. He calls us to be his disciples and to love our neighbor in his word. 

My house may be messy sometimes, and my kids may drive me crazy most days, but in what reality is home always tidy and the kids always clean and well-behaved? I would love to meet those people and that family. 

Haven’t you ever made a mistake as a parent? 

Because if you say no, that is a bold-faced lie. We fail daily at things. The key is learning from those mistakes, moving on, and leaving the past behind us. Those failures are also successes. I have put several of my kids through a full education (and I have homeschooled them for many years as well). Two of them graduated with honors, which is a huge accomplishment.

Mama Pride

One of my kids is married with a baby on the way. I could not be happier for my sweet child. My smallest child is excelling at what doctors told us would be impossible. Yet, with me by his side, he has survived those odds. 

The moments of pride I feel for the children I raised surpass the moments of sadness I think when things like this happen. I choose to find the beauty in the ashes. I will stand tall and not be shaken by people’s opinions of my family and me.

My Choices

So I will also choose to continue to stand by my children and attend every activity, club, and sporting event they are in. And if you other moms judge me or whisper tall tales about me that are not even true, I will smile and turn the other cheek as God has called me to, even if it is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Cruelty of Others

People can be so cruel nowadays, and they always look at the plank in someone else’s eye rather than focusing on the speck of dirt in their eye. Words can slice through a person and bring them down when we should be standing together as moms and supporting one another rather than bringing them down and jumping to conclusions by calling the organization before they have the facts straight. 

No, we moms are not perfect. But we are doing the best we can with the circumstances we are currently in and the children with whom the Lord has blessed us. I will continue to be the city on a hill and shine my light bright for my kids and you. 

And I know deep down in my heart that God will be pleased with my strength and integrity, and when I get to Heaven, He will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I can not wait for that day to come. 

In the meantime

I will continue to be the most fantastic mom to my kids and a faithful spouse to my husband. I am showing them the light of God. Continuing to shield them from the world will be a lifelong journey, but I would not change one thing about it, not for you or any other mom who says a spiteful word towards me. 

I will pray for you even though it is painful. Because in my darkest moments, I cling to Jesus the most, and when my faith is tested, I come out stronger than ever because my Redeemer is with me. No more hiding. No more fear. I will not be afraid. 

 

Guest Blogger

Revelations of an 18-Year-Old and Social Media Dangers

Revelations of an 18-Year-Old and Social Media Dangers

Revelations of an 18-Year-Old and Social Media Dangers

Every day we get on our phones and scroll aimlessly through social media. We comment on and like our friend’s photos. We even comment on and like celebrities’ photos. Every day we are exposed to pictures and other media that hurt our self-esteem. Every time we go on social media, we see images of people who look a way that we don’t or have things that we don’t, and that causes us to think more negative things about ourselves because we are those other people.

Kids Getting Phones TOO Soon

Kids are getting phones younger and younger these days. I am not shaming anyone, but I feel that it is vital that we look at how social media and phones can affect young and impressionable kids.

 

Growing up, I got a phone when I was in 7th grade. I had to share the phone with my many brothers and sisters. Looking back, creating my social media at such a young age was a stupid idea. From then on, I noticed how much I started to compare myself to other girls. I began to despise myself after a while because I didn’t look like the girls I saw on the internet. I couldn’t fit into a size zero, where my body image issues started.

 

What Happened After a Couple of Years

 

After two years, I slowly started skipping meals. It started slow, maybe skipping a meal or two a week. It got worse rather quickly. I went from only missing one or two meals a week to only eating once a week. I truly felt that there was nothing wrong with that behavior. I felt normal. I got down to a very small size, the smallest I’ve been, and It just wasn’t good for me. Even though I was tiny, I felt like I was 400 pounds. The truth is, I still haven’t fully recovered from my eating disorder. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I started eating more regularly. It’s been rough trying to get myself back on track.

 

It wasn’t until I decided to delete my TikTok and other apps that hurt me mentally That I realized how much those apps impacted me. It was such a toxic environment, and I decided I didn’t want to live in such a vicious cycle. It was genuinely never-ending. Exposing young children, especially young girls, is harmful. I am very passionate about it because I know how much it has affected me.

 

 

Guest Blogger, Lyme Disease, Medical Issues

Lyme Disease Information, Diagnosis, and Healing

 

Lyme Disease Information, Diagnosis, and Healing

Lyme Disease Information, Diagnosis, and Healing

My friend, Lesley Emerson, wrote about her daughter’s Lyme Disease journey a few years ago. Soon after that, we did a series of informational posts on Lyme. After the series, Callie was brave enough to write and bear her soul on this journey of illness, healing, and faith. To ensure this story is not buried amongst other blog posts, I thought I would consolidate them all.

