Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Just tired.

In my frustration the past few months at the slowness of my work load,  I had begun to think that for some reason God was holding back.  I now believe that He was doing that because He knew I could not handle the work load I am used to & the issues that my kids are dealing with right now.

I guess He has a plan for our provision.

I am so tired this morning.  Five non-straight hours of sleep having me thinking I might go back to bed.  Pretty sure my brain will not allow sleep though.

I wish I could report that things have improved in some ways with Z.  They have not.  In fact they continue to grow worse & worse.  Over the weekend and last week, I have been feeling peace in spite of it all.  Last night things got pretty intense & I am searching for that peace again.

I will need to do some hard things today.  Not because I don't care, like he thinks.  But, because I do.  Someday he will understand, right?

Kiahna seems to be responding somewhat to the new mood stabilizer med we started over a week ago.  I do see some good things.  Our insurance finally kicked back in, and we are back on the ADHD meds, we will see what happens with the combo.

I continue to seek out some respite help with her.  She is so intense for a full day's care.  I would welcome someone who would be willing to spend  few hours a week/month with her, just to take the focus off of myself.  So, far I don't have that in place for the summer like I had hoped.

I do have some new leads for longer term respite care that I need to follow.  And some people set up to help with her during the wedding shower this weekend & my nephew's grad party the next weekend.

I enjoyed the weekend weather, did some more painting.  My kitchen stools this time.  And my doors, but I am not done with the doors yet, not sure about them.

I think I will try my bed & see if I can't doze off for a bit.

Please keep us in your prayers as we come to mind.

In His Grip,


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A mid week update & request for prayers.

I have been so blessed as I opened up and shared & feel the prayers.

Asking for help and receiving it.

Knowing when I have to change something or I will not survive.

Seeing the battlefield a little clearer.

Monday after school, I took my kids to our regular weekly chiropractor appointment.  J & K were awful.  Awful. Awful.  Running around the office.  Kicking.  Name calling.  My already stressed mind  could not believe that actions I was observing.  I felt hopeless.  Pointless.  Nothing I am trying to do is working.  Why am I even trying?

Came home, dished out punishment.  Met with more resistance.

Walked out.

Down the road.

Next time I decide to walk out, I must remember to change out of my flip flops, and lock up the dogs.


I had to get away and clear my head.  The self pity, doubt, anger, frustration, overwhelm,  they were all winning.

I thought about my 1000 Gifts commitment.

Only thing I could think of was that at least I didn't have the stomach bug that two of my sons had that day.

Anne would call my state of mind "the depths of despair" I believe.

Finally found the grace to turn back towards home.

Heard the arguing from outside.

Chose to just go sit on the swing.  Maybe they would see me out there and just come join me and stop their bickering.

No such thing.

They did come out, chasing Kiahna as she threatened to throw things at them.

I interceded.  Not a pretty picture.

As I held down my screaming daughter I wondered once again if this would be the time I call the police?  I wondered if I was the best person to handle her anymore.  I wondered why God was giving her life and allowing her behavior to be so horrid.  I wondered why this was my life.

She finally calmed.  No police were called.

I have taken to making some "phony" police calls and then "calling them back" to tell them not to come though.

Had a message on Tuesday from a Facebook friend who heard that a girl had run from a school in Decatur & that they were chasing her through the street.  So easily could be Kiahna.  I couldn't breathe.  Called the school and they quickly told me that it was not my child.  I was in tears.  Thankful and prayerful for the family who's child it was.

As Monday evening ended, I knew I needed help.  I was not okay.

I texted Shelly to see if she could take Kiahna for a few hours after school Tuesday.  I had a few errands to run with Lucas for his summer job & drivers permit & I really didn't need to drag her along, nor did I feel like Leah could deal with both of them at home for that period of time.

Shelly took her & blessed me beyond measure.

I had a returned call from my cousin Mary, who's dad died last week.  As we spoke (this was back on my running away walk Monday evening), I told her that my brain didn't even want to consider what it would be like to go through losing my dad.  She said "you don't have the grace for that right now, so you can't imagine it".

