Book Processing

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 4

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 4

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 4

 

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 4.  Hahaha, I am only on chapter 3 LOL.  There are 24 chapters in this book.  Sorry, not sorry.  Here is the quote that I’m starting with “Parker insisted we listen to his constant chatter, becoming frustrated if we didn’t listen to every detail of a book he wanted to describe.  He asked silly questions, he knew the answers to and insisted that I answer each time.  When I didn’t, he either tried to pull me into an argument or threw himself on the floor in hour-long temper tantrums and wailing meltdowns.  If I sent him to his room, he threw and kicked things, screaming at the top of his lungs, sometimes for hours.  I thought the screaming would never stop”

The Constant Talking

It became a running joke as to if one child had hit the word count of the day.  We learned quickly to selectively here and nod our heads a lot.  This kept the peace and didn’t cause chaos.  Every once in a while, something would perk my ears up.  I had tuned into hearing things said to others and then confronting her…what happens…confabulation.  Though I was aware of what was going on, occasionally it would still pee in my wheaties and, sadly, I would react.

I Can’t Control the Actions but I Can Control My Reactions

I need that tattooed on my forearm and have a pillow with needle point of that statement for me to see all the time.  Reacting was awful.  It came out as yelling, saying things that I mean but probably shouldn’t say.  Shame was involved because I am the adult, she is the wounded child.  This stuff happened, daily and after 16 years, it has still stayed with me.

The chaos that would ensue was breaking things, self-harm, almost black out type of rages.  I know this is the past coming up and dealing with it.  Therapy was not helping, medication wasn’t helping.  We tried to make sure there was always water and protein to help stimulate and calm the brain.

What I have sense learned is that it didn’t just affect the child, it affected all of my children, they just chose to be silent and not use their voices to express their fears and sadness of what was going on that was out of their control.

That hurts a mama’s heart.  They were trying to protect me and not add more stress to me or their dad.  My kids are resilient and amazing.  Our family was not equipped to handle the mental illness of this child but there was NO help, NO advice, NO support.

This Quote

“My success in parenting Parker did not depend on his behavior.  It came down to mine”  …. ” My success was based on my choices, which I could control rather than his behaviors which I could not.”

I need to marinate on this because it is so accurate.  There is a tendency to own all the choices my kids have made and live in the shame storm.  Shame meaning I am bad.  Guilt meaning I have done something bad.  I, personally, lived in the shame storm but I couldn’t figure out why I was there and how to get out.

I will, forever, apologize to my kids for failing them (in my eyes, not theirs).  I should have always chosen to control my behavior.  There were times that I did control it, ignore it, walk away from it, selectively hear it, do spot damage control, and other methods.  Then, there were times I would yell, break down, beg for help, feel horrible because I am not the nuclear family this child wanted.  I was punished for what I wasn’t and would never be.  I was punished for choosing this child to be a part of my family.

Learning as We Go

“I wish I had better understood their young emotional age.  Much of my frustration came from comparing them to other children of the same chronological age (or even sometimes much younger).  I would look at my kid and think, ‘This child SHOULD be able to do what I’ve asked,’ or, ‘They SHOULD be able to play by themselves for one minute.’ I had to learn to let go of “should” because many times the kids simply couldn’t do what I expected.”

Never never never compare your children, born in the heart, to other children that come from their nuclear family.  Never.  That is a recipe for disaster.  When things escalate, I literally think oh, I’m now parenting a 9 yr old (when in actuality, they are 18).  Children who have come from trauma tend to look their physical age and on a good day mostly hover around that age.  When they are escalated, they go 1/2 their age (going from 18 to 9).  When things are beyond coming back from, you are in the level of when their abuse started (for the example provided, that would be 2.5 yrs old).

Breaking it Down

So, your 18 yr is having a moment because they couldn’t remember after being told numerous times to feed an animal.  They throw a fit because you start asking more sternly and that shoots them to 8 and 8 year old behaviors (stomping, slamming doors, etc).  You tell them to stop doing those things and get on with the task at hand.  Mistake.  Now we are parenting an 18 yr old 2.5 yr old.  Literally, time-out or time-in is all that works.

We have to get in some protein and water to get the brain back to the higher executive functioning in their thinking.  We do this because, at this moment, they are working off the lower part of their brain.  That’s not we want and we certainly don’t want them to work off the lower part and then because I’m frustrated working on the lower part of my brain.

It always ends in tears and apologies.

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Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 3

Night by Elie Wiesel

Spaghetti Carbonara

Book Processing

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 3

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 3

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 3

 

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 3.  This book is packed with so much that I am basically rereading in order to pull out all the gems that will help ME process the last 16 years.  “I found myself jealous of the other parents and embarrassed at being the only one having to supervise her elementary-aged children so closely.  What I didn’t know at the time was that my children were going through a very normal phase, just not at the typical age.”

Can We Just Talk About the Jealousy?

I had it in spades.  It wasn’t so bad when one of my children was younger because my kids all clumped to me when we would go out anywhere.  The problem began when they hit pre-teen ages.  There would be events at church, I would send my kids.

Huge problem.