What is Lyme Disease

What IS Lyme Disease? Borrelia: A tick-borne illness that can cause fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and a bulls-eye rash. The bulls-eye rash is only one part of Lyme Disease. There are about a billion other things that are comorbid with this disease. The bulls-eye rash is unmistakable. What starts as a tiny little bump begins to get bigger, warmer, and hard around the center. That’s when you know it is more than a typical tick bite. Seek treatment. Do not settle.

It is a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that gets all up and “screws” into place. The shape makes it incredibly hard to get rid of in the body. There is so much information on the CDC website.

I mean, look at that list above. ALS! MS! Alzheimer’s! Lupus! Bi-Polar Disorder! There are so many more. I’m so thankful for where the Lord led us.

As we followed His path, Callie was healed through non-typical methods. Step out of your box—color outside the lines. Be the patient who does not settle for a blanket diagnosis. Find the root of your illness. You can do this because you are capable and strong.

Lyme Disease Easy to Diagnose

Lyme Disease is easy to diagnose and is easy to treat. You might assume that if it were a possible cause of your illness, your medical provider would have considered that before your diagnosis, and there’s no need to discuss it now.

If Lyme Disease is easy to diagnose, why isn’t it standard practice for anyone showing signs of autoimmune illness, mental illness, autism, or other related illnesses? It’s pure and simple, and nothing shows it better than this picture of Callie administering her IV antibiotics that cost us (with insurance) $700 per week. 

Yes, we had insurance, but they paid for only the first 30 days of treatment. Thirty days is not nearly enough. Callie did this 3-4 times each day and would become very ill afterward. Our medical system has been taken over by greed, thus tying the hands of and misinforming our medical personnel.

I admired his conviction, but honestly, I cannot imagine risking my livelihood for someone I barely know. Please do not assume your doctors considered the possibility of Lyme before diagnosing you with something else.

Btw we found a much cheaper alternative, so don’t let that scare you.

Guess who has Lyme disease: Hereditary??

Hey! Guess Who Has Lyme Disease? ME!

By definition, the word hereditary means determined by genetic factors. Simply put, it can be passed down from generation to generation because Lyme is not correctly diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) or treated promptly. Lyme disease and co-infections are a generation-to-generation gift.

Although I’ve never been sick like Callie was, I know I am a carrier of this little gem because she had it. A tick can carry Lyme disease. However, Lyme is likely to be congenital.

Have you ever noticed that people in your family have similar health issues? Do you ever wonder why or think you are next in line for XY or Z? It doesn’t matter that you have had a negative test for Lyme.

Callie Had Three Negative Tests

The discouragement is real. Also, the weird and random symptoms were real. Fighting, going against the grain of society, and seeking out alternative healing methods is the key. I’m not saying that modern medicine is not something you need. It is. What I’m saying is sometimes you need more.

Lyme Disease does not travel alone. It’s important not to think chronic Lyme disease only stems from ticks. It is most often congenital and is a gift handed down from your parents.

One of the reasons it can be challenging to diagnose or be considered is because the symptoms are so broad. The signs are widespread because several co-infections go along with Lyme, and everyone has a different combo of them.

Lyme never comes alone. It always brings at least one co-infection. Your symptoms may be fatigue and pain, while another has migraines or depression. That’s because you have different co-infections.

Callie had Lyme and four co-infections. Guess who tested positive (although symptom-free) for Lyme and the same four co-infections?

My parents–yup!

Why are they symptom-free? Here’s how it works: God made you with a fully functioning immune system, and if we left it alone, it could handle all the gunk we inherited, plus things we are exposed to now.

Any number of things can give it a whack and make it limp a bit where it cannot fight at its full potential. When that happens, some of these fundamental things can pop up. Of course, we all know that the food we eat and all the junk we are doing to ourselves are a factor. Then other things can give your immune system a whack that’s just enough to be a trigger.

For Callie, it was an exposure to an insecticide (probably while playing soccer). Then she had her 6th-grade booster shots. That whacked her body just enough that she began having her first of many symptoms a month after having them. Because Lyme Disease does not travel alone, she not only Lyme but four other co-infections her body was battling.

Any Big Stressor

I’ve heard others have been in a car wreck or gone through a divorce (any significant stress). Some had gotten a flu shot, had anesthesia or had a significant health crisis. Afterward, their symptoms began.

All of those things can affect the function of your immune system letting congenital Lyme take over. Once Lyme Disease takes over and does not travel alone, other symptoms begin to emerge.

So if your family tree looks similar to the one below, there’s probably a good reason.

