A Look Back

It was September 21, I wished he could come over to our house on that special day; but the transfer date was not scheduled for a few more weeks - October 6th to be exact.    I knew the significance of the day; and wished so much he could be with us; but it was not possible. So I wished him Happy Birthday in my heart; and wondered if God would let us be able to wish him Happy Birthday in person on the next September 21st.

I wondered what the day was like the year before.  The day he was born.  I wondered how big he was, what time he entered the world, where he entered the world.  Some questions in life are asked but never answered.  These questions will forever stay in that category.

I wondered where I was the day he entered the world.  What was I doing on that day.  Miles and miles away from him - in geography and in heart; but I was living and doing and breathing - somewhere the moment he was born.  I did not even know that my son had come into this world that day; but God did.  I did not know that I would be his Mom and he would be mine -  on the day he was born; but God did.  I wonder if on that day God planted a seed within my heart that prompted me to start thinking that our family was not complete.  Could it be on that day  my heart (already wishing someday in the future to adopt) felt like something or someone was missing from our family?  God can do that, you know.

I do not know where I was or what I was doing the day he was born - I only know that I was.   I do remember the day we realized that God was leading us to start the adoption process.  To fill out the paperwork and start down the path that would bring other children to be in our home and in our family.  I remember filling out the questions and answering the best we knew how.  Rob and I.  Sitting at the dining room table, the children  in bed and the house quiet.  We had the stack of paperwork done - all but one paper.  The paper contained a list; and the list was daunting to say the least.  Any ailment, abuse or disability known to childhood was on this list.  The instructions were simple:  "Place next to issues you would be willing to work with". While the instructions were simple the decisions were not.  We had saved the paper to be the last one we would fill out.  We talked and discussed each issue and then made our mark or refrained from marking and moved on to the next item on the list.    It went something like this:

Sibling group - "Sure we could take more than one..."  (Check)

Hearing Impaired - "No don't mark that box.  We would not know how to parent a child with a hearing loss.  We don't even know sign language..." 

Food Allergies - "Sure, we could do that.  My sister had food allergies..."  (Check)  

Developmentally Delayed:  "No, don't mark that box.  We don't have the special training to handle that..."

Autism:  "Absolutely not... we are not cut out for that...."

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:  "Under no circumstances would we take that!"


Question after question we came to and we answered it - with the best intentions. Most of the boxes were left unchecked.    We knew what type of parents adopt children like that.  Super parents.  Parents who never get mad, never get frustrated and have the ability to handle kids with those issues.  We also knew us - and we were not those types of people.  We 'knew' the parents we were and we were sure we knew that type of kids that we could adopt and parent - and so we did our best to fill out the form.

I can not even begin to tell you how many times I have thought back to that moment in time.  It is etched in my mind's eye.  That memory will forever be locked into my mind; because it is the memory that I have that has made me realize that while we were sure what we could handle God knew what he would equip us to do.  We were right (and not wrong in our assessment) that we could not handle those issues at that moment; but God is able to do more than we could ever ask or think!

I remember the day we picked him up and brought him home.  (We had to take a detour to the doctor's office because he was too sick to come straight home.)  I remember the sleepless nights as he cried ALL NIGHT LONG.  I remember the rest of the family camping out downstairs so they could get some sleep while I tried to quiet him through the night.  I remember the seizure type episodes he would have while he was eating and the tests upon tests he would have.  I remember the many surgeries he has had - 14 so far.  I remember the tears (his and mine) as I changed countless diapers and tried my best to soothe his pain from all the skin being gone on his bottom because of allergies and neglect.  I remember teaching him how to eat; and listening to his screams as he was so afraid that we were not going to feed him.  (Seems he thought our home would be like his other house had been.)  I remember when we received the autism diagnosis and I wanted to believe with all my heart that the doctor was wrong.  I remember when I finally realized the doctor was right.

It has been 10 years ago this October since we started down this path.  It has been a hard path!  I think I am safe to say that there have been no 'easy' days since we started down the path.  I am certain that God was watching the day we filled out our form.  He was listening as we discussed each issue and I know He was smiling as He listened.  I can almost imagine that this is how it went that day from God's point of view:

(Hearing Impaired - "No don't mark that box.  We would not know how to parent a child with a hearing loss.  We don't even know sign language...")  God:  Children with hearing loss are the same as hearing children; and sign language is easily learned if grace is given.  You do not see yet; but you will see that there is a whole world out there of children who do not hear correctly but who I love and want them to know I love them!  You will see.


