Tag Archives: love

Pillow Presents

This is a photo of a pillow in my home office comfy chair. The Curious George pillow, lumpy and bumpy as it may be, is special to me. It was made (by my daughter) from a shirt that my youngest son had worn a lot. I didn’t want to get rid of it when he finally outgrew it. We felt like it was very fitting for him as he seemed so much like the famous little lmonkey character!

On this Mother’s Day Sunday I wanted to share an idea with those of you who have younger children (or even some older kids). They may require “help” in getting a present ready for next Mother’s Day (birthday or Christmas).

You can plan ahead over the course of the next few months or so and notice when your child outgrows a special shirt! You might suggest to him/her that you would like it and ask if they mind if you make it into a pillow and see their reaction.

Your child might be old enough and motivated to get in on the pillow project or even make it themself. If not, you could make it and let them give you the finished product.

For the how-tos just do a Google or Pinterest search for instructions.

Basically just trim the body into a square/rectangle shape (circles are trickier and would definitely require a pillow form) leaving enough fabric to form the sides and seams. Sew your seams inside out leaving enough open space to stuff with pillow stuffing or insert a pillow form to fit. Then turn right side out, stuff and stitch closed. And there you have it! Your keepsake pillow gift.

What do you think? Is this the type of keepsake that appeals to you? Do you think it might be meaningful to your child/children?

I do not tend to be very sentimental about things. There are just a handful. That’s probably a good thing with certain rabble rousing children. The idea of cherishing items from my children’s growing up years may not mean much to them right now. But hopefully in time it will be additional evidence that I love and cherish them.

Mother’s Day can be hard. It was hard today. But I was not surprised. I maintained my calm. Mostly. Lowering the pressure on ourselves and on the rest of the family to make Mother’s Day or any other holiday a picture perfect event can help.

My youngest daughter (whom I have had some extreme relational struggles with) had volunteered to make peach ice cream for Mother’s Day. I strategically waited until yesterday evening to take her to get the ingredients when it would be just me and her and not a regular grocery shopping trip. But the local grocery stores did not have fresh peaches yet and the produce stands were closed for the day. Yikes! But calm prevailed. I got up early and drove about 30 minutes away to “Peach Park” where I knew they would have fresh peaches. It was very much worth it in more ways than one! (Yum!)

Your child might be old enough and motivated to get in on the pillow project or even make it themself. If not, you could make it and let them give you the finished product. Helping them to participate in a way that says “we’re family” can dislodge another brick in the walls of resistance to relationship that may have been built as a result of trauma. There were some small (but huge!) Connections made today that could have been easily overshadowed if we had tried to pull off a larger event (that would likely have been an epic fail).

How about you? Do you have any helpful strategies for lowering the stress levels for holidays and events? Post them in the comments.

Mom, this is for you.

 

I want to express a few thoughts and see if they resonate with any of you.

You may know that within our family we have special needs, attachment disorder (and reactive attachment disorder which is the upper end of that spectrum) mental health issues in addition to that; language delays, social delays; just all these special needs type things going on, and Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and OCD , ADHD — and more alphabet soup!

What’s a mom to do!? I’ve learned that if you are all wrapped up in the family, the children, their special needs, and the relationships that attachment disorder has really put a negative spin on (with multiple kids and family members!) then it can really put you in a rotten space. If you have your own identity all wrapped up in the nature of being a parent of the alphabet soup, special needs, chronic illness and all that goes along with attachment issues that is.

The children are growing up and trying to forge their own identities. Some have additional issues with identity — identity crises — because of their past.

Now think about the parents. Moms in particular (and dads, I am not trying to exclude you but you know, I can relate most to moms).

What about your identity?

Your identity cannot continue to be wrapped up in the relationships and in the roles that you have — the roles that are changing — the roles that are up one day and down the next — the roller coaster ride that is this life, without some real damage, without losing yourself, without losing your own identity.

