His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Art of Discipline Part 9: Pursuing Relationship

I was meeting with a dear friend today, talking about discipline and the many facets the very WORD imply. 
As I have said many times over the years.  To discipline our children, is to DISCIPLE our children; to come along side, to teach, to instruct....
As we were talking, I began "preaching to the choir". :) 
It is NOT up to our Children to pursue a relationship with US, but it is up to US, to pursue a Relationship with THEM!

As we talked, it became very clear in my mind that GOD, PURSUED US!  He pursued RELATIONSHIP WITH US!  He wanted to reveal Himself to us and show us His BEAUTY that we might have an active, LIVE relationship with HIM. He has given us an example of Father, Son, Family, RELATIONSHIP, so we could understand that He LOVES us, and gave HIMSELF up for us, that we could be in right relationship WITH HIM.

As parents, we should NOT wait for our children to seek us out, but we should SEEK THEM out!
Our children come to us through birth, adoption, adoption disruption, blended marriage, and foster care. 
It is our job, A VERY IMPORTANT JOB, to get to know and understand our children; study them; what makes them tick, what their likes and dislikes are, and to pursue them for relationship.

As each of our dear children came into our lives, both our boys and our girls,  we studied them. We learned their personality. We learned what they liked and disliked. We learned what made them laugh and what made them cry. 
We went into THEIR world and worked hard to experience life from THEIR point of view.

It always helps to see things from our children's viewpoint.   We can certainly learn a LOT, when we look at life from the viewpoint of a child. 
Looking at life from a child's perspective will give us much grace and mercy and patience as we parent our precious ones.

I remember when our boys were little, I tried hard to practice seeing their disappointments so I could comfort them.  When our son's "key car" didn't work, it was devastating to him, at 3.  It was very important to him for it to work; his entire world crashed when it didn't.  He didn't need me to get frustrated with his tears or brush off his disappointment with disdain.
He needed me to comfort him and take his disappointment seriously.  After all,  I wanted people to take me seriously and understand MY disappointments. Why was his any different, just because he was 3?

With our girls, life has been even more challenging, as they have lived part of their lives away from us.  Much of those experiences before becoming "Minichs" were traumatizing and horrendous. 
It was VERY VERY important for us to PURSUE relationship with them, and get to know them.

I often CRINGE when I read advice from people who tell new adoptive parents to "be firm", "don't give an inch or they'll take a mile", "lay down the LAW".... etc. etc.  (those are actual words I read when somebody asked advice about bringing home new little ones)

HOW CAN WE JUDGE A CHILD'S INTENT of HEART WHEN WE DON'T EVEN KNOW THE CHILD?  It is VERY dangerous to assume!  Many things were ASSUMED about our girls. And each of them were VERY, VERY hurt by those assumptions.  

As parents we are to PURSUE RELATIONSHIP with our children and get to know them.  They will most likely be way too afraid to seek relationship with us; especially our children who come to us through trauma.

Our example is God.  He pursued us with open arms and great love. 
Have we pursued our children with open arms and great love?  Scripture says in Romans 5:7-8, "Even when we hated him, Christ died for us." 
When our children react and act as though we are the enemy, do we open our arms with LOVE and pursue them?

As parents, we need to see the BIG PICTURE.  Our children are children. They do NOT think like us. They are NOT adults; they do not THINK like adults!

Study your children, learning what  they respond to best. There is a reason they do not come with instruction manuals.  They are ALL individually different; wonderfully created by our Heavenly Father.  Encourage them, seek them out for little talks and special times. Listen to them; you will LEARN A LOT!  Court them, and earn their love, affection and devotion. 
THEN.... when they feel valued and LOVED, you will have their respect and devotion.
And then, your teaching and discipling will have a GREAT effect on their lives.


Monday, October 29, 2012


 Alli and Sarah enjoying a fall afternoon under the Oak and Pecan trees.
 I love watching them play together .  I love it that they have been able to recoup some of their childhood.

 Not quite sure what happened, but the precious cargo was dumped from the hammock.

Daddy got caught jumping over the couch! LOL  The girls threatened to ban him from computer for the day. :)
 Erika loves the idea of studying by oil lamp light. :)

 She has the same fondness for "Little House on the Prairie" as I do.

Praying For All Of Our East Coast Friends and Family

STAY SAFE!  Love you all!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My New Hat

Erika knitted a new hat for me. :)  She is so talented and I LOVE this new hat! Thank you so much sweetie! :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I don't know what it is about me and taxes, but my blood pressure goes CRAZY when I work on them.  My SON does this for a living EVERY SINGLE DAY, and it doesn't bother him.....But me, I just get dizzy and panicked..and then ZING...

