Monday, February 25, 2008

Diagnosed with C.A.A.D.D.

This was sent to me by a friend a couple years ago - but I always think about it when I start feeling that I must have ADD. . . . . .Ok, Ok! It really happens every day! :)

If you have been wondering recently if you are losing your mind, are exhausted from being busy all day long with nothing to show for it, or am feeling that Alzheimer's might be coming on very early in life . . . then this article is for you! There is a diagnosis for you! I'm not sure about a cure though. :) hee,hee. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I think it may have something to do with getting all my kids in school full time! :) Maybe in a few years. I hope the damage isn't permanent by then! :)

-Lori :)

Recently, I was diagnosed with C. A. A. D. D. – Child Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to do the laundry. As I start toward the basement, I notice that there are cheerios all over the floor and my car keys are in the cereal bowl. I decide to pick up the cheerios before I do the laundry. I lay my car keys down on the counter, put the cheerios in the trashcan under the counter, and notice that the trashcan is full. So, I decide to take out the trash. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash I may as well pay the bills first. I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left, my extra checks are in my desk in the office/playroom, so I go to my desk where I find a sippy cup full of juice. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I decide I should put the sippy cup in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the sippy cup, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered. I set the sippy cup on the counter, and I discover baby wipes that I've been
searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back in the bathroom, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the wipes back down, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote, one of the kids left it on the kitchen table. I realize that after school when they go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote as they fight over who lost it, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down, get some paper towels and wipe up the spill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do. At the end of the day: the laundry isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm cup of juice sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find the wipes, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys. Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail. Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent. Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!

It's not personal

Today and tomorrow are definitely somber days. There will be a viewing for Andi tonight and her "going home" party tomorrow. I woke up somber, and the more I thought about it all . . . her family, the kids, the tragedy of it all . . . the sadder I was becoming. I know that Andi would not want that. I know that she would want us all to be rejoicing with her and praising God for the life He has blessed us with. I know that she would want us to enjoy our day, our kids, our families and our friends. So I started thinking about some of the funny things my kids have said or done over the years. My husband has urged me for almost 12 years to write all the funny things down so we can remember them. I meant to. I mean to do alot of things. :) But - time has flown by way too fast and I realized I have only written down just a handful of them. I'm going to try and start writing them out more. I know the kids love hearing all the funny things they have said and done in the past (even if they didn't think it was funny at the time). :) So here's one from over a year ago - December 1st, 2006.

My daughter Meghan had faithfully read book after book as a 1st grader to earn a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut as part of a school incentive program. We decided to go out to eat as a family on our typical Fun Family Friday - which also happens to be pizza night at our house. This definitely was a special treat for the kids as we rarely went out to a restaurant all together (too expensive for our family of 6). Meghan ordered her personal pan cheese pizza while the older 2 boys, myself and my husband all ordered the buffet. Jacob didn't eat much at the time and we figured he could share a piece of Meghan's pizza. Her pizza took forever to arrive. When it did, we shared a piece with her younger brother and then gave her the rest of her pizza.

"Here's your personal pan pizza Meghan." I said cheerfully.

With a typical "Meghan look" of seriousness and frustration, her reply was . . . . . "It's not a personal pizza. I had to share it with Jacob!" :)

We laughed so hard!

She didn't see the humor in it. :)

The blessing of the night was that, because her pizza was so late in coming (well after we had finished our pizza), they gave us one of the buffet meals and drinks for free! Plus we had already had a coupon for a "buy one, get one free buffet". So I think our total bill came to about $10!! God is good!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just one more day

The sun was shining. The air was crisp and clean. A refreshing breeze blew in the unusually warm February air. There may have even been a few birds chirping their sweet spring song as one of the daffodils along my front walkway was beginning to bloom. It is the first I had seen this year - but not surprisingly early considering the warm winter we have had.

I went about my dreaded morning routine – setting out the breakfast bowls, making lunches for school, reminding my kids over and over and over to “get your shoes on, brush your teeth and comb your hair. You have to leave for in a few minutes!”, and trying to fight the callings of my bed to return for a few more minutes of peace and rest. I was secretly hoping (as I do most every day) that my busy and talkative 3 year old would actually sleep in today instead of rising with my other 4 monkeys so early in the morning. But with kids fighting to get to the toothpaste, and hollering that they can’t find their shoes or that they are “COLD” but won’t put on a sweatshirt, my precious preschooler was awake and ready for the adventure that lies within each day for her. “That’s ok” I thought. “It’s not like I could really climb back in my bed today anyways. I have MOPS this morning. . . . . .Oh shoot! I forgot I am supposed to bring snacks today!” No time to run to the store. Scrounging around, I found some red apples for our Valentine’s theme, some orange juice and Pumpkin Pie coffee creamer. That will have to do. Last year was to be my last year as a “MOPS” (Mother of a Preschooler) as my youngest was going into kindergarten. However, God blessed us with our adorable 3-year-old daughter from Guatemala in Sept! Yeah! I definitely was not quite ready to be a “mentor mom” yet. :) But I had forgotten just how busy and tiring it is to raise a preschooler!