So, you MUST regain and/or hold onto your identity in Christ.

Your identity as God’s child.

Your identity as someone of value and intellect and purpose.

You can hold on to your true identity:

Whether or not a particular relationship goes haywire;

whether or not a particular illness continues or gets worse;

whether or not you have to deal with a mental health crisis that day;

whether or not behavioral issues pop up;

And whether or not other people judge you as someone who should handle things differently than you do, or should parent differently than you do, or is even the cause of some of the behaviors or issues with your children.

And so, who are we doing this for? Are we really just doing it for ourselves? No.

For our children? Yes! But not just for them.

If you are like me, then you agree we are really doing it for God.

And for our love of God.

And in obedience to God.

So we do it for our kids – yes, but as God gives us love and loves our children and our families through us he gives us the ability desire. And HE is the one we are really doing it all for!

He knows your heart.

He knows it all.

He knows these children.

He knows their background and he knows their needs. And furthermore, God is able to take them, continue to work on them, and maybe do it through you or maybe through other people or other ways. So it’s not all on your shoulders. Put it back on his, where it belongs.

That’s all of my rambling thoughts. I hope you ae encouraged. If you are, feel free to share and follow Yesterday’s Orphan for more.

Yes to God’s Plans

Question:  Are you attempting to live out YOUR PLANS for your life or GOD’S PLANS?  

If your own plans, then why would you expect God to honor them?  . . . Really.

At least are your plans in accordance with his Word?  If not, perhaps some re-evaluation is in order.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own  eyes;
fear the Lord and depart from evil.” — Proverbs 3:5-7
If GOD’S PLANS . . .  how are you doing?

 

Ephesians 5:15 tells us “be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise” and the entire theme of the little book of Haggai is repeated again and again in the phrase, “consider your ways”.

 

As parents, we sometimes give our children warnings of what their behavior may lead to if they do not change it.  Obviously, this is not a doom and gloom prophecy of the future, but an attempt to have them consider their ways and the likely outcomes SO THAT they will change their ways before it’s too late to avoid negative outcomes.  

 

Correction.

 

Correction is hard for us to take as humans.  Some of us take it harder than others. It may be that with our adopted children especially, they need some careful building up in order to not be crushed by correction, or hardened by it.  

 

O.Bible.org, in their lesson on the Ministry of Correction from the series on I Timothy,  says that

“as a rule, the most effective correction takes place when the other person knows from experience that you love him.” (See the full lesson here.)  

I think this is true with corrections from people as well as from God, himself!  When we know and feel like we are loved and accepted, correction may sting but we will be less likely to ignore it or rail against it!   

With adopted/foster/stepchildren (and sometimes even biological children) there may be a lingering question in their mind as to whether they are fully loved and accepted, at least at times.  And so correction may feel more like overt rejection to them!

God gives warnings and consequences in order that we will consider our ways – –  not give up thinking we have no hope – – but consider our ways so we can course-correct while there IS HOPE! With my children, I need to help them understand that correction is just that, an invitation and an opportunity to course-correct given out of love. And I need to accept God’s correction with that same understanding.

The book of Ezra gives us a ministry model and an example of how to continue God’s work under pressure.

I’ll share my outline with you, hoping it helps you as much as it is helping me in a variety of areas not the least of which is parenting when it is difficult:

EZRA

I.  God directs the outworking of God’s plan.  

(Whether your ministry is rebuilding the Holy Temple as here, building a ministry for orphans overseas, or your ministry role in your own family.)

  1. God moved the heart of the King.  

    (He can move hearts of those – – whether Christ-followers or not – – who have earthly authority in our lives.)

  2. God moved the hearts of his people.  

    (He is the one who moves hearts, not me – – not you.  We must not think we are the ones who are responsible for another person’s heart or resulting beliefs and behavior.  We are responsible to God. He moves their hearts. I am no-one’s Holy Spirit and I must not become a stumbling block for them.)