So, I am supposed to rest for the weekend.  And then, I started getting chills. And now, I am starting another UT infection.   What in the WORLD??

The doctor thinks it is because my body is detoxing. I sure hope he is correct.  But he did tell me to stop doing any tax stuff, and our Accountant Bill did too. :)

So, I sat this a.m and cracked pecans!  That is sort of relaxing. :)

It was also cozy and cool enough to make this awesome fire in the wood stove. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012


This is my favorite time of year..... :)  The temperature dropped 7 degrees in a few minutes and then plummeted into the 40's....  We are all cosey and the girls are using an Oil lamp for school. :)  Feeling very "Little House on the Prairie"like, today. 
But THANKFUL for electricity and a washing machine!

I am also thankful for my daughter who is making me a winter hat!  Her knitting is fantastic. I can't wait to wear it!

I think I have a calling to make Pumpkin Bread. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Dear Family Needs Our Help

If you are able, could you please go to this site and donate for our sweet friends.  They have such a sad week.  Their son took his life last week.  They are not a wealthy family and there are many expenses for hospital and funeral. 
I feel so sad for our sweet friend. :( 
She needs us to come around her and surround her with love and support.
You can find her blog on my side bar called "On a Scale from One to Ten". 

We are all just one tragedy way from heartache. Our lives can change in an instant. 
Thank You.

You can give by emailing me for the link .  Thank you Mama Porouski and Maria G from Canada,  for the information. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Funny For Tonight...

 Tonight during Family Worship we were finishing up with prayer time. 

Alli prayed, "Dear God, I pray that you would make perfect decisions!" "Oh, you already do!" :)

Sarah needed prayer for the "S" word. :)  In her life, the S word is Surgery. :)

A New Stir Fry Combo

I used Rice noodles; the thin kind.  Sometimes they are referred to as Rice Sticks.  Cooked them like noodles in boiling water, drained and set aside. Do NOT overcook!  5 minutes seems to be enough time.
In the wok, I put about 3 TLB olive oil, frozen broccoli, and thawed shrimp.  As it cooked I added 2 TLB of finely chopped basil, 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts,  2 Tsp lime juice, and some braggs liquid aminos. (gluten free soy sauce replacement, low sodium compared to soy sauce)

I stir fried it all together and then took out the veges and shrimp.  I took 1 tsp of corn starch in a little cold water to make it smooth and then added it to the wok, to thicken the sauce.  Put all the ingredients back together and then serve right away over rice noodles. 

Everybody REALLY liked it! :)

Monday, October 22, 2012


My Sweet, SWEET friend Nellie, is facing the unfathomable.
Her son, took his own life on Friday Night.   I am so sad for her, for her son Elya, and for her entire family.
Please pray for peace and comfort for her family. She is such a lovely person. :)  I so want to be WITH her.... but it is not possible. She is far away physically, but not in heart.
My dear friend is an awesome mother. There is NOTHING she could have done to change this.
My sweet Nellie. :(    May the Lord bring you peace and comfort!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Another Surgery

Our sweet Sarah will be having surgery in December. We are trying to time it AFTER Thanksgiving and BEFORE Christmas. :) 
Her bone has grown so much it is causing her a LOT of pain and she has not been able to stay off of crutches. She plans her activities around crutches.  Soccer, then crutches, ice and advil.... Gymnastics, then crutches, ice and advil.  Poor Baby.

Soooo, after Xrays today, we could see clearly that her bones had grown so much in her amputated leg that they are trying to poke through the tissue and skin. :( 

She has had this surgery several times.  But surgery is never easy.
Can't wait for her to be running and playing pain free once again! :)
Love my sweetie.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Art of Discipline Part 8: Do you EVER Raise Your Voice?

 ( I just took this photo of my Alli and Bella) :)

I wrote about what "CORRECTION" looks like and showed a video in this post.
This is what instructive correction looks like....  But I wanted to follow up lest I lead people astray that you should NEVER us a firm tone of voice.

I believe STRONGLY that using a soft and tender voice is necessary, and should be the NORM, especially for a traumatized child.  However that does not mean milk toast parenting.  It does not mean that you are not an authority.  You are; and a parent who learns to be an authority in their child's life based upon respect and love has their child's heart.

IF you are not using an authoritative voice all the time, (I am not talking about yelling, as yelling is not ok  I am talking about a firm quick NO!) that quick response will definitely get their attention.
And sometimes that is exactly what is needed. 
Parents who are always yelling or speaking harshly have to raise the level again and again as kids just get used to it as normal... then when you are wanting them to listen quickly, they won't. 