(Developmentally Delayed:  "No, don't mark that box.  We don't have the special training to handle that...")  God:  How little you know yet of my grace.  I will enable you for the task of having a child who is developmentally delayed.  You will also learn that children who are delayed see life through a view point that is so pure, so innocent and have a perception that you have forgotten.  These children allow adults to be reminded of the important things in life.  You will see.

(Autism:  "Absolutely not... we are not cut out for that....")  God:  So many families are facing this diagnosis with no hope.  I will show you that even in autism there is hope; because my grace is there.  You will see that autism is not a mistake - even in autism I can be glorified.  You will see.

(Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:  "Under no circumstances would we take that!")  God:  Ahh, the dreaded.  The diagnosis that causes so many to say there is no hope.  So many Christians, my children, think that this is the one place where grace can not reach.  My grace is there even in FAS.  You will see how faith grows here.  Parents learn of Me when they are confronted with FAS.  You will see.

On the day we brought Zak home my faith in God started to grow.  I started to understand God in ways I never thought possible.  I have seen so much - but most of all Zak has taught me that Grace is always there.  God's grace reaches farther than I ever understood.  His enablement is more than I will ever need; and I am learning to trust and to walk in faith because of this little boy.  I do not know what God has planned for him; but I know He has a plan for his life.  His life has touched mine deeply and because of Zak I have my faith has grown.  Having a child with special needs has made me have to confront selfishness, and pride in my own life; and I am reminded by Gary Thomas:

"Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value..."*

I cannot imagine our lives without Zak in our family.  What a blessing he has been!

Happy Birthday, Zak!  I love you with all my heart!

I trust you are able to look back in your life and see God's working out the details even when you did not know He was. What a comfort to know that our lives are in His hands.   Thanks so much for stopping by.  I am so glad you did!


The Red Fern Dream

When I was in the fifth grade I was introduced to the book "Where the Red Fern Grows".  I met Billy and his Grandpa; and fell in love with Old Dan and Little Ann.  I met them every afternoon - at lunch.  At lunchtime I would pull out my lunchbox and sit and eat in my classroom with my classmates while my teacher read from the book.  Perhaps we did a chapter a day, or maybe it was two chapters.  I do not remember those details; but I do remember the book.  The coon hunt, the accident, the country life, the dreams, the tears - all those memories; I still remember them in my mind.

As I would sit in the classroom eating my lunch the room would smell of orange peels and peanut butter would fill the room as the teacher would read.  She would read and I would dream of living in the country.  I had always lived in the city; but at lunch time I would imagine that I lived in the country.  In my mind I lived where the wind blew through the open windows with the smell of hay and fresh cut grass. I would dream of country meals around a wooden table and a garden growing out back. I would hear the sounds of the coon dogs as they chased the coons through the woods (a sound that has awakened me every single night this week!) 
I always knew I wanted to live in the country.  It was this city girls dream - and it came alive listening to my teacher read.

I was doing dishes the other morning when I looked out the kitchen window and saw my son walking up the driveway.  He was returning from the farm that he works at every morning.  The dogs (yes there are two now - no joke)  were close by his side and instantly I was taken back to my desk in the fifth grade classroom of Miss Perrine.  It was surreal as I watched him walk closer to the house.

I realized that I was living my dream.  My country life.  It dawned on me that my children's reality as they are growing up is what my childhood dreams had been when I was a little.  I stood and watched him saunter down the drive stopping to pet the dogs as they welcomed him back home from his chore time.  I could almost taste the orange my mom had packed in my lunch and almost feel how cold the milk was in my thermos as I stood and looked out my kitchen window.    I realized right then and there, my dream has become my reality.

This city girl has turned into a country girl in every respect of the word.  I have traded my heels  (except for an occasional Sunday) for flip flops; and you will find me many days without makeup and with dirt under my fingernails.  In the mornings you will enter my home to the smell of coffee and dish soap and you will find me looking out my window admiring the country - or my son - and knowing deep down in the very depths of my soul that I am blessed.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I am so glad you did.