We made it to MOPS, a little later than normal, but still arriving on time. I dropped my daughter off at her “class” and then strolled down to the beautifully decorated and inviting MOPS room. Here is where I engage in a cherished routine of chit-chatting with my tired-and-in-desperate-need-of-caffeine-snacks-and- fellowship-without-kids friends, complimenting them on their new clothes, commenting on how they miraculously managed to get their skinny bodies back so soon after giving birth, dipping into the delicious and “calorie-free” (yeah right!) snacks, and plopping into my chair for a blissful 2 hours of “mommy time”! Twice a month is definitely not often enough to do this. Everyone agrees. As we ate, laughed and traded the latest news, our MOPS coordinator moved to the front of the room and quieted us down with a look on her face that none of us wanted to see.

For the last year and a half, we have been praying for and ministering to a young MOPS mom (Andi) who was diagnosed with a very rare form of ovarian cancer. So rare, the doctors were not really sure what her prognosis was or how best to treat it. Because of many factors – one of which was the chemo and how weak it left her – she was not able to attend MOPS this year. She was definitely in our hearts each time we gathered. She was truly a Godly woman and lover of God, and had a beautiful family with her two preschoolers and husband. She loved to Scrapbook and was an “email junkie” (I can identify with that!). :) I never saw her with anything other than a smile on her face and a tremendous faith in God and HIS plans and love for all of us.

The recent chemo treatments had not worked as expected and the many tumors in her abdomen had continued to grow, causing a lot of pain. Just this week she had switched to a new pain medicine that had helped her to feel better without as many side effects, and she was on her 2nd round of treatment with a new chemo drug. She emailed us on Monday after her treatment, sounding encouraged that the doctor did not think the biggest tumor had grown any more! Praise the Lord! It was stabilizing with this new drug! She was being proactive in her pain and nausea medication and fluids, as she had experienced a rough couple of weeks after the last dose of chemo. Some of the side effects that she had been experiencing before were lessening (like trembling of her hands) and she sounded very optimistic! I was thrilled to hear that! She expressed thanks for all the ladies that had joyfully come together and had spent a day scrapbooking her precious photos of her children and family for her, as well as praying over her. That had meant the world to her.

So many times, I would have a sore throat or slight upset stomach and would start to complain. I would then get an email from Andi, praising God that she was able to drink her smoothie that day without nearly as much pain in her mouth or gut! Boy how foolish I felt! For months, she could hardly even swallow her saliva without being in massive pain all throughout her mouth and throat (a side effect from a certain combination of chemo drugs). Yet we never heard her complain. She was always praising God. Letting us know that God had not healed her yet, but that she still had faith. Above all, she had faith that what she was going through and how she was handling it would be a testimony to the unsaved members of her family. Yes, she wanted to be healed and live a long life here on earth, but even more than that, she wanted to see her whole family guaranteed to be together forever in heaven! There is nothing greater!

Wednesday morning, before my children had even risen, Andi’s husband was dealing with anyone’s worst nightmare – performing CPR on his wife after her heart had stopped beating. She was rushed to the hospital and placed in the ICU – it was not looking too promising. As our coordinator relayed the information, we all stopped our now seemingly selfish chit-chatting at MOPS and prayed for her and her family. Silence and heaviness filled the room. However, as we prayed I was filled with immense peace, and saw a vision of Jesus standing on the left side of Andi’s bed – holding her hand with his right hand. He was just standing there patiently. At one point, He leaned down and put his other hand on her abdomen, and I sensed that a warm peace flowed from him into Andi. He then went back to standing calmly and lovingly beside her. He was not going to leave her. He never had and never would. He loves her too much!

The day dragged on as we waited for more news. I felt trapped at my house with all my kids – wanting to be there to comfort and pray with Andi’s friends and family at the hospital. However, I was, at the same time, wanting to love on my own kids and was so very thankful for the time I had been blessed with to spend with them. My kids and I prayed throughout the day. At 6:30 pm, I was debating whether to go to the hospital or to a local prayer service. I wished I had gone to the hospital. I was afraid of intruding. How silly, eh? I prayed and cried over Andi’s family and their situation at the prayer meeting. God filled me with His peace again and showed me another beautiful vision. This time it was of God ushering Andi on his left arm, down an aisle – as the bride of Christ that she is. She was entering the most beautiful and peaceful place imaginable. She was very happy and free from pain and thrilled to be walking with God! Little did I know that at this time the family had to make a tough decision.

