Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hurricane Season for Adoptive Parents

Here we are in our third official hurricane season at the Niles household. Well sort of, this is our third summer of being a growing adoptive family. So our normal...is not your normal.

you would think by now that we would have this drill memorized. However, just like the pains of childbirth...you forget.

 First read this old post and then we will go Back to the Future
 Flashback to July 2012


What does our hurricane season look like you ask?
Well, let me tell you the necessary components of a perfect storm in our house.
  • new school year, different school, new outpatient therapist, new med check doctor, braces, fun with family, upcoming trip out of town for Mom, upcoming trip out of town for Mom and Dad and then add a bit of PMDD and yep. there ya go . category 5.

So if you read the post I linked into the beginning of this one you see both excitement and trepidation that I felt with the thought of adding a new child into our family.

A week ago we were planning to go back to school shopping for shoes.
This week we are calling local treatment facilities and trying to make the best decisions two parents can make for a child who is still struggling to get her footing in this world.

Yesterday was the Orientation for her High school. We were supposed to meet teachers and tour the school, maybe even purchase a gym uniform or some jazzy spirit wear.
Instead we were calling Nurse stations for updates and information on when we would have our first family meeting which is hospital code for the "what the hell is next meeting"

Most people are planning BBQ and beach days for this weekend.
We are pulling back once again from obligations with our church family, and reorganizing to be ready for the next step in our child's treatment.

Tues of this week something triggered a very emotional reaction in our child. Add the components that I described earlier and you have a table flipping, wall phone ripping, angry child on your hands. There is nothing quite as disturbing as watching an otherwise "normal" teen snap back to survival instincts.

Getting braces on was a highlight of her summer.
Hearing all the things that she could not eat was determined a nasty attempt at controlling her by us...the parents.  What may be deemed as rules from the orthodontist for your child is viewed at Food Restricting by her parents.
The only logical thing for her to do is completely ignore those rules and SURVIVE.
Outright defiance ? no. Normal life for her and us.

Going to high school for the first time ever! New school, fresh start, new friends.... all exciting for our two oldest children who are now college age. For our daughter it's a restart that requires quick acclimation, finding the safe people and fast! As well as a litany of unknowns.

New therapist and new med check doctor to Bryan and I means: Office closer to home, trauma informed care, and hopefully less school time missed due to weekly appts. A doctor to do med checks means consistency and not the numerous nurse practitioners and high turnover of people at the last office.
For our daughter it means lack of control. Evening hours meant to be better for her school schedule now threaten her homework and after school activity times.  New people meant going over her painful history once more.

In home therapy had been going well and we were once again lighthearted and having fun in our family. No more walking on egg shells. Mom and Dad were making changes, our daughter was walking away instead of wanting to stand and fight. We were bonding, over pedicures and manicures. I even let her style my hair.

For our daughter, that meant feeling safe and part of a family. Mom and Dad not reacting or raising voices meant something was wrong. Chaos is good in the heart of our daughter. Fighting is normal, violence was all she was raised around and normal routine sometimes feels very unsafe to her. She craves structure and for us to protect her and advocate for her. She hates structure and for us to protect her and advocate for her. Did you catch that one? :)

She is on the fence about being in our family. Yes it's been two years. Yes that is a long time. However, studies show that it will take 2 years for every year in foster care for a child to even feel safe, attached and a part of their new family. so....we have 14 more years to go. That is if and only if she accepts her therapy and does the work. If she refuses medicine and therapy...well we are now in a different ball park.

In our home we have a zero tolerance policy for violence. You may flip a table. You may yell. You can even throw something.
You may not yell at your siblings and verbally abuse them. When a punch is thrown at me I often try to remove myself from arms length, and leave the house. This Tuesday I found myself cornered in our kitchen. So on the second hit I picked up the phone and said: I am calling Dad to come home.
Then I was hit again and again, leaving me no choice but to do what is next on our safety plan. Call 911.
I was able to dial 9 then 1. then the handset was ripped from my grip. The next part is a bit of a blur. But in a rage my daughter was able to rip the base of the phone off the wall, hit me in the head and back with the handset and then begin swinging the entire phone up and down and side to side getting in a few solid hits until the phone slipped from her hands.

