Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pictures Of Our Week

Dean bought 12 baby chicks, which we hope will grow up and lay lots of eggs.




Dean and Joseph went to BK for supper to celebrate Joseph's 7th birthday

Lia was bored yesterday. I dug through my "boredom drawer" and found a bag of pom pom's. She had fun sorting them by color.

Lia's Goodwill find. She has been begging for a horse but I couldn't bring myself to pay $20 for one. $2 was a much better deal. She named him Cookie.










Friday, January 30, 2015

Things You should Know If You Are Parenting A Child From Hard Places

Following are some things we learned while parenting children from hard place. Feel free you add your own idea's, I know I haven't even scraped the surface of trauma parenting advice.

-You must advocate for your child because no one else will. I know everyone tells you that and if you are like me, you get weary of hearing it but it is so important. Even if the professionals on your child's team think you are being ridiculous, insist on the tests and additional help you think your child needs. 

-You know your child better than anyone else, even if that someone else spends hours weekly with your child. He is still yours and you have known him much longer than teachers, therapists, psychiatrists, RTC directors.....

-Children with AD & RAD are excellent at manipulating those around them. Those who say they are able to see through your child's attempts to manipulate them and will never fall for it are most likely the very people that your child has the most "fun" with.

-If your therapist gives the child permission to go against parental rules, find another therapist

-Document everything, everything! Emails, letters, phone calls, doctor appointments, episodes of acting out everything and anything you can think of because like one mom said if your child has severe RAD it is not if but when CPS will investigate you and if you have proper documentation it is so helpful. Leave a paper trail. Print everything out and keep in a fireproof safe under lock n key.

-Keep in constant contact with your childs teachers. Have regular meetings with the school staff and document those meetings....get the signatures of all who attended.

-Take minutes for every meeting held in regard to your child and add these minutes to the stash in your safe.

-Be careful who you talk to and what you say. The general public does not understand RAD and cannot fathom that a child from a hard place would be so determined to destroy those who added him to their family. It doesn't make sense therefore it must not be true, is the general thinking

-Your childs brain/psych is so messed up, your healthy brain will never understand. Don't even try to follow their logic as there is nothing logical about their thinking.

-Become familiar with your state/county's laws and regulations. Take it upon yourself to learn what rights you as the foster/adoptive parent has because if you do not know your rights, CPS certainly won't tell you.

-Never attend a high profile meeting without an advocate. Someone who advocates for you and your family, someone who has your best interest in mind. Bradens advocate helped us so much, probably more than we will ever know. CPS will know that the advocate knows what is legal protocol and won't be as easily fooled.

-If the psychiatrist wants to medicate your child learn the side affects and if possible speak to other parents who have children on the same medication so you have a better idea if this medication is what your child needs. You are responsible for your child.

-Never leave your sick child alone with your healthy children. Even if you think it is only while I run to the bathroom what could happen in such a short time? Trauma only takes seconds to inflict and the results can be devastating to a family.

-Try to find one good thing about your child every day (I am still working on this one) it will help your morale.

-Do not leave your child with a babysitter who does not understand your child's illness. So much damage can be done, most of it unintentionally on your babysitters part.

-Take time for your healthy children. The saying, "The squeaky wheel gets the attention" is certainly true when your child has a serious mental illness. You are always thinking, "when I get thus and thus under control," I will spend time with the other children. If your child has RAD he will make certain there is always something needing to be dealt with and even if your child is unable to manage his behavior, it seems there is always something needing your immediate attention.

-Find a support group where you can vent and know the other members will understand why you have such an absurd sense of humor and laugh at things that wouldn't be funny if you didn't live in such a crazy place.

-Your child's illness and consequent behavior's do not define who you are

-God placed this child in your home for a reason or as my son's therapist told me," He is your refining fire, he brings out all of your impurities." A child with RAD has the ability to bring out all the junk hidden inside of you

-Pray without ceasing there are days when you will need to pray for strength to get through the next moment without falling to pieces.

