Posted in Being a mom, blessed, Children, Faith, family, Foster care, foster parent life, Fostering, Hope, life, love, Mom life, Starfish, thankful

The Next Chapter in our Foster Care Journey 

How to start this blog, let me think let me think…….

  Well as most of you know my husband and I were foster parents for six years back home before his job transferred us out of state. Most of you also know that in those six years we were able to provide a safe loving home for over 20 children, five of which we were blessed to adopt.  When we moved we knew our foster parent days were over and we were okay with that. The journey had been eye opening, heartbreaking, joyful and at times overwhelming. Yes there were many ups and downs but helping the kids far surpassed the aggravation that is the system.  We would miss our friendships we made along the way but our fostering days were done. 

Jump forward to this year…

The thing about being a foster parent is once a foster parent your mind always thinks like a foster parent, you can’t just shake it off.  No matter where you are there are children hurting and in need of a safe place to call home. We would see stories on the local news such as drug charges or overdoses and even though the children are seldom mentioned we knew they were there.  As a foster parent you watch the news a little different that most people.  Our hearts would break. But how could we help down here? We knew we didn’t have time to take the training classes again and  we knew most people would say we were nuts.

A few months back I actually had a dear friend tell me “You’ve done your part let someone else worry about them.  There are others out there that can help. After all you know you can’t save them all.”  Not going to lie hearing these words hurt.  My husband and I know we are not superheroes, we know we can’t save them all but if we could help just one or two while here we wanted to. And as far as the others helping out those people are few and far between.  In our new state there are around 4,000 foster homes.  That sounds like a lot but when the state population is around 6 million (yes 6 million) 4,000 does not seem like such a large number. We wrestled with the idea of what to do.  Many friends and family members didn’t want us to adopt anymore after we adopted Diva and Wild Man. But we did.  Many questioned us to what are real motives were by saying things like we were baby hoggers or that we must be making loads of money seeing we keep taking in kid after kid.  I can assure you while we were foster parents we spent far more out of our pockets each month than what the state paid, it’s not about the money.  People can be so cruel.  But I keep telling myself we don’t answer to these people. We answer God. 

Diva and I were having lunch a while back and she said “Mommy I talked to God last night and He told me all about our new baby sister.  She is so tiny mommy. Oh and we are naming her Eden Grace. She will be ours in 2018.”  As I finished chewing up my peanut butter sandwich I looked for words to explain to her that this was not possible. That we didn’t plan on adopting anymore children.  But I found none.  How could I tell her she hadn’t really talked to God about a new baby when I had personally had a similar dream about our son Big Al.  We finished lunch and we went on about our day.  When my husband came home I told him about our daughters dream.  We had a good laugh but then he said we do have room for one more girl. He is such an amazing man. 

I called around to a couple of foster agencies and inquired on how to become a foster parent here.  I won’t bore you with all of that (if you want to read about the process it’s all in my upcoming book 😊) let’s just say when God is not finished with you things get done, even the impossible.  We kept the process quite from all most everyone, we didn’t need negativity about our decision.  Only a few people knew about it seeing we needed them to complete our forms.  This time around we would not be able to take in large groups of siblings. We already have our five little loves and our state only allows six children in the home.  This go around we would only be able to help one. One girl. One girl between the ages of newborn to 10.  That is like finding a needle in a haystack.  The odds where not in our favor to be able to help, however our sweet caseworker told us we were still good candidates and encouraged us the whole process.   

Then a few months ago we were finally approved.  We had discussed what we were comfortable with and decided that a girl between 4 and 10 is what would best fit our family. We would take a baby if necessary but in foster care babies always find a home so our focus was the older girls.   

I can’t help but think God was laughing at us once again and saying something like Child stick with what you know.  

After a few placement calls and turning them down(most were sibling groups) I sat in the middle of my kitchen floor and prayed. I felt like maybe we weren’t meant to help out down here, saying no is so hard when you know these precious children need someone.  Maybe it was time for us to stop. I prayed God if we are meant to help here show me how show me where. After that little chat with Jesus I picked myself up off the floor, feeling that if we didn’t get a placement it was okay.  We would find another way to help out somewhere else.
Almost a month after that chat my phone rang.  

Sometimes We must wait before God calls on us.  And when He calls we must be ready.  

So to put it out there, yes we are now active foster parents.  Now that our parents have met the little one we can tell everyone else. Having six little loves in our home is such a blessing.  We love what we do.  I know many will never understand why we do what we do, and that’s okay. I know many will think we are crazy, and that’s okay.  I know some will even be mad and upset at us, and even that’s okay.  

As for me and my husband we can’t set back and watch the news and the events that happen around us and not do something.  We have the room, we have a vehicle large enough, but most importantly we have enough love in our hearts. We are not superheroes, we don’t think we can save them all, the truth is we know we can’t. But we can help one more, one at a time.  And that’s what we plan on doing. 
From our beautiful chaos to yours let’s see where the next chapter takes us.  


