little

Over the Summer we added two pets to the family. A husky pup because someone had a big birthday and asked at just the right time. And an accidental kitten. Hubby has always wanted puppies or kittens. I have always fought them off because we had babies or little kids and puppies and kittens chew and scratch and bite and do not yet know that they should not. So I’ve managed to dodge hundreds of wee animals in the name of familial safety.

It was however, on a milestone birthday when husband spotted some cute puppies for sale. He sent pictures. Then called. I said no and after we hung up I texted go ahead and then called him to make sure he knew. It was his birthday for goodness sake. He is awesome and he has always wanted a puppy so- yes. The brown one. but he liked the white one who he could name ghost, you know because of Jon Snow. I laughed and then completely caved.

The next week I’m taking wee ghost for his shots- there are kittens in the front waiting area, in cages adorable and frolicking. I’m not tempted. Not in the least. But our youngest kiddo and I are waiting for more than 40 minutes and the cuteness was just too much. That day we came home with Benjamin the cat. He is a mess! He plays and bites. Chews and scurries and darts through the house like an armed missile. But I do love him so maybe mostly because he seems to know that he is my cat.

– he sleeps when we are awake –

So at this time we have five kids and five pets. It is a lot. But everyone loves them. Well not really. Our oldest dog isn’t at all sure about Ghost and Benjamin and the hair on his neck stands up for a long time when they are around- invading his space but eventually he adjusts and seems happy with them. Big dog number two loves them both immediately and is ready to play and pounce and chew. He is with us and them for for a few months until a quick illness takes him to heaven. That was hard for everyone, he was such a good dog. RIP Quinnie boy.

The big cat was not interested in any new friends at all. She is awesome and solitary and only wants your help getting through the cat doors to food and water and litter boxes. And really she doesn’t need anyone’s help- she can go through just fine- she just prefers that someone help her. She is big and fluffy and really only loves daughter 10 and sleeps with her and basically lives in her room. She has yet to warm to them. She is boss. She is queen of all the pets. One feels so special when she comes to say hello.

I’ve introduced you to our family pets for a reason, promise. The kids were so excited. They immediately loved them both. They clamored to hold them, pet them, feed them, love on them. And everyone handled the kitten and the puppy pretty well, except for daughter 8. She loved them and was excited in the same way as the others but where she struggled was this: kittens scratch and puppies bite. It happened with each of them on separate days in different weeks but it was basically the same. I heard her crying.

Checking on her I found her overwhelmed and weepy. She cried out, “Why is he hurting me?” Alligator tears flowing, spit slipping over the edges, mouth open wide and eyes shut tight, she cried hard. “Oh, baby they are babies still and they haven’t learned not to bite and scratch, to them they are just playing with you.” She cried some more, “But I’m just trying to loooove theeeem.”

I comfort her for as long as it took both times. Both times I fought the tears. I hurt for my sweet heart; giant heart girl. I tell her so. I tell her that I love her heart. Hold her and rock her and tell her that time will pass and they will both learn not to hurt us but that it will take time and we will have to teach them. She gets angry at some point and says she won’t play with them or love them ever again. I smooth the hair back from her tear soaked face. I tell her she will feel love for them when her feelings aren’t so hurt.

She reminds me of me, now with some in our family who I chose to love. Mouth open, spit dripping, tears flowing and the immature little girl self in this old woman is wondering why they won’t just let me love them without them hurting me, us. I’ve let the hard years turn me cold and I’ve let negative bias and resentment in often enough to not like myself anymore. I cry out and the Good Father comforts me, my words to my girl ring in my ears as His voice to this mama’s heart.

He tells me that time will pass and they will learn how to let our love in but that it will take time and we will have to teach them. So often I feel frustration and anger and coldness and feel like I want to throw in towels and run away inside my heart and Father smooths the hair back from my tear soaked face. He tells me how I do love them and will remember this when my feelings aren’t so hurt. As the days pass I sense the deepness and realness of Father’s promise that He is still working in me. Still growing me, moving things around, making me able where I wasn’t before.

And that is it. Sometimes I am still little. I think that this isn’t the kind of post that tells anyone what to do. There isn’t a crisp bow to wrap around anything here. But I think that is okay. Maybe this is just a story full of reminders. I’m reminded that God speaks when and where we will listen and that He is with us and we are not alone and that He is at work in us, always. And really that is a lot. I know there is more but I am okay stopping here for now. Keep going friends, you are not alone.