(Not that children are dogs, but it is very true in training animals, that a soft and tender voice needs to be used so that when you need to say a firm NO, the dog will listen. Otherwise, they will ignore you.)

There are times when a child is being disrespectful or in an inappropriate "mood"..... where a quick firm "NO"! or "STOP! NOW!".... is very appropriate.

We had that scenario this a.m. Alli woke up and wanted to make breakfast and it didn't turn out so well. She also was not wanting to receive any help.... which was just not going to work. She decided to just walk away while we were talking to her.
This is NEVER, EVER appropriate. It is disrespectful and NOT allowed! 

My tone changed from soft to "STOP NOW!"   And our daughter stopped and came back and sat down. 
I believe that if we were always using that tone, or if we were "yellers", she would have kept on going. 
My tone startled her, which was my intent.  I needed to quickly get her attention.
She said she was headed outside so she could be happy.  I let her know that going outside will not bring her happiness, because the discord in her heart goes with her outside.  And then, I waited to talk to her anymore, so she could take that in.
In the mean time, we went out and rescued the chicken from the dogs next door. (brave chicken) We will be clipping wings tonight.:)  We fixed a fence, and then rescued the goats who escaped from an unlocked fence.
Yes, our morning was eventful! LOL

I also, needed to become calm internally, so I spent some time praying while I was helping Erika finish up the morning dishes.  I always want the Lord to use my words to bring about LIFE and PURPOSE in my children. 

We were starting a little late due to the disrespect that had happened earlier, and Alli said, "Aren't we going to start? We are late!"  
I said, "We are late because of disrespect." "We will start when mom is ready, and I'm not ready quite yet." 
About 10 minutes later, I felt I was ready to lead our morning study. We always open with reading a chapter in the bible and talking about it.  They all enjoy this, and so do I.
But this a.m., I believe that God had me do something a little different.

I had listened to an old sermon from Richard Wurmbrand while I was walking on the tread mill.  I like to listen to sermons.  This one was called "The Faces of God". 
He talked about how one of his torturers while he was in prison, was an ex priest. He was now a secret police interrogator who was a ruthless man who tortured Christians.
He had the bible out and asked Richard, "Do you believe this?"
And Richard said, "Yes".
The man confessed to him that he had been a priest but was scared of the communists and saved his own life by joining them. 
His confession went on and on.  And then, Richard asked him, "Do you believe in God, in Jesus and that he died for sin?"  The man said, "Yes."
Richard then asked him, "Did he die for YOUR sin?"
He said, "No". 
And then Richard was able to share with him that Christ knows how awful our sin is, every sin, and He took them ALL upon himself WILLINGLY and gave his life for us. 
Your sin cannot be too great for God.   He is greater still.
And that man, that torturer, became a true believer at that time.

As I shared this story with my girls this a.m.  I looked at my Alli and all my girls, "Even back in Genesis, God said to Cain, "Sin crouches at the door, but YOU MUST MASTER OVER IT!" 
"Are we striving to master over our sin?  Are we truly struggling to overcome?"  "Or are we letting old habits creep in and take over?"

I asked each of my girls to find a different part of the house and go and spend about 10 minutes in prayer. 
When they came back, we finished up with praying for the countries on our clothing.

But I wasn't finished. I needed to use some instructive correction with Miss Alli.  I also felt that Alli needed to watch the video from yesterday that I had not shown her, and the one from today that nobody knew about. They were very similar.  At first she didn't want to, but I told her I wanted her to see, so she could truly understand what I was talking about.
She sat in my lap and watched herself. The camera does not lie. It was raw video, and she was appauled at how she sounded. 

Once again I reassured her that watching this video was not to embarrass her, but to help her to see what we are talking about.  She commented, "Mama, you were only trying to help me and I was so rude."  Yes, you were.  But I forgive you, and you need to forgive yourself.  And you ALSO need to STOP speaking in a disrespectful tone, and do it over in the RIGHT tone.

She immediately got up and said she had to go out to daddy and tell him how sorry she was.
Her sorrow was genuine, and I expect that she learned something valuable today. :)

(Just as a side note):  The use of a camera should NEVER be to humiliate.  It should be used sparingly, and as a teaching tool for both YOU and your child.  I learned something yesterday. Alli did not understand the difference between upset and angry.  She learned that today. :) 
I believe it is an excellent tool for parents to learn about what THEY are doing that can be changed.
The camera can be MISUSED, if it is being used to follow a child around and narrarate, similar to what happened on the 20/20 show I wrote about here

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Art of Discipline Part 7: What Does Correction Look Like

