Father and Son

Father and Son
Their first walk together.

Both T's at the pasture gate

Both T's at the pasture gate
T2 isn't sure about the goats. They look a little scary.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Roller Coaster?

It has been a very busy week. We have been moving! Just part of the clan! The girls have been moving from upstairs to downstairs and C has been doing the reverse. This seems to have taken care of the closet monsters. Evidently C is meaner than an old monster.

Marshmallows? No, moth balls. Grandma put them in her flowerpots to ward off the squirrels. T2 saw them and decided they are marshmallows. Now I have to worry that someone will slip out and taste one. I explained that they are poison, for all the good explaining will do.

We have to new babies in the barn, girls! Brigdet gave us to cute little girls yesterday afternoon. Everytime I watch a baby being born, I am amazed. We watch the doe for months, noting the slightest change. The closer her due comes the more cautious we are. Then suddenly she stops grazing and resting and starts preparing for her babies. She separates herself from the herd, finds a quiet place, and paws the ground to soften their landing. It can take a few hours of contractions or just a few minutes. But as soon as the babies are here, Mom cleans them and they stand to find her milk. Less than an hour after they are born, they are playing and eating, Mom is grazing, and everything has fallen into place.

Court didn't go as planned. The judge sides with the mom. She thinks that the mom should have more opportunities to neglect, drug, and mistreat her kids. Plus if she can't have them, the judge wants the family, all druggies, to take them. This is going to be long and hard. it may end up in heartbreak. This judge is willing to separate the children, something no one else wants. For now we will love them and take care of them. But mainly we will wait.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Closet monsters?

This morning T1 and T2 went monster hunting. It seems that B has been telling stories. Telling stories to scare your sisters is bad enough, but scaring yourself in the process is worse. The girls have been told so many things they don't know what to believe. I have been trying to reassure them about monsters for weeks. The first time I knew their fear of monsters was serious was the evening B had to go to bed early. She had to go to bed before everyone else. The other girls stayed up an extra 30 minutes. I went upstairs to see why she wasn't in bed 20 minutes after she had been sent there. She was sitting upright in the middle of her bed with the covers wrapped around her, all the lights were on, her dolls and stuffed toys were piled in her bed, and she had propped open the child safety gate at the top of the stairs (So she could run without stoppin' to get the gate to open!)

Today, T2 needed to take her clean clothes to her closet. After 10 minutes, the clothes and the child were still at the bottom of the stairs. She explained that she couldn't go by herself. After a few questions we discovered that there was a monster living in her closet, and she just couldn't go in there alone. T1 took her by the hand and announced that they were going hunting. They looked everywhere in the room; in the closets, in the bathroom, under the beds, even in the toy box. They didn't find any monsters. T2 felt better about the room until B came home and told her that monsters hide if they see grownups and in the daytime.

The solution is simple. Actually we had already set it in motion before we knew there was a problem. We moved them to a bedroom downstairs, C's bedroom. C is now in the room with the closet monsters. They better watch out or she'll hunt them down. B says she likes the new room better because there isn't any scary sounds and the monsters aren't downstairs. Thank God!

Now I know what some of you are thinking: we should explain the truth about monsters to them. Been there already; didn't work. We should tell them that God will keep them save from harm. I tried that, too. Besides God doesn't protect us from harm, He stands beside us as we go through it. The idea of someone invisible standing beside them all the time might frighten them more than help them.

For now we are going to deal the truth as they see it. We will prove to them that monsters aren't real, and there isn't anything scary waiting in the dark when the time is right.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


It was great to be allowed to see Easter through the eyes of the children. This was the first time they had celebrated it together. There were a lot of firsts this weekend.

The first time they had dyed eggs, and maybe the last. They splashed dye everywhere. I had a frayed nerves. K soaked her hand in the yellow dye! T2 splashed blue dye onto the carpeted kitchen floor. Don't ask "Why carpet in the kitchen?" Just accept it. Yes, cracked eggs can still be dyed.

The first time the Easter bunny has visited them. "Who is the Easter bunny, and what does he do?"

The first time they had heard the real Easter story. This has prompted me to try a unit study about Easter. I know that it is a little late, but B and T2 won't mind.

The first time they have ever hunted eggs. They couldn't believe that we would hide our real eggs outside. Eggs don't hold up very well with toddlers.

I think they had a good day. I know that I did.