-Honor the threat, if your child makes a comment, writes a note or in any way insinuates that he is about to do something drastic (you know what I mean) honor the threat and do everything possible to keep your child, family and others safe.

-Last of all, you are not crazy even if there are days you seriously wonder if you are losing your mind. 

This blog post was shared on:  http://www.rosilindjukic.com/2015/03/3-things-consider-before-hitting-publish.html

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I Wish We had Known

I wish I would have known that adoption was about brokenness, about fears, tears, grief and loss. I wish someone would have told us the children we bring into our home and yearn to parent won't view us as loving, instead, they viewed us as the "people who took me away from my mom and dad."

I wish we would have known that we would never, ever be able to meet their needs. They come from a place of hurt and pain that I cannot understand. I have never been hungry, crying for food but left to suck my fist in a vain attempt to fill the empty gnawing in my stomach. I don't know what it is like to cry in fear or pain and have no one come to offer comfort and security. I had a mom who loved, cared and nurtured me. A mom who was taught by generations before her how to love a care for a child. My children come from a line of broken homes, substance abuse and court documents, restraining orders, parole officers and incarcerations. I had no idea how to fix such hurts and generations of pain multiplied into the little people we brought into our home. We thought the love, food and safety we had to offer would heal all ills.

I wish we had known how much damage one person's emotional terrors could do to a whole family. How their inner pain could make you doubt your very presence in this world. 

I wish we would have known how woefully inadequate we were. We didn't have any experience helping children who self harmed. Love doesn't fix that. Love is a bandage at best and causes more harm at worst. I didn't know.

I wish someone had told us that it would take years and years of love, sacrificial giving, a pouring out of all ones mental and emotional resources and still falling far short of meeting even the basic needs of a hurting child.

I wish someone would have told us that it can take years and years of work to help the hurting child you brought into your home to gain even the most rudimentary level of trust and how one thoughtless action could bring the fragile walls of trust crumbling to the ground, leaving you weeping and despairing of ever gaining the trust of the little people entrusted to you.

I wish we had known how harmful alcohol can be. No one told us what to look for. I wish we had known years ago what our children were up against. We would have pushed so much harder to get them help.

I wish we had known just how devastating it can be to have a child reject you after you gave all you had and kept pouring into their lives until you were so bone dry yourself you were tempted to run away from it all and never come back.

I wish someone had told me that the very services and agencies who were supposed to have our backs may turn on you at a moments notice if they don't agree with your decisions even if the decision was made after many prayers and tears.

I wish we would have been better able to understand the meaning of the "Roller Coaster of Adoption and Foster Care." We watched others and thought we knew but how clueless we were.

I wish we had known how to protect our healthy children from the ones who were unhealthy. Would have known how much damage a hurting child can cause a family, how one child can erode the very foundation of family life.

I wish we would have researched trauma, attachment and bonding so we could have been therapeutic parents from the very beginning.

*coming soon: I am thankful we experienced these things because..

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FASD Link

Here is the link for an excellent article on behavioral management for the child with FASD. I will be printing this out for my son's teacher and taking it to our next meeting, maybe we can figure out a strategy to make things easier for everyone.


Joseph built this truck/tractor and wanted me to take a picture of it


This came in the mail the other day. 

...And this is Honey Bear. Dean helped the children build him then sprayed him with paint.

Tristan playing in the snow

Sunday, January 25, 2015

FASD Training

My goal for this blog was to enlighten the public about Reactive Attachment Disorder and the challenges parents face when parenting a child with this disorder. I think I need to rewrite my blog goals because I foresee myself writing a lot more about FASD than RAD in the coming months and years. I found this incredible FASD training on youtube and my eyes have been opened to the responsibilities that are before people who are raising children with FASD. I want to share a few highlights I got from listening to this training, it is almost 2 hours long and a good deal of it was statistics and facts about FASD and those who are affected by it.

