Friday, September 4, 2015

Why Trauma Sucks

The really cool thing is that these children have a great chance of healing. The screaming rages that come with the healing process eventually give way to more effective forms of communicating the fear of intimacy, the sorrow of self hatred, the grief of losing birth parents, and the anger that its all unfair. 

These kids DO absolutely heal. By the grace and very hand of GOD, these children, DO absolutely heal. Its an ugly, messy, and very loud process....

The screaming....
it serves several purposes. 
One purpose is to push away the people trying hardest to get close. Its scary to be close to someone...intimacy is painful for these children...the fear of losing that closeness is greater than the secure feeling that lasts only moments.

So they say awful, horrible things, scream as loudly as possible directly in the parents face, seek out things precious to the parent to destroy them, anything they can do to push the buttons of the one person saying, "I love you". Oftentimes, this destructive behavior would work and the child would receive a new caregiver (move to a new foster home or a different orphanage worker). 

It is really hard to look through those behaviors and know the motivation behind still see the scared and hurting child beneath and continue to reach out to the same child again and again, to want and desire to make those small momentary connections that slowly build to create trust. 

How often we adoptive parents get it wrong! We forget, for only a moment, but its long enough and we take the bait and snap, yell, react, seethe...and inside that child feels victorious that they finally succeeded in causing the parent to react. 

What's a parent to do when they realize they've been duped into reacting? 

Apologize from the deepest part of your heart... "Junior, you deserve to be treated better than I treated you. I am deeply sorry for yelling at you. I could have handled that with more patience and I could have told you, without yelling, how I felt." 

Believe it or not this can build trust. It is not often that a caregiver apologizes to the child for negative behaviors. When the apology happens it can catapult the relationship to a new level, but, no, not always....

Trauma sucks because it isn't fair....even the abuser is likely to have been abused and was a victim and the cycle continues.

Trauma is awful but they do heal...there is HOPE!

Psalm 31:24 
Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Seasonal Summer Dinner Menu

Anyone else despise using the oven on hot days?  The crockpot is our friend on those are the other appliances that we can use without heating up the whole house. I've come across blogs that talk about outdoor summer kitchens. I think that would be a really neat idea if you had the setup/space.

For my summer menu I assigned each day of the week a certain type of food and rotate through the list for an entire month. There are over 30 days worth of meals listed here. Click on the item for the link to the recipe we most often use. 

Breakfast for dinner: Crepes, Waffles, Breakfast Pizza
Pasta: Tuna Noodle, Japanese Soba Noodles, Crockpot or Skillet Lasagna 
Sandwiches: BLT's, Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork or Beef, Wraps, Grilled Veggie sammies, Ham&Cheese, Meatball Grill night: Hamburgers, Hotdogs/Brats, Chicken, Steak, Kabobs

Soup: Red Beans&Rice, Split Pea, Chunky Veggie, Crockpot Baked Potatoes
Appetizer Night: Antipasto platter, Dips; Cheesy Bean Dip, Guacamole, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Salads; Taco Salad, Chicken Salad(Asian), Layered Greek Salad

Care to share your summer menus?

Acts 16:34
The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household


Monday, June 8, 2015

A Peek at His Old Self

For a solid year we have been working hard to find answers for Dalton, our very medically complex child, who has had debilitating headaches, a seizure, bradycardia episodes, and so many other medical mysteries. 

After several completely worthless trips to various specialists I began to watch for possible triggers to Dalton's migraines. I noticed they were guaranteed to occur before or after an event that caused Dalton severe anxiety. 

After working for weeks to bring his anxiety down using the same techniques we use for Sunshine and making no progress, actually finding much regression, the Pediatrician, the trauma Therapist and I decided to try an anxiety medication.