Posted in Being a mom, Children, Children with disabilities, family, Lesson learned, life, Mom life, Rude

To the Rude Lady at McDonald’s…

Friday nights are our house have been Pizza Fridays for a few years now.  When you find something your autistic son will eat with you..you stick with it.  Tonight was to be no different.  My husband would call when he was about to get off work, I would place our order and he would pick it up on his way home.  4:30 came and went.  5:30 passed. By 6:30 the kiddos were raiding the cabinet looking for snacks until the pizza got home. My husband called around 6:45 when he got back into cell service range to let me know he was still about 2 hours away from home. 

So I called our pizza place and by this time in the evening on a Friday night we were looking at a 45 minute to hour wait on our order. By the time I ordered it and loaded up the kids and picked it up then drove back home it would be way passed our little loves bedtimes.  What to do what to do.  With it being pizza Friday I had not prepared anything to fix for dinner so take out it would be.  After a few minutes the kids agreed on McDonald’s (not my first choice) but with them serving breakfast all day long each child would be able to eat something for dinner. 

Now I know when people see my twelve passenger van in the drive thru the looks start coming my way.  And I know dear rude lady when you pulled up behind me you must have thought Great day why did they not go in?  It’s okay, most people think that. Many people see our van and assume its a church bus or a hotel shuttle bus, but rest assure it’s just our family van.  


Now there was no need in you pulling up behind me and honking your horn for me to move out of your way.  After all I was behind four other vehicles, I was not the one holding up the line.  And when the young cashier asked me to pull up to the third window to wait on my son’s sausage biscuits there was no need in you pulling up right behind me and given me the finger.  I was doing what they asked me to do.  I could have stayed at window number two and made you wait even longer on your food.  After you were handed your food and went to pull out you didn’t have to start blowing your horn again for me to move, for I was still patiently waiting on my four year olds food. As you maneuvered your car out of the drive thru line you did not have to roll down your window and start cussing me and saying things like “if you had so many orders you should have went inside.  Get out of my damn way”  I can assure you we had only one order and it was under twenty dollars.  


As You glared at me as you pulled off while driving with one hand so you could use your other hand to “wave” at me with one finger, I could not help but get a little angry because my children were starting to ask why you were so mad at us.  

When we finally got our order the cashier apologized for it taking so long and then she apologized for you.  See she had heard the scene you had caused and felt the need to show me not all people are mean. She suggested that you must have been having a bad day for normal people don’t act that way.

As we drove back home we passed a couple setting but the road.  What were they doing by the road you ask?  Well they were waving and smiling at the cars passing by.  They were spreading joy not hate.  As I passed them, even though I was still angry with you, I caught myself waving back and smiling back at them.  Their kindness won over your hatefulness.  

I hope you saw them as you drove off.  I hope their kind gestures caught your eye and made you think about the way you acted just moments before.  I don’t know your story, maybe the cashier was right and you were having a bad day. Maybe you had received some bad news at work or you were fighting with your spouse, whatever made you act so ugly in front of my kids I hope your evening got better after seeing those two strangers shared a friendly smile with you.  I know my evening was better after seeing them.

I could have come home still angry with you and your actions.  I could have complained to my husband about it after he finally made it home. I could have been mad at him for working so late which led to me having to go out in the first place. I could have spent my evening angry but I didn’t. I didn’t allow you to steal my joy this evening.  I chose to be happy like that couple standing alone side the road just waving and smiling at complete strangers.  

In all things choose to be happy, choose to see the good not the bad, spread love like the couple that was standing by the road not hate like the lady behind me at McDonald’s. We need more love and less hate in this world.

From our beautiful chaos to yours I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Look for ways to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter, a smile can change a persons attitude towards a whole evening. 

Posted in adoption, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Faith, family, foster parent life, Hope, life, love, Mom life, thankful

Two years already? 

Two years ago I did not know of you but now I can’t imagine my life without you. Two years ago tomorrow I would receive a phone call in the middle of the afternoon telling me you had made your way into this world.  Two years ago I was trying to convince myself there was no way we could take in a new foster placement with our move to Tennessee coming up. But as soon as the sweet worker on the other end of the phone told me you were Elmo’s sister I knew you were part of Gods plan for us. I told the worker I would call her back in a few minutes (I needed to explain things to your daddy) He was shaking his head no the whole time I was talking to the worker but just like me when he heard you were Elmo’s sister he knew you were meant to be ours.

The day you were born 9/17/15
I may not have carried you for nine months in my belly, I may not have felt you kick or had morning sickness but as soon as I heard about you….you were mine.  I fell in love the moment I held you. When the nurses asked, Are you ready to meet your daughter? I felt tears running down my face. I may not have been there those nine months but I can promise you I will be here for you the rest of the days of my life.  You hold a piece of my heart. 

