Wednesday, November 29, 2017

For the Love of Fostering. After ABC15's Story.

Sooo much has changed in our lives these last few months.  Our lives have gotten SO busy it has been difficult to ever get onto my blog.  I guess I can say my focus has changed.  Sometimes the only free time I have is 9:30pm.  An hour before I need to sleep. If it comes off as complaining, I'm sorry. I LOVE MY LIFE!  I don't know how to explain it.  I love being a mom and I love being a foster mom.  How could I love something so much, have so little resources, space, and little money yet love it SO MUCH?  I don't know.  I feel like I've finally found my path.


My husband and I just had this conversation earlier.  He asked, "Why are we facing so many obstacles?"  I replied, "Because we found our calling."  We have hit roadblock after roadblock since we first started fostering.  The story is long and I want to write about all of it here to help me to see how far we've come. 

I'm gonna start with my third foster son James (name hidden).  A year ago we realized with him being so high needs, he needed to have his own room.  Two of my boys moved into the garage to make space.  We realized through inspections that even though we converted the garage into a room, there are certain things that have to be done to make it passable for inspection.  We realized we needed to turn either the garage into an actual room or the patio.  Maybe it'll be easy.  Nope.  The beginning quote was $8,000.  There was no way we could raise it so fast.  We reached out to Boost a Foster Family and they came out to look around.  They normally do little stuff but not build whole rooms.  They started making some phone calls and this is what came out of it..... ABC15 came out and wrote an article with a video about what we needed.


In the middle of this project James was taken to get mental health treatment for severe issues.  He was then moved to a therapeutic group home.  MY HEART SHATTERED.  I sobbed and sobbed for weeks.  James didn't deserve what he went through.  But his therapist said being in a home with a family was too overwhelming for him.  I received horrible letters from people accusing me of using him to build the room.  It hurt so bad.  I realized there will always be haters.  He began to sneak call me from the hospital and his new group home.  We talked and talked as quick as we could and as often as he could get away with it.  Unfortunately, the boss of his new group home was one of the people that wrote a horrible letter about me online.  Saying I hurt him and used him.  That I didn't really love or care about him.  She was rude to him and didn't treat him well.  Thankfully he was removed from there and taken to another therapeutic home that was much, much better.  Now he's able to call me as often as he wants whether at school or at home.  We talk before bed every night.  :D 

So why still build the room?  In the middle of all that, we had gained a new teen foster daughter and eventually also her brother.  We still were MEGA lacking space.  You can't place a boy and a girl in the same room after they are a certain age.  The project continued.  Bell Mortgage and New Heights Church in Arizona reached out to cover the costs.  Wow!  Several months later the project was finished.  Soon I'd love to post some pics of the process!  We now have 5 bedrooms and have already started talking about the possibility to add on again to help more children.  Whew.... another battle for another day.  But it's gonna happen.



Our foster kids have two more siblings that need placement and our agency is NOT allowing it to happen here because of our family size.  Although OLR (licensing) has no problem with it, I just happened to pick an agency that has stricter rules about it.  After they held a staff meeting and turned me down FLAT, I immediately asked to be able to find another agency.  With their blessings, I'm currently calling around like crazy.  I have a deadline, yet again, to unite siblings together and within a short about of time.  However, without all these amazing companies and people in my life, it wouldn't even be a possibility.  It's only possible because we were gifted an extra bedroom.  

Will you join me in prayer?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why It's Hard to Be a Foster Mom

I'm not sure if I ever updated how I have two new foster kids.  One is 15 and the other is 11.  Boy, it's been a journey.  They have quite a bumpy road they've had to live.  The hardest thing about being a foster parent is getting them the help they need, therapy, vision, dental, and doctor appointments and see them grow in maturity.  To be with them through the tantrums, cops being called, being cussed out, but rejoicing when growth and changes are happening.  Even the tiniest change makes me want to rejoice!  Those tiny changes towards healing is what makes it all worth it for me. 


Here is the hard part.  Knowing the case plan is set for reunification and almost nothing has changed. Situation is shaky at best with mom and kids are going back.  As much as I want a stable life for these kids, all I can do is love on them, bring them to Jesus, feed, clothe, and care for till they go home.  Boy, it makes it hard for me.  Somehow I have to learn how to love and let go.  NEVER, EVER do I want to keep children from a mother that is doing her best to change for the better.


This is what's even harder.  Knowing when to just let go and let God.  Or when to report when you know there is lots of lying going on and DCS thinks mom is doing fabulous.  How would my conscience feel if they go back and get hurt?  Seriously hurt?  My heart hurts because the mom is actually someone I've known for awhile and a friend somewhat. We don't hang out but we are friendly and known each other for two decades. 

Sigh.  I have a love/hate relationship with fostering.  Jesus, please give me peace in the path you want me to take.  Give me discernment when needed.  And, boy, do I need it!  I love these kids, don't want to keep them from their mother, but also care for their safety.  Thank you for blessing me with these beautiful kids.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Boys Home from Guatemala

Guatemala for my boys was an 8 day trip.  Definitely an adventure!  They saw a volcano nearby, visited many schools, an orphanage, took a boat ride, prayed with a lot of people, and brought food to homes.  I'm SO PROUD of my boys. They definitely came back with a different perspective of America.

