Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The time has come...

"Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful." Romans 12:12

I took "E" to her OB appointment today. I was a little disappointed because we have conflicting due dates ("E" keeps giving them different dates) and the dr last time wouldn't go by our ultrasound because it wasn't done at their hospital. (Picture my eyes rolling!) So she said we could induce on the due date, August 17. So I asked her if it was really safer for the baby to remain in the womb at this point with all the drugs that "E" is on, both legal and illegal. She said she was thinking the same thing and would talk to her boss. She came back in and said "We have two options. We can deliver the baby next week, OR, we can do an amnio to check lung maturity and deliver you today." WHAT?? But, "E" has a date with a "friend". (Another eye roll.) So, we are scheduled to go in tomorrow for a non-stress test and decide when she can be admitted. The doctor who did the amnio said he wants baby out by the weekend! WOOHOO!!!

That means Emma will be here in the next few days! This was a very welcome surprise and an answer to many prayers on Emma's behalf.

I will post pictures as soon as we have some to post!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Still waiting...

(Patty...this is for you!)

Well, still no baby Emma. "E" will leave the mental hospital tomorrow, so Praise God she has had 10 days of great care. He hasn't let me down so far, so I refuse to worry about "E" and the rest of her pregnancy. "E" is doing so much better, has gained weight, has her diabetes under control, etc. BUT...tomorrow she goes back to the lifestyle she is accustomed to, so please pray for her protection and health for the next 3 weeks. "E" did tell me that being in the mental hospital made her feel good about know...being around all those crazy people. (Her words...not mine!) I am still praying she goes into labor before she actually gets out tomorrow...just so you know!
On Sunday, July 19, Jacob would have turned 3 years old. The actual birthday was not as hard as the anticipation of the birthday...but then again, I had SO many people praying for me. I will NEVER be able to thank you all enough, or repay you even a portion of what you deserve. One of my faithful friends gave me this for Jacob's birthday:

It's a little hard to see, but it has Jacob's name, with 2 each of three stones. July, for his birthday, September for the day we got him, and August for the day we finalized his adoption. I had mentioned to a group of my friends that I had found a place that would make jewelry of "your story" and I was thinking about getting something, but had no idea she would do this for me. I cried. But it was sweet tears.

Another one of my faithful friends and her family went to Jacob's graveside and let off balloons in honor of his birthday.

How sweet was that??? She also offered to bring me chocolate! But I was doing okay. I have the BEST friends, EVER!! God is so good to me.
Today, I started working on school stuff for the next school year. God has healed my heart in such amazing ways. I get so excited when I look back at the day and see how much I have accomplished. I have only just started to feel like the "real" Tracy and I have truly missed her.
At some point at the beginning of this long journey, I pretty much told God that I couldn't do this for more than a year. My kids need me. Of course, He told me that they really didn't, they only needed Him, but whatever. :) I am just so excited for the future. God is my hope and He has proven Himself to me over and over again.
"Yet what we suffer now is NOTHING compared to the glory He will give us later..." Romans 8:18

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Voice of Truth

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth.

You might have noticed a pattern here, but God speaks to me many time through music. I have always loved music and have been considered very "musical". I believe God gifted me musically so that He could use it to speak to me. So, this Casting Crowns song is the one I have clung to this past week.

God has also been speaking to me about choices. We all make choices. Every single event that takes place in our lives has to do with choices. You may disagree, as there are events that happen that we have absolutely no control over, for instance, Jacob's death. I did not choose for him to die, but choices were made in how we responded to that death and how we chose to live our lives after the tragedy. Every single day I choose to get up and go on with my life. I choose to allow Christ to guide me and hold me in His hand. I choose to allow joy in the sorrow. (As someone said to me this week, we allow sorrow to interrupt our joy, why don't we allow joy to interrupt our sorrow?) I choose not to hide in my room from the rest of my family. I choose not to place blame on how Jacob died. I choose to plan and hope for our future, even though it no longer includes Jacob.

