Thursday, July 29, 2010


Another step closer.

Just had a very positive e-mail conversation with the History Dept Chair at the U. I have to give this U credit for this one. Except for the English Dept Chair, whom I've heard from U employees is considered a very nasty person in general, this U has bent over backwards in kindness as I've worked towards my degree.

I know I'm definitely not what they normally see. I know my transcript is still an absolute mess. And, I cannot do things the way their students traditionally do. However, every contact I have made with departments other than English has been met with helpful assistance and friendly suggestions.

So, the word from the History Dept is that my senior level history course from my previous U *definitely* counts as a senior level course at this U. That means it counts as one of my five cross-disciplinary courses towards my degree.

There is a senior course called State History (assume you know my state and its actually my state history). This class will meet the state's history and legistlation requirement. Or, there is what he referred to as a 'baby' test which mets the same requirement. I can take that through the testing center.

Decisions, decisions. I do love history and history courses. I also am terribly interested in taking Abnormal Psych. If I take this history class, then I will max out my cross disciplinary courses and cannot justify taking Abnormal Psych when all I will need left to take is Sociology courses. I have until next fall to decide. Maybe I'll look into that test next summer and consider just taking the Abnormal Psych course afterall.

We had a financial snafu that we have to clean up. The solution is now involving re-arranging my entire course schedule so that II and I share childcare and don't pay a caregiver for the children. Its going to mean he takes classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I take them Tuesday and Thursday. However, it also means I get to take History of Africa, along with more Sociology classes. Next fall, I'll have to pick up a lab science class. Since I've definitely dropped the pre-med foci, that's not a problem. Next year, II will be done with his classes and waiting to matriculate medical school.

I'm so excited to see it starting to come together.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Am...or not?

Through all that has happened to me, I still believe in I Am. I believe Ywh is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I still believe he lives, he came to save and he still intervenes in the lives of those who follow him. I believe in the Apostolic an Nicene Creeds. I don't trust the modern church, but I still believe in Ywh, in Yeshua and the God of my forefathers.

II did not hold onto his faith. He calls himself an Agnostic Diest now. He believes there is something beyond nature and human matter. However, he does not believe there is a personal god who responds to those who believe in him. He believes in an intelligent design in the creation of this universe, but not in a diety still alive and active within the universe which was created.

So the deity II does not believe did not once again reach down into his life today. It was mere concidence that baby J fell off his brother's loft bed and manage to peel his left upper gum entirely off his skull. It was merely happenstance that II had to take him to the ER and encountered yet another doctor in this town touched by II's story and dream of going to medical school.

This particular ER doctor happens to have been on the medical school admissions committee until 4 months ago. She was so touched by his story that she kept baby J in the ER for an hour beyond necessary while she set up the necessary contacts to clear II to shadow in the Children's ER. She's going to continue with her contacts. And, she flat-out stated to II that they LOVE non-traitional students on the admission board because they know that while they may come with less than stellar school records (gee, just like II), they also come with maturity, experience and committment to their dreams that is unparralleled in traditional medical students.

Nope, no personal god accomplished that feat. No diety would have reached down and touched II's life to make things work for him, even after he simply gave up on the idea of trying for the local medical school because of his less than stellar undergraduate GPA.

And it certainly wouldn't be that same personal god who guided the heart of this very hurting and broken wife in the idea of giving this very imperfect and failed man into another chance to restore this marriage he made a mockery of.

I'm so glad that God doesn't require II's belief to still act in this life.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


My brother and his wife lost their baby.

My heart is broken for them. I've had three miscarriages. The first loss is horrible. You don't just lose your baby but your innocence. That first lost baby is the precise point that II began to lose his faith. He has never recoveredd from that grief in all the years since then.

I have sent prayers and condolances to the parents. This weekend I create a prayer shawl for my sister in law. After I lost my last baby, I created a prayer shawl for myself. I prayed as I create it, and I heard the Lord telling me that as that shawl rested on my shoulders, so too did his arms cover me in my pain and through my tears.