  3. God built the team.

     (I don’t have to do the job by myself, nor do I have to stress over the needed help, and neither do you!  God can bring just the right partners at just the right time.)

  4. God provided the resources as the people acted in steps of obedience.

     (We don’t have to have all the necessary resources in our possession to begin.  Steps of obedience show faith in God’s provision on an as needed basis.)

  5. God brought team unity.

     (When there is dis-unity the work is thwarted.  God is the great mediator and can bring conflict resolution when we submit to him.)

  6. God provided housing accommodations, plus time to settle in.

    ( He provides for our basic needs so we can relax and fully depend on him, trusting that there is enough time and enough for our basic needs to be met in order that we are able to move forward in the work in the place where he puts us!)

II. God is FIRST!  He is to be honored in first place above all.

(My family or other ministry or work is not first – – God is!)

  1. Altar built first – – before the other work began.
  2. Regular times of worship were held as well as special celebrations – – Times of worship and refreshment are necessary!
    1. Regular sacrifices were made, despite fears about dangers from surrounding people.
    2. Holy Day Celebrations were held.
    3. Praise Celebration was held at 1st milestone.
    4. Dedication and Celebration at the completion of the work.
III.  Work is done orderly.  

(While people, kids, even I may balk at rules and routines, it is the orderly way that wins the day.)

  1.  Time for planning and preliminary arrangements.
    1. Chain of command was established.
    2. God gave discernment of whom to partner with.
IV.  Opposition to God’s Work – – Expect It!

(I must not be surprised at opposition or let it dictate my course!  Kids will push back! So will others. I must be prepared and focused on my goals – – God’s goals for my work, whether it’s parenting my special needs children or other work.)

  1. Extreme opposition
  2. Lengthy delay
  3. Perseverance
  4. Patience with readiness and Attentiveness to God’s Guidance (not always apparent to outsiders)
  V.  God Turns OPPOSITION into OPPORTUNITY & BLESSING on His People & His Work
  1. Bravery to obey God & resume the work
  2. Tactful honesty to authority & trusting God
  3. God’s Favor
  4. Work completed with God’s Favor & blessing (Yes!  There is a time of completion awaiting and this work will be a done deal.  Another phase of life will open up. The long-range view can help with perspective on days when you feel bogged down.)  

 

RECAP:  

*God directs the outworking of HIS PLANS!  

*Honor God FIRST!  

*God is ORDERLY and his work is to be done orderly.  

*EXPECT OPPOSITION to God’s work.

*Remember, God turns opposition into OPPORTUNITY and BLESSING on his people and his work.  

 

Gods Plans – -> God First – -> Godly Order – -> Opposition – -> Opportunity & Blessing

 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
– – Proverbs 16:3
KEY:  For us to stay in this trajectory we must continue to take steps of faithful obedience all along the way.  What is God asking you to do in faithful obedience today?  

You may not feel prepared, ready, eager, or confident.  You may not have a clear path. There may be obstacles and opposition.  You may feel fear and trembling! You may not understand why God has “allowed” something that seems way out of line to your way of thinking.  

Take the step anyway. — Trust Him. — Then . . . CELEBRATE!  Celebrate when you look back and are able to see more clearly how HIS plan has been set in place and fulfilled.

I hope this peek into my Bible study has been helpful to you.  Parenting is hard. Parenting kids from trauma backgrounds is extremely hard.  We can work hard and feel like we aren’t making any progress. Or worse, going backward.  

I encourage you to #1 make sure your plans are God’s plans, and #2 consider in what ways you may need to course-correct.  Then #3 take a step of obedience  – – Today.


 

Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions.  As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools.  We have begun using some fantastic natural products in our family that make a big difference in helping kids cope with overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus.

Hit Reply (e-mail) or Contact me above or below (blog) if you want to learn more about our toxin-free natural-based personal care products and dietary supplements and how they can help your family, too.

 

Rage Against Love

So WHO exactly are we fighting? ?