- Parents will be frustrated when attempting to parent children with FASD and for good reason as it is a lot of work caring for a child with a disability as complex as FASD (These families often look a bit crazy to the outside world) So glad to finally have a valid excuse. :)

SUPPORT FOR THOSE PARENTING FASD CHILDREN
-primary diagnosis
-ongoing support for coping
-respite even when not asked for
-therapy for grief/loss work at many stages of development
-a case manager
-clarity of expectations for the child
-connection to other caregivers

-getting a diagnosis for a child we suspect has been prenatally exposed to alcohol is not optional

-we owe our children the privilege of having a diagnosis

-having FASD can be catastrophic without support

POSSIBLE PRIMARY DISABILITIES FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY FASD
-auditory memory impairments for verbal recall
-decreased verbal and nonverbal fluency
-information processing disorder
-learning impairments
-impaired visual/hearing
-impaired motor development
-behavioral impairments
-impulsivity

Primary disabilities are what come with the territory of of having been exposed to alcohol

POSSIBLE SECONDARY DISABILITIES
-mental health problems (could also be a primary disability)
-disrupted school experiences
-trouble with the law
-need for confinement
-abuse of alcohol and other substances
-having children they are unable to care for
-problems with employment
-homelessness 
-lack of consistent ability to meet their needs

The above list is why parents and children affected by FASD need a plan. Without an expectation of what is coming next developmentally and behaviorally, the family is left adrift. When a plan is made, we can work on creating the environment the child needs ahead of time thus being ahead of the game versus scrambling to catch up. A plan will also keep the child safe as children with FASD are at high risk for unsafe behavior/addictions and the like.

Ironically children with FASD have expressive language skills well beyond their age. On the surface it sounds like they have it all together so we often make the mistake of assuming that since the child is making logical sounding comments he understands what he is saying. This remains the single greatest challenge for those working with FASD.

-some children with behavior problems do not have the mental capacity to want to "shape up."

-parents must remember that the childs behavior isn't willful disobedience it is a result of a brain injury.

-children are "all about me and what I want in the moment" people with FASD stay in this place until well in their 40's

-children with FASD need a much more rigid and sheltered environment than their peers of the same age. Some children can manage getting on the bus and going to school, for others that is to much for them.

-we need to think, "What can I do to make it possible for my child to go through the school day with out getting into trouble."

-NEEDS OF AN FASD CHILD
-diagnosis
-assessment of strengths and limitations
-increased and ongoing supervision and structure
-living in a family that understands the disability
-advocates for at home and at school
-involvement of a care management team
-medication
-rehabilitation (speech/language, OT)
-ongoing Neuro/Psych evaluations
-Individual Education Plan
-Functional skill building
-behavior management focused on preventing negative behavior
-prevention of secondary disabilities

The training was directed to those parenting adolescents but I felt there was a lot of good information for those of us who are parenting younger children. It also opened my eyes to why Joseph faces some of the struggles he does and what our responsibility is as his parents. We have been advised to get Joseph into the mental health system now so when problems arise we are already in the system and don't have to wait months for help when we may be in crisis. I hesitated because of the bad experiences we had when we sought help for Braden. Also having CYS tell me I am just looking for problems in my children makes me second guess myself, what if others accuse us of the same thing and we are accused again?

here is the link to the training I was listening to


*I also want to clarify that I am not asking for help respite or otherwise, I simply related what was shared. 

Another example of FASD:
Joseph was in a funk again and after days of going in circles trying to figure out what was bugging him he told me he is afraid I will die and then no one will come to school and pick him up. He was obviously trying to imagine living at school. I said if I can't pick him up, someone else would be there. He quickly shot back, "What if you had an accident and no one knew you were dead?" I told him someone would look on my license and they could figure out who i was. I also showed him the letters ICE (in case of emergency) behind Deans name on my phone and explained that anyone who looked at my phone would know to call daddy. The look of relief he got was painful to see! I asked him why he didn't tell me earlier what was bothering him and you know what he said? "I didn't know what was wrong before." How frustrating it must be to feel upset about something but have no idea what that something is!

Daddy and Lia relaxing

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Snow

Yesterdays snow made the drive slippy again. The ice from a week ago had just melted off. We are back to parking the school van down near the road and using the golf cart to go up and down the drive.
Kiana cleared the walks


Hard at working shoveling a path through the yard.


