Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm hungry!!!

Each child is unique. If I’ve learned nothing else after being blessed with my own 9 children and fostering 23 children I have certainly learned this point well. Take for instance my oldest son, Austen. Austen’s dad and I divorced when he was around 9 years of age. Immediately after the separation and divorce Austen had this inner belief that he had to become the man of the house. I constantly told him he was a child and he was not responsible as an adult is responsible. But still that boy continued to worry like an adult about things that were not his responsibility. I even did everything I could think of to ease his premature worries about life in general and about family finances specifically. Those were my worries not his but I just never could convince him of that fact. He worried and fretted about everything from how to purchase Christmas gifts for his brothers and extended family members to worrying about having the oil changed on the car. Austen grew up way before his years and as a result he didn’t seem to have the same carefree nature as other teens. Now, he is thirty and probably feeling like he missed something, which he did but not because Mom wanted him to miss it. Instead, it was that sense of responsibility that was deep inside of a boy when it shouldn’t have been there at all.

 

Now, twenty something years later I’m going through some of this experience again with my youngest son, Irwin. Just this morning I received a text message from Irwin that he needed lunch money. I asked him why he was already needing lunch money in his school account when I had paid for an entire month on October 2nd. He continued to insist “they said” he needed more lunch money. However, upon investigation he had enough money in his account for another seven days. This is the mentality Irwin possesses. He was hungry as a foster child so he protects himself from hunger now. We are constantly fighting the food battle with this child. He worries about every meal and actually counts the meals he has each day. He insists on three meals no matter what time he might partake of the first meal of the day. There are times when he sleeps in on Saturday and he may eat at 1pm but to him this meal is breakfast, leaving the need for lunch and dinner in this particular day. And…believe me….I know about it if he doesn’t get those three meals too!

 

I hear people say all the time, “the past is the past.” However, that’s not necessarily true for everyone or every circumstance. I know a man in his forties that was once a foster child. Even today when he’s cooking a meal for him and his wife he ends up with a pot big enough to feed a family of six. The same can be said for Irwin when he cooks anything. It’s always in excess, more than he needs. Why? Because at a point in their lives they were without food. There simply was none to be had for them. Hungry and miserable is a desperate place. Those are lows in life that aren’t forgotten no matter how old one may get. Now, just like with Irwin, the self-protection mode kicks in and they are driven to make certain they never go hungry again. 

 

As a child I never had to worry about hunger. As a parent I always made sure my children had enough. However, not every child in this world has those safeguards. Have you ever been so ready for lunch that you watch the clock until lunchtime? What if you were so hungry for lunch, watching the clock until lunch time, then there was no food to be had? Unfortunately, there are many in our world, right here in the United States, that go without food. I see it every day from my office window on the fifth floor in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the Country’s Heartland. 

 

My Gordo is coming home in a few days and I can’t wait to see my Army son. I miss him each and every day and being without being able to see him in person leaves a gaping hole in my heart. Every military parent understands what it is like. I’m excited for Thanksgiving this year because all my children will be around my table. That is so special. Yet there are mothers who won’t be able to feed their children or even have a table to sit around in a warm, happy, loving home. 

 

As the holiday season approaches I urge everyone to get out and give. Give food to the food banks in your area that provide food to the hungry. Give money to charities that provide for the needy. Take one or two of those little angels off an Angel Tree somewhere and buy a child a Christmas Gift. Go beyond what you did last year. Go beyond yourself and do for others. Believe me you will be blessed beyond your imagination in so many ways. Charity begins at home folks and there is a need right here in America, in our own communities. Let’s take hunger to heart this season and do whatever we can to give. Even a little from everyone will go a long way!

 

Go out and do something AMAZING!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

$100

When faced with challenging circumstances you also find out the depth of your friendships. I have been completely inundated with friends from all over the world praying for me, giving me encouragement, and even sending flowers as tokens of their love and concern. It's just been amazing and I know I'm greatly blessed.

However, this morning I received a visitor in my office who had just learned of my cancer diagnosis. This wasn't somebody I don't normally see as this attorney occupies the office next to mine. We see each other in the office daily and have conversations and group lunches regularly as our office is like a family. We "almost" solve the worlds problems during our lunches together, lol! Howver, today's was a private conversation in my office which put a mark on my mind that will long outlast this illness. It was a life-lesson which I will truly value for the remainder of my life. I want to share it with you in the hopes it will also make a mark on you. 