I then stepped by her and said: I am going to the neighbors to call 911. I grabbed my wallet, all valuables *Bryan's work laptops, walked calmly down the hall and locked my bedroom door behind me. set down the valuables and slid out my back bedroom door quickly locking that behind me as well.

Before I got to the fence, my neighbor said: Cora is here, she is safe inside. Who do I call first.
This is our life. Our neighbor is Cora's safe place. I asked her to call 911. Then she yelled out do you want a medic. I yelled back No we are fine no medic. I then asked her to call Bryan and Zac and tell them come home. neither could be reached.

I quickly ran back inside to find the emergency number list so I could call Bryan's boss and have him sent home. I went inside and checked for the list. It was very quiet. I turned to walk down the hall and called out to Ambriel. She did not answer. I knocked on her door and asked her to come out front and wait for the police with me. No answer. Fear stuck my throat closed. I knocked on her door. No answer.  I turned the knob slowly, and the door slammed back in my face. I knew at that point she was in one of her purses searching for something. Then the door swung open and in all her fury she rushed me causing me to trip backward over myself and hit me several times again until I made it to the front hallway. I asked her loudly to join me in the front yard. She would not be staying here tonight. She refused and slammed her door.
*************
I ran back outside and called the cellphone of Bryan's Boss at the Railroad.  He informed me Bryan had left for the day and should be on his way home. I asked Donna to call Zac again to see if he would answer.

I went back in and called to Ambriel and told her to please come out front to wait for the police. I got no answer. This time mom instincts kicked in. I ran down the hall sick to my stomach and opened the door. She sat on the floor. Leaning on her bed back to me. not moving. I called her name. my voice was shaking now. she did not answer. I looked over her shoulder careful not to get within arms length and she had cut herself up and down both arms. I instantly dropped to my knees and saw there was a large amount of blood and a pair of safety scissors.  I asked her to let me have the scissors. no answer. She was gone. checked out. pupils did not respond. no blinking. I spoke louder and turned on the lights and fan . When she is in this state I do not touch her, I said: I need to see your arms. Did you cut deep? Can I help you?
no response.
again I said give me the scissors the police will be here soon. I don't want them to have to take you by force, drop the scissors.
no answer. I tried a different approach.
I looked at her rabbit sitting next to her and said: if the police have to use mace on you it will hurt Princess. she responded by throwing the scissors over her shoulder. I removed the scissors. felt the floor around her for anything else and ran out front dropping her scissors and other  sharp items on the porch and yelled for the neighbor to ask for a medic.

Then I went inside and kicked all the dogs out. Turned on all the house lights and waited for the police.

This has been our story for 2 years. We have made the call over 7 times. 4 times she left to go to the ER for an evaluation and that required an acute stay. Last year there were 4 charges of assault and battery against her. Bryan and I dropped those charges in December of 2013.

This time the officer again pressed charges due to the fact that she admitted to hitting me with the phone and her fists.

This time was no easier than the others.

27 hours later to the minute she was admitted to a local psychiatric hospital.

The next day an officer called to book her meeting and establish a court date. After speaking with him he said two things that make me sad. He said: Mam , it seems as though you may be educated a bit more than me on the mental health system. Then he said: but I can see this is not the first time you have been through this situation.

I replied: Well, I certainly am glad that I get to go to DC next week and talk to these politicians about the failure of our mental health system and the fallout it causes within families.

He laughed, but stopped when I told him that it was true. I had been given a scholarship from NAMI to attend a 6 day conference in our nation's capital. On the agenda is meet lawmakers.

He wished me well and said we would be talking again soon.