  

Ryan talked to me about how neat the market is.  How the money I sent with him was so much more there.  He didn't get much time to shop but it was neat how he was able to negotiate price.  They brought home some interesting treats for me to try.  :)


Chaz came home at midnight and immediately wanted to talk to us.  He had a major experience during the missions trip.  He absolutely loved praying with people and encouraging.  He loved being busy every day even though it was tiring.  There wasn't much time for play as they had their days packed with outreaching from place to place.  Chaz was such at ease talking to people he didn't know.  This is Chaz we're talking about here.  If you go way back in this blog, to around 2005-2007, Chaz had a hard time with communication, and some violent behaviors.  He's come such a long way! He's almost 17 and has such a big heart for people and patience for kids.



I'm glad my boys are home.  Even though they're tired, in the morning we are volunteering at an orphanage here in the valley.  I'm glad they get at least one day of rest.  :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Guatemala Missions Trip Day 2


It's been so amazing watching the pictures roll in from the facebook page Kids N Missions.  I can't wait to see how they're gonna be when they get back. My kids are so used the the amazing blessings of living in America.  It's really hard to understand what it's like for kids in other nations that don't have such an easy way of life.  I'm glad they get to see first hand.  


The boys and the teens have been doing plays to communicate.  Here is Ryan playing in one of them.  :D


On one of the days they had hiked quite a bit to bring food to some people who have houses built into the hills.  


Ryan and his friend praying for some Guatemala teens.


Ryan is the last boy in black shirt. 


Stove


This picture is so beatiful.  :D  I love all these photos of the teens and also of the Guatemala culture and how they do things.  Pretty amazing!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Mission Trip to Guatemala Day 1

We worked hard over the last year to save so we could send our sons Chaz and Ryan to Guatemala with our church youth.  Omgosh, it was sooooooooo worth it.  I don't how many times we backed out.  Half and half we heard good and bad about going.  Was it worth the risk?  Haven't we taught our sons their whole life the importance of helping others in need?  How we are the hands and feet of Jesus?  Sometimes I laid awake at night worrying.  How would I get the money?  We have a large family.  So many expenses. 



My husband was in an accident.  So glad he make it out with only scrapes and bruises. But car was totaled.  Do we stop paying for the trip and just buy another car?  After a lot of prayer and thought we decided it was still going to happen for our boys because their heart was set on it and they wanted to go.  They had been practicing for their plays and we couldn't do that to them.



So it happened!  We got up at 1:30am to head to the airport.  We were the first ones there out of the group. Man, it was such a maze and we were tired but the boys were hyped.  They had never been on a plane before. As the group arrived the air got such an exciting feel for it.  My heart leaped with joy because my boys were living my lifelong dream.  To go to orphanages to see kids, minister to them, help feed them, and also take food to people alongside mountains.  Homes that were built into the mountain.  Long trails, hills, and winding roads but they excitedly were doing it.


As each picture came in my heart melted.  These were my boys and my AMAZING church that set it all up.  My heart has been for missions more and more over the years.  We didn't have to be pastors to experience it.  Didn't have to be wealthy.  We just have a church that says children, teens, and adults matter and we can all make a difference. 


Today, while sitting in service and hearing about where are church is going.  More and more into the missions field, for the first time in 3 1/2 years I felt like this is definitely MY church.  Where I belong.  Not just my kids and teens.  But for Charles and I.  The first time Pastor Bill talked to the church about his heart to work in missions and also some orphanages and places that work with teens in sex trafficking, I had tears running down my face.  It took everything in me not to sob.  Because I always felt I had to have status to help.  To be a servant the way Jesus meant us to be. My church made it possible and I am so grateful. 



Friday, December 16, 2016

Help Us Help Our Foster Son



As seen on ABC15 Click here to read. http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/family-with-foster-children-fighting-to-renovate-home-for-kids

We have set up a Go Fund Me account.  :)  Anything helps and will go straight to the addition only. https://www.gofundme.com/help-us-help-our-foster-son

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New, Hard Fostering Experience

Boy, my life just got super hard.  I have a new appreciation for my foster daughter after having received a new foster son last Friday.  In no way am I a licensed theraputic foster home.  Just a licensed foster home.  Sooooo, this is new territory for me being I have a boy with major issues and having experienced so many hard thing.  Ugh, my heart hurts.  WHY DO PEOPLE HURT KIDS???  WHY???  This boy I'll call James is a SWEET boy who is hurting beyond words and it shows through his behavior.  I lock up anything and everything that is dangerous including anything you'd never know was dangerous.  Heck, my house is really baby proofed now for sure.  This boy is worth it.  I promised to give it a shot and I promise to give it my very best with all my heart.  While he is at school I'll be praying in his room, especially the Warfare Prayer. :(  I want to write so much more but first need to know how much I'm allowed to say.   Please pray for my family as we are praying heavily for him and it takes a LOT OF WORK to keep him in check. 

Dear God, I pray for this beautiful, amazing boy that you designed and made.  I pray for healing in his heart and his mind.  I pray that any hurt that is tormenting him will be dealt with, processed, and healed.  I pray that he will learn self control when he feels like there is no hope and throws all caution to the wind.  Help me to show him the love that he so much deserves.  You love Him so much and you made a way for him to get out of the abuse.  He now needs healing.  Thank you so much for trusting him in my care.  I need you and I need strength.  Amen.

Friday, July 22, 2016

When a Spiritual Attack Comes On Your Family

These last couple of weeks were unbearably hard as I felt my patience level had dwindled.  I began to feel like a shadow of my former self.  It was rough.  In fact, I had extreme headaches every day, shaking, pains shooting up my side, and pressure from my throat up to the top of my head.  It almost felt like someone was choking me.  Very scary.  The other day was Ivy's birthday and I was trying to put on a smile for her sake as not to be selfish and ruin her day. Yesterday I texted my husband at work and said "I need you."  I was laying in the dark at 8pm and just felt I couldn't take it anymore.  The pressure in my head and the pains were difficult.  I needed him to come take over for a bit so I could rest.  