Since that point, I have made shawls for other mothers facing what I faced. Its been awhile since I did it. It reached the point where making the shawls brought my grief back and made it raw for me. However, I knew it was time to begin again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More blessings

I wanted to add this because it makes me smile to just realize that yesterday's post wasn't actually the end either.

Today, I used some of those funds from yesterday to get Christmas presents. I knew if I saved it until fall, we would use it for bills. II went to the business where he does contract IT work and spoke directly with the accountant. His paycheck is now sitting at the front desk waiting for him. And, he and the accountant have worked it out so that the main boss does not need to be involved with the billing in the future. What he was doing and saying to II was actually against business policies for the business. However, the paychecks should come without the drama and stories in the future.

The boss and II have already made arrangements for II to work nearly as many hours this weekend as he normally works in a month, the work he wasn't doing because of the issues involving the paycheck yet again. That will preserve the friendship with the boss and his wife. It will normalize the paychecks. And, it will prevent future delays on paychecks and work needs.

One of the Christmas gifts I bought was a Bitty Baby off ebay for baby J. Every one of my children has a Bitty Baby, including all four other boys. Baby J has never gotten his. Life went bad when he was old enough to get his. A friend split the Bitty Twin set with me, so her little one will get one doll and mine will get the other. After I paid for the dolls, the seller on ebay contacted me about my unusual username there. This led to a conversation about how we've adopted special needs children and created a rainbow family (it ties into my choosen username on eBay).

Evidentally, she was so touched that she pulled the other Bitty Baby stuff she had from auction and tossed it into the package with the dolls. She then found an assortment of Barbie items and threw those in until the box was overstuffed. Those extra things will all go to stocking stuffers, and I have specific children with individual interests in the very gifts she sent us.

My new French Press came in the mail today, and I was able to drink a cup of coffee again.

And, not quite an hour ago, my sister-in-law posted an ultrasound picture on her facebook account. There's going to be a new little one in my family next spring. I couldn't be more thrilled if my best friend were giving birth. My brother went through a horrible, horrible divorce 3 years ago. His wife cheated on him and then pretended to seek maritial counseling with him so that she could funnel his paycheck and prepay her divorce attorney. He returned home from work one day to find she had stripped most things of value out of the home and taken off on him. His second wife is the exact opposite of that first wife, a wonderful young woman and soon to be new mother of their second child, since my brother stepped up and adopted her son after they were married. God has restored to him far beyond what was taken from his life as well.

Our God is an awesome God indeed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Showers of blessings

We knew all along that in this 18 months of abject poverty, this summer was going to be the absolute lowest point, especially July and early August. The other truly low point is going to be end of October through end of January. While I truly fear how low that next point is going to be, having depleted all our reserves and floated on air for a year when we get there, this low point has been tremendously overwhelming as well.

Three weeks ago, I discovered to my horror that E has had a growth spurt, and not a little one either. When we moved, she wore a girls 10/12. First of May, she was complaining because she had no clothes for school. I discovered that she was now a size 14-16 in girls. No wonder none of her clothes fit her anymore. I went to Goodwill, spent $60 and purchased her an entire wardrobe in her size. First...of...May.

First of July, she was wearning her brother's cast off athletic clothes. For a girly-girl who adores ballet, the emotional blow of having to wear her brother's athletic gear was devestating. That was when I realized that she no longer fit into her clothes again. A quick check with a measuring tape and I discovered that my little girl is now a size 2-4 in JUNIORS with size 7 shoes.

I had no money for clothes. She had nothing that fit her. I had no idea what to do. So, with tremendous agony in my heart, I asked for help.

And since that point, the blessings have showered upon us.

My dear friends answered my plea to help my little girl in ways I never imagined. Four friends sent her boxes of wonderful clothes that fit her. Another friend sent her brand new pink Nike sneakers in her size. Yet another friend purchased her $50 of brand-new clothes from Old Navy. One other loving friend sent E $50 to spend on clothes herself. E then went to her aunt's house for a weekend. While there, her aunt and her cousin outfitted her with everything else she could possibly need for fall and winter school.

