Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tampa Trib News Article

In the Tampa Trib there is a news article about Habitat for Humanity and our family!

(there were a few details not quite right with this story.  We were in Rochester for Sam's yearly eye exam and to see if Sarah was eligible for the corneal eye implant  I think it is so easy for people to mix up the kids' names since they all begin with S)

Today is a beautiful perfect Florida day, the windows are open and we are all getting ready to go to the woods for a walk.  Right now Jon has Sam and Sarah on the swings, Selah is outside with her nurse, Steve is doing the PowerPoint for Sunday and Shad is helping him.  I made a great Italian lunch so everyone is happy and full:)  We also plan on riding by the house, there was another group from RaceTrack gas station there yesterday working and we can't wait to see what has been done.  We didn't think we'd have another group till next week since the slab wasn't complete but things moved faster!!!  It is exciting!

Well this is short and sweet.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

To the UK mom with the 47 year old son with Down's syndrome

Have you read what this mom said in an interview ?    She is a mom in the UK with a 47 year old son with Down's syndrome. 

She said:
Perhaps you'd expect me to say that, over time, I grew to accept my son's disability. That now, looking back on that day 47 years later, none of us could imagine life without him, and that I'm grateful I was never given the option to abort.
However, you'd be wrong. Because, while I do love my son, and am fiercely protective of him, I know our lives would have been happier and far less complicated if he had never been born. I do wish I'd had an abortion. I wish it every day.
If he had not been born, I'd have probably gone on to have another baby, we would have had a normal family life and Andrew would have the comfort, rather than the responsibility, of a sibling, after we're gone.
Instead, Stephen - who struggles to speak and function in the modern world - has
brought a great deal of stress and heartache into our lives.
That is why I want to speak in support of the 92 per cent of women who choose to abort their babies after discovering they have Down's Syndrome. Mothers like Suzanne Treussard who bravely told her story in the Daily Mail two weeks ago.
Suzanne, who was offered a termination at 15 weeks, braved a backlash of criticism and vitriol from some readers.
But I'd challenge any one of them to walk a mile in the shoes of mothers like me, saddled for life as I am, with a needy, difficult, exasperating child who will never grow up, before they judge us.
They should experience how it feels to parent a grown man, who is no more able to care for himself than a toddler - and at a time of life when your children should, all things being equal, be taking care of you.
They should know how it feels to live every single day under a crushing weight of guilt.
They should know how it feels to watch Stephen's constant suffering and witness the almost daily destruction wreaked on all our lives.
Dear "mom",
As a mom with a biological son with more special needs than your son, I have to tell you- I LOVE his life!  I am also an adopted mom to three other children all with some special needs.  I love them in a way I never knew I could love.  Yes I have a very different life than most of my friends...."all things equal" most of my friends are watching their remaining kids go off to college, get married and some have grandkids that they occasionally take care of.  Their lives are filled with time for themselves, time with their husbands....most of them are NOT feeding kids and changing diapers still!  In fact I have no friends who have kids in diapers but me.....
But the difference is I truly feel it is a privilege to be Sam's mom.  He has brought more to our lives and to the lives of others than could ever be measured.  If it had not been for Sam and all the unique things he brought to our lives, we would never have had the courage to adopt Shad, Sarah and Selah. 
Sam certainly brought us some stress and heartaches, we were so afraid of losing his sweet little life when he was younger and so sick.  It was hard, not because we were afraid we'd have to take care of him our whole lives, but because we were afraid we wouldn't have him to take care of! 
Dealing with cornea transplants and rejections and then corneal implants was hard.  But we managed....
Then we adopted our other three children and have dealt with some major issues since then as one of our adopted daughters who already had special needs was in a near drowning and is now in a comatose status in our home with 24 hour nursing.  So we've dealt with a few things!
This line makes me the maddest.....
They should know how it feels to watch Stephen's constant suffering and witness the almost daily destruction wreaked on all our lives.
To the best of my knowledge, Down's doesn't cause any suffering or physical pain in and of itself. 
And as far as the "daily destruction" give me a break!   Somebody needs to take a course on learning to CHILL OUT!
I use Sam as an example because he is our biological child....he came to us with all his issues that we had no idea that he had!  We didn't do testing even tho I was of  "advanced maternal age".  I wanted to do testing just so I'd know if there was anything to be concerned about but my doctor said it wasn't worth the risk and he knew I'd never abort.  With Peter's it would have not shown up on the testing that was done at that time so we would have thought we had nothing to worry about. 
With Shad, Sarah and Selah our adopted kids with special needs....we accepted them AS IS and knew what to expect to some degree.  With Shad we were told he was completely blind and mentally retarded.  Well....he is only blind in one eye and basically a genius.....    With Sarah and Selah they were similar to the diagnosis given but then of course things changed after the accident for Selah.  That didn't make us love her any less....and we didn't resent her.  We are just as committed to making her life as good as it possibly can be as we were the day we walked out of the orphanage with her. 