The Birthday Wish

The house was starting to come alive; I had roused the children and told them it was time to get up and around.  As is the routine, I then went into the kitchen to start on breakfast.  I had decided with the early hour that this morning’s meal would be easy to fix.

I spread the creamy peanut butter on one of the rice cakes and thought about the day.  The music lessons, the phone calls that needed to be made, the house that needed to be cleaned, the school work that needed to be taught and the supper that needed to get into the crock pot soon in order to be ready to feed my family several hours from then.  So many things.  My list was long – the day was early and I was already starting to feel a little behind.  Too many things for the amount of hours in that day.

They called my name and pulled me out of my mental list making.  I turned to see the two youngest standing in the doorway of the kitchen.  They were dressed for the day – a pink dress for her (with frills and a headband pushing back her yet uncombed hair from her face).  He had on the nicest jeans he owned, a button down shirt that normally was saved for church services or nice dinners out.  They were holding hands – him and her.  Two children who would have never met had it not been for God, His grace and His gift to our home.  Both of them – a gift from God to me.  Everyday they each call me Mom – because of His grace and His gift to me.

Her hand grasped his tighter and she looked up him to help her “start”; and her eyes danced with excitement as they started to sing.  A song  I have heard sung to me 41 other times before this day.  He sang out loud and clear and she did too; occasionally looking at him for moral support and for the assurance that she was singing it right.  She was.  He was.  Together than sang their wish to me; and I stopped buttering the rice cake, put my mental “to do’ list aside in my mind; and listened as they sang. 

Life stopped; and I knew that if I lived for another 42 years – I would remember this birthday on that day too.  I would remember my early morning birthday greeting, the excitement in their eyes and voices as they sang.  I would remember that I not only knew I was loved by my two precious gifts from God – I would remember that I could *feel* their love for me as they sang.  I asked God to help me never forget the scene I was watching at the moment.

The song finished and they ran to me for a good morning hug.  They hugged tight – squeezing as hard as their little arms could.  Trying with all their might, to hug me tight enough to convey *just* how much they loved me.  I let myself take in the hug and their love.   I quietly whispered a “thank you” to God for giving them to me.  How thankful I am that He heard my prayer for another baby and kept them safe till He brought each them to me.  For letting me find out that you can love someone who has not grown inside of you for nine months as deeply and as much as you love the others who did.  I took in their hug, their song, the look in the faces and the light in their eyes that morning and felt immersed in their love – and His love. 

Thanks God, for all the gifts you have given me.  For these precious little ones that I get to watch grow up and hear them call me “Mom” every single day.  For the three older kids who I get to laugh with and talk about their futures as I watch you open up your plan for their lives.  Thanks for the husband that has loved me, cared for me for more than half of my life.  Thanks – for the life that you have given me. 

I asked the Zak at the end of the hug,  “Why are you wearing your nice clothes?”

He smiled at me, (with a Zak smile that took over his entire face), “A man has to look nice and smell nice for a lady’s birthday.”  He quickly stuck his wrist up to my nose and asked me if he smelt handsome.  I told him he did.  

It was a wonderful start to a birthday day – and the rest of the day continued in suite.  I am so thankful for all of them.  

Thanks God, for my family!

I trust you are able to enjoy your week; basking in the gift of love and family.  Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did!

Bench Seating, our Weekend, and an Update

We had a good weekend.

It seems to me that the weekend starts on Friday; because we have a different schedule for school on Fridays and are able to be a bit more laid back.  We started Friday out with James' trumpet lessons.  The Littles had fun sitting on a bench outside the music department.  The bench was hidden under a awning of leaves.  We talked about how that particular plant climbs up the wood and grows around the trellis.  The thought it was so much fun to sit in there while we waited.  :)

We enjoyed having friends over from church on Friday evening for dinner.  Enjoyed a wonderful night of food and fellowship.  There is something about being with other Christians and enjoying being together outside of the church building.  I wonder how much more important this type of fellowship will be if we as Americans ever come under times of persecution.  (Which I believe could be right around the corner.)

On Saturday, Rob built another bookshelf in our bedroom.  We had an old piano that we had come upon; and Rob used the wood from the piano for parts of the book shelf.  I loved the idea; and I am loving having all of his books out and around us now.  It makes it feel like we are more and more settled here.