I can honestly say that the love poured upon this little girl, combined with a new change in her medications, has brought her FINALLY into a place of stability. She has not been stable in nearly a year. Today she is happy, stable, loving and acts like a normal pre-teen girl. She gets up every morning excited to have beautiful, girly clothes to wear. She has all of her things organized and is exceedingly impatient for school to start now that she's ready to face middle school on two strong and brave little feet underneath her.

If that were the only blessing given to us, it would have carried me through this summer. Amazingly, its not.

Three weeks ago, we recieved an annonymous money order for $500. I have no idea where it came from. However, since it was unbudgetted and unexpected money, we used $200 for bills. Then, I took the rest and purchased a trampoline and safety net at Walmart. The trampoline is safely hidden under lock and key. No matter what this fall brings, the children will have one larger than life present under the tree for Christmas. That much I am now sure about.

Yet again, this was not all of the blessings we have recieved. Two weeks ago, a friend asked me for my address. She then sent me a money order for $40, just to bless me, no other reason.

I will admit right here and right now that I blessed my babies with some of that gift. II went and purchased chocolate bars, something we have not let the kids have since we moved and started living this stressful and careful life. He bought several packages of different varieties. Then, we let them each choose 3 snack size chocolate bars for themselves.

And, still that is not all the blessings we have received.

After 19 months of steadfastly refusing to consider going to church, I finally caved and agreed to let II test a new church this weekend. II took E and R and went to the service. He and E had tried it several months ago but I wasn’t ready to even consider going back to church at that point, so I didn’t really care what their opinion was at that point in time.

While there, II stopped and talked to the lead minister regarding whether the church could handle our attending with an autistic son.

I honestly do not know what was said between the minister and II. However, yesterday, I received something that I have never seen before. We received a handwritten note from the minister again reassuring us that the church is willing and able to handle M, that they hope we consider bringing the family, and that he wanted us to feel blessed. He sent a gift card for a car wash. II loves the car wash, and hasn’t used it since we moved here. If God intended to touch II’s heart and help him feel loved and blessed, a car wash is the perfect blessing to speak to II. Sunday, we will brave attending church with our entire family. I might regret it, but I’m willing to try.

Last week, Ch was wild in the house. Nothing new about that, he’s always wild in the house. He went lunging over the kitchen island to tackle A….and shattered my French Press. This was the second time this year he has done this, and I was simply devastated. I cannot afford to replace my French Press, and I cannot justify even trying given our current financial situation. For 48 hours, I simply cried. I knew of nothing else to do.

And then a friend contacted me. She had a French press she has only used twice in two years and wanted to bless me with it. She mailed it. Then, another friend contacted me. She too had an unused French Press. I told her someone had already gifted me with one. She’s mailing it anyway. She feels I might need a spare French press, given Ch’s track record.

Several days ago, II and I sat down to try and contemplate how on earth we’re going to accomplish anything else for the children’s Christmas beyond that trampoline. There is simply NO funds available. And, while I can work miracles with small amounts of funds, I can do nothing without any funds. I made the hard decision to sell the wool pants I had crocheted baby J with my own hands. They were meant to be used with cloth diapers, and I don’t use that type of cloth diapers anymore. More importantly, they are valuable. It thought I could possibly raise $400 with those pants, and with that kind of money I could provide some semblance of Christmas for the children.
To date, I’ve sold $200 of those pants. I still have more to sell, but I also have time to wait. I’m nearly giddy to know that my sacrifice is going to mean my children feel like life is normal and Christmas is still magical, even in the year where we have nothing.

Today, one more blessing came. Another friend contacted me. She wanted to know my Paypal address. She has read my block, followed my story, and wanted to bless me. She’s aware that II’s boss has been dragging his feet at paying II for three weeks now, that we’re nearing the point where we’re going to be in trouble for our August rent if we don’t get II’s paycheck for July, and the boss continues to tell him one story after another and never follow through on each and every promise to finally pay II for his work.