Blessing~ t

Hello October {Yarnalong}


I’m not at all sure where September went but it is gone and well, hello October! I haven’t done much knitting, but I have managed to turn the heels on both socks (the never-ending socks) and am maybe half-way done with a wee doll I started on a whim. I’ve taken a break from this pattern for now, but will return soon I think. Neither the socks nor the doll has a pattern to link to- I am just knitting them up and making adjustments as I go. Like I prefer to live life.

Let me step away and laugh out loud at that statement.

I think I’ve always loved the idea of living free and unhindered and relaxed and maybe even with flowers in my hair. But as much as I admire a good hippie, like a real one with greasy hair and body-odor (for real though- I do admire them but maybe that is another post) I can’t ever really be one. Or not today I can’t. My personality and my need for some kind of order or control keep me unable to commit to a life of hippiedom.

You see, I am a creative soul- there is no doubt. I may be a 4 on the enneagram (idk, I’m still trying to suss that all out) I write, I sing, I love the dirt in my fingernails after a morning in the garden. I can day-dream like a boss. I enjoy with a joy so deep and moving the making-of- things with my hands that it makes me tear up right now as I type but- my chaotic beginnings and all- that mess (hand sweep at my visualized past) made me cautious and afraid and my reaction to all that chaos and fear was to try with all my might to control and keep all here, gathered around me, within reaching distance to my safest spot found, everything that I could keep close and or hide behind.

In essence, my soul was created to be creative and needs the freedom and the courage to create and flourish like wildflowers in fields without borders but my wounds needed me to live in a small, quiet, be very afraid, draw-no-attention (but oh so needy of attention) box of barely existing survival.

The years of healing, of care and relationship with others and counseling, seeking personal growth and just being a disciple of Jesus have brought me to a life lived freer and full of courage. Most of the time. Okay- some of the time.

I do still struggle with all that need for control and order and fear, sorry God. It’s ok- He knows me, I know it. He loves me out of this mess that I am still. Everyday. I just know it. He is faithful to complete the good work He started here…

I love to knit free-style, now that I really know how to knit and understand the fundamentals of knitting I can just wing it. But I remember trying to just “see what I could make” (before really knowing what I was doing) and ending up with a strange washcloth or baby blanket for our kid’s teddy bear. And as my heart yearned so to be open and free and creative and unhindered by rules and regulations, I had to learn the fundamentals of my craft. The fundamentals give me a sturdy place to stand while I let my creative juices fly.

fun·da·men·tal

ˌfəndəˈmen(t)əl/

adjective

1.
forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.

I love a good pattern. Give me a nice big knitting chart that I have to follow or a well-written pattern that I must follow line by line and I am down for some knitting fun. I enjoy following the tiny perfectly square squares and all that precise work that will create something beautiful, I do. But I didn’t always love it.

I hated it. It frustrated me. I grunted and fussed and pouted my way through my first (I don’t even know how many) patterns. I knitted and made mistakes and took back the work and started again and pushed through for as long as the learning took and then when I completed the work I had learned something new.

Let’s see if this translates. I hope that you can hear what my heart is screaming!

Three things:

1. The discomfort that I felt in the learning widened my window of tolerance for discomfort, it grew my patience and strengthened my ability to learn something new.

• Discomfort does not always mean we should stop what we’re doing. Sometimes in the “keeping on” the discomfort there produces a kind of stretching- a deeper truer growth.

2. The pattern that felt so very confining to my creative soul taught my soul the discipline it needed to really be creative. It gave me wings.

• Don’t fight the rules. Don’t balk at the fundamentals. To love God with everything and love your neighbor as yourself = the pattern. There is unimaginable freedom in the confines of loving like Jesus.

3. No matter how many times I had to start over, I never quit. Finishing the hard thing(s) teaches tenacity. It gave me the satisfaction of learning, of conquering and of succeeding which in turn rewarded my tenacity.

• Make adjustments and try again. There are new mercies for us every morning. Every. Morning. Starting again (and choosing love and forgiveness again and again) strengthens our muscles of humility, of mercy, of Jesus-kinda-love and of resilience. That makes us stronger, not weaker.

