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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Advocate...But For Who??

I have to admit in these days and times advocates are in many ways a necessity in our society. The rights of so many who can't advocate for themselves get overlooked or taken away because they can't speak for themselves. But it seems those doing the advocating don't always have their priorities in order or completely overlook the rights of others in order to advocate for their clients.

I have a BIG issue with this, especially when the rights being overlooked are the rights of innocent children unable to speak for themselves.

The mentally ill often lose far too many rights, simply because they may not even be aware of those rights, or not able to think clearly for themselves at a given time. At times like this an advocate can play a very important role in making sure the clients needs are being met.

But sometimes I feel these advocates forget that there are others who have rights that are being stripped away while they are advocating for their client. Take for example my daughter who suffers from severe often untreated Bipolar Disorder and my not quite six week old granddaughter.

Last month my granddaughter was removed from my daughters home as it appeared it was not safe for her to be there. While I was hoping my daughter would be able to raise this child, there were enough facts that made it very concerning that this may not be possible. It pretty much looked like an open and shut case. I don't believe anyone involved wanted my grandchild removed forever, just wanted to be sure there would be proper oversight, a care plan and safety measures in place. Seems reasonable enough considering my daughters medical, mental, legal, and substance abuse issues.

Then steps in the mental health advocates with their big guns. To the awe of everyone involved my granddaughter was returned almost on the spot!! Yea for those advocates, they won for their client!!?? But did my grandchild win? Let's see.....

Less than three days later my daughter had health issues and a friend of mine had to step in and take the baby, where were those advocates then? My daughter recovered, but was homeless yet wanted her baby back, where were those advocates then? My daughter enters a program mainly to have housing and starts becoming unstable mentally and daily was seeking medication help from her mental health workers, yet to this date has yet to even get an appointment with a real physician and remains unmedicated. Where were those advocates?

Then , the final straw....last night I get a phone call from a friend that my daughter gave the baby to someone telling him to "get rid of it" She is now unable to be located and is not answering calls or text messages and the baby was taken to a shelter and placed once again in CPS custody. Where the hell are these freaking advocates???

This baby has been in 5-6 homes with as many care givers in less than five weeks of life. Where are HER advocates? Where are my daughters advocates when she just needs help with maintenance? They are there to win the big shows but who are they really advocating for? Themselves? Because other than giving a baby back that should have never been given back they haven't done a darn thing other than make things worse!!

Now my granddaughter is once again in the system with no one to advocate for her! Of course I will be her advocate and do everything I can, but I am a whole state away and can't even get custody until my daughter gets yet another chance, if she ever shows up safe and sound, and I am sure those advocates will once again show up to do more damage than has already been done.

Thanks advocates, job well done!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mystery Solved!!

The other day as my husband was digging up roots on the property, he dug up along with the huge root what appeared to be two snakes. Being a reptile lover and somewhat knowledgeable of such things I had to admit that I wasn't quite sure what these were! My first guess was brand new baby rosy boas, but upon looking in my reptile field guide, the colors made it seem it could be a rubber boa. I was quite excited, thinking they would make great pets! One for me and one for my dear brother who is the one I owe my love of reptiles to.

The incredibly small size kept throwing me for a loop though. Even for a newborn, these were just too small. I considered a yellow-bellied racer for a while, but the size was still an issue.

Thanks to my 12 year old who suggested the possibility of a blind snake, I investigated a bit further and am now 100 % convinced I know what these are!! LEGLESS LIZARDS!! I found several photos on the web and thanks to California Herps. Com I am sure this is what we have.

According to the articles I read, they will eat meal worms, YUCK!! Maybe we will admire them for a day or two and release them, as I don't think I want to touch a nasty worm!

Here are some photos of the little critters.