This friend instructed me that if it comes to time for the rent and we don’t have that paycheck, then use the funds she wanted to send me to help cover the rent. If we didn’t need it for the rent, then use it to feel blessed and to touch our lives.

Truthfully, I thought a little money. I thought something small, still wonderful and touching, totally unexpected and totally appreciated. I was shaking when I got notification that she sent $550. I asked her if she meant to send that much. Surely, SURELY she didn’t mean to send that much.

She did mean to send that much. And, if II’s boss actually pays him, then I have permission to use this money as I want to. If I don’t need it for the rent, the bulk of this gift is going to Christmas. Between what I’ve raised with selling things, and this gift, I can make a HUGE difference for the children for Christmas.

We make it through another month. And, this month, in our lowest point thus far financially, God has showered us with blessings. It reminds me that I’m not alone. I may feel like it, but I’m not alone.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I've long been blessed with an online community of mothers who have stood beside me thorugh years of my journey. When I lived in a major city, that community stepped off the computer screen and into my life. When our church betrayed us 18 months ago, it was that community that stood by us and supported us in crisis. It was that same community that stood beside me when my life was lost last fall.

We have not attended a churcn since ours betrayed us. Last fall, II lost his faith in God entirely. I have held onto my faith, but I have rejected the church outright. I don't believe the modern church is where nor how God intends for us to display our faith. And, I refuse to attend any church that puts my daughters at even a hint of risk for Patriarchial or Quiverful beliefs, the ones that sent me down the road of my disaster.

That has left us very few options, yet desiring to still raise our children within community. II and E tested several churches locally since we've moved and my heart is simply not in the task. The children, however, are desperate to participate in church again.

We have decided to just pick a large church with an active children's program. I can handle worship music and nothing spoken from the pulpit is going to make an impression on my life anymore. Its certainly not going to convince II that there is a personal God and Savior either. But, it will give the children community. Sometimes, that's what it really comes down to.

I'd say that maybe church will do us some good, but I won't. If it weren't for my community of mothers, I'd have lost my faith as completely as II at this point. Too many churches have failed us. The stranger our family became, the greater the odds that the church would fail us. The betrayal by the last church was merely the last nail in a coffin, not the first. I have no hope nor faith that corporate church will do II and I any good. I only hope that community and friendships will fill a void for the children that they have clearly felt for awhile now.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Narrowing down our future

Yes, I said "our". I am making peace with the reality that our lives are joined. I'm okay with that reality. I cannot guarantee that II will stay in recovery, will never cheat on me again and will stay the course with me. But, he absolutely will commit to his children, at all costs. And, that means that we need to join our goals and our futures.

II has done a great deal of soul searching and concluded that he wants to attend an Osteopathic school versus Alleopathic medical school. He just firmly believes that DOs have a stronger and more hollistic approach to medical care. We have begun looking at DO programs within commuter distance to PhD programs for me. We have identified 5 programs for II with a corresponding program for me. I still have to check each city against the needs of the children. However, the smallest town in the list meets our needs nicely and I cannot imagine that the larger cities won't also provide. That will just leave checking the homeschooling laws in each state.

It does appear we have 5 viable options. Will we make this happen, and happy for both of us together? There's a lot of what-ifs and if-onlys involved. But, at the end of the day, I can let go. God brought us here. I have not lost my faith in God even through all of this. Therefore, I can accept that God desires the best for my life, even as its laid in ashes. For this future to work, there comes a point when I have to trust that God will work the fine details together. If that doesn't happen, then it will be time for II to consider if God is not calling him to his dreams. I don't believe that will happen. I just don't.

Time will tell. This campaign will be our joint focus next year. We will hold out funds from our tax return for tests and applciations. II will need to finish his testing at the start of summer and applications by September. I will take my testing by end of summer and will need to have all applications completed by end of December.