Then I had a call from Barb on Tuesday, we were chatting about Kiahna & the care she takes.  She mentioned that she feels in knots when she gets done caring for Kiahna (this is why I do a massage a month!! :)  She encouraged me that I was doing so well with life and how I kept going and how well I was doing.  I had to think of Mary's comment.  It's hard to imagine from the outside how I am ever doing what I am doing.  It's the grace.  Duh.  Of course it's the grace.

Just like I don't have the grace to even think about what it is like for my cousins and aunt to lose Hubert, it's the same grace that has given me the ability to do what I am with these kids for the past 23 years.

The thoughts begin to get clearer and the clouds begin to go away.

Tuesday, I go to Zumba class, I get a massage, my kids come home and I take K over to Shelly's on our way to town to run errands with Lucas.  Dad picks up Jadon for some fishing, Leah makes dinner.  I can breath.  My head comes up.  The grace rushes in.

I see how much our home is under attack.  I see that Z's repentance really brought us a big bulls eye.  And how much I was not prepared for that & was totally taken in.  I am thankful that I have the eyes to see it at this moment.  I am prayerful that now I can fight with my eyes open.

A little update on Z:  Things are hard.  He is very quiet here.  Keeping to himself (and then telling gpa that we aren't talking to him) .  Prayer points for Z right now this week.  Pray for the peace of God to come over his heart like he has never known & that Z would know that it's from God and it would be better than any high, buzz or hit he could ever imagine.  And that it would take the place of all of those things forever in his mind.

God must have quite the ministry planned for Z.

Z needs to be free of the lies.

Z needs the grace for the next step.

Z needs hope.  forgiveness.   freedom.

He is talking to my dad.  He says he is the only one he will talk to.  We are in desperate need of serious prayer warriors.

I don't know if I have mention this before, probably have, but Z is a lot like me.  He feels very deeply.  Analyzes things very strongly.  Is emotional and dramatic.  Take that for the good and the bad it is.  I can relate to him in many ways.

Please continue to pray with us.  For our protection.  Over our home.  For Z.  For K.  For J.  For me to not lose it under that wave of fear & despair again.

In His Grip,


Monday, May 19, 2014

Then things came crashing down...

Oh my.  I need to process last week.

I didn't see the war zone I was thrown into with Z's repentance until it was choking the breath out of me with it's anxiety, depression & overwhelm.

It's all a blur that I would like to bring some clarity to if I could.

Mother's day was good here with my family.

Z was doing well, talking, participating, engaging.

We had cake #1 for Lucas 16th birthday (that was yesterday)

As the week progressed, I had internet issues, my sweet uncle Hubert died & I attended viewing & funeral for him with the family, Kiahna was a handful & more without her ADHD meds, still waiting on insurance to process, Took Kiahna's hair out of the braids (what a mess of knots, since it was in way too long) and started re-doing the braids.  Could not find the desire, energy, motivation, creativity, (whatever you want to call it) to work on my photography.  I felt like the life was/is being sapped of me.  I felt depression, anxiety over the coming summer vacation and all that will be placed back on my shoulders with the kids home all day.  I was grouchy, tired, unmotivated & down.

There was alcohol on Z's breath at least once through the week.  He seemed to be progressing and working through things though.  Then Friday came.  He decided to go to someone's house he works with.  I really have no idea what that means.  He came home at a decent hour making some comments about being responsible and how shocked we all should be.  (sarcastic comments).  He went to bed early.

Then Saturday came,  he seemed good, worked around home in the morning.   Then I ran one of Lucas' friends home & when I got back Z was gone (probation broken, he can't drive unless he is going to work).  I called him, he had went to an old, best friend's house.  Seemed confident that he would be able to handle it all.  Didn't go the way he had planned.

I am not sure what time he returned home Saturday night/Sunday morning.  He got up for breakfast and I didn't say much.  Then when we left for church he wasn't getting ready.  I still didn't say much, I asked if he was okay and he said he was.  