Mommy and her baby girl
A quick nap before the game

People tell us all the time “she (and your siblings) is so lucky to have you” or  ” you have changed her life” or “your such a blessing to those babies”.  The truth is they have it all wrong.  I’m not a super mom. I don’t have it all together.  I’m the lucky one. I look at you and still can’t believe God placed you in my life. You are such a sweet, funny, sassy, and smart little girl. I am thrilled I get to be your mom.  I have not changed your life, you changed mine.  You make my days brighter with your smile and your big bear hugs. Your sweet “loves you’s mommy” melt my heart.  I fail you daily but you and your siblings are my greatest blessings.  Been mom to seven if by far the greatest blessing God could have given to me. I am the one blessed by having you. 


So today I look back and thank God for bringing you into my life. I thank the worker who went above and beyond to locate us so you could be placed with your brother. I thank the nursing staff that cared for you before I could get to you. And I thank your birth mom, she could have chosen not to have you knowing she would not be able to keep you but she chose life for you.  I am so grateful for her choice. 

Last picture as a one year old
Your first birthday

Tomorrow you turn two. I look forward to seen where God takes you. I look forward to watching you grow and learn new things. I look forward to loving you more and more each day.   Happy birthday baby girl!!!!! You are so loved. May tomorrow bring you happiness and be full of birthday blessings.  

Posted in adoption, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, thankful

Sorry Daddy but Only mommy can….

My husband has been working a lot of overtime recently, partly do the crazy weather and to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, so my kids are use to it being just me at the house to cater to their daily needs.  So when he was actually home all weekend I thought I would get a to relax a little bit and he could take over.  My little ones had other plans.

Here are a few things that over the weekend the kids said “No Daddy Only mommy can do…..

Only mommy can build my Lego house just right.

Only mommy can make my waffles, and make his toast,and her breakfast muffins because it’s Sunday morning why would we  all want to eat the same for breakfast 

No daddy only mommy can go to the bathroom and sit in the floor while I poop in the potty so I’m not alone (with two boys potty training I spent hours in the bathroom floor this weekend) 

Only mommy can fix my hair, I won’t like it but only she can fix it

Only mommy can watch the YouTube video that sings Zombie Arms because I have to watch it and dance at least 100 times a day

Only mommy lets my finish off her coffee (after I’ve stuck my fingers in it)

Only mommy slips me a piece of chocolate if I promise to eat all of my lunch

Only mommy can sing my  Jesus songs with me at night cause her voice is sometimes kind of pretty

Only mommy can take me to bed cause  if she sings with diva she needs to sing the ABC song “frontwards and backwards” with me

Only mommy can yell at the Packers while they play ball daddy 

Only mommy can read me my book with holding my baby sister and making dinner because I have to hear the story right then

Only mommy can rock me to sleep 

Only mommy can kiss my boo boo better you can try daddy but it’s not the same

Only mommy can get up with Elmo at 430, big Al at 530 and manage not to need a nap

Only mommy can stay calm while we run crazy playing cowboys and dinosaur hunters with inside the house because it’s to wet to play outside 

Only mommy can push me in the swing cause she does silly rhymes while she pushes me up up up

Only mommy can build the bestest living room forts

Only mommy can help me with homework I forgot about until 20 minutes before bed on Sunday night

Only mommy can cover our faces in kisses cause she says she will miss this chaos when we grow up 

There are so many things that go on throughout our days here, it’s nice to know there are a few things that the kids seem to think no one else can do.  My husband is a terrific dad and he spends his fair share of time doing things with the kids, but on weekends like this one it’s nice to know they still love their momma and still think only mommy can on a few things.  

Taking a nothing special weekend and making beautiful memories.  I call that success. 

Posted in foster parent life

We have a publisher 


If you would have told me ten years ago I would be the mom of seven kids I would have laughed in your face.  If you would have told me five years ago I would consider writing our story down for others to read I would have told you “I’m not a writer I’m just mom”. But here we are, how crazy exciting is this!!! 

For those that don’t know about a year and a half ago I started writing our story.  Our story about us becoming our three plus one, our story of us becoming a foster family, our story as God intended it to be from the every beginning. I never really imagined it would go anywhere.  I’m not a writer nor did I ever plan to be.  I am no one special, but when God tells you to do something you listen. And one word turned into two, one page turned into a chapter and before I knew it our story was on the computer screen.  I asked a few friends to read it over to see what they thought and when their responses were positive and supportive I just had to see if  I could get our story out there to help others.  Yesterday I got the call…..

Xulon Press has agreed to publish my book.  They love the story and feel that it can inspire others both to become foster parents and to open their homes through adoption.  How crazy cool it that?!?!   I am so humbled and so overwhelmed.  