I love when the snow covers the drab earth.

Our dogs




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Here Am I, Send Me!

God has been convicting me of my attitude concerning our children's special needs. I get so tired of the constant neediness, reteaching a concept over and over again, only to find the child has retained less than 5% of what I was drilling into him. Tired of trying to figure out what is causing negative behavior, if my children are telling the truth or creating another elaborate lie. Why is it that children with FASD can tell a complex lie but do not have the ability to tell me the truth? 
   Our Sunday School lesson was on Job and how he questioned God and became discouraged. Job couldn't see what was going on in the spirit world. At that time he didn't know God had told Satan, "Consider my servant Job...."  Would I stand or fall if I were in Job's position? Sunday evening we heard about Moses and how he had to go back to Pharaoh and tell him all the things that would befall him if he didn't let the Children of Israel go. Moses had left Egypt after killing a man and probably thought he would never go back but God called him out of the desert and told him to go to Pharaoh. Moses went. Am I willing to say, "Here am I, send me?" Am I willing to go where God send's? I know I have been fighting against this road God has called us to walk. Not that I don't love my children but sometimes I just wish the days weren't so hard. I spent Monday and Tuesday mulling over everything I had heard on Sunday.
  This morning for devotions I did a chapter in the book: I Can Do Hard Things, by Havilah Cunnington and the lesson was called: Get Off The Couch.... the couch of self pity where we sometimes find ourselves resting so comfortably. We sit there and despair, asking "Why me?" It's a place where the enemy wants us to believe God somehow actually gave us more than we could handle and instead of being a Father to us, we were left to depend on ourselves. The enemy likes to imply to us that God is not a good Father but rather a forgetful Father. Someone who likes to give us more than we can handle, only to watch and judge us for our lack of ability to follow through and do things well. It's a lie that we can easily buy into. The enemy likes us to stay in our pit. He will try to get us to buy into any lie he can to keep us bound, never victorious, and always feeling defeated. When we begin to expose the lie, we understand the Bible says it rains on the just and the unjust. We are not being punished but simply live in a fallen world.
  I wish I could copy the whole chapter here but since I can't here is the link to buy your own copy of Havilah's book. I am sure you won't be disappointed!
  All that to say, God has been working in my heart and as humans do, I had high ideals. I already failed miserably but with God's help I will try again tomorrow. The following song is a favorite of mine. I need to print it out and hang it on my fridge as a daily reminder to depend on His grace rather than my weak strength.

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed 'ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Fathers full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and they load will upbear.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure,
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again!





Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fun Days

Lia and I met my friend J and her son on Thursday and went to the Wyomissing Farmers Market. We enjoyed coffee n donuts there before heading over to the mall to do a little shopping. The morning was short but fun.

Lia and Caleb are both 3 years old. It was fun listening to them chatter away.


On Friday my sister and I went to September Farms for lunch. The girls (and the mom's) enjoyed all the yummy samples set out around the store. I told Dean it is good the store is near here as there were so many things I would like to buy.... flavored mustards, dip mixes, fresh baked goods, orange curd, caramel dip.. and you can't forget many different flavors of cheese. Lia and Alisha cleaned up the last two samples of chocolate marshmallow brownie's.

Bethany enjoying her french fries. 


