Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 57 fish oil~good news~ News clip

Our family's story was one featured on the Rochester NY news as stories of the year.  I believe the story is not so much about the accident, although that was life altering for our family but I believe the true story here is God's faithfulness.   If you want to view it, you have to click down to our story it is #6 on the right side on the bottom.  It's very sweet and done very compassionate. 

Today Selah held her head up for about 15 seconds.  That is the best she has done since she has been here.  We are thrilled.  We are also thrilled that when I did her wash today, her clothes reeked of fish oil!  She still doesn't smell as strongly as she did to me but she is getting there.  It looks like we won't leave on Wednesday, with the holidays, it has been difficult to get the insurances to do everything they are supposed to do to get things started and which insurance will pay what....I'm not surprised and it's ok.  Remember we tried to leave NY for months:)  I'm glad we didn't but we certainly aren't surprised it may take a few more days to get this all set up.   Thankfully our house and yard will be done and all her supplies will be delivered and set up before she gets home.

I've also noticed that when she gets annoyed, she is starting to lift her head and shoulders up off the bed again.  She did that before while she was in the hospital in NY and sometimes she did it to welcome us into the room.  We look forward to Selah getting more back to her normal!

I had some money left over on a Target card (thanks friend!) and I bought Selah two "coming home" outfits!  I'm looking forward to putting one of them on her ( and having a spare!)  when she leaves! 

We had supper provided for by Deerwood Publix tonight... Publix subs and sweet tea....WOOHOO!  Nothing better:)  thanks Publix!

Happy New Year to all.  We are staying safe and sound inside watching National Geo....a story on the Mayans LOL taped before Dec 21 LOL!   At least it is interesting!  Stay safe tonight everyone!!!!

New Year's Eve

Reading over FB made me realize that today is New Year's Eve!  Duh!   For some reason, I just hadn't caught on to that:)  

On New Year's Eve, we often look back over the past year and reflect.  Well this year has brought me to the very highest place and the very lowest place.  I can not imagine having another year like this one.  It started with such anticipation as we got ready to welcome our new children home.  A year ago today we had a HUGE financial miracle for our adoption and over $10,000 came in in ONE day to pay for the adoption!   Jon & I were just in tears throughout the day as we checked our page on Reece's Rainbow and watched the total funding grow higher and then as we got a  phone call saying a large check was coming for their adoption.  It was amazing!  We ended the day with our family and my in laws around the fire out back:)  What a day! 

Obviously this day is going to be very different....many things have transpired since last New Year's Eve....

We started last year with great anticapiton, our paperwork was in, we were just waiting on Ukraine (and waiting and waiting) to tell us to "Come"  We had hoped to go in February but didn't leave until March.  Our whole lives were on hold not knowing the date we were leaving.  We didn't make any long range plans, we just waited and got everything ready and perfect for our girls! 

Every morning once the dates started coming I had my phone right beside me, hoping today would be the day that I'd get the call!  That day finally came and I almost  passed out!!!!!   It came later in the morning, after I'd given up hope....oh but I was so glad to hear the stateside assistant tell me we had a date!!!!!!  All the last minute running around....then we finally left for our appointment in Kiev!  And after all the stuff in the capital it was on to the all night train ride on the "hell train" as we like to refer to it....Let's just say it had much to be desired!  Then another 1.5 hour van ride ( in a 1970 Russian army van- and no I am not making this up) on terrible dirt roads, as fast as we could go till we got to the girls town of Torez.  Then we met with a bunch of people and our facilitator did whatever he was to do and then finally on to the adult mental institution to meet our girls....after we went through more talking in the director's office.  Let me just tell you, when you are minutes away from meeting your children, you can not think of anything else.....  Finally all the preliminaries were done and we walked out into the courtyard, to the old building in the back.  We went up a smelly staircase and at the top in a little alcove were the two little girls we had come half way around the world to get....Sarah & Selah!   Sarah was in a wheelchair and Selah was standing, I didn't know who to grab first so I just grabbed both of them!  

There is something so spiritual about meeting your children for the first time whether it is by childbirth or adoption.  There is something so sacred about adoption.  You've chosen that little person and you have dreamed about that little person and worked so hard to get to that little person and then you are is amazing!!!!   I'm blessed to have experienced that twice in my life! 

So then we spent the next 6 weeks living in Torez Ukraine.  I loved that poor little Ukrainian town near the Russian border.  Yes it was hard living but it was so real.  When it was time to leave, I really didn't want to go.  (although that might have been the thought of all that was to come....traveling back home with 3 little people (we had Sam with us also)  and the trip on the train was ahead!) 

The day came when we left the orphanage, adult mental institution, the internot, whatever you want to call it they were free!!!!!!!!!  That was just an incredible day.....then off to Kiev to do all the American embassy stuff and then on to home....HOME.....with our girls.....

That night that we were all finally home and everyone was in their beds....I can not tell you the peace I felt when I laid down to sleep.....

Then the most wonderful 14 weeks of my went so quick...if I had only known, I would have cherished each moment even more dearer than I did......   ( just typing that makes me have no idea how very happy that short time was)

Then our first road trip, up to NY to Sam's eye doctor and the chance of Sarah being helped also....

The ACCIDENT August 15, 2012 changed our lives forever....

The days of not knowing if Selah would live, the weeks of no responses...

Finally around the first of October, she began responding a tiny bit....then we got her on the fish oil study and saw her responses come more often, more consistently, they began to build....