I am so thankful God gave us such a beautiful crazy story to share. My hope is that our story can touch the lives of others and maybe just maybe change the outcome for a child lost in the system of foster care. 
This wild ride is about to get even crazier!  So excited, so thankful, so very blessed 

Posted in blessed, Children, family, Grandparents, Grief, Home, Hope, life, love, thankful, Where I come from

Grandparents 

It was Sunday afternoon and I found myself reminiscing of a simpler time.  I find myself thinking back to a time where I had no bills to pay, no worries or no fears.  Back to a time where my weekends were spent with my cousins on my grandparents farm chasing chickens or swimming in the creek (when my parents allowed us) or pretending to be the cast off of the Dukes of Hazzard.   Those were the days

I was blessed in many ways growing up.  One of the greatest blessings by far was having both sets of my grandparents while growing up.  I was also fortunate to have a set of great-grandparents that I had the pleasure of getting to know and love.  Not many people can say that.   This post it in honor of all of my grandparents.  

I will start with my dad’s parents.  My papaw L and Mamaw S.  I can’t think of any week in my childhood that these two were not involved somehow.  They lived up the holler (up the road for you city folk) from us.  My brother and I spend the days with them while my parents worked and after we started school my papaw would pick us up after school until my parents got home.  We spent our days playing games of Canasta, that’s actually how I figured out how to count, or working in the garden, running wild in the open fields and eating gooseberries and rhubarb off the creek bank.  Back then we could ride in the back of papaw’s old black Ford to the store(no seatbelt required) where he would give us a dollar to spend on whatever we liked. Usually I got a can of Dr Pepper and a candy bar and still had a few cents left over.  When we would return we would help him carry the groceries up the steps and into the kitchen were my mamaw patiently waited.  She always made sure to have something on the table for dinner when my parents arrived to pick us up, a few of my favorites: her steak and gravy and her homemade chili.

My papaw L and his old Ford
My baby girls 1st Year pictures. With my mamaw S in the heart

 She gave me a love/hate relationship with scary movies.  She absolutely loved to watch them but hated to watch them alone so I would stay up with her and not sleep for nights after words fearing Freddy really was going to get me.   I find it funny that my children love scary stuff and I can’t bring myself to watch anything scarier than what plays on Disney Junior at Halloween time.  If they only knew what I went through lol.  My papaw was one of a kind.  Strong and brave.  He gave me a love for the outdoors and helped me shot my first gun. I lost them both before I was sixteen.  But our bond will last my lifetime.

Both of my grandfathers served our country in WWII. Papaw L was and Army man while my Papaw W was a Navy man.  To see the way these high paid athletes are disrespecting our flag, our national anthem and country makes me sick. I know both of them would be shaking their heads. They were proud to be Americans and proud to have served their country.  Their love for our freedom has flowed throughout the generations that followed them.  

My papaw W and mamaw B lived about an hour away from us.  We spend our weekends there with our countless cousins on my moms side.  On Saturday nights the men played cards while the lady’s chatted in the living room or watched us kids run around outside. And on Sunday morning mamaw B made sure we all made it to church. My papaw W and mamaw B gave me a love for the Bible early on in life.  Some of my favorite times with papaw were our Bible talkes after I was a young adult.  I remember going camping and fishing on the river.  And with the arrival of spring it meant it was time to dig ramps (kind of like a wild onion) for the annual ramp dinner. My family was not rich but I never weren’t, we were blessed with something much more valuable than money.After my dad’s parents passed away and my moms parents moved to town we spent more time at their house. My mamaw B’s mom, Great Grandma W, moved in with them.  Most of my memories of her come from this time.  Great Grandma W was a firecracker.  She could preach the Word of God and tell the funniest jokes. She and mamaw quilted many blankets and made many Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for us as we grow up.  Their house was had food one the table, you never knew who would stop by to share a meal. 

Papaw W giving my husband some parenting advice

My oldest daughter and son have the privilege of getting to spend time with them often.  My son when he was old enough got to go on the annual hunting trip with my dad, my papaw W, and my uncle. These three men helped shape him into the young man he is today. Those hunting trips are something he will treasure forever. My daughter was my papaw’s football buddy.  Not many families have five generation photos but we were blessed to be able several of them.  My beautiful Great Grandma went to be with Jesus when she was 102.   Just a few years ago I lost my papaw W.  He was at the hunting camp with my dad, son and uncle.  He passed away doing what he loved to do.  My heart still aches. 
Our first 5 generation picture, the day I brought my oldest daughter home from the hospital. Our first stop Mamaw B’s house
My mom, Great Grandma, mamaw, me, Sis and bub. Look how tiny their are ❤️
Mamaw B, me and all of my kiddos ❤️.

A few weeks ago I was able to make a trip make home, while there I made sure to stop by and see me beautiful mamaw B.  That trip she remembered me and we shared some good laughs at my brothers experience, sorry bub. 

Mamaw telling me a story about my brother.

She’s all I have left and I hate being hours away.  I hate that life happens and I can’t just pick up and go let I did when I was younger.  I hate being an adult. How I wish I could turn back time to when I was 14 or 15 and still have them all with me. I am very Thankful to still have her. 