AND IT'S HARD!!!! Some days, like today, I just want to give up. I want to say "forget you all, I'll be in my room"! I am tired. I want my life back. I am fed up with people. I want some peace in my life! ("the voice of truth says this is for my glory")

But what I want to do is not really Biblical and I choose to follow Christ as closely as possible. Which is why, through leaning on Him explicitly, when you come to my home, I'm not locked in the closet. (Well, normally, unless I am trying to get away from a 3 year old!) I am hoping for the future because I know without a doubt that when God allows something like losing your 2 year old baby you worked SO hard to save from the life he was born into, that God is also planning on using you in a mighty way, someday, somehow, somewhere. And somewhere, in the grief, the pain, the memories, the unexpected pictures in your head, there is excitement and anticipation about what God has in store.

With that being said, let me fill you in on a little bit of what has been going on with me this week that has God speaking to me in such a way. Her name is "E" and we were introduced to one another almost 8 weeks ago. In those 8 weeks, a very strange friendship has emerged. She is carrying our baby, Emma Claire. She has a mental illness and is a drug addict. She has choices to make every day, just like the rest of us. Right now, she is NOT choosing to live her life in such a way that is safe for her, or Emma Claire.

Today, because "E" has made some very bad choices, she checked herself into the mental health hospital. She will be there for at least a week, I am praying they will keep her longer (like until she goes into labor). I have been praying for the past week that God would protect Emma Claire and "E" and once again, He has answered my prayer, just when I couldn't figure out in my feeble mind how He could possibly protect my baby while in "E's" womb! Since "E" is pregnant, and high risk (mental illness, Type A diabetes, addict) she has been assigned to a high risk doctor and I was told they would be monitoring the baby closely. Hallelujah! She is also just around the corner from the maternity ward in case she should go into labor. I love "E" when she is just a mental patient...I do NOT love "E" when the drugs are involved. I will also receive a little break as "E" can only use the phone and have visitors certain times of the day, so I will not have to "rescue" her for the next week.

Please pray...she is a Christian. She KNOWS what she is doing is wrong. Please pray that she would choose to give her life back over to Christ. HE is her only hope, just as he is OUR only hope.

We are due in 4 1/2 weeks. I came home today after sitting with "E" for about 3 hours and was weary. The thoughts were going through my head, "Why can't this be easier, God??" "Let's just be done with it!" And then I realized, that once again, this is not about me. This is for HIS glory, and HIS alone. It's not about what a good person I am for taking in these drug babies. It's about my willingness and obedience to do the hard things that are going to lead more people to Him in the end. So, my 3 hours "wasted" today was a small sacrifice for the giant things that could end up glorifying Him.

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

So, let's not get tired....

"So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up." Galatians 6:9

This passage keeps finding it's way into my Bible, my computer, my EVERYTHING! And I am REALLY tired!

"E" is doing really good...for an addict who lives on the street. She is very good at what she does, and that is to manipulate. And since she is carrying MY Emma Claire, I am a very good target. I have figured her out though, thanks to my many dealings with drug addict bio parents. (THANKS, DHS!!) We had a come to Jesus meeting today that in my own head played out more like Smackdown with the white chic from the suburbs winning! (Thanks for the visual, Amanda!) I think I have been enabling her a little. I have been looking at her as this poor soul with a mental illness who cannot help herself. When the true issue at hand is her drug addiction. Drugs make her a different person, and it has nothing to do with her illness. She has assured me that she is a Christian. She nailed down where and when her decision was made, and we talked in depth. She also informed me that she is "backslidden"...her words. We talked about the benefits of turning her life around, but the drugs have a hold on her that won't allow her to turn away. Please continue to pray for her. As much as I want to beat her down sometimes (especially today), I want more than anything for her to turn her life around...what a story THAT would be to tell Emma one day!

I just have to remember that not getting tired of doing good, does NOT mean it's okay to be taken advantage of. And with that, comes the whole faith thing God has been teaching me on a daily basis. You'd think I'd be better at it by now.

Now onto the fun stuff. We had a doctor's appointment today. "E's" blood pressure, diabetes, etc was all good today. She even told the doctor that she had done marijuana and got drunk last night. (As if coming clean makes it all better.) The crappy ER ultrasound machine has "E" with a due date of August 30. (This is because Emma is big now and "E" keeps changing dates.) So, we are scheduled for induction on August 24. I asked the doctor if she thought we would make it to that date considering the lifestyle "E" is living and she said "Absolutely not." So, we have no idea when this baby is coming, but I would ask that you all would continue (because I know you already are) praying for Emma's protection in a womb that is being bombarded. We go back in two weeks, with an ultrasound in 4 weeks.