Day two of a storm in our house is a day of cleanup and rest. First we put the house back in order. Then we shut off all electronics. shoot out a prayer request and Sleep. sometimes a casserole is delivered. and it was. I am thankful for my friends that step in and hold us up when we are weary.

Day three gets a little bit more organized. the entire table turned into command central with laptop, house phone and cellphones all buzzing and beeping.

It's not our own battle. It's silly to think that we fight the world each day to advocate for our daughter. This is bigger than insurance and bumps and bruises...this is a war for her soul. We all do battle in this house everyday. But even though we fight what is unseen, we must still deal with the everyday responsibilities. We have to call therapists in and out of home. Cancel appts. Rearrange work schedules. Cancel play dates for Cora and make a plan.

We wait mostly for the all important call of the family session. this time we got no word until the third day. I knew this would happen because the holiday is coming up.

So, there will be no first day of school for her. Instead wen will meet in a run down facility, with beige walls and heavy furniture that can't be picked up and thrown and pictures of rolling hills and farm land drilled into the wall for safety purposes . We will say a silent prayer that the same therapist we saw last time will be there...so we can at least not have to start ALL over again.

We will offer hugs or hands to hold and be given the cold icy stare of a child who has been through this one time too many. She will be distant and angry.  She will hand us a list of things she would like brought from home so she can have some comfort during her stay.

We will do our best to meet her needs and let yesterday be yesterday.

We will pray for God's will to be done. Not ours. We will wait on him to direct our steps.

After all, we are not at war with a hurt child, or a grumpy woman from VB psych unit, or even the insurance companies or the bewildered stares of those who do not understand our story.

The bible says it best: Ephesians 6:12
 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

So, please pray for us as we do battle.

thank you-

The Niles Family



Monday, August 25, 2014

Suicide and My Dad

Make a donation to the Out of the Darkness Walk 





Dad(R) with brother Raymond (L) and Sister Edna(center)
I wish I did not have to write this post. I wish no one ever had to write about suicide.
This year my Dad, Ward E. Barton, committed suicide 6 days before his 73rd birthday.


My Dad and me


This year I lost my Dad. Six words that still make me cry after saying them, typing them or writing them. I had to say those six words over and over again as I notified friends, family, banks, retirement boards, insurance companies...the list goes on and on. It is those six words that I wish I did not believe were true.
Dad and me at Halloween and Easter. My brother Andrew and me with Dad.
 


My Dad was my hero when I was a young girl. He could fix anything. He could build anything. He was strong. He was funny. People loved him. He was a Railroad Engineer and a good one! He loved us the best he could. He worked very hard and he played very hard.

He always had us on a boat, fishing off a pier or on the beach. He taught me how to cut bait, take a fish off the line, run a boat among many things. I still do bait my own hooks and can tie a rig on my line so it won't fall off! He taught me how to skin squirrels and clean a gun. I never felt good around guns. They always made me very very uneasy. Unless he was the one handling it. He was very smart about guns and always kept his equipment in tip top condition...whether it was a fishing pole or a rifle.

My Brother Andrew , Dad and Mom
Dad was always the first one there when someone had a need. If I broke it he fixed it. If you needed help...he was there. I remember him always showing up after Zachary was born and bringing over huge bags of diapers and wipes. He loved that boy to the moon and back. He loved all his grandchildren and even his grand dogs. Some of you have been the victim of "Eddie's picture show and tell" . Smile if you have ! :)

I love this picture. I sent Dad a Bible and he was so excited.
Dad loved to take pictures and then make everyone look at them. Most of them were of his kids, our dogs, his boats, motorcycles, cars, jeeps, vans, hunting cabin. Sisters , Brother's , etc. He was a collector of all things Railroad and probably had one of the coolest things a railroader could ever want. I can say this now because he is gone....so it's safe. He had a BELL. A real GIANT Locomotive Engine Bell. He painted it Brass gold and when people would come to the house he would ring that sucker SO LOUD! Mostly he loved to do it in front of my boyfriends!