“Andi has severe brain damage from lack of oxygen”, the doctor said. Amidst tears and sorrow, her husband and family painfully honored Andi’s written wishes, and around 8:30pm on Wednesday, they took her off the ventilator. She actually was breathing on her own for several hours, but by 1:30 am she was walking with her King, her Daddy, the greatest love of her life! Those of us left behind are dealing with our own grief – of losing a wife, mother, daughter, friend, encourager and more. But the one thing I am most grateful for right now, is that Andi has reminded me that I have been graciously given just one more day – to laugh, to love, to live, to cherish, to grieve, to mourn, to witness, to pray, to giggle, to play, to hold, to kiss, and yes – to even make lunches, set out cereal bowls and find lost shoes. I cannot take those things for granted today – and I hope that I never do. I am glad that I can walk and talk with my God here on earth – but I do long for the day to be just like Andi – holding my heavenly Daddy’s arm and entering into a glorious eternity!

May you all enjoy the “one more day” that you have been given today as well!


Lori :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

The least of these . . .

I LOVE to spend time with the Lord! I long for the days (in YWAM) that I used to spend 2 and 3 hours with Him - talking, listening, reading His Word, crying, rejoicing, learning and more. . . . . . . of course - that was B.C.!! Before Children!! :) Heck -that was B.H. . . . . . Before Husband! Now how do I find time to get my fill each day with the Lord?

I know what some of you are thinking . . . 2-3 hours??? I can barely pray for 5 minutes and the Bible is so boring to read some times. I totally understand. I was the same way till the Holy Spirit got ahold of me! Ever since then - I can't get enough. Yes I go through "dry" spells, but lately God has been calling me back - to a deeper place with Him - a deeper place of refreshing, of healing, of learning. That's why I've been so frustrated lately at not being able to spend quantity and quality time with the Lord.

Every day - 7 days a week - I have between 2 and 5 kids at home - on different schedules, at different schools, some homeschooled, some in public school, etc. About every 1 1/2 - 2 hours I have to pick someone up, drop someone off, make a meal, etc - and then squeeze in the laundry, housework (which I put off as much as possible already), bills, grocery shopping and just paying attention to my very busy, newly adopted 3 year old (and her siblings)! My brain never has much longer than 2 -30 minutes to think about anything before being interrupted. (So far I have been interrupted 5 times just writing this much. :) . . . but I press on!) We made a rule a long time ago that there would be no TV or video games on Monday -Thursdays . . . . . . . ugh. No - it really is a good rule - but one that I have had to break lately with my 3 year old just to get some things done (rationalizing, of course, that she hasn't had the opportunity to see all the wonderful educational American TV shows that her siblings watched at her age). If I put in a movie I could even possibly get an hour to myself . . . but then I feel guilty about ignoring my child who just came home from Guatemala. I've done it a few times to spend time with the Lord - but that just makes me crave even more time with Him - and there just never seems to be enough hours in the day (or enough of mommy/wife to go around) to do it all.

So - the other day I was complaining to God that I just wanted to spend more time with Him - that I was sorry I wasn't getting up super-early (I'm already up at 6:45 each day - which, for a night owl - is waaay tooo early). I do talk to God all day long as I'm doing the chores, helping with homework ("GOD HELP ME . . . and my child!" is usually that prayer!), driving my "taxi" . . . . and I even get a whole 15-20 minutes to talk to God in the shower each day . . . .usually. :) I have had some great "chats" with God in my shower! But I long for more.

So after complaining/apologizing for not spending much one-on-one time with God lately because I am always taking care of my kids , I heard God gently remind me . . . "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Mt. 25:40 - read verses 35-39 too) "When you spend time with your children - pouring into their lives - you are spending time with Me Lori." :) Wow! What a refreshing word that lit up my soul! God knows! He knows all about our busy lives. He knows that we can't possibly spend hours and hours alone, one-on-one with just Him - and so He gives us an opportunity to minister to Him by taking care of the precious treasures He entrusted to us! He's still calling to you - to come deeper . . . .but it may not be in the way that you had once known. He is calling us deeper in ALL areas of our life with Him - including parenting!

I still long for the long periods of solitude with God each day - and I'm still on a quest to be able to find the time to do that. Maybe I should be praying to become a "morning" person. :) . . . .NAHHH! . . . . But I am not going to overlook the time I AM spending with the Lord when I am "doing unto the least of these".

God bless you today!