>> Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who has time to blog with seven kids in the house?? We have two new foster kids. We've had them three weeks now. Personally, I like having the house full of kids but it does keep me hopping. But most importantly, THANK YOU LORD that He has restored my health so that I can serve Him better. I have been using the tools He has given me, such as whole natural foods among other things and it's working. In fact, in many ways I feel better than before I got started getting sick two years ago. They say 90% of your immune system lies within your gut and I know my gut was a mess. I also know it's not completely healed yet but it's definitely healing and I'm on the mend. What a glorious feeling!!



>> Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I guess the good thing about a blog is that I can complain all I want. I'm sure my family is tired of hearing me complain so I'll just write out my woes...

Everyday for EIGHT weeks now I've had a bad headache...some days a full-blown migraine...and almost constant nausea...very bad pain after eating almost anything. Oh, and let's not forget the anxiety. I am not equalized! BUT the good news is it's almost been 3 weeks of no caffeine, sugar of any kind, white flour and anything processed. I think the new diet is helping...let's put it this way...I'm not intending it to be a quick fix...I think it will help in the long run. But I've read that when healing through diet, it sometimes has to get worse before it gets better.

I am starting to see some things emerge though. For instance, after eating a piece of whole grain toast the other day I felt HORRIBLE. Ok, no more wheat for awhile and see how that goes, well, for that matter no gluten. Today I woke up with hives everywhere. I'm guessing it was the goat cheese omelette I had yesterday. So no more eggs for awhile. My body is talking to me in a whole new way. I've taken away everything that was "masking" what was really going on inside my body...caffeine, sugar, ibuprofen. Now that they've been removed my body is telling me the true story. We'll just keep eliminating all the culprits until my body feels equalized. I'm not interested in a quick fix anymore. I'm in this for the long haul.

On the flip side however I'm so thankful that this has FORCED me to come to a complete standstill. I've gone hardly anywhere over the past 8 weeks. And I have to say I'm enjoying it. I've spent most of my time in the kitchen with the kids chopping, slicing, dicing...trying new recipes. Or just laying around with them. I'm thankful for this new routine. God says, "all things work for good" and God is using my "illness" to bring me closer to my family. For that I'm truly thankful.


A New Symptom

>> Friday, August 24, 2007

A new symptom has set in and this time it's in the form of fear. Fear and anxiety is foreign to me...not something I've ever wrestled with before. It's gripping. Almost tortuous. Whether it comes from my brush with death this time last year and my current state of health has me scared of dying. Or my adrenal glands (the part of your body that helps us deal with stress) have gone awry and have my emotions out of whack...I don't know. Either way this is not normal for me. I've ventured out of the house a couple times this week and each time it has ended in either hyperventilation or dizziness, nausea and a gripping sense of fear. It feels almost like a sense of impending doom. It's hard to explain. But I know it's a sign that something is not right within me.

So what should I do? I could run back to all my doctors but I'll bet any amount of money they won't know what's wrong. They'll probably hand me a prescription for an antidepressant or the like. OR I could lift my eyes to the hills, from whence my help comes from. My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

When my thoughts turn to Him, it's amazing how peace washes over me, cleanses me. Immediately I feel some relief. I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord is my salvation. You can keep your antidepressants and your drugs...just give me Jesus. He is the best medicine.

However, I do believe that fear and depression are NOT something we should settle for. I believe they are God's way of signaling that something is NOT RIGHT within our bodies...they are symptoms just like a fever or pain. I am learning to pay better attention to my body. I am learning about the healing power of foods. And I am learning about the body's amazing ability to heal itself. If our bodies are out of balance then a whole host of things start going wrong. And as Americans (and I am very guilty of this!), we want quick relief. If something goes wrong we run to our doctors asking for the latest and greatest pill. What want relief and we want it now. There is a place for prescriptions in our society. I'm not denying that. But I want to take better care of my body than filling it with synthetic drugs. God gave us good foods...they are drugs too. And if we use them wisely they can heal even better.

I don't want to settle for being depressed. I don't want to just assume that this is part of the aging process. Something is NOT right within my body and I'm going to be responsible and allow it to heal and give it all the support I can in the meantime. I no longer want a quick fix. I'm in this for the long haul.