One kid would have fun, another kid would have fun, but then I would have a phone call about another kid.  This child acted out, sat where they were not supposed to, mainly outside, angry, triangulating adults and children, overly obsessed with certain objects and people.

One Time

My husband was fixing to have a scope done on his knee.  We were at church, that Wednesday night.  Wednesdays were hard because one kid would consistently start something with someone and have to set by us at the church meal (again, reference the above quote).

At this time, we were working with this child’s nutrition to see if it would help with behaviors.  We started out with cutting out sugar.  Now, did we announce this to the world?  No.  If she had something that another person didn’t know she shouldn’t have…I mean what are you supposed to do?  It isn’t the other person’s fault.  The child is manipulative and can sell ice to an Eskimo.

Well, going through the supper line, this child didn’t get dessert, but man her face said that dissatisfied with that decision.  So, we all sat down and again, the ladies came by to offer more food and again, there was the look of “I can’t have that.”

I could have explained to these ladies but then I thought, “ya know, they don’t live in my house, we are the parents, and I don’t have to explain our choices we make for our children.”  I guess they didn’t approve of me not defending our choices.

Unknowingly to My Husband or Me

Things were brewing and we were oblivious.  Our pastor came to us and said he needed to talk to us after service.  We thought, because he knew about the scope, that he was going to pray over us before the procedure.

Oh, no he didn’t.

He came in the room and proceeded to tell us that the supper ladies were very concerned about how we parent this child.  Also, how very wrong it is of us to deny this child dessert.  That they were looking for reasons to call CPS because she always looked sad.  That we need to consider how we present ourselves as parents.

Wisdom on My Part

I got up and walked out of the room.  At that moment, I knew that I would say something that was not going to be kind.  I was done.  This was the second church we were going to have to leave because of the assumptions of the “holier than thou” people.

It must be quite hard to parent 2 typical children and then sit back and judge a family who has 7 (this is the same church that told us not to go to home groups because there were too many of us).  Again, zero support.

I took a moment and then I used my words and discovered the 2 spear heads that orchestrated this intervention.  They were demanding that we sit down with them and tell them the stories of my kids.

There was no way, on God’s green Earth, I was going to do that.  My kids’ story is THEIR story to share when THEY want to share it and IF they want to share it.  I refused to share the pain and the things we were doing to try and HELP our child be the best version of themselves they can be.

We stopped going to home church and Wednesday nights.

A Precious Man

The associate pastor called me and we met and talked about what all had happened.  He was mortified.  He helped with suppers on Wednesday night and he was blindsided with what the catty ladies and the 2 spear heads were discussing (us and not the menu).  He cried.  I cried.  He brought in one of the ladies, whom he had already spoke to, and she half-assed apologized to me.  The other lady still demanded me to tell her their story.  Cornered me in every area.  I told her that she needed to remove herself from my space or it would not end up well for her.  I was furious.

Only because of my Lady did we ever darken to the doorsteps of that church on Wednesday night.  Also, the pastor (ugh) also offered to take one of my children to his house for, I think, his daughter’s birthday or a get together or something.  Well, he called me, needed me to COME AND GET this child because my child was doing what she does best at the time and was causing conflict with excessive obsession.  Too much for a bunch of 12 year olds to handle.  I get it.

He apologized for not completely seeing what we had been trying to convey to him for years.  I appreciated that but the damage to my family was already done.  I stayed for the associate pastor and my Lady.

Filling in the Gaps

“Wounded kids needed to fill in the gaps in their childhood…acting out their emotional age.”  Yes, yes, yes.  When my kids were younger, though they were 6 and 2.5 years old (even my 21 mth old), we bought them diaper bags.  We filled them full of things that one would buy for their newborn babies.  I took what little pictures I had and made them a baby book (we also had a memory book for each of the foster care homes they were in).  I asked them if they wanted me to put the information in the book like I had given birth to them or to try and fill in the book with what I knew about their birth mother had.  They both chose for me to fill it out like I had given birth.

Done and diaper bag packed.

We also swaddled them, rocked them, sang nursery rhymes to them, fed them with a bottle, had pacis (if they asked).  Most every night, we would have 2 newborns at the ages of 2.5 years old and 6 years old.  We were trying to help them feel like they belonged, were wanted and loved.  They would ask to do these things, often, and we always tried to oblige.

When you talk about emotional age, I had a child who was 6 and emotionally she was 3.  My 2.5 year old was emotionally a newborn.  It is and continues to be about 1/2 their physical age.  You have to account in the diagnosis of each child and the age when trauma started.

Stranger Danger

“Neither child displayed an ounce of stranger-danger, a trait very common to children with attachment issues.  Both kids would walk right up to a stranger and stand very close to them, as if they were family.  If we were present, the kids would stand closest to the strangers and as far away from us as possible.  Someone walking into the situation would have incorrectly assumed the kids belonged to the stranger’s family.  It was stressful trying to keep them safe.”

Oh dear, one child was pole dancing in the Sunday School class to the song Jesus Loves Me.  The teachers freaked out and asked where she learned that.  She said “my mom.”  At the time, they did not know us and didn’t know that we had adopted these children.