***As far as our "normal biological son" Steve goes....he is an Unspoiled, caring, responsible young man.   Being the oldest to the other four has been the BEST thing that ever happened to his character in my opinion.  He has experienced things that most 18 year olds have not, some things have been gut wrenching sad, but he has reached inside himself and grew in situations.  He has seen the "silver lining" in the clouds of life. 

Our adopted "normal" son Shad also has a heart that has learned to love, he has seen commitment acted out in front of him   I believe that seeing how we love our kids makes him a more secure child and will help him as an adult.  He has seen the lengths we have had to go to at times to take care of the kids and I believe that lets him know what we would do for him if it were necessary.

Steve & Shad will have different responsibilities as they grow older because of the three younger children but is that such a bad thing?  I think NOT!  I think some of the problems of the world today is lack of commitment when times get tough.....
As angry as reading this makes me, I can only think that you have no Hope in life.  You must believe this is IT-there is no eternal life, there is no reward for faithfulness.  I feel sorry for your son, without a doubt I'm sure he feels the lack of his parents' love. 
You know we are not promised a perfect life.  No one is born with a "get out of jail" card in their hand.  We have no guarantees-Life doesn't come with guarantees.   A person can be normal, have a great life and fall down and hit their head and be mentally impaired the rest of his/her life.   A person with a great life and future can be driving down the road and be hit by a drunk driver and everything changes forever....
I've learned to trust God through situations.  And I'm going to make the best of a situation.  There is no reason to wish for things to be different, if there is no way to change the situation.  Sure I cried some tears when Sam was diagnosed with various issues.    There was a grieving time.  I grieved that he wouldn't have a "normal" life.  Now, honestly, I look back and think I needed some chill pills!  I'm not saying there is anything wrong in grieving that a child will have a different life that what was envisioned for him but a person can't wallow in that grief.  I think the love I had for Sam helped me to see what was so special about Sam. 
Now I don't grieve about things being different for Sam.  We just enjoy and accept Sam for who he is!  And we accept and enjoy our other children. 
I've grieved the hardest over our daughter Selah who was in a near drowning accident.  But even in the grief, I don't wish her dead.  I want her back to where she was (where she was, was lower functioning than your son) and I miss her but we are so very committed to her.  Her life does not bring us agony or bitterness.  We rejoice in her life. 
So all I can say is it is sad that you don't see the beauty in your son's life, so sorry that you can't focus on the positives he brings to your life, rather than focusing on things perceived as negative.  Your writing is so bitter and I'm sure it will scare many who may find out their unborn child is not "perfect" but it doesn't scare me.  I have THREE special needs children with much more medical and physical needs than your son.  All three are basically non verbal, all three are in diapers, all three have to be fed, only one can walk unassisted, all three have visional impairments.  Two of the three, have major medical issues.  I think I am qualified to address you..... 
Most people will not find themselves in my position and that's ok.  It's not the easiest in some ways, but in other ways it is so easy.  My life is fuller, richer and sweeter since I became a "special needs mom" and I have no regrets.  My children are happy and accepted.  And this may sound "hokey" but  I feel we've been entrusted to raise this special little soul and privileged to adopt our other children. 
Your interview made me very angry on many levels.  I don't feel sorry for you or for your situation.  But it sounds as if you have some big needs in your soul.  I can't fix that and neither can you.  All I can tell you is that God can bring you peace.  He is the One who has walked with me through all we've been through the past 11 years and He is the One who has given me the strength & who helps me to keep things in perspective.  He is the One who gives me Hope for my future and for my kids futures.  I believe that there is an eternal life coming where all will be made right.  My Hope and Faith is in Jesus Christ.  He is the One who gives me peace.  He is the one who whispers in my heart when fears arise.  He can give you a future and a hope. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Devil