Alli has been home for 19 months.  I say often that she has come a LONG way.... But it is true! She HAS come  a LONG way!
We are continuing our efforts to learn how to use our tone of voice.  We have been doing really REALLY well, with a few little kinks now and then. 
Yesterday was one of those "kink" days.  And somebody was not in the mood to be corrected so early in the a.m. Soooo, instead of listening... she got defensive and said some things she shouldn't have said.  She talked back and she dug in..... 19 months ago, this would have turned into  a huge ordeal that went on for hours.  Today, it was resolved successfully in 30 minutes.
I quickly put on the camera with NOBODY knowing.... and just let it roll.  The reason is; many times she doesn't HEAR how she sounds.  She doesn't "get"it.  So trying to catch it is hard, and trying to explain it is harder! :)  Using video to see later, helps her to understand how she is sounding. 

I cracked up how everybody was acting so natural in the video.  Miss Alli was sitting right beside me. I told her she needed some mama time and then asked her.... "So what does scripture say?"  "Does it say Children be disobedient to your parents?"  Does it say children talk back to your parents when you disagree?"  "I wait for your answer while you calm yourself. "   She knows the answer quite well.

In the mean time, I made 3 videos so one wouldn't be so long.  I caught dancing, and playing and all sorts of things.....I tried to talk to her before she was ready and that did not work.  I am still learning that sometimes a few minutes to cool down works best.  Miss Alli was completely silent.  And then, she went from sitting next to me, to laying in my lap.  That is when I knew she was ready to listen.  I am going to post this video, because I want to show what gentle correction looks like.  

Our goal is always relationship.  Our goal is always a repentant heart.  I am really glad that I caught both of these on camera.  Miss Alli has given permission for me to play this.  I do not want to cause any of my girls embarrassment..... so I DO ask permission from them to use pictures or videos. I explained to her that I felt this one was important so others could see what we do.  And she agreed.

She really is a sweet heart. :) 

She was awesome for the rest of the day.  Fast forward to "Bright Lights"... The theme at bright lights was carrying the burden of sin.  There was a skit and then the discussion was about confessing when we do wrong so we don't bear our own burdens.  They discussed how it is refreshing in your heart when you confess your wrongs.

After dinner,  we were cleaning up and from the dining room, Alli said, "I want some ice cream!"
About 10 seconds later she came up to me and gave me a hug and said, "Mama, may I have some ice cream please?"  "I'm sorry I spoke in a demanding way."  I was so proud of her AND excited that she is really understanding!!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Food Difficulties

Today we had a pot luck at church.  The theme was "Mexican".... one of my FAVORITES! But I could not partake in most of what was served.  
Thankfully somebody brought raw carrots!  I had several of those!  I made tortilla chips, that are guaranteed gluten free/night shade free, and I had 4 of them, as I'm also not supposed to be having anything fried. UGH.....
My friend Laurie's daughter made gluten free (guaranteed) guacamole, and she shared some with me. :)
I was so thankful.  As I walked through the line though, I was happy inside that I am not having pain. It was really just NOT hard to not have the tamale, spanish rice, enchilada or Spanish rice.  When we came home, I had the rest of my sauteed saurkraut from last night, and a little tuna. :)

So thankful that I am doing well.  I woke with some pain this a.m., but I really think it was from working so hard yesterday at our rent house making screens.  That was hard on my wrists and knees and back, because I was getting up and down off of the ground, and pressing that cord thingy into the screen to make the material stay.

I panicked a little this a.m. when I woke up hurting. It was no way near what I have been used to in the past.... and it was gone by afternoon! YEA!

I sat down next to another friend at the potluck. Her name is Bonnie. I noticed she brought her own food.  She has many food allergies, and right now is on a liquid diet.   We had a great time talking while eating what we COULD eat. :)

I thank the Lord that I have found an answer to MOST of my pain.  It makes it easier to handle the diet.... and Miss Bonnie was very encouraging. "It is WAY better to be out of pain than to eat night shades!"  She is RIGHT!


Today our sweet Joy turned 86!  She was really excited about her birthday.  There just happened to be a pot luck after church, so I asked our deacon who was going to instruct everybody on how to go through the lines, if he could announce Joy's birthday and then lead us in singing Happy Birthday to her.  The delight on her face was so sweet.  :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Dissapointment and A Time to Learn.... :)

I FORGOT to tell the girlies, that we were going to spend Saturday at the rent house making new Screens!  Imagine thier delight when they found out that we were headed to another city, on thier school day off, and it was going to be a working day!
Two of them were ok, and two of them were abit, unhappy with the idea....

I apologized to them for not telling them ahead of time, but said, "We'll go to the library on the way!" 
Everybody cooperated, and we actually had a rather wonderful day!  We had fun making all those screens!  When the girlies weren't busy helping, they were playing cards.