My sweet, amazing, almost 16 year old son Chaz walked in the dark room and asked, "Mom, have you prayed lately?"  I replied, "No."  I wasn't in the mood and I certainly didn't feel it mattered at the moment.  Of course it does but it was just the mood I was in.  He asked if we could pray together.  I hesitantly got up as the pressure in my head was thick.  My thoughts were foggy.  We sat in his room and he started to pray with me.  When he was done he asked me to pray.  I prayed while I fought to hold back my tears. I didn't pray that God would take away my pain.  I began to pray against spirits causing division and strife. Against confusion and contention.  I prayed that if there are any curses being prayed over us that it would be sent back to hell where it belongs.  I was taught growing up that you pray that a curse be sent back on the one who sent it.  That's biblically incorrect.  The bible says to bless our enemies and pray for those that curse you. I prayed that God's peace would reach every corner of the house. At that moment I felt like hands came off my head and it physically felt like pressure was draining out and off my body.  Hard to explain.  It was instant. I sat there in shock.  All those days of pain, fogginess, and shaking instantly left. All I had to do was ask my Father to intervene.  The room got quiet. I didn't even know what to say because I had never so quickly seen a prayer answered in an instant and feel like something released it's choke hold.

I sat with my teen boys and we hugged and talked.  We talked about our failures that week, what we learned from them.  We talked about things we felt we succeeded and and what we were grateful for.  The peace in the house was so noticeable that when my husband came home from work he said he felt it.  

The bible says, 

"For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in the this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."  Ephesians 6:12  

A few years back, as I said earlier, I was taught to send curses back on people.  Sometimes people mean well when they pray to God asking that He "shake up the nest" and cause difficult things to happen so someone will turn to Christ.  I didn't realize that if I'm not careful, I was praying curses on people. I was praying to God but I was praying the wrong way.  This is why when I prayed that any curse prayed would be sent back to hell where it belongs.  Not sent back on the head of the one who sent it.  

Here is an article link about why returning curses is biblically forbidden. Click here.

"Bless those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you." Luke 6:28

Nowhere in scripture does it say to curse back or even send it back on the head of the one who sent it.  

Praise God He has power over an already defeated satan.  Thank you, Jesus for your mercy and grace.

Excellent Christian movie to see about the spirit of divination in homes  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Learning to Navigate New Life as a Foster Mom

I'm exciting about hitting up the Renaissance tomorrow with my kiddos and friends.  Of course, I always have to cram as many kids in my van as possible so I invited 4 extras besides my 8. When they told me they never went before I just HAD to bring them.  Tee hee...



 My foster daughter had an emotional day yesterday seeing her mom.  She usually has visits twice a week but since the parent aid had to miss two visits from being sick, it made her worry she won't be able to see her again.  When she came back home yesterday the parent aid asked me why she was so emotional I told her that's what happens when their visits aren't consistent.  I'm a baby, new foster mom since October.  This whole process is so new and I always hope I'm handling issues the right way.  There has been a lot of adjustments along the way since I got her.  She is afraid of showers, extremely picky eater to the point where she won't want to eat at times.  When I ask what she does want to eat she always says a donut.  Ha ha.  I tell her we always try to eat healthy and desserts are just for fun. They ware never for main course.  I always cook with meat and vegetables and only sometimes some whole wheat pasta of some sort.  Her night terrors have almost completely stopped.  That's amazing since she used to have them nightly.  She had them with her mom every night even when living with her.  I'm grateful for her sake she's getting much more rest now.  :)  Something new for her is chores.  It's real simple chores for her age since she's 7 but she does them well.  At first she would cry but we made sure it started easy and built on little by little.  In reality, it's only make bed, put away toys in room, and put away shoes. Another one we're working through is school.  There are times I've had to carry her in and then have a teacher take her into the classroom.  I would have to dress her because she hated going so much she fought it with everything in her.  She used to not even dressing herself or going potty in bathroom alone.  Now she's doing all of that!  So there is lots and lots of growth. 




One of the things I'm getting used to is all of the extra appointments since they need to be in therapy.  Hopefully we'll be able to get a little boy soon.  The max kids I can take is 2 foster kids.  That's fine because that makes 10 kids here and it's about all I can keep up with.  Haha.  Our laundry pile is massive.  My dream is to one day have at least one more washer and dryer but I'm happy I at least have a set for now.  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Foster Care Licensing Chaos

Omgosh, we're finally done with all our foster care licensing!  We are just waiting for the final approval.  We started back in October and it took all of my free energy and time.  I'd take care of the kids all day and study late into the night.  Add 3 home inspections to that, CPR/First aid training, gaining 2 foster kids and losing 1, renters moving in and out, and just a normal large family chaos..... you get a lot of coffee.  Ha ha.  Ahhhhh, free time.  A little bit.


Large family life has really upped it's game on me.  I can hardly keep up.  I'm finally starting to realize that 10 kids (eight of my own and two foster kids) is about all I can handle.  No joke.  It has always been my dream to have my own kids but take in a couple and I'm living that dream!  I loooooove my life and so grateful for everything.  