I hope I have made them proud. I hope as they look down from heaven they say, “See that girl right there well that’s my granddaughter.”  I hope I have turned out half a well as they had hoped.  There’s not a day that goes by I don’t smell something or see something that reminds me of at least one of them.  Both of my adopted daughters are named in someway to honor my mamaw S and mamaw B.  My oldest was named in honor of my great grandma W.  I hope that they carry the names given to them with their heads held high knowing just how special they are. I pray they too become strong independent women as those they are named after.  I pray that all my children know just how blessed our family is.  For even though my little loves are too young to remember on their own they will know who their Great grandparents and Great Great Grandma was through the stories I share.  Oh how I miss you all so….

And mamaw B I will be back to see you soon, until then your Baby girl loves you keep those nurses on their toes ❤️
From our beautiful chaos to yours be sure to tell those you love just how much they mean to you.  Cherish the moments for a lifetime. 

Posted in Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, Church, Faith, family, Hope, life, love, Mom life, thankful

Back to School 

Well it’s that time of year again.  The 2017-2018 school year has kicked off.   This year we have one in his second year of college, one in 2nd grade, one in 1st grade and two in preschool.  Our oldest daughter graduated college last May and our baby girl is at home with me seeing that she is not yet two.


With each school year we all can count on one thing….Germs. And even if your child does not share well with others, they will share their flu bugs and viruses I’m sure of it.  It does not matter how much the school cleans someone is always kind enough to share their sickness with with the rest of the class. It happens. And this year is no different.  We made it a full two weeks before the stomach virus hit our house with vengeance.  Over the last week it has claimed five victims in our house: my husband, Wild Man, Elmo, Diva, and myself.  Thankfully baby girl and Big Al were spared this go around. So far.

The good thing about were we live is that we get what I call unique holidays at our schools.  The kids had a four day weekend last week. They were off last Friday, due to the NASCAR race and then they were off Monday for this little thing called a total eclipse, maybe a few of you heard about that 😉.  Even way, with the extra days off thankfully the kiddos didn’t miss much school (Diva was the only one who actually missed school with her being sick on Tuesday) 

While taking care of the sick ones I could not help but notice that even though they all ended up with the same virus they all responded to it differently.  With Wild Man even though he was sick he did not slow down nor did he complain.  If I wasn’t having to clean up after him I may have never noticed he was sick by his actions.  That’s one of the hardest things about him being autistic, he does not/can not tell us he is sick.  We just have to watch and see what happens and try our best to fix it.  With Elmo, if he is sick you know it.  He becomes mommy’s cuddle bug.  He wants to be held and babied until he is all better.  He still believes in the power of “mommy’s magical kisses” and if he receives enough of these boo boo kisses he will be cured from whatever ails him. With Diva, well if someone has something she does not she can convince herself she has it.  She wants left out of nothing.  She is a hypochondriac.  I never seen her actually get sick but she insisted she was dying mover the less. And then there’s my husband….if any of you reading this are married you know what I’m talking about.  I love him dearly, so I don’t need phone calls or emails telling me that I’m ungrateful or that I’m being a disrespectful wife keep those to yourself, but I can’t be the only wife who’s husband needs more attention than a child when he is sick.  He came home from work and laid on the couch. I asked him to go to bed several times but was met with the “I’m fine right here don’t worry about me” comment. I know he was fine,  but our house still must function whether he is sick or not.  Do you know how hard it is to try to keep five kids quiet while their dad tried to rest on the couch?  It’s almost impossible.  ***ugh*** And then there’s me, mom.  When mom gets sick, well mom must keep going.  We power through the upset stomach and headache because our family needs us; sick or not.  It’s what most moms do. 

The way we responded to the stomach virus made me think about the way we as Christians respond to God.  We all had the same virus, God offers us all the same love.  We all responded to being sick differently, as Christians we all respond to God’s love differently.  Some of us choose to cuddle up with Jesus and seek Him out to make us feel better and feel safe. Others can keep on going day in and day out without slowing down to acknowledge His presence.  Still others crave Him when it’s convenient for them and then quickly turn back towards worldly things when we want to fit in.  And still others just keep going through life the same way as always because that’s just what they do, right or wrong.  

Walking in faith is not always easy and no two people walk this path the same way.   Our relationship to God is a personal one, you can’t do or respond the exact same way as another person because that is their journey not yours.  Just as the stomach bug effects so all different so does God’s grace.  What He has planned for me is not what He has planned for you.  We are all unique in His eyes yet He loves us all the same.
From our beautiful chaos to yours: Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!  Remember God loves you just the way you are❤️

Posted in blessed, Faith, family, Hope, life, love, thankful

What would I say to a Younger Me? 

On the way to school this morning the kids and I were jamming out to our local Christian radio station.  The song Dear Younger Me came on and it got me to thinking about what I would say to my past self if there was a way.  Would I tell myself to do things different? Would I tell myself to stay away from certain people? What would I say if given the chance?  My answer surprised me.  