Then the gut wrenching transfer down to Florida and seeing her regress....

Now we are preparing to take a new step on this journey...going HOME....soon I will have all my kids under one roof again.  It's been almost 5 months.The whole adoption from commitment to the day we traveled took less than 5 months!!!! 

I never dreamed last New Year's Eve of all the twists and turns that 2012 would have in store for us.  I never dreamed I'd be away from home for more than 6 months ( including the adoption and the accident we have been away from home for 27 weeks!!!!!!)   I'm such a homebody, God has given me the grace to do it and not complain but be content in "whatever state" I was in...that is a real miracle!

I also never dreamed I'd know God's sustaining grace over all in my life like I can say I know it now.  God never left us through the very darkest days....His love and peace were with us.  I look back and am just amazed at how God brought us was not us, it was not me, it was God's grace in our lives. 

I have not felt abandoned by God, I've not felt let down by God.  How can I not trust this God who although He is the ruler of this Universe, takes the time to speak peace to my heart as I am running towards the ambulances, knowing somehow in my heart, that my family is involved......  What a God I serve!  Sure if He were a magic genie, He could make my life a rose garden but, without going into a whole theological discussion here, that is not who God is.   I believe in the biblical accounts, and I believe when Adam and Eve sinned, sin came into the world with death and heartache,  That is not what God wanted but he allowed man to have his own free will and in that free will man chose to bring that upon the whole human race.  Therefore we live in a fallen crappy world.  Things happen...the bible tells us that "many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them from them all"  Jesus said "in this world you will have trouble..."   That is just the gist of it....

I'm thankful that God has been with us.  I can not imagine going through this past year without God's strength.  It has certainly not been in my strength!  Even the adoption was taxing....very hard but God helped us and we made it through! 

What a year this 2012 has been....I don't know what lies ahead in 2013, it may be good or it may be hard but I am confident that the same God who has been with us through 2012 and all the previous years before., wll be with us in this coming year.

I pray that each of you will find that same peace for the year that lies ahead for you. 

Day 56 Fish OIl Study

We are back in Jacksonville, left home about 6 or 7 pm and got here at 11 pm.  All our clocks have different times on them LOL so I'm not sure when we left.  Jon insists on going the "country route" instead of the interstate but it takes about the same time either way.  I just hate 2 laned roads, I'm always positive that we're about to have a head on collision at anytime!  So I had to "help" him drive all the way!  I'm exhausted:)

Anna, my niece painting the closet

such dedication:)  I love this girl!!!
I see the "light at the end of the tunnel"  thanks to my wonderful sister in law and some friends:)  Do you like the color of Selah's room?  It is beautiful and peaceful.  The worst of everything is done and they are finishing up everything else:)   One thing I REALLY appreciated this weekend  was using our washer & dryer.  This is the first time in FIVE months that I didn't have to take my laundry downstairs, either to the basement at the RMH or to the 1st floor at the hotel.  It wa great not to worry about getting in some one elses way or having someone  take our stuff!  It was so easy to go in the laundry room and to do all my laundry while I was doing other have no idea hahaha!!!!

Her swing is all set up thanks to our friend Jim.  I sat out there today with a friend and thougth soon Selah will be able to be outside and enjoy this.  I do love Florida weather!  It was a beautiful day today! 

I've found that I "drink in' my surroundings.  I do love the South:)  I love the flat land and the pine trees, palms, oak trees and the Spanish moss.  I love the smell of rain and the sound of the middle of the winder:)   I love our food:)  All that weight I lost maybe creeping back on!  I love that there is sweet tea everywhere:)  Publix and wide parking spaces....  I love that even when it is cold in the morning, you know it will be warm by lunch time!  I guess just being back in our familiar surroundings brings a measure of peace.

 I'm glad I don't have to see the Erie Canal every day.....Tonight driving over a bridge, I had to keep myself calm.  I started having a panic attack and thought what if the van went over the edge or the bridge was blown up, how would I save the kids....I don't see any beach trips in our future!  Pools freak me out now too!  I'm no fan of water right now!

Selah has had a great weekend.  Our friends have dropped in to see her and I"ve called and everything has been nice and calm.  No storms!  It is hard for us to be away from her, not knowing what she understands or thinks bothers me.  Hopefully this is the last time we will be away!  We are planning on her going home on Wednesday as long as everything goes into place.  We are waiting on the nursing and the transport.  We do not want to drive her!  Can you imagine our first time alone with her and we have to drive 4 hours with all the kids?  In the country...?   No way!   So we asked for her to be transported by ambulance.   That is all being set up. 

We had a sweet service at church.  Our music minister sang several songs about Trusting God through the storms of life.  All I could do was cry....I'm not a crying person and really hate to in front of people.  You have no idea how much I hate for people to see me cry!  I don't really liked to be hugged or comforted either, it just embarrasses me to death!  So I fight and resist tears as much as possible.  But today the sweetness of the songs just overwhelmed me.  I'm so glad I can trust God.  I feel like I'm on a crazy fast roller coaster with no end in life is totally out of my control at this point.  My family's life is out of control at this point....We are not in control anymore, we are just trusting God and basically living by "the seat of our pants"  I am learning to make a few plans but most things overwhelm my mind at this point and it's been like that for the past five months.  For the folks who know me, that is not "how I roll"  but it is now!  When I worked in probation I really tried  with my paperwork to "touch it once" .  Basically when it came in, I picked it up and looked at it and did whatever needed to be done with it, whether it was filing, or sending it to court or whatever....and that worked great!   So since then I've tried that with everything else, if I was cleaning a room or whatever I did what was needed to be done and was finished.  LOL  that is out of the window now.   I can't focus, even on conversations with people, much less work!   I can write my blog....and that helps me to focus some so we will see how things go with this new normal for me!