Have you ever heard things like "I'm doing God's will and the devil is after me"?   I hear things like that ALL the time but I'm just not sure that is biblical.

In the adoption world, everyone says that they start their adoptions and THEN the devil comes after them, their family, their dog, their car their name it and the devil is after it.

We never had that experience or maybe we didn't assume the devil was after us..... when we were in the process of adopting Shad we had some really good things happen like Jon accepting the church, receiving grants for Shad's adoption and Sam getting cleared for Medicaid as a secondary insurance.  We also had some bad things, Sam was in the hospital ALOT and he was diagnosed as having some brain damage and we were told that he would be mentally retarded.  (yes I used the R word as a medical diagnosis-which does not bother me) I also had a terrible attack of colitis and was in the hospital for awhile-I thought I was dying!   So was the devil fighting us or was it just life happening around us???

With the girls' adoption we saw great financial miracles for their adoption but we did struggle with our own finances, Jon's car died....we made do with one van and then right before we left to go get them, someone blessed us with a brand new van!  Of course we had some drama in the paperwork and somethings that happened but all in all it worked out.....

THEN of course once we got home and three months later the accident happened.....   some have suggested to me that was the "devil's fault".  Well in the very broad sense I guess it was as death and disease came into this world through the fall of man in the garden, who listened to the devil......but in the real sense, it was just a horrible accident.  We don't feel like the devil pushed the stroller into the canal......Jon looked away for 4 seconds, probably one of the kids moved wondering what was going on....the stroller was an expensive jogging stroller that we saved to buy so we could take all the kids out with us everywhere (we had a single jogging stroller just like the double one)  and it moved very very easily.......anyhow in those 4 seconds ( the cops measured the time) the stroller went into the canal.  Things happen.....BUT the one thing I am so thankful for is God was always with us, even in those dire moments. 

So am I afraid of what the devil can do? 

I believe there is  a real literal devil with demons.....and a real hell..... 

But I believe much more strongly in a REAL God who sits on the throne, who sent His Son and his Holy Spirit.  I believe in angels (ok I do NOT believe in a lot of the silly tales of angels but I do believe in them) 

I do not know everything (I'm sure that statement is a shock to some who think that I think I know everything LOL)  but I do think that LIFE just happens in most cases. 

This is something that is often said in ministry circles too.  Or my "favorite" "When God starts to blessing, the devil starts to messing"  Of course you will have trouble in this world, Jesus promised that in one of his last statements.  We live in a fallen again it can go back to "original sin" When sin and death entered into the world through the fall of man, paradise was lost.  Bad things happen....all the time....

There are scriptures that seem to indicate that there is a war going the book of Daniel, Daniel wrote that he fasted and prayed for 21 days before his answer came.  When his answer came, along with an angel, the angel told him that he (the angel) was kept from coming to him as he was fighting the evil forces in that area.   Then in the New Testament, Paul reminds us we do not fight against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in the air.  So obviously there are things going on that we do not see or know about.....but does that mean everything that happens bad to us if from the devil directly?

I have had some odd experiences.  To be honest, I do not share them much as I have no desire to glorify the devil or demons!