Our foster daughter has never been to Disneyland so we are trying hard to make that happen for her. It's just gonna cost a ton to bring a large family there for the two day ticket price.  $1,902 to be exact.  That's JUST the entrance fee.  Wouldn't it just be so amazing to bring in kids and bless them with some adventures, hugs, and fun?  Yay!  A lot of time they go through some pretty rough stuff, traumatizing stuff.  I've known some that were trapped in their home and can't even go outside.  I had one foster son where his dream was to see the ocean.  He was moved to a group home before we could take him. For now, we can't wait to show the beach and Disneyland to our foster daughter.  But, ohhhh, the cost of traveling, hotel, and tickets are a bunch.  We're gonna give it our very best shot and if save like mad.

MY HEART FEELS SO BLESSED!  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

21 Day Fast for 2016

I decided to try and do my own version of a beginning of year break from certain things that may pull me away from important things.  Also, maybe try a certain kind of fast called a Daniel fast.  I don't know.  It should be interesting.  I struggle with telling you but at the same time, how do we encourage others if we don't?  This part confuses me.  My church is openly doing a 21 day fast and I'm picking things to break away from that are a personal struggle.  One is food.  I don't have an addiction to sweets or even pastas.  I mainly eat meat and vegetables but I'm gonna take mostly sugar out (except for coffee) and meat.  So no soda, even my favorite diet soda.  I KNOW that's bad for me. Also a media fast but an exception for Christian movies for encouragement.  :) 

I DID see War Room three times and I needed the encouragement so badly. I went through some struggles this last year and it spiritually and mentally had a toll on me.  I need to start this year out right and it's gonna be done the best way I know how. A time of focus on prayer and learning.

I wasn't sure either so I'm gonna post it here.  :D

Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon
All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.
All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.

Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast
All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
All sweetenersincluding but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.
All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.
Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
Remember, READ THE LABELS!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Saying Goodbye to a Very Hard 2015

This last year was one of the hardest years I've been through in a very long, long time.  I was so happy to say goodbye to 2015.  One thing I'm closing the door to is having any adult/families move in.  I'll help find friends a shelter if they're in need, and I have done that recently. I just can't have anyone moving in anymore unless it's foster children.  One reason I can't is because I am realizing that my parenting clashes sometimes with other parents. (NOT saying my parenting is superior and theirs is bad). I'm active in their every day life down to the nitty gritty. I work really hard at knowing each and every one of my kids down to knowing their favorite food, color, favorite clothing item, and secret struggles.  When you live with another family that lives completely different, it's extremely hard to mesh together with rules and expectations.  I've had two families live with us within 1 year so I'm closing the door to that chapter.  I know it was hard for them to live with us as well as we have so many rules.  We have to to function well as a large family.  We have LOTS of fun and we've worked so hard to make sure we have a fun house for kids.  Kids from other families often ask to come over. Rules doesn't mean we're mean.  We just have function.  There are wake times, breakfast times, school/homeschool time, chore time, game time, lunch/dinner, and bed times.  AND ABSOLUTELY NO WHINING when we ask these things because whining is also disobedience and defiance  We even have a 17 year old friend that knows he can come and go as he pleases.  We love and trust him very much.  He's very much earned it. 


Also, this last year we had some HUGE unexpected changes.  Back in July we rescued a friend from a bad situation.  She had three children as well.  While at the shelter, DCS decided it was best to remove the kids and place them in foster homes.  I cried and cried as I felt responsible being I removed them from their home. However, they were living in a bad situation with abuse so it wasn't a bad decision at all.  I saw the kids were very  much out of their mother's control and running all over her. She wasn't used to taking care of the kids without the father around.  Also, they were used to being managed with an iron fist.  Take that away and the kids just went wild.  I agreed with DCS to take the oldest son but not the other two.  I didn't think I could manage the small girl's behavior from what I saw.  Well, it's been 3 months and I found out two months ago that the girl was doing AMAZING in foster care and was very calm and happy.  I became friends with the foster mom and we started to share days with her.  (I named them Michael and Grace since I can't say real names.) I started have a feeling in my gut that something was going on and we HAD to take grace.  You would never believe it.  I called the DCS worker and told her we changed our mind and are willing to take in Grace.  The worker told me that if I hadn't of called that day, she was about to be taken to a relatives house.  A relative of the abuser and this person does NOT have a good relationship with Grace.  So, even though Grace was in an amazing foster home, family has preference and she would have transferred.  Because I have her sibling, I get top preference.  Well, she was placed in my home yesterday permanently until mommy gets them back.  :D  That was totally God putting her on my heart and brother is relieved.  

Charles and I have been working really, really hard to get our foster care license so once these two kids go back to their mom, we can minister to and take care of two more kids.  I'm so excited as this has been my dream for many, many years!!!  My biggest dream is to work in an orphanage but since I have children at home, I wasn't able to work at one till they were raised.  Foster care/adoption is the next best thing.  We've gone through many home inspections, paperwork, and have had lots of studying to complete.  We won't be done with our classes till the end of this month. I'll be so happy when we're done. 

On top of all this, I had a baby!  Ha ha.  I forget that physically and mentally 2015 was a humongous adjustment.  I didn't gain one kids last year, I gained three!  On top of that, people moving in and out of our house.  I'm starting this year off with prayer and fasting because I'm believing for it to be an amazing, peaceful year.

GOODBYE 2015!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Stress and Untangling Bad Habits

Old pic
We had a wacky and rough Thanksgiving.  Sigh.  Sometimes it's great having family and friends and sometimes it's.... hard.  I'll point out the blessings though.  :)  My mom helped me great in the kitchen and really took a load off my shoulders while cooking.  I had a friend coming over who had to work late so I waited to make a meal till evening time.  I was a bit tired but it was still awesome.  