After Dad retired many of his coworkers, family and neighbors passed away. He really took that so hard. He had a love for the "drink" and would often get himself into messes, yet always seemed to pull the boot straps back up.

When I got the call that my Dad had shot himself I was numb. It did not surprise me that he used a gun to end his life. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to sit there and do what he did.


Dad was a "jack of all trades" but this haircut bothered Zac!
At the time, he was living near Roanoke near his 3 brothers and last surviving sister. He had told them that if he did not answer his phone or answer his door that he was dead. He told his neighbors in the RV park where he lived that he would not be around in another 3 days. He made his plan and followed through. My Dad always followed through.

Dad and I at Christmas. I have his wavy hair.
So, where do you start to pickup the pieces when you lose your Dad. I knew right away that I would be involved in the Out of the Darkness Walk. I knew that Dad did not want fanfare and pomp around his untimely death. Instead, as Dad had often told me, I had his cremated. My brother and I took time to spread a little bit of Dad here and there. I still have a list of places to go and see and things to do...one is to go fishing again during spot season...and let a bit of him go in the Bay. Another is to return a bit of him home to Roanoke. He was born in the mountains and was one of many many children. He told me many times that his Momma had about 2-3 sets of twins that never made it past their first year.
Cora and her Pawpaw

My Dad. Short in stature....big in personality. I miss him. When I look at Cora's big blue eyes I see my Dad's eyes...blue with a glint of "hey I am up to something " in them.
I think my Dad wanted Zac to have this toy more than Zac wanted to have this toy! :)

So. I walk the walk in September. I am collecting donations. I am blogging to share my story and hoping that if we all become educated about depression and suicide we can CURE IT! But the stigma of mental illness is a shroud. It's time for that to be removed.
here is a quick video explaining the walk. Showing who walks and why we should all be aware of depression and suicide. thank you for watching.

Will you share this blog today?
Will you make a donation today? Here is the link to go directly to my fundraising page~!

Here are some facts that I think you need to know!
 WALK TO SAVE LIVES

 IN THE UNITED STATES, a person dies by suicide every 13.7 minutes, claiming more than 38,000 lives each year. It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute; with close to one million people attempting suicide annually. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. among adults 18-65, and the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults. The suicide rate among U.S. military members rose sharply in 2012, with an average of one suicide per day

WALK TO HONOR LOVED ONES
Suicide is a public health issue that does not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity, or socio- economic status, and it takes an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers, and the entire community. AFSP provides opportunities for survivors of suicide loss to get involved through a wide variety of educational, outreach, awareness, advocacy and fundraising programs.

WALK TO RAISE FUNDS
A contribution to AFSP is a good investment! More than 82 cents of every dollar you raise can be used to:
  • Educate the public about mental disorders and suicide prevention
  • Fund scientific research
  • Promote policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention
  • Provide programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involve them in the work of the Foundation
  • Offer educational programs for professionals
Please visit the Programs and Research section of our website or download AFSP's Annual Report and learn more about how the funds you raise make a difference.
When you walk in AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Community Walks, you join the effort with thousands of people in hundreds of cities to raise funds and awareness for AFSP’s vision to create a world without suicide.
The importance of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s mission has never been greater, nor its work more urgent
REGISTER...
DONATE...
START A WALK NEAR YOU...
Join the Movement Today!

This is Mr. Jim (L) Zachary and my Stepfather Pat (R) Mr. Jim took his life in 2009. We miss you too Jim.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Prepared in Advance....stop the presses

Still pluggin' along doing my bible study with the book "anything" the prayer that unlocked my God and my Soul by jennie allen
  • We were each uniquely designed for certain works that God had prepared for us before the foundation of the world. While there are many works all Christians are called to (love, forgiveness, compassion, worship, etc.) we are each also given unique lives and specific works God uniquely calls us to. 
verse:
Ephesians 2:10
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
  
so, wait. I am trying to do a rewrite for God? how dumb is that. I am literally sitting on the edge of my seat with a red pen in hand saying:
nope.
not gonna work.
oh geez. that will never fly on network tv
wait. this scene is all wrong.
who cast HER?


yes. that is me. guilty as charged. Tracy, Editor for God.
that will not work on a resume'.

