Monday, February 9, 2015

Bible Journaling

I am one of those people who is unsentimental and easily discards mosts items.  I've never held on too tightly to anything.  Except craft supplies.  I don't scrapbook anymore, yet I keep buying the supplies. Just walking into a michaels or a hobby lobby brings on such a sense of euphoria, it's a little crazy.  I really don't know why, nor do I care to know why, It makes me happy.  So whenever I find a new use for scrapbooking supplies I am therefore happy.  I've discovered something called bible journaling.  If you don't know what it is just put that in the search bar of instagram and behold the loveliness.  I'm not sure how I came across it but once I did I was a goner.  It solved two problems for me.  1.  It restored my longing for reading my Bible and 2. it gave me another reason to craft.  So here are some examples.

This was in between the old and new testament.  I had a whole page I could fill.  An extravagance!  Do you think I ever really cared about the geneology of Christ before, nope!  But today I did! 

The first journaling that I did! Once I did this page I was hooked.

I'm doing a bible study in Genesis and memorizing the first book of James this semester.  It was so fun when I went through my supplies and found a tree stamp. 

I am one of those people who always learns best by doing.  Bible journaling is really helping me with my memorizing.  Plus I am eagerly wanting to do my Bible study each day.  I am using a giftedness that God gave me to worship Him.  It feels like it has all come together for me. 

So what do you need.  A journaling or wide margin Bible. I got mine on amazon.

The supplies that work best:

1. twistable crayons
2. any stamps
3.  ink pads ( test them first)  some bleed through some don't
4.  micron pens
5. color pencils
6. water colors.  it crinkles the paper, but when you close your bible the paper flattens out.
7.  washi tape
8. stickers
9.water color pencils with just a little water, its the same as water colors
10.  some paints, test some bleed through
11. glue sticks
12. gesso

If  you make a mistake you can glue a piece of scrapbookpaper over it and make it part of the design..

What doesn't work well

1. copic markers.  I love them but they bleed through
2.  some paints and ink pads, I would do a small test first.

My instagram acct is @bythebrookdesigns come and follow me and see what I'm up to.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why I need you to stop calling me a saint

If you have been a reader of my blog for awhile you know that my family adopted a 12 year old girl from cps last year.  Yep we're saints!  She also has type 1 diabetes!  We're overachieving saints!  Sorry snark is my 2nd language.  Like most people I enjoy having my achievements big and small recognized. However, like most people I squirm and feel all itchy when I am given credit for something I have not achieved.  It makes me feel like I'm dishonest or got caught stealing.  Not a pleasant feeling.  So I need the world to understand what really happens when you tell me I'm amazing or a saint or anything like that. It shuts me down........ like we can't be friends.........and I can never be real with you because I'm not a saint and accepting that title feels like a lie.

Reasons to not call me a saint:

1.  It's not true.  Truth is important to me.  Personal truth especially. As soon as you respond with the sainthood comment I can't be real anymore.  I can't tell you my ugly feelings and thoughts. I can't tell you about the struggles I'm having.

2.  I really need you.  Really.  My family is tired. They are going through this with me and quite frankly we are tired of talking about this with each other. My sister and best friends are tired.  My sweet friends on group texts that I  beg for prayer are tired.  I have worn out my people!

3.  Honestly I'm not that interested in bombing you with my feelings.  That's what my family and close friends are for, tired or not. I do have some boundaries.  But sometimes I need  to relay info to people who's lives cross Ivy Kate's life, like teachers, counselors at church camps, etc. I would like to be able to do that without a nomination for sainthood.  Because Ivy Kate needs people to understand that she has trouble being away from us and how to manage her blood sugar.  She needs a little extra help right now to have a normal life.  I don't need the accolades, I need my kid to be happy.

4.  I'm not a martyr, I'm not doing this against my will or under pressure. I actually begged God for this.  I asked for this.  I went through incredibly stupid training classes and workshops and an intrusive home study. I politely listened to teenaged caseworkers tell me how to parent.  My oldest child was probably a minute younger then they were.  But I did it and I continue to do it because it is a privilege  and an honor to aid in the healing of a human heart.