He said, "you're a $100 bill!" I paused from my work and raised my head to look at him as he sat down in the chair in front of my desk. I asked him what on earth he was talking about. 


He took me on a journey through the life of a $100 bill. First, it's created on the drafting table, it's reviewed and revised until it's perfected. Then it is printed at the Federal Reserve. It goes to a bank. An everyday Joe takes his payroll check to a cashier and cashes it, being handed that $100 bill in the envelope.

Joe gives that $100 bill to his wife and she goes shopping. On her way inside the mall she's mugged and her money stolen. The criminal gets away and that $100 is now in his pocket. 

To pay for his drug habit this criminal carries the $100 bill to the dark area of town and purchases the drugs he desires more than anything else. 

The dealer takes the $100 and uses it to purchase the services of his favorite girl of the evening. During their little romp alcohol gets spilled on the nightstand and all over the bill. During the evening a cigarette falls out of the ashtray and singes the bill. 

Stinking and burned the bill is then taken to the grocery store where she purchases food for the children she didn't plan to have and couldn't afford. The grocer takes the bill back to the bank in his nightly deposit. 

The $100 bill had been through good things and bad. It was in good places and bad places. What was once crisp and new became worn, stinky and soiled. But no matter what it had been through or where it had been, it never lost its value, it was still worth $100. 

The point then made was this;
No matter what we face in life, no matter what challenges we go through, God made us. Our value to him remains the same, it never diminishes.  Just like the value of that $100 bill God still values me. (And you.) 

When life brings us challenges that seem overwhelming or too big to win, remember you still have value to God. That value is the same consistent value as when he made you. 

I've always been told that God won't allow anything to be put upon us which is to great for us to handle. I think he made me to be a brick house at this point. 

I shall not question his plan nor his wisdom but will continuing knowing I have value in his eyes and that just as he always has, he will see me through this too! 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wrestling a .......Girl!

One of the big obstacles Irwin has faced in the wrestling mat is......a girl! It doesn't sound like much of a problem but believe me it has been. 

As a little boy Irwin was abused himself, but also forced to witness his sisters' abuse. As a result of his painful experiences and memories, he simply can not stand even the thought of a girl being thrown around or man-handled. Every time he steps onto the wresting mat with his opponent being a girl, he just shuts down! He refuses to get agressive and becomes weak from the memories that still haunt his mind. 

I've always been an advocate for equal opportunity. However, as the parent now of a girl I must say that if it were my Pamela, I would not want her to wrestle. I just couldn't stand the thought of my precious angel getting man-handled by boys and even possibly hurt. However, my sentiment is only my own opinion and every parent, as well as every child regardless of the gender, has the right to do however they feel is appropriate for them. 

Early this morning I began looking online at the wrestling website to see if today's brackets had been posted. That way I could have some indication of how long before Irwin's first match.  Pamela and I suffered through over 100 matches yesterday just waiting for Irwin to have his first opportunity of the day on the mat. When it was finally posted and I found his  match and when I saw who he was wrestling my mouth dropped open. I covered the open mouth with my hand as I said out loud, "oh no!" Unless some boy's parents had named him "Naomi", irwin's first opponent was a girl! This was trouble!

My stomach dropped and this mom began to worry about my son's memories and inner struggles which were about to take center stage on mat number 5! Ugh!

About that time I received the first of many frantic text messages; "I think my first match is a girl!!!!" I knew at that moment my Mom's intuition was coming full circle as I was witness to the fearless wrestling warrior freaking out like a little girl who just saw a spider!

I told Pamela we needed to get into the arena quickly. Dad is great at all things manly like wrestling techniques and manly instructions to devour the apponent. However, a mom is comfort in times of inner struggle and this warrior was melting fast! 

I received several more frantic text messages along the way (in the three minutes it took us to walk into the arena and to our chairs.) When I saw him there was little color in that normally olive complexion. His dark eyes were shifting back and forth and he was figiting nervously from side to side. "Miss Janice, what am I going to do?" 

Immediately I told him to not think of this opponent as a girl. I said to him that she's only a girl off the mat. I tried to convince him in every way humanly possible that once she stepped on the mat as his opponent, she was nothing more than a fellow wrestler. 

I could see I wasn't making any headway immediately. He was as nervous as a cat in a room full of old people in rocking chairs! He flashed those dark, worried eyes at me as if to say, "are you crazy ? - there's no way!"

