This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Katharine Leslie seminar - Object Permanence (cont.)


This post is a continuation of this one.

There are tons of ramifications of missing out on those early childhood milestones - ones that effect our kids for the rest of their lives. Piaget was one mentioned by Katharine Leslie that I remember from my college days. She quoted a lot more recent studies of the developmental stages too. (edited to add: Apparently most of what I quoted here was Piaget)

I mentioned some of the issues with not acquiring the basic building block of object permanence - the inability to attach to or trust someone who disappears the moment they step out of sight, but there are more long-range consequences to this as well, including the ability to reason.

Infants don't have access to their emotions or logical thinking. All of that is done in the fore brain which they don't have access to yet. They operate on the "Sensory Motor" level until about age 2. This means they use their 5 senses to create meaning - smell, hearing, vision, touch and taste. They rely on your brain to tell them what's going on and how to respond. They can sense your biorhythms and can tell you're lying.

From 2-6 they're in the "Pre-operations" stage which means they create meaning through fantasy.

Ex. 1 If you show a child a man and ask if he is a man or woman, the child will correctly identify him as a man. However put the same man in a wig and a dress and the child under 6 will say it's a woman. Over age 6 the child will correctly identify him as a man.

Ex. 2 Katharine Leslie's daughter refused to wear boy's underwear because she thought she would automatically have a penis - which would disappear when she removed them.

From 7-11 they're in the "Concrete Operations" stage which means they create meaning through reality. It's not until age 12 through adulthood that we are able to create meaning from thought without needing sensory input ("Formal Operations"). Blah, blah, blah...

So here's the example that hit home for me. Kids with arrested development at the Preoperations stage (which is common for children of trauma), are not able to understand how we can infer things without seeing them. If you can't see it Mom, it didn't happen. You can't know.

  • Two-year-olds hide behind the couch to "make a stinky"... how did you "know" their diapers weren't clean?!Italic
  • Your child's face is covered in chocolate, but you weren't there to see them eat it. You can't know they did it. You weren't there!
  • Let me say that again, If you can't see it, you couldn't know! They are very visual and must touch or feel everything.
  • Your child feels that you are persecuting your child "illegally" if you figure out/ assume/ intuit/ put together... anything.
  • If you know that your child is the one who usually steals, is the only one who had access to whatever item it was, and you found it hidden in the suspected child's room (or in their hot, little hand!) your child literally does not "get" how you could accuse them... their brain does not work that way so they don't understand yours.
  • Not Me and his cousin Ida Know live in our house. My children know that it wasn't themselves who did it so it must be Not Me or Ida Know. The reason they know is that Mom couldn't have found out because she wasn't there to see it
  • Added to this is "wishful thinking." Kids can want something so badly that they believe it, so it is true. I firmly believe that they could pass a lie detector on this. It becomes their reality and I don't think they even remember that wasn't how it happened. This is HUGE in my house. I think because Kitty (and possibly Bear) are stuck in this "Pre-operations" stage.
It is believed that the reason so many children of trauma are stuck in the pre-operations stage is because it allows children to fantasize that they are omnipotent and invulnerable which alleviates the stress of being traumatized. Humans feel the need to be certain (to resist stress) so they try to make sense out of what is not sensible - I think of dreams as a good example of this. Most of the time a dream is a series of images that need processing. We try to put those images into a "story" or something that makes sense.

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For a child stuck in pre-operations stage, if you are out of sight, your instructions won't stick either.
To get the child to do something they need to be told in black and white. "I want you to bring me a glass of water with two ice cubes," not just "do it" or "bring me a drink." They forget what you ask them to do and/or don't remember how you like things, so they bring you what they would want. Instead of a glass of ice water you might get orange juice full of crushed ice.

This is mindless intentionality. The child is doing what comes naturally, not deliberately defying you on purpose.

This child has brain damage. If we put effort in early on, it will slowly get better, but we can never assume it is "fixed." Effective treatment doesn't mean the behavior stops. The goal is to limit/ contain it until we can live with it. We need to shift our parenting paradigms from issues of intent and control to issues of brain dysfunction.

We're not dropping our expectations, we're just changing them. We have to change how we think about them and give ourselves a chance to mourn the loss of our idealized child. We have a right to say, "I hate this kid."

To help a child with object permanence you can try memory games and other things that build concentration to help them move through this stage. Attachment is not possible until they "get" this.