It's been a bit of a transition for me into the fostering world.  Sometimes it's hard to retrain kids that aren't used to things being done the way we do.  The little girl we have absolutely flipped out when I asked her to help clean up with the girls.  I went to her brother and asked if she ever had to help.  He said no and that they had to do everything for her.  Luckily, she's young and there is plenty of time to fix that.  It'd be harder to retrain a kid with good habits in their teens.  Luckily, our teen foster son has really good work ethics.  He had to shoulder a big load before but we don't do that.  Here we have balance and everyone has to contribute down to 3 years old.  That way we don't have someone or just older kids bearing most the load.  Also, another thing we're adjusting is teaching her to get things for herself rather than relying on big brother to always rescue her to get menial stuff.  These are not big, big issues and little ones are easy to refocus in a different direction. 

I have so many things coming up like house inspection on December 9th.  Eek!  Also, we're right in the middle of foster care classes and although it's a lot of paperwork to study and fill out, we're one of the lucky few who can do it right from our home rather than be gone for hours every Saturday.  Yay!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Halloween 2015/ Foster Care Update

It's been amazing having 9 kids here ever since we got Michael.  It's definitely been an adjustment since I have a 6 month old and they both came in our lives almost around the same time.  So instead of adjusting for one kid, I'm adjusting for two kids.  So guess what??  I fought to get his baby sister Grace so now we'll soon be adjusting for 3! We will have 10 kids!  Wow!!!  Pray for Grace as DCS will be bringing it to court to get her in my custody. It takes a couple of weeks.  She's already in a foster home somewhere with people she doesn't know.  In my care she'll have her big brother.  So this is huge!  Michael has been in tears at times worrying about his little sister.  I can imagine how hard that would be on him.  He's always had a bond with her.  He has no idea as we are going to surprise him when she gets here.  I don't want to say she's coming and then it not work out in court. 




Ryan was a blind referee
Soooo, as much as I hate blurring Michael's face out of our family photo, it legally has to be done so I don't get in trouble.  It makes me sad because I don't like to leave kids out.  I explained to him it's for his safety and just the rules but we love him very much.  I'm just gonna make a personal album for us at home where his face can be shown.  :)

My sweet kids and little nephew Prestyn.  He's such a cutie and very smart for his age.  Anyway, we had fun for Halloween.  This was the first year we bought used costumes as we decided it was ridiculous to go and buy new costumes for only one day of the year.  If I had a couple of kids it'd be fine but for nine kids, it'd be a ton of money.  We had fun storming the used costume stores!  Haha. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

One More Blessing

We have another boy added to the family through foster placement!  Tonight I start my first class in order to get my foster care license.  Should be interesting adding it to my already busy schedule.  Michael is 13 years old and the sweetest, sweetest boy.  I actually am friends with his mommy and unfortunate circumstances temporarily took them from her care.  I love the mommy very much.  The whole process feels complicated right now being the life has already gone through some major changes this last year but I know God will help me through it.


We have been talking about turning our garage into a big fun room but now it seems more necessary than before.  There are 12 people in this house and we only have 4 bedrooms.  Also, our patio was made to be an optional 5th bedroom.  We need to enclose it to either make it a 5th bedroom or open up our living room more.  Either way it cost money so that's our only hold up.  We pay everything with cash and not credit. 


Please pray that we can successfully get our foster care license.  I don't know if it'll be easier because we already have a foster placement in our home and already went through background checks and home inspection.  All that was passed.  I guess I'll see because this is all new to me.  I'm going to try and take the crash course in order for the process to go faster getting my license. :)

Friday, October 02, 2015

"Don't You Think Your Kids Need School Socialization?"

Well, the school thing for my kids has been unbelievably horrid.  I put Kyle, Ivy, Ashley, and Caleb in a charter school.  Kyle had gotten bullied so badly that we switched him to another school.  It went good for the first day and then went way downhill after that.  Kyle has been dragging his feet since the second day.  Kids are calling him gay and making fun of him for not going after girls.  Yeah, we've taught him over and over that you focus on academics and not on crushes.  Why would they?  He's only 12 years old and can't marry till he's 18.  It's okay to think a girl is pretty, of course.  Thankfully, he listened to the advice and he thinks of school as a place to learn and not worry so much about the opposite sex.  Kids have said vulgar things about him to his face.  Sex acts that they think he wants to do to other boys.  Writing love letters to boys and signing Kyle's name. Another kid would stand over him and block him so when it was dismissal time he couldn't get up.  Then if he tried, he'd get shoved down.  Kyle's confidence level has gone way done.  It's only October!  He's been in school less than a month.  All three bullies were separate incidences and all three were suspended.  However, when one kid is suspended, another kid steps up to take their place.  I get comments from the teacher that Kyle is very respectful to them and he's such a good kid.  In fact, his teacher from the first school said she misses him because he was her only respectful student.  Really?  REALLY?  Why?  Her only respectful student?  That is very sad.  :( Every morning on the way to school Kyle and I will talk about the bullying.  He asked me why they hate him so much.  I told him because he's different.  It makes people uncomfortable when you listen, do your work, are respectful to authority and they aren't.  It's like shining a light into their heart and exposing them.  He's not meaning to, but his exampleship not only makes him stand out, it makes them feel bad.  We talked about right responses to insults and violence done to him.  He's tried going to the principal but she's talked so down to him he doesn't want to go to her.  He shakes like a leaf in front of her.  I've gone into the office and talked to her.  I told her I've taught my kids to never pick a fight but they can defend themselves.  Both teachers he had from two different schools told me they are not allowed to defend themselves.  They just go to a teacher.  That's why sometimes bullying continues.  Kyle got in trouble because he got cornered and was being shoved down.  Because he was cornered and no one to help him, he punched the kid in the gut and was able to run away.  Soooo, maybe by him defending himself that kid will think twice.  Every day, every single day, Kyle begs me to keep him home.  He's been sad and lost confidence.  He LOVED the school on the first day but when you spend your day watching your back and enduring what he has, you lose your love of learning.  This is why I get upset when people tell me I need to socialize my kid.  Really?  With kids that swear all day, talk about sex acts they want to do with each other, yell sex acts at my son and make fun of him?  I vaguely remember 4 years ago my kids going through being choked and beat up in school and me saying that this was not the kind of socialization I want my kids to have.  I'm giving him the weekend to think about being pulled.  He wants to come home and be a part of bible studies again and learning here.  He will have regular teachers since it's through a school, it'd just be at home. 