Easter Lessons

During all the rush to prepare, I lost sight of the real purpose of celebrating Easter. Five little baskets sat in my den waiting for five bright pairs of eyes. There were baskets for all the rest of the family as well, but those five were special. Not because they held anything expensive, just a little candy and a few cheap toys. They were about new beginnings and experiencing changed lives. God showed me little lessons all day long. Praise God!

B, the oldest, got a Bible, a hot pink one. She squealed and yelled, "I got my own, real Holy Bible!" Then she danced around the room singing about her Holy Bible. She plans to read all of it, starting now! I wish we all were that enthusiastic about God's Word.

T2 fumbled through her basket and found a little piece of candy and another and another and another. Each time she became more excited. That is what God does for us. when we look for His Will, He gives us a little piece to hang on to and follow. One little piece at a time He shows us His plan for our lives and the excitement builds.

K gently examined the contents of her basket, amazed with what she found. What God has planned for us is far greater than anything we could ever imagine for ourselves. He is so good.

N had to be coached with his basket. He wasn't sure that he was allowed to take things out of it. Maybe it wasn't really his. I do this with God. I second guess God instead of stepping up without question. Sometimes I must miss the blessing He has in store for me.

F sat with her basket which had only 4 little items. Her eyes were huge and her smile spread across her entire face. She bounced with excitement. It didn't matter that she only had a little, she was happy with what she had been given. That was God reminding me to be thankful for what I have both physical and spiritual. I have all I need and can handle.

Then at church I sat in awe as I watched snips from "The Passion of the Christ" and later watched as hundreds of people got out of their seats and walked down the aisles to become followers of Christ. That is Easter. Eggs and bunnies aren't what it is about. They are fun things to do as long as I can keep them in perspective. Changing lives and new beginnings: Easter.

1 Peter 1:3[ Praise to God for a Living Hope ] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Early Morning Chores

Nugget the family house dog decided to go outside at 4am. Things were too quiet for her. None of the neighborhood dogs were barking. It was time for her to stir the pot. I have to be honest and say that I was angry as I walked to the back door with my eyes shut. Because of my anger I almost missed a beautiful morning. The yard was bathed in moonlight. The little dogwood tree, which is in full bloom, appeared to glow as the silvery light joined with the bright white blossoms. There was a light fog hanging over the green pasture in front of the house. The world was calm and quiet. It seems that even the animals wanted to enjoy the spell that had been cast over the area. Nugget couldn't find any one to bark with her.

God got me up early so I could get a jump on the events of the morning. Both of the adult girls have to work. C is going to the coffee shop and T1 is baby sitting for a family from our church. So I have house and barn duty today. I am taking N out to the barn with me to work. This may be a mistake, but I don't want him to wake up and cry the entire time I am gone. Even worse, wake my MIL and have her fussing. So with that settled I am going to the barn.

Well, everyone woke up while I was in the barn. The 3 girls came running through the house, screaming at each other and crying because they wanted to come outside with me. This commotion woke up the baby and Grandma. I sent the girls back upstairs with orders not to come down stairs unless the house was on fire. That lasted about 5 minutes.

We have 3 goats in milk. Their babies aren't very old, about 2 weeks. So, most of the milk goes to them. Next week, we will separate them at night and milk the does before putting them back together the next morning. But today, I brought each one out of the pasture and put them on the milk stand for less than 3 cups of milk. Once I finished milking I scattered feeding buckets around the backyard. Then I released all of the does. They ate the grain and then grazed on the tender green grass in the yard. They are better than a lawnmower. They mow and fertilize at the same time.

After 40 minutes they began to roam. They tried to eat Grandma lilies, to go to the neighbors garden, and to slip through the side yard into the front. The last straw came when they jumped the makeshift fence into the unfenced pasture. We have been putting up fence posts to add on pasture. I can only imagine the image of me chasing those crazy goats around the yard with a broom.

Once I had chased everyone back into the fence and locked the gate, I discovered that there was one stray. Our new little doe was dashing back and forth looking for her mother. She was crying and jumping and running into the fence. I had to chase her down. It is a lot harder to catch a baby than a big goat. They shoot through the smallest holes.

After breakfast, I plan to go to the grocery store and over to see Mother. One day soon, I want to send some time with Mother, alone.

Grandma is in the kitchen eating breakfast and writing out her grocery list. she has been very sick and is finally beginning to feel a little better.