The photos on the California Herps Site are much better if you really want to see what they look like.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jesus Camp/The Lord's Boot Camp

I have been pondering these films for sometime since first seeing them a year or so ago. Actually I had thought I was thinking of strictly Jesus Camp(see the full movie here for FREE) But after researching a bit to do this post, I realized while I had lot's of disturbing thoughts about this film, the one that left me pondering it for all this time was actually The Lords Boot Camp which was a 48 hours TV special awhile back.

I am not sure I even want to touch on Jesus Camp as it is so disturbing, but I will. It is these types of religious nuts that give Christianity a bad name and make me at times embarrassed to admit to being one. There were several scenes in this movie that were actually frightening. My 12 year old was on another computer in the room not even paying attention to me watching this film on my computer, but turned around for one scene and said "what are you watching?" "It looks like they're worshipping some other kind of god." These kids were speaking gibberish(otherwise known as speaking in tongues) and shaking, almost convulsing. It was very unsettling. Having been a Christian for about 16-17 years of my adult life, and growing up off and on in a church of some sort or another, I have never seen anything like this. I know it's out there, I've heard of it, just never seen it. If my church started doing stuff like that, I'd be running, not walking out the door!
They are training these kids to walk up to strangers with the intent of "saving" them. Now, I don't have a problem with evangelising so to speak, but these encounters came off as very unnatural, uncaring, and just weird!
The leader/founder of this camp seems to be trying to raise some sort of "army for the Lord." To me it is pure indoctrination. I have heard non-believers talk of indoctrination, but didn't quite get what they were taking about, now I do, and I see why it is so disturbing. These little kids can talk all the church-ease but can't really back any of it up with their own thoughts and opinions. In the end they end up looking and sounding like ignorant robots, not likely to do any real, sincere "soul-winning." Very closed minded as well. One of the mothers commented "there are two types of people, those who love Jesus, and those who don't" and alluded to the fact they don't have much tolerance for those who don't. Well, I got news for you, Jesus loves all, even those who don't yet know Him, and we are instructed to do the same, where's the love?
The big agenda in all of this seems to be very political, and as a Christian myself, I still question the role, if any Christianity should play in politics. My concern is that these children are clearly being manipulated and used to serve an agenda that has little to do with true Christianity.
I will let you choose wether to watch or not and form your own opinions, but it just left me feeling quite unsettled. I hope people who do choose to watch this film don't think all Christians are like this, because they're not, although I do see a movement in that direction these days.
The movie I was confusing this with was actually a 48 hours TV Special; The Lords Boot Camp. This one, I had mixed feelings about. There were some very good parts of this show, and some that really upset me even more than the above film.
This special showed a number of teens attending a camp that trains them to be missionaries. As someone who for a long time has desired to serve as a missionary to a foreign country, I watched this with great interest.
The back stories of some of these young teens was actually more interesting than the pretense of the film itself and the impact this camp had on each teen was interesting as well. As far as an enjoyment factor, I'd give this show a slightly higher rating, but it still had plenty of faults in regards to depicting Christianity.
These teens after receiving training went off on short term mission trips. Some went to far off Africa(these scenes were particularly good!) and others stayed in the US and tried their hand at "Soul Winning" at state fairs, retirement homes and more. These are the scenes that left me upset for months after watching.
One scene in particular was at the state fair and included an encounter with a Mormon, where a young teen supposedly "converted" her right there, with the mothers great disapproval.(all of these scenes, can be viewed at YouTube with the whole show viewed in 4-5 segments) But the most upsetting scene for me was this one, that took place at the retirement home;

This old, frail woman prayed the "sinners prayer" "gave her life to the Lord" and was so visibly shaken and moved emotionally and as I watched I wanted to reach out and hug this dear woman, and this, stupid, selfish girl who just "saved" this woman wouldn't, what was she concerned with? "Getting a form" This pissed me off more than words could express, I was literally yelling at the screen "hug the woman, just hug her!!" This selfish little girl was more concerned with getting her form filled out to "prove" she had "saved" someone, so she can get her brownie points or whatever reward was offered to bribe these children into "soul winning." They had a goal of 300 souls to be won that summer, according to them, they made it. Yea for them??