Many times, I would find my kids in the laps of older men that, even I, didn’t know.  When I tried to talk to the teacher or person about boundaries, they got offended and the pastor (this was the first church we attended when the kids came to live with us) cornered me in the stairwell and screamed at me for being such a horrible person.  I mean screamed.  Though I kept asking to go to his office, with my husband, he refused and continued to berate me.

Another child would show up, at a ballgame, with a wad of gum in the mouth or candy.  I would ask where it came from and all that was said was that stranger over there.  I’m like “WHAT??!!” This child had no clue that this was not safe.

I Get It

These children are taken from all the know.  The smells, tastes, sights, familiarity and plopped into a home where they know nothing…a stranger.  They are asked to fit in, do not cause ripples, blend in with strangers.  It makes sense to always seek comfort from a stranger.  That’s what they were asked to do.  Trust a stranger and now we are telling them NOT to trust strangers.  How difficult must that be for a young child?

Honestly, it all just sucks.  Free-will sucks.  God is still good and He still has a plan and a purpose for all things under heaven.  I have to choose to have hope and believe that one day, either here or in heaven, all will be healed and my family will all be reunited.

 

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Processing Through Dancing with a Porcupine Part 1

Book Processing

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 2

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 2

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 2

 

Processing Dancing with a Porcupine Part 2.  Here is another quote by Jennie Owens “deeply wounded children push others away so no one else can get close enough to hurt them ever again.  After being abandoned so many times, they reject you before you have the chance to reject and abandon them.  In an effort to protect themselves, they especially push away the primary caregiver, and he or she becomes the target for their anger.  They try to prove they don’t deserve love or anything good, because they believe this about themselves.”

Another WILDLY Accurate Statement

I can’t say this is true for all my kids that were born in my heart, but for 1 in particular.  It was from the moment we said “hello” that it was game on.  Upon reading the backstory, learning as much as I could, asking questions, that I finally understood.

This particular child’s bio mom told her, at a VERY young age, that if this child were really bad, they would give her back.  Of course, as sane minded people, everyone that heard that knew it was a lie.  Granted bio mom could have gotten her child back had she followed the plan provided for her.  She didn’t want to do that.  That was completely in her control and she chose not to do anything on the plan.  The courts hands were tied.

Yet, that statement carried with this particular child and it was taken to the nth degree with many homes before our home became the final home.  So because I never gave up, 99.9% of the anger and behavior was saved all up for me. Outisde of my home, this child was “perfect and unscathed.”

Seriously wanted to smack people upside the head when they would say that.

Not Getting What was Wanted

This child wanted the nuclear family that left.  A mom, dad, grandparents, siblings…every child wants that.  Again, these kids are leaving everything they have ever known and then going to live with a complete stranger.  How scary is that?

Eventually, some key people began to catch onto the actions of this child.  That caught the eye of therapists, the school, doctors, people at church, family and we did everything that was required of us (as foster parents and then adoptive parents) that was within our grasp.  We wanted this child to know the world was just waiting and what a powerhouse this child could be.

That’s not what was wanted.

Bigger, Stronger, Powerful Darkness

These are words that this child would talk about.  How the darkness would consume this child and it made this child feel bigger, stronger, and powerful.  This was a desired feeling.  Yet again, this was only directed at me.  There were times when this child would “slightly” hurt someone younger, when no one was looking, and then be the one to “rescue” said hurt child.  That was an aspect of life where we had to make the rule that an adult always had to be present for safety purposes.

Most of the hate was thrown my way and it was always my fault when things didn’t go as planned.  This child was trying to get me to change my mind.  To fall out of love and get rid of, to return this child back to the nuclear family that was so coveted.

I guess my love was bigger.  My sanity was giving out but my persistence paid off.  Sadly, this is more common than not especially when you choose older children.  It feels impossible especially when you do not have a support system.

Another Statement

“Sabotaging her own success at times and keeping herself out of an uncomfortable situation at other times, Brianna complained to others that we didn’t give her enough freedom, even though the situation was of her own making.”

I could write an ENTIRE BOOK on that statement alone.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  All we (Bart and I) ever wanted to do was give more yeses than no’s.  Can I have a snack cake for breakfast?  Yes.  Can I go outside and ride my bike?  Yes.  Can I have a sleepover at XYZ house?  No.  This is why we don’t need to do sleepovers but your friend can come over and play or if it is okay with the other parent, you can go and play for a couple of hours.

We wanted the yeses with the understanding that sometimes we would have to say no.  Sometimes, I could give a reason.  That reason was never accepted and it would always end up being a constant argument, discussion, pout session.  Then, there were other times when this child (or any kid) didn’t need a reason.  We are the parent and this is a rule and we have rules to keep everyone happy, healthy, and safe.

One child would state that they would get “so excited” that that is why they self-sabotaged all good things.  We had to parent completely different and I hated that but it was for the betterment of a child, or two, or three, so on and so forth.  We would extend a privilege and then get a phone call later stating what happened and that we needed to come and get that child.  From that point on, my child wasn’t welcomed.