After three weeks on this medication we saw only a few minor headaches (woo!) but many "breakthrough" panic attacks that come out as rages (boo!). We are upping his dose of anxiety meds and will be using an emergency anxiety attack med in the case of those breakthrough anxiety attacks that can be so severe his safety can be at risk.
Midway through a rage, sparked by severe anxiety
Our trauma Therapist explained why we have made little to no progress without the medication. Its similar to static over the radio. Dalton is only hearing a partial message. The physical symptoms of anxiety are so high he is unable to hear the words of love and reassurance. His fight or flight reflexes are sky high and he needs medication to calm those areas of his brain to allow the therapeutic techniques to begin to work.

Tonight was the first night in months that I saw a peek of the "old" Dalton. The comfortable, feeling-safe, happy and content, Dalton. And, it is my prayer that we will see even more of that sweet boy in the weeks and months to come! 

Psalm 94:19

When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Good Grief

I've noticed, recently, that our Ana has been preoccupied with silver, gray, and white hair, running her hands through her Physical Therapists hair and counting my shiny silver strands. 

My sweet girl was in the midst of grieving the loss of her mobility, following surgery, and the loss of her independence. But, despite my knowing it, she was grieving another loss that was far more profound. 

I scooped her up and cuddled her close as tears welled up in her big brown eyes and she opened up that deep secret place inside her and let me see a part of her beautiful soul. 

"I don't like gray hair because it makes me think of old people and old people die and I don't want you to die because I just got you." 

Oh, what deep longing these orphans have to simply belong to someone! 

Grieving is healthy and good and without direction that grief can be so confusing to these little souls.
James 14:18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

In the Daily

Daily therapy
working hard to work her legs

wore her right out!

Her right leg doesn't want to cooperate

smiling sweetie pie

Daily VOWs
 Hebrews 12:1
 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Daily chows

Edible spoon!

Daily moves
7 miles thus far this week

5K this Sunday! 


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Motivation Monday

We are complicated creatures that can be divided into mind, body and soul and because we are complicated creatures we need accountability to keep ourselves on track. 

Here is my weekly breakdown of mind, body and soul goals. 

Mind Goals: 
Declutter my desk because clutter makes me INSANE!
Yes, just one goal this week...we have 4 days of therapy for the next month or so and that is exhausting!
Body Goals:
 Easy Run...
Speedwork..i.e. Fartlek...(yes, its a for real word!)
Hill Repeats
Long Run

Soul Refresh Shred workouts 3x's this week.

Menu plans:

For the family:
Cowboy Burgers
French Toast
Fried Rice
Chicken Broccoli Braid
Spagetti Dinner Fundraiser
Chicken Pot Pie

Mom's Menu Plan: 
Lentil Stuffed Peppers
 Cauliflower Fried Rice

 Soul Goals:
Daily devotional time in the Word
Make a {VOW}

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Mark 12:30
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.



Monday, March 23, 2015

A Return to Outdoor Running

What is the first thing you look forward to each spring? Is it the return to out of doors activities because that sure was my motivation this last weekend...a return to all things outside!

I'm not exactly a winter road runner...while our County and City do a fab job on the roads for driving I tend to be cautious about running on the ice and snow. After yearly revisits of a badly sprained ankle I just don't want to risk it. 

Enter the first 5k of the season!
We Ran for the House with our bible study group and had a ton of fun! 

The bonus? 

Setting a PR in the 5K while pushing the 35# nearly 8 yr old clad in a spica brace/cast in the BOB stroller. 

Are you a winter road runner?
Do you find yourself a bit overly cautious on certain terrain or under certain conditions? 

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

~*RAD: Scribble Scrabble*~

One universal trait of my RADiant blessings is the need to control. When Sunshine was 4 yrs old we began homeschooling him, along with brother J.J., and we kept it simple by utilizing workbooks because it took 2 solid years of repetition before he was age appropriate in academics.  Often, there would be coloring involved, and for Sunshine, this usually meant scribbling. 

At first it drove me nuts...I knew what this child was capable of, I knew how nicely he could color and it didn't look like scribble. After a bit of time I began to realize it was a need to control his situation and not an inability to be neat. While I wanted to allow him some control I still needed him to be able to color somewhat nicely for educational purposes. Honestly, we never did figure out the right solution for him, yet, eventually he outgrew it. 