I have a BIG problem when "soul winning" becomes a sport or competition to "prove" what a great Christian you are, to earn some sort of prize or recognition. This is one of many things in Christian Culture that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I have been called a "moderate" Christian, and at first was offended as I consider my relationship with my God very deep and sincere, but I guess when compared to these sorts of Christians, I am moderate and thankful for it! I want to be nothing like them, and want nothing to do with them! I really try hard not to be judgemental of others, but it is hard not to when they take so much pride in themselves and their good works, and make it a spectacle for all to see.

So I will take the moderate label and wear it proudly, so as long as I am not lumped into the crowd with folks like those featured in these films! My faith is my own, and I am more than happy to share it anywhere any time with anyone who wants to know more, but I am not out there shoving down peoples throats only to pat myself on the back and keep a running tally of how many "saves" I have this week!

And yet, many a Christian wonders why they are seeing less and less numbers in their pews each week and why so many youth are leaving the church? They only have to look as far as these two films to find the answer!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! Here are my little not so merry looking merry makers to spread some Christmas joy...(silly mom, waited till after the manger scene to do pictures, they were not the most cooperative merry makers at that point!) I think they're cute none-the-less!

And a reminder from Mother Teresa that Christmas isn't just about the gifts, or just about one day out of the year:

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you...yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.--Mother Teresa

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

20 and Counting!!

Wow! Those Duggars are at it again, they just had number 18! They never cease to amaze me. Not so much in the number of children, anybody can do that if they were so inclined, but that they are so calm and patient and that they do this all debt free!

I have admitted here before, that I haven't always been a very big Duggar fan. I think they are neat, and I admire them immensely, but I just feel like I can't relate to them. On their show, they come off as nearly perfect, their children are nearly perfect and that is just something I can't relate to at all.

I recently got a copy of their new book; 20 and Counting

They are very open and honest in this book, and I have gained a whole new respect for them! They admit to mistakes they made along the way. They explain why they do the things they do, that may seem curious or different to outsiders. They are very warm and friendly in this book.

This book is also full of great organization tips and child-rearing pointers. There are little snippets throughout with recipes, tips, and input from the children.

This book landed in my hands at just the right time. I was struggling a bit with some trust and faith issues, and this book is full of stories of how prayers were amazingly answered in incredible ways, even for something as simple as a vacuum cleaner! It just goes to show that He really does care about ALL of our needs, even the little ones!

Any homeschooling mom would benefit from Michelle's tips and advice, if she can get it all done with 18, it should be a piece of cake for those of us with just a few. With only part of one chapter of this book devoted to homeschooling, there is plenty to be benefited from for those of you not homeschooling.

Dad's too will enjoy this quick and easy read as they read about the sometimes funny and sometimes not-so funny trials that Jim-Bob goes through starting several businesses and other financial ventures, even a scary robbery!

This is a good read and you will find yourself not wanting to put it down and most likely will finish it in just a sitting or two!

Walk This Way

Since having to give up Kendo a little over a year ago I have had quite a hard time finding a fitness routine I could stick to. I still faithfully practice Yoga daily, but to keep those pounds off I need aerobic activity as well. While I love hiking or just outdoor walking, to do it with the kids I have to slow down my pace so slow, that I don't really get my heart rate up enough for any calorie burning benefit.

Most regular aerobic DVD's are too rough on my nearly 40 year old left knee that likes to act up from time to time. I also with the exception of Yoga do not really care to sit in front of a TV for my fitness routine, I like it to be more of a natural part of my life such as Kendo was or hiking. But, as the pounds creep back on, I am going to have to settle I suppose.

After trying several aerobic and walking at home videos and just about throwing my knee out for good, I finally found Leslie Sansone's videos, and they are great!!