The top shelf you can see here is from the lid of the old piano.  I love his creativity! 

I had been praying for a shower curtain that matched the walls that we have in our bathroom.  I had up the one we had in Kaukauna; but it was not a match at all for the decor.  I was able to find one this weekend; and it was for the amount of money I had left over from last weeks grocery money.  I was thrilled.  God is good - even with those little things that do not matter one ounce to the real nit and grit of life; but I am thankful that He cares and provides those things too!  

On Saturday afternoon we had a family phone call with Rachel. Almost everybody in the family was able to talk to her while she was on the phone.  I talked for a little while and handed the phone to Abbey.  Then, I went about finishing my "to do" list.  It was quite some time later when I looked out my bedroom window to see Anna walking in the garden (pacing back and forth like Daddy does when he is on the phone) and talking to someone.  Then I realized, she was on the phone talking to Rachel.  She had been talking for sometime.  Rachel kept asking her to go and get Mom; to which she kept saying that she did not want to because then she would have to give Mom the phone back.  Rachel asked her where she was - and she told her in the garden - where Mom can't see her to tell her it is time to go.  Quite the little conniver.  We laughed so hard.  So Rachel got to talk to Anna on Sat - for a LONG time.  LOL  Sister memories were made.... and my Mommy's heart was blessed.

Anna - walking in the garden where I 'can't' see here.  :) 

Saturday evening Rob and I had a date night.  We had so much fun together.  We went to a nearby mountain, hiked up a bit to be next to the river running down the mountain and enjoyed a picnic together.  We just sat there and talked and talked and talked.  It was so much fun.  As the sun was setting; we made our way down the mountain and reached the car before nightfall.  Sometimes the best dates are the most simple ones.  If I were to rate this date - I would put it right up there with the top five dates we have ever had in our entire married life.  It was wonderful!

We had a wonderful day at church yesterday with an afternoon lunch and and afternoon service.  It always feels so different to be home on Sunday nights on the Sundays that we have an afternoon service.  I took a long nap and Rob read and read a new book he had purchased.  We found out that the tires on the van were in desperate need of replacement; so on Sunday we had to be creative and enlist the help of a few friends to get us all to church.  The van is now jacked up and the waiting for the new tires that will be coming home with Rob after he is done with work today.  :)

The medication issues with Zak are still causing quite a bit of problems.  We are having a lot of neurological tics going on.  It is so troubling to see him suffering with these tics; but the doctor assures me that it is harder for those of us watching him then it is for him.  We are trying to determine if it is his meds (which everyone seems to think that it is) or a flare up with his Tourette's.  School went pretty well; despite the tics this AM.  I had to keep reminding myself to be patient and not rush him through his work.  The repetitive movement of the tics causes him to drop more crayons, stutter more, move his feet wile he is working, and scratch at his arm.  It can get a bit unnerving to have all of that movement while you are trying to teach; but God gave grace and our day went pretty well this morning!

Thanks so much for stopping in.  I am so glad you did.


A Hard Week

We have had quite and interesting week here and I have not posted quite as much as I would like; but that happens sometimes. 

We started the week off with my husband sick and down for the count.  I hate to see him sick.  Thankfully it was a cold that he was able to fight off pretty good.  After three days - and one of them in bed for the entire day - he was feeling almost back to normal.  Yeah! 

Unfortunately, Abbey must have caught what Dad had and ended up in bed with a high fever and overall feeling pretty miserable.  So, I was home with her on Wed night.  I hate to see my kids sick!  Today she is feeling some better; but not back to 100%.  Hopefully she has what Dad had and is able to pop back like he did.  If so, we are looking at a good weekend.  :)

I mailed a box to Rachel this week.  I don't know why; but putting stuff from our home into the box; made me miss her so much more.  Germany felt SO much further away.  It is funny because everyone said the same thing in a different way.  It was like part of us was getting boxed over and sent to her; and we were all wishing it could be us going to see her.  So, Rachel's absence has been felt deeply this week; and Germany seems very very very far away from North Carolina. 

Zak has had A LOT of issues this week (the main reason for my delayed posts).  It was bad on Tuesday and has gotten progressively worse yesterday and today.  Finally this afternoon I knew we needed to call the doctor.  He is stuttering badly today - to the point that it was very debilitating, pulling his hair out, biting his lip and crying uncontrollably.  I was thankful when the doctor's number came up on my phone! 