I draw parallels here between learning a self-discipline like knitting and becoming more who you were created to be. I don’t know how that happened exactly. It wasn’t the plan when I sat down to tell you what I was knitting and reading for this month’s #yarnalong post. This is where my heart is lately, I suppose. Everywhere I look this is the lesson or the theme or the word.

I am reading This book. It hurts a bit to read because it resonates with me. There is a ton of wisdom in these pages though and I’d recommend it to all moms, not just adoptive ones.

I am still listening to this book. I’d recommend it to all parents. You really can’t go wrong with any of either of its author’s works.

I’m joining Ginny over at her link up. If you like books or fiber art of any kind you might head over and have a look-see. That’s it for me folks, peace out.

Hope. {attachment issues}

Today I walked three miles rather than two. I was angry and needed the extra steps and the extra sweat. Truth is, that I have been angry all week. I’ve been mourning and angry and not handling myself well at all. it has been a slow build up of frustration and fear.

On my walk, I wrote an entire blog post describing our many hard days with a kid with attachment issues and the control and manipulative behaviors that go with them. I vented and cried and told you all about the times when I manage to be therapeutic and wise and kind and then about the times I am not therapeutic at all and cry and yell and react. I gave you a list of behavior tactics a kid like ours might use to gain control of his surroundings. I gave you some ways to handle them and a few on how not to handle them.

I came home and watered the garden, did the dishes, ate my breakfast and watched Downton Abbey and decided against actually writing that blog post. I’m far too in-the-mess to write about it the way that I really want to. My emotions are all mangled and twisted in with any bits of good wisdom I might have managed to hold onto.

So, I prayed instead of writing a very passionate and moving post. I prayed for this kid, whos anxiety comes out looking like and feeling like defiance and blatant disrespect. I prayed that we could be what he needs. I prayed that we could remember our training in the heat of the moment and that he would learn to trust us. I prayed that he would believe in and feel the comfort we are trying so hard to give. I prayed that we could love him unconditionally, although imperfect and human, as much like Jesus as possible.

I said yes to God’s good that He is doing here in all of our rooms. I Said No, to all the things that the enemy of all of our souls is trying to do. I decided that I could and would go on loving this kid even if I do not always enjoy him. Even if he is one kid with me and another, very charming and sweet kid with most others. I can (and will) continue to choose to love him and be what he needs using all the tools I can muster. That is the adult thing to do, the Christ-like thing to do. I can choose love with my husband or mother-in-law or brother when we are not seeing eye-to-eye because we are a family and I have committed to them- I can do it here too.

Someday, when my emotions aren’t so thick with frustration from the morning or the week(s) of wrestling with a ten-year-old who has gotten very adept in the use of many survival skills, I will write that post. I will share with wisdom with grace and you’ll feel all the love that I have for this kid because my words won’t be so heavy with the struggle. I promise.

This, however, is not the post that I wrote on my walk- or the one I have promised. This is the post that I needed to write, one of honest frustration felt and real hope clung to because somewhere out there, there is a mother or father who feels like they are going to explode. They feel maneuvered and pushed into a corner or duped and perhaps they don’t know how to share with others what is happening in their home without feeling or fearing that they will look crazy.

Here is the deal mom or dad- you are not crazy! But if you are not careful you will do exactly what this kid is pushing for you to do and is fearful that you will do and you’ll give up on them. Maybe you’ll put up a wall or disengage just keeping people alive without connecting to them. It is even possible that you’ll even leave them. Your need for survival kicking in too.

So, understand this, You are not alone. Many other parents in your shoes UNDERSTAND what you are going through and we are right there with you! Don’t give up on your kid(s) or on your ability to love them or your ability to learn what it is that they need. You can do this. There is help out there.

From anywhere you can get personal coaching here (their podcast is here).

More great coaching here.

If you are in New Mexico you can join this facebook group and find parent coaches here (👈🏼 full disclosure- I work for them as a family advocate in my region).

This podcast is great as well.

This group opens twice a year and is $15 dollars a month (or listen to their podcast here) you get access to video training and can chat online with their well-trained people if you need it, or go to their many forums to post questions and get feedback and loads of resources.

Great book on audible here or to purchase to read here.

And an article for your kid(s) teachers, here. This is a hard road but there is hope. Be Blessed adoptive and foster parents! You can do this!  God has got you and you are not alone!

~Tina