Enough of that. Today was a hard day with "E" and I am weary. But, God's promises cannot fail. I will keep doing good, no matter what choices "E" makes, and God will bless me accordingly.

Having said that, something ELSE exciting is happening. For the past 2 years, I have done very little in my church. That doesn't mean I haven't been serving God, just not in the church. For the year before Jacob died, I was unable to leave Josiah in class at church due to his Reactive Attachment Disorder. Then you all know why I haven't served in the past year. But, recently, I had begun praying that God would show me if, when, and where He would have me serve in our church. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine at church asked me if I would be interested in teaching with her. She is starting a class for a group of ladies who are currently in rehab and who have recently accepted Christ. We will be teaching a new Christian type of class. Did you get that??? RECOVERING DRUG ADDICTS...and ME! Don't you for a minute think that God has not used DHS and my kids (and even "E") to prepare my heart for this new ministry. As I was praying for a place to serve, the thought crossed my mind more than once that when Emma comes, our time serving drug babies would be finished, and I am at peace with that. But I also know that when God closes one door, He opens another. And what is funny to me is how He prepares us along the way without us even being aware of it! And that is probably a good thing because had you told me 3-4 years ago that this is the path I would be walking, I would have laughed at you! Isn't God good??


4th of July did not turn out as planned. We had a minor injury, but it was one of those things that COULD have been major! Justin is fine, but he is really hoping for a scar. Boys are weird. We also got rained out of watching fireworks from the boat on the Oklahoma River. It's okay though...I was tired from doing inventory of our 3 freezers and 2 pantries! For those of you who only know me through this blog, I was once a highly organized (anal) person. I feel like I am finally becoming myself again and this would be proof! I can't tell you how easy making my 2 week menu from an inventory was! I chose foods I had and easily made a list of what I needed. And what is scary is how exciting all of this was to me! As my friend Shadawn tells me, I probably DO need therapy!

Here is the best picture I could get from uncooperative children for the 4th of July but as punishment to them, I promised to post it on my blog! Enjoy and I really don't care that all of your children sat perfectly still with perfect smiles and perfect attitudes. (And if you happened to be in my neighborhood you did NOT hear me yelling at my children in the front yard that I was going to beat the everloving snot out of them if they did not look at me, open their eyes and SMILE!!!)
Hope you had a great 4th! We will try again next year!

Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July...and my dad...

Well, I promised you a post about my dad...and the 4th of July. So here it is!

For the last 11 years, and possibly before that, our family (including my parents and my sister's family) have spent the 4th of July together. Fireworks aren't really our "thing", so we had to improvise. It started out with watermelon seed my mom's garden...just to irritate her. Yeah, it's kind of sad, but that was how we made our "memories"! And the next Spring, we got to "relive" our memories as we all sat and watched Mom pick watermelon plants out of her garden, and also out of her yard. Some of us weren't very good spitters!

That evolved over the years to watergun and water balloon fights, as we added more grandkids and they got older. But maybe I need to explain a couple of things about my dad before I go on. My dad is very competitive. If we ever won a game of checkers against him, it was because we EARNED it! He NEVER let us win ANYTHING!

He also never gives up. Unless he is winning. And he doesn't necessarily play fair, no matter what your age is. Therefore, as this story progresses, you will see that the grandkids have learned a few things about Paw Paw George in their short years!

In 2007, things really got out of hand. The plan was for the kids to play in the water, fish, and ride in the boat.

All was going well, the kids were playing well together, until someone who should remain nameless, (but I don't mind ratting you out UNCLE BRIAN) told Bryce, who was a mere 8 years old at the time, that it would be funny to shoot Paw Paw George with a watergun. Poor Paw Paw George, just fishing by the lake, minding his own business. So, because Bryce thought THAT would be a good idea, war was started.

Since Paw Paw George had not planned on this sort of attack, he had to act fast and improvise and what else would a loving grandfather do, but STEAL the waterguns FROM his grandkids!!! I am not sure how many he collected, but there were a few kids left without a weapon!

So then, THEY had to improvise. The kids found the waterhose and used that for awhile....

Until Paw Paw George got those away from the kids, too!