God keeps reminding me of the verse over and over again, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I don't see fear and anxiety, depression or even constant headaches anywhere within God's plan for my life. He is the giver of life. He is where my help comes from! He is my source of relief.


Season of Rest

>> Thursday, August 16, 2007

Initial testing for lupus was inconclusive. The tests were done while I was on prednisone so the results were most likely inaccurate. The doctor wants me to see a rheumatologist and I'm still waiting for my appointment. I broke out with strange little blisters all over my legs yesterday so that has me a little freaked out. And I'm still dealing with severe headaches off an on throughout the day. But each day is getting a little better. I'm still hanging on to hope that this is a strange reaction to the migraine medication I was on. The medicine is known to cause metabolic acidosis:

"Metabolic acidosis is a state in which the blood pH is low (less than 7.35) due to increased production of H+ by the body or the inability of the body to form bicarbonate (HCO3-) in the kidney. Symptoms may include chest pain, palpitations, headache, altered mental status, decreased visual acuity, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, altered appetite (either loss of or increased) and weight loss (longer term), muscle weakness and bone pains. Those in metabolic acidosis may exhibit deep, rapid breathing called Kussmaul respirations which is classically associated with diabetic ketoacidosis. Rapid deep breaths increase the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled, thus lowering the serum carbon dioxide levels, resulting in a compensatory respiratory alkalosis."

It's possible I didn't have pleurisy afterall but rather this rare side affect of this horrible drug. I'll tell you one thing...I've had so many reactions to drugs over the past year that I am VERY reluctant to put anything in my body that isn't natural. I'm also sick of going to doctors only to have them push one more prescription in my hands which only causes more problems and solves nothing. I am about to make some major changes in my life that will hopefully yield better results. In fact, I've decided over the next six months I'm taking time off all major commitments to commit to getting my immune system back on track. This is going to be my "season of rest". No fostering, no working, no commitments for the next 6 months. Only time dedicated to eating right, exercising, and well...resting. I'm excited to see how it goes. I just know my body hasn't fully healed from last year's trauma so I know this is what I have to do. I'm anticipating good things to come out of it.


Now What??

>> Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What is a day in the Ginn house without some sort of crisis?? The crisis this week is that I ended up in the ER last weekend for what seems like the 100th time in the last year. Surprised? But this time for a very new and unusual symptom. Last week I was thinking that I was having a bad reaction to my migraine medication and blogged about it. I had some very weird symptoms but also a horrible, horrible headache for over 5 days. The doc put me on a round of steroids to break up the headache due to "inflammation" in the brain. By day 6 my heart was racing, my chest hurt and I was short of breath. I thought for sure it was the effect of the steroids but I called the doc and he said to go to the ER right away. They did an EKG, blood work, etc. and to my surprise diagnosed me with...pleurisy. WHAT??? Where in the world did that come from? Pleurisy is an "inflammation" in the lining of the lungs. How did my lungs decide to get involved? Now, I've had a LOT of strange and unusual symptoms over the last 2 years but now we're starting to move into a whole other system of the body. What is going on???

Needless to say, I couldn't come home fast enough to start researching pleurisy (that is, of course after the pain killers wore off!). If it is not the result of infection (which it isn't in my case) then a lot of times it is the result of an autoimmune disease such as lupus. LUPUS??? Now, I've been to the Mayo Clinic and I've been to many specialists in town but this is the first time lupus came up. It has never been considered before. But in light of recent symptoms it makes me suspicious. But what's most interesting is that within ONE WEEK I've had TWO different inflammatory problems within TWO different parts of my body...brain and lungs. Maybe God is giving me another piece to a bigger puzzle than I originally pictured.

So how fast do you think I picked up the phone to call my neurologist on Monday morning? He agreed that it is indeed very suspicious of lupus and ordered blood work immediately. I don't think getting a diagnosis is as easy as a blood test. I think it involves many different tests/ specialists but the ball is rolling now. And finally the ball is rolling in a different direction. I should hear the preliminary results on Wednesday.

