Sunday, May 22, 2016

Little by little, this is becoming home!

Look who followed us back to Missouri after our trip to Utah last month! 
Here is Deanne with the crew during a night on the town.    

We bought this home as a 4 bedroom home.  However, there was an office downstairs that is now a bedroom and there was an attic space that they converted to a huge closet.  We added this dormer window to that closet and it will soon become the favorite bedroom in the house.  
Casey, Hyrum and Simon have claim to it as soon as it is finished this week.

Simon getting his first riding lesson from a good friend.  She comes over a few hours a week to give all the kids individual lessons in exchange for boarding her horse here.  This is her horse, "Lady".
Ressa and Charlie having a ride on our horse, "Fannie Mae".  Of course, when we get another horse and it happens to be a male, it will be called the only thing a mortgage banker would name a companion to Fannie Mae.. obviously, he will be Freddie Mac.

Mom mowing the front yard and ....

putting Simon to sleep while entertaining Hannah.  Talk about multi-tasking!  Most wives want a fancy car.  Mine is loving the tractor!  She has put more time in behind the wheel than I have by far.

Casey and Marshall enjoying the newly fixed 4 - wheeler.  It sat for a couple weeks waiting for dad to fix it after Casey rolled it.  Nothing hurt with Casey, but his pride.  He also learned a good lesson about speed and turns in a way that only teenagers will learn most of the time - by experience.  Certainly not by listening to mom and dad.  
We were blessed that the lesson came with just bent handle bars....

There was a branch on this tall tree in our front yard begging for a swing.  We finally made it happen yesterday.  Don't let that ladder deceive you.... that just gave dad the extra few feet he needed to heave the brick tied to the end of the rope over the branch that is about 25 feet up.

Here is our backyard swing set we brought back from our South Jordan house last month.  The kids not only love it just because it's a swing, but more so because it is a little piece of our last house they loved so much.  Since the weather has warmed up and we are surrounded by green trees and grass, we are getting attached to our new home more and more each day.  This is the Midwest we remember as we have vacationed here over the years.  Moving in January during the bitter cold, windy and brown winter season was a little rough to say the least. We know the hot and humid summer is on its way, but at least it's pretty to look at!       

Walking trail we found tonight around the lake near our home.

A picnic area and beach that we will most likely get to know very well this summer....this lake is just a few minutes from our home.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Some Rewards Come a Little at a Time

Mother's Day isn't always the happy rewarding day we would hope it could be. Some Mother's Day's are wonderful and filled with happiness and counting blessings. This year turned out to be a rewarding Mother's Day. I want to share a few of the things the kids wrote to me.

"Thank you for helping me be a wonderful young women."

This touched my heart. I want all my kids to think of themselves as wonderful and not be embarrassed about it. This daughter has struggled in her life with recognition. When she was younger we couldn't even say her name or praise her without many tears. She didn't like herself and felt worthless. A Mother's Day Reward.

Your patience and understanding tell me
 "that's the mom I want to be".

Incredible. This child experienced abuse and deep criticism for many years. She could do nothing right and she was told that the problems in the family were her fault. She had no confidence and a fear of babies. She now interacts with babies and is great with children. She knows what kind of mother she wants to be. Healing is happening and this daughter is blossoming before our eyes.

"I love you so much. You are the best mom ever! You are the best mom because you adopted lots of kids!!!"

By the time I got to this card I was holding back the tears. Great validation came from this. My 16 year old son that spent 14 years in the orphanage without a mother, loves me partly because I have adopted so many kids. This is a young man that knows the longing and need for a mother. He knows how badly these children need homes because he was one of them. He could have easily seen from the opposite perspective and been jealous of all the other kids in the family but he is grateful for the blessing. 

We can learn many things from these children that have experienced hard things in their shot lives. We learn gratitude, love, the rewards of patience and how blessed we are to be a part of the miracles that take place in the children's souls.

I received many cards on Sunday. Each one expressing their love for me their mother. Each card was hand made with the personality of the individual giver. And each carried love with it. It is a great honor to be a mother. To be given charge over our Father in Heavens children for their time on this earth. We walk hand in hand with God and if we listen to the whispering of the spirit, pray and have faith we can be the conduit for love and healing of all our children.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Thank the Lord for Letting Me Have the Ride

It seems to me that some people have plenty to say on a blog. Their lives are very interesting and uplifting. They have stories to tell and varied experiences. Other blogs are full of perfect parents and beautiful kids. You know the kind that make you feel like a loser of a parent because your kids aren't dressed in matching designer clothes and you don't take your kids on an outing every week. Well, I'm neither one of those. This is Deanne, and I am a normal average mom. I have my ups and downs with kids that are every bit as normal as I am. They are good kids that study, work and develop talents but not the kind that set records or earn great accolades. That could easily be my fault. I stay home and raise the children while I struggle finding ways to feel of value. When things are going well I can think of all kinds of blog posts and moments appear. But, when things are hard it's difficult for me to share my life with others. Not that I don't want others to know of my weakness but because I want to be positive and share the good in this world. I want me and my family to be a light to the world and give hope. Sometimes that's hard to do so I retreat into my little world and wish I could retreat even farther until the storm passes.