So, we have changed his medications back to what he had before; but the doctor is pretty concerned about what we are seeing.  Please pray that this medication adjustment works.  We are looking at seizure medication next; and that is a whole different ball park, or so the doctor was telling me.  God is good, all the time though, and I am thankful that He has given us this opportunity to learn about Zak and the issues in the brain.  So many put labels on things without understanding (myself included, before we had Zak).  I now am so much more aware of how complex brain trauma is to a child and to the entire family.  I would not have had that understanding had it not been for Zak. 

I think that is about all I am going to post for tonight.  I am wore out and just wanted to touch base here and ask for prayers.  So many have told me they are praying and it means A LOT!  Thanks so much. 

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.


Meal Planning Simplified

As a wife and a mother, so much of my time is spent planning, purchasing or preparing the food my family eats.  Taking the time to evaluate how I plan, purchase and prepare food can allow me to achieve a higher level of  simplicity. 

There are several things that have simplified the way I plan our weekly food menu.  When I first got married planning a menu was a foreign concept to me.  I had grown up in the city with a grocery store right down the road from us and often my Mom would pick up the items she needed for dinner each night.  (A shopping habit that has it's advantages!)  However, most of our married life we have lived in a small town that required a decent drive into town (or a bigger) town in order to get the items I needed for dinner.  I had to learn to make a menu. 

Most of our married life I would shop for groceries every two weeks.  After we moved to this house we have found that it works for me to get groceries every week.  Now, when my husband told me that I would get groceries every week I was pretty sure we were going to see the grocery bill hit the roof.  I was positive that I could do better getting groceries every two weeks.  I agreed to the plan and wondered how it would work.

I am here to say it is working out beautifully!  Here is why:

*When I would shop for two weeks I was more inclined to purchase more food than we needed because two weeks seemed like a long time away before I would get into town again to get groceries.  There was more milk to purchase (and thus my fridge was super crowded) at the beginning of the shopping rotation.

*I was more apt to purchase stuff because it was a good deal - more than if we needed it for the week.  (Now, this was just me.  I am sure there are some that are far more disciplined than I am and would not have this problem.)

Here is how I have simplified my grocery shopping:

*I make a menu for the next week.  ( I often try to combine meals to make more than one; but not the same one.  For example:  We have baked chicken one night for dinner I will make a salad with chicken in it the next afternoon for lunch.)

*I have gone to having salads for lunch.  We often have a slice of gluten free toast with the salad.  This makes lunch time meal prep a breeze!  I love this change in the menu. I purchase an organic spring mix for the salad base and work around that.  If I need to I usually have left over money from my shopping that I save.  If we run out of mix I have Rob pick up a container on his way home from work.  This insures us that the mix is fresh and has not been sitting in our fridge to long.  Gross!

*We have gone to making green smoothies in the AM for breakfast.  This is very easy and simple and the kids LOVE it.  I do feel that the kids need a bit more than just the smoothie so they have a bowl of rice cereal, or yogurt with granola on it.  It still is very easy to make and clean up is very simple!  I purchase bags of spinach for the smoothies.  I freeze the bags and one each morning for the smoothies for that day.  I can just add frozen spinach and it works just fine.  :)

*I get only what I need for what is on the menu.  Now, this has taken me a *LONG* time to figure out:  It does not matter how good of a deal it is - if I do not have the money for it - it is not a good deal for me!  (Like I said, this took a long time to sink in.  I was finding myself going over the grocery budget because I could not pass up good deals that were "too good to pass up"; but it was sending me over on the amount of money I had to spend.)  This has helped me to stay in budget and that helps with the stress of grocery shopping a lot!

*I shop at Aldi for 97% of my stuff.  Now, some of you might not have this store; but I LOVE this store.  There were things on my menu that Aldi did not carry.  Then I would have to stop at Walmart and get some things there.  Now, I get everything at Aldi (for food and grocery purchases) except for out salad mix.  That I get at a local store on the edge of town.  Aldi is great too because I do not have to worry about the sale items.  For the most part, their prices are the same week after week and I can plan y menu and know what the price is going to be. 