As a small child I "knew" about 8 or 9 years old, I'd hear my name being called as I played outside.  So I'd run to the back door and ask my aunt what she wanted.  It was never her that called me.  Over the years, I just shrugged it off. 

As I became a teenager, I would know more things.  I knew my uncle was going to die soon, even though no one knew he was sick.  While all that was going on, I was really reaching out to God.  Every service, I was at church....   

Things began to get worse as I got older.  There were times I'd wake up & "something" was times I was scratched by something, long claw marks on my neck one time....  (wasn't me- I always bit my nails back then)   We'd hear noises in our home, one time my aunt even called the police, believing someone had broken into our back porch because we heard yelling and pounding.  However when the police got there, nothing was disturbed.  There are numerous things that happened over a course of some years.

So I went to our pastor, he told me to put a bible next to my bed....well that didn't work.....things continued for awhile....    We got a new pastor and I shared all of this with him and he told me to
"take authority" over this demonic attack.  I did and it stopped!!!!!!

So that is my personal experience.  Honestly it doesn't quite fit my theology LOL....  but it is what happened to me.  I was not involved in any type of black magic or demonic things.  The only thing I can think of is, within my family there were some who practiced "white magic" 

Anyhow I asked God to take ALL of that from me, I didn't want anything in my life, including "knowing things" ahead of time.  He took it from me. 

So do I sound like I believe both ways now and am double minded ???

I guess I try to find balance in everything.....

It's interesting I wrote this yesterday while still at the conference......Last night I noticed our son had DVRed  a very demonic movie.  He is 18 and we are not as strict on him as we were when he was younger.  We feel he has to make some decisions and find his own values.  But I DID kid him and tell him if he brought any demons into our house and they woke me up....I was going to tell them where to find him!  LOL  Of course we wouldn't let Shad watch something like that so Steve watched it after we'd gone to bed....I think he was sorry he did so LOL!!!!!   (btw we have our tv set so only shows that are PG-13 or less can be seen without a code that no one knows - including ME!  At some point I knew the code, now it is gone forever LOL)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Past or Future?

Well my last post before heading home to my kids!   To be quite honest, I have had a whole lot better time than I thought I would!  Don't get me wrong, I like spending time with my husband but it is hard for me to be away from the kids.  However I seem to have gotten over that!  I'm thinking it probably won't take me 16 years to go alone to another conference or vacation!  It helps that I trust Steve and our nurses to care for the children.  Of course please know I OWE Steve and will OWE him forever & ever.....he already has his weekend (that he believes will start on Thursday) planned out!  And it includes my car and my debit card!  I can guarantee that we won't be seeing him much!!!!  LOL

Last night we went to a bookstore and I loaded up on mysteries!  I bought the new Rhys Bowen's "Heirs & Grace"  I love her books, funny, yet a little scary-set in the 1930s  England.  I also got "Tippy toe Murder" by Leslie Meier and a Carolyn Hart book "Dead by Midnight"  I like all three of the authors and have read all their books.  I couldn't believe there were one of each of them that I hadn't read!!!   After that we went to supper at Olive Garden.  Woohoo our wild night on the town:)

I also got a little something "Dr Who" for Steve who is a Dr Who fan.  I've started liking the show, I think it is the British accents that I like LOL!

If you had a time machine would you go forward into the future or back into the past???   I'd go back to the past.  I'd love to experience life during certain times in history.     From about the end of the civil war through 1960 is interesting to me.  Of course I'm a huge WWII buff so that whole time period is most interesting to me.  But I couldn't be like the people in Dr Who, I'd tried to change the past so everything would be perfect for everyone.  I'm too big of a fixer:)

The future is so unknown to me, well and to everyone else too for that matter.  But I have no desire to see the future.  Last night we passed a psychic store and were talking about that very thing.  Personally I do not want to know the future.  I'm good with going day by day! 

