The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Last Mama

Things have not been all that easy of late. I have been struggling with issues with my kids. A whole lot of our issues have dealt with adoption and trust. I have been down this road before. I have adopted before, we even went through a couple years of therapy for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I know how hard this is and I have still been feeling like a frustrated fish out of water. These past few days, the Lord has weaved together several items to give me a new perspective and fresh vigor for the journey.

First of all, my kids brought home a cute book from the library called Mama One, Mama Two. The story is about a little girl who has to live with Mama two (foster care) until Mama One (birth mom) is better. We talked briefly about how I am some of my kids' "Mama One" and some kids' "Mama Two".

However, I didn't always feel like a good Mama of anything. I was dealing with behaviors and attitudes and would sometimes have good responses and sometimes not so much. I didn't like it when I fell to yelling or was just angry. "Why can't I get thru to this kid? Why don't they get it?" thoughts were running through my brain and I was beginning to wear thin and feel tired.

Then I was privileged to hear this recording on Focus on the Family; a two-day interview with the Barrett family and their experience adopting teenagers. It really encouraged me and let me know that there is hope. Something I should have known from my past experience, but was struggling with anyway. The broadcast re-focused my outlook and let me see where I do it right and where I need to "shore up the wall" so to speak.

Today, I had a bit of a respite by taking Braydon and Wokelle to Braydon's quiz meet. He was busy quizzing and Wokelle was content with his little cars. My mind travelled over the past week in all of its ugliness and struggle. It also re-played all of these subtle messages that had been falling in my lap. I realized that old saying "love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8) is true. The whole verse actually reads, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." I don't believe MY love does a lot of covering, but the Love of God sure does. I long to be obedient to the Lord and I adopted children out of a lvoe that the Lord placed in my heart. He grew them in my heart and there they are all planted. He did  a mighty work in the life of Adela and Ricky and indeed our whole family -- not by any great act of mine, but he took my feeble attempts and covered a multitude of my sins to do His work.

When I got home today, the family was working on a collage project of pictures for the top of a desk.



There's quite a bit of work left to be down - but these are old pictures that we haven't looked at for some time.



This corner was in pretty good shape.

As my eyes scanned the memories I was brought up short.




These are the kids I brought home some 8 years ago. It may be hard to see in this picture, but their faces are terrified and their eyes are all but dead.

This is a lot of what we dealt with every day:




But in the course of time, healing has taken place.

 amd peace reigns most of the time. My effort - no. God's grace poured out in our lives -- an undeserved privilege.

I sat on the bed and told my kids, "I've been thinking about the "Mama one, Mama two", remember? I realized something today.. I am not Mama one or Mama two -- I am the last Mama -- the last Mama you  will ever need."

I know I will make mistakes and I will certainly never be perfect. Come what may, I will always be here.

He alone is my rock and salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:2




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Losing the Flow

Yesterday afternoon the water began to trickle. I noticed it when I was washing up some things at the kitchen sink. We couldn't even get the pitcher for drinking water filled from the reverse osmosis tap. I checked outside where Ricky was washing a couple of screens for me and he said "Oh yeah, the water kind of stopped in the middle, but I did the best I could."

Oh dear. We have our own well and septic I knew I had a problem. I first checked the fuse boxes. No electric to the pump -- then no water. Fuse boxes were just fine. Uh Oh.

Of course, Jerome was at work. I made a quick call and he sent me crawling around the equipment room, unplugging, re-plugging, twisting things. The pump was shot. Then he gave me specs and told me to go buy a pump and when he got home from work around midnight he would install the new pump and we would have water.

OKAY. That left me with six kids, a sink now full of dinner dishes and no running water. Not even a flushable toilet. I had bottled water in the garage for drinking and last week I had bought some hand sanitizer.

Telling children the toilets are out makes them all have to go. A lot.

We had to drop Braydon at church for a quiz practice, so we used the bathrooms and washed our hands. We had to go to Lowe's and buy the new pump -- and use the bathrooms and wash our hands. We had to go back and pick up Braydon, and use the bathrooms and wash our hands. As soon as we got home -- the kids needed to go potty. Is that even possible?