He made his way to the arena floor while biting his fingernails nervously! He then began stretching and hopping around as wrestlers do to get the blood pumping and trying to prepare mentally for what was about to occur. All the while he was watching HER out of the corner of his eyes! 

I could see his Dad and the coaching staff trying to talk to him about the "girl" being just an apponent. But I know my son and he was not even close to being convinced. It would take a lot more than our mere words to make him wrestle "a girl" as if she were merely a wrestler!

His time was at hand. The girl was a pretty girl too! I had hoped for a tomboy that looked like a dude! But no such luck today. She was a very pretty girl with long black hair and a very well developed "girl" body for her age. 

The referee turned to her and patted the tops of her arms and shoulders then turned to Irwin and did the same. They shook hands as is wrestling etiquette. After mumbling a request to God for mercy and emotional strength, I drew in a deep breath and waited! 

And then......it happened! The miracle that would bust down that mental and emotional wall that until today kept him from being able to wrestle a girl just as aggressively as he does male wrestlers.  Her first move?

 She slapped the living crap out of him!!! 


With just one well placed blow across that handsome but troubled face, she opened the very floodgates of his heart!  

Boy was he mad. He flipped that girl over and over, he twisted her limbs around until he made her roll like a rolling pin across that mat. He was no longer wrestling a girl, he was wrestling an adversary that had angered him from the get-go! He won that match with little effort or time! He did so in a technical fall 10-0! She never had the opportunity to make any points on him. 

Never, in my wildest dreams did I think he was going to be able to see beyond the wall of emotion surrounding the abuse of his sister to face a girl on the wrestling mat with success. Today he did. He broke through that wall that had him bound and succeeded.

He came off that mat and immediately made his way straight to me. "I can't believe I was able to do that!" He just kept walking in circles and repeating it, "I can't believe it!" He had a big smile on his face that had nothing to do with beating this opponent but had everything to do with facing the demons of the painful memories locked away inside him and winning! 

However, I did tell him, several times,  that this is ONLY for the wrestling mat and he is to never be this aggressive with "a girl" otherwise! 

Today was a landmark day and although nobody else in this big arena knew it, Irwin fought more than just his opponent, he was a champion! The victory he won will be remembered long after the stats from this tournament have been forgotten!




Friday, May 30, 2014

The Songs Remember When

It is not unusual for me to have a song running through my head and not know why! It can be some annoying commercial jingle or a full song!

Once I actually take the time to do the mental backtracking I normally discover that while I was at the grocery store the song was playing over their sound system. Or I simply walked through the living room and my subconscience heard a song or jingle. It takes hours for me to get that melody out of my head too. 

Music has a way of reminding us of certain events. Those events can be joyful and leave a smile in your face or they can remind you of not so happy moments. 

As a teenager I had a boyfriend that could play the bass guitar. Looking back on that relationship I often have wondered which I liked more, Jimmy or his guitar! Lol. Music has always been a big part of my life. One day my little sister, Joyce Ann, overheard him singing to me and she always reminds me of it;

" If you've got a problem, don't care what it is
If you need a hand, I can assure you this

I can help, I've got two strong arms, I can help
It would sure do me good to do you good 
Let me help"

I still smile when I think about that. I understand Jimmy died of a heart attack in his 40's but in my mind he will always be 17! 

On the contrast, every time I listen to Joe Diffie's "Is It Cold In Here?" It reminds me of the last evening spent with my ex-husband. He was always gone and I was raising three little boys virtually alone. It was just before his "coming out" and try as I did to be the very best wife and mother I could be, my efforts just hit emotional walls. The words went through me like a knife and as I glanced across the room at him I caught him doing the same. Those words were;

"There's no warmth at all when I try to hold you near, 
You stare into space as if I wasn't here.
Did our love just die or is it just about to?
Is it cold in here or is it just you."

It's amazing to me that we've been divorced since 1992 and I still think about that one moment in time 22 years ago every time I happen to hear that song. 