When That Happened

We would distance ourselves from the entire event, family, church, etc.  Yes, this child may have screwed up but if you took the time to get to know this person and maybe the smallest of background info to help you understand…maybe it would have been different.  Where one of us is not welcome, none of us are welcome.  That’s how we lost a lot of friends, family, and churches.  Even if these people had a legit reason, which most of the time they did.  They couldn’t see past that event and show grace and understanding.

Basically, my family didn’t fit into the mold of what most people thought we should fit into.  My kids lost out on a lot of stuff standing up for this child.  I know they have resentment but I also know they have resilience.  These types of things created in them compassion, refinement, tolerance, and love…even though it sucked during that time.

Lots More to Unpack

But this blog post is getting too long.  There may be many parts to this because I want to bring awareness where there may not be any.  Part 3 coming soon!  Promise to keep them shorter.

 

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Book Processing

Processing Through Dancing with a Porcupine Part 1

Processing Through Dancing with a Porcupine Part 1

Processing Through Dancing with a Porcupine Part 1

Processing Through Dancing with a Porcupine Part 1.  You can find my overall review of this book under the book reviews 2022 page.  This is the part where I’m going to break down the book piece by piece.  I won’t necessarily do this for every book, but this one had some things that I will write about in order to process things in my own head.

Quote

Jennie Owens states “parenting one severely traumatized child was equal to parenting ten typical children” in her book Dancing with a Porcupine.  Can we all stand up, with our streamers, and holler HELL YES SISTER PREACH!!!???

So, I have 4 children that have been severely traumatized…that means I am raising 40 children in those 4 plus my 3 “typical” children.  I feel like the word “typical” is subjective but I get what she is saying here.

In saying that, I have a question….where in the HELL are all the “supportive” people?  The non-judgemental people who say they understand and will support you?  Where might those people be?

Where They Are Not

In our homes, outside family, church, school, therapist offices, court rooms, etc.  Obviously there are exceptions to the rule but seriously finding an advocate that understands is like picking a flea off an elephants ass.

Maybe I’m bitter.

Okay, so I’m REALLY bitter.

But, I’m also telling the truth.

If you confide in a friend…they will either conveniently leave or disappear, they will call CPS, gossip about you and your parenting style, assume the worst in you and your spouse, and so on.  A doctor and/or therapist will throw pills and tapping procedures at you.  Family just wants to love and not worry about what is really going on.  Schools are a joke.  Court rooms are also a funny fun fun time.

It’s hard.

Now, I Must Say

Right now I have a good support system.  I have weeded through those wolves, the Lord has seen the mountains they have thrown in my path and He crushed them.  I just love it when He puts people in their place.

We are in a good church with some very loving and supportive people and our Richie and Jenny are amazing.  My family has stepped up because I have allowed them to see more than what I would normally allow.

Schools…joke.  Therapist…non-existent or so expensive I would have to sell a kidney to get the type of therapy my kids need.  Luckily, the court system is not in our picture.  I do have a friend or two that get it because they have or are currently living it.

Had it not been for these people, I would have gone insane.  I think I hit that moment where I officially should have been committed to an institution for help.  In fact, my therapist told me that that was on her plan if I couldn’t process.  I dissociate very badly.  We are working on that.

Add that Quote

To all the other things that were going on in my life.  Home disruption, grandbaby being born, health issues, weddings, OMS, and life in general.  Acute trauma was always present in all forms and ready to devour me and my family.

Raising kids with trauma is no joke.  It is a war.  Sometimes you lose the battle and sometimes you win.  In the end, we all know Who wins the war and that is where my focus has to be on.  As a believer, I have to remember that I have read the last page of the Book and we win!  That is what gives me hope.

Would I ever not choose any of my kids?   I would choose them a 1000 times over again because the Lord gave them to me and Bart.  He entrusted us with all of our children.  We have not always been good stewards of these gifts, but we try and we love and we choose to release control of the things that we cannot change.

That, my friends, is progress.

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What is and is Not in My Control

Book Reviews 2022

Life or Something Like It

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control.  I am a work in progress.  Without hesitation, I can tell you that trying to control all the things is 99.9% of my problem.  Well, that and lack of trusting anyone…maybe that goes hand in hand, I don’t know.  It’s a problem.  I know that, get it, and respect it.  There is a problem and I am it.

What is IN My Control

  • my self-care
    • I get my hair done
    • Massages
    • Tattoos
    • Alone time at night
    • Reading
  • asking for help
    • Reaching out to family
    • Communicating with Bart and being vulnerable
    • Therapy
  • my decision
  • the friends I have
    • I don’t do this one well
  • my actions
    • I have apologized to those I need to
    • Forgiven most people I need to
    • The Lord has made me HYPER aware
  • my boundaries
    • Hahahahaha
  • my thoughts
    • Oohhh….
  • my attitude
    • Well….
  • my words
    • Uhmmm….
  • what I say
    • Learning how to use them
    • Learning how to RESTRAIN from using them
    • Work in progress

What is OUT of My Control

  • who likes me
  • past mistakes
  • other’s feelings
  • what others think
  • other’s apologizing to me
  • other’s actions
  • what other people believe
  • weather
  • who loves me
  • other people’s time
  • someone else’s distraction

What is on Your List?