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Another problem for our kids is that they often adopt belief systems or world views that make them feel "in the know." These beliefs can be quite wrong, like thinking errors.

The following is the list of common beliefs that Katharine Leslie put in her book, When a Stranger Calls You Mom. I have to say Bear definitely believes most if not all of these. Kitty believes a lot of them.

  • Those who love me will hurt me.
  • It is safer to get my needs for closeness met by strangers or those who are not important to me. (Can you say, "Kleenex girls"?! I knew you could.)
  • I have to look out for myself, cause nobody else will.
  • I have to hurt others before they hurt me.
  • I lose myself (I will die) if I become who you want me to be (like you).
  • I might as well lie, no one believes me anyway.
  • I'm forced to lie when people ask me questions.
  • People should stay out of my business.
  • If I want something than I should have it.
  • If I see something I want I should take it.
  • People make me mad.
  • When I'm mad I don't care who gets hurt.
  • People deserve what they get.
  • If I don't get what I want you are to blame.
I swear it's like she's living in my house.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

HALT!!!!

Christine over at welcome to my brain wrote an amazing post (all of her posts are amazing so if you haven't read her blog - get over there!) about the acronym H.A.L.T. which is apparently used in programs like alcoholics anonymous to eliminate stress.

H- Don't get too Hungry.
A- Don't get too Angry.
L- Don't get too Lonely.
T- Don't get too Tired.

Of course this is true for our kids, I always know that when easy-going (non-hormonal) Ponito has a meltdown it is because he is hungry, tired or sick - period.

I get frequent reminders that I need to apply this to myself (Katharine Leslie told me straight out that I need to stop and take a break, Hubby has given up on me ever coming to bed). As you know from reading pretty much any of my recent posts, I'm a bit of a perfectionist with an apparent inability to say "No." When I get overwhelmed and stressed I tend to shut down and be much less tolerant.

So as I sit here Hungry (blogging is more important than breakfast right?), Frustrated (I rarely get angry, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." - as a child I had epileptic seizures that were similar to the children's meltdowns right down to the fact that I remembered nothing after them - that were triggered by anger so I've learned to go to great lengths to avoid it even though I outgrew the seizures.), Lonely (since my return from the seminar I've been isolating myself from everyone because I'm too overwhelmed to be patient and tolerant, or because I know they'll fuss at me for not taking care of myself, and did I mention Hubby has given up on me ever coming to bed?!), and of course we can't forget TIRED (last week it was sewing and the seminar stuff, this week I've been up until after 3am playing catch up and blogging).

So I'm going to grab something to eat and maybe close my eyes for a few minutes before my 10am special needs kids support group meeting for parents of kids using the special needs programs at the local elementary and middle school (of course it must be designed for stay-at-home moms, but I want to go to at least one). Hmm... how do I make sure I don't sleep through the meeting? This is when I envy the guys techno watches with alarms and stuff (and the ability to concentrate long enough to figure out how to use it). Ooh I know! The time on the stove!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Post-wedding crash!

Everything is finally done and now I'm just playing catch up!

I got everything sewn in time for the wedding.

I finished several machine embroideries of the logo for the seminar (now he wants more!)

I helped get the reception set up and herded all the children in the wedding (the only other adult in the bridal party besides the bride and groom was in a wheel chair) - including the twin newly 6 yr old ring bearer and flower girl (after I talked her into at least going, the flower girl bawled all the way up the aisle without throwing one petal and attached herself to daddy/groom's legs - wouldn't move for pictures or anything). I had to laugh because the ring bearer's boutonniere which was a lovely white rosebud had only one petal by the time we were waiting for the ceremony to start - (he smashed the rest when he wiped out first thing at the reception). He couldn't stop playing with the ribbons holding the rings on and we almost lost the groom's ring once (luckily my sister noticed and we tied it back on). The best man had to miss the rehearsal so he didn't have the rings off the pillow and there was a long delay while they were getting the rings untied! The other three were much better behaved (7, 9 and 10) thank goodness. My sister was calm throughout the whole thing and none of it bothered her a bit. I think she's going to be a good mommy to the 5 of them!

My only complaint was my shoes! They were purchased just for the wedding and were evil! I only wore them for the ceremony and my feet still hurt. If you ever read Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Bob was wonderful and really helped with everything. My baby is getting so grown up! *sob* Everyone was commenting on how helpful and gorgeous she is.