My joy-boy, Dalton, will scribble, yet, his RAD is slight enough that we are able to require a "do over" and that usually solves the attitude. Analina, is so similar to Sunshine in behavior, at times, it is almost scary.

I pulled Sunshine aside and asked him if he remembered doing it and why. He cannot remember doing it but he said, even now, that he will be in middle of coloring and become angry because he just doesn't want to anymore and wants to be done RIGHT THEN, therefore, scribbling to be done sooner.

I want to teach my children from hard places to follow through with what they start and to do each task with their very best effort.

We give choices and options, where available, to our children so they feel they do have some control. Controlling is a cornerstone behavior for kids with RAD.

How do you give your children with RAD "control" without them being controlling? Giving choices and options where available? Other ideas and suggestions welcome! 

Titus 2:6
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.    

Saturday, March 14, 2015

~*Large Family Living: Sickness*~

What's a large family to do when illness strikes?

Suitable Shortcuts:

Paper plates, etc; hello, I am not insane!

Clorox wipes or simple soapy/bleach water.

Sprite, graham crackers, applesauce, toast, etc. 

LOTS of these babies! 

A really good sense of humor because you are going to have one heckuva Mt Washmore to conquer!


Movies to plug your children into, because, hello, I am not insane! 

When the storm begins to calm, along with your tummy, expect to spend several days cleaning up and possibly retraining your children who may have momentarily forgotten that we don't actually watch t.v. 24/7 the rest of our lives! 

Erika, over at Large Families on Purpose, has an exhaustive list if you want more details...

What is your fave comfort routine when illness strikes? 

Psalm 30:2

Lord my God, I called to you for help,
    and you healed me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

~*Praise Him in the Storm*~

I know we talk about praising HIM in the storm...well, there has been more beseeching and downright begging than praising, lately, to be completely honest.

When we stepped forward to adopt two medically complex children we knew they were a bit of a mystery, however, the amount of medical surprises has been, well, surprising!

After Dalton's headache/vomiting episode in February that ended with his first and, prayerfully last, seizure we knew that we would be fooling ourselves if we thought it would never happen again. I've been holding my breath a bit, lately, hoping that it wouldn't happen again so soon but the headaches are back. 

They are different now, despite his migraine and seizure medication, which makes everything seem new all over again. With medically complex children situations change so often and so quickly that security is an illusion.

~*Medical Trauma*~ 

I know that some physicians disagree that this even exists but I put them up there with those crazy coots who thought the earth was flat, they are just delusional! 

Trauma exists in all forms. From repeated events over a period of time to one isolate traumatic situation.

A freaky situation, like Dalton's seizure, with head injury, separation from mom for several hours, tests upon tests, extreme pain, etc can cause severe anxiety in children. 

For a child with past trauma to experience a new trauma is very difficult to work through. 

While I'm begging and pleading with my Lord to heal my kiddo of these ailments I am, also, clinging to those who have walked this road ahead of me to share their wisdom on helping my child through this painful and difficult time. 

Pray for the kid will ya???


Monday, March 2, 2015

~*Treadmill View*~

Let's take a tour, shall we?

 What is your running view? 


Proverbs 17:24
A discerning person keeps wisdom in view,
    but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

~*Are Medically Complex Children Bad for Siblings?*~

While we have been supported so wholeheartedly through this challenging medical season, there is a stirring in my heart that I think I need address. 

Why do this? 
Why put our other children through this?
Isn't it unfair to them?

Oh my, where do I begin? 

If you had a child born with some unexpected ailment, condition, or disease would you not move heaven and earth to see that your beautiful baby had the best care in the world? 

Of course, for the vast majority of my audience the answer is a resounding *YES*! You would never give up on that child until you had answers! 

When we chose to adopt we knew that we were adopting children that were a medical mystery. We said the same exact, YES, that you have said every time you added a homegrown kiddo to your family.