I'm certainly not anxious for a diagnosis of lupus by any means!! Frankly, I'm terrified of that diagnosis. But I am anxious for some closure. I would like a definitive answer as to what is going on in my body. After my trip to the Mayo last year I've never been 100% satisfied with their conclusions..everything didn't fit. And I've always kind of been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'd really like to get on with life, you know? Maybe God is ready to reveal more information. Or maybe not. One thing is for certain...God is enough no matter what. His grace is sufficient for me. I need His grace more than I need to know test results. More than I need pain relief. More than I need answers. And if He chooses to reveal lupus to me then I trust Him to give me the courage and the strength to face the journey ahead.


Funny Faux Pax

>> Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I've been waiting several weeks now for a call back from our lawyer. Tonight at dinner Claire said,

"We had a couple calls from Keller & Keller."

I thought, hmmm, they're not the law firm I called but who knows maybe that's the name that would come up on caller id. So I said, "Are you sure it was Keller & Keller?"

"Yes, Keller & Keller, well something like that."

So I started flipping back through the caller id looking for anything similar.

"Claire, was it unknown caller?"

"Nope, definitely Keller & Keller."

Still flipping I finally come across "cellular call". Claire looks at it and says, "See I told you so, (pronouncing the "c" like a "k") kellular & kellular."


Cleansed from Within

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2007

This verse came to me as I was driving to the zoo with my kids today.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalms 139:23,24

The last 3-4 weeks have been miserable. I started a new migraine medication a month ago that sent me spiraling downhill very fast. Almost from the minute I took the first pill I haven't been myself. I've been crying and depressed. My thoughts have been all over the place...uncontrollable, anxious, and offensive. Search me, O God. I've been doubting myself, my faith, and my abilities to do anything. I've been fatigued and barely able to get out of bed. UGH! What has this drug done to me? But what amazes me more is how quickly my mind and spirit can be persuaded. I'm sure the enemy loves opportunities like this to sneak in his little lies. But I'm reminded of another verse....

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

Psalm 1:4

How is it we can be so confident one day and blow away like chaff the next? Scary. It reminds me so more of how much I need Him. I fall so short of the glory of God. But what amazes me the very most is how our loving God continually, time and time again forgives us for "blowing away" and takes us back. It's the purest definition of grace. Sing it with me...

Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all my sin.

This song came on our radio today. I couldn't help but smile when I heard it. I'm starting to wean myself off my migraine medicine now and I feel hopeful again. My body is being "cleansed" within of this toxin, just like God cleanses of our sin. God's grace gives us hope for the future because He loves us no matter what. Thank goodness for that!!


No Donkeys

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ok, so no donkeys for us. Someone beat us to an offer on the house we wanted. It wasn't meant to be. So we decided to stay in the house we're in for a little while longer. At least until we find another house that's comparable to the house we're in which could take awhile. But we're ok with that. Our house does accomodate us very nicely. We'll get the elevator fixed and count our many blessings.

Speaking of blessings, we've had a two-year-old foster child that has been with us for a year that is leaving us this weekend. We've had many, many ups and downs with him. It will be bittersweet to see him go but we're ready. It's hard to put into words when a foster child leaves. You really can't understand it unless you've been through it yourself. Once you find out that a child is leaving you start disengaging yourself. You start preparing yourself mentally. You really have no choice. When they're in your care you see them as yours, you would do anything for them as if they're your own. But then you have to start loosening your grip on them, one finger at a time, regardless whether you like where they're going or not. Because you have no control anyway. All you can do is know that you did your best, pat yourself on the back and move on to the next child. That's all you do do. That and pray. Pray like mad for the rest of their lives. And sometimes that's my only hope that what I'm doing is worth it. I may be the ONLY one praying for them in the whole world. And if I hadn't fostered them, then I wouldn't have known they existed and therefore wouldn't have known to pray for them.

We're already praying for the next child to come along. And really, that's the best coping mechanism a foster parent has...looking forward to the next one. It's like Christmas really. The anticipation of what the next one is going to be like. Each one is like a gift. A precious gift waiting to be opened. I can't wait.


Plans to Prosper

>> Thursday, July 26, 2007

We've started the whole house hunting process. And it is a process. Moving out clutter. Freshening up the house. Driving by prospects. Lots of phone calls to banks and realtors. It is a stressful process but kind of a fun one too. It's an adventure and I love an adventure.