At the reception it was much easier. Bob played with my niece. The boys and groom's oldest girl (the tomboy who wore a tux to the wedding), played together well as usual, and most of the time they had the boy twin with them and entertained). My new niece the 6 year old bonded with Kitty! I couldn't believe it!! It's always bothered Kitty that my sister's daughter plays favorites and will not play with anyone but Bob (partly because Kitty reeked when they first met and partly because that's just the way my niece is). Now she has a toy child of her own to play with!

I helped break down the reception hall and clean up. The reception was beautiful, but my sister over estimated the energy of the guests and left things like bouquet and garter tossing until the end... and everyone had gone home! Only the best man and his girlfriend were there so it was technically a hand off. *grin* She'd scheduled the reception from 4-9pm and all but immediate family were there after only about 7:30pm. Second wedding for both so most of the guests were well over 35. Hubby and I and my favorite cousin and his wife were one of the few couples on the dance floor at all.

Had to loan out Bob to my dad and stepmom who were watching my sister's kids while she and her Hubby went on their honeymoon. My niece needed someone to be with her. This is a tough transition for all the kids!

Some of my favorite family members got to come to the wedding (my Aunt Mary who I was named after, and my favorite cousin and his wife), and I was reminded that they read my blog (gotta watch my Ps and Qs with the story telling! It was kind of cool not to have to play catch up for hours about what's going on - we could focus on them and other stuff.


(Hi Aunt Mary, Hi John and Sandra!)
The wedding was gorgeous and I'll post pictures as soon as someone sends me some. We didn't break out the camera once!

Katharine Leslie seminar - Object Permanence


The Katharine Leslie seminar I attended last week was absolutely amazing and I'm still reeling and dealing with the positive impact it will have on my parenting. I've read and loved her book Coming To Grips with Attachment which is in almost a workbook format with tons of practical advice. Unlike many RAD/Children of Trauma experts her work/advice applies to older kids too. In addition to being a professional she is also the adoptive parent to 4 special needs children.


Because this seminar was 2 days long instead of only one like the last one I went to, we were able to go much more in depth. I've finally started reading her book, When a Stranger Calls You Mom, and it covers a lot of the information she discussed at this seminar. It is EXCELLENT! If you have, are working with, are in any way associated with, or dealing with children of trauma I can't recommend these books (and seminars) enough. I know I sound like an advertisement, but she really is absolutely amazing and her information is invaluable. Run, don't walk to get her books, and if you can see her in person... GO!

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INFANT DEVELOPMENT

At the seminar, I admit I started to zone a little on the infant development stuff. I was a psychology major (waaaay back) in college and I've read tons of books in the last few years about child development so I figured I knew all this, and a lot of it I had heard before. I did learn something new about object permanence that really was significant though!

Cause and Effect
I think I've mentioned before that children with attachment disorders often have problems with cause and effect. This usually starts with the caregiver not meeting the child's physical needs (changing them when they're wet, feeding when they're hungry).

The child doesn't learn that if I cry then someone will come make it better. Instead they might learn that if I cry then someone will hit me, or if I cry then no one will come anyway... this makes behavior management difficult - both self-regulation and parent discipline. If I steal a cell phone, then I will get in trouble. If I yell at my sister now, then she will be scared of me - even 5 minutes (or 5 years) from now.

{I don't know much about Bear and Kitty's infancy and childhood (although I can make many educated guesses), but I do know they have very little impulse control and grasp of cause and effect, and do not always understand the consequences of their actions.}


Object Permanence
We all know that young infants have no ability to understand object permanence. For example, if you hide a rattle under a blanket they don't look for it, it's gone. For them, out of sight out of mind is really true. At about 8-9 months though they "get it." They start to look under the blanket. We often help them develop this ability by playing peekaboo with them. "Wheeere's Mommy? Here I am!"

Now imagine the child who's infancy is not the norm. Who never "gets" this concept. So what?

So, maybe they never put their toys away because if you can't see them they don't exist. Sometimes this might not even be so bad because when they are put into foster care they "forget" about all the things left behind**... but it's not just things the child with issues with object permanence doesn't remember. It's people.

You can't attach to someone who isn't there the second they step out of sight.
Mommy doesn't exist anymore!