So  we are getting ready to go to bed so we can get up early tomorrow and go see Selah and do some chores! 

Please keep praying for Selah.  Pray that the fish oil will help her brain to repair itself.  She was doing so amazingly well before we came here.  We are praying that she will progress back to where she was before she was transferred.  These past few weeks have been very depressing and sad to us.  Hopefully that will change soon!  I believe she will recover quicker at home although it terrifies me to take her home....

A good friend gave me some Essential Oils today and I used some for me and have some to put on Selah.  I've got several friends who are using this, I don't know much about it but I'm open to try things with her and myself too!  I put Lavender behind my ears today for calmness and I loved the smell:)  I like the idea that they are true oils and not some flavored lotion or something with a million chemicals in it.  I probably will be using buckets of the Lavender:)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 55 Fish Oil study

We are home exhausted....everything is moved out of Steve & Shad's room and into Jon's office at the church.  They are calling it their "man cave"  It actually looks good.  That will be their hangout place but they will sleep at home.

My sister in law, Valerie is still in Selah's room painting it.  it is looking good!  Jim & Pat, our friends, came  and put together the swing, and a book case and did all kinds of things for us also.  We still have a ways to go.  It has been an overwhelming task.  What makes it so hard is having been gone so long and trying to move back in and do all this at the same time.  Plus the whole emotional issue.  As I went through all our stuff,  I found it hard to sort things that are Selah's, that she may never use again....  even clothes that were hers that she has outgrown are hard for me to part with and I'm not one to save things much.  I can't even give away her bandannas that she wore like a necklace because she would bit her shirt without them. 

I find myself starting a job, then going to another job and getting nothing finished.  That is not like me either, I'm very goal oriented and have to finish jobs.  This has been a rough day to me. 

On top of it, we had to call the Electrical people who just worked on our house a few months ago and did major work!  None of the outlets in the kids rooms were working.  Thankfully they came right out and found the issue (which I never did understand) and fixed it. 

Jon did take Sam & Sarah out on the swing set today as he did his study for his sermon.  They were so happy to be out in their swings:)  The day started off with a soft rain and ended up being just beautiful before it got a little chilly tonight. 

At this point, I can not see us being ready to leave tomorrow and I'm so frazzled and tired and achy that I just want to go to sleep!   But hopefully we will be able to!

Thankfully a good friend that I grew up with and her husband Jina and Dusty, are checking on Selah.  Jina put lotion all over her and  Selah stuck her tongue out as far as she could:)  They sent me a picture. She is doing good, no storms for a week now. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 54 Fish Oil Study

Selah is doing good.  We all went and spent some time with her this morning before we left for home.  Thankfully a friend I grew up with Jina, is being able to stay with her some while we are gone and we know who her nurses will be.  She reported to me that when Selah got her bath tonight she stretched out and startled the nurses.  She hasn't stretched since we were in NY, she's been so tight so that was good news!!

Our house looks like a bomb has gone off in it. The pictures above are of Sam "doing his toy inventory".  He always goes and pulls out all his toys when we have been gone from home and come home   It is funny!   We are boxing up the boys room and in the process of having boxes of stuff to give/throw away!  Steve and I went to Lowes and I bought a big outside swing for us to sit on with Selah!  Our friend Jim is putting it together for us tomorrow.  It has a canopy and I am looking forward to her being outside in our wonderful Florida weather soon!  My sister in law Valerie is going to paint Selah's room.  I got the prettiest light purple/lavender color for  it:)   We opened her Christmas presents today and she got a pretty pink beanbag chair that is going to look great in her room and give her a new place to sit and be comfortable.   We are the kind of family that sits on the floor alot and this way she will be able to join in. 

We picked up our favorite Chinese food tonight so it really feels like home:)   It's a nice rainy night out in the country....we have so much work to do....  Not just box up their room but we are going through everywhere and rearranging/cleaning....UGH!  I hate doing it but so glad when the job is done and everything is ready for us to come home and most importantly for Selah to come home!!!!  The boys will have all their stuff in Jon's office so the first thing I did today was to clean it out.  Since we've been gone it collected alot of things!!  It's at least nice and clean except for the desk now.  That will be their "man cave" from now on!  I bought a bookcase and a game holder.  We have an idea how we are going to arrange it tomorrow. The closet in their room is so deep and held everything so nicely, I had no idea how much stuff they had till we took everything out!!!   Let's hope we can get it all in!  We were going to use the end of the Fellowship Hall but Steve rather do this so we'll see if we can get it all in!

Wish us good luck and lots of helpful folks to help this all get done tomorrow so we can leave after church on Sunday to go back to Selah!!!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 53 Fish Oil Study

We had a meeting with the administrator's office and settled some questions about the fish oil protocol, after her fish oil bottle was found in her room this morning instead of in the fridge!  We were pleased with the administrator's efforts to ensure this does not happen again.  I was really upset this happened but I do think things will be taken care of from now on.  We also discussed some other things that had bothered us and we feel it's been dealt with now. 

Selah worked good with her therapists today, we saw her yawn and I'm not sure she has yawned since the accident.  We love every little thing she does:)   She is starting to smell like fish oil again!  We love it!