So at the end of Week 5 of this brilliant study I have hit a hot button. Control. ugh. I hate that word.
At the end of each week the study gives me digging deeper questions: so now I shall pontificate on them.
  • "How do we let God actually change us? "
Wow. so , here is what I have been doing....I let God save me from a life of drinking and destruction. That was cool. Who does not want to give up being an alcoholic? super fantastic. But wait. he wants all of me . I like some of my stuff. how about you take my insecurity...but God...you may not go fish for my control issues. OK? back off. Can you just picture me saying Back Off to God? Wow I have a lot of work to do. Pride...can I hold on to that too. just a bit...maybe just the PRI of it? you get what I am saying...I am still holding on to stuff and this season of my life is a time for revelations and He is indeed helping me to realize what I have been gripping onto for way too long.

  • What is keeping me from jumping in and letting God take complete control.
Well that's a nice question Jennie....BECAUSE....I CAN DO IT BETTER. Doh! well now we all see where that got me right? I can't do it better, but for 43 years I sure have been trying to, outwit,outplay and  outlast God....welcome to Holy Survivor. give me your torch.
 
 
 

  • Can you think of an example from your experience where things were going a little too easily? How can we tell the difference between blessing and safeness?
oh dear. my youngest daughter just pulled a piece of paper out of the back of my planner that had a picture on it and said: Mommy, what is this?  I told her it was a diagram of her cubbies and when I used to have time I would go through them and sort, neaten etc each one...on a monthly schedule. (it's been two years since I did it) She went to put it back and I said: go recycle that.
that piece of paper from from the safe years. the easy life. cubby schedules, play dates, serving in the food pantry , date nights.

 

fast forward and adopt a tween....well. life got messy but it also got blessy. made that one up. if you can't learn on the fly do not adopt. if you can't continually get on your knees pray or ask for prayer, or pull your hair out one minute and then be laughing and loving the next minute. don't adopt. (pssst....don't listen to me....I am not an expert)

But I suspect if you love God. Like really really LOVE God , guess what you are jacked ! ....I am wrong. remember what I wrote at the top of this entry?  God already wrote our to do list.
It's not what you do...but how you respond to His call on your life.

I too was mislead by my quiet life of one tot, a husband working, debt reduction plan, once a week grocery shopping, laundry day, same old same old. But then...everything changed. When Bryan and I prayed the anything prayer Our prayer went from:
Dear God bring us a cute person under Cora's age so we can adopt.
To: God, we hear you. 0-18 years old. let's do this.

BAM. one month later. We saw a picture of our daughter. she was not little, she was not young, she was a TWEEN. what?! We are going to have a tween. ? God said yes. so..again...messy=blessy

I read something about adopting an older child: 
it was similar to the grieving cycle....
but made for parents of children with attachment issues....
and once you completed the circle of grief you come out on the other side
it's like a psychological birth. . . I have been in labor for two years...and we all know what comes at the end of a birth.....bigger pain, bigger screams and bam. responsibility.

I have a responsibility to show up and answer God's call.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hiccups

more from "anything"
note: this is Cora's new "picture" face (she is not in pain)



 

  • When you walk with God and ask Him to use you, you start getting excited about little hiccups in everyday life. Interruptions become opportunities, failed plans become open doors.

  • Mary had no regard for the way her life would change and be impact by giving birth to Jesus. She saw that this was going to save generations of humans. She felt the eternal significance of her life and praised God that she got to be a part of his plan, part of his plan to redeem people.