She has put out far too many to count, and I have tried more than a few and been quite impressed with them all! She has several for beginners, or those who haven't exercised in a while, and several more intermediate and advanced ones as well. She has several that combine strength training as well. These are my favorites!

What I love about these, is unlike other similar programs, they are WALKING programs, based on 3-4 basic steps. Others are more of a complicated dance routine, and I am the least coordinated person there is, I don't need anything so complicated!

She has something for everybody! She has Christian titles(the Walk the Walk series) which I enjoy the upbeat familiar Christian hymns, a great way to start your day, but I find them a bit to slow moving for my physical needs, to more secular titles that just focus on fat burning.

After just a little over two weeks of doing these along with my regular yoga routine, I have lost four pounds and a half an inch on my waist and a whole inch on my hips! I haven't changed my eating habits at all, other than adding in far too many chocolates and other holiday goodies!

One question I get asked alot, is when do I find time for this? Well, I make time! My physical health is too important to not take care of. My mother died rather young of severe heart disease, and I am trying to not follow in those foot steps. So, I get up at 5:15 am every day Monday-Friday and spend a few minutes online, then I go do 30-45 minutes of one of these great walking videos followed by an hour of Yoga. This gets me done close to 8:00 AM about when the kids are all getting up and fussy for breakfast and such. I find if I don't do this first thing in the morning, and put it off for later in the day, it never gets done!

If you find you've put on a few pounds this holiday season(like who hasn't) you may want to give one or two of these a try! I have found many of the titles through my libraries online inter- library loan system, a great way to try before you buy, for free!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Could Be Better?

Than a way too cool and hip seventeen year old who still loves his mom enough to make her something special for Christmas?

I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but it is like a sculpted picture. I am sure there is some proper artistic name for it, but I can't come up with it. It is quite neat though. He actually made the sculpture part four years ago, but mounted it and painted it this week.

I can think of something almost as cool......a halo wearing two year old who comes up and gives Grandma-ma a big ol' hug "just because."

Now back to my scheduled cookie baking.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Few More....

With Christmas just a few days away I am really starting to get into the holiday spirit; baking cookies, wrapping gifts, watching holiday films, and of course taking far too many holiday quizzes! Here are a few more to help put you in the mood as well!

You Are a Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie

You are a social, friendly, caring person.

You are good at helping people. You have a very giving heart.

You are a natural teacher or counselor. You get value from making someone's life better.

You are trustworthy, and a natural problem solver.

You Are an Angel

A truly giving soul, you understand the spirit of Christmas.

Your Christmas is Classic

Your wish for the New Year is more happiness.

For you, Christmas is a spiritual holiday. You can't separate it from your beliefs.

You are patient when it comes to Christmas. You don't celebrate too early, and you don't like seeing holiday decorations in October.

You like to have an authentic, traditional Christmas. Doing it the old fashioned way is important to you.

You like to celebrate Christmas your own way, and you don't like to have to compromise.

You are too busy to really get into Christmas, but you try to do a little to celebrate.

You try to give as much as possible during the holidays. You are quite generous.

What The Holidays Mean to You

For you, the holidays are about generosity. You give as much as you possibly can to friends, family, and charity.

You celebrate the holidays in a natural style. Homemade gifts are your favorite, and you can't stand imitation Christmas trees or wreaths

During the holidays, you feel like having fun. Tradition is not important to you... having a blast with your friends is.

You think the holidays should be decadent and indulgent. You never mind gaining a few holiday pounds... it's worth it!

Your favorite holiday memories strongly evoke your senses. You are vividly aware of all the tastes, smells, and sounds of the holidays.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Charlie Brown Christmas??

I found this fun little quiz today while browsing some new blogs. I was hoping to get something traditional like "Little House on the Prairie" for my answer, but this is probably more reflective of us anyway.

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.

Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

Take it and see what you get, and come back and let me know!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Powerful Advice For Christians......From An Athiest!