My struggle in the “out of my control” list is who likes me (why does this bother me so badly), past mistakes (I can’t forget), what other’s think of me, other’s actions, what other people believe, and who loves me.  Those are my achille’s heel problems.  What is on your list?

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Silence with a Side of Stirring

Silence with a Side of Stirring

Silence with a Side of Stirring

Silence with a Side of Stirring is the only phrase that I can use to make sense of what is going on in my mind.  There is SO much I want to say.  In saying that, I stay silent for fear of judgment, isolation, retaliation, and so much more.  What people need to realize is that if someone is silent…don’t mistake that silence for ignorance, apathy, or stupidity.  I have not been silent for any of those reasons.

In this season, or new year, I have been reading a lot of books.  I read books on the Holocaust because the resilience of the Jewish people and the Gypsies inspire me.  In the face of such pain, trauma, starvation, and so much more they rise.  I have also been reading a lot on trauma, making peace with your past, working through unforgiveness, and so much more.  In March, I only read a couple of books and started a couple more.  I intend on finishing those I started and working through my library.

My goal is to work through some of the things, in my mind, through questions, comments, and statements made by the authors of the books I’ve been reading.  There are still some things I am processing through and I have to stop and mull some statements over.

Quote

I read something on Instagram (of all places) that says “A history of trauma will have you mistaking peace for boredom.”  That is where I have found myself.  I have gone from many children, in my home, to few and it is strange.  It is a strange feeling to hear myself think or listen to myself breathe.  Everything that surrounds me and everyone is loud.  I have a lot of people in my life and I love the noise of the laughter, discussions, and busyness.

Now, it isn’t so busy.  I have married children, children in college, and then those at home.  It’s quiet.  Painfully so.  In that quietness has come peace.  A peace I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.  I thought my days would have a shorter number because of the constant state of stress that I lived under.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still stress, still stressors, still medical issues, still some busyness, but not near what I was experiencing.  For instance, today, we are down a vehicle, on spring break, one kid is having surgery, another has obligations, a mom that needs to see my face due to some severe health issues, and phone calls to be made.

I feel like I need to go back to work or volunteer or do something.  My days are spent resting (quiet literally), reading, somedays I binge watch television, I clean, organize, cook.  After school lets out, it gets hectic with homework and running kids from here to there and yonder.  Also, I keep my sweetness on 2 days a week, so she completely occupies my time.

Peace vs Boredom

According to Webster’s Dictionary, PEACE means “a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations .”  On the other hand, BOREDOM is defined as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.”

Basically, what I thought of as being “bored” is actually the definition of “peace.”  That is so weird to say and it is even weirder to feel.  I am not weary, restless, or lack interest in things.  I just feel weird with the silence and no fires to put out.  For so long, that’s what I did.  I would get up in the morning, fill up my water pistol, and walk downstairs into hell and put the fires out at my feet.  Fight, flight, freeze, fawn mode is the state(s) that I lived in for years.

I don’t have that anymore.  It’s like, “now what?”  What do I do with myself?  It is quiet.  I only do one load of laundry a day.  There are not 5 dogs barking in the house, no 30 cats waiting to come in and eat, no chickens to feed/collect from, no drama, no fighting, no hospital stays, nothing.

I find myself, randomly, breaking into a fit of tears over nothing and everything all at the same time.  It’s like my body is releasing all the tension that has been collected for the last 16 years.  I don’t think I go a day without crying, randomly.  All things are triggers.  I am beginning to allow myself to feel for the first time in a long long time.

Revelations and Realizations

This past weekend, I was able to visit with all of my children, at one point and way or another.  It was a bittersweet feeling knowing they were all so close yet not all under my roof.  I wasn’t sure how I would handle one visit.  My son and I had great conversation and I revel in the fact of how our relationship has changed.  It is so good and it forces a communication that we have both longed for but didn’t know how to achieve.  We are slowly achieving it and I’m so thankful and proud of the young man he is becoming.

Another son came and we had some deep conversation.  Conversation that we typically have via the phone but this time, I got to see his face and he see my face.  Sometimes that is so needed.  I look at him, in awe, of where he is in life and that he is growing up and making some good (and bad) adult decisions but is trying to do his best.  That’s all I could ever ask for.  We had fun running around town.

My girls (2 of them) were able to come over and we enjoyed our grandbaby and soon to be grandbaby.  We laughed, ate, messed, and gobbed for such a long time.  It was so nice.  My adult children are coming into their own in what they like and what they don’t like.  They are such good wives and moms.  I love it.  I also love that I have their significant others to help do some things around my house…cook…and just let me be me and love me regardless.  It must be hard coming into a family like mine.  Bless them.

Bart and I met up with our third daughter.  We hadn’t seen her in a while and she was able to come down.  We met and gave her some of her treasures that we finally found upon FINALLY unpacking ALL the boxes from our move.  That has been a thing…so hard and emotional to go through them all (and there were so many).  I was able to find most of what she had been looking for and we got her some groceries and snack foods for her trip back to where she stays.  I said the things that were on my heart and I was able to hug her.