Weird Movie Analogy
There's an old movie with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore called 50 First Dates.
Because a car accident damaged her short term memory, Drew's character is unable to remember anything that's happened in her life since the day of her accident. She relives that day, every single day! (Kind of like the people in the movie Groundhog day. Technically they're reliving the same day over and over, but unlike the main character, they don't remember it.)

Adam meets her and courts her anew every single day. At a TBI memory clinic, they meet "10 Second Tom." He can only remember things for 10 seconds. (Spoiler alert!) Eventually, Drew is able to fall in love with Adam because she has the ability to create attachments and remember him during her day, and even though she doesn't remember him when she wakes up each morning, she still feels that emotional attachment. Tom would be unable to attach to anyone, because they are literally out of sight out of mind almost instantly.

Sense of Self
A second huge issue for children lacking object permanence is a sense of self.

Infants and young children under the age of 3 do not have the ability to distinguish themselves from their caregiver (this is why Empathy does not develop until after age 3).

One of my sister's earliest memories is of being told she is fat, lazy and stupid while staring at the knees of a man's uniform pants. My sister could not have been more than 2 years old in this memory, and apparently she was standing in front of our mother while this was being said to our mother... her memory of it as being said to her shows is an example of a young child not being able to distinguish themselves from their parent.

Of course children under 3 are also not supposed to have autobiographical memories before age 3 either (partly for this reason) so the fact that my sister had this dream/memory shows that she is a little unusual (she has a freakishly amazing memory!).

Self Regulation
Infants are unable to access the thinking part of their brain yet. They are unable to self-regulate. The caregiver does this for them. If the caregiver is calm, the baby is calm. If the caregiver is laughing, making eye contact, playing with the baby and happy, the baby responds the same way.

Babies instinctually respond with attaching behaviors designed to make their caregiver fall in love with the baby (humans are hard-wired this way). The baby continuously provides attaching behaviors, creating a cycle.

If the caregiver is stressed and distant, the baby becomes dysregulated and doesn't learn how to respond with attaching behaviors. The child does not learn how to self-regulate and respond appropriately to his/her environment. As they get older, the child often tries to recreate the chaotic environment to which they have grown accustomed. Eventually the child subconsciously decides there must be something horribly wrong with him/her and that is why the child is unwanted and unlovable.

Slowly as the infant's brain develops they learn to access the cognitive parts of their brain, but before this they are totally dependent on the caregiver for everything.

When Attachment Goes Wrong
If a child has no trust of the primary caregiver, no belief that she exists when out of sight, the child is unable to attach to that caregiver. Since the child is genetically programmed to feel part of the caregiver, and the child hasn't learned how to provide attaching behaviors or develop the instinctual want for attaching behaviors (as this requires the caregiver attaching to them)... well you do the math.

Object Permanence is a Continuum
Obviously the extent of the damage is based on a continuum. A child could be raised under the exact same circumstances, but not have as severe object permanence as another child.

Why? 
Every child is different. Children have different temperaments, genetics and personalities. Even children raised by the same mother can have differing levels of issues with object permanence, based on the mother's interactions with that particular child at that particular time.
Ex. Mom may prefer one gender over another (wanted a girl and got a boy or vice versa), child is sick or colicky, this is a second or third child (or more) means mother's resources and stress level are stretched thinner, mother's mental health or drug abuse issues...

How This Effects Bear and Kitty

  1. Bear doesn't understand cause and effect very well.
  2. Bear doesn't trust others to be there or take care of him.
  3. Bear doesn't feel the strong urge to attach to others.
  4. Bear doesn't know how to connect to others or give them what they need to like him.
  5. Bear feels love and attachment are not safe.
  6. Bear believes that he is unworthy of love and attachment.
  7. Bear has difficulty with self-regulation, coping skills and impulse control.
  8. Bear tries to recreate the environment he feels most comfortable in - chaos, high stress, and dysregulation.
  9. Bear doesn't have a strong self-esteem or trust in his own abilities.
  10. Bear's world revolves around him, because there is no one else!
This is also true for Kitty to some extent, but not to the same extreme. The kids were raised differently of course because Biomom was older, in a different situation, already had Bear who was 1 1/2yo, kids were different genders, had different biofathers, Biomom got treatment for drugs (cocaine and meth) when Kitty was under 3 years old, the kids were left with different people a lot, but they were different ages when it happened (since Kitty is 1 1/2 years younger)... The kids also have very different temperaments, genetics, and personalities.