Friday, January 16, 2015

FASD/Excema

Joseph has battled excema all his life. When he came to us he had patches on the top of his feet and would occasionally get small spots on his arms and legs. I tried to keep lotion on him so his skin didn't become to dry. The past 1.5 years have been awful. I have tried all kinds of creams, lotions and potions, well maybe not potions but anything I thought might be helpful. 2 weeks ago he broke out with a bad rash again. He scratched it till it was raw and oozing. I put creams on him three plus times a day. First aid cream, coconut oil, lotion a natural cream we bought and leftover steroid cream from a previous outbreak plus gave him allergy medication. In about three days his skin looked better than it has for a long time. 2 days ago he broke out again. Nothing has changed in his diet, I use the same laundry soaps. The only common denominator I could figure out was that he was "in a funk" again. That is the best way to describe his moods. He is irrational, unreasonable, angry, cannot follow simple commands, gets angry at everyone who crosses his path.... I have wondered before if it is possible his moods have something to do with his excema outbreaks as our bodies produce "stress hormones" when we are stressed out. Could it be he was allergic to stress? It sounded a little far fetched so I asked my FASD mom group and guess what? We were right on target! So glad to have an answer. But as usual, solving one problem means another just takes it's place. Joseph's brain doesn't work like a healthy brain and he comes up with the most absurd things to worry about. No amount of proof or talking will make him think differently once his mind is made up. For instance awhile ago he was worried the school would burn if he stretched. It took him days to be able to process his fear enough to even tell us about it. That was several months ago and he brought it up again the other day, he is still worried about it! Joseph has had a rough time of it for the past 3 days but I have no idea why. He can't or won't tell me and it is probably something like the school fear so there is no way I will be able to guess what is going on until he talks. In the meantime we hunker down, and try to defuse the tantrums, keep his world small, get him to bed in good time and talk, talk, talk.. oh, and put cream on his excema and continually remind him not to scratch. He says, "Ok mom" and the words have barely left his lips before he is scratching again. When I ask him what I just told him, he hasn't the faintest idea. When I become frustrated with his on again, off again ability to function I remind myself he is not doing this on purpose. When Braden was home he would do things on purpose just to keep up the wall around his heart. It hurts much worse when your child is acting out because he wants to hurt you so you don't become close than it does when the child is acting out because of his inability to function.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

FASD

FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) is hard, frustrating, preventable, it involves brain damage, rages, pain, regret, sorrow and even joy. A group of mom's shared what they find most difficult when parenting children with FASD. They gave me permission to share their responses on my blog.

- The broken heart of knowing what might have been and the pain of knowing what my child was robbed of
- The need to protect other family members from impulsiveness/bad choices
- Teachers, professionals, family etc who do not understand FASD. They haven't researched it and are unable to handle my child yet they judge my parenting
- Unpredictability
- No longer being able to be a part of society. We feel like we need to exclude ourselves from parties, events, gatherings, shopping etc. We were always a couple who did everything together now we have to take turns. Our child cannot handle social situations and we cannot leave him with a babysitter.
- Trying to figure out how to get him out on his own
- Outsider judgement
- Figuring out how to get him to make good choices and stay safe
- The ignorant outside world where our children are to live someday
- School
- Always having to be alert for tantrums and new fears that come out of nowhere.
- Persevering ...the fact that it is unknown to those around us and having to continue educating them
- Maintaining energy and patience
- The relentless arguing
- Regressions, not being able to trust him, not knowing if he is lying or telling the truth. Fear of the future, but mostly the battle between myself and family who think his diagnosis is just an excuse for his behavior
- The fact that everyone see's how good my child is doing and tells me to back off, not understanding the reason she is doing so well is because I am right here by her.
- The lack of sleep
- Watching my 2.5 year old surpass my 8 year old in abstract thought and comprehension of movies/reading, like being able to predict what will happen next
- The fact that in spite of all we know, this continues to happen over and over again...think of what you are doing to your child
- My children look normal and are expected to act "normal"
- The disconnect. The look of understanding when they haven't a clue what you just said.
- The need to eliminate expectations
- Always walking on eggshells because you just never know what to expect
- Letting go
- Attitudes
- Worry about the teen years
- Lack of support in the school system
- Not being able to make everything ok for my child
- Communication difficulties
- Daily regression, lack of self regulation
- Getting people to understand FASD is a brain injury
- Trying to discern what is brain injury and what is willful behavior
- Needing to constantly watch my child
- Feeling like a bad parent because others just see the behavior and judge

I hope to follow up with posts on how to support families who have children with FASD, how to enlighten the general public and tips to make life easier for both the child with FASD and their parents.

*thanks to each person who contributed, may God bless you with a peaceful day











-

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Picture Post

The braces are off.....


.....and the retainer is in!