Currently we live in a handicapped accessible house complete with an elevator. When this house found us it was a Godsend. It met all our needs and more. My husband was in a wheelchair for three years so the elevator was used to it's full potential. My husband is ambulatory now and doesn't need to use the elevator. In fact, the elevator is broken and breaks often! We haven't felt the need to spend the money to get it fixed...however, the stairs are getting more and more difficult for him to climb. Now, even if we do get the elevator fixed and he uses it again we will continue to have to pay to keep it maintained which is expensive. And even if we pay to keep it maintained, it's loud and wakes up the babies. So what do we do?

Our current plan is to find a ranch home. No stairs, no elevators to contend with. Not only did we find what we wanted last weekend but we found a handicapped accessible ranch!! It even has an acre and a half of land with a barn and two donkeys! What more could we want?? We were smitten and told our realtor to make an offer right away. He said he wanted to check a few things out first and make a few phone calls. We didn't know why he didn't make a phone call right then and there before we left the house but we trusted him. To make a long story short, when the owners didn't hear back from us right away they accepted another offer. We were crushed! We lost the house...and the donkeys.

When I woke up the other morning I was pondering the whole house hunting thing and God brought this verse to mind. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." How exciting! A prosperous future in our new home....or maybe God would have us stay in this home. Either way, God promises hope. The adventure continues. Now I can't wait to see what the ending will be.


Hubba, Hubba

>> Tuesday, July 17, 2007

While walking down the street with Claire the other day we saw a cool car go by and this was our conversation:

Claire: Mom, look at that cool car. Hubba, hubba.
Me: Claire "hubba, hubba" is not the best thing to say. Some people use that expression when they see a pretty woman.
Claire: Then you're a hubba, hubba.
Me: (laughing uncontrollably as I try to explain the definition of deragatory)


Hard Way

>> Monday, July 16, 2007

Tonight was Special Olympics again. Before we left, Claire decided to argue with me about wearing shoes. Now, I'm not the smartest woman around but I think I'm smart enough to know that shoes are a requirement for riding horses. She wanted to convince me otherwise. She KNOWS she saw other kids wearing flip-flops. She would have sworn by it. I knew better but didn't have the energy to argue with her so I made a split decision to say ok and let her find out the hard way. She found out the hard way alright but maybe it was a little too hard. I told the instructor that Claire needed to hear it from her what the proper attire was and then the instructor informed her she couldn't ride today wearing flip-flops. Claire was crushed to say the least!! The look on her face made my heart sink. I had to fight back the tears myself. Maybe this wasn't the time to teach her a lesson. Maybe I was a little too hard. Maybe I should have put another pair of shoes in the car. And I certainly didn't look good in front of the other moms. Oh well. It didn't help that Claire kept repeating, "I'm so mad at myself." Well, one thing is for sure. Claire will not argue about wearing shoes when riding horses again (at least until next time)!!


New Normal

>> Friday, July 13, 2007

I've spent the last week in the hospital with our soon to be son, Nate. He has a rare neurological disorder called schizencephaly and his brain isn't allowing him to swallow correctly. As a result, he's aspirating into his lungs. Since it's no longer safe for him to eat he needs a feeding tube which delivers food directly into his stomach. Today was our first day home and we spent the day trying to get used to feeding Nate through his tube. It's amazing how much you take simple things for granted...like swallowing and feeding your child. I wish you could have seen me spilling formula all over the place when trying to prime the tubing. And then Nate's tube popped out spilling even more fluid. Of course, this is also the exact moment my toddlers decided to act up and the dog tried to escape out the door. It all feels very overwhelming right now but I'm sure we'll get the hang of this soon and this will become our new normal.


Special Olympics

>> Monday, July 2, 2007

Yesterday was a big day in our family. Our 11-year-old daughter started Special Olympics. She's going to be competing in equestrian for now and will try other sports next season. She had her clothes laid out since last week...she's so excited!! The more I'm learning about Special Olympics, the more I'm really impressed. What a vision! Our daughter has a mild to moderate mental handicap and seems to be on the part of the spectrum where kids fall through the cracks. We've always known this as we've tried to advocate for her through the school system. There has never been a good program to plug her into at school. There are programs for kids who have mild learning disabilities and there are isolated classrooms for kids with more profound handicaps. But Claire doesn't fit into any of these catagories. Fortunately, our school system has been very cooperative and has found ways to meet her needs. But something new occurred to me when we were at our church camp a couple weeks ago. Claire was on the fringes the whole time. She couldn't keep up with the bigger kids and the little kids didn't want to have much to do with her either. I can understand...Claire can be intrusive and lack boundaries. This may, however, been the first time Claire noticed it. She went up to the top of her bunk and refused to come down. She had a sad look on her face the whole week. It broke my heart. I came right home and looked up Special Olympics. What a great opportunity for kids like Claire!! A place where she doesn't have to try so hard to fit in. She can be who she is AND learn something fun at the same time. Her first competition is in September and I can't wait for all of us to be on the fringes...cheering her on.