In church, Kiahna got upset about some things not going like she wanted to, and she threw a big tantrum.  Restraining was required.  After having someone help me hold her down, and going into the bathroom with her.  I fell apart.  Took her into church after I got myself together, then she started up again.  James took her this time, and I fell apart again.  This was when I realized that Z had never showed up at church.  Once the first service ended, I drove home to check on Z.  He was home getting ready to leave for who knows where, in work clothing.  I told him he could not leave.  And that I would call the police if he did.  

He stayed home, until a few hours later when the same friend from the night before came and picked him up.  I spoke to him very briefly about what was going on, and I know that a ton of people were trying to get ahold of him.  

I am not sure I can put in to words what this all does to me.  First of all, I must say that I was afraid of this from the start.  This stirs so many feelings, memories, emotions, thoughts, fears, frustrations from  the time when Jim left us.  Yesterday, honestly as I sat here after coming back from church, I don't think I have felt the type of pain in my heart I was feeling since Jim left us.  Not that it was even justified, but it was just so familiar.

My scars from Jim's turning away from God and his family are very very real.  It's a hard place to pray with hope when you prayed for so long for Jim and have never seen any results.  I know that Z is not Jim.  Z is in a much better place than Jim ever was.  But, it's still very familiar.  I don't know if that makes sense?  I am hoping, hoping, hoping that God can use all this to bring some more healing to us all.  

To my own heart where there is obviously still a wound that can be broken open and hurting very quickly under the wrong circumstances. 

I was very low yesterday after Z left.  I have no idea what is going to happen next.  He came back late, and didn't say much.  Left for work early and didn't say much.  I heard from some of his friends who were around him over the weekend what had happened.  I am not sure I am understanding the severity of the pull of the alcohol on Z's life.   I am not sure if it's the alcohol or the friends actually.

Managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other and get my food ready for last night's las swing choir performance, where my sister was hosting the after party.

I cried a lot there too.

Leah & Lucas (junior & freshmen)

Leah, Koty, Colton & Lucas 

If all else fails, paint.  (my therapy of choice of late)  Did the walls Saturday.

In His Grip,


Monday, May 12, 2014

Grace for the next step

If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know that my second son, Z, has really struggled.  His choices have placed him in jail, probation & loss of license.  His "friends" were questionable at best.  His heart has been broken by his earthly father's absence over and over again.  His passion for life has been directed towards hurting.

Since his arrest last December, his heart and mind have been on a snail pace road to healing.  Much of the time he doesn't want me to see that he has progressed.  He sits around doing nothing, tolerates us most of the time, or gets upset with Jadon, if anything at all.  He has continued to go to his required probation meetings, and a Bible Study at my dad's with his peers from church.

Dad has been able to get through to Z in a way no one else has been able to.  My brother-in-law, Brent has had a profound influence on Z's heart also.  He has really good friends who have been coming along and supporting him.

He has been attending our church each week, since his arrest.  He seemed to be on a track to become more involved at church & made some comments (not to me of course) about becoming a member at some point.

At our church, membership, many times comes with a soul making a confession and a beginning with Christ.  Surrendering of a heart, committing to a walk with Him that is more public and more accountable.

I have watched Z try to do these things on his own before.  Watched him try to change his own life & heart without support of church/friends/family or making it a public declaration.  He has obviously not succeeded in the past.

For Z, I could see the huge benefits for having the support system that is in place in our church.  I knew that if he would surrender himself to that, he would be able to succeed in the desire of his heart to serve Jesus, and become the Christ follower he desires to be.

I have been praying, along with many others that Z would have the grace to take that step.

Last Thursday evening, he went to Bible study at his Grandpa's, like usual.  While he was there, dad sent me a text saying that Z had called our elder and set up a meeting for the next day.  I was pretty surprised.  And prayerful that he would actually go through with it the next day.

He did.  He went to work Friday and his friend met him after work and took him to the meeting (for accountability) and he walked through the beginning steps of repentance with our church elder.

At this point he still had not told me himself any of his plans.

When he came home late from work, I knew where he had been, and I assume he knew I knew, but it wasn't from him.  I questioned him, he distractedly told me, while sucking on a wad of chewing tobacco, where he had been and what he had done.  I was disappointed by his delivery of the news.  My mind was instantly attacked with fear & frustration.