Lia ate goldfish crackers while Tristan had his braces removed

This is the icy lane Lia and I walked up yesterday. It isn't any better today so the school van is parked at the bottom of the lane once more.



Sunday evening we took the children to the warehouse at PaulB. They rode bike, rip stick and rollerblades. The getting water from the cooler was the highlight of the evening. 








Monday, January 12, 2015

Icy Monday

We have been blessed with an icy Monday and it is my turn to drive the school van. Big van's were never intended to drive in snow and ice. This is the only time of year we dislike living on the "North Side of the Mountain" as we call the hill that we call home. 
   The children were cheering when they found out that school had a two hour delay. Tristan was sure they would cancel as our drive was so icy. He kept asking how we will get out the lane and I told him I wasn't worried, we can always slide down the hill. He was like, "But mom, the drive is covered in ice, all the way down to the road." I dismissed his report as he can be overly dramatic. I changed my tune when we slid from side to side and out onto the road. He gave me the grown up look he has recently acquired and said, "I told you it was icy!" Yes son, you did and I will take you more seriously next time.
   I parked the "raft" at the bottom of the drive and Lia and I walked up the lane. She thought it was a great adventure, mom wasn't quite as excited. My plan is to take the golf cart down to the van along with a few buckets of ashes to put behind the van tires so we can get out of the ditch and go get the school children
   No pictures today as the computer I usually use to post needs some repairs and I am not tech savvy enough to figure out how to get my pictures onto another computer.
    Stay safe!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Strawberry Jelly In January

Guess what Lia and I are doing today? Making strawberry jelly! Almost 2 years ago I put away lots of strawberries. I made a lot of jelly then pureed the remaining strawberries and put them in freezer containers. We finally used up the last container of jelly the other day. While looking through my freezer this morning I came across these pureed strawberries and suddenly Lia and I were making jelly!
Lia had fun stirring the jelly


Helping mom....


....it is even more fun to lick the spoons!

I made three portions because I had three boxes of Surjel in the freezer. I didn't get much for the mess I made but it was fun anyway.


The other evening Dean worked late. He wasn't home in time for supper which really upset the three little ones but I told them he would be home by bedtime. Well, he wasn't. Things didn't go as planned so they were fast asleep by the time daddy came home. I told Dean he has to give Kiana and Joseph a kiss, even if they are sleeping. The next morning both first graders were in lets just say, a bad mood. They were upset that daddy hadn't came home. I told them he had been home and gave them each a kiss before he went to bed. That made them smile but there were still tears so I called Dean and he talked to each of them. They went to school with smiles and I forgot about the whole thing until that evening. Joseph came home from school talking loudly, crying and yelling while Kiana picked a fight with anyone who crossed her path. I was at my wits end, nothing calmed them down. When Dean came home for supper Lia looked at him and said, "You came home?!" Turns out all three figured daddy wasn't coming home anymore! The poor children! I thought they trusted us further than that. We obviously have our work cut out for us. Sometimes I wonder if they will ever fully trust us to meet their needs.





Monday, January 5, 2015

Giveaway Winner

and the winner is:

CHARLENE WEILER!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Where Was My Faith