While writing this, I decided to go with Grandma to get groceries. That means I have to clean out the Suburban and have everyone fed and dressed by the time Grandma is ready. I have to get off and head into the kitchen. Whew!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Big Plans

9-10 They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son.
11 Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Yes, I'm listening."
12 "Don't lay a hand on that boy! Don't touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me." Genesis 22:9-12

Abraham's faith is enormous. Mine in comparison is so small. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around that type of faith. Dennis I lost several babies before they were born. Even with my faith in God, it was very difficult. But, He never asked me to deliberately sacrifice one of my children. I never had to make the decision to murder a child in His name. I can image what Abraham was thinking. "Lord, I am trusting in You to keep me safe when I go home to Sarai!" I wonder what the conversation was like during and after this event between Abraham and Isaac.

I feel like I am neglecting my children, all of them. For the last 8 weeks, life has been about survival. I want to do more than survive. I want to make an impact on my children. So, I am starting a list of things I want to accomplish with each child.

MICHELLE - One morning of yard sale shopping. Helping her make dinner at her house one night. Coffee and dessert one day, just the two of us.
CRYS -Movie together. Shopping by ourselves. Just some time alone to do whatever.
TIFFANY -Several hours away from home without kids. Two solid hours a day of school instruction. Quiet time with just the two of us.
B -Craft time together. Cooking with the adult girls. Serious conversation about what love is. Doing a unit study or 2 over the summer.
T2 -Cuddle time without other kids. Working on a simple craft together. Playing together.
K -Cuddle time. Playdoh together. A simple craft.
N -Cuddle time. Playdoh
F -Cuddle time.
A big item I hope we can do together with all the kids is to go camping.

Now that I have the beginnings of a list, I have to figure out a way to accomplish my plans.

Caseworkers and Scatter-Brained

This week is caseworker week. Sunday, one caseworker came for a visit and went to church with us. Yesterday, another caseworker visited. Today, still another caseworker is going to visit us. The children have learned that the caseworkers are only visiting, so there aren't tears any more.

I lost my wallet, Sunday. There was no money in it; just insurance cards, checks, debit cards, and other important papers. The good news is that I found it yesterday. It was in my pants' pocket. Boy, do I feel stupid.

We are getting ready for graduation. I have been so scatter-brained that nothing has been done. I feel real bad. I have dropped the ball with T1. We have gotten behind in her school work and now I haven't prepared for her graduation. Today, I am going to spend time working on her and her projects.

I have decided to start home learning with the kids. We are going to do lapbooks on Easter. I think it will be fun. If it works out, we will do unit studies all summer. I am sure one will be the fruits of the Spirit.

Everyone is up and wanting breakfast.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sad and Happy Together

First, it is almost impossible to type one-handed. Second, when you are 7 months old and eating in Mom's arms, the clicking and lights from the computer are so interesting that it is hard to finish the breakfast you had ordered earlier.

C twittered "bummer." She summed up yesterday. The weather reflected the way I felt: cloudy and drab. Today isn't going to be much better. I took my oldest daughter, L, to Atlanta to the airport to go home. She may not be my legal daughter, but she is my daughter in my heart, where it counts. It was very hard to keep my composure. Everyone cried. I knew that if I let myself, I would cry all the way back home. Crying makes driving difficult. Even by plane she is now 12 hours away. At the airport, B and T2 sobbed; T1, C and L held each other and wept; even K got in on the act. She wrapped her arms around L's neck and wouldn't let go. Taking her to the airport was perhaps the hardest thing I have ever done. We didn't have enough time together. Two weeks is way too short. She had to leave just as the party was getting started. I know we can talk on the computer, but I am going to miss her hugs and seeing her napping on the couch. Even Nugget, the dog, is mopey today.

Children have a way of brightening even the darkest moments. K is standing in our sunroom with my bedroom slippers on her tiny feet. They are sock monkey slippers! She is planning to go to the barn with T1 to take care of the goats. N is standing beside me smiling. He is sucking up because a moment ago he pulled his diaper bag off the table and emptied it onto the floor.

We just had an Easter egg hunt; only we used shoes, namely K's. Now she is running through the house to the backdoor.

I have been looking for baby chicks. Last fall I sold my chickens because my coop was in great need of repair. Now I wish I had kept them. They were good young laying hens, not even a year old.

The day is in full swing, and I am still sitting in front of the computer screen.