Relearning How to Do Life

Bart told me, not to long ago, that I had to trim down my cooking.  I’m used to cooking for 10 or more people.  I don’t think I have ever cooked small.  I can make a casserole out of leftovers.  Shelf-cooking is a daily happening.  I don’t need much to feed a ton of people.  Yet, I can’t figure out how to cook for just a few.

The other night, I made a ham, turkey, bacon, potato type of concoction (needing to use a lot of 1/2 packages in my fridge and pantry).  I thought I was doing good.  Then, I realized, I had enough to fill up 3 13×9 dishes :/  I kid you not.  There was a 1/2 package of turkey, 1/2 a pound of bacon, 1/2 of a thing of Ky Legend Ham, about 6 potatoes, some leftover spinach, you get the point.  So, we ate on that for a week.  I froze the last whole one (we are having that tonight).  Honestly, I can’t cook for a few.

Can anyone relate to this?  I mean, I can leave the house for 1 hour to run to the store and it is okay.  We are thinking about downsizing our vehicle because one kid is close to being able to afford a car, the other is getting ready for his permit, and then our youngest…well, we have to cart him around.

So strange.

What I Can/Cannot Control

I am learning that I can’t control other peoples words, actions, or thoughts.  What I can control is my reactions.  If something seems “off”, I have the ability to make phone calls and find out the truths that help soothe my soul.  I can’t control if someone is being honest, but let me tell you, it is easier to remember the truth than to remember what lie you told what person.  That has to be hard to come up with.  I’m at peace, regardless.

It is truly sad what some people say and how others are so easily manipulated.  People I have known for a lifetime believe all the bad things without stopping to think “is what is being said indicative of the last XXX I have known this person?”  If it doesn’t match up, use your words with that person and not by gossiping or assuming.  It really is that simple.

So much to say, but my boy baby is on his way home from a procedure and he needs my attention.  Peace.  I am at peace.  I am not bored and do not need to fill up my life with unnecessary crap.  This is a season for healing…once I’m healed, the Lord will guide me to my next project.

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I Don't See You Working

I Don’t See You Working

We are at the end of January 2022 and it has sucked.  I’m sitting here listening to Waymaker by Mandisa.  One of the phrases is “even when I don’t see it, You are working.”  I have not seen Him work, but I have to have faith that He is.  He has a plan and purpose not to harm us but to prosper us.

Tonight, I’m feeling a little different.

In a Nutshell

We’ve had a child with co-vid, a child who doesn’t speak to us, a child who is in the midst of severe trauma, a child in waiting, a child with a child who is struggling with sleep, a child anxious, and a child finding his way.

We also have had a mama with co-vid, a daddy with bronchitis, a brother-in-law with cancer, a best friend who died of co-vid, my niece’s fiance’ died of co-vid, and so much more.  This was supposed to be a new year full of possibilities.

Yet, it has started off with pain.  Severe pain, sadness, grief, and trauma

Talking with a Friend

I was chatting with a friend, the ex-wife of my friend that passed today.  We still can’t process his death.  She is so scared and sad for their children.  Sad because that was her first love and they met as teens.  Life had twists and turns for them.  In the end, they are both happy.  This is a good thing but it came with pain.  My heart physically aches for his kids and his wife (and my friend).

He would have been 49 this year.  So young, such a good human, and so much left to do.  He was going to be a grandfather for the first time.  He hadn’t seen his youngest daughter get married yet.  His son become the teacher that he has always desired to be.  His wife left behind.

On my side, he never got to see my new house.  He never had the chance to cook me a deer burger and prove to me that deer is good.  We all raised our kids together for the longest time.  My kids love him.  My husband counted him as a great human and friend.  He was loved.

Now, he is gone.  Just gone.  Like no longer here.  I can’t process that thought.  He is always supposed to be here.  We joked that he was going to make my casket one day because he could build anything.  He was brilliant.  He was loved.  He was my friend.

Was.

That is past tense.

How do we move past this?  How do we accept this?  How do people keep doing their thing not knowing a great human closed his eyes here on earth and opened them in the presence of our Father.

How?

My Sweet Girl

She is fixing to lay to rest the love of her life.  Chad was a quiet man when I was around him.  He was a funny fella.  He came into my mom’s at Christmas wearing the ugliest sweaters I have ever seen.  I simply said, “what is wrong with you man?”  He just smiled.

He loved my girl so much.  The thought of her going through this final step is unbearable in my heart.  I so just want to hug, rock her, and make it better.  I can’t.  I can’t fix this for her.  Her faith is so strong.  Chad is with our Father and he is waiting on her but it doesn’t ease her heart right now.

I simply ache.

Reaching Out to a Friend

The day Jason died, I found out that another friend was just put on the ventilator with co-vid.  He has a beautiful wife and 2 adult children.  He is our age, as well.  I reached out to his sister-in-law offering my prayers and to see if there was anything I could physically do for their family.  I can’t fix this situation but I can cook for them and make sure their house is clean.