Earlier this month my ex husband turned 40.  I remember back when I was in high school and thinking 40 was sooooo old. (I turned 41 this year) Man time flies. Anyways, on that day I was standing in my kitchen making some lunch for my little ones and for some reason I walked by the calendar and it hit me. He turns 40 today.   I don’t think of him often but there are a few things that always remind me of him.  And if you have read my post Domestic Violence a Survivors story, My Story, you know we did not separate on good terms, but for a split second my old teenage heart sighed.  

When I was thinking about what I would say to my younger self, my first thoughts were Don’t fall for him. Don’t let him hurt you. Don’t believe him when he says it will never happen again. Don’t stay it will only get worse….get out now!!  Our marriage was nowhere near perfect. But if I had not fallen for him I would not have my oldest two children, my beautiful daughter or my amazing son.  If I were somehow able to change the past they would not be here. And they are my world.  The pain and hurt  I went through was numbing and I pray nobody ever has to go through it, however because of that hurt I now know what it truly means to be loved by someone not just used by someone. God has a plan for everything and His timing is always on time.  If I would have left my marriage earlier, weeks, or months, or even years earlier I would not be where I am today.  Todd teases me all the time if we would have met a few years earlier I would not have liked him much and likewise I am sure he would not have given me a second mind.  I am not saying God planned on me being in an abuse relationship for any amount of time, that’s not how He works. He does however take our darkest points in our lives and finds ways for His love and light to shine through. When He saw I needed someone He sent me my hero, my soulmate, my wonderful husband Todd (nine years and counting, love you sweetie) 

The truth is I am who I am because of my past.  My love for family comes from countless nights and weekends spent at both of my grandparents homes as a child.  My joy of helping others comes from watching my mom make a difference daily as she worked in the medical field for years. My love for the Green Bay Packers comes from watching games (both the good and the bad) over the years with my dad and cheering them on regardless of the outcome.  My love of food, even though I am not a good cook, comes from the many family reunions and family get togethers where love was spread one buttered roll at a time. 

We all have moments were we wish we could change something we did or something we said. And even though it would be nice to erase the bad we become stronger with each storm we face and with each valley we walk through. 

If I could change anything I would tell my younger self, life turns out alright.  I would say spend more time listening to Papaw W. tell his fishing and hunting stories, and watch one more scary movie with Mamaw S. even though you won’t sleep for a week.  I would tell me to let my brother and mamaw win one more game of Canasta against me and Papaw L because you will treasure those game stories forever.  I would tell me to fall in love with my ex even though there will be hurt because two of your greatest blessings come from that love. I would tell me to follow closer to God because you can’t even imagine how He blesses and grows your family later in life. I would say you will make some amazing friendships.  Embrace them while they are in their season and make memories to carry you through long after they are gone. Life happens and people drift apart. I would tell me there is so much more to you than you realize, believe in yourself, always have hope and never lose faith. Gods got this. 

I doubt my ex thinks of me much this days.  And I am perfectly okay with that. But I am sure I’m not the only person who hears a song or smells a certain food or even looks at what day it is and stops and reminisces of a time long ago, before life took a different direction. I have moved on and so has he. We are both remarried and as far as I know we are both happy now.  In order for me to heal from the past I forgave him I long time ago. Not for him but for me. Fear and hate will consume you if you allow it.  I will not live in fear and my heart has no room for hate.  I love life now. I love my kids, my husband, my family and myself. 

Dear younger me, you turn out pretty alright. Enjoy your life it’s an amazing ride. 

Posted in Being a mom, blessed, Children, Church, Faith, family, life, love, Mom life, thankful

I Am, I am Not….Where do I fit in with God’s Plan? 

 

Sunday mornings are Always crazy at our house.  Trying to get all our little loves ready and out the door in time for morning service can be challenging at best.  I knew yesterday would be no different.  If anything it would be more difficult once they realized they were going to their new Sunday school classrooms. 

It wasn’t one big thing but many little things that had me thinking It’s just one service, no one would miss us if we didn’t go today. What harm could it do by staying home?  Then I realized I had said those same words last week when our six year old autistic son simply refused to go so I stayed home with him, baby girl, and Big Al while my husband took our other two children to service.  It’s so simple to slip into the routine of not going when you have small children. There are days it just does not seem worth the fight to go. And it’s not that they dislike church, they really enjoy church, it’s just the getting ready without fighting they can’t seem to do. And we want them to go.  We want them to grow in their own faith. So as I looked at my little loves, two of which were fighting over what cartoon to watch, one still sleepy and wanting her bottle, and one refusing to put on a dress because she wanted to wear the pink shorts and green shirt she had picked out instead, I took a deep breath and said Not today devil I can handle whatever you throw my way.   

God knew I needed to be at that service.  