My cousin posted about her first-born graduating from Kindergarten today and it brought back to my memory the day of Austen, my oldest sons,  kindergarten graduation. At the time he was five and he loved riding his bike in the country at my parents' place. He loved a certain song and he asked my mom, Grandma, to make him a continuous cassette tape of only that song so he could ride his bike while it was playing on a little mini player taped to his bike. The song: "Billy The Kid" was recorded by Billy Dean and the words fit at the time;

"Strapped on my holster low across my hips, 
Two Colt .45’s with black plastic grips; 
And I’d head west through our neighborhood, 
And they’d say, 
“Here comes young Billy and he’s up to no good.” 
I rode a trail through the neighbor’s backyard, 
Shootin’ the Bad Guys through my handlebars. 
Known for my bravery both far and near, 
Bein’ late for supper was my only fear."

That kid would ride that bike for hours on end listening to that song. He would wear the denim duster Grandma made him, flannel cowboy shirt, brown cowboy boots, and have a holster and 2 plastic six-shooters strapped across his waist. Again, the song fit that moment in time. I still think about that little boy riding his bike to that song and sweating like crazy! But he was living the dream! He still rides a bike but now it says "Harley Davidson" on it and every time I see him riding I wonder if he's listening to that song! 

One year at Christmastime Jorden wanted to give his Grandpa a Christmas gift. He worried about giving something to the man he most adored! He was seven years of age and his job got him a dollar a week for chores around the house. I had a small recording studio in my house and I would spend the hours between getting the kids off to school and them coming home playing, practicing and recording music. Jorden would arrive home from school, pop into the studio and say "I wanna sing too!" So, I would let him and he was darn good too! 

For Christmas that year he came up with the idea to record grandpa a song. He choose a song and asked me to change the words to fit grandpa. I only had to change two words and he recorded it. My dad still has that recording and Jorden is now pushing 30 years of age. This was the song;

" I remember Grandpa's hands,
folded silently in prayer
And reaching out to hold me,
when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story,
in the callouses and lines
Years of work and worry
had left their mark behind

I remember Grandpa's hands,
how they held my Grandma tight
And patted my back,
for something done right
There are things that I've forgotten,
that I loved about the man
But I'll always remember
the love in Grandpa's hands

Grandpa's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin'
Grandpa's hands, were hard as steel
when I'd done wrong
Grandpa's hands
, weren't always gentle
But I've come to understand
There was always love
in Grandpa's hands

I remember Grandpa's 
hands
, working 'til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly,
just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over,
I'd live my life again
And never take for granted
the love in Grandpa's 
hands"

Every time I hear this song, which was written by Holly Dunn about her own Dad in 1986, my mind still sees Jorden in that little home studio singing with tears in his eyes about his Grandpa Beesley. That was love pure and simple!

Sometimes I think about what song I might want played when my time has come, and my husband, children, and family are gathered in the front pews of a church for my going home service. I want that song to be something that gives instructions of my wishes for them Something like this perhaps;

"I hope you never look back but you never forget
All the ones who love you and the place you left
I hope you always forgive and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get

Oh, you'd find God's grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take

But more than anything
Yeah more than anything

My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big
Your worries stay small
And you never have to carry more than you can haul
And when you're out there gettin where your gettin to 
I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things too
Yeah this is my wish."


I couldn't help but laugh out loud the other day when a friend posted this on Facebook:


It reminded me of the first time I heard YMCA by the Village People! 

What do you remember? 




Thursday, May 29, 2014

LIFE-LESSONS To My Children

Today; I received some bad news. At first, I couldn't talk about it and I even thought about just keeping it to myself until I had no other choice. The good Lord knows I've done just that on many occasions. People called me strong because of it, but it wasn't strength it was fear, big fear. I've always been the kind of person that doesn't want to talk about the things that scare me the most. My own mortality is the biggest fear factor of all. However, I remind myself constantly in life that God has blessed me beyond anything I have ever imagined.

After the initial shock I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and made the decision that we all need to live everyday like it could be our last. We are not guaranteed anything in this life except taxes! And believe me because I know...you pay taxes AFTER death too!

Every single day we need to get up and thank God for another opportunity to make life better for everyone around us. You never know what a simple smile does for someone else! There is a lot of depressed and lonely people all around us that need to know they matter.

Last week on Facebook I saw one of my precious nieces say "could this day get any worse?" At the moment I read her question I looked out over downtown Tulsa. There were homeless people, people limping and struggling to walk. I saw a man pushing an old rusted grocery cart which housed his most prized possessions. Yes, I told her, this day could be worse. As spoiled Americans (and I'm glad I am an American) we forget to think beyond that which only effects ourselves.