Corner of the World

>> Thursday, June 28, 2007

This is a strange question but have you ever felt like a Google Earth map? You know, how it starts in outer space somewhere and zooms in closer and closer and closer until the details of your destination are so close you can almost touch it? Sometimes, I'll be sitting somewhere, like on my back porch and all the sudden it will hit me, how did I land here? On this exact coordinate, at this exact moment? Of all the zillions of places on the earth, and all the zillions of people I landed here...on this corner of the world. Somewhere out there is a boy herding sheep in Ireland in his corner of the world. Somewhere else is a girl in Iraq shielding her ears from gunfire and that's her unfortunate corner of the world. Yet in another corner is a woman walking down her own corner street to get fresh fruit. But how did my corner become XYZ Street, USA? Choice? Somewhat. Destiny? Maybe. Purpose? Absolutely.

Over the last year, I've been thinking a lot about purpose. Most people define their purpose in life by what they do. For most men, this is obvious...they are where they work. For most women their purpose is wrapped up in their families. For some their purpose is to grab all they can out of life and buy as many toys as possible. I'm sure many others are muddling through without any sense of purpose at all. I guess I thought I knew what my purpose was this time last year. Wife. Homeschooling Mom. Graphic Designer. Foster Mother. I wore many hats, had many roles and thought I had life figured out. Until I got sick. When I found myself in bed day in and day out unable to wear any of my "hats" I started doubting my purpose. I wasn't much of a mom in bed, I certainly wasn't getting any homeschool done. I lost several graphic design clients because I couldn't get their work done and a couple of our foster kids had to be moved on. I felt like God had stripped me of everything I "was". What's worse? I think the house somewhat ran better without me. I would have liked to think the whole world would have stopped when I did, but that wasn't the case. Instead the world kept right on ticking as if I wasn't even there. If life keeps going with me and all that I "do" then why am I even here in the first place? What is my purpose?

Lately, we've been fostering some very sick babies...one right after the other. The most recent one is going to stay. We're fortunate enough to adopt him. He has a rare birth defect causing severe neurological damage. He's blind and has pituitary problems. We're told he may never learn to walk or talk. He will have feeding issues and will never lead a so-called normal life. So what is his purpose? I've struggled with this question almost more than my own sense of purpose. I know this can't be a senseless act of God. But when then? The answer I've come up with so far is...joy. He brings joy to everyone in our family. When he hears my voice his face lights up making me weep for joy. Once I watched him laugh so hard at a funny sound that I actually cried tears of joy. I see him sleeping peacefully, and a smile of joy comes across my face. He brings joy to us, and we bring joy to him...that's his purpose. In fact, we named him Nathan meaning "gift of God". He came to us Christmas weekend and he has brought us the gift of joy.

Job was stripped of everything he had in a much more dramatic way than I ever was. But I feel God's message was the same, "Am I enough for you? Even if I take away everything you *think* your purpose is...your spouse, your livelihood, your children, your things...will I still be enough?" Why does God even care? He can have anything He wants in this whole world!! Anything. So why does He bother with little old me on this very teeny tiny, miniscule corner of the world? Because I bring Him joy. Just like our son brings us intense joy, I bring God joy. Wow. He is like the ultimate Google Map zooming in closer and closer and closer to my heart. My heart. Because I bring him joy. So wherever our corner of the world is...God sees us and we bring him joy no matter what our circumstances. No matter who we are. We don't have to perform our motherly duties to achieve purpose. We don't have to work 60 hours a week or own many toys. We don't have to "do" anything. My little corner of the world is enough for Him and He is enough for me! Pretty cool.

Oh, and coincidentally, *my* middle name is Joy.