Yes, our China blessings are medically complex and the further we dig into the care they need the bigger the mystery seems to get. They are filled with fun and not so fun surprises. 

If I would not reject a homegrown babe why would I reject a heartgrown babe on the possibility of medical surprises?

The concept that this is unfair to our other children is just bogus.  This journey has taught our children invaluable lessons of compassion, attentiveness, true love and acceptance, how to advocate for needs and how to navigate the medical community.

Those character qualities and skills are invaluable. Setting aside all generic discussions here, we firmly believe that teaching all of our children the value of life, the value of *each* life, is a precious gift.

 No matter how desperate the situation, no matter how deep the pile of medical equipment, no matter how intricate the special need, each and every life is valuable. 

Luke 12:7
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Day 1 (3.1 miles complete)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

~*Morphing Movement and My Menagerie*~

This blog has taken quite the detour away from adoption, crazy big family life, medical procedures, etc. that it started with and moved toward my own personal quest for a healthy lifestyle. 

In the next month I am going to morph the two and see if I can come up with a happy medium. I miss blogging. I miss writing. But I am a very different person than when I started this blog. I've cleaned up many old blog posts, deleted dead content, and plan a few other cleanup phases for this ole blog. 

The new focus will be both family life and healthy lifestyle choices. I hope you stick around for the changes....I will do my best to keep content frequent and relevant.

Has your blog ever had a midlife crisis? 

James 1:7
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

**I change...but its comforting to know HE does not**    

Friday, February 27, 2015

~*Staying Motivated to Move*~


 I have been plagued with Reactive Airway ever since a particularly brutal viral infection hit me hard in January. I would cough for hours on end, wheeze and lose my breath. Running became nearly impossible. It has taken weeks to get close to my previous fitness level...which is novice, to say the least! 

More Mo-Jo:

So, when the snow if flying, the temps are dipping, the wind is howling, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a big-o-cuppa something hot how do you get your rear in gear and off that sofa?  

Those non-food rewards are always is the calendar, with three weeks until the first race of the season. Which is less competition and more family fun but a good start to the season!

Matt Frazier, over at No Meat Athlete, suggested that having three standard habits to fall back on when your in a fitness funk (or any other type of funk) can help keep you moving forward even if your brain isn't into it!

What are your go-to *good* habits when you find yourself lacking motivation? 

 1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with *ACTIONS* and in truth.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

~*MyProtein Product Review*~

If y'all remember back to Nov. I was blessed to attend the Refresh Summit: South. It not only refreshed my soul and spirit but it refreshed my body as well; I went on to lose 30+ lbs in Nov/Dec.

At the Summit I was introduced to many brands and products that I wasn't familiar with. We appreciated their sponsorship of the Summit, as their partnership made the Summit's success possible! And, who doesn't love the freebies! 

I was recently contacted by one of the Sponsors to review their products.

MyProtein's go-to guy offered to send me whatever products I was interested in...unfortunately several of the items high on my list were out of stock ~bummer~.

Protein Powder Dietary Supplement 
in Chocolate, of course! 

Initial impression? 
But if you are not in a hurry and can make your shake, let it thicken in the fridge, and then consume it, the taste is so much better!

Honestly, I usually make, shake and drink so having to wait for the flavors to meld and the liquid to thicken was a bit of a downer but to be quite fair the shake was much better when left to sit. I imagine that adding a banana and the shake mix to the blender would greatly improve the taste.

Next up, Instant Oats:
The product in the link is not the item I tried and I cannot find the exact Instant Oats on their website. 

While this product did have the oatmeal texture you'd expect in a shake made of oatmeal it did *not* bother me a bit and actually tasted better than the Hurricane Extreme...this, too, was chocolate, of course! (The link is for unflavored). 

As a shake this was fine as is...but with a banana and run through the blender this would be spot on!

The benefits of protein after a workout are undeniable to replenish thy body. As a vegetarian, that happens to be carb cycling, I appreciate having an instant protein source made of the quality ingredients found in MyProtein.