Our pastor’s message was on John the Baptist. I sat in the service with my husband by my side thinking about the mess our morning had been. Somedays I don’t feel I am enough or good enough.  The day in day out battles we face with our daughters RAD and our sons autism can be overwhelming at times, and let’s not forget we have three other little ones who are well under four so I will leave it at that.   We had made it to service and managed to get all of the kiddos to their new classes without to many tears but I was exhausted. I just wanted to go in set down relax for a few minutes without children hanging off me.  Not the best reason to go to church I know.  But as I sat there and listened to our pastor talk about how John was questioned  by the priests  as to “Who he was”  I could not help but question myself.  Who am I? John knew he was not Jesus and was quick to tell them he was not. He also told them he was not Elijah nor was he the prophet.  (John 1 19-28) It would have been easy for him to take credit and say Yes I am, but he did not. Instead he stayed humbled and followed the path God intended for him. 

So who am I? Where do I fit in to His master plan?  

I don’t know the whole answer, I may never know.  But I do know He placed me here in this moment for a reason. He made a way for me to be a mother to seven amazing children all uniquely made in His image. He blessed me with a truly wonderful husband. He knows my every flaw and still He loves me anyway.  I may second guess myself from time to time but God believes in me with all He has.  How truly awesome is that?

 I don’t always have the picture perfect family were everyone gets along and everyone is happy to see each other.  No in fact most days we have at least one mad at someone because they “looked at them weird.”  And I may get embarrassed and a little upset while trying to talk to someone on the parking lot and my kids are screaming in the car like crazy animals (side note there was a hornet in the van which set the screaming in motion, my husband was able to remove it but the screaming continued) I may feel unqualified to parent when I see others with their children so well behaved in the store while mine are…..well not behaving as  I wish.  It’s all okay because He is the Great I AM. 
For when I feel weak – He is strong

When I am tired – He gives me rest

When I am unlovable- He loves me anyway 

When I hurt- He is my comforter 

When I am lost – He will find me

When I simply can not go on- He will carry me

When I question why- He answers 

I am where I am suppose to be. God has placed us all here not to just wake up, go to work, pay bills, and sleep. He placed us here to love each other and to support each other.  And when life seems to be just to different for us to do alone He wants us to know He is there for us.  We must all be like John and find our place in History.  

I am so thankful we didn’t let the devil win yesterday morning. I am thankful we made it to church and heard the message. I am thankful the kids enjoyed their new classes and want to go back. I am thankful I could sing His praises yesterday, today and forever more.  Yehweh Yehweh 

Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children with disabilities, family, life, love, Mom life

“Get Me to the House…I have to poo.” A day trip with my autistic son

via Daily Prompt: Carousel

Last week my beautiful mom had knee replacement surgery.  I was unable to be with her the day of her surgery and felt horrible about it.  One of the downsides to living in two different states. *sigh*  After she made it to her recovery room I received a phone call from her (she was still heavily medicated thanks to the anesthesia and pain medicine), it was full of giggles and phrases like “I know your a daddy’s girl but you will always be my baby girl ” and “Love you’s”. She was just letting me know that she was still alive and well and that the surgery was a complete success.  Guess even medicated she knew I needed to hear her voice telling me she was okay.   Thanks momma.  But I still needed to see her with my own eyes to “make sure” she really was okay.  So I told my husband I was headed home for a quick visit last Saturday.

As I planned my day trip my six year old asked if he could ride along.  Traveling is rough on him but there was no way I was telling him he could not go. His sad puppy dog looking eyes get me every time.  

Traveling with kids never goes as planned. Traveling with a son who is autistic always comes with its adventures.  This trip was no exception.

Our plan was to get up early and be on the road by 6am. We would fill the day with visits. First we would stop and see a friend who had also had surgery, hers was on her shoulder, next we would go see mom, swing by a baby shower and drop a gift off, seeing mom would be in no shape to go to said shower, and lastly have dinner with my best friend and her family before heading home.  Seemed like a realistic day.  The night before I packed his two backpacks: one with extra clothes for him just in case we needed them and one with his treasures, this included two tablets, his dads backup phone,cars, puzzle pieces, a notebook, a pen, his hat, sunglasses, and some toy pirate coins. I also packed him a snack bag that contained his favorite chips, popcorn, and juices.  We would be gone for less than a day but we were packed for a week long vacation. We were all set for the next day. 

Well we were until my son who never sleeps past 5:30 slept till 7:30.  Now I could have just set out at 6 like I planned but then my husband would have had to deal with the tornado that would have been our son when he realized mom went without him.  And seeing that my husband was keeping all the kiddos that would have made for a very bad day.   So I waited until he woke up.  We were on the road by 8:15.  Running a little behind my schedule but still we could manage to get everything in. 