  • I didn't need to be right so bad when I thought about God watching.  
Man. this book. is killing me. every week I read about 2-3 chapters and then study scripture daily...I have a highlighter out like a kid on the first day of college. this book is marked up and down and all around.

Mary saw she was going to have eternal significance. TRACY....get your head in the game. I have whined, cried, gnashed teeth, hulked out....you know...incredible hulk stuff....and it took THIS long to get it!
I don't have to fix this kid. I don't even have to AGREE with her view of the world. I am here to provide love, safety, cool clothes and shampoo....(there is so much more but you all get it)

First of all. why has no one walked up and slapped the hell out of me. Some of you get within arms length of me...I know you have had a great opportunity to reach out and touch someone.

You see it's not about my family....doing something great. It's about doing kingdom work. Kingdom work is not hocus pocus, it's not being Mother Theresa! It's about shutting up and just doing it...because someday somewhere this child will have children, or they will have children and then hey, they might have children and somewhere somehow the seed of LOVE has been planted. the cycle of abuse has ceased. CEASED. A divine intervention.

Very similar to what happened to me when I stopped drinking. See. I STOPPED drinking. BAHAHAHAHAH . one time it took me 90 days to get 30 days sobriety. I have so many white chips that Cora could have a full poker set. GOD STOPPED ME FROM DRINKING. yes. I am hollering....sorry....let me bring this down a notch.

I have been trying to cover first , second and third all while stealing home. crazy talk. so crazy.

So I accept the hiccups. Yesterday was full of hiccups.
husband worked overtime
I did not want to get out of pj's
girls started scrapping at 7:20 am. (new record)
RSVP'd to small group
un RSVP'd from small group.
found out in home therapy was cancelled and quietly did the happy dance
explained to my daughter why I hate playing games in therapy (real board games) and she UNDERSTOOD! :)
did two daughter manicures.
cooked dinner and had 3 children at the table
performed 2 daughter pedicures
performed 2 daughter foot rubs
sent 2 daughters to bed after they refused to do my nails...j/k. they were tired.
performed doggy massage on Silas with essential oils.
went to bed. at midnight. happy.

So in the book she goes on to write about Mary. Then I will tell you how I have been acting
  • Mary never sought her own comfort
  • Tracy always wanted her comfortable life back!
  • She lived entitled to nothing
  • Tracy felt entitled to have everyone follow her rules and really got mad when someone ELSE acted entitled.
  • She expected suffering rather than being surprised by it.
  • Tracy seriously thought that two years of suffering was ENOUGH.
  • She waited and responded to God rather than trying to control any outcome
  • Tracy was impatient and only cried out to God when the poop was hitting the fan AND thought she could seriously control ANY outcome.
  • She received whatever the Lord had for her with joy.
  • I (since I am Tracy) refused any packages from the Lord that did NOT include Joy.      
 

 

Seriously , can you imagine living with me. I just told Bryan: hey people tell me that I inspire them...but when the kids wake up I lose all that stuff. :) that is my life. I don't mislead others as to the struggle I am going through daily. This is some tough stuff. Sometimes Bryan and I just look at each other and laugh. Other times I have imagined a cereal bowl (full of course) meeting with his forehead. ---

I read a great post last night in a FB chat for adoptive/foster parents.
Someone listed their children in age - 17, 13,9.6.4.2 and yeah...basically a number line....:)
another gal said : wow! you are busy!
the person answered quickly without missing a beat:
no, just called.

simple as that. We are called. Not just that woman. Not just Bryan and I . We are called to help widows and orphans, global and local. Stop and think. The church is failing. If each church in the US adopted just ONE child. Foster care would be empty. EVERY church. someone do the math. how many churches are in the US?
 According to the book Beyond Megachurch Myths, there were 320,000 Christian U.S. churches in 2007. Of these U.S. churches, 1,250 were megachurches with an average weekend attendance of 2,000 or more.
so here are some Foster Care statistics:

More than 250,000 children in the U.S. enter the foster care system every year. While more than half of these children will return to their parents, the remainder will stay in the system. Most of these children are living with foster families, but some also live in group facilities.
Find more info and see a little video of our family done earlier this year.