    Most years find me wandering aimlessly on January 2.  I love the Christmas Season so much I have to be careful I don't get lost in the secular celebration and neglect to honor and glorify my Savior who make's Christmas worth celebrating. I love baking cookies, wrapping presents and giving them, buying special treats, reading the Christmas story to my children and enjoying the lights. All the hurry and flurry energize me unlike the rest of the year when it bogs me down. 
   This year was different though, the weeks leading up to Christmas were spent sitting on the sofa with a feeling of doom and discouragement. The children sensed my mood and fought and bickered pretty much nonstop. Lia whined and cried and Tristan picked on his younger siblings until I seriously thought I was going nuts. I cried and tried to pray but my prayers seemed to go no higher than the ceiling. It was a time of discouragment and I became seriously concerned that I was going to sink into a deep depression. I could "see" the edge of the black hole of depression. Dean and I had the "Am I going crazy" discussion frequently. Each time he told me if I am so concerned that I am loosing my sanity, then I just might. :) After that admonition he would tell me to go to bed and sleep because I am overtired. 
   Christmas came and went. Braden came home and my fears that he would be a lovable little chap who bonds with us when we are finally feeling like we know where he will spend his future was felt scary. For so long things were in limbo concerning Braden and now that we have a plan, we feel more secure. (If Braden were to begin making progress again we would gladly rethink our plan) Neither did we want him to be in trauma mode the whole time. He was in neither place. He insisted on staying on the very edge of family life and no amount of bribing could draw him in. Braden stayed pretty calm all the while he was home but didn't allow us to break the walls of fear around his heart, enforcing that, yes we are making the right choices for him. We had a better Christmas than we could have hoped for. 
  On Saturday when I took Braden back to TAP I told Dean that I will probably be spending the next two days flat on my back. My muscles were aching and I had a tension head ache. Guess what? I felt fine and have felt fine ever since. There is joy in life again, the dread and fear of the unknown is gone. We came through that home visit just fine. Why? Because people prayed and went out of their way to let us know they cared. God heard those prayers and graciously answered them. Where was my faith? Why do I allow fear to get the best of me?
  God has never let me down before so why do I doubt when things get tough once more? I am doing a 20 day Bible study called: You Are Not Alone, You Were Made For Hard Things, By Havilah Cunnington. Yesterday she talked about the verses in James where it talks about pain and how it brings about mature faith. God didn't create our bodies to experience pain, in the beginning we were perfect, then sin entered the world and along with sin came pain and suffering. God uses that suffering to bring glory and honor to his name. If we draw close to God in our suffering he will draw nigh to us and increase our faith. I know that but still seem to think I have the right to fight and struggle when I encounter pain. After I wear myself out asking why and fighting against the fear and agony of pain, I can rest in God's love. I am anxious to continue the study and see what God brings about. 
   All this to say, Don't let fear reside in your heart, GOD IS FAITHFUL!

Our God is faithful but there are times when you are going through the dark of night and there appears to be no hope in sight. When going through such dark places you need God's people to pray for you. For protection from fear, for deliverance from the evil one and for the truth to prevail. Such is the place of a friend of mine. I feel so badly for her and her husband will you please join me in praying for them? here is the link to her latest blog post.





Thursday, January 1, 2015

Recipe's

Happy New Year! I should have something deep and moving to write about but my mind is blank so I will share some recipe's I tried this week.


Pecan Pie Squares
Crust:
2 sticks butter
          2/3 cup brown sugar
  2 2/3 cups flour
   1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping:
 4 ounces butter
      1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
            2 Tablespoons honey
        2 teaspoons vanilla
              2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350, line 9x13 pan with foil leaving 2 inches hanging over the sides
Cream butter and brown sugar add flour and salt and mix till crumbly
Press into foil lined pan and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown
in a heavy saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and honey. Bring to boil stirring all the while, boil 1 minute and remove from heat then add vanilla and pecans
pour filling over crust and bake 18-20 minutes
Cool bars completely and remove foil then cut into squares.

These bars are delicious with a cup of coffee. I couldn't leave them alone so I put them in the freezer.

Have leftover candy canes? Make a chocolate peppermint cake!

I made it the simple way using a chocolate cake mix and since I was in a hurry I used my regular vanilla icing recipe. Next time I will find a fluffy whipped cream frosting. Bake your cake in two round cake pans and layer the cake, frosting and crushed candy canes. Simple but good.

 A friend shared a simple cinnamon roll recipe. I tried it out yesterday. Friends from church got together last night and we were all to take a finger food. At 4:00 I got the crazy notion to make some cinnamon rolls to take along.

I also mixed up a Herbed Cheese Bread Ring for supper. I say my daughter is impulsive but there is a good chance I am just as bad as she is. :)  To make the cinnamon rolls, I used a donut mix I found at the local grocery store and added yeast and water. You let the dough rise for an hour and then to roll out and top with cinnamon and sugar and roll up like a jellyroll. So much faster than the recipe I used before.