I came across this on a forum I frequent and was quite touched by it:

The most thought provoking line for me was when he says "How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about eternity"

While I found this a very interesting and thought provoking video, I hope my fellow Christians don't use it as an excuse to beat people over the heads with their Bibles, or try to shove it down peoples throat, there is a difference in speaking in Love and what often happens when many try to "evangelize."

Kindness and genuine love can go much further than the more brutal tactics I often see from many a "christian." That means if you genuinely love someone, you still love them whether they are a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist or what ever. You don't stop loving them just because they don't adopt your belief system.

I firmly believe while we should give everyone a chance to be presented with the Message, alot more can be accomplished by just living out what you believe than any other method. As a matter of fact that is just what eventually led me to seek out God when I had pretty much turned my back on him. It was a family members living example that made me curious. Funny thing is, these family members aren't even considered "true Christians" because of their denomination. While I never did join their particular brand of faith, it was their example of really being what they said they believed versus the hypocrites I saw around me, and their lack of judging, and the unconditional love they gave that made me a seeker.

They never pushed what they believed on me, and to this day they probably don't even know that it was their example that led me back to God. I guess that's what it's about, not earning brownie points or bragging "I saved this many people this week," not trying to prove others wrong, it's just about loving and living out what you claim to believe.

Funny, that an Atheist has a better grasp on "evangelism" than many "Christians" I know!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Wonderland??

Last night it snowed yet more, and with the winds gone the white stuff even stayed on the trees. I have to admit it looks quite beautiful, but I must also admit, I HATE winter! I HATE snow!

Now, I try to keep this blog somewhat positive, mostly because I am generally a positive thinking type person. Let's face it with the many trials in my life if I thought any other way I'd be on anti-depressants myself. But, I also try and keep this blog honest, and if I were to be 100% honest, I have to admit to my hatred of winter, snow and of all other things cold.

Sure it's pretty, but it's COLD! I guess I must really love my husband as I gave up my warm tropical island paradise of Maui to come back to the mainland and marry him. I never regret that decision, except in winter! I guess it is just getting cold everywhere as today I looked up the temperatures for Palm Springs, Yuma, and every other normally warm place I could think of and they were all in the 30's for the lows and the 50's for the highs! UGH! So much for global warming? I'd say we're entering an ice age! Yes, I am whining, and I am a big baby. Comfortable for me is 90 and I love the 100's as well. Anything below 80 is very cold to me!

Besides being cold, winter is just plain messy. Sure the kids and dad have a great time sledding, and building snowmen and all of that other fun(for them!) stuff, but me the mom gets stuck cleaning the mud and water off the floor each time they run in and out to warm up. I also get stuck dusting every day, sometimes several times a day because of all the ash the fire place expels. Then, being home bound! Being a homeschool mom, I am used to being at home, just about nearly all of the time, but I know I can leave whenever the mood strikes. But when my van is parked in the middle of the road four miles away stuck in snow all of a sudden I get cabin fever! Yes, you heard me right, my precious Tinkermobile(if you saw it, you'd get the name!) is stuck in several feet of snow at the bottom of the hill.

So, here I am stuck in the freezing cold, trapped in the dirty house with nothing more to do than come here and whine about it all. I guess while I am at it I will share a few pictures of what we woke up to this morning!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Still Coming Down!

At the request of some friends and family, here are a few photos of our unusual snow fall taken since those first ones this morning. We are still waiting for Dad to get home who has been stuck about 2 miles away for the last hour and a half now!

Snow Day!!

We woke up to lots of snow and it hasn't stopped yet!! The weather advisory is warning at our level we'll get 8-16 inches! So much for sunny Southern California! It is cold 8-9 months out of the year where we live out here in the hills!

The kids are having a great time with it, but we fear Dad may have a hard time getting home from work. Already they aren't letting people through without snow chains, and it is still early!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All Of My Favorites

I often use Mother Teresa quotes and today I found this awesome video that includes most of my favorites all in one place!