5.  I felt called to this.  I literally felt God leading me very clearly down this path.  There are times when this path is arduous.  I like having people in my life recognize that I have worked hard to walk this path.  Clearing rocks and overgrown vines, hacking my way through.  That however doesn't qualify me for sainthood.  It qualifies me as a parent.  If I'm a saint then you are too.  I have no doubt that everyone reading this would trudge down any road for their child, even if the road was made of mud and manure.

6.  If you are plodding through a particularly difficult time with your child and someone tells you that you are a saint, I believe you would feel a little insulted for your child.  That perhaps they weren't worth all this extra trouble, that you are somehow more saintly then most parents because you are willing to do this. That perhaps they are so horrible only a saint could tolerate or even love them. No, every parent is willing to walk tough paths with their child.  It's necessary and expected, so If I do this for Ivy Kate isn't it the same?  Not saintly, just being her parent.  Letting her know that she is valuable.  Plus she especially needs to know she is valuable, because people in her prior life did not treat her that way.

7.  Obviously I understand that when you comment on my saintliness you are really saying,"Good job.  You're doing something tough and I'm proud of you!"  Many of you are also thinking that you couldn't imagine doing this yourself - asking a stranger to come live in your house, a stranger who is damaged and broken.  And that may be true, but doing it doesn't make me a saint, just like not doing it doesn't make you a demon.  Each of us does things that others can't imagine: We care for loved ones with debilitating illnesses, we take on second jobs to make ends meet, we die to self and live for others.  If that's the criteria then everyone of us are saints.  Everyone of us is called to do hard things, just not the same hard things.  So I would tell you that you are a saint also, but I know that would make you feel uncomfortable, so just let me say your doing good, keep it up.  There are so many blessings from doing good.  Now lets be friends and help each other down that road.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

adoption anniversary, sr pictures, randomness


It's been awhile, hasn't it. I so love blogging and I have so much to say, but.......

So a new beginning.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of adopting Ivy Kate.  It was such a non event no one remembered till the very end of the night.  Which means she's officially family. We are not a particularly sentimental people and regularly forget our anniversary, our birthdays etc.  However we do celebrate gotcha day with gusto.  So just to let you know how things are going well, last night for the first time my two girls studied together.

In adoption there is nothing more beautiful then just the everydayness.  We worked hard to get here and I noticed it while doing a load of laundry last night.  No big deal, just normal life. I die.

To really celebrate I tracked down the school nurse that kept my peanut alive during 4th grade.  She is a t1 diabetic and her mom and dad decided to not feed her or give her insulin that year, you know people get stressed, can you imagine?.  Everyday my sweet girl went to school and had extremely high blood sugars, her school nurse would give her insulin and keep her close till her blood glucose was decent, it usually took all day.  Only to send her right back home knowing she would not be cared for properly and  she would see her again tomorrow.  Needless to say she called cps often.  Ivy kate ended up repeating the 4th grade in foster care and has been medically cared for ever since.  But I have prayed and cried about this nurse for 18 mths, begging God to richly bless her. Today I got to call her and let her know that she had saved her life and and that all her care and cps calls had not been in vain.  That she was doing well and that she was loved and had a forever family.  I cried, she cried, the school receptionist cried.  It was FREAKING BEAUTIFUL!  She never knew what happened to her, she just knew she was taken from her parents.  Please Jesus bless that woman abundantly.  Thank you for her, thank you for all the teachers, nurses and school counselors who regularly agonize over children and make that call, not knowing what will happen.  Thank you so much for diligence and her sense of duty.  Without her I'm not sure what would have happened to Ivy Kate.

In other news my oldest daughter is a sr and that is truly killing me.  How will I send her off to college?  I've sent my oldest son, that was not easy.  But somehow sending my daughter is harder, she seems and probably is more vulnerable.  I simply don't like it, but just like with my son, it has become obvious that she is ready and I am excited to see her adventure unfold.