** Adopting a Child with Pre-Verbal Trauma
Some people think that if they adopt a pre-verbal infant or toddler that the child won't remember any trauma, but trauma actually gets wired into their nervous system and is harder to access and heal than something the child consciously remembers.

This can show up later and cause the child to be triggered and/ or have a traumaversary for what appears to be no reason. A fellow trauma mama adopted a child before age 2. At the end of February, every year, the child becomes dysregulated for weeks. Before the child could read a calendar with no significant observable event (like a holiday or birthday), and without any prompting, the child's body "knows."


OBJECT PERMANENCE CONTINUED

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to use a Google Feed Reader

If you don't already have a Google Reader account to read blogs like this one, you are missing out! I too used to check out the two or three blogs that I read on a regular basis whenever I remembered by clicking on my favorites. Some of my friends blogged daily. Most didn't blog for days or even weeks (sometimes longer). I'd get tired of clicking on each account and would forget until their posts were so ancient they were no longer relevant, or I'd miss posts because I didn't know they'd posted more than one.


Then the hilarious blogger at Because I Said So, wrote a post about the Google Reader. As soon as I tried it I was hooked! Now I have to admit I've become addicted to reading blog posts. I want to share this with you. (You don't have to read as many blogs as I do of course!!) Google Reader also works for news feeds and other stuff, but I only read blogs!

The Reader puts all posts on one website so you don't have to go to a lot of websites. It tells you if there are new posts you haven't read and marks them as read when you do read them (or you tell it to).



So here's what you do!



Sign up for a Google Reader account by going to http://www.google.com/reader/. If you already have a Google account, you can use your same username and password. If you don't have one yet, choose "create an account".



Once you have a Google Reader account save it to your favorites (you want to do this before you start adding subscriptions, but you don't have to). Now you can start adding subscriptions to your Google Reader by clicking on the "+Add a Subscription" button at the top of the page on the left side.
Open a new tab or window and go to your favorite blogs (like mine). On the tool bar at the top of your page is an orange button (looks like the one the little girl in the picture at the top of this post is holding). Push the button and it gives you the feed link for the blog (or news feed or whatever) on the place where you enter websites at the top of your page (on my computer anyway). This means your reader gets the updates/feeds. Here's mine http://marythemom-mayhem.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default Copy this link.



Now push that "+ Add a Subscription button" on your new reader and paste the link. Click the "Add" button. Your new subscription will show under subscriptions with the name of the blog and in parentheses after it the number of posts you have not read yet (it starts with 10). So it looks like this. "Muddling through Mayhem (10)".

As you scroll down the posts, reading/skimming the posts, they will be marked as read which reduces the number in parentheses - so you know exactly how many posts you have left to read. Each time the blogger posts the number will be added to. If you want to you can mark all posts as read (there a button above the post area). I do this when I add a subscription (cause I've really already read those posts) or when I'm so behind that I have to give up and mark them as all read (right now I have 215 unread posts on my reader *sigh*).

Play with the buttons to get it to look like you want. (the picture here is not my reader, but it looks a lot like my set up).

You can find new blogs or feeds to subscibe to by clicking "View all Recommendations" under "Explore." At the top of the opened section click the tab for "Search." Under "Search by Keyword" you can enter search terms to find feeds you'd like to subscribe to (like RAD parent, teen adoption, knitting...). This list will tell you the name of the website or blog, a very brief description and the number of other people that subscribe to the site. You can use the number of subscribers to determine how popular the site is. The larger the number of people that subscribe to that site is, the more popular the site is considered to be.

Once you have all your subscriptions entered you can choose to read all posts in the Google Reader (rather than going to each blog), or you can click on the website name to go to the website or the post title to go to that particular post on its website. To comment you have to go to the website.

This is why I have 215 unread posts - I have something like 85 blogs I read!