The storm has been raging in my soul and life for quite some time. The kind of storm that ebbs and flows but never really subsides. A storm that brings blessings of knowledge, faith, courage and light. Only those blessings don't appear at the height of the storm because the clouds are thick and the wind howls. The storm hides the blessings that keep me holding on. Some days all I can do is pray for greater strength and then that can even fail me and I retreat even more and stop calling out to my Father for his strength and mercy as I feel abandoned and alone. The darkness envelopes me and all I can do is survive. Yes, I have those times in life and am just coming out of that darkness to feel the light once again. My soul cries out for the warmth of the light and witness of love from my Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ. Through it all I have questioned but still known that all of this is for my good and will teach me things that I could not have known without the struggle.

For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so... righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness—neither happiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.  2 Nephi 2:11

I know that opposition is necessary and I have learned that we can not expect any blessing greater than our challenge. So for me to receive the light and knowledge that I desire I must go through these moments. 

I have had the whispering of the Holy Ghost to guide me and help me through but I was so lost at times that I couldn't believe that was the source or I just didn't want to listen. As my heart would become more humble I could hear and see how God was trying to talk to me. I want to share some of the thoughts that have been with me.

"And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life." Alma 32:40

This one came just as I was beginning to give in to Satan's buffetings that the blessings I desire could never be realized and I was wondering why we even had to leave the comfortable life we had created with the help of God. I had to be reminded that I had to keep believing and seeing with an eye of faith those things that I desired in my life. That I could become the person I want to be. I could serve and be of great value to others in this life outside of my family. And yet the darkness got thicker and the struggle harder and I began to forget these words when this quote came to me.

Such truth in the words of Jeffrey R. Holland. God can not answer prayers if we never speak them. He can not fulfill dreams if we never dream them. We have to pray, dream and believe even in the darkness. I began to pray again and I continue to pray to know what Heavenly Father would like me to seek after. I know that He has a better plan than I can even imagine so I want my desires to match his will. Heavenly Father wants my success and ultimately he wants me to return to his presence and receive blessings beyond measure.

And this last quote is from one of my favorite men. He was a very optimistic prophet of God that spread light wherever he went.

People ask how we are doing and believe all is well. Many think that we are living our adventure and couldn't be struggling with our move. This is an adventure that I would do again but it's not easy and has taken a lot of work spiritually, emotionally and physically. The Lord has allowed me to feel the struggle and hasn't rescued me but he has not let me fall. He will never let me fall as long as I look to him. The light is breaking forth and blessing are yet to come. I will still love and follow Jesus as I try to serve and love others and in time my capacity to follow and love will increase and so will my joy. I know that Jesus Christ loves each of us. He has felt our sorrows and pains and knows how to succor us. He gave his life and suffered deeply in his innocence that we might return with him to the presence of our Father. I can never repay God for the blessings he has given and will continue to give me, including the blessing of darkness and struggle. Today, I

                                          "Thank the Lord for letting me have the ride."

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter egg hunt

Casey and friend, McKaden, getting the new rolls of fencing in on the Easter fun.  
Some eggs had to be obvious for the younger children. 

It appears that Clayson saw the egg first...

but Marshall was quick to catch on.   

Hunting around the septic system and buried propane tank.  I couldn't get the kids to hide any eggs under the septic tank inspection lids, but they did go for under the propane tank cover.

Emma being Emma....

Hannah being Hannah...

Big smile from Malia.

Mom and Simon on the hunt...

Niya pointing the way for a younger child who needs a few more eggs.

Olivia just won't look at the camera.

Bria looks worried.  She must not have her 15 eggs yet. 

Scott - always happy about everything.

We had a rainy Saturday, but there was a small window of sunshine for our Easter egg hunt.  
120 eggs
60 hardboiled and 60 plastic
6 older kids hiding
8 younger kids finding  
Everyone had fun

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sock sliding

What do you do when you just arrived at your new home with 1,800 square feet of wood floor before the truck arrives with the furniture and it is 30 degrees outside and you have to entertain 13 children that have been stuck in a car for 20 hours of driving the previous two days????  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Our new normal

Everyday there are reminders that we are not in familiar territory.  We can still say, "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." ... but it's not too far away!

