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 

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. 

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❤️

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. 

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 

“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. 

My Happy Ever After

Ten years ago I was in a dark dangerous place.  I was depressed, hurt, scared,and trapped in an abusive loveless marriage.  I was alone. The few friends that did know what was going on turned out not to be my friends at all when I finally found the courage to take my children and get out.  11 years was enough.  I could not physically or emotionally take it anymore and my kids were getting old enough to see what was going on.  I did not know how we would make it I just knew if I stayed I would not survive. So with my two kids in my arms and faith in my heart I left the only life I had known.
I was not sure God would give me a second chance at being happy let alone falling in love.  I was not a bad person but I had not always been a saint either. There are things in my past I wish I could change but what’s done is done. I have asked for forgiveness and I truly believe God has forgiven me. I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday hoping to make the world a better place for at least one person.  But I’m human and still did not feel I was worthy enough to be loved again.  That’s when God sent Todd into my life.

I don’t talk about him much on here.  He is a pretty private person.  However yesterday we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.  That completely blows my mind.  How did I go from unloved and broken 10 years ago to getting married to the love of my life 8 years ago?  I’ll tell you, it was Gods plan.  I’m not saying God planned on me being abused and getting a divorce. I’m saying He took the darkest point in my life and found away to shine His love through. 

Todd came back into my life when I needed someone to show me love, compassion, understanding, and friendship. He finds the good in me when I don’t see it. He makes me laugh and makes me feel safe. He is more than just a husband. He is a terrific father to all of our kids, my two older ones and the five we have adopted. In his eyes they are all his kids he does not show favoritism. He loves them all and cares for them as only a father can.  He taught our oldest two how to drive, cried as our oldest daughter graduated college, cheered as our oldest son played his sax at band competitions, he has changed his fair share of diapers and made more midnight bottles than most men I can guarantee. He works crazy hours to provide for us and always makes sure we have what we need.  He has stood by my side when friends and family questioned us about becoming foster parents, about adopting one more child, and about moving 300 miles away from everyone.  He has my back always and supports me in everything.  I am so thankful God crossed our paths again. 

We don’t do many gifts for each other, our focus is always on the kids but this year he has surprised me on a few occasions.  He knows the move was hard on me, I had lived in a 15 mile radius my whole life, moving out of state after 40 years was scary.  He has went out of his way to show me how much he appreciates me this year with little things.  Things I never expected but will forever treasure.  I am truly blessed to be his wife.  


The point of this sappy blog is this.  We all deserve happiness, we all deserve our happy ever after.  God is a God of second, third, tenth, and twenty chances.  He loves us so much that even in our darkest points He is working on a better brighter life for us.  Don’t lose faith.  You may not see Gods plan for your life, I know I didn’t, but it’s there waiting for you.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been. I know now what true love really is. I am now stronger, wiser, and beyond blessed. You can be too.  Just let go take that first step and trust that He will guide you through the storm and over whatever mountain you face.

Puppy Dog Kisses

Back while my husband and I were still dating we rescued a puppy.  Her name was Satin.  Satin was part Lab and part unknown.  Her mother had been dropped off along side the road and made her way up to a house that belonged to a friend of mine.  My friend took the dog to the vet to have her checked out she found out she was pregnant, most likely the reason she had been dropped off.  She was underweight and dirty so my friends family nursed her back to health while they waited for the arrival of the puppies. A few weeks later the mother dog gave birth to nine puppies.  This family knew they could not keep all of them but were willing to care for them until they were old enough to be on their own and then started looking for homes for both the mom dog and her puppies.  If homes could not be found they would have to take them to the animal shelter.  Ten dogs was to much for them to take on full time. 

My husband and I went to her house and Satin walked straight up to us.  We were looking for a male dog but she won us over with her sweet personality.  She became part of our family.

Satin and her stuffed toy
 

When JR became part of our family Satin became his dog.  He loved on her, played with her, layed on her, and rode on her. Satin allowed him to do things with her that she would never consider letting others do, I think she knew or could sense he was autistic.  He could lay on her for hours and she would never question it whereas my brother could try to pet her and she would bark are him.  Satin and JR had a special bond. She was his protector and he was her guardian. They were each other’s best friends.

JR, Devin and Satin hanging out at our old house

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but within the last year Satin had started becoming more aggressive not only with us but with the kids.  Maybe it was the move or maybe it was the fact she was nine I don’t know. All I do know is she wasn’t the same sweet dog anymore.  We had not one but two incidents in May that had my husband and I questioning if she was safe to have around the kids anymore.   We did not want to put her to sleep or take her to a shelter but we could not have her being aggressive with the kids, especially JR. He did not understand why he could not play with her the way he always had.  My husband took her to the vet and with a heavy heart we placed her in a no kill shelter (she stayed for a week before being placed in a new home with no kids or other animals) Our hearts ached. She had been such a huge part of our lives. We had no plans on getting another dog. No one could replace Satin. 

However by July we were having major problems with JR. He was lost without his dog. He cried for her daily, she would look for her every time we went outside, he called out for her in his sleep.  Our little guy was miserable and that was hard to watch.  So my husband and I had a talk and we decided that even though we didn’t really want a new dog, JR needed a dog.  And after looking around my husband found a 16 week old yellow Lab that our son named Frosty. 

Frosty has quickly became JR’s new favorite obsession.  He absolutely loves his new dog, and so do the rest of our kids.  Frosty runs with them and slides with them, lays down with them and just enjoys being with them. JR and Frosty have already went on dinosaur adventures and deep sea dives (in their kiddy pool) and I am sure there are many more adventures to come over the upcoming years.  He still misses Satin, we all do, but I am thankful for this new four legged friend that has made his way into our hearts. JR needed Frosty to heal and to help move forward.  Seeing the two of them together today made my heart smile.  As JR was hugging Frosty, his new puppy licked his cheek and JR giggled.  He said Look momma he gave me puppy kisses just like Satin use to.  He squealed with delight right before returning the favor to his puppy.   Aw puppy kisses there’s nothing better for a little boys heart ❤️ 

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