Each year more than 20,000 children age out of the foster care without being adopted. Today there are 104,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted ranging in age from less than a year old to 21.
The race and ethnicity of children waiting to be adopted vary from State to State and City to City. However, the most recent adoption and foster care statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System shows the majority of children waiting to be adopted are Caucasian (40 percent) or African American (28 percent). Children of Hispanic origin account for 22 percent of those waiting to be adopted.

all info in Bold is found on this link.

I gotta run. Today someone is getting their braces put on! Say a little prayer for God to provide freedom from pain and anxiety for my girl.

thanks for letting me share,
tracy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

If He speaks ...do I listen?

Moving forward with revelations this morning....


In the book "anything" I read the following words:

Somewhere in my life I picked up the idea that if things did not feel right or fall perfectly into place, God was not in them. I thought obeying God should feel pretty easy and convenient.
In Scripture God promises we will have trouble in this world.
the author goes on to say:
What if my life was going so beautifully because I wasn't chasing after God?

What if he actually told me what it is he wants me to do...and I don't want to do it?

and the best part she wrote:
I can just imagine God thinking something like, Thanks a lot, Jennie. Great. You'll be used by me , but no one else will ever want to ever be, because you are making it look so terrifying!

and finally:
I have; I do need him. That has been the theme of the last two years of my life, and I see no relief in the future. He has stretched me to the places where fear should be paralyzing me, and yet I am OK.


So today's part of the book/bible study was to look up Mark 10: 17-31
what. go look it up...that's what my Momma always said!

Then I had to write down 2 observations:
The man lacked faith. All he had to do was leave everything he knew and then he could have everything.

But then I had to write down 2 applications:
I first wrote how the scripture looks in my life: I have been bound by my need to be comfortable, blinded by making things easy, deaf to hear God's calling by listening to my own loud shouts of wants and needs. I have thirsted for being normal and a life of boredom versus thirsting for His living water. There I said it. I have been a slack master. Holy Roller. Jive talkin' ain't doing the walkin' believer yet not doer of the Word of God.

He says it in James 1:27.  Now the walk begins. Adoption is not simply signing a paper and bam. down the yellow brick road you go.

It's time for me to let go. Stop worrying about the neighbors peeking over the fence wondering what all the hollerin' is about. Stop apologizing for missing this and that because the "climate" in our house is well...a bit of a tropical storm many days.

My life will be different from your life. My hurts and troubles may seem wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy big and scary. But this is exactly where God has placed me and my family.

His Word is The Word.

We are not of this world, nor do we even try to pretend. We get raised eyebrows from many of the people we come into contact with. WE are doing Jesus work.

So if Bryan and I look worn down, or unkempt, or perhaps disheveled...it's alright...we have been out chasing after God.

I wish only sometimes I was not so transparent...but you can blame that on AA.
 thanks for letting me share! ;)

Tracy

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wrestling with God and losing


So
everyone. I must write this. I am absolutely compelled.


I know you have seen the struggle, heard the
complaints, seen me go back and forth in chaos. Well. I have
a wild story to tell you.

I printed out a Bible Study a year ago. Purchased a
book called "anything" the same day and never even
opened the book. 5 weeks ago I set forth to get back into my
quiet time with God. In order to do that I dug in my basket
of studies that I have set aside for 2 years...due to
exhaustion and frustration. I dug deep and said. yep
let's do this one.