Today I just feel the need to speak openly to my children. If I live 100 years or if tomorrow might be the day assigned to me by Heaven, I want to leave behind some life lessons for the generations of my off-spring to read and hear my voice talking to them like an old matriarch.


MY LIFE-GUIDE TO MY CHILDREN FROM 31 TO 13:

Austen, Jorden, Dalten, Gordon, Anthony, LeTicha, Genevieve, Irwin, Nicholas, and Pamela………….

1.      What you give in life always comes back to you. Give what you’d like to receive back because it’s true that life goes full circle.

2.      Don’t judge someone by what you see from outside the walls of their life. You never know what they may be going through inside. Love and forgive freely.

3.      Just because you forgive doesn’t mean you should condone. Just as you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water you don’t jump in and play in the dirty water that baby leaves behind either.

4.      You define your own life. Don’t let others write your life plan for you.

5.      Do not allow the hurts of the past to have power over the present. Only you have the ability to move forward after being hurt, crushed, judged, manipulated or falsely accused. Don’t let it define who you are or allow your life plan to be altered. Don’t allow it to eat at your insides either.

6.      If people love you as much as you love them, then they will see that leaving hurt in someone’s heart isn’t worth the price that is paid. And....you remember that too!

7.      People will show you who and what they are so do not allow someone else to color your opinion or view of another.  And, when they do show you what they are, remember that some humans are impossible of change. Be wise with your “second chances.” It’s okay to give second chances, but do it wisely and with wisdom and know when to stop. If it doesn’t stop, you become enabling of bad behavior, foolishness, and self-centeredness.   

8.      Worrying is nothing more than time wasted. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you. If you are worried, then have a talk with God and remember he NEVER leaves us, he doesn’t judge us, he loves us unconditionally. No matter what it is, he can handle it. Be careful though not to make his job harder by trying to change things beyond your control or understanding. God has NEVER let me down even in my darkest times when I felt alone and unheard.

9.      YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE. Believe in hope, love, charity, and good will. But above all believe in yourself.

10.  Remember to tell God “Thank You” on a regular basis. And also remember there is no prayer more important than the Sinners Prayer.

11.  The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give and the type of life you choose to live.

12.  Failure is an option, don’t let anyone tell you differently. You always have the option to fail. However, you have the power to succeed. Choose success. If you do fail though, remember that for every door closed a window will open.  

13.  If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, or differs with others’ opinions, the world may disagree with you, judge you, and make false accusations about you. But the world is not God! God, AND ONLY GOD, truly knows your heart and life.

14.  Trust your gut feeling.

15.  Choose work that you love. Loving what you do to make a living is a big blessing in this life.

16.  Love yourself and learn to extend that love to others in every situation. It gets very hard at times and can seem impossible but you can do it.

17.  “Being in Love” isn’t supposed to hurt. If it hurts then there is something wrong with the relationship. Choose your mate carefully and wisely. Let the inside be the deciding factor, not the outside.

18.  Every day brings a new opportunity to start over. If yesterday wasn’t so great, you have a new opportunity to make today better. There is no shame in starting over, only in giving up!

19.  Doubt means “don’t”. Don’t answer. Don’t rush forward if you have doubt.

20.   Don’t say words in anger. Take time to step away from the heat of the moment and breathe before discussing things that are emotionally charged. I've failed to do this at times. Don't make that mistake. You can't take back what has already been spoken no matter how much you wish you could.

21.  When you don’t know what to do, just be still. God always brings the answers in his own time.

22.  Trouble doesn’t last forever. It too will pass.

23.  Problems never last because time, and God, has a way of working things out even when there seems no way.

24.  Be true to yourself in spite of how others view you.

25.  Don’t stay angry. Anger is stress and stress kills. Forgiveness does more good for the forgiving party than the offending party.  Some people don’t care if you forgive them because they don’t see beyond themselves to realize they may have been wrong (also).

26.  Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t a weakness but instead a strength.  A weak person doesn’t say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” or even “I accept my part in the misunderstanding or hurtful moment.”  

27.  Don’t allow your anger to last through the night. People won’t always allow you to resolve a situation, but you can make peace within yourself with the help of God if they refuse to be a part of it.

28.  And lastly….. be the best YOU that you can be and remember I’m one of your biggest fans….even if you can’t see it or don’t always believe it!

Friday, May 9, 2014

I AM A MOM!! (And we are only human too!)