One of the first weekends we were here we went to visit Jamesport, MO, an Amish community about an hour north of us.  We had an impromptu tourist orientation by a very nice Mennonite woman who came out to chat with us as we were getting out of our van.  She was remodeling the restaurant she and her husband owned, but she took the time to explain the "hot spots" to visit in town - shops and stores, etc. She seemed open and comfortable enough that we asked her about the differences between the Amish and Mennonite cultures and beliefs.  She was very happy to enlighten us.  We thanked her for her kindness and told her we would be back to eat at her restaurant after it reopens.

 As we were walking into one of the Amish stores, we saw this buggy and small family.  I don't know what was a more interesting site - them for us or us for them!  
Their kids stared and stared at our entourage.

 Apparently the Amish have sports car models of their buggies...

We had a couple of mishaps with our underground utilities in the last few weeks.  
#1: AT&T had to run a new phone line for us and they cut through the power line to the control box for our septic system. (Right) It took us a week to discover that - fortunately Olivia was standing by the toilet in the basement Sunday morning when it started to back up.  A couple of siphon hoses got us flowing again before we left for church.  We called an electrician Monday to figure out the loss of power and as he was testing everywhere to find the short, Deanne saw the covered trench for the phone line and figured it went right across where the power line should be.  Sure enough. We are still waiting for them to send us the $300 it cost to repair.

#2: The the county electric company trenched for a new power line to our shop and cut through the feed lines to our drip field. (Above) Deanne ran to get the PVC and glue and I came home from work a bit early to keep the septic flowing once again.  Unfortunately it was the first day it rained really hard.  Pierce held an umbrella over me while I battled the mud in the trench to replace the 5 feet of pipe in each line. The good news is now we know where all of our underground lines are!!

Mist formed in our backyard after an afternoon rain storm.  That was pretty neat to see.

We have some pretty sunrises and sunsets, but this sunrise last week had unusually bright colors.  This picture is not photo shopped or enhanced in anyway - straight from my phone.

We hear coyotes almost every night, see stars like you can only see away from city lights, hawks fly low hunting for field mice in our backyard, the sound of target practice with high caliber guns is all around us every Saturday and depending on which way the wind is blowing, we get to enjoy the smell of manure from neighboring herds of cattle.  I drive 50 miles round trip to work and we are 45 minutes from the nearest Costco.  
These are all reminders that we live in the country, but we love it!!

I Forgot a Big Thing

I knew I would do this. Trying to write while helping the children with school and then trying to finish up at midnight doesn't support strong memory.

Creed left to serve a mission in Louisville Kentucky on August 5. How could I really forget that one. We have missed him so much. He struggled for a while. The Lord was mindful of his needs and put him in an area that a good friend of ours used to live. She had prepared her friends that there was a possibility that Creed could be a missionary in that area. When I found out that Creed was struggling I called my friend and she called out the Calvary. That ward took over and loved Creed into feeling safe and strong. What a blessing. Creed is doing well.

Having Creed leave and the other kids move caused some fear in Simon that when we move we will never see them again. Simon's behaviors got really bad. None of us liked having him around. He would constantly say things like "No one wants to love me" "I'm so dumb" and lots of other very negative things. I was holding, hugging and kissing him often but it didn't seem to help much. One day I realized that he could be reacting to the fear of our move and the other kids leaving. Tyler, Jessica, Grant and Lyla were at our home quite a bit and then then all of a sudden we didn't see them. Now Simon had a experienced a pattern. When someone moves away they are no longer your family. I tried to help him understand that no matter where we lived we were still a family and that he was coming with us. I would pack his stuff with him and make it a point to put his boxes where he could see his name in the stack of things to go on the truck. It seemed to help a little but the real change came after we moved and Tyler, Jessica and the kids surprised us with a visit. Miracles happened for Simon. Now he could see we were still a family and he believes that he will see Creed again. Simon loves his family even though he has a hard time accepting that he is a permanent part of it. We still get his negative words often but it's not an all day problem right now. I really hope Simon can begin to trust that we are here for him and that we love him forever. He struggles deeply with believing he is loved and lovable. With the power of the atonement he can be healed. We will continue to pray for this blessing for Simon and when Creed gets home on August of 2017 Simon will see that not everyone leaves and doesn't come back.

Creed is going to miss his athletics. He loves all things active.