This Past Week

From about Wednesday till Sunday, I have canceled all the things.  I have taken my kids to school and then come home to do nothing.  Nothing.  I have slept, done moderate housecleaning and laundry.  I have also cooked supper but it is has been easy dishes that require no thinking.  I’ve rarely answered my phone.  I can’t seem to function.  My body is just so tired.  My heart is so tired.  My mind is so tired.

Trying to process all the things has been to taxing for me to do anything, yet I still have to parent.  The afternoons and evenings are always busy and I can’t stop on my family.  We, again, are dealing with such tough things.  Raising kids that come from trauma is never-ending and when you add to the past trauma, we have co-vid and the acute trauma of what has been happening this month.  They know I’m not okay.  They hear me cry.  My teenage boys just lay their heads on my shoulder because there is nothing they can do to mend their mama’s heart.

What I Have to Cling To

He is in control.

Our days are numbered and there is nothing we can do to change that number.

When we have Jesus in our hearts, our eyes close on Earth to open in the presence of Jesus.

He captures all of our tears in a bottle.  None are wasted.

It is okay to rest.

It is okay to cry.

He is in the midst of it all, working all things out for the glory of the Kingdom.

Breathe.

Rest.

Eat.

Cry.

Process.

Jason and Chad’s forever has begun though they are missed beyond measure for those left behind.

Lyrics

You are here, moving in our midst
I worship You
I worship You
You are here, working in this place
I worship You
I worship You
You are here, moving in our midst
I worship You
I worship You
You are here, working in this place
I worship You
I worship You
You are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness, my God
That is who You are
You are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness, my God
That is who You are
You are here, touching every heart
I worship You
I worship You
You are here, healing every heart
I worship You, Jesus
I worship, you turning lives around
You are here, oh, turning lives around
I worship You
I worship, You mended every heart
You are here, mending every heart
I worship You
I worship You
And You are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness, my God
That is who You are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness, my God
That is who You are (yeah, sing it again)
You are the
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
(Light in the darkness, my God)
(That is who You are) oh, it’s who you are, Jesus, yeah
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness, my God
That is… sing “That is who you are”, oh
That is who You are
And that is who You are
And that is who You are
(That is who You are) my Jesus
That is who You are
(That is who You are) oh, and it’s right
That is who You are
(That is who You are) my Jesus, oh yeah
yes it is, yeah, it’s who you are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
(Light in the darkness, my God) hey
(That is who You are)
Let’s sing this together, “Even when I don’t see it”, c’mon, even when…
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop, You never stop working, c’mon
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop, You never stop (working) oh
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop (You never stop working) whoa
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
yeah
You never stop, You never stop working
you’re the way maker, yeah
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness, my God
That is who You are, eh, yeah
Light in the darkness, my God
That is… Sing “That is who you are”, ohh
That is who You are
Oh, and that is who You are
yeah
That is who You are
That is who You are
oh, it’s who you are, my Jesus
Miracle worker, promise keeper
(Light in the darkness, my God)
That is who You are
You are
Way maker (miracle worker, promise keeper)
Light in the darkness, my God
Oh, his name is above, his name is above depression
His name is above loneliness
Oh, his name is above disease, his name is above cancer
His name is above every other name, listen, listen
That is who You are
Jesus
And that is who You are
Oh, I know that is who You are

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

 
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is something that I will be doing.  After a couple of years of tackling acute trauma in my life, a decision came to pass. I have decided to move forward with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).  EMDR is a type of therapy that helps you process your trauma through eye movement.  Sounds crazy, right?
 

When I Started Therapy

 
It was hard.  I’m not gonna lie.  I told my therapist that I was there for only 52 days (read the book of Nehemiah and you will understand that).  There was one memory that I wanted to do EMDR on. Sounds simple, huh.
 
I love therapy (hence my Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy).  The thought of being able to help someone through the muddy waters until it becomes clear running is my jam.  I love seeing beauty come from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
 
Yet, it is SUPER hard for me to be in the clients seat because I know all the logical things.  I know what to tell myself.  I know how to process things.  I did not enjoy my time, at all.  I was the worst client in the history of ever.
 

Sessions

 
We did the first session and I freaking went somewhere where I did not want to go.  That was not my mission, that was not part of my 52 day plan.  Not.  At.  All.  I was so pissed when I left.  The next session we did EMDR, I could not focus.  I was already walled up because I did not want to go where I was the previous week.  The third visit, we did the DUMBEST grounding shit ever.  I laughed so hard because she was so serious and it was not my jam.  I am assuming she guessed that when I said “this is the stupidest shit ever and I’m not doing it anymore.”
 
Point taken.
 
Bless her heart.
 
I would have fired me as a client.
 

Co-Vid Hit

 
With that, we had to do virtual visits.  Again, not my jam.  I couldn’t focus because my kids were loud.  I didn’t feel like I was in a safe place and I couldn’t focus.  It was hard.  That therapist moved out of the office and took another job in another state (had nothing to do with me LOL).
 
They switched me to another counselor.  I was set to not mesh with this lady because my mind was already made up.  EMDR was stupid, not affective, my 52 days was up, no progress and now I had to rehash everything with another person.
 
Not happy.
 