“Parting is such sweet sorrow!” Ha!! There’s no sweetness about it when you’re a mom watching your military son about to board an airplane. I’ve done this now with three sons and it does not get any easier. During that last hug we military moms do everything we can possibly to, use all the strength that is within us, to keep our composure together so it’s not any harder on our soldier.

 

You watch as they go through security…..then take off their shoes to be scanned…hold their hands up through the body scanner….get their things of the scanner belt…and walk out of your view, all the while knowing that with just one stroke of a pen they could be hurled into the midst of danger and war! Also knowing that as in life you're never assured of the next embrace. It’s then that the dam breaks and those tears flood your face. They are fast and furious and uncontrollable. I did everything I could possibly do to dry my tears but their little brother and sister tears kept coming to the party in droves!  As I walked out of the airport the whaling began. I tried to hush myself but I don’t seem to be able to talk my emotions down.

 

It brought me back to last evening, sitting on my pouch just having a nice talk with my sister, Joyce. She asked, “when did he grow up?” I smiled thinking about that little boy that I met 19 years ago. He was a skinny little kid with tiny dimples in those little brown puffy cheeks. His ears were bigger than seemed to fit with his head though. His sister, Leticha, must have pulled his ears a lot as a child. lol 

 

He came to me a smoker at the age of 4years. He and I laugh about it now but it really isn’t funny at all. He used to do his homework and then not turn it in because he didn’t want the other kids looking at him. It would result in detention slips being sent home with him. Once home, he’d take them outside and put them in the trash dumpster as if that would somehow resolve the issue.

 

In Kindergarten the teacher was concerned because of his lack of talking. She just was concerned he was so shy. However, that wore off in the fourth grade when the teacher’s problem was that he wouldn’t shut-up! He got in hot water once when he told a couple of girls at school, “I play with myself and my daddy plays with me too!” It took a full explanation and the assistance of my very expensive attorney to explain that he literally spent hours on end playing by himself. When asked what he was doing so much alone in his bedroom he would say, “playing with myself!” A couple of nights prior to this we had visited Bobi and Kenneth Stretch’s house and Kenneth always told the boys scary stories and/or shared the crud out of them before we left. Then, once we got home his Dad continued by coming up the back staircase, which was rarely used, scratching on their walls, and scaring them. Then, all the boys were running up and down the back staircase trying to see the ghost!  It was all very innocent and just normal, family behavior. None the less, it took five years off my life because someone was jumping to incorrect conclusions based on the sketchy story of an imaginative five year old.   

 

As I watched him leave Tulsa International Airport today it took me back to the first time I was there with him. He was put on a plane in Dallas by his Grandpa and I picked him and his sister up at TIA. He got off that plane bragging that he “flew” the plane from Dallas to Tulsa. He had his little wings on his T-shirt and a smile from ear to ear. He told tall tales the entire way home. It wasn’t the first time I met Gordo, that would have been a month earlier when my friend Elissa and I, along with his Dad, went to Dallas and picked him up for a two week visit for the first time. He was a tiny thing dragging a suitcase which was bigger than him around behind him. From the moment I laid my eyes on him I fell in love, head over heels (and yes it was before knee replacement and I wore heels then!) with this kid!

 

Love hurts sometimes and it sure hurts when you see someone go. However, as a Mom our job is for 18 years. We feed, clothe, and care for them. We wipe away tears, stains, and blood. We bandage boo-boos, scratches, and limbs at times. And with every hurt they feel we feel it too emotionally. Helplessness is a terrible feeling and that’s exactly how you feel as a mom at times.

 

When they get to their teen years we can become the irritant in their agendas. They see our flaws sometimes as if the flaws were the only thing about us that was visible. They point out your age as if you were born before electricity and rubber tires were discovered or made.

 

They sometimes forget they are “guests” in YOUR house when they are older and feel it’s okay to tell you how dirty your house gets. Of course, they don’t see that you wake up at 5 a.m. every morning and spend a full hour trying to get your limbs to work property so you can walk due to the crippling arthritis that you refuse to allow to steal your life. They don’t see that you are in your office by 7-7:30 a.m. after delivering kids to school and planning for the activities you must transport everyone to at the end of the day and into the evening.

 

They fail to see that you arrive from work tired from the day and the neuropathy in your body from the damage of diabetes but keep moving because once you stop....moving again is even more difficult! 

