Tag Archives: struggle

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.

Finding Hope in the Biggest Storms

Never give up hope.  And don’t give in to isolation and despair.  

This is my advice to the adoptive/foster/step-parent who finds yourself in an ongoing storm that seems to engulf them with no way out, like a spinning tornado that keeps hurling debris at you.

The new book by Mike Berry, Confessions of an Adoptive Parent, has been one of the Love-bombs God has recently dropped on me as he shows me an ever-widening break in the storm clouds that have permeated my life for a while.  Mike uses the analogy of a storm in the book (no wonder I relate so well!) and the reality that the sun still shines, even though hidden temporarily by the storm clouds.  (He puts it way more elegantly – – so you really need to read the book to get the full heart-boosting effect.)

Being on the launch team for the book was very timely as it arrived just when my husband and I were/are stretched thin and enveloped in a struggle to find a way to deal with one of our adopted children and get them the help they need while keeping everyone safe – – an increasingly difficult and frustrating process as this child’s difficult behaviors were rapidly escalating.   Reading the book during this period has given me a helpful re-grounding and perspective.  When your world spins out of control, to hear from those who have “been there done that” and come out on the other side, PLUS who have the same faith and values is HUGE!

The over-arching premise of Confessions . . .  is that “You are not alone.”  And it is a message of hope.  Isn’t that what we all need, what our children need, when we are in the middle of an ongoing storm?  We live in an area where tornados are sometimes a threat.  We learned to go to an interior room without windows whenever a tornado threatens.  We also pray.  And we monitor the weather radio.  We have not had a tornado hit our house, but have had friends and family who have.  Thankfully the damage has not extended to loss of life, but that is always a concern and possibility.  Growing up with the threat of tornados I have not felt fearful of them since I can remember.  I tended to feel secure in our routines that I and my family would be okay.  Not because I am unaware or in denial of the devastation they can cause, but because of my faith in God, and the many times he has provided protection.

What procedures do you take to get through the difficult storms with your kids? Just like when severe weather threatens, prayer is number one.  But also, gathering together (rather than dividing and isolating ourselves as we may feel like doing) can help us and our children feel calmer and confident.  So WE need to be calm and confident – – and that comes with faith and the disciplines that as Christians we lean on and embrace even more in the storminess. Remembering the storms we have faced before can be helpful.  And hearing from those who were hit and suffered damage, but survived can give us hope.  Keeping our ears alert to any changes – for the better or worse just as with weather emergencies can help us know what to do and when.  Certainly having our emergency plans in place can help us weather these types of storms as well.

We recently had a homeschool group field trip to a local fire station.  We learned a lot about their duties and capabilities such as that here, each fireman was trained (or training) in paramedics as well and that each firetruck was outfitted with the same equipment as the ambulances except a bed to transport someone to the hospital.  In learning about community help for our daughter, I had to learn what was (and was not) available from the different sources in order to navigate the best path and plan for her.  I am happy to say that we now have the beginnings of a plan in place for her and I am seeing a bit more sunshine as the clouds are opening up.  The sun really is still there, shining all along.

I received no compensation for recommending this book and my opinions are entirely my own.  I was thrilled to get the book (and journal) free for previewing it and highly recommend it to you as well.  Get your copy here.