We also met with our aftercare worker.  They are really working hard to get us 24 hour nursing care.  Everything is coming into place, we just have to get our house in order and that is going to be a BIG job!  We are planning on going home tomorrow and working all weekend to get it as ready as possible.  I'm starting to look forward to taking her home.  I was terribly afraid to take her home but with nursing, therapy and everything we need, I think we can do it successfully!! 

We know we will probably have to move but first we are going home and figuring everything out first.  We have got to figure out how everything is going to work but I'm sure it is going to work out. don't forget to give to this child's adoption if you can!!!!  Please pray that his adoption will go through before the ban on adoptions start!!  You can also give here  which is the easiest to me!


Remember my whole rant from last night about taking care of the orphan and the "least of these"?????   Now you have a chance! 

This family is adopting this little boy from a country that is changing its' adoption laws as I type!!!.  His adoption is taking only 4 months INSTEAD of the regular 12-18 months so they really don't have much time to raise the money.  His country may soon be shutting down adoptions.  This is this little guy's ONLY chance for a family and the medical help he needs to live a healthy long life!  Otherwise he will sugar coating it, HE. WILL. DIE.  alone and helpless with his brain  crushed from the pressure of his skull!

They need $20,000  I know that God can bring that ransom in for this little guy.  Taking care of orphans is the very heart of God.   Last December 31st, over $10,000 came in that day for our girls' adoption.  It can happen.  We are going to give (we were able to order bank cards and they are waiting for us at home!  woohoo!!!  Now I will have my debit card back!)   and I ask you to give too!  is their blog site and they have a chip in on the right side so you can give that way easily.

\You can also give through Reece's Rainbow

I do not know this family personally but we have mutual friends.  They have gone through the whole clearance process and are working with an adoption agency.   Please help this little boy get home!  Give him the chance of a family and medical help!  This is a very serious situation!!!!  Thank you!


Who I Am


Many people have wondered how I've gotten through the past few months as well as how I got to this point in my life to begin here goes.......

I've always enjoyed blogging...I started back a few years ago.  I wrote just to write.  If I saw that I had 100 hits in a month, I thought I was a hot writer LOL.  Back then, I could write whatever was on my mind.  I never worried about people reading my thoughts, I wrote more for my own pleasure than for whoever might be reading.  Now I try to be more politically correct at times.  Now I'm afraid I'll get sued LOL~   Lately I have all kinds of things rolling around in my mind to blog about but I'm usually too tired or too overwhelmed with a brain of mush.  And a little worried about what readers might think too:)

I've never fit into any box, in anyway whatsoever.  I'm a real southern girl who has lived in NYC.  I've been privileged to travel quite a bit and I've seen things I had never dreamed of. Although I tend only  to go to former or current communistic countries :)  Spiritually I'm pretty unique also.  I often am told "you are a different sort of pastor's wife"  Sometimes it is said as a compliment and sometimes not.  I have studied theology and criminal justice....what a combo.  I worked for years in the criminal justice field and I've been married to a minister for over 23 years.  I've seen alot of human nature....some good and some very very bad.  I'm a very cynical person and generally expect the worst but I've also seen the best in others also.  I love being a mom and yet don't really like to be around others kids.   I've always said I'm not a "kid" person but I have 5 of my own:)   I had a messed up life growing up, a very odd life, which makes me guard my children like a crazy person in every way you can think of.   I'm pretty much a conservative Republican, but sometimes my views are different politically. 

So where am I going with all of this?  Heck if I know:)  My views on a lot of things have evolved over the years.  I grew up in a very Democrat family that hated Ronald Reagan with a passion and thought that FDR was close to Jesus.  I esteem Reagan and feel the FDR was the worst thing to happen to America's internal politics ever!  Although Obama is a close second.  LOL.  I was raised in a Old time Pentecostal church and while I appreciate some of the things I learned, some of the things make me cringe! 

So if Obama can "evolve" on his ideas I guess we all can. 

I grew up going to church services that were unpredictable to say the least.  Now I can't help but laugh at some of the things I saw.  It was interesting to say the least.  As a child, I was taught that everything that happened in church was "God"   In the church I grew up in, the pastors were not very educated except for one or two that came through.  Those rare pastors were not well liked by the congregation.  And the congregation....all I can say is, it could have easily been a christian sitcom.  Everyone was rather poor or just country folks, although, some who liked to pretend they were something more than they were.  My family was one of the poorer ones.  I was raised by my great aunt, she lived on social security but we had a little farm and she did some sewing.  Her sister and brother also lived with us.  The two sisters, my great aunts, were would almost be impossible to describe them if you don't have the reference points I have from being raised in the south!  They had been born at the turn of the century.  They got involved with the Pentecostal church when they were in their 40's or 50's and wore their hair up in a bun and only wore dresses, double knit dresses that they made by hand.  They both had sharp tongues and like Agatha Christy's Miss Marple they absolutely thought the very worst of almost everyone. They both had some bitterness issues.   I only wish they had lived till I was older, I bet we'd had some great conversations!  My grandmother, their sister was the one with the sharpest tongue and she thought the very worst of everyone.  I always thought of my Aunt Boots, who I called Mama as the nicest, my aunt Ruby, who I called Ruby as the middle one and Ethel my granny as the meanest but funniest.  My great uncle moved in with us when I was about 4 years old.  He was a quiet sweet man who I adored.  He didn't got to church at all and smoked cigarettes and pipes (I still love the smell of pipes)  he wore Old Spice and my aunts would say he'd go to a woman's house to drink.  Uncle Mack bought me a robot and I cried because it was a "boy's toy"  He let me ride in the back of his brown Chevrolet truck.  He got cancer and died in just a few months when I was 12 years old.  That was the saddest thing I had ever gone through.  The first time I ever remember us missing church was the weekend before he died.  I was frighten to miss church but secretly glad I could watch the "Wonderful World of Disney"   The weekend before he died lots of family was there and me and a "cousin" or something smoked one of his cigarettes,out under our big grapevine.   I thought I was going to puke!  That cured me completely of wanting to smoke! 