What I learned: 

Patience is key with MyProtein products
Let 'em meld for a bit for maximum benefit (i.e. taste).

Oatmeal in a smoothie is not a deal breaker
The texture is just different...give it a try!

Trying new protein powders is scary for me....I am so picky about flavor! 

**Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by MyProtein. All opinions are my own**


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

~*Surgery Prep and the Unexpected*~

How prepared can you be for surgery? Honestly, you are not as prepared as you think you are!

 The Plan:
 Spend 24 hours of nearly pain free time in the hospital before coming home to a stocked up pantry and freezer.  The make-life-easy-for-Mama paper plates and poptarts!

The Unplanned:
 Upset tummy when the wee one got home...turns out that the combo of narcotics and anesthesia can cause quite the plumbing backup and once the clog is removed things run much smoother and tummies feel better.

The Completed Unexpected:
Seizures, head injuries, cardiac issues, and additional hospital stays. (True story!)

How to Survive:
 Understand that stress can shut down higher reasoning and cause/effect will be dumb and useless for the entirety of your emergency stay.

Tissues are your will sob like a fool, blubber like a baby, and your face will be red and swollen....guess what? They've seen it before, you are not the first. 

Push! Advocate! If you feel like you are being passed off because one specialist says he cannot find anything wrong then do not let your child (or self) be released until you are comfortable with what they are saying. Even if it means staying longer to get to the bottom of the mystery.

 Eat! In the midst of the stress, the Doctors, Nurses, and Techs in and out you will forget to feed yourself. Eat! It only adds to your fragile emotional state to be hungry and not know it. Proteins and healthy carbs are your best choice but take what you can get. Do not be afraid to ask the nurses for help...either to watch the kiddo while you peruse the vending machine or to secure you with a variety of snacks. 

If you are a vegetarian or vegan or have food allergies it can be extremely challenging to find appropriate food. If someone offers to bring sustenance take them up on it! Also, visiting hours are not hard/fast rules and can be bent on occasion so do not let the clock determine if someone brings you a meal.

We can plan all we want but God sends us the experiences He believes we need. 

 Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans. 


Friday, January 23, 2015

~*I've Gotta Try That!*~

During the many years that I have battled with my weight, and the reasons that I have gotten where I am, I have had several friends that have lost a significant amount of weight. As they relayed to me their success using this, that or the other weight-loss system, product line, or workout program, my heart would pound with excitement and I would inevitably think, "I've gotta try that!". This begs the following question...

In the end, did any of those things work for, me, specifically?

The short answer is no. 

Why didn't their methods work for me?

Because I had to find something that worked for me. For my body. For my situation. For my season of life. As the circumstances change the needs change.

I wasn't ready for the amount of work required to truly change my life. You have to buy into it and until you are ready then, well, you're not ready. 

I wasn't willing to invest in hundreds of dollars every month for various pills, supplements, drops, etc.

What worked for my friends for a short time never seemed to last more than a few months. Initially, I'd see all the excitement about their new found success, the groups they created to sell the products that seemed to have helped them, the posts they shared about others' success, and want to jump on board but something always held me back. Partly cost, partly fear over the crazy things in they put in those products, like the amount of caffeine, and partly because I felt that wasn't the right fit for me.

Weight-loss Envy

I think we all get a bit envious from time to time when someone hits the success we've been after for a long time. Be cautious of jumping on any new fads.

Cheer not fear:
Be their cheerleader; don't feel threatened by their success.

Feeling inferior on the exterior:
You are working hard and sweating it off so don't be put off by someones seemingly overnight success; use it to fuel your own success!  

Finding My Success 

Bobbi McCormick and her rocking {Shreds}!
Vemma Bod*e
Vemma Bod*e App (Apple and Android)
(who knew my body was so sensitive to all those extra carbs)
Chris and Heidi Powell 
Katie, over at Runs for Cookies, had a great post that resonated deeply with me. 

""Why are you dragging this out? Just do it and get it over with."

**Fuel your own success!**

Psalm 118:25
Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!