She has proudly proclaimed herself an old cat lady and really wanted a picture of herself with her cat milly.  Everyone thought I was insane but her cat is her baby and she has had her for 14 yrs.  She is part of her childhood and I wanted a picture also.  I think it turned out beautiful..  

So in decor news I have decided to slip cover my dining room chairs.  Mostly because they are the most comfortable chairs ever and even though our new kitten has clawed them to shreds, I love them.  Here is the first slipcover

Amidst all my christmas decor.  It's a little loose on purpose.  I wanted it to slip on easy because I'm sure it will need washing fairly frequently.  I didn't want ties, but I wanted something that could easily be undone to wash when necessary 

So I did a little inverted pleat with just my fingers and then sewed a button to cinch it together.  It classes it up and adds a little more design at the same time. 

My son went thrift store shopping with his now facebook official girlfriend and he told me that her favorite thing to do is repurpose thrift store clothes into something else.  My heart beat a little faster, I looked deep in his eyes to make sure he wasn't messing with me.  Trust is a delicate thing.......... could she be the one?  I mean thrift store repurposing is a solid character quality in a son's girlfriend, don't you think?  I will have to be careful..... my heart has been hurt before, you know people say they like thrifting, but you never know they could just be reeling you in.  Oh my...... a girlfriend who likes thrifting, it's really a mother's dream come true!  I knew I raised him well. :)


Friday, May 30, 2014

My moms birthday

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. I actually forgot until my kids told me.  Navigating this phase of our relationship is tough. My kids wanted to call her and they wanted me to manage it, because I always have and it's what they are comfortable with. Lots of questions from them. 

1.  Why can't you call her for us?  A very reasonable question. They are 17 and 19, so I feel I can be more open with them. But explaining that opening the door just a sliver will cause me about 6 months of pain and anxiety is hard for them to understand.  Then 6 months from now it's Christmas  and I'm going through it all over again. Believe me I've done this for 50 years now.

2.  Will you be mad at us if we call her?  Nope. My mom seems to for now be able to act somewhat appropriately with her grand kids, although the oldest did have to tell her to quit calling once if she wanted to discuss her bad marriage with her  .

What I constantly struggle with is the balance and juggle of this relationship. I needed a break because I was becoming so drained that I didn't have any ability to be a mom or a wife.  I have definitely been able to establish a More balanced life in this area. plus the whole reason I went through this was for my kids. So I hate seeing it be painful for them.  And it is painful for them at times. but re-establishing it at all would just mean that they would lose their mom again, except they wouldn't understand why. My mom is unrelenting in her need to be first and foremost in my and my sisters life. She doesn't care what the cost is to anyone. 

 So I struggle on questioning myself and wondering if I am doing right and what God would have me do.   I really dont like making this public, but do because I so needed someone to state the unstateable to me about 20 years ago.   That my mom is my worst enemy. that she does not love me sacrificially, but only if I do what she wants. Really not love at all.  That she will use me even when I beg her to stop and tell her I can't do this anymore, that it is affecting my marriage and my ability to mother. None of this matters to her, only that she get her needs met. I am the child of a mom that has narcissistic personality disorder. She is mentally unwell. My sister believes that we must have a relationship no matter what, I disagree. My first allegiance biblically is to my husband and my children. If you mess with that and won't stop then I have to break ties, but it hurts....... A lot.   Plus despite all the logic and reasons and experience of knowingTHERE IS NO OTHER WAY, because I have desperately tried other ways.  The truth is it's embarassing and I feel guilty.  I once asked my therapist if she even heard my complaints and reasonings and she said nope, she hears what she wants to hear and she only wants to hear that she is remarkable.  

So if you are walking this same path just know I understand, you are not a mean, terrible, unloving, unappreciative child.  You are a woman simply trying to put your family first, as God would have you do.  