* To simplify our food I have two to three days out of the week that we have the same thing for that meal.  This works great because I only have to come up with a few meals each week.  I can vary those and keep those other days the same. Here are the days of the week where I menu stays the same: 

Wednesday nights - we attend church on Wed evenings.  Having a meal that is the same and easy to fix is a plus!  Right now, Wed nights are omelet nights.  I can vary the omelet week to week.  It is an easy meal to fix and one I can feed in shifts if Dad is running late getting home from work.  The Littles can eat before Dad gets home and I can make him a quick Omelet when he is pulling into the driveway. 

Sunday afternoons:  This has been a hard one for us to figure out.  We get home from church and hour after we are used to eating.  So, we need something that is quick and ready.  For years (and all while I was growing up) we did a roast or a baked chicken complete with all the fixings.  While a part of me loves this tradition, I had to be honest and say it made for a difficult and full Sunday afternoon with all the dishes that went along with a big meal.  Now, we do Southwestern Beans.  On Sat night I put in several cups of pinto beans into my crock pot, cover them with water and turn them on high.  They cook for the night and in the AM I turn them on low.  I also cut up some tomatoes and lettuce for them.  When we get home from church we have beans ready to eat with all the fixings (cheese, sour cream, and veggies).  It requires only a bowl to eat them so there are not a lot of dishes.  I leave the left over beans in the crock pot, set it in the fridge and use them the next day for lunch on a Southwestern Taco Salad.

Saturday nights:  We do a Popcorn, cheese night with apple slices.  It is all finger food and healthy for you.  James and Rob feel like it is not quite enough so they usually make a sandwich to go along with their popcorn.  By far, this is one of my most favorite meals of the week; and our daughter in Germany has said that she misses this meal the most while away from home.

These few things have helped to simplify our meals and my meal planning and grocery shopping.  I know there are advantages and disadvantages to different ways to get groceries; but this has been great for us right now.  What things have you done to simplify your meal planning and grocery shopping.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I am glad you did!


Holidays, Homemaking, Pets

Monday was Labor Day.  My thoughts were that the Littles did not know about Labor Day being a holiday yet; and so we should just do school anyway.  That was my plan.  It was vetoed by the Principle of the School (Dad), who said we needed to take the day off.

A couple in our church gave us a bed that they no longer were using.  So, I needed to get the bedroom in order to change our room from being a Queen Sized bedroom - to a King Sized bedroom.  That took some time and planning.  I also moved our old Queen Sized bed into the boys room for James to use.  (That took a lot more work; because their room is a BOY'S room - and well, you know what *that* means.)  After cleaning, and a small lecture on putting stuff away when you are done with it, I had two boys with sheepish looks on their face - but a clean bedroom.  Glory Be!

The bigger bed arrived and was assembled before the couple left.  (Thanks Peter and Debbie).  I can not believe how much bigger it looks than our old bed!  I am so overwhelmed with their gracious gift to us.  I had been praying for a bed because Rob's back has not done well on the one we had - so I know that God answered my prayers through this couple.  Thanks so much!!! 

I was able to enjoy dinner out with a girlfriend from church.  I had such a wonderful time just fellowshiping and visiting with her.  I need to do it more.  Seems like life gets so busy that we forget that we need those things too.  I felt "all grown up" driving in the car, without any kids heading to a night out with another lady.  It was wonderful to laugh and to talk and to get to know each other better.  I think that is the thing I hate about moving the most - is having to start at the beginning with someone.  To have to build friendships from the bottom up; yet it is a wonderful thing to in knowing that I have friends in so many places that I am able to have in my life that make my life richer even if we are miles away.  I had a wonderful time, Julie thanks for the fellowship!

This past weekend my husband was sick.  That meant I needed to take James to do his chores at the farm on Sunday.  I was shocked at how big Romeo has gotten!  It will not be too much longer and we will have to be taking him to county fair.  We all try very hard to not think about that too much!  James has done a great job in taking care of him.  I have been very proud of his dedication to him.  Romeo has been a pretty sick cow and required a lot more care than a calf normally takes in this project.  James has taken on more jobs to give him the money to be able to purchase the medications and shots that Romeo has needed.  I can not help to think this has been a life changing project for James in teaching him the hard knocks of life.