Anyway, it was time for bed and we had made it through. Jerome arrived and... one piece that was needed had to be purchased separately. No water until some time the next day. Since he had rushed home from work to get the pump going, he didn't shower at work. He couldn't shower at home, so he slept on the floor to keep our bed clean -- what a guy!

After family devotions he went right out and bought the part. By lunch today, we were back in the flow.

I was frustrated with our lack of running water and what I felt was a total lack of cleanliness. However, I wondered what it would really be like to live in some parts of the world, where running water is a true luxury.  I am really feeling blessed to be living in the flow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where is Halloween?

We will not be having any cute pictures of costumes this time of year. No pumpkin carving - no candy bags - just no Halloween.

We used to celebrate Halloween. We went all out with princesses and knights and whatever costumes we could come up with. We enjoyed it, except for those few houses or costumes that always scared the pants off my little ones.

Then we migrated to alternative Halloween parties -- or even Harvest parties. These were usually church sponsered events with -- you guessed it -- cute costumes, carved pumpkins, candy bags, but no really scary costumes.

However, in the last few years we have given it all up -- with much thought and conviction. We are Bible believing Christians should we be observing this event?

Our research turned up some interesting information. The origins of Halloween are Celtic and revolve around the Druids. It was celebrated at the end of summer and did probably include some element of harvest. However, they felt that the boundary between the living and the dead became blurred on this night. The home hearth fires were extinguished for one sacred fire built for sacrifices to Samhain. Some websites indicate that humans were sacrificed, others say only animals and crops. The important point to us is that they were sacrificing to their god.  Over time the Romans came and the melding of cultures then produced a celebration with the Druid origins, but now included the Roman's day for the passing of the dead and their goddess of fruit and trees, Pomona. Eventually, Pope Boniface IV attempted to replace this with a Christian festival.

I really don't believe that children in their cute costumes trick-or-treating are really worshiping Samhain or anything else. I really don't believe they have anything evil in mind at all. I believe it is a fun time to dress up and it is a cultural tradition of fall.


Having said all that, why do we feel we can not participate? In Scripture we are told in 2 Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"  Or verse 16: "What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?..." Verse 17: "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."

It was our children who brought this conundrum to us a couple of years ago. They felt very uncomfortable acknowledging an event with such beginnings as Druids and sacred sacrificial fires to a pagan god. Shining the light of scripture on this, we have decided that for our household we will abstain -- As the verse above says "what fellowship can light have with darkness." This holiday was conceived in darkness and we are striving for the light of Christ.

We have also abstained from Church Harvest parties that for all intents and purposes are Halloween parties with Christian attendees.

In the end, we have much peace as a family with our decision "Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall Has Arrived


The leaves are changing and Fall has really arrived at our house.


Jerome had the kids out this morning tearing the last of the plants out of our garden.

We had to can the more tomatoes today. We even canned some green ones, because we have heard that you can make a green tomato relish. We did not have time to make and try the relish before canning, so we just canned some green ones, hoping to try the relish later. It is just an experiment.

The boys always love to work with their dad.


Braydon and Ricky went right after the peeling of the tomatoes.


I was on the inside job and had everything at 180 Degrees. I can not seem to the get my girls as excited about all this stuff.  The younger ones were off to the creek on an adventure and Riane:


Reading Cryano and copying poetry!

At the end of the canning day, after dinner, I had promised the girls a tea party. Adela and Mary were so excited they ran to put on dresses and made place cards and prizes!  I didn't have the heart to dress all up, but I did take off my apron and manage to squeeze a batch of cookies in during canning time.


The maidens were lovely.


It really was a lot of fun. We even had Mozart on in the background.

As classy as we were trying to be we just can't totally get country out of us.  Not one of wore shoes. After we started, I notice the list of rules on the table.


As exhaustive as that list of rules may be -- I could have added a few like:  Do not drink tea with your spoon, set your cup back on the saucer. When we are wrapping up the party, you might not want to snatch the creamer and start downing the milk. Oh, and, patting your tummy and saying "I am all tea'd up!" might not go either.

Of course, as cute as the girls were, they did not fall from this bumpkin tree.  Here I am doing the mom check:



"There's what? on my shirt?"

Oh well, Russian Tea Room may not be for us!