Funny ones:

AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/feed/
BECAUSE I SAID SO http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/dNXZ
Cake Wrecks http://feeds.feedburner.com/CakeWrecks
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman http://thepioneerwoman.com/feed
FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments http://feedproxy.google.com/failblog
People of Walmart http://peopleofwalmart.com/?feed=rss2
Stephanie Snowe: The Blog! http://www.stephaniesnowe.com/feeds/posts/default
Stories from Apartment Managers http://managingapartments.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default


Mostly Adoption/ Special Needs
"We May Not Have It All Together, But Together We Have It All" http://largefamilymomma.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
a bipolar daughter and the family who loves her http://stackjourney.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Adopted - The Comic http://www.adoptedthecomic.com/?feed=rss2
Ain't That Sherific? http://sherific.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Alayna's World http://bug-alaynasworld.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
An Adoptive Mom http://adoptivemomgoingtobegrandma.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
beautifully chaotic http://beautifullychaotic2009.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Brenda McCreight PH.D. http://theadoptioncounselor.com/Blog/?feed=rss2
Busy Intersection http://busyintersection.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Calm, Interrupted http://myoncecalmlife.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Crayon: creating a life out of cHaOS http://carminecrayon.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Everything About Adoption in One Place http://everythingadoption.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Eyes Opened Wider http://eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Faith Makes Things Possible Not Easy http://allcrazyhere.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Finding my Heartsmile http://findingmyheartsong.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Finding My Way to Family http://findingourwaytofamily.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Finishing Off My Family http://tudusamom.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Gold to Refine http://goldtorefine.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Hartley's Life With 3 Boys http://www.hartleysboys.com/feeds/posts/default
How Could You Not?! http://howcouldyounott.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
I Know What We're Gonna Do Today http://iknowwhatweregonnadotoday.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Jeannie's Happenings! http://jdavis34.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Journey to Being a Normal Little Kid http://lifewithoutrad.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Life in the Grateful House http://lisajordanpuddin.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Living in a Handbasket http://handbasketddlong.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Living With RAD http://reactiveattachmentdisorderlife.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Mama Drama - Times Two http://mamadrama-timestwo.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Marty's Musings http://waldenbunch.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Mom to My AngelBabies http://momtomyangelbabies.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
My Radical Family! http://myradicalfamily.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
MY SWEET CHAOS http://mysweetchaos.wordpress.com/feed/
Never a Dull Moment http://fletcherclan.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
One Future At A Time http://ofaat.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
One Mother's Day http://onemothersday.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
P.S. House http://pshouse.wordpress.com/feed/
Peace in Puzzles http://threesmithkids.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Perspective RAD http://perspectiverad.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Postcards from Insanity http://afostermamaslife.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Pulsipher Predilections http://adamandkristinapulsipher.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RADical Adventures http://radicaladventures.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RadKid.Org Blog http://www.blog.radkid.org/?feed=atom
Raising a Psychopath http://raising-a-psychopath.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Raising Alyssa http://raisingalyssa.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Rancho Chico http://ranchochico.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Random thoughts from the Fuller house http://momrainefamily.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Reactive Attachment Disorder Blog http://attachment-disorder.adoptionblogs.com/?tempskin=_atom
Recovering Noah http://recoveringnoah.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
REJOICING IN HOPE http://rejoicinginhope.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Robin's Nest - Homeschool Blogger http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/rss.php?w=Robinsnest
Sometimes God *does* give you more than you can handle http://morethancanhandle.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Special Education for Families Blog http://www.specialeducation4families.com/?feed=rss2
Special K's Journey http://specialksjourney.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Stellar Parenting 101 http://stellarparenting.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Strong In The Broken Places http://strongplaces.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
The Accidental Advocate http://accidentaladvocate.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
The Accidental Mommy http://theaccidentalmommy.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
The Land of The Loo-Loos - it's not confidential, we've got potential! http://loolooland.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
the missing piece http://nomoremoves.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
The Pinocchio Syndrome http://ttboot.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
The Short Bus http://sanitysrchr-shortbus.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Things that are happening http://3schools.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Third time's the charm? http://mimi4now.wordpress.com/feed/
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Whew!!

Got all the wedding stuff altered and sewn by Tuesday afternoon when I left (including altering a woman's coat and pants to fit Ponito because we couldn't find anything that fit - and was cheap in resale). Finished several machine embroideries of the ACT logo and some patches for the seminar. Also made several dozen cookies for the seminar as well.

I drove to the seminar with the ladies from My Sweet Chaos (and her lovely mother) and Rancho Chico it was a fantastic trip! We talked the whole time and it was so cool hanging out with other moms who get it.

Katharine Leslie is absolutely amazing and we all got to hang out with her in the evenings after the seminar too (so cool having access to all that information!). I even got to do yoga with her Thursday morning! (I've never done yoga before it was energizing). I'll do another post about what I learned.