After work you rush home where you  start to prepare dinner and then chauffer kids to practice and dance class, then it’s back home to finish dinner or pick up the trash the dog has gotten into because “someone” didn’t take it out. On weekends you spend 10-12 hours at a wrestling tournament for a sibling and spend Sunday doing laundry and preparing for the next week.   Then….it starts all over again. They fail to see just how much a Mom really does!

 

It’s funny how they call you old when in fact all the work of being a parent makes one old at times. It’s not for the faint of heart or the weak. Just as I did, my children are oblivious to how blessed and fortunate they are to have had a Mom who cared about them to such a degree that she’d sell her own things when we struggled financially to purchase new school clothes and school supplies. There were times this mom literally sold plasma as a young, single mother. I’d do everything all over again only I’d do it better! Experience makes us better and being older now I see where I could have done things better but I didn’t see it at the time. That’s experience and age for you!

 

Yep….I hated to see this kid I sent off to the Army on Memorial Day 2010 leave again today. Only today, he left in the body of a man! He is a man who is generous to a fault. A man with a bible verse tattooed on his left arm and just below his ribs a tattoo of a pink ribbon adorned with a single rose with the name "Janice" written beneath in honor of his mothers battles with cancer. He has become a Man that I am proud and extremely blessed to call “Son"!
 

Mom loves you Gordo….Godspeed son

 

ARMY MOM’S PRAYER

 Dear Lord,

Give me the greatness of heart to see the difference between a mother’s love and my son’s duty to country. Give me the understanding that I may know when duty calls he must go. And when he is thousands of miles away in a foreign land filled with hate, keep him safe in your loving hands and let him know on you he can stand. And when duty is in the field, please protect and be his shield. When deployment is so long give his the strength to remain steady and strong. But most of all this I pray, I see my son again someday. I never know when he goes away how long until his face I’ll again see.


Amen

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Selling Your Soul To The Devil.....




A child is David's (YOUR CHILD) when they are in hot water with momma. The same child is MY CHILD when they are wonderful, well-behaved, doing their chores as they should without argument, and having success! haha

Irwin, MY SON, is such a wonderful young man. He is one of those kiddos that walks that line and does it as if it is just second nature. He obeys when I tell him to do something and doesn't talk back most of the time. (I can't lie and say ALL of the time-He is 14!) However, it hasn't always been this way.

The day we brought Irwin and his sister Pamela home with us from the Laura Dester Children's Shelter in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we brought home a very different child. That child was one with a lot of emotional and trust issues. He had every reason to be distrustful of adults as he had been very abused by his own mother and step-father. There were times, many times in fact, that Irwin was picked up by his head and flung across the room because he didn't do something accordingly to their expectations. Irwin was used to tend bar during the "parties" his parents would throw. I will not go in to what these "parties" really were! As a result of being the "bar tender" Irwin started tasting the liquors he was pouring. Before you know it he needed these liquors to such a degree that he would hide them in his school backpack so he could drink them during the day at school. He ended up getting in fights and being suspended several times and his life was going in a very vicous, ugly circle a the age of just 10 or 11 years of age. What were you doing at that age? I was in a very safe, loving home filled with Christian Parents and wholesome values. I had no idea that other children didn't have the same safety that I experienced.

At other times, Irwin and his sister was left alone for several days to fend for themselves. There was little food in the refrigerator or pantries during these times so they ate eggs until the eggs were all gone. After the eggs came rice. For several days these young children survived on these two staples, alone! When I think of how often I've used the phrase "I'm starving" I suddenly realize I've never had one moment of starvation in my life. I took for granted that all people are eating everyday. It's not true folks. America has many children that go to bed each night "starving!"

This went on for some time before the Department of Human Services learned of these children's plight. Once they did however, the children were immediately removed from the home. Irwin and Pamela have shared with us, and with you in some of our very first blog posts, their experiences that day. Irwin left that dark, ugly place a broken, abused, neglected young man with no self-estem or understanding that life was supposed to be different than what he had been living.