The post-adoptive home can sometimes feel like an ongoing war, like you have to PROVE yourself as parent. (Did anybody ever really doubt that you were the rightful parent of your biological children?)  It’s one thing for a legal decree, for a declaration of undying love and commitment, for being there for daily routines, ups and downs, and all that goes with parenting and loving your child, but somewhere deep in the mind of two of mine, they have a deep-seated belief that I am not their mom.

How do I know? Aside from the verbal screaming in hateful voices “You are NOT my MOM!!!” and “I HATE YOU!!”  along with other similar endearments (insert sarcasm), my training, research and counseling on Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Plus it’s not just a passing phase or exaggerated in the moment push button thing.  It doesn’t go away, just maybe hides under the surface a bit.  Not every adopted or foster child develops R.A.D, thankfully, but it is a REAL condition.

Things to Learn & Do Right Away

If you have a child in your life who may have Reactive Attachment Disorder, I recommend doing your own due diligence to familiarize yourself with not just the basics, but the practical outworkings and recommendations for steps and strategies to deal with the effects on the attachment disordered child AND the people closest to them who may at any time become a target.  And realize that the child may appear VERY different with different people.  Moms are primary targets in general, but it can also be dads if dad is the primary caretaker/nurturer.

Boundaries are important, and implementing boundaries BEFORE they are crossed takes some forethought.  It is a lot easier to loosen stricter boundaries when appropriate than to tighten them when things get out of hand.

Respite care?  Yes that would be nice.  Unfortunately, it is not until the stress has mounted or a crisis ensued that it becomes urgent.  And if the children are not well-behaved it is a big chore for parents to arrange for regular time apart, for the child/children to be cared for by someone else who may not comprehend all their different needs or issues.

Long Range View & Goals

I recommend a long term view, learning what you can, plugging into a support group and doing the work to set up respite care with regular visits in non-crisis times so that it is available when you most need it.  Plan for the worst; hope for the best; don’t be caught off guard.

In addition, I recommend intentional self-care, marriage care and keeping separate time with the child’s siblings on a frequent, regular basis, not letting their issues dominated the household.

Fighting against the child, spouse, friends and extended family?  Teachers, neighbors?  Legal issues?  All of these are all too common in the adoption community.

Adoptive parents as you recall jump through many, many hoops to get through the process and so the bulk of them are not going to just be “bad” parents.  Sadly, there is not a lot of support for raising an attachment disordered child and keeping the family intact.

Truthful Perspective

To answer the question posed at the beginning of this post — Who are we fighting? — I’d like to suggest that while it may be anybody and everybody at times, primarily it is and should be recognized to be our mortal enemy, Satan, the father of lies.

1 Peter 5:8 tells us:  “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Satan lies to my kids and reinforces the lies that they have already believed.  Satan lies to parents telling us we are failures.  Satan lies to others who are looking for someone to blame and accusations fly.  Satan says you are not good enough and that you are not loved.

BUT GOD tells the TRUTH!  And I have to hang on to the truth to be able to survive, just as my children need the truth to believe they are loved and valuable and as much a part of my family as anyone else.  And that that is GOOD!

I have to know and hang on to the truth that I am GOD’S CHILD, and dearly loved and provided for by him, no matter the lies that I am told.  Through any difficulty, God is my strength. I don’t have all the answers, but I know who does!

As my children learn that they are loved by their earthly parents, my earnest desire is that it will help them be receptive to the belief that they are treasured and loved by their Heavenly Father.  I believe God can heal them so that they will be open to receiving and giving love without all the resistance they now have, due to the trauma they have endured.  Someday they will understand that even then, their loving Creator was sustaining them, and he has good plans for them and their future.

______________________________

Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions.  As a parent I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them tools to help.  There are some natural products we have begun using in our family that make a big difference in helping kids cope with overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus.  If you think it might be helpful for your family to learn more about these products feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to fill you in.