ALS and Lyme

ALS and Lyme Sneaky Little Bug. Lou Gehrig’s Disease is often misdiagnosed. However, the root is undiagnosed Lyme Disease. Lyme is such a sneaky little bug.

There are so many things that run comorbid with Lyme. The comorbid diagnosis is the one with the name, when Lyme gets away, undetected. Again, have your doctor do testing through Igenex. That is the key. Please, advocate for yourself if something seems off.

Sadly, it is the beast that is Lyme Disease.

This disease is horrible. A cure needs to be found. It saddens me that one little thing can cause and wreak so much havoc. So often, it is misdiagnosed, and people suffer. Needlessly. I mean, I had Lyme show up because my mom had it. We have to advocate for ourselves and our health. No one else will do it because only you know you.

For more on ALS, please check out The ALS Association.

Where does it hurt?

So, where does it hurt? Your joints, your head, your fingertips, your back? Why are there so many symptoms of Lyme disease?

The bacteria is corkscrew-shaped and can bore into any tissue or organ in your body. How scary is that? It makes me think of something that bores into my skin or organs.

Some people have neurological issues because it is predominantly in their brain, some in their digestive tract or back, or anywhere from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes, making it difficult to diagnose just based on symptoms alone.

Testing is super easy with the Western blot test from Igenex Labs!

When your body is hurting, it is time to enlist the big guns at Igenex Labs! Igenex is the lab that has the most accurate test results. Other tests may come back as a false negative. You want to be accurate in determining whether or not you have Lyme Disease. Please be wise. Ask questions. Be an advocate for yourself. It can be challenging and intimidating, but you are your only advocate. Be loud and be heard.

Lymsomnia

Insomnia, or as Callie used to call it, Lymsomnia, is a prevalent symptom of Lyme disease.

Before treatment, insomnia kept Callie up all night, anywhere from 2-4 nights per week.

That fact adds up over several years. Erik and I took turns sitting with her so she didn’t feel alone. Sadly, this is why we have so many wrinkles, haha! Insomnia is so hard to handle. Losing sleep, restless sleep, or interrupted sleep can cause many other issues. It is a never-ending cycle. Maybe the term “Lymsomnia” should be in the dictionary.

Sleep Deprivation

Some signs that you may be struggling with sleep deprivation are memory issues and critical thinking skills. There can be mood changes, high blood pressure issues, weakened immune systems, etc. Most people blindly accept what diagnosis they are given. Then, they do as the instructions say on the bottle. But. What if it is more.

Sound Familiar?

If you are reading this and these things sound familiar, do not ask your doctor for a Lyme test. A Lyme test will likely come back negative. A negative test is one of the reasons so many people are slipping through the cracks. Also, not getting a proper diagnosis. The test most doctors use is entirely ineffective. There is one test and only one reliable lab in the country. Igenex Labs.

Crohn’s IBS Colitis Behcets

Crohn’s IBS Colitis Behcets Most of the “Lymies” I know have been told they have IBS.

IBS is “a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition you’ll need to manage long term.”

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms are “inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.”

Colitis

Colitis Symptoms is “a chronic digestive disease characterized by inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Infection, loss of blood supply in the colon, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and invasion of the colon wall with collagen or lymphocytic white blood cells are all possible causes of an inflamed colon.”

Behcet’s

Behcet’s Symptoms are “a rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout your body. The disease can lead to numerous signs and symptoms that can seem unrelated at first. They can include mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes and lesions, and genital sores.”

It’s on my list of medical things that have popped up. However, we’ve given it a name. Surprisingly, we did not check to find a root cause. For example, with Lyme, any muscle in your body can spasm. Also, tummy troubles and Lyme go hand in hand.

Please, be aware, ask questions, do not take NO for an answer, and advocate. You are an expert on your body, do not let anyone tell you any different.

 

Life or Something Like It

Upcoming Changes to the Blog

Upcoming Changes to the Blog

Upcoming Changes to the Blog

Upcoming Changes to the Blog are in progress. For one, I’m going to possibly have that boy in an arrangement with my second daughter do some behind-the-scenes work. That means he is going to do things I don’t know about.

An addition will be either a category or a page dedicated to book reviews. I have been reading a lot lately, and I want to share with you what I’m reading to see if it piques your interest. I usually stay away from fiction, though I can stomach a few John Grisham books, and then there are a few classics that I love. Mainly therapeutic books, brain healing (from trauma), Holocaust books, and so on.

I am definitely going to make a page dedicated to Momentum Influencers Network. I have been working with them for years. I want a space dedicated to the reviews and giveaways they offer. This is such a good company, and 98% of the time, they have great opportunities.