Well I do know my near future will consist of many baby hugs:)  I foresee that Sarah will want me to hold her and Sam will give me kisses!  Steve will run out the door and Shad will tell us a blow by blow description of all that happened (told in the best light possible!) 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NO on amendment 2!!!

Listen I could get used to living in a hotel!   Nothing sooths my soul like QUIET!  I don't indulge in it very often as I have too many people needing me all of the time but I LOVE being alone.  Jon got out of his seminar early and I guess I offended him when he walked in so he got changed and went for a jog LOL  I have missed being ALONE for a long time.  And take out has become my friend! 

There were things I worked on today.....
We have some friends in Ukraine who are interested in emigrating to the USA.  They pastored a Pentecostal church.  I have made probably a billizion phone calls today, leaving messages on various numbers...  If YOU have ANY contacts with Ukrainian Pentecostal churches in the USA would you please contact me at    Thank you!!!  I saw this article today of damage done to the soccer stadium in Donetsk.  We drove by their several times and by coincidence I am wearing my 2012 Championship Tshirt today .... how odd is that?

I was going to save this for closer to the election but......NO on amendment 2!!!  

This is a rant from John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan-a law firm.  He is the Chairman of the "Yes on 2" the amendment to legalize "medical" marijuana use in Florida.  He had just finished a debate with Grady Judd the sheriff of Polk county.  THIS is the man who wants us to have "medical marijuana"  Does it look like it is aimed at sick folks????   Does it look like they want to legalize it so that the dying can have some relief?????  No, of course not.  That is not what legalizing pot is about.  BTW if I ever have an automobile accident I will not be calling Morgan & Morgan....

So if you are wondering how we will vote on Amendment 2 on election will be NO!!!!!

For way too many years Jon and I have worked with people who took that very first step into drug use by smoking pot.  I do not believe I've ever met a cocaine, heroin, meth or any other kind of drug user who did not FIRST start with pot (and usually alcohol too) Now I think I have the authority to say that marijuana is NOT something to be used lightly.  I know all the sob stories and how it "might" help someone.  It might help a dying person but the video....not too many dying folks on it (actually they are but don't know or understand it)    That's the folks who will use it.  And the way the amendment is written, it is very very lax.  Not good for Florida!
this little girl is a waiting child with several grants on her.  please contact them if interested!!!!!

Well tomorrow we are back to our reality!  No one cleaning the bathroom and making our beds!  LOL

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life is short!

So to set a record....Jon and I went by ourselves to a conference this week in Orlando!  This is what greeted us when we drove up to the resort.....Gosh we could have just stayed home and visited some relatives to see this....LOL JUST KIDDING FAMILY!

Then the gorgeous view of I-4 from our room......

the "Upside Down House" from a distance

At least the garden is nice.