We surprised them with Subway... a rare treat! 

All in all, it was a GREAT day! 

This got me to thinking about how to address disappointments in our children's lives, and how to handle them.  They are ALL going to face times of disappointment!  Kids with trauma backgrounds don't handle that so well...BUT... They can LEARN TO!

This a.m., when 2 of our girls were disappointed, I apologized that I had not given them fair warning, and told them I understood how they felt; but at the same time told them, all will be ok! This is something we need to get done for somebody else! We can make the best of it, or the worst of it!  And at that point, I made no apologies! Time to pull up the boot straps and focus! :)
They ALL chose to make the best of it! :)

One of the signs of healing and security, is when you find your child faced with a disappointment or a break in routine, and they handle it well. :)  I was thrilled to see each of the girlies jump on board and be part of the Minich Family Team! :)

And our renters were happy to have brand new screens to enjoy the Fall Weather! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guess Who Has New Legs?? WHOOT!

 Early morning start. Erika worked on a thank you note for Dwight. (the guy who makes her legs)
 Walking into Texas Scottish Rite Hospital with her old legs...
 Trying on the new ones.

 A test stand...
 A test walk...

 I think she likes them!
ummm. This is Alli's interpretation of "The Statue of Liberty".... she is supposed to be putting dishes away. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Art of Discipline Part 6: Reflections On Parenting The Wounded Child

"My child cannot trust."  "My child has RAD".   "My child has PTSD."
(Erika's picture from the lake)
The answer?  LOVE.
 This will make some angry.  WHY?  Because when you are in the process of helping a hurting child it is HARD.  You begin to second guess your decisions, your views, and if your child can really be helped.  And the challenge of changing our ideas of successful parenting can be very scary. 
But when I say the word LOVE.  I do not mean "loving intentions", "wanting to do a nice thing",  "Like".... I mean laying down your life LOVE.  AGAPE LOVE. Love that does not act unbecomingly towards another but always does what is best.  LOVE that DOES NOT FAIL and is NOT conditional. 
Some say that is impossible.  In Christ, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!  But we have to humble ourselves to learn a different way.

Our children have come from horrific circumstances at all different ages.  They each had to learn very, very basic things, like what a family is. They each had to learn that they were safe.  They each had to learn that mom and dad WILL NOT HURT them, EVER.
They had to learn that LOVE is something they have never known.... The kind of love that is real anyway.  The kind that keeps them safe, cares for them, does what is best for them, tucks them in , holds them, rocks them, feeds them, and CHERISHES THEM. They had to LEARN to accept being CHERISHED!  Why? Because not one of them felt worthy of love. 

So WHY do they NOW?  And they ALL DO.... 

Grace filled, love filled, parenting is a process....
 It is the process of laying ones life down for another.  It is the process of putting everything aside, to help that one lost little one.  It is the process of carefully, OH SO CAREFULLY and GENTLY introducing our children to family life, to truth, and exposing them to tender and loving correction, teaching them that they are precious even when they do wrong.  And it is the process of introducing them to the fate of mankind.  We live in a sinful and lost world.  But there is a savior.  "Let me tell you about Him." It is the process of teaching them to ask for forgiveness and to forgive! And this is VERY important, because there will be times where YOU must ask THEM for forgiveness. :)
It is also the process of teaching the children who are more secure, to lovingly and gently guide their sibling along the way, by example and in action.

If you are called to be the parent of a child who has faced great challenges, CONGRATULATIONS!
It is an honor that carries GREAT REWARD! :)

You will find out just how sinful your own heart is.  You will find that you can be terribly foolish by angrily asking your child to stop being angry. :)  You will find that your ONLY source of strength and hope comes from the Lord and HE will sustain you in times of great need.
You will find that your prayer life increases and that your focus is more directed.  You will find that when YOU make changes, and  YOU MODEL the behaviors you want to see in your children,  your children, no matter where they came from or how old they are, WILL respond.

It will not happen overnight. You will have steps forward and steps backwards.  I remember so well asking Miss Alli to trust me just a smidge.....:)  You will see behaviors change and then out of the blue go back 10 steps..... DON'T GIVE UP and DON'T FREAK OUT! 
Because when a child goes back.... they are about to LAUNCH FORWARD! This has been our experience MANY times!  Sometimes they just have to make sure you are still going to love them IF...