Please let me know if you have struggled with this too and what you have done to manage the situation.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Why I have no problem with gay adoption

Please don't assume from the picture that I am person swayed by the hollywood image of adoption. Nope I'm an old adoption social worker who has seen the reality of fostercare.  

First of all I would like to state that I am about as  conservative a christian as you will ever find.  I am not a legalistic Christian, God healed me of that.  But I am a Bible believing, Jesus loving woman.  So here are my reasons:

1.  Christians aren't doing their job.  Really no religious group is.  We are quick to state abortion is a sin and I believe it is (see conservative christian), but once the baby is born and it's been awhile most people have no idea what happens to that young mom, or unemployed mom or emotionally damaged mom.  I don't, if you do you are the exception.  Don't beat yourself up, it's really just the way things go.  People have their own problems and concerns to deal with, it's easy to just move on.  Except alot of times whatever situation the mom originally found herself in, is still there, and now she has a kid. So that child sometimes ends up in foster care.

2.  We love to adopt cute babies. Who wouldn't they're cute and little and needy.  But unfortunately alot of kids don't go into fostercare as infants.  My daughter had cps calls and checks done starting from 4 mths.  Yet she did not enter fostercare until she was 10.  She was still cute, but no longer a baby.

3. Most children in foster care aren't white.  I really think that culturally this is less of an issue, but it's still there. Sometimes by the agency.  We actually assumed we would adopt a black or bi racial girl.  We were very surprised when the first child presented to us was white. The agency felt we were very culturally white, and we are.  But we were willing to make changes to make any child feel more normal in our family.  It didn't matter we were presented a white child.  I assume it was who God had picked out all along.

So with these factors I'm open to gay adoption.  If it is a loving home.  I'm sure that there are lots of objections to this.  Mainly 1) sinful lifestyle, 2) less stable relationships, 3) just plain creeps you out, 4) gay influence. I'm unconcerned about all of this.  Mainly because lots of christian homes have hidden sin in their families yet the families still thrive.  Remember we are all sinners saved by grace.  So if you think there isn't sin in your home, you may well  be crazy and therefore we can't discuss this. 2).  If you go to church regularly and can't think of couples that have divorced in the last year- please tell me where you attend.  Our church has divorces all the time, unfortunately.  3). The creepy question, obviously if the child is old enough they get a say in this.  Ivy kate got to say what type of family she wanted, she got a choice.  We adopted her through cps and we still had to do a family book with pictures for her to decided if she wanted us. She did!  Hallelujah!  But if she didn't, we would have never met her.  4)  I don't believe that gay people adopt children to have sex with them anymore then straight people do.  Unfortuately sexual abuse happens to adoptive kids, but it's across the board.

So if you have a problem with what I have to say there is really only one solution sweet, caring christian, GO ADOPT AN OLDER FOSTER CHILD!  Make it impossible for anyone you don't feel should be able to, to do it.  Lets have the church respond in amazing #'s and make it impossible for anyone other then a christian family to adopt a child.  Then you would show them, whoever they are. Until this happens though you need to understand that children will continue to be adopted by gay couples, single moms and dads, etc. Because they need a family and there is nothing sadder then a child in foster care waiting for someone to give a crap about them.  I've looked into those eyes and seen that emptiness.  Because of that if anyone who is loving and able to commit for a lifetime wants to adopt, well they have my love and support.  Because the reality of a foster child who never finds a family is extremely bleak.  An extremely high chance of jail or welfare, extremely high.

  Really not an acceptable outcome for any child.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why Mother's Day is painful for me

Not because I struggled with infertility.  I didn't.  I have adopted but infertility was not the reason.  Not really for any reason pertaining to my mothering of my children.  It's because I have a mother problem, and boy is she a problem. 

I'm really struggling with writing this post because their our alot of people who believe no matter what, you must love your mother.  I do love my mother but I have chosen to no longer have a relationship with mine.  A decision that took about 20 years.  A painful, prayed over decision. For many years I have wanted to make the break but believed that it would be a sin. So I held on, to my detriment.  