Another “piece of business” thing is I am in the process of taking pictures of my kids and grandchild(ren) off social media platforms. This is a personal decision because I never want people to think I’m exploiting my kids for profit (I make nothing). Still, my adult children can give me informed consent, but my young boys cannot. If I have one standard for one kid, it goes for all my kids. I will still talk about them, but I want to respect their privacy.

As for my blog content, I’m on the fence about whether or not to take down posts regarding H’s health or my adoptions. I may go in and rewrite certain things…I want people to know how good God is in everything He worked out about those subjects. Yet, I want to be sensitive to all parties involved.
Now, this will all take time as I’ve been writing for a long, long, LONG time. I don’t even know if anyone reads my blog. My blog is more of a journal for me and an outlet. Recipes are a given; my mental health and my faith journey will still be here, and I will still write about it. Also, I will be accepting guest bloggers on a case-by-case basis. I may even start my FB group back up. It was deleted when I deleted all my social media accounts a year or so ago. I may try and see if there is interest in that. We shall see.

Faith Journey, Guest Blogger

Tested by Fire

In today’s world, a couple who has been married for 27 years is a rarity. My wife, Brandi, and I have been married for that long. One thing I know is you don’t stay married for that length of time without going through the fire. We have had our fair share of fire, for sure.

 

At the beginning of our marriage, I was not a believer. That put a massive strain on us. The first seven years of our marriage were pretty rough. I was not following the Lord and leading like I was supposed to. On several occasions, we were on the verge of divorce. But in 2001, I did surrender to Christ, and things got better, not because of us but because of Him.

 

However, things weren’t all rainbows and unicorns after I was saved. I had an addiction to pornography that started when I was in middle school. My wife was unaware, but light was shown upon the darkness with any sin. Sadly, my addiction continued after she found out, and again our marriage suffered to the point of divorce. But God saved me from my addiction, and I have been delivered from it. He worked a miracle in me and saved our marriage.

 

But as always, life gets in the way of happiness. Job, children, finances, etc., were all distractions to our marriage. Many hurts happened, and we had grown apart. It felt like we were spiraling towards separation again, but God intervened. It was like he hit me over the head with a frying pan. He showed me that I was too focused on myself. I fell on my face and gave it all to the Lord. I decided to love, honor, serve and cherish my wife. God made me realize I was not fulfilling my role as her husband.

 

Since that night, I have done my best to live up to that decision. And I must say; that our marriage is on the mend.

 

Are we perfect people? No.

 

Will we always do or say the right thing? No.

 

Do we/I have the power to choose to love, honor and obey God and each other? Yes.

 

What I’m trying to get at here is that through it all, we have persevered. Has it all been bad? Not. We have more good years than bad. We dwell on the bad more, which is not how it should be.

 

But truth be told, God put Brandi and me together for a purpose. He did not make a mistake because He doesn’t make mistakes. I have loved her from the beginning. I have never stopped. She will forever and always be the one I choose and the one chosen for me. I love her more every day and will love her for the rest of my life. Love you, babe!

 

 

Faith Journey, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger Jenny Clenenden

Guest Blogger

Tips for Turning Your Yard into an Inviting Living Space

Tips for Turning Your Yard into an Inviting Living Space

 

Photo via Pixabay

Tips for Turning Your Yard into an Inviting Living Space

If you’re blessed with a yard, make the most of it! Spending time outside is great for the health of your family, kids, and pets, so your yard space must be safe and inviting for everyone. From outdoor dining areas to living walls, there are numerous ways to make your backyard a relaxing and welcoming space for the whole family! Here are some ideas to inspire you, presented by Barefoot Faith Journey.

Make it Kid-Friendly

Create an outdoor space where you can feel good about letting your children and furry friends romp around.

  • Use educational activities to turn your backyard into a fun outdoor learning center for kids.
  • If you have a pool, ensure that it’s well-maintained.
  • Avoid using chemicals on your lawn that could harm kids or pets.

Grow a Garden

Gardening is an excellent form of exercise and can help your kids develop a connection with nature.

  • If you’re new to gardening, learn how to get started and earn your green thumb.
  • Start small with herbs and leafy greens that you can use in the kitchen.
  • Expand your garden with bright blooms and fresh vegetables.
  • Search “fence contractors near me” to find trustworthy contractors to help you build a fence around your new garden.

Build an Entertainment Space

Create an outdoor patio space where you can lounge with loved ones and entertain guests.

Ready to give your yard a makeover? Whether you go all out and build a covered patio or keep it simple with a kitchen herb garden, there are plenty of great ways to transform your outdoor space into a place where everyone will want to hang out—rain or shine!