As I reflect back on the last 34 years of parenting, (as of October 17) and then the beginnings with Miss Anna and then Miss Sarah, and then Miss Erika, and especially the last 20 months with Miss Alli, who didn't come home until she was 11 years old after TWO FAILED adoptions and horrific circumstances in Russia.... I rejoice in God my Savior at the loveliness I see in each of my children.  I rejoice that I have been allowed to be a part of their lives and that in my flawed condition, God has seen fit to use Mike and I  together, as a team to help them produce the fruitful  fragrance of  LOVE.
 I stand in AWE at what the Lord can do.                                         (Erika's photo of Alli and Sarah)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Time of Rejoicing

Tonight was our family worship night. Why am I rejoicing?  Well, let me tell you....:)
As each of our girlies shared their hearts, I listened to them talk about praying for those who don't know Jesus.  Our Anna shared a praise that a musician that she had been praying for had received Christ as Savior!  She said she prays for musicians that she comes across who's lyrics are not good. :)

Sarah said she wanted to get up early in the mornings and begin her days with prayer and worship on her own.  
That is music to my ears!

Alli and Erika both participated in our study time and prayer time.  They are all embracing their Christian walks in new and deeper ways.

I am in awe of what the Lord has done in their lives. And what he continues to do in MY life.
I am so blessed.


An Erika Funny

Today during science we were reading aloud about Neurons.
Erika read aloud : "Do you think a single moron can carry information in both directions?" No.....
We all started laughing.... "It is  NEURON not MORON". LOL

Monday, October 8, 2012

An Anna Funny

Anna just asked me what pasteurized means. She noticed the orange juice was pasteurized.
I explained it to her and she said, "Oh, I thought it just meant that milk came from cows that live in pastures instead of barns; kind of like free range chicken."  LOL

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Les Miserables

We watched the 25th anniversary edition of the musical tonight.  SO amazing!
We edit some of it out for the girlies, but what a wonderful musical overall.
This song always makes me cry.  Alfie is an AMAZING singer!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sauteed Sauerkraut

I know many folks do NOT like sauerkraut. I didn't, because all I knew of it was that it was canned and tasteless.  What a terrible knock to real sauerkraut!

Since then, I have discovered REAL sauerkraut that is made well and NOT from a can!  Fresh sauerkraut isn't so tart it makes your mouth pucker.  Saute' it, and it is even better!

So here is my Saute'd Sauerkraut Recipe.

                                                             Sauteed Sauerkraut

1 cup of sauerkraut  preferably fresh not canned
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 tsp dill weed
1 tsp fresh garlic minced
1/3 cup diced onion
fresh ground pepper to taste (black or white)
1 tsp unsalted butter or 1 tsp coconut oil

melt butter or heat coconut oil on hot skillet
add all ingredients and stir until sauerkraut gets a little wilted
(3-5 minutes) and flavors blend.

optional- top with a tsp of fresh bacon bits, or add 1/2 a diced apple

Minich Waldorf Salad

I am trying all sorts of new things. I remember having a Waldorf salad a long time ago at a hotel and I really liked it.  This is my attempt to make it for myself and it turned out great! 

                                                            Minich Waldorf Salad
1 stalk of celery diced
1 apple cored and diced (peel on) I used gala.
12 grapes of any kind, (seedless) I used red, for color.
1/3 cup diced white onion
1/2 tsp garlic
1/3 cup diced walnuts
2 TLB non fat plain yogurt
1 TLB  Hellman's (gluten free) Mayonaise
Freshly ground pepper to taste

(options if you are not vegetarian.... 1/3 cup diced chicken,  or 1/4 cup bacon bits)
( also, fresh, drained pineapple would be a wonderful addition)
Mix it all together and refrigerate.  The Longer you refrigerate the more the flavors blend together and it is TASTY! 
This will be on our Thanksgiving Day Table!

I am no longer missing coke or pizza on Friday night. :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

This And That

 The Girls are producing like you wouldn't believe!!!! We are in Egg Heaven!
Thank you Hens! 
 The red coffee pot died.  We replaced it with a coffee pot and hot water dispenser.... So far,  I really like it!  The warranty is 3 years. I kept the receipt! HOPEFULLY it will last longer than that!
I asked Erika if she could make me a few pot-handle- holders. I like to cook with cast iron, but the handles get HOT!  This worked really well!  Thanks Erika!

The Art of Discipline part 5 Authority

 What does AUTHORITY look like in your home?  Is it domineering?  Is it completely missing?
Authority structures are very important!
Whether you are a single parent or are in a family with two parents, you must be the authority in your home.  The children should not be the ones in control. A child in control, is an out of control child!
It is very easy for parents of children who come from trauma backgrounds to go to one of two extremes.  Extreme authoritarianism or Extreme permissiveness.  Neither of these types of parenting styles are good for any child, but ESPECIALLY not for a child with a trauma background!