Ream of Paper

>> Tuesday, June 26, 2007

When I saw the mail truck stop in front of our house today, I got all excited. It's not often we receive packages of any kind, much less certified mail. But when I read the return address my heart sank. It was from our lawyer. She had promised to send my file in case I wanted to pursue my lawsuit with another lawyer. I set the 4" thick package down on the kitchen table where it still sits. I can't bring myself to open it. I may never open it. I don't want to see my whole horrible experience reduced to a ream of 8.5 x 11 paper.

I realize this journey is my own. I can't expect a doctor, a lawyer or even a loved one to walk in my shoes and feel what I feel. But it sure is hard to see my journey reduced to a ream of paper. Stark white paper at that. Couldn't it at least have been colored paper? And am I somehow supposed to gain closure by seeing my journey compiled in such a nice, neat little package? There was nothing neat and tidy about what I went through. I spent months being sick. I counted 6 weeks just in the hospital alone by the time it was all added up. And even after it was all said and done I went through a horrible depression. So much more went through my mind than went through my body. So you can't quantify my experience in days, weeks, or even months. And you certainly can't boil my experience down to ream of paper. The scar from my belly has long since healed, but the scar that remains in my heart is still healing.



>> Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Forgiveness. It can be a heart-wrenching, agonizing, tortuous thing to wrestle with.

Forgiveness. A couple months ago we were fostering a baby girl that was very sickly. I nursed this baby girl for weeks. Three of those weeks were spent in the hospital holding her, kissing on her, nurturing her, loving her. We sacrificed our time and our money to be by her side, and she wasn't even our child. There was an adoptive couple who was going to adopt her but when they found out the reality of her situation they backed out. It's probably a good thing. We were determined we were not going to abandon her though and decided to adopt her ourselves. We even went to court and the judge granted us permission to adopt her. But before taking her home from the hospital, the caseworker came in and informed us that they had decided to place her in another foster home. What??!! There was little rhyme or reason why they decided to do this. How could they undermine a judge??? How could they rip this child from my arms after what I had been through with her. It didn't make sense and I was angry! I came home from the hospital with empty arms and cried for days. How could I forgive the people who took her from me? How could I accept the injustice?

Forgiveness. Today I find myself wrestling with forgiveness for very different reasons. I thought I had made peace with it but after one single phone call all those feelings have been drudged up all over again. You see, one year ago I had pancreatitis and needed a feeding tube, but the feeding tube was misplaced. I needed emergency surgery and spent weeks in the hospital. The depth of my anger toward the doctors who not only misplaced my tube but also treated me so poorly, doesn't even begin to describe my tumultuous feelings. But to make matters worse the docs lied about misplacing the tube and blamed it on me, saying I must have messed with it. If it's one thing I don't like...it's when someone attacks my character! In the end, we decided to file a lawsuit. We had obtained an xray taken immediately after my tube was placed which was b/w evidence that they had placed it wrong. I had been told by numerous people that it was an open and shut case. However, the lawyer called yesterday to inform me that she doesn't want to proceed with the case. She feels the money we'll get in the end will not justify her expenses. I can totally see her side of things and don't blame her but to me it's not about the money, it's about the principle. These docs need to be held accountable!!! So now I have a choice...I can find another lawyer and insist on being heard...or I can find forgiveness in my heart with no earthly reward.

Forgiveness. But I hate injustice!! I hate that a caseworker undermined a judge and jeopardized an innocent baby's life. If it's one thing I've learned it's that the foster care system is FULL of injustice. I also hate that a doc violated my body, lied about his actions and I'm left with nothing more than a ugly old scar in my belly and a bruised ego. I know God hates injustice too so forgiveness doesn't make sense to me.

Forgiveness. I know God is calling me to it. I know in my head I will find peace once I embrace it. But right this minute I can't wrap my heart around it. I want the truth to be known. I want to tell it like it is. I want to be heard. I want justice. I want accountability. I want all those earthly things that my flesh demands. But I also know that I serve a King who has upside-down standards. In His kingdom the first shall be last and the last shall be first. When we are weak, we are strong. His grace is sufficient for me.

Forgiveness. I'm not there yet. I have a lot of forgiving to do. But as of right now...I'm still wrestling with it.