Growing up as a teenager, listening to hellfire and brimstone sermons kept me on the straight and narrow.  I was too afraid to do much of anything wrong because I was certain I would die or the Rapture would happen and I would  go to hell.  That was probably a good thing!  God knows I was lonely and silly enough to get messed up good and proper if I hadn't had the fear of hell or the  rapture to keep me straight!  Back when I was growing up in the 70's and early 80's the Pentecostals were all sure they knew who the Anti-Christ was ( it was Henry Kissinger LOLOL-although he is still alive and must be about 150 years old!!!)  Somehow his name equaled to 666...  We also had these awful movies....about the tribulation.  I can't remember the names of the movies but they were beyond horrible and scared the devil out of me:) 

Like I said, I saw some crazy things growing up in church and heard some crazy far out theology.  I just wish that I had had a video camera back then!!!  Our church was known for being a "problem church"  One reason was that most folks were kin to each other in some way so if you ticked off Brother A then Sister D would be mad because he was her 2nd cousin twice removed.  In the 17 and a half years I lived at home, our church had more than 22 pastors and a complete church spilt, one stayed only 4 months and had a cute son!  I was sad to see them go!  What wimps they were!!  The church needed a pastor that had a backbone and stood up to them!  They did have one good one like that and he stayed a couple of years but finally was tired of the foolishness.   My family went with the church split and then that church almost spilt.  Now the both churches are a shell...and the second one has a split off of it today.  How sad!  But I do have good memories of going to church.  That church could cause problems but boy could that choir sing!  They could put the Gaither Homecoming videos to shame....  Although even with the choir, there was often fights in who was the choir leader...  It went between three or four folks...  but they could sing:) 

Somehow in spite of my crazy mixed up life, I had a trust in God that went beyond all the foolishness, false doctrine and fights that I saw.  Somehow I knew God was more than what I was seeing.  I knew God was more than who was playing the piano or leading the choir or who was the pastor....  And BTW, my three old ladies were just awful when it came to the preachers....or the choir directors....  Oh Lord!  They would tear them up after church every week!  Except for the one pastor who tried to work with the problems, they actually loved Bro B and were very supportive, probably the only pastor they ever really supported!   So when we have problems folks in my church it is sorta funny to me.  I find myself comparing them to some of the folks I knew growing up.  It's like a game to me to figure out what they are up too.  So don't think you can act up in a church that my husband pastors LOLOL!  I've seen it all and I am a suspicious person!  Between  my years growing up in the church  and my criminal background I will see right through you....hahahahaha!   I do say when we have gone through some rough times, I'm just reaping what my family sowed:) 

So through it all, I found a real faith despite all the craziness......I certainly questioned things both in my heart and out loud too!  Since I was a little girl I "played church"  LOL  I'd sit my dolls up on the side of the bed, turn on the cassette player and put in the pastor's sermon or a record playing some of the southern gospel music.  I admired the pastor wives and wanted to be one but I also loved theology too.  I had to think deeply about what  I believed.  Our church taught "Sanctification" as a 2nd work of grace, almost like a salvation experience and that with that one time experience a person received grace to live without sin.  Well I had enough life experience to know that most of the folks in church didn't live without sin although they would get up in a "testimony" service and say "I was saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost"  It was "interesting " to me.  So in VBS, I got into a major discussion with the pastor about the fallacy of the doctrine of sanctification as that church taught it.  I was 12 years old at the time.  Jon laughs about that now all the time:) 

Our church also believed in "feet washing" as a sacrament.  Which means that they practiced it!  So I grew up trying to make sure I got out of all the foot washing services!  The men would do it in the church and the women would do it in the Fellowship Hall.  I think I managed to duck it every time somehow!  They taught it as, it was as important as communion or baptism.  Even as a young person, that just went against what I believed the Bible taught.  Plus I just was NOT going to wash anyone's feet!  YUCK!!!!!!

So throughout my teen years, I was working out my beliefs, trying to understand the Bible.  I knew I wanted to go to a Bible College.  I knew I didn't want to go to our church's school but I wanted something close to what I believed, another Pentecostal college from a denomination that was "more refined" and closer to what I personally understood to be correct.  I got a pamphlet from Southeastern College in Lakeland Fl and honestly as i was turning from the mailbox, I knew that was the college I was supposed to go to!  And boy did I have to hang on to that knowledge!  Everyone around me totally freaked out that I wanted to go to SEC!  You would have thought I was headed off to Berkley or somewhere crazy!  I had absolutely no help whatsoever.  I worked the summer before I left for school picking peaches with the migrant workers!  I was thankful for that job!  No one in our church thought the other denomination was "saved"  They were considered it to be "backsliden"  The pastor at the time in my old church, preached a sermon in our little church on "Come Home"  It was so obvious that the preacher was preaching at me, so my half deaf grandmother turned to me and said "he's talking about you!"  as loud as she could.   I just had to laugh and say "I know!"   Leaving for SEC took more backbone than I knew I had.  My surviving aunt wouldn't even speak to me as I left that morning....  but I learned I had a backbone and would do what I thought was right.  What a wonderful time of growth that was for me!  I had to totally take care of myself, work and go to college.  Oh I was scared to death but I did it....  The funny thing when I graduated from college, alot of folks wanted to take credit for it and describe me as "my relative who just graduated from college"  That really ticked me off to say the least.   I'm afraid our kids won't learn to have the backbone that I learned to have because  we are too kind to them and make it too easy on them!  But the mama part of me don't want to see them suffer, although I know it is good for them:)