I came home to get school stuff ready for the new week for the Littles.  I fight the feeling that we are not doing enough; but just keep trying to remind myself to keep making small steps forward.  I tend to want to rush things.... it is one of my many faults.  School is going great.  Zak is making steps forward and that makes me very happy.  The new meds have brought about some side effects; but nothing major yet.  I keep watching and praying that we have a good transition to the new dosage. 

I will close with this picture.  I posed it on FB; but wanted it here to as a permanent picture on my blog.  Anna was outside playing and fell asleep.  I do not know how long she had been asleep before I found her; but she slept another half hour or so after I shot the picture through the front room window.  So precious.  The dog seems to be part of the family.  We have been blessed with a very very large and very very loving dog.  I am thankful for him!

Trust you have a wonderful day.  God is so good - all of the time!


Learning from Childhood

When I was little my Dad would come in to our room (my sister and I shared a room) to tuck us in and say good night.  I still remember it like it was yesterday; but it has been almost 40 years ago.  I remember that I would hear Dad's footsteps as he headed towards our room and I would close my eyes and try to lay really really still and pretend that I was asleep.  I would do my best not to wiggle or to giggle and I can only imagine what I looked like when my Dad entered the room.

What I remember most was what my Dad would say trying to get me to start laughing.  He would say,  "Ahh, someone is playing possum....  I am sure someone is playing possum.) Then sometime after he would say that I would start giggling and laughing and he would sit on my bed and share a laugh as he told me good night.  Then one night I asked him what that meant - playing possum and he told me.

He told me about the possum and how it plays dead when it feels threatened.  How it will lay very still acting like it is dead until the threat is gone and then get up and walk away.  A defense mechanism, so to speak.  I was intrigued by the story; but that is all that is was to me.  Just a story.

Until this weekend.

I went to let the Thor (yes, his name is back to Thor because Zak could not remember 'Trooper' and Anna kept messing it up and calling him 'Pooper' - so we decided to go back to Thor...).  I turned on the light to the porch and there sitting right there by the front door was an dead opossum.  Ugly creature it was.  Laying there dead - mouth open - looking quite dead.  My first thought was - how are we going to get him off the porch.  My second thought was,  "R-O-B!" 

I soon had a companion beside me looking out the window at the creature.  It was Rob who noticed it first.  "He's still breathing..."

Suddenly I was a little girl again, laying in bed, very very still trying to fool my Dad and I heard his words echo in my mind.  "Someone is playing possum..."  And, I wondered if this is how it  really  works. 

Perhaps I am still a city girl and so something like this is still very big to me.   Perhaps I am a home school Mom that tires to make everything a learning experience.     Perhaps I am just crazy; but.... I just *had* to get the kids up to see this.  I left the Littles sleeping; but the older kids were fetched and told to come and see what Thor had done.

We all stood in the windows and watched the 'dead' breathing opossum as it lay there and wondered, "Is it dying?"  There was talk about perhaps we were witnessing a slow death and internal bleeding was causing the death to be long and painful.  Then there were wagers as to how much blood he would throw up when the bleeding finally did him in.  He looked pitiful and full of pain.  Someone said they felt sorry for him having to 'suffer' this way.

Still I kept wondering if I was witnessing what my Dad had told me about years ago.  Could something that looked so hurt, so dead,  just be playing?

We decided to call Thor into the house.  (Through the back door.  I had visions of a rodent getting into the house and causing quite a scene; and I also knew that was a possibility - it was after all, Saturday night.)  Thor came running in through the back door and was eager for a treat.  He was so proud of himself.  Treats were given and the watch continued.

It did not take long.  A minute - perhaps two.  It seemed as soon as the creature was aware that the big black dog was gone from the porch he twitched his ears, raised himself up on all fours and walked down the steps of the porch like he owned the place.

I was amazed.  I wanted to call my Dad in the middle of the night and tell him it was true.  They really do play dead when they are threatened!  I tried to think of an object lesson to tell the kids - something about Satan and his deceitful ways; but nothing came to mind.  I was tired.  I gave Thor another treat and told him how much of a good dog he was to keep us safe from the danger of the opossum.  (I just did not have the heart to tell him he had been fooled.)  I turned out the lights and headed for bed; hoping the dead opossum thoughts would stay here on the porch and not enter my dreams through the night.

Trust you had a wonderful weekend. 

Loving the Country Life,