A healthy balance of structure with fun and flexibility mixed in will make a child respond in a positive way.  It may will, take some time and a lot of patience, but kids from traumatized backgrounds CAN live healthy NORMAL lives.
(I say this as my daughter is outside my window barking like a dog) LOL  (Creativity!)

When we need to correct our children's behaviors, we need to remember that punitive parenting is not very effective, or effective at all in cases where a child has a difficult background. 
What we may consider a "moral" issue, our children consider "SURVIVAL" issues. 

So how DO you deal with lying, hoarding, stealing, aggressive behaviors? 
 VERY CAREFULLY!Your child is a very tender plant that needs to be NURTURED for a very long time!  Pruning time will come, but not too soon and when it does come, it must be done softly and tenderly with the greatest of care, lest you damage the tender plant.

If you keep in mind that relationship, and building closer bonds is ALWAYS the goal in our correction, will that effect HOW you correct?
  If you are trying to BUILD relationship, will that be a good reminder of how one would talk to somebody they were wanting to build relationship with?

"WHAT IN THE WORLD HAVE YOU DONE??!!!!"  Is not the best way to be a team.
Coming alongside and tenderly letting the offender know that what they have said is unkind, or what they have done is not ok, takes on a whole new light.

"Sweetie, it is NEVER OK to talk to mommy like that. "  "What do you think would be a better way?" This is spoken in a firm but GENTLE tone.  NOT an ANGRY tone!
This has been a scenario in our home before.  My first statement was followed by a  "Why?"  Children who have been in complete dysfunction their entire lives DO need to understand the whys.  It should not be a problem to answer that question.  They TRULY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND any kind of authority!  This was the case with one of our daughters.

It is EXTREMELY important for parents, to consider that the parenting style they were raised under, or have been using may be ineffective with a traumatized child and they MUST be willing to learn something new and make some serious changes for success.

When you are really trying to do your best, and slip back into old, punitive styles, make it a learning lesson and not a tragedy.  Our kids learn from our failures too. :)

We should be able to be an authority, but not strike fear in our children.  They need to respect us, but respect should never be forced.  True Love and Respect are earned!
I can think of many military stories where officers abused their power, and men followed orders but there was no true respect, just a lot of anger.
Then there is the officer who has the complete respect of his soldiers because he is kind and fair, and his character is not one to USE his men to pump himself up, but his men know that he would give his life for them. He may give orders that the men must obey, even if they don't want to, but   this is a man who has earned TRUE respect through his deeds.  He has built relationship.

In a family, mothers and fathers need to act in a way that would cause somebody to look up to them and respect them. 

If your child is having a hard time with a respectful tone of voice. Teach them through example.  Have a respectful tone of voice yourself.  At the same time, you can teach them that it is NOT ok to speak in a disrespectful manner by simply saying, "That is not the right tone of voice to speak to me!"  Let's try that again! 
You may have to have a child sit with you while they work through the concept of being corrected!
It may take them a while to be calm and then try a do over.

When Alli first came home, all correction was done in the rocking chair after a lot of snuggle time and calming time.  Sometimes I would sing to her or pray with her, but it would always be a positive time.  And then, when she was calm and ready, I would explain very carefully to her what she had done wrong, and give her a story or two to help her understand. 
Then, we'd rock some more, and she would be FULLY RESTORED... and ready to start over.
Correction should not be a long drawn out thing with loads of punishments hurled onto a child that burdens them down.
If a child apologizes and receives correction, then FORGIVE THEM and move on!
I have not found  consequences to work as effectively as simple conversation that includes correcting and discussing unwanted behaviors. 
But what if they AREN'T Sorry?  What if they don't receive correction? 
Wait a while. Pray over them.  Peacefully wait, and then ask simple, gentle questions....
Questions that do not require long answers... yes or no questions....like
"Are you frustrated?"  "Did your feelings get hurt?"  "Do you think I am angry with you?"
"Do you think I don't love you?"  
Reply with encouragement, patience and love.
I have asked before, "Do you think I'm being unfair?"  And I have received a yes answer.
I had to go back over the scenario so I could see if I WAS being unfair.  If I have been wrong, I have asked for forgiveness.  If not, I have explained my reasoning.
Encouraging change through discussion has been very VERY successful for us.

Our children, ALL of them look to us as authorities in their lives that they can respect and love.
They know they can come to us and talk to us and that we will listen.  It did not happen over night, nor did it happen by mistake.  We have worked hard to establish respect.