This photo from Easter, when my sister french braided his hair it was so long.

I tried to joke with him about his hair & asking if he wanted me to cut it.  He didn't think he would be cutting his hair or shaving his little beard.  I was running up to ft Wayne and asked if he wanted any new clothes to wear to church, he didn't.  Yes, man looks at the outward appearance.  And so does mom.  It was hard for me to feel excited about this step at this point.  I felt hurt by his lack of communication I guess and afraid that he was going to blow it all off.

He went with some friends to their young singles group gathering Friday evening.  When he came back, he asked me if I would cut his hair.


I was a little nervous about it because it was so long, but I was glad that he wanted to cut it.


Then he shaved too.  

Then more than any of the physical things, he told me he wanted to ask for my forgiveness.  I told him that he had it.  He showed me a tiny corner of his heart.  Baby steps.

His weekend progressed with him making efforts where he hadn't been, being with the family.

As we all do, he has many steps to take, but this was a really big step for Z.  He needs the prayers of those around him knowing that he desires to change his heart & live for Jesus.  He needs the accountability.  He needs the friendships.  So thankful that he has opened himself up to these things.

God is teaching me to Trust Him through this.  I can see how much my prayers have been struggling because of a lack of faith that God would be able to break through.  The many years of praying with no progress have left me feeling very faint.  Thankful that God is bigger.

I can't truly wrap my head or heart around any of it.  It's all a miracle.  It's all grace undeserved.  It's all just mind blowing.


Wedding invitations when out last week!  Brookelyn turns 22 today!!  She is such a blessing to our lives.  

Kiahna continues to be Kiahna.  In some ways harder than she was, more impulsive as we do some medication changes.  Trying lots of natural, herbal things with her.  Not sure if anything is helping.

This lavender from Young Living has sure been doing the trick on her allergies though:

If anyone would like to order any & sign up under me, that would be wonderful!

Leah made my mother's day special by being Leah.  Helping, making breakfast for me, buying me some sweet gifts.  We hosted my family here on Sunday, so it wasn't a relaxing weekend, but it was very good.

In His Grip,


Monday, May 5, 2014

Blessed, Blessed Weekend.


There is so much to say about this past weekend.

It was a huge one.  One that had been on my mind for quite a while.  Not being sure how it was all going to play out.  God did amazing.  He deserves and gets all the glory.

First of all, HE provided some loving people to care for Kiahna all weekend.  Which removed a HUGE amount of stress from not only my life, but hers too.

This is from when I dropped her off.  She was happy to give me a smile, even though she was, for good reason a little nervous.

After I dropped her off, I went to school to help set up for the promenade.  

After prom & promenade were so cute, Candyland themed.  Amazing.  I had absolutely nothing to do with the planning, just showed up to string a few lights.  Jadon ended up staying inside helping decorate, because it was freezing outside at the track meet that was also going on that evening at the school.

We only stayed a little while at the track meet.  Lucas wasn't in it and My nephew Colton was done throwing, and it was freezing.  We went over to the Shacka-Shack for something warm to drink, Jadon and I & my dad came too.  Then went home for an early bedtime.  

Worried a little about Kiahna, hoping she would sleep okay in a strange house with people she didn't know very well.  

Woke early Saturday morning to a beautiful, windy day.  Went to take the wedding photos for Nate & Hannah, who were getting married the next day at my church.  We fought the challenges of bright sun & wind and ended up with some good photos...  

The style of the wedding was very vintage, with many antiques used in the decor.  I loved it all!  So much fun to be a part of such a blessed couple's big day.  I am so amazed by God.

After the wedding photos, I headed to get some gas in Bluffton, because I was almost out!  You know, the South side of Wells county could use a gas station!!  YIKES!!  Prayed and made it to the gas station (that happens to me way to often)

Took my second shooter, Rachel home.  Went home and re-organized my camera situation.  Left my better camera & lens home for my other shooter/helper/friend, Kelsi, to come over and use to take all the prom photos for me!  She did fabulous and I am so pleased!!

We waited around for Leah to get back from her hair appointment so we could at least see that before we left for graduation!  Amanda at Salon Vera Joley out did herself as usual!!  80 bobby pins!!