The beginning:  We were never close.  Never.  I was conceived 6 weeks after she had my older sister, not many woman would be happy in that predicament.  To her credit she never used it against me, but she had her girl and I was just an extra and boy did I feel it.  It's very difficult to explain an emotional hurt but basically as a child I knew that I was not important to anyone. I don't know if I could have expressed it as child, but it is definately how I felt.  No one ever wanted to know my hopes and dreams, I was rarely encouraged or noticed. I simply existed.  I found all my emotional needs met outside our family  Fortunately for me God put very loving woman all along my path who took me under their wing throughout my childhood.  Still forgiveable, we could have had a conversation, apologies spoken and restarted.  Actually anywhere along the way this could have happened.  But my mom is never sorry because she is never wrong in any way.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.  Never.  Do not question it.  It is the gospel I was raised under.  To question that is to incur much wrath.

The middle:  I moved out and started my own life.  I married my husband and had my 2 bio kids.  My mom would come for yearly visits and we would visit her.  I was older and wiser and began to notice a pattern of me being the family scapegoat.  To the point that whenever my mom visited or I visited her I would always get a phone call within a month asking me if I had taken her white bible, her tupperware, her picture, etc.  You get the idea whatever she couldn't find, I must have taken.  Not stolen.  My honesty was never questioned.  But if something was missing I was so stupid and scatterbrained that I must have done something to lose it for her, because again, my mom was never wrong or did anything wrong.  

I noticed that my mom was very in love with what my sister and I came to call, "the great reunion".  She had always been this way.  Loving getting back in touch with someone from her past and restarting their relationship.  Except now that I was older I realized it was because she could not keep a loving relationship going for very long.  So the great reunion was her way of filling a friend void till she could find the next victim, oops I mean friend.  Silly me.

I also noticed a trend in her friendships and activities.  She would join a club or pick a friend that she deemed in need of her help.  She would love and nurture the friendship or group for the first year.  They would adore her for saving them from their obvious horribleness.  She would enter the second year either as this person's best friend or as a high level position in the group she had joined.  During this year she would begin to make a list of all their flaws, real or made up.  The third year she would destroy the friend or group.  Destroy. If it was a group she would discover some hidden, again real or imagined, crime that was happening.  Think embezzlement or something like that.  Or if it was a friend she would spread rumors and literally destroy the person's life.  I can't tell you how many times I had seen this situation play out before me over the decades.  It was just a sick pattern.  One time early on in my adulthood my mom and I job shared a job.  We worked at a credit union as a receptionist.  She in the morning, me in the afternoon.  I was finishing up my degree and she didn't want to work fulltime.  About 3 months into the job she asked me once day what I thought about the job.  I thought the people were nice, the job was easy and the pay good.  My mom had 5 yellow legal pad pages of all the crimes she had witnessed and researched in the 3 months she had been there.  Apparently she was using her time to research other employees accts, loans, etc.  She was convinced major fraud was occurring and she was going to speak to the credit union president the next week.  I think envisioning a big promotion and vast gratitude.  You guessed it, the next week we were both laid off.  Just one of many crazy situations.

Also during this time I noticed that every visit was a long list of inappropriate mean remarks, jokes at my expense, mocking of my decorating style, digs about my weight.  Again all forgiveable, but my mom never does anything wrong so why should she change? I should lose weight, clean more thoroughly, decorate better, etc.

Okay here is where it really goes crazy.  I started wanting to set some boundaries, my mom wanted to talk on the phone everyday.  These phonecalls were never to see how I or her grandchildren were doing.  The daily call was to update me on whatever vendetta against whatever former friend, or organization was happening.  Tiring of this I stopped calling back right away or would simply say I had to go.  One week she called on a friday and our phone service was out over the weekend, some major city wide problem. So I didn't call her back for 3 days.  Monday morning 5 am my doorbell rings. It's the police, my mother is certain that my very loving, kind husband has killed me.  Could the police please go check to make sure I was safe.  Yep, that actually happened.  So now you can see a glimmer of the craziness that can  occur when I try to limit my contact with my mom.