Getting to Know Her

 
My new therapist was my jam.  We clicked immediately.  She didn’t make horrific faces when I said things.  It was easy.  Comfortable.  I’m so grateful to her and how she made me feel so safe, immediately.
 
EMDR has yet to happen (next week) but our focus was on the MASSIVE acute trauma that I faced, weekly.  I kid you not, every week, was a new trauma.  I’m glad she could swim because she was in the deep in with me.
 

Complicated Party of 1

 
My life is very complicated.  My past is very complicated.  I’m very complicated.  I’m an empath to the nth degree.  There are so many things that I blame myself for and I carry with me these notions that are not true.
 
We could not even address my past because my present was so tangled. My present was getting more and more knotted every single day.  There were days that I couldn’t breathe.  There were times when she was almost insistent that I go somewhere to get in patient care.  That’s how bad I was.
 
I kept in close contact with my doctor (medication), pastor, my mom and sisters, and my amazing husband.  Without this support (and especially my husband), I would not have made it.  I still have bad days but they are fewer and farther between.
 

Addressing it All

 
Now, we are ready to dive into EMDR.  Today, was in preparation for next week and let me tell you, it was hard as hell.  The prep sucked.  We are going to try and do EMDR through virtual visits.  If that doesn’t work, we have a plan. One week, I will drive to the center to do EMDR in person. This will be with another counselor. Then, the next week, I will process the next week with my normal counselor.  I’m praying that the virtual does its thing and that I can break down this walls and mindsets that keep me captive.
 

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

 
I may write about my processing, as it helps me.  Yet, I may not publish it LOL.  I may keep it private to protect those that still need protecting.  I can write on my blog and keep it private.  I don’t know yet.
 
Today, I learned what a trigger was for me.  What reality is and what lies I chose to believe.  Now, we have to untangle that mass of lies.  This is where we separate the lies from the truth and then live in the land of reality.  Instead of it being a trigger, it will be a memory that does not affect me as it does now.  Right now, it is crippling.
 

You are Not Alone

 
Please, if you struggle with mental illness, I want you to know something.  You are NOT alone.  You are normal.  You matter.  You deserve love.  You are enough.  Please seek help from a counselor, pastor, friend, or family member.  Write, draw, drive around, get on medication, get an emotional support animal.  Do what you need to do to help yourself because you matter. 
 
I will keep those who care or are curious updated as I move along this process.

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Last Night

A lot of things happened.  You can read about most of it from yesterday’s post.  There are some other things that occurred that should have rocked me to my core.  Let me backtrack.  It did.  The revelation bothers me immensely BUT I had peace.

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve experienced peace that surpasses all understanding.  Last night was one of those nights.  Maybe I was still in a moment of grief and sadness due to the loss of people I held dear to my heart.  Maybe it was God’s sweet way of just hugging me.

I don’t know.

I do know, however, that today, I’m still in that headspace.  Now, my body is certainly continuing to keep the score with what is happening physically but mentally and emotionally, I am okay.  This is a huge deal for me.  Normally, it takes me days to recover from such an encounter.

It is often that I will get angry (fear and/or sadness), I will wilt under the pressure when it is dark and cry myself to sleep.  There are many times that I just leave and go for a drive in order to keep it all pushed down.

I did not do that this time.

This time, I sought wisdom from friends.  I let them do the heavy lifting because they are not in the moment and can see things objectively.  There was a realization that I could not do that and if I tried, things would escalate.

Then, I reached out to 3 people I consider to be prayer warriors.  When in doubt, let God deal with it.  My husband was a huge support as he chose to lead this issue instead of watching me flounder.  This has been a past experience and I’m glad that he stepped up for us both.  Lastly, I contacted my child’s physician and got an appointment for this morning.  We were all three able to talk, calmly, and come up with a plan.

Breath Prayers

As I finished out the night, afraid for the soul of this child and for what I know is to come, I simply prayed “God, do something.”  In that moment, it was impressed on me that He will do something.  It may not be what I want or think is right.  Also, it may not be in the time that I want it done (like right now).  He will do something because he loves this child more than I do and He has plans to prosper and not to harm this child.  I just have to rest and be silent (Ex. 14:14).

It is hard for me to be silent because I want my intentions, thoughts, and opinions to be heard.  The Lord spoke to me and just told me to stop.  Stop this hyper-obsessing over things that I have no business interjecting in.

It is simply not my place and not my business.  My place is working through my own issues holding up my husband.  To work on my walk with Him and learn how to surrender.  My type A personality does not groove with that type of talk.

Releasing It…Again

So, again, I released all the things that were plaguing my thought process.  Cluttering my mind, keeping me up at night, and dictating my actions.  I went through each kid, each issue, each problem and I just gave it up.

Lest we forget, I’m human and live in a fleshly body, so it is common place to find myself doing this thing over and over until I reach glory.  For now, I’m at peace.  Now, I pray about it and leave it at the feet of Jesus.

Do I wish He would do things my way and in my time?

Heck yes.

Will He do so?

Absolutely not.

Will it be okay even if He doesn’t do XYZ?

Yes, because His ways are higher than my ways.

I can say, for today (and hopefully forever) that I am at peace.

Today, that is a win for me.

 

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