The girls joke that the rocking chair is "The chair of DOOM!"  "Uh oh, she's going to the chair of doom!"   LOL
That chair has definitely had it's uses.  Not only is it the chair of rocking and singing and laughing and talking.... it is the chair of correction.  It is the chair of affection.  It will forever be remembered fondly. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Family Funny

Sarah has always reminded me of what Maria Von Trapp from "The Sound of Music"would have been like as a young girl. :) 

Today she announced at breakfast:  "I don't think I will marry. I think I'm going to become a nun...What do you think of that?"
And with that, we all broke into song.... "How do you solve a problem like Maria!"

Monday, October 1, 2012

Praying Around The World

Today, we decided to do what Gracia Burnham, at The Voice of the Martyr's Conference suggested. 
"Go into your closet and when you pick out your clothing, check which country made it, and the pray for that country!"

Everybody had a different country.  To my surprise, mine was made in the U.S.A.! :)
So this morning, during our prayer time, everybody was ready to pray for their country.  Today we prayed for the United States, Korea, Indonesia, China and Guatemala.

It was really neat to hear the girls begin to pray for the actual person who sewed their clothes and ask the Lord to be with them and bless them; or to send somebody to tell them about Jesus.

I think we have a new tradition! :)

What Is the Hardest Thing About Adoption?

People often ask, "What is the hardest thing about adoption?" 
Honestly I find adoption to be such a joy.  But there are hard times. VERY HARD.

We are in a great place right now. It seems that all of our girls are feeling safe and secure, and Miss Alli has turned another huge corner.  She has been a joy to be around, and has received instruction and correction so well!  I almost forgot last week that she will sometimes resort back to old behaviors,  and was caught off guard.  But I went right into theraputic parenting mode and things moved very quickly to resolution and joy.  

When we went to "The Voice of the Martyr's Conference" on Saturday, I was a little worried about how she would do.  They talk about difficult things there and are very open about it.  She did great. She also attended the teen conference with her sisters and participated in reading in a small group about another country!  I was proud of all the girls for participating. :)

We have had many hard times over the years in working each of the girls through the adjustment phase, and helping them to heal.  Tears have been shed, there have been frustrations and sorrows,  pre-planning, discussion to stay focused and much, much, more. But honestly, adoption is a JOY! And I would do it all over again, plus, if the Lord called us to do so!

At the conference, Gracia Burhnam was asked what the hardest thing about being a hostage was. She said very clearly, "being faced with myself!" 
I could completely IDENTIFY with that statement!  I have never been a hostage, and pray I will never be.... but  difficult , stressful situations bring out the ugliness that indwells us; our sin nature. It is still so very much alive, and we struggle to put sin to death.  
So with that in mind:

I have found the VERY HARDEST thing about adoption is having to face my OWN shortcomings and MY OWN ugliness.  The hardest thing about adoption is looking inside and seeing that I have a lot of changes to make and am still dealing with the same ole' sin that I once thought had been conquered.  Silly me... the boys had just grown up! LOL
Hidden sin, doesn't hide when you are under stress.  It rears it's ugly head and comes out for all to see.

THAT is the hardest thing.  AND IT IS THE VERY BEST THING.... because it brings about CHANGE! REAL CHANGE! Just as we want our children to trust us and rest in our love; GOD wants us to TRUST HIM and rest in HIS LOVE!
 Our God is FAITHFUL!  He carries us when we are weak and teaches us to depend upon Him in the hardest of times.  Choosing to LOVE with the kind of agape' love that God has for us, is a path that leads to healing, love, joy, peace and patience, kindness, goodness,  gentleness, faithfulness,  self control.... THESE are the fruits that become evident in our lives when we yield ourselves over to HIS WILL..... to LOVE the little ones He has placed in our care. 

God knew that we needed Alli just as much as she needed us. :)

What  beauty is unfolding in each of us!  I am honored to be a part of it. :)

A No Nightshade Update

I have been nightshade free for over 3 weeks.  I am experiencing a miracle in my body.  I am nearly pain free.  When I wake up in the morning I can move freely and my feet don't feel like they are broken.  My shoulder is doing really well, my hands and thumbs which usually cause me a lot of pain are pain free.  My hips which were keeping me from walking well are pain free.  I am THRILLED!

Thank you Lord for leading me to a solution!  And at the same time, guiding me to discipline myself in my eating habits.  

So while this diet "liveit" is not easy, it is SO worth it; just like being gluten free is worth it!
Today I walked over 3 miles on my treadmill while I listened to a documentary on Sabina Wurmbrand.
I lift my arms in praise to the Lord!

It's That Time of Year Again!

Pecan Season!!!!
Let the Pecans Fall... I'll be there to catch them!
We can use a few extra nuts at our house!

You Are Still Holy