The important thing is that we are planning a future. And, we're planning a future that takes into consideration the needs of EVERYONE in this family. No member of this family is more important than the others It was a mistake to act like II was more important, like the chilren mattered more than the mother, like there was hiearchy of value. It wasn't true. It just confused a lot of issues. This time, we're doing this the right way, valuing everyone in this house.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And an afterthought of my day

II knew I was having a hard day. He knew I was struggling emotionally with this situation right now. He was called into work and stopped to get an easy dinner for the family on his way home (with a seperate, special grown-up dinner for us after the kids eat).

II surprised me with chocolate covered berries. He buys them from the Natural Grocery and they are nut free so I can actually eat them. I took a small handful to savor. I bribed E with chocolate to shower M so I didn't have to deal with it. And, I cut J off from the tap for awhile. Lots cuddles helped J accept the limit for now.

Meanwhile, J decided my chocolate covered berries were far better than his 3 Musketer bar I gave him (trade secret, when desperate bribe them with chocolate). Exactly how does an 18 monther know the difference between gourmet chocolate covered berries and stock snack chocolates from the regular grocery? Dunno, but I'm glad I only had a small handful and hit the rest from him.

So, II has decided to round off my evening with this treat and a pet handling session for John, the Brazilian Rainbow Boa and his 7 year old mommy. Meanwhile, he asks that I now track down whomever is playing with the mousicles in the chest freezer and remind them to leave the snakes food alone. I'm sorry. But, I have limits. If I catch you with the mousicles, I'll make you sleep in a tent in the backyard. Otherwise, keep them away from me!!!

I am pathetic


I was exclusively in the home for 12 years.

For 11 of those years, I had at least one child in the home with me.

I breastfed, I homeschooled, I cordinated complex medical conditions, therapists and appointments. I constantly heard from people that they didn't have any idea how I lived my life.

It used to iritate me so much to hear someone tell me they didn't know how I could do it. It wasn't that big a deal. It was just what I did with my life. It was my choice. I was living my dreams.

Even worse than the statement that others didn't know how I could do it, was the common assertion that I actually couldn't do it. The accusations that life was not what it appeared. I pride myself in being very honest and very transparent. What you see is what you get when it comes to me. I'm as flawed in how I parent in public as I am when I parent behind closed doors. I'm firm but forgiving, strict but hands-on. It never mattered where I was, nor who was looking. This was my life. What mattered to me was not the perception of the world, but the model I presented to my children.

There are four and one half weeks before school starts again for the children. Five and one half weeks before I get to return to school. I am counting

How did I go from living my dreams in the chaos of never leaving my zoo to desperate for school to start again? I'm not really sure. II says I only survived in my cave because I managed to shut all intellectual function off in my own brain. That's not entirely true. My brain certainly did function. But, I submerged myself in parenting, homeschooling, motherhood topics. I didn't let myself look outside the narrow scope of where I lived because a different life wasn't MINE. It wasn't my reality, and when I did look at it, it only provided me with discontent with where I was.

I'm still going to be homeschooling the bulk of the children. I'm still strongly committed to the concept of helping my children build their academic foundation before I allow others to lay down bricks of learning in their hearts and minds. However, the shift from secluded into the world has brought forth dynamics that I find myself unable to stay sane surrounded by now.

For instance, A loves to antagonize Ch. A has a long held history of suppressing his own out of control emotions but projecting what he wants to display onto susceptable siblings. In therapy, his therapist was very clear that this behavior was abusive on his part. Well, its back this summer. Having to behave mature and helpful while he was babysitting, his favorite target is Ch. Ch has no self control, no impulse control and adores anything and everything A throws at him. Ch also has severe Hemophilia. That means despite all of our efforts, the bouncing off the walls Ch has presented with since mid-May has resulted in a body covered in bruises and a target joint that we cannot get the bleeding under control in. I'm actually close to call Ch's doctors for an appointment. First step is to increase his ADHD meds and try an intensive infusion schedule with his medicine for a week to see if we can get it under control.