Very soon after Irwin came to live in our home as a foster child, he began attending counseling.  It was a difficult path for him because he had been conditioned by his biological mother to believe that if he told of his abuse to "outsiders" he was "selling your soul to the Devil!" His mother practiced witchcraft and/or Black Magic and he was afraid that what she was saying was the truth. As such, he was scared to talk about the abuse that had been done to him.  I still remember as if it was yesterday how broken and physically spent the child was after letting all of the closely guarded secrets out! He was physically exhausted to the point he could barely walk. His face was white with streaks running down from his dark brown eyes over his cheeks and off his jaw. He was quiet in the car to the point that I had to ask him if he was okay. It was then that this broken child burst into tears. They weren't the tears of a child who cut his finger either, it was those broken hearted, scared, uncontrollable whaling cries. He just knew the Devil had his soul because he told about the abuse.

The counseling provider utilized by DHS appeard to have a very high turn-over as Irwin was re-assigned to four or five counselors within a three month period and when the fifth counselor entered the picture Irwin had shut down. He said everytime he would find the stregnth and ability to open up to a counselor they would leave. Then, he was forced to go over it all again with a new counselor. When the fifth counselor had her first appointment with Irwin this young man told her he WOULD NOT talk to anyone else, and he didn't! He didn't and never has! He has completely refused to participate in counseling because once again his trust of counselors was gone!

Two years ago David introduced Irwin to the sport of Wrestling. Irwin wanted to wrestle and it wasn't until later that I found out the true reason why he wanted to do the sport. David has a biological son that he has not been allowed to be a part of his life. It's really sad that men who WANT to be dads can't sometimes because of exes who are selfish and think only of their own desires and vendictive behaviors to the point that they deny their own children the opportunity of enjoying a normal Father-Child relationship. Instead, those sick circumstances lead to a life filled with turmoil and a lack of knowing who they truly are thereby hampering who they could become later in life. Irwin wanted to give back to David. He wanted to give his foster dad who had loved him so unconditionally the opportunity to be a Wrestling Dad. You see David was not allowed to do that because step-dad insterted himself between David and his son at every event. He was a man who did everything he could do to destroy the Father-Son relationship and replace himself as Dad, with Mother's encouragement.

Once Irwin began wrestling he learned he loved it. This is just his second year of wrestling but he has taken to it like a duck to water! David felt it would be good for Irwin because it would give him the opportunity to build trust relationships with coaches. As such, he felt Irwin, who has completely refused counseling, would have coaches who he could confide in and trust with his secrets. It has worked out very well actually as that David is a very smart, compassionate, loving man. Irwin has taken to wrestling like a fish to water. He has placed in all but one match he has ever wrestled, and believe me there have been many.

As all of you know, or should know by now with all my bragging about my son, Irwin Portillo, he has done so well in wrestling, in just his second year, that he has qualified for the National Finals in Fargo, North Dakota in mid July. The wrestling fees alone for this trip is $750.00. Add on top of that the travel, food, and all the other expenses of traveling, and this trip gets very expensive, actually over a months salary for me.

His qualification and invitation to the National Finals came on the heels of me taking an unexpected, but wonderful trip to Alaska this month to see our son, Gordon Crowell, come back from his second deployment. Since we hadn't seen Gordon in nearly a year and a half we felt that trip was a necessity to let Gordon know how much he is valued. At 25 years of age he has been in the Army since Memorial Day, 2010. He has had two deployments, to Afghanistan and to Kuwait. He is a wonderful human being and a fantastic son! The trip was so worth it even though the month has been somewhat of a struggle to make up for the expendature. I'd do it all again for this young man willing to lay down his very life if necessary to protect freedom! 

UPDATE: Since this post last week Irwin has been hand-selected to represent the State of Oklahoma in the wrestling DUAL Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida the week of June 8, 2014. This is an honor and a testament to Irwin's dedication, ability, and hard work. The fees for this event is $650.00 in addition to the expenses of a trip of this magnitude.

We are asking all our friends, family, aquaintances, strangers on the street or in WalMart (lol) to think about, pray about, consider sponsoring Irwin to the both National Finals Events in June and July. In an effort to be able to give Irwin these opportunities, and help him achieve his goal of becoming a National Champion, we have set up a fund raising page at http://www.gofundme.com/8yty08 if you would like to be a part of seeing Irwin move closer and closer to achieving that dream and noble goal. You may be like most of us and want to help Irwin see his dream fulfilled but feel you just don't have much to donate. That's okay! Even giving $5 adds up and helps.

We appreciate all of you that have helped get Irwin back to a young man who believes in himself and knows there are adults in this world who do love unconditionally and are trustworthy and people who encourage dreams!