>> Monday, February 12, 2007

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Makers Diet by Jordan Rubin
Real Food by Nina Planck
Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch
The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid

Cooking with all things Trader Joe's by Gunn and Miniati
Whole Foods Cookbook by Steve Petusevsky
Simply in Season Children's Cookbook by Julie Kauffman
More with Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron
Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Vann

Real Milk
Weston A Price
Sue Gregg
Wholesome Baby Food
Eat Wild
Women to Women
Something Better Natural Foods

Yahoo Groups
Blenderized Diet: online support group for kids (and adults) who have g-tubes and want to eat whole foods.
Discussing NT: online support group for people who are following the suggestions of Nourishing Traditions.


My Soul is Singing

>> Thursday, January 25, 2007

Then sings my soul,
My Savior God to thee,
How great Thou art,
How great Thou art,
Then sings my soul,
My Savior God to thee,
How great Thou art,
How great Thou art.

Who can ever get tired of those words?


Calm Assertive

>> Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My newest obsession is watching "The Dog Whisperer". Obsessed with a capital "O". When I first started watching it I heard the dog psychologist, Cesar, talk a lot about "energy". It rubbed me the wrong way because it sounded almost "new age" to me. But the more I watched...and I've watched a lot by now...the more I understood his principles. When you are tense and frustrated your dog will sense your frustration and become frustrated himself. A lot of bad dog behaviors stem from this bad energy. In the dog world, dog's don't use verbal communication, they use instinct. They sense each other's energy and draw from it. When their pack leader is fearful or frustraed the whole pack is unstable. But when the pack leader is calm and assertive the pack becomes balanced.

Ok, so call me crazy...and maybe I've been watching The Dog Whisperer too much...but it seems to me this principle can be applied to all areas of life. At work today an issue came up that someone became very passionate about. This person became so passionate in fact and outspoken about it that it started rubbing some other people the wrong way and turned them off to her ideas. Her very same point could have been made a lot more effectively if she had remained calm and assertive instead of frustrated with heightened energy.

It seems this could also be true in parenting as well. I've noticed that when I approach my kids with a calm, assertive energy I get a better response from them. They feel more respected and understood, more balanced. But when I approach them with anger, frustration or confusion, I generate more frustration and anger.

I am a very passionate person myself. Very high energy. I think I'd like to make it my mission to channel my energy differently. There's nothing wrong with being passionate. But when passion reaches an elevated level to the point that it diminishes the effectiveness of the communication then it ceases to be passion.

Calm Assertive...that's my new mantre.
And by the way, Cesar's philosophy is working wonders on our new dog, Owen, too.


Fitting In (or not)

>> Monday, January 22, 2007

As you can tell by my "About Me" section, I am a foster mom. A very fulfilled foster mom. I love what I do!! It's definitely not for everyone, it takes a different mindset. I'm not even sure how I got this mindset. I can't explain what it is I love about it, it's just part of who I am. I've had 28 kids within the past 3 years. Whew! I'm tired but can't imagine giving it up. I can imagine a nice long nap but I dread the day I have to say goodbye to my last child. Maybe you can even dare say I'm addicted to it. I guess its my proverbial "calling" in life.

I am most comfortable when talking to other foster parents (well, good ones that is). The issues of foster parenting are like no others...even different than that of adopting. It is not uncommon for us to talk about going from a family of 4 to a family of 6 in a matter of an hour or so. Shopping for clothes at midnight because the child only came with the clothes on their back. Coming up with names to call your child because you either don't know how to pronounce their name or don't know it at all. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS where to find a good buy on a bigger vehicle!!
These topics don't normally come up in your average everyday conversation. And yet these words come as natural to me as white on rice. But I forget that this is uncommon conversation. I slip and start talking freely about crack cocaine as if I was talking about McDonald's french fries. I mention that we don't know what race the child is or how they stayed awake all night after a visit with their mama. I think it might turn people off when all they want to talk about is their plans for spring break.