Kyle's 12th birthday

I really don't think it's a mistake my boys are respectful.  I really, really believe it's because they've had good socialization.  We were able to watch what kind of friends they had and their influences.  Respect is taught at home.  Clean language is taught at home.  Kindness is taught at home.  Character quality is taught at home.  It's really hard to keep that training if it's sabotaged all day.  Teachers can only do their best but it's so sad when instead of teaching academics, they have to worry about bullying, disrespect, perversion, and keeping a bunch of rowdy kids from climbing the walls.

Next time a parent asks me if I think my kids need more socialization, I'll just say, "No thanks.  Not that kind of socialization."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New School and New Bullies

Okay, this is the news.  I had talked about how I was going to take a break this year.  I had gotten so busy I hadn't blogged much this past year.   Now you believe me?  Ha!  I love to blog! 



Ryan tested into 9th grade rather than into 8th so him and Chaz will be starting high school together.  I got them into a school district but they do their work at home.  They have their own teacher so it takes the load off of me a bit.  I asked them if they wanted to attend a high school together.  The only catch is I would not allow them to go to a regular 4 year high school but one that goes down all the way to Kindergarten.  It's a charter school and they'd be with their siblings.  They both said no, they'd rather stay home.  So it is what it is.  :)  Four kids at home and four kids in a charter school.  The only one that does not want to be there is Kyle.  He got bullied on his first day and every day since.  Thankfully, they're completely against bullying and once he brought it to their attention they caught the boy and got him to stop.  Hopefully he's done bullying my son for good.  We'll see.  Many times I've always believed that bullying is learned behavior.  The sad thing is I'm hoping it's not because the bully is being bullied at home or anywhere else.  :(  Maybe Kyle and I should pray together for him.  He said the kids in the class are extremely disrespectful and swear all the time. Just because he doesn't do those things, it's made Kyle more noticeable. Now they're coming after Kyle because he's different.  I told Kyle to stand strong.  It's a GREAT thing to be different and it's even more awesome that it's because he's respectful and does his work!  :D

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Year, New Changes

Wow, some big changes around here.  Can't talk about the details.  Just that there was a domestic violence situation with a family I knew, drove out of state to get them, did a stakeout for 6 hours, pulled them out, and now they are in a domestic violence shelter far away.  It was a very rough time as they were temporarily in my home until we could find a place.  It was so packed full of people here we always had a line to the bathroom and to the microwave.  Haha.  It was a rough time as it really worked on my patience level to be able to manage 15 people in the house. 


I've been homeschooling for a few years now so I decided to take a break this year and only homeschool my oldest two.  I'll four kids in charter school.  So I'll have four kids in school and four kids at home.  I'm gonna spend this year really focusing on my older two and their education.  I'd like to take them on field trips and just spend this year getting closer to them.  Also, I need some time with Juliet and potty training her.  I don't know.  I just wanted to shake things up again.  Change the routine.  The four kids going to school are super excited and I think we all needed a bit of a change for awhile.  Sometimes it's hard to appreciate things when in the same routine for a long while.  Tomorrow is their first day.  :D

I already have my whole week planned!  I have to schedule appointments for the heart doctor and skin doctor for myself.  My doctor was a bit concerned.  My son Chaz has to have a blood test to make sure he's okay.  Jaxon might be getting a helmet for his head in two months.  He'll wear it till he's 18 months old.  So basically for a year.  Juliet, like I said, needs potty training and some focus on her behavior.  Right now she's got so many siblings catering to her. Argh.  That's the problem when you have a naughty 3 year old that is just so cute they get away with things.  I have some major projects I need to do in the house, like turning my garage into a playroom. It's gonna be a huge job.  I have huuuuge plans for this school year and need the extra time. 


My life just has exploded with busyness and I need to get a grip on it.  I'm absolutely in love with my family.  Wow, as hard as I work for my husband and eight kids, I wouldn't trade them for anything!! Just need a change in the routine.  I even have their new curriculum sitting on top of the armoir right now but I sending it back on Tuesday.  I'm hoping I have lots more time for blogging as well.  My kids actually went to bed early in anticipation for school tomorrow.  We'll see how long that lasts.  Haha. 

Anyhow, I have to include an amazing video of my kids and their friends at camp with our church this past summer.  Amazing!  It is neat seeing them in the video.  I absolutely with all my heart love the people at my church.  Wow... :D

Hey remember that one time we went to Camp. Oh yea that was cool!
Posted by 4Eighty Student Ministries on Tuesday, August 18, 2015




Sunday, June 21, 2015

What God Joins Together...