Never Give Up

Upon our return home from visiting our daughter and sweet granddaughter we were flooded with phone calls from concerned family and friends wanting to be sure we didn't bring the baby back with us, or worse yet **gasp** our daughter!!

Now, while I understand our family and friends are only concerned with with our own well-being, financially and emotionally these comments have left me quite hurt personally and very concerned for the mind set of many in this day and age.

Comments such as "you can't save all the children in the world" and "give up, your daughter will never change" really leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. First, if I don't save one child, or two or three either through sponsorship through Compassion, or through foster care or adoption who will? What if everybody had that same thought that you can't save them all? Then none would be saved. Sure, it costs us some money when times are tough for us, but there is no price on a human life, especially that of a child. And yes, I do believe you and I together can save all of the children in the world, one child at a time.

In regards to giving up on someone who has already given up on herself....again what a sad thing when we value human life so little that we have "throw aways" in our society, and some of them are our own family members!! Mother Teresa used to often say the poverty here, is far worse than the poverty in the slums of India, I believe this is just what she was talking about. To not be loved is the greatest poverty of all.

Do I ever feel like giving up? Certainly!! Sometimes I have to step back and take a break, but I always make sure I have others praying, and caring for my daughter while I do. Does she deserve chance after chance? No, but do we deserve the grace that God has bestowed upon us? No, but He gives it anyway, and I really don't think He expects any less from us. Most people these days extend more grace to a biting dog or one who has destroyed the furniture than they do to their fellow man. Sad...

So, I will continue to sponsor children, and I will continue to bring home and raise as many of my grandchildren as I need to, and someday I will foster and adopt as many as I am called to, and most importantly I will never give up on my daughter or any other human being for that matter.

This song has been stuck in my head for days now, and today I found this video with lyrics.(sorry, it wont let me post it directly here) If you can, take the time and watch it, it really has touched me this week.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Road Trip!

Between our daughter being sick in the hospital and the fact we hadn't seen our granddaughter yet, we decided it was time for a road trip to Arizona! So we loaded all but one of the four boys into the van and headed out first thing in the morning Friday.

Our first stop was to visit our daughter who by that time was out of the hospital and seemingly doing well. This was the first time she had seen Austin in 21 months.

You can definitely see a resemblance! I am not sure he knew who she was, but there did seem to be some form of recognition or familiarity.

We were really nervous about this visit as it was bound to be a bit uncomfortable for all, but it actually went fairly well.

Next, we were off for the highlight of our trip, to meet our granddaughter who my dear friend has been caring for during all of this.

My friend has done a wonderful job with Autumn, she has been well cared for and very much loved!

Autumn is so teeny tiny that at first even my husband was very afraid to hold her, but that didn't last long!They (or should I say Grandpa) spent a good while napping on the sofa recovering from our long yet rushed drive.

I still can hardly believe I am grandma of two now, although one of them is more of a son than grandchild to me.

I have to be honest here and say while this was a wonderful trip in so many ways, getting to see my daughter after nearly two years, and meeting my granddaughter for the first time, it was also hard. The lines of family relationships are so blurred and confused, it makes it difficult on all, but I fear as the years progress it will be hardest on Austin.

Who is mom? Who is brother, sister, etc..? Here is this lady who I think is mom and who I now even call mommy, but why does she keep calling herself Grandma, and why only to me? Who is this other lady who seems only somewhat familiar, who keeps calling herself mommy? Why do they keep calling my brothers uncle? I don't get it..

And now here we are introducing him to yet one more person, and trying to explain this is his sister. He thought she was pretty neat, but he certainly didn't want to share his grandma(or mommy???) with her!

I all it was a good trip even though overwhelmingly emotional at times and brings even more concern and worry about what the future may bring for all.

It was great to see my friend again and her family. Even though the families have only met one other time, when we got together it was like we've known each other forever and had only been apart for days rather than the long months it has been. It didn't take the kids long at all to become familiar again!