E is emotionally unstable. If its normal pre-teen angst, I can't tell. She's assualting siblings, threatening to run away, shutting own emotionally, raging daily. In short, she is exhausting me.

C is his usual intensive self, with a new diagnosis to go with his Apraxia...Dyslexia. In typcal C fashion, he wants to digest every detail of this and process and prepare for battle against the disability. Here's hoping his intense efforts to tackle this with understanding is as successful as his fight against the Apraxia.

R has decided that she must rage, tantrum and attack people daily now. She has remained emotionally stunted since she suffered Lyme's Disease at age 3. In addition, she is the primary target of E's instability. The extreme behavioral issues are understandable but exhausting.

M is still outright mad that his summer routine does not include school. Rage, poop, attack, rage, poop, smear. Rinse and repeat. Oh hey, I believe from the sound of it, he's gearing for another round even as I type! Add to that his complete refusal to eat after battling his school all spring and his plunge to 5% in wieght and we have now added thrice daily boluses of high calorie elemental formula via his g-tube. Just for good measure, his Cystic doctor last week bumped him from "occasonaly" laxatives to daily. I understand his rationale. M's Autism is too severe to make M a reliable report if another bowel obstruction were to occur. The one last fall presented within 24 hours, so its correct to assume that our best observations outside his body could still cost him precious intestines. The doctor undderstood my wariness less so. Laxatives, short gut and malabsorption is an Autistic minefield...poop galore--especially since I now have to increase his caloric consumption to compensate for the increased passage through his body yet again. He was alreay failing to gain weight at 2300cal/day. How much material will now provide reinforcement to his socially disturbing hobby?

L is 3. That by itself ought to sum up life. But, if you super-impose that developmental age to everything above, you can start to comprehend that I struggle to relate to her with patience and grace these days. She seems to have decided that the way to not get lost in the chaos is to be loud and physically aggressive--just the two behaviors most likely to make my skin crawl. I'm working presistently with her on indoor voices and clothing now. I have high hopes before she is 5 I will see progress.

J has entered extreme seperation anxiety combine with teething his eye teeth. I'm sure the anxiety is sparked by last month's insane school schedule. It still means I haven't worn a bra since I got out of class nor slept a full night either. It also means he screams a lot. Desperate for sleep, when he began to scream 2 nights ago, I simply firmly said, "Go night-night, J." Oddly, he's flopped back on his pillow everytime I've instructed him to do this since then, huffs as he grabs his blanket but no more screaming. It won't last. It never does around here.

Finding myself desperate to hold onto me in this torture chamber currently, I yanked up my computer. Huddled in the corner of the room as the children pretended to clean it, I began to assembly my thoughts for a research project. There is a topic that I am interested in studying. Additionally, since I spent 12 years absent from my own education, I have little to show when I attempt to enter graduate school next year. I have concluded a Senior Research Project would be both interesting and beneficial for my attempts to show I did not lose myself but merely shelved my abilities in the years I focused on my children. Had I completed my original Bachelors, I would have completed a Senior Research Project for my Honors requirement. This University also requires such a requirement for the Honors program. However, their Honors program is structured so that I cannot recover that pursuit. I believe I can salvage my chance to attempt research. And, I hope that doing so will provide me with several things I will require as I attempt to enter a PhD program.

Whatever it may or may not provide for my future, merely focusing on the idea has pulled me out of the fog and frustration of my zoo today. Thus why I am pathetic. For 12 years all of my pursuits and contentment was found within this sphere I am submerged in now. Yet, I cannot handle it as I once did. I find I desperately need something to excite and stimulate my mind now. I think this was why I taught myself midwifery, lactation consultant knowleddge, adoption and attachment issues and many other subjects pertaning to the life I used to live. I was seeking ways to engage my own mind, and not merely my young children. But,I want something more than mothering now. I want knowledge outsidde of that realm too. It keeps me sharp and keeps me sane. At least for today.