And then, when the kids regained control of the situation (thanks to a little help from their daddies), Paw Paw George did the water. He had gone into the house, locked all the doors, filled up HIS waterguns (you know, the ones he had previously stolen from the poor grandchildren) and then turned off the water to the house!! Seriously?? How is that fair???

He then came out and attacked the kids. They gave up and that was the end of the watergun wars of 2007.

Then came 2008. These kids have a little of their Paw Paw in them and they started planning their revenge shortly after their defeat! They held meetings, planned strategy, and were totally prepared. They found waterguns that you can screw in 2 liter bottles into! They were the COOLEST guns ever! So, the kids stashed their water bottle supplies all around the house, as well as a vast supply of water balloons. They were ready for ANYTHING Paw Paw George might throw at them. Nobody was turning their water supply off this year!

So, after the food was eaten, the kids gave the signal (and the warning to those of us NOT participating) and once again, it was WAR!! The kids made their attack and Paw Paw George had NO idea! You see, THIS 4th of July, he had planned on taking the kids to the boat parade on the Oklahoma River, to watch the fireworks. He had NO idea what was planned for him! And as much pleading and bribery that went on, those kids would NOT be talked into going to the "other" side to help him. He did end up with one measley watergun, but the kids won this war!

Needless to say, the kids haven't stopped talking about their victory against Paw Paw George. And his response? "Next year, I'm gonna have a watergun that will kill a cat!" So, I am not sure what to expect tomorrow...the kids have been planning, but haven't let us in on anything. Maybe they will all be saved by the rain we are supposed to have tomorrow evening??

Happy 4th of July! Go make some memories!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"I'm not asking you to take them out of the world...

but to keep them safe from the evil one." John 17:15

This past week and a half, I have been tempted to ask God to take "E" out of the world! WOW! This verse just popped up on my verse of the day and I had to laugh after all that has gone on lately.

I have "E's" permission to share, as she appreciates your prayers, as do I. First of all, I need to tell you that "E" is paranoid schitzophrenic, diabetic, and a cocaine addict. If you met her on the street, she would tell you just that. The mental illness makes her a riot, I mean, she is hilarious because although she is pretty much like a 6 year old, she is also extremely bright. She reads ALL the time and remembers everything she reads. The cocaine makes her grouchy. Although, that could have been the diabetes that she has not been controlling.

So, a week and a half ago, "E" moved out of the maternity home and back onto the streets. It was her decision. I believe that "E" got scared because people were actually loving her and trying to help. She just couldn't handle it. It reminded me a LOT of Samara as she was adjusting to a normal life with us. As soon as things began to be "normal", she would have some sort of meltdown and ruin it. She just couldn't handle the good. "E" has this issue, also.

As I drove her back to her "camp" as she calls it, she became more and more at ease, the closer we got. I suspect that it would be much like taking me out of my nice, comfy home and putting me on the streets to live. NO THANK YOU!!! She was happy again.

On Sunday night, "E" was attacked and hit/kicked in the stomach. (This is after we spent the day Friday at the hospital because she thought she was in labor...she wasn't.) She and Emma were/are fine, but she was kept in the hospital for observation, where they discovered she was very low on potassium and her blood sugars were WAY off. I believe this was a blessing in disguise as "E" didn't even know how bad she felt until all of her stuff was back to normal! While in the hospital, she tested positive for cocaine, so a social worker was brought in. "E" decided she would go into rehab. I went to take her today.

Well, she opted out of rehab. She said it was too hard and she wasn't ready, but that they had given her a bed at the City Mission. Evidently, they have a nurse on hand to help them with their medications and what not. So, God is protecting and taking care of "E" in SPITE of "E"!

It has been a very tiring, emotional week. I am exhausted, but my Bible says "Never tire of doing good." So I will keep on plugging along. Our prayer is that Emma stays in her "cooker" until she is good and done, as long as it is safer there than on the outside. We only have 6 and a half weeks left until her due date!!

In between all the phone calls and drama, I have been preparing for Emma a little bit at a time. Now if I could just keep my house clean!! Enjoy the pictures and as always, I covet the prayers for "E", Emma, and our family!

Diaper bag, "lovey", changing pad, dipes/wipes bag, and a "mom's" pouch. I recovered our car seat to coordinate with the diaper bag. Mostly because I just love this fabric!

These are some more views of the car seat, along with dresses and cloth diapers I made for Emma when she finally gets here!!