Before you knew it they were playing games, rough housing, and just being plain old silly! They had a great time! We are all looking forward to a possible visit from them just after Christmas. They are such a warm and welcoming family and really special to me. I feel so blessed that through interesting circumstances my life has been enriched by this special family in so many ways. I don't know if I can ever thank them enough for caring for my granddaughter during this difficult time.

We also have to thank a special aunt and other family members who helped make this trip possible. Had it not been for their help we would not have been able to meet our precious granddaughter and try to take those first difficult steps in trying to restore a relationship with our daughter and build one between her and her son.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finally Did It!

I finally got brave and made my own laundry soap. Anything to save a buck or two!
So far I have done about 10 loads. Seems to be working just fine. The best part(besides the BIG money savings!) is I don't have to worry about running out, I can just make more!
There are several recipes floating around the web. I used this one from the Simple Dollar.
The Duggar family one is the one that first inspired me, you can view it HERE.
This one looks really good too, and like the one at the Simple Dollar she breaks down the cost and savings.

Free Movie!!

If you click here: Walden Media and register(registration is FREE too!) you can get a free copy of the DVD Amazing Grace as well as a free wall calendar! I found this freebie over at Money Saving Mom. She is always a good source of great freebies and other bargains.

This is a great movie, and for free you can't beat it! I have had this on my DVD Swap wish list since it came out, and to now get it for free is like an early Christmas present!

Hurry on over there though as these deals usually don't last long!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Quickie

Just wanted to post a quickie update for family and friends on both my daughter, and also my sons burn.

First, Daniel had his regular burn appointment today. We are now down to once every three week visits which is good. Last visit they had us switch to an over the counter antibiotic cream, but today the Dr. felt it wasn't doing what they had hoped and put us back on the prescription. Other than that all seems to be going well.

Good news on my daughter! She may be getting released from the hospital Thursday assuming she does well this next couple of days on the oral antibiotics and continues to improve. The great news is so far she hasn't required the surgery and most likely will not barring any problems.

So, overall today was a day of good news. My friend still has the baby and probably will until this weekend so my daughter can take care of some other matters that need tending to, and we will be in AZ this Friday and Saturday to see all!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Scary Rollercoaster Ride

A roller coaster, that could describe life pretty well, it is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. Some parts of the ride are fun, and some are downright frightening! Well, my ride these past few weeks is nothing short of frightening. Even so, I must admit there have been some interesting and awesome twists and turns as well.

I have shared here in the past that I raise my grandson due to my daughters severe mental illness that most often is left untreated. That combined with substance abuse issues just made it not really safe for her to have her child at that time. While the circumstances leading to us raising him weren't ideal, having him here with us has been a major blessing!

Well, recently this same daughter recently gave birth again. Circumstances were a little better, she has five months of sobriety under her belt(we are very proud of her) and she has been working with the mental health professionals in regards to her medications and therapy and such. While those are great things, and she has come far this past two years, other circumstances were very similar. Still no home of her own, no job, no income, no real stability or follow through.

Someone in social services became aware of the situation and placed a call to CPS(child protective services) These people deal with so many similar situations on a regular basis that when they saw her history(the drug abuse, mental illness, outstanding warrants, legal issues, the fact she has another child she isn't raising) they immediately removed the baby. The day before Thanksgiving. This was heartbreaking for us all. Because we are out of state, we were unable to get her while she was in CPS custody. After the long holiday weekend when they had their team meeting and time to investigate they determined to return the child to our daughter. They saw she has been clean and sober and working with all involved agencies regarding her substance abuse and mental health issues.

The very next day though they told her she had to leave the home she was living in as her current boyfriend also has an open CPS case and his worker felt my daughter was a threat to his child! So here is my daughter with an infant less than two weeks old and no place to go. She went to a friends and was working on entering a program that would help with housing, and clearing up her warrants.