That is until we hit the tunnels.  We have to travel through two tunnels in order for us to get back to WV.  I never thought much of the tunnels until wild man came into our lives.  The lighting and the noise that comes with going through a tunnel can set his system into sensory overload. I handed him his sunglasses, they help him with the glare from the lights, and told him to lay his head down.  It worked the first time. But the second tunnel was a different story.  When we arrived at the second tunnel he was in the middle of playing a racecar game on his tablet.  He did not hear me, or he decided not to listen me, when I told him it was time to put on his sunglasses.  The moment we were inside he started screaming. The lights were to much and the motion of us passing them made his stomach upset.  By the time we made it through he was sick and throwing his head against the window to made the lights stop moving.  I got the car pulled over and climbed in the backseat with him before he got sick. We sat until he was calm enough to get out and walk.  Lucky for us you can find a Walmart just about anywhere. He loves Walmart. So  I get back into the driver seat and we make our way down the road a few miles to his favorite store. There I parked the car and took my little guy in so he could walk around without cars flying past us.  The Walmart detour took a little over and hour and cost me over hundred dollars (hey he needed a few things for school why not get them while we were there?) 

As we walked the aisles of Walmart my sweet boy made many friends along the way.  He introduced himself to everyone we walked by or asked, “Hey hey what’s you name?” or “Hey hey I like you let’s be friends.”  Many of the passerby offered up their names with a warm smile, some even gave him Hi-fives.  But there is also the other side that shake their heads, or look annoyed just by his presence, and theirs always at least one person who tells me to control my son that he is a) being to loud, b) that he needs to respect people’s person space, c) or that he is being disruptive and I need to make him stop or my favorite d) I would never allow my child to behave that way.   It never fails. I am so thankful my son does not process what others think about him the way I do.  He is always just so happy in the moment. 

After he was feeling better and I knew he would not vomit all over my husbands car we are back in the car and head towards our destination. 
We were about an hour out when I called my mom to see if she was still at the hospital or if she was discharged and home.  She informed me she was still in the hospital but they were getting ready to discharge her. Have you ever waited to be discharged from a hospital?? Let’s just say What should have been simple turned into an all day ordeal.  By the time my sweet momma actually made it home it was after 3pm.  Visiting my friend who had shoulder surgery was not going to happen and as for the baby shower I missed it completely, we did drop the gifts off at the mommy-to-be’s mothers house so at least she got them.  

Before we knew it, it was time to go home. Wild man was not ready to go home however. He had a meltdown.  I tried to calm him down with a frosty but even that didn’t work.  There was no way he would be able to stay seated in an overly crowded restaurant if I meet up with my friend and her family for dinner.  So I text her and told her I was sorry we would not be making it. 

We started to trip home and he settled in to a video game, this time Minecraft, he was still upset but at least he was in his car seat and he could not reach me to kick me or hit me.  All was going well until we reached the tunnels again. This time a truck had broke down inside one of them and traffics was crawling through the only open lane.  It scared him so bad to have to sit inside the tunnel as we moved only inches over the next 40 minutes. Finally we could see the end and we were out. 

After that we had to stop and get out of the car.  Three straight hours in his seat had taken its toll on him.  When we stopped he proudly announced he had to pee.  I found a gas station and we went in so he could do just that.  We loaded back in the car with a fresh juice, bag of popcorn and a fully charged tablet. We should be able to make it home without stopping again.  

Ten miles down the road I hear, “Momma Are we there yet? I need to poop.” Words I did not want to hear.  See my sweet boy has this thing, he only poops at home.  He only poops at home in our downstairs bathroom. Nowhere else. Ever.   He will hold it for days if he has to, but the smell coming up front told me I didn’t have days or even hours.  I told him I could stop at rest area or another gas station but it was a no go.  He screamed and cried for the next 45 minutes and I was helpless.  There was nothing I could do but get us home as fast as I could. I may have driven a little over the speed limit. Maybe just a little. I was never so happy to see my driveway.  I pulled in the garage as my husband opened up the door to the house. I ran around the car and unlocked his safety belt and off he went.  I yelled over to my husband Watch out he has to go! as wild man ran passed him.  He made it, barely but he made it.  

Many would not consider this trip a success, but I do. True we didn’t get everything done or see everyone like I planned. But that’s okay.  I think sometimes God placed wild man with me to remove some of my OCD qualities.  With him we just have to roll with it.  Autism is hard, but we are learning more and more everyday.  There are days I wish I could get off this carousel ride of emotions and just go back to a time before we knew he was autistic. But that’s not possible. So I am learning as I go. I am learning there are those who will go out of their way to be nice to a six year old they don’t even know just to make his day.  I’m learning that there are no such thing as schedules or preplanned evenings.  I am learning some people will accept him and others will always judge him.  I am learning to be a best person because of him.   He loves freely and judges not. His life is simple. And I am blessed to get a front row seat.   In his darkest parts of the day in the middle of a meltdown or while he screaming because the house bathroom is so far away, I will be there to love him and get him through it. I will do whatever it takes to make his life better for he has surely blessed mine.