My BFF Angela and me right before i left for college

                                                         this picture cracks me up!          
So off I went to learn theology and find a man:)  After growing up around a bunch of rednecks, I was  thrilled to be around a bunch of guys who dressed up and wanted to talk theology!  In some of my classes I was the only female!  LOL  It was great!  I described SEC as "being  a candy store"  to my BFF when I would call home on the old payphone in the stairwell!   Real spiritual huh?  In the one class Jon and I were in together, I was the only female and only remember Jon because I didn't know him, he didn't live on campus.  He remembered me because I was the only girl and I had just come back from a summer in NYC working in an inner city ministry.  That impressed him! LOL  You never know what will impress a man:)
During my time at SEC I got introduced to working on the streets....LOL  NOT like you are thinking but I was invited to go out one weekend night to Orlando to work on OBT at a coffee house for the homeless and with the prostitutes of the area.  At first I was more than hesitant!  But I went and found my niche.  I found that I much preferred to do my "student ministry" with the street people  than with the church folks! 
I found my new denomination fit my theology more closer than my old one did but I still had some questions....healing was always a concern with me.  I just did not see it as it was taught as part of the atonement.... I will get into that some other time.  But I pretty much felt I was where I mostly felt comfortable.  I was concerned about the "health and wealth doctrine"  or the prosperity doctrine that was NOT taught in our college but unfortunately was in alot of the churches in the 80's and still remains to this day.   That doctrine is something that the Pentecostal/Charismatics have allowed to creep into their churches.  It was really strong in the 80's and I have found out that it is still strong unfortunately.  What I have really found as I have gone through suffering, is that most folks, pastors or laypeople, do not have a good grasp on theology at all!  It's rather sad when someone comes to "comfort" or "exhort" me and they have no biblical basis for what they are sharing.  Mostly it is a hodge podge of various tv preachers or popular authors, a little Oprah, and a few scriptures thrown in together.....  to say I'm appalled is an understatement! 
I've heard time and time again that "theology" will ruin a person.  If you mean ruin, by making sure they share what the bible says rather than what Oprah and Joel Osteen say, then yes let it ruin me!!!  
The bible talks so much about suffering....we in my theological background talk so little of it.....  the bible talks so much about reaching out to the hurting, to ease the background teaches reach out in order to "get someone saved"   The bible talks about going to the "least of them"

Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Something to chew on huh?   It's a rather scary set of scriptures.  And it is pretty clear scriptures....Jesus was telling about practical ministry done without the attempt to necessarily "save" someones soul"  Although when you reach out in love, wanting to give without trying to get another "notch on your belt" people see the real love of God and they respond to it.  I'm not saying that no one is doing that, I know folks who are and we certainly have always been a part of tthat type of ministry.  But overall, it is not preached!  And if it is it is preached as if it is a "calling" to certain folks not the whole body of Christ. 

I'm afraid the Pentecostal/charismatic churches don't do a lot of reaching out to the" least of these".... one way I can tell is the uncomfortableness people in certain circles have around my handicapped children....  It makes me mad but it also cracks me up at the same time.   When was the last time you have heard James 1:27 preached?????

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I have people tell me all the time that they admire our "calling" to adopt orphans...really a calling?  I don't think's a calling that the whole body of Christ has.  Maybe not to adopt but to look after orphans and widows.  I've read statistics that say if only 10% of the world's professing Christians would adopt a child, the world would have no more orphans....WOW!  So that leaves 90% of Christians off the hook if the other 10% would just do their job!

I don't see that preached much in our churches in my circle.  I see it preached and taught in other "not as spiritual" denominations or movements but yet we who have been endowed with "so many spiritual gifts" tend to like to use them to shout loud and jump high and then feel we have all done God a favor and aren't we spiritual?   Do I sound bitter?  I'm not but I am annoyed!  (and please know I am being sarcastic when i wrote "not as spiritual" denominations....I do not believe like that but I know others who do and I'm making a point here)  Kinda makes me think of the scripture of some other scriptures...

1 Corinthians 13

New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.,

I know so many folks who can go off in tongues, and have so much so called faith...but they don't have love.  They are busy building up ministries and monuments, to worry about the prisoner, they are too busy "believing God for a miracle" in order to have some great name as a healer,  to really love the person who needs a miracle.  Our priorities need to be straight. 