I just got back home tonight from picking my daughter up from ballet. She takes classes at a very well respected dance studio near the downtown area. Most of the people who attend this academy have a very different lifestyle than we do! We had our new baby with us tonight. Well actually we had all 6 kids with us tonight. I feel the shaking of their heads when I turn my back. I feel the wagging of their tongues when I walk down the hall. I know my family is different. They tease me and I know there's truth behind their words. I know our lifestyle is not one they would choose. That's ok. I wouldn't live my life any other way. But part of my mind flashes back to high school where the cool kids are standing by their lockers and looking me up one side and down the other, sizing me up. I never sized up well. I never really fit in with the cool kids. I REALLY wouldn't fit in now...not even with the nerdy kids. I live in a whole different world now. There's a part of my soul that still wants to be accepted. I still want to fit in. There's a price to pay when you follow your calling I guess. It's refreshing to know there are some people out there who are wacky enough to know and understand my mind set. They are few and far between and I praise God for their support. But wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where we could follow our calling AND fit in???


Good Grief

>> Saturday, January 20, 2007

A close friend pointed out to me recently that I say, "good grief" a lot. She commented that it's refreshing considering that most people take the Lord's name in vain or something else derogatory. I didn't even realize I said this until she pointed it out to me. And now, the more I think about it the more I really like this phrase..."Good Grief". It's kind of an oxymoron but if you think about it grief can be good too, right? One of my favorite sayings is, "it's not what happens to you it's how you react to it." We all grieve...some of us more than others. But not all of us grieve well. Some of us grow bitter, resentful, start pointing our fingers at other people. We want life to be comfortable but when things don't go our way we throw a temper tantrum and start striving for comfort again at whatever cost. God didn't promise that our lives would be comfortable. Actually, he guaranteed grief. And I believe He wants us to approach our grief, our pain, our everyday inconveniences with grace, selfless abandon, humility, most of all thankfulness.

I named this blog "Good Grief" because my life is full of grief. I hope to chronicle some of that grief here. But I also hope that as I encounter, wrestle, struggle with my own grief that I can come out in the end by saying, "Good Grief!"



I guess I screwed up my settings and set up some of my friends as authors. See? I told you I was new here. This whole process makes me feel so vulnerable and well...stupid. But I'll learn. It's kinda exciting to be a this kind of journey. I wonder where it will take me.


New Addiction

>> Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ok, I can definitely see how this might become addicting. In the middle of the night last night I was thinking of all the things I could potentially write about. Creativity is already flooding forward. I love that kind of inspiration! And I love that I have a new creative outlet. Besides, I process my thoughts best through writing so I can see how this might become very therapeutic for me at the end user's expense. Of course, that's the glory of this invention...I can write till my heart's content whether anyone reads it or not.


New Here

>> Monday, January 15, 2007

This is a test. I've never blogged before and frankly, I'm scared. My thoughts for all the world to see. But I'm doing this as an inspiration for my kids. I want to improve their writing skills and would like them to create a blog of their own. If they see me maintaining my own blog maybe they'll feel more motivated. This is going to be an interesting homeschooling experiment. We'll see how it goes.


About Me

>> Monday, January 1, 2007

Welcome to my blog! This blog is based on my personal experiences with grief and loss and how I've learned to live well through it. I am a single mom of 5 adopted children, most of whom have special needs. Among them, I have a daughter has a rare chromosome disorder resulting in a mental handicap. I also have a son with a rare neurological disorder called schizencephaly. He is unable to walk, talk and is legally blind.

Several years ago I myself became sick and bedridden with pancreatitis, amongst other things, and as a result needed a feeding tube. But if that wasn't bad enough, it was misplaced by doctors and I needed emergency surgery. It was a very long uphill battle to recover. My own illness was the catalyst for researching better ways to heal my body. Every time a traditional doctor touched me, I got sicker so eventually I started looking outside the medical community for answers.

In 2007, I radically change my diet and haven't been sick since. My body has not only healed, but I am full of energy and have a much better quality of life than I did before I got sick. I am more equipped to do the things I feel called to do.

And even though my son has a feeding tube I found ways to blenderize whole foods in place of the mainstreamed, highly processed, commercialized formulas. He has not had a single seizure since feeding him whole foods and he doesn't have digestive issues anymore.

I feel passionate about good, whole foods. Good food nourishes my body, but Jesus Christ nourishes my soul. He is the ultimate Healer, the great Physician. He is the One who delivered me from illness. He nourishes me better than good food. He gives me the strength and the wisdom to deal with all of life's many challenges. And more importantly, gives me hope for my eternal home which I so long for. Without Him I have nothing.

I'm glad you're here. Feel free to post any questions you might have.


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