Yes, I'm a Christian.  I asked Jesus into my heart when I was a little girl.  He has STAYED in my heart since then and I love him.  I'm so grateful for all he's done. But....

I NEED HELP TODAY AND THE NEXT FEW DAYS TO ACT LIKE A CHRISTIAN. 

Help.


Today, I will not punch anyone, kick anyone, or make dirty faces at anyone who hurt my friends.  I will try and stay calm.  No, I WILL stay calm.  That is what Jesus would want me to do.  I can't teepee someone's house.  How in the world can anyone justify interfering in someone's marriage and try to pull them apart?  Especially their own kids' marriages?  Why?  How is that okay?  I have seen this happen over and over and over.  Never from a Christian mom though.  Christian moms should know better because of the scriptures saying for a man to leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife.  That no one should ever come in between them.  A Christian mom KNOWS better.  It HURTS to stand by and watch it happen time after time again. 

Lord, help me to pray for them and not just be angry.  Being angry of the constant pain moms like these cause doesn't help anything.  Prayer does. 

I will pray...

"Jesus, I pray for this awesome, beautiful, amazing family.  I pray you will protect them and keep them safe from anyone that would try to hurt them by coming in between them with a purpose to separate.  I pray you'll protect their hearts and give them joy and peace.  I pray against any curses spoken against their marriage.  You created marriage, I know you can began to work a healing.  Please hold this marriage safely in your hands.  Amen."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Time is Passing


As a mom, how do I be okay with watching my little ones just grow up and move away.  I sit here at 1am, looking at photos of acquaintances and their kids, realizing that I only blinked and they're grown.  Why does time have to go so fast?  Why?  Can't we hold onto time just a little longer?  In 2 months I'll have a 14 and 15 year old.  Did I do enough?  Did I show them the love of Christ through me?  Do they really know I'd give my life for them if I had to?  Not just in serving my family but in every way.  How do I let go?  Now I understand that look on my mom's face the day I moved out of her house into my little apartment.  Her baby was leaving...

Chaz (6) at school

   
A bored Chaz (14) sitting through a lecture at a school
It felt so safe when all my kids were 10 and younger.  No need for driving lessons, high school, and no teenage hormones to deal with.  It was simple before.  I only had to worry about toys, pj's, favorite snacks, and teasing.  

Kyle (3), Ryan (5), Chaz (6) being silly
This pic above is how young they were around the time I started this blog.  :D

How is it that some parents are so happy their kids are grown and gone.  I'm still sitting here reminiscing with their old favorite blankies and telling them funny stories from when they were small.  I'm only 36.  I can understand when people say they feel so young, yet their bodies show everyone else their real age. I still remember dreaming of the day I'd get married and have a little girl named Ashley.  Now I have a Chaz, Ryan, Kyle, Ivy, Ashley, Caleb, Juliet, and Jaxon.  Ashley made it on that list. Right there in the middle. Surrounded by love.  Who knew I'd get blessed so many times over?  I could never of imagined. 

Ryan (13) saying hi through our cameras while daddy was away on business trip




Monday, June 15, 2015

Yes, Christians Can Have Peace

These last few months have been a mental struggle for me.  As much as I've tried to put my past beliefs behind me, I somehow have people in my life that follow me to remind me I've gone astray from God.  I know God's promises.  I remember His peace He gave me.  When I had this peace, I was mocked and was told "It's only because you've given up so the devil won't fight you anymore." With that I said,

"You will keep in perfect peace ALL who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on you." Isaiah 26:3-4

"The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace." Psalms 29:11

No, it's not a sign of true Christianity when you're constantly tormented or vice versa.  It's okay that Christians go through trials and it will happen.  However, it's also very possible for God to give peace even through these trials.  Me having peace doesn't mean I'm unsaved.

Yesterday in service I was watching my son in the front raising his hands in worship, next to his best friend who was also lifting his hands in praise.  I was in awe.  So in awe of the changes I have seen in these boys.  Seeing my other son serve in sound ministry and with a joyful heart. Wow!  At their age, I was more worried about when service was going to be over and what we were going to have for lunch.  It's almost been 2 years since we attended our new church and the investment they have put into my kids has dramatically made a difference.  That's not how I was at 13 and 14.  Sometimes I have to shake my head to see if I'm dreaming.  Did God really take me out of deep depression and give me this new life just a year and 9 months ago?  How did I deserve this?  Even when I was shaking my fist at God and asking why.  More like shouting.  He never left me.  Even through the heartache and abandonment by my friends, I shouted and I cried, but He never left me.  He was always there.  I didn't know because I put man's opinion and rules above His.  He never meant for His people to carry such a heavy burden of works.

"For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:30

Yet, as much as I felt burdened by other people's heavy standards, I have no hatred, no bitterness, but a sadness.  I've been there.  I've carried the burden of works and had no peace.  I had none because every night I would question whether or not I did enough to make God pleased with me.  I constantly testified about what God was doing in my life and how He's given me joy and peace.  Every bit of it was a lie.  I knew what to say but never truly felt what I claimed.  I felt like a liar every time I said it.

When I realized a whole section of the bible, tons and tons of scriptures that I once had been blind to, was about how we can't earn our way into heaven.  Not before OR AFTER salvation, I felt like that guy in the movie "Pilgrims Progress". The part where he's standing at the cross and the humongous burden on his back falls off and rolls away.  I thought that part was just for sinners.  No, it was for me.  That heavy burden was of works.  Does my back still sometimes feel sore from carrying that burden for 34 years?  Yes, it does.  But when I remember His promises, that we are saved by grace, not by works, I straighten my back and keep on going.  I can never, ever, ever let anyone take His gift of peace from me.  He doesn't give a select church group peace.  He gives ALL his people peace.