it's a conference Jon has to attend.  I have to say it is a step up from the last one we went to about 8 years ago.  That one was held in a dusty old church conference camp.  It was in February and I was freezing the whole time.  I had all the kids with me all day in the little dirty room.  I was TICKED off to say the least.  I'm not sure if I'm over that trip yet! 
I don't do conference very good.  I'm not a "rah rah" person who wants to be a part of the big group.  I'm the one sitting in the back rolling my eyes out of my head.  So...we don't do many conferences.  I came this time for Jon's sake, for some reason he likes to go alone with no kids LOL.  I'm not required or even wanted at any of the meetings and that is good for me!
When we first got here (after I finished laughing at the toilet) I really thought about going home for the kids. They would enjoy this place.   A few weekends ago was the first time we'd gone anywhere without them for over 16 years.  So this makes TWO times in one month.  The anniversary trip was ok for me, since I felt like it was good for us.  This trip is also good for us and is relaxing for me but I feel guilty even tho we'll only be gone for a little over 48 hours from the kids. 
It's the hardest for me to leave Sarah, she is a "mama's girl" and gets upset if she doesn't have me!  Can I admit that makes me happy:)   But since she doesn't understand when I'm not there, it's hard for me to leave her.  Steve promised me he'd put her next to him the WHOLE time he watches tv....she should be ok!  But somedays if I'm busy and don't' sit with her during the day, she calls out for me with a little noise that has a question mark sound on the end.  She doesn't say "Mama" -she uses that for me sometimes when I hold her- but it's a sound like "where's my mama?" and when she does that, I drop whatever I'm doing and hold her for a little bit.  Sarah is such an easy child, and asks so little that I really try and meet her emotional needs when she shares them.   So it's hard for me to be away from her!  Obviously Steve and Shad are good to go and probably like it a bit too much and Sam is happy as long as he has Steve....and FOOD!  I bought  enough food to survive a Zombie Apocalypse! 
Today as I was walking about, waiting on some take out (all by myself) I checked FB and say that a ministry friend who just lost her husband to cancer, now has lost her son.  She had posted a beautiful picture of her husband embracing their son at some airport.  It was heartbreaking beautiful ....and in the caption she wrote how Steve her husband was welcoming their son home.   I can not even imagine how close heaven is to her today....  Please pray for the Hill family.  They have been faithful to God in ministry for many years.  They will continue to be faithful, of that I have no doubt but please pray for God's grace.
After reading that, it impacted me in several ways.  One thing I thought of is how short life is and how long eternity is....   Life seems so chaotic right now in so many ways, it's easy to forget that we are only passing through.....  Secondly I thought how so many times it is easy to look at a family, a couple, a ministry and think "boy I wish I was where they are".....Just remember, everyone has mountains and valleys.   Don't wish to be in anyone else's shoes, as you do not know what the future holds for them and what God will require them to walk through.   Third, I though "I hope our children are prepared to meet God" 
Yesterday our friend preached & his three points ( I LOVE 3 point sermons) were
No Reserves
No Retreats
No Regrets! 
That's how I want to live my life
no reserves (nothing but GOD to fall back on)
No retreats-not going back
NO regrets!
He said there was a study done with a group of elderly folks and the one thing they wished they could change about their lives were that they did not take enough risks!  I want to be a risk taker for God.  Life is short.....

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Last night we joined some friends and church members for the Annual banquet for the Zephyrhills Pregnancy Center.  I've always thought highly of the director and of this ministry but never knew to what extent it reaches our community.  Loved hearing the stories and talking to some of the families last night.  It's great to be PRO life- but being pro life is so much more than just being ANTI abortion.  Pregnancy Centers provide support, training education and counseling for families for Years!  Several of the moms there had  been involved with the Center for five years or more.  This center provides GED classes, parenting classes, clothing and all kinds of assistance.  It was a good night!

This morning one of our "old" friends preached in our church.  TJ is a college friend and actually used to be the youth pastor at our church years ago-before our time.  He is now Doctor Kimball and is a Christian counselor as well as an advocate for special needs families.  He and his wife, Liz, have three boys, one who has Down's Syndrome.  They have a ministry called Joshua's Friends  to help other parents and have many plans to expand that ministry.


 Jon and TJ have been good friends for over 20 years.
There is one thing about being in the ministry, that is hard.  We have close friends all across the nation and overseas that we only get to see in passing.   Some we went to college together, some we've worked with in various ministries, some we've met briefly and just "clicked with".....we get just a few hours here and there to see each other and then it's back to our places of ministry  Since college, we've only had a chance to see the Kimballs a few times.  We have so many dear friends like thing I think about is that ONE day heaven will be so sweet when we get to spend time together and share how God brought us through life....

After church I just had to take some pictures of my ballerina before she changed.  Is she just precious or what???   Sarah dances on her knees during church, she ONLY responses to Christian music, Sesame Street does not interest her.  What is so beautiful, to see, sometimes Sarah will clap her hands as if in agreement with a specific song or a part of a song.  It always is so appropriate  when she does it.  I don't know what she understands but when she does her little dancing twirling, I believe she is giving praise to God.  (and I'm not big on dancing in church LOL)


Hope you all had a great weekend!  It was busy here, but good!