A few of the photos Kelsi took for me!

Leah went with her friend Clayton

Her tongue sticking out in this is my favorite!

Leah & her cousin Koty

I was so anxious to see some photos!  I texted my sister, Lana, asking for something to be sent to me...  She sent me this:


My parents, and my other three sons took off for Bethel College, in Mishawaka for James' Graduation.  Two and a half hour drive.  Thankful dad was driving.

It was so surreal to be there at Bethel.  As a single mom, to see your child defeat the odds, graduate from college.  Be engaged to an amazing girl.  It's just so much to take in.

James getting his diploma.

Love the smile.

Photos after the ceremony:

Alex & Kristen (engaged) and James & Brooke (engaged)  

James & I

My parents with James:

Brothers.  Zach could not let James get all the attention that day as you can see.

James & Brooke:  Brooke has her nursing degree!  She has a job in Mishawaka now, and they are planning to rent an apartment there.  James accepted a temporary job up there.

After stopping at three nice restaurants and finding them all to have an hour an a half waits, we ended up eating dinner at Golden Corral.  Not ideal, but we were all together at least.  

Then we headed home, got home after 11pm.  (good thing we didn't wait a long time at a restaurant).  James and Brooke went to her parents house, because they had a wedding shower at her church on Sunday.  (told you it was a crazy weekend)  I obviously didn't make it to that shower.

Sunday, I awoke with a lot of anxiety.  Had a bad dream about Kiahna and her behavior.  Prayed.  Asked others to pray.

Went to church.  After first service went over to begin wedding photos again for Nate & Hannah.  The reception was so pretty & so amazing!  Watch my Facebook & blog for those photos coming soon!!

After it was all over, I went to pick up Kiahna.  She was doing well.  I was glad to see her, and figured I would spend the last hour of the day before her bedtime snuggling with her.  It went as planned.  She was tired and asked to go to bed before 7:30.

Only God could have made this weekend all that it was.

To HIM be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

The hymn sung at the Bethel's Gradation was "To God Be the Glory, Great things He has Done."  I couldn't sing through my emotions.  It's all more than I deserve or can take in.

Beyond Blessed.

In His Grip,


Friday, May 2, 2014

Take a breath. Take a break.

I need a breath.

I need a break.

Sitting to write may bring some thoughts into place.

This weekend will mark the first weekend that I have had someone care for Kiahna for an entire weekend (outside of my parents) so that I can live life without her schedule.  And have a break.  It won't be much of a break.  But, it will (hopefully) be her being relaxed in a good, stable environment while I run around like a chicken with my head off.

This afternoon I am taking Kiahna to Corey & Shelly I.'s home for the weekend.  The plan is that she will stay there until Sunday afternoon.  Giving her the ability to be in one place rather than passed from sitter to sitter while I do things with/for the other kids and my business.

Please say a prayer for Kiahna and for Corey & Shelly and their family as they do this act of service for our family.

Meanwhile, I will be helping decorate for prom, going to to a track meet, photographing a wedding & attending my oldest son's graduation from college.

This week I have been pretty much caught up on all my photography duties.  Next week I will be over my head in them again.  (no complaints here!)

I enjoyed some time painting around my house.  It is something that is relaxing to me.  Relaxing that is until, while I was painting the rest of the house goes to seed and clutter and dirt seems to grow everywhere.  And no one seems to be capable of anything unless I yell about it.

Take another breath.

With James moving his things back home this weekend, Zach's things without a bedroom to call his own.  We are a home that looks like laundry carpets our flooring most days (at least in the basement)

I am not a perfectionist, but I do like things cleaned up.

So, in an effort to calm my nerves, I will clean.  Hoping that this weekend goes well.

I have been using some essential oils on Kiahna with great success.  Young Living Essential Oils, I'll try to write about that soon, but if anyone wants to buy some under me I can get you fixed up and earn more oils for my family!

I also have 2 painted chairs still for sale.

God is my provider.  He seems to be teaching me to wait upon Him.  I can get very frustrated.


In His Grip (praise the Lord)