I think it really comes down to the "health & wealth" "prosperity gospel" that has swept across our churches and has lodged in everywhere.  To me it is like a cancer that has little pockets throughout a body and it shows up on a PET scan as little light up dots....  It so distorts the church's view of who we are and who God is....  God no longer is the sovereign ruler, He becomes our "pal" and someone we command to do what we want, like a nice genie in a bottle, that is bound by what we say.  No longer do we feel compassion for the downtrodden people, we judge them for not being spiritual enough to have God's blessings.  If you are not healed, it's because you have sin in your life, there is no place for suffering...everyone walks in complete victory over their health, their finances and their lives.....  The "health and wealth doctrine" has no place for the handicapped, or the orphans or the widows....  
It has no place for the reverence of God.  The things I have heard come out of pulpits over the  years.....OH MY GOSH,  God is long suffering and slow to anger....or else He would have been striking some preachers dead!  No reverence, God is just their buddy, their daddy, their best about realizing God is the God of this Universe and we will all stand in front of him one day and fall to our faces in reverence....  I'm not saying that God isn't close to us, the bible teaches that He is close to the brokenhearted but He is still God and I am still a mortal....but some of the terminology we use...again it goes back to bad theology....  I've heard preachers and laity refer to God in a much more causal way than I would to a judge, a boss, a amazes me!  People talk to the God of this Universe as if He were their errant boy!

So how does this all tie in together?  How has this helped me in any way whatsoever as I've walked through the past 4 and 1/2 months?

I've known who God is and who I am.....  I've learned to take the full Bible in the context that it was written and by comparing scripture to scripture I have found a balance....yes there are scriptures that talk about the "abundant life" but in the same bible, Jesus promises "in this world you will have trouble"

Yes I still believe God does miracles.....but I believe He is sovereign.  I believe that suffering is in this world and will be here till the end of time. And contrary to most tv preachers I do NOT believe that Christians have a "get out of jail free" card!  I don't believe that God causes tragedies or even that the devil does it....things just happen.  The bible tells us we will go through suffering and are perfected by suffering (not by an emotional prayer service at church)   When have you heard that suffering perfects you?  "I lnow, I know`NEVER" unless you listen to my husband's sermons!   I know that God is with me but i say that with all humbleness, it's by His grace, not because I'm some type of saint.  If you think I'm a saint, you are so wrong!  I'm an exposed nerve (as my mother in law would say about one of her sons)  I'm grouchy and some days very unspiritual....I'm not saying I live in sin but I do not live a sinless life!   Things get on my nerves very quickly and I'm really not a nice person and the older I get the less nice I get and that is true....I may look nice but please don't be mistaken, there is a sarcastic streak a mile wide and it is hard to keep it in check most days.  I just feel like I don't have time for a bunch of foolishness, there is so much waiting to be done in this world, get off your pity party and do something!!  If anyone wants to see if they can beat me with the "pity Party" please go back and read the beginning of my blog.  for some reason I have been allowed to go through alot of heartache in life.  but I chose, I make a conscientious decision, to trust God..  Job 1:21

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised

I try to look at life in the light of eternity....will it really matter in heaven if I wear the hippest clothes or drive the nicest car?  NOPE!  I think our crowns will be given for things so much more important than that....

So I hope you are still my friend and I hope I don't get any angry comments ( but I moderate them anyhow hahaha!) or emails but this is who I am inside.  And please no sermons on how I've backslidden...this is how I believe and have for a long time.    I want to know what I believe and I want to really walk it out.....whether it is comfortable or not!



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 52 Fish Oil Study

Selah had a good day.  Jon was with her all day and she was alert.  She responded to the eye threat test with some of the therapists.  No storming thank God!  We are really ready to get her home and see what we can do for her.  We are getting everything set up for her.  Please pray that everything will come together so we can get her home and all of us together again under one roof.  I can hardly even imagine.....  I want to get a big out door swing that I can sit in and hold Selah and swing her.  I think she will love it!  I've got alot of ideas.  I recently applied for a FREE HBOT therapy place in St Pete.  I can't imagine driving her every day to St Pete but if it will help her, it will be so worth it!  Maybe some of my friends will go with me,  I hate driving on that interstate area.

My neck/shoulders have gotten worse.  I've never had anything like this before, it's really painful and makes it hard for me to do anything.  Hot showers seems to help but advil doesn't even touch it.  I don't like taking anything stronger so I'm keeping a heating pad on my shoulders/neck as much as possible.  I am not really sure where the pain is coming from, it's just in that whole area.  I'm stiff too, this growing old stuff is hard:)

I'm jealous of Rochester tonight with their snowstorm...I had really wanted the kids to see a real snow storm but it waited till we left.  I do like the nice heat here in Florida although tonight it is going to get into the 30's for a little while tonight but up to the 50's tomorrow.

Well we are going to go spend some of our gift cards tonight:)  The boys are excited!  Tomorrow is my day with Selah.  Looking forward to spending time with her! 

Please keep praying for Selah.....

Day 51 Fish Oil Study~Merry Christmas

The whole family
Another day without a storm thank God!!!  She seemed more alert.  We took the kids to see her and took a few things to her.  Most of her Christmas presents are at home waiting for her.  She did the funniest thing.... she had been looking towards her door, all the time.  It's not good for her to get in a fixed position so we were worried.  I put her DVD player on the other side of her bed and moved her head over.  She kept moving it back.  I went out in the hall, to check on the kids and Jon went into the bathroom, I walked back in and she had turned her head and eyes right to the DVD player and was watching it!!!  LOL  She has a stubborn streak in her.  The doctors here would say she doesn't have the cognitive ability to resist like that but obviously she does!!!  She was not going to watch it just because we wanted her to do it!  We haven't seen that streak for a while and it was good to see Selah in there!  Things like that, give me the most hope!  Her arms were very relaxed.  Her legs/ankles not at all.  I got a little range of motion in her knees but it was hard.  I've really hurt my left shoulder, as well as the right side of my neck.  I hardly could work her legs.   I've never had a pain like the shoulder/back pain.  I'm hoping I haven't really done something to it. 