Thursday, she goes to the doctor as she was having some pain. They admitted her to the hospital right away! She is having rather serious complications from child birth. They wanted to do surgery immediately, but her infection is so bad and not responding to medication that it is too risky. This surgery wont be pleasant as it involves removing dead skin and tissue and muscles. They are trying an alternative form of treatment that is non-surgical and will determine later this morning whether or not she will have to risk having the surgery.

Here is where alot of scary, interesting, joyful, tearful, twists and turns take place on this particular roller coaster ride!

The baby; where is she going to go for this period of time? This may be a 1-2 week process of surgery, hospital stays and healing for my daughter. The first answer seems obvious, she'll come here. Well, it's not that simple. My daughter is fearful we wont return her baby to her just as we didn't her child we are now raising. I try to reassure her circumstances are different this time, while not ideal, and I may not like her current circumstances I see no urgent reason that I shouldn't or wouldn't return her. But my daughter really needs to be able to relax and rest at ease that her child is taken care of and will be returned so she can just concentrate on getting better. What are we going to do? She really knows nobody responsible enough to care for her child for such a period of time...

Somebody pops into my mind instantly! This is a story in of itself, but just goes to show how everything really does work together for the good.....(Romans 8:28)

There is a homeschooling forum I frequent, in all honesty I probably spend too much time there. I have been hanging out there for more years than I can remember. So long many of these amazing women(and a few men!) have become true friends. I know it sounds crazy you can actually call someone you never met "friend" but I have experienced just that many places on the world wide web, including here at blogger.

I actually have met about 50-60 of these amazing women though just this past May at a get together here in California known as The Big Fat Meet-up. Ladies came from all over the U.S. to attend. It was three days of major bonding. One lady in particular, while I didn't get to spend alot of time with her those three days really caught a place in my heart. So much so that a few months later her and her whole family came from Arizona to spend a few days with my family. She is a beautiful lady with an amazing family. She has an awesome husband, and three truly beautiful and amazing children.

Since our visit we have talked on the phone a bit, sent packages back and forth and gotten to know each other a little better. If you haven't figured it out yet, this amazing person is who I called to see if she would care for my precious grand-daughter who I haven't even met myself yet. At first we were looking at 48 hours and my friend graciously said yes! Then we learned it could be weeks. I couldn't get a hold of my friend just then and started making plans to go get the baby myself as my daughter was agreeable at this point. When I do get a hold of my friend, can you believe she agreed? Keep in mind this lady has never met my daughter and mostly heard only the negative things about her.

This wasn't a simple task either, as it is a 3 and a half hour trip each way to where my daughter was in the hospital and already late at night. My daughter was totally agreeable to the arrangement, so my friend drove the long drive late at night with one of her own children. With only a few minor snags in the details everything worked out wonderfully!

My sweet granddaughter is in a loving home being spoiled rotten I am sure, my daughter can rest easy and I am free to focus on my daughter. My daughter has been calling nearly hourly for support and reassurance and if I had that darling little baby here, my focus would be on caring for her, not to mention keeping Austin happy, as I am sure he would be overwhelmingly jealous! He doesn't even let my older children sit with me without trying to push them away! So with all that going on, there is no way I would be available to my daughter in the way I have been able to be. This time has been important as she is working through some guilt and other emotional concerns while she waits for a decision in the hospital.

I really don't see how this could have been orchestrated by any other than Him Himself as everything just worked out so well, and it all started with an online chat group! Who would have thought?

One more good thing out of this otherwise messy situation; my dear friend got some pictures as we have had none other than those first ones taken by the cell phone following birth.

Is that not the most beautiful baby you've ever seen? I had no idea from those first small photos just how precious Autumn is!

Another beautiful thing in all of this is that I believe this has really began a renewed interest in my friend to do infant foster care and perhaps got her amazing husband on board as well! If you've read here long enough you know how I feel about foster care. It takes an amazing, completely unselfish person to do foster care, and that is exactly what my friend and her whole family is!