The ugly end:

I know I have a problem.  I know I don't feel loved or am loved by my mom.  I am now actively feeling abused by my mom.  I'm in my 40's and I'm really wanting to escape.  2 thing are holding me back, 1.  I am very loyal. I know my mom is disturbed.  I feel very sorry for her, but I still think if I hang in there she will eventually get it.  2. I am a christian.  I believe in the redemptive power of forgiveness.  The Bible is very clear about honoring our parents.  How can I just walk away?

I begin  actively doing everything I can to make this relationship right.  I start therapy.  I attend alanon meetings 3x a week.  I'm not sure if my mom is an alcoholic, but she has married 3.  I am definately the child of an alcoholic because of all the men who helped raise me that were.  I work for years, but it is only getting worse as she gets older.  But I can't make the break because of that darn honoring verse.  I begin praying daily for an anwser to what that means. Every spiritual person that I question gives me very trite answers.  Finally about 2 years ago I began seeing a new therapist who explained to me that honoring means to not sully the family name.  To not grow up and start your own family and embarrass your parents with your life.  We began working together to see if boundaries could be set, they couldn't.  I won't go into the details.  I think from the past stuff you understand how ugly it got.  I finally made the break when during my 3rd childs adoption my mom began "secretly" emailing my husband, questioning my emotional stability.  I then realized my mom was in fact my worst enemy.  That she was not there to support and love me.  She never had been, but in the past I had always bent to her will.  Now that I wasn't, she had unleashed the hounds from hell on me.  The only thing to do at this point was to write her and explain very clearly why I was making the decision and let her know that at any time if she was willing to apologize and restart that I would be open to it.  That has never happened, I have gotten plently of letters about why everything is my or someone else's fault.  Despite saying I didn't want any contact.  So this mother's day was the first that I didn't send a gift, I won't be making a call and I will only be praying for my mom.  We have no communication because I don't anwser her calls, I've blocked her emails and removed her from my facebook.  I'm sure the house will be surrounded by the fbi soon, but I'll deal with it when it happens.

I don't especially relish retelling this tail.  But I know there are MANY woman in their 40's and 50's hanging on by their fingernails because they feel responsible for their relationship with their abusive family.  I want to encourage you to be big and brave and do what you need to do for your famly.  Because that is ultimately what you are responsibly befrore God for.  If your mom or dad is abusing you and pushing you to the point where you are too exhausted to care for your children and your husband then maybe some changes need to take place.  That's what ultimately made the decision for me, I just needed to talk to my mom for 2 minutes and I was too emotionally spent to give to my family that day.  Most of my conversations with my husband were about my mom's current antics.  She was determined to stay ever present at the top of list regardless of who it hurt.  You either know exactly what I'm talking about or you are mystified.  If you know, I encourage you to start praying about what God would have you do.  


Friday, May 9, 2014

aqua blue bed

So I must confess, I am so relieved that homeschooling is nearing an end.  I can now return to my pre adoption, antique booth filling self.  Yahoo!!!!!

I bought this bed at a garage sale about a year ago, its just been waiting for me in the garage. Calling to me desperately.   At first I was going to paint it white and really distress it, but I have some blue paint that I have been dying to use.

$20 bucks for a queen size bed. Love garage sales!

It also comes with a footboard.  It was really a good quality bed but it was pretty dinged up.  I put wood filler in the major dings but left the rest on purpose.  I painted the bed with a pink spraypaint.  In a few areas I used a lime green.  After the paint dried I scraped a candle across the edges of the paint and then painted the aqua blue on top.

After the paint dried I just went over the area I had rubbed the candle wax and Voila!, the paint comes through.  Very easy and then all the dings have the pink or lime green colors showing through. Paint genius!!

Tada!  A very easy solution to a dinged up wood bed.

It's now in the booth and ready to go.

I just doubled my booth size, but I'm currently just acting like they are two seperate booths because I haven't had the time to make it look cute yet.  I am working on it this month and will show a pic soon.