Christmas morning

Shad made out like a bandit:)

Sarah and the bilibo...she loves it and was rocking in it as soon as it was open.  It is a European toy

it can also be a "turtle shell" when she goes into "turtle mode"   She does that when she needs to regroup for a minute or two:)  Our therapist are going to love the new toys to work with the kids on.
We all had a great time opening our presents this morning, thanks Bell Shore Baptist & our friend from Jax:) 

Our good friend Jim & Pat Rhodes came up and spent some time with us and we all went over to our new friends Bill & Syndey Behrnes' house

Their dog really wanted to take care of Sarah but Sarah scared her a bit

Bill & Sarah

the whole gang! 
We ate, watched some concerts in their media room...that was amazing:)  I love Simon & Garfunkel, it was reminiscent to watch their 1981 Concert In the Park.  It made the 80's seem so easy and less troubled, much more innocent.   I'd seen that concert before but it had been years, so tonight I'm singing "the Sound of Silence"  and "Wake up little Suzie"  I want a media room:)  Fun times!  Just so you know, Sarah started out in a Christmas dress, by the end of the night she looked like a girl from a Simon & Garfunkel concert with her "orange 70's outfit" that had ended up in the diaper bag:)
So today was a good day, not the Christmas I had imagined but also not the Christmas I had dreaded either....
This year with all the tragedies I know of personally, as well as the national ones, makes me grateful that all five of my children are alive.  We easily could have easily lost Sam & Selah that hot August day.  When I walk with Sam or rub his back (which he loves) I just breath out a prayer of thanksgiving that he is alive and well.  Things could be so much worse than they are!  When I lean over and kiss Selah's head, I am so thankful that she is alive and recovering!!!  I didn't take my kids for granted before the accident.  I guess having such a hard time having children, made me thankful for them and for our adoptive ones. I knew how hard that was too.  So I probably have always had a different perspective on my kids but now it's a hundred fold!  I am so thankful that I have them all!!!
I hope everyone had a blessed day and a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 50 fish oil study Christmas Eve 2012

Selah had a great day!  No storming, arms relaxed, attentive in therapy...thank God!  She seems to be recovering.  We still don't know for sure what it was.  She was taken off the new meds but honestly she had regressed long before she went on that medicine.  She got a new bottle of fish oil at the same time.  I still think it was the fish oil, that it had been compromised.  So the hospital will probably say it was the new med, I say it was the fish oil but either way, she is better.  We are praying that she recovers to the point she was before she was transferred down here.  She still had quite a way to go until she gets to that point but at least there has been no further regression!

We went to the candlelight service, it was lovely! I love the liturgical services in the Methodist church.  There is just something comforting about it to me.  Jon was raised Methodist so he is used to it.  I was raised Pentecostal, old time Pentecostal, so I had never been in a "high church" service until after we got married.  It was interesting to me and unusual since I had never been to a church like that.  Over the years, I have come to really appreciate the liturgical services and the meaningful steps in them.  I also like the "no surprises" part of church LOL, I admit it, I love having the whole service in the bulletin, you can guess how long you got left in the service LOL.  You might not appreciate that unless you've been in services that have lasted for days....Just kidding, just hours....

We picked up our supper at Publix again and came home and ate then everyone opened a present.  We started with Sarah since this is her first Christmas!

it is a seat on wheels. Jon called it a "handicapped skate board" and she LOVES it!  she totally understood what to do with it:)  She was so happy it was hard to get a picture of her still:)  she certainly loved her first present!

Happy Shad

he loves nerf guns:)  he looks like a happy NRA president:)
Sam remembered what to do

Steve has some new jeans

Jon got a gift card
I had opened my big present at home, it's a machine that has 3 crock pots in it!  I can't wait to use it!!  But it is rather big.  We also left Selah's things at home but I know she got a bean bag chair that will work perfectly for her to sit in!
We feel blessed.  Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Sarah's Christmas Eve somersault!!!!

Look at this little gymnastic!  she might even be into yoga:)   this little girl could hardly lift her head when we met her in April!  Once she gets into therapy, who knows what she will do????     BTW her shirt says "Love makes me smile"  it sure does because she is always smiling!  We love her so much!!!!  I didn't get to write a Happy Birthday post for her, her bday was on the 21st.  But I have to say I have loved her with all my heart since the day I saw her picture...even in a mental institution, she had a smile on her face.  Sarah was so meant to be my daughter that God worked every little thing, just so,  I saw her picture and couldn't forget about a series of fortunate events. 
I can not imagine my life, our life without her!  She is a JOY to have in our family.  When Sarah was born, her parents would not touch her because she was missing an eye and they immediately signed her over to the state.  That makes me so angry!  She went through hell for years.  I wish I would have seen her picture sooner, I whisper that in her ears and she just smiles and giggles at me.  I tell her the stork accidentally took her to the wrong country & that she was mine from the moment she was born.   She may not understand the words but she knows she has a family that adores her now.....  I can tell how secure she is with us.  Sarah never had one issue with us in adapting to our family.  She & Selah both fit perfectly.  Not every adoption is that smooth but I think they were just ready for us!  We certainly were ready for them!
this is the first picture we saw of her.....
it kept me up all night, she looked just like Sam but she was alone in an adult mental institution....
So Sarah it might be a few days late but I love and adore you from head to little toes!  Happy Birthday, you'll never be alone again:)