So I am halfway thru the study and it's absolutely
applicable in every way (in God's way) to the exact walk
I am taking TODAY. if I miss a day. BAM. it still applies.
the divine timing is not surprising. He wanted to wake me
up.



a few of the things that have slapped me in the face
recently from the book:



There was no turning back, but the deeper we were
falling into this rabbit hole of obedience, the more out of
control our lives began to feel. Can you imagine the day
after Mary heard from the Angel...Her true belief in God was
evidenced in the denial of herself and the consequences of
obedience.



now I can't sit here and type all the revelations that I
have read. I will send them piece meal. Because I know that
God is working. I know that I am fighting him tooth and
nail. Wrestling with God is like Pee Wee Herman fighting
Rocky. it's a no win situation.



unbelievable stuff going on here.

amazing grace.


Tracy
 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Blessing

So...it's been a while. Life has been hectic and we are getting ready to launch our oldest to AFRICA. He will be volunteering for a year in Malawi at Heaven House Ministries.

So my therapist. O yes...my therapist! haha! said. Write him a blessing.
A blessing? wow. never thought of that. so two weeks ago she said that. Here I am two weeks later and 45 hours before he leaves sobbing over some notebook paper putting my blessin' on paper.

I will tell you that she also asked if I had read a book called The Blessing . I urge you to check it out. It's good stuff.

By now you all should know that I am pretty transparent. So I am going to share what I wrote with you today.



Dear Zac,

I have been prompted to write you a blessing. Having known your departure was approaching I have pushed aside writing this day after day. This is not a good bye letter, nor is it meant to be advice. It's simply a Blessing.

My blessing letter to you is to let you know that you have my blessing, my support and my love...100%.

I want you to know that where ever you go, Whatever you do- I support you. My love and adoration for you is never ending. Rain or Shine. Happy or Sad. This is what a Mother does. I knew the moment you were conceived. But I knew you were a gift. Something Special. You are and always will be my son. My joy. My funny, handsome, loving boy!

This morning during my prayer time I heard a quiet voice that explained why I feel regret for not raising you in faith, That NOW I am showing you true faith. Walking by faith can be scary. Waiting for God's provision is unnerving. But the blessings God has given me are immense. You are one of those blessings. You also were able to see your Mother walk "outside" of faith, then come back to God and begin to show how it is to lead a Godly life.

I have Salvation. Therefore my entire household is held in God's hands. I love knowing that. Perhaps there never really was a "golden horseshoe" in ya! It was God's protection keeping my awesome son safe!

I bless you so you can go and walk in Africa and see those who have so little. you will see things that I have never dreamed of. I pray that you have open ears, open eyes, and an open mind for the miracles you will see.

I bless your hands for they will provide joy not only for the children but for Heaven House Ministries and the surrounding areas. Believe it or not your path has been divinely appointed by God. He has given you all the tools needed for this "season" . He has prepared YOU, Zachary for such a time as this.

I bless your mind. You will have to rely on a sound mind to stay safe while traveling. A sharp mind when dealing with strange situations and difficult people.

I know you are blessed with gifts of music and art. Those two gifts will continue to bless others in difficult situation with a levity and a sense of hope. Your gifts are important! You yourself know how much music can "lift" the spirits and how great art feels when you can "express" yourself.

I pray you continue not to be a sheep! Walk outside the "herd" . Be YOU. Better than that. Be the BEST YOU possible. Embrace this season with a passionate grip. Hold ON. It will be an adventure full of ups and downs.

I bless your heart. It is SO large! I bet you will fall in love with Africa. I know Africa will fall in love with you. Honor Yourself. Journal and take pictures. You were built for this. Home will always be here, but really...the world is yours. I pray that God will break your heart for what breaks His.

Cry when you need to. Laugh with abandon. Write Music. Paint what you see! Love everyone you meet. Create memories that your great grandchildren will talk about!

Be Brave. Be Bold. Make Friends. Eat Strange Foods. Never think that you are too young to make a difference. If it feels wrong, don't do it. Say what you mean. Be kind to yourself.

Be the voice for those that have no voice.

And...always know that you can call your Mom. ANYTIME- Day or Night.

love you with all my heart! May God Bless you and keep you close

Momma Dukes