"God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." Ephesians 2:8-9

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to Him, the power of the life giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.  So God did what the law could not do.  He sent his own son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.  And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be FULLY satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the spirit." Romans 8:1-4

"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before who eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?  This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  Are you so foolishHaving BEGUN by the spirit, are you now being PERFECTED BY THE FLESH? Did you suffer so many things in vain, if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?  Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Galatians 3: 1-6

Thank you for Your peace, Jesus. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Survival Mode

Okay, sometimes there are days where Juliet puts me in complete survival mode. I feel as if I'm literally just surviving the day. It's gotten that hard. It's like she took the confidence I had in how I raised all the other kids and shred it to pieces. Yet, she can be incredibly cute. Do you know what that means? It means she wars with our heart. Haha. One moment you want to scream and the next moment you want to cuddle her. I would cuddle her AND scream but that might look scary. I've tried gates yet she figured them out. I have one gate left she can't figure out that keeps her in the big living room area. She has closely been watching people open and shut it. She's currently working on it. I keep lots of toys and fun stuff in there yet she's not happy with only having a living room to rule. Have mercy!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Circumcision Day for Baby Jaxon

Cuddling Jaxon after he had his circumcision
Man, I feel emotionally drained from yesterday.  Jaxon had his circumcision.  After the doctor took him in I left outside so I wouldn't hear him crying.  However, he did have major numbing first.  I think they more hate being strapped to the board.  STILL.  My baby, strapped to a board, getting circumcised.  Sigh.  Needed to be done. After it was done I had to sit in the office, feed him and then let them check him again.  It's sad seeing it the first day.  :(  His first diaper change he cried so hard that I cried right along with him.  I was crying hard while trying to change him.  Then on the way home I had to change him again.  I was fumbling because he was on my lap and I couldn't work fast.  He started peeing all over me and screaming.  Oh gosh... my mommy heart. By the night he no longer cried during diaper changes.  I made sure to completely cover in vaseline with each change and put a nonstick pad over the top.  This morning he didn't even fuss at all during both diaper changes.  He's back to his happy baby self.  My eyes are bloodshot from crying.  Gosh, I love my sons.  This is my 5th son getting circumcised.  When I found out at 3 months pregnant I was having a boy, this is the first thing I thought about.  Oh man, another circumcision.  Thank goodness they heal SO FAST.  Another reason I was feeling down yesterday was because he's only gained 7oz since he was born.  They told me he's not gaining enough and I have to suppliment with the bottle.  I've always, always struggled with my milk supply with every baby.  :(
Jaxon (2 1/2 weeks old)
Juliet (turning 3 this week) and daddy
The house is often so quiet with only a few times where it gets loud because we're all playing together.  Often I don't feel like I have eight kids.  It happens to me often where someone will tell me they are pregnant with their ninth kid and I'm like, "Holy cow.  Pregnant with their ninth!!  Wow, blessed lady!"  Then it dawns on me...wait a minute.  I have eight kids as well.  What am I talking about?  I'm blessed as well!!!  It just doesn't register to me that we are a large family.  I thought it'd be so much harder to have so many kids.  The laundry and mess piles may be bigger and the food dinners bigger to prepare but overall, once I had my first kid, that's where the real battle lay for me.  My selfishness had to DIE.  It was a really hard, hard, hard, hard, hard battle.  HARD.  Now, when new babies come, it's truly a JOY because I appreciate each little, tiny phase.  No more wishing I was done with this phase or that phase.  I was truly worried that when I had Jaxon, it would be hard to have a newborn again.  Nope.  It's been wonderful!!!  Even getting up in the middle of the night, watching him under the moon glow.  It's his most awake time.  Mama is tired but I know it's better to give him kisses than to grumble about my sleep.  Newborn time is such a tiny period.  :D  Happy, happy, happy sigh.

Thank you, Jesus, for each little phase of childhood.  Each one is truly a blessing as it changes and challenges us in different ways. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Baby Jaxon Martin!!!!

Okay, so I'm in love.... again!!!! My sweet baby boy was born on April 24th.  What an amazing experience and by far my easiest labor. Can any future babies I have be this easy to deliver?


I went in at 7am but they didn't get things started till 9am. By 3pm I had him after only one push! By the time I was dilated to a 9, the pain was so manageable that none of us thought it was time. Sigh... If only it were always this fast and easy. After I birthed him I wasn't tired, worn out, nor was I sore. Just an incredible experience. Maybe God had mercy on me after getting so sick with acid reflux the last 3 months. Ha.



Anyway, what is wrong with me? I don't blog as often. I know I'm a mom of eight (whoa) but still.... I love to blog!  I still don't feel like I have 8 kids. When I'm around them it feels like a small group of kids. I JUST had Jaxon and my oldest son is asking me to have more. He's worried I'll run out of time and get too old. Funny! I'm only ummm.... (seriously can't remember how old I am. Hold on.) I'm only gonna be 36 this June! Okay, if I was gonna be 37 in June I would have freaked. Phew. WOW, I really am running out of time.... Sigh. Why does time have to go so fast? Why do we have to age so fast? There is sooooo much living to do but the childbearing years are so short. :( Thank you, God, for my 8 babies and the one You have in Heaven. Thank you for alllllll your blessings.


Anyway, I can't wait to share more photos soon!