It was a really wonderful seminar until the end. Up to the last 30 minutes of the seminar I thought, “hey we’re doing OK.” This is just a nice refresher course and we've got everything figured out... Then Katharine started talking to me about Bear and I realized he has not made any progress at all, and I really don’t like him! *sigh* I need to reread her book Coming To Grips with Attachment, and try to figure out how to accommodate this new information into my life.

Friday was all about getting caught up. I spent the morning visiting with my Dad and stepmom who had come into town for the wedding. Then I went to work and tried to get everything caught up there. 5pm time for the wedding rehearsal. That was... interesting.
The wedding party consists of:
  • the best man who was in a wheel chair because of a horrible motorcycle accident, and he wasn't able to be there for the rehearsal.
  • On the groom's side my nephew age 10 and the groom's daughter age 9 - who looked adorable in their tuxedos!
  • The groom's 5 yr old twins - the ring bearer in a tiny tux and the flower girl who broke down crying and didn't toss a single rose petal (but was adorable anyway)
  • On the bride's side, my 7 yr old niece and myself.
  • Bob was lookout, kid wrangler and general gopher. She loved every minute of it and looked beautiful.

As you can imagine nothing went smoothly, but no one cared and it was wonderful. My sister and her new husband are perfect for each other and were smiling so much I bet their faces hurt more than my feet (I will be having a bonfire for my horrible shoes ASAP).

Tomorrow morning we have to get everyone up early for breakfast with some of my favorite relatives who came into town for the wedding so I better get some sleep.

Pictures and description of the seminar coming soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are - Review

This was not a great movie for kids with issues. It was very violent. There might be a spoiler or two in this, but we've all read the book right?

  • The boy, Max, runs away from his problems (which he does in the book, but it's obviously in his imagination instead of literally like in the movie).
  • Max is afraid of the monsters, and never becomes king in his heart. I like that in the book Max rules the monsters and becomes a wild thing, then discovers he misses his mom and doesn't want to be.
  • - the movie just feels like there is no resolution of any of his issues. He goes, he discovers the grass is not greener. He comes back.
  • There is a LOT of violence. The main monster character was like Bear on his worst days . Super scary. The worst part is he violently smashes everyone's home, literally rips another Monster's arm off, and doesn't show any remorse. It's never his fault. He expects Max (the king) to solve all his problems and when they aren't resolved then he just blames it on Max.

Basically this movie is too violent, too close to home and has no resolution of issues in pretty much any way. The book showed more in just a few pages than the entire movie! I wish I hadn't let the kids watch it, and I'm glad I only paid $1 to rent it. I give it a C-.

Sorry not posting

I am crazy busy. I leave for the 2 day Katharine Leslie seminar on Tuesday - and committed to making some machine embroidered pieces for the tables, which I'm having trouble getting the machine to do - and I can't do them and sew at the same time.

My sister's wedding is Saturday.

I have a ton of stuff to do before the wedding and the trip. I actually stayed up until 6am yesterday, and now can't get back to work (so I'm putting things off by working on my computer. *sigh*) I committed to:

  1. Altering my sister's dress - DONE!
  2. Fixing the slip for sis's dress - still need to add ribbons.
  3. Fixing the zipper and altering the top on my Matron of Honor dress - DONE!
  4. Making a dress for Bob - DONE!
  5. Make a jacket for Bob - Mostly done, but she doesn't like the way it lays so need to figure out way to fix it.
  6. Make a jacket for Kitty - cut and started, but a lot left to do.
  7. Couldn't find an outfit for Ponito. Unbelieveably we couldn't find dark slacks in his size in any resale/thrift store, and then he decided he must have a suit coat. Found one in his size, but he didn't like it.
    - Shopping for shirt, tie, jacket and pants - DONE!
    - Altering small women's jacket to fit little 11 yr old boy - DONE!
    - Altering small women's pants to fit little boy - waist - DONE! Hem - cut but needs finishing
  8. Alter size on machine embroidered piece (has to be done on kid's computer because must have a floppy drive and my laptop doesn't). - done, but one is corrupted so must redo.
  9. Stitch out at least two full-size logos - 2 out of 6 components - DONE!
  10. Make sugar cookies for the seminar (have mixes)
  11. Pack.

Notice sleeping, working and bathing don't make the list. Do as I say, not as I do!

By the way, my Dad and step-mom will be coming into town on Tuesday. I won't be here. The aunt I'm named after will be coming into town on Friday. I'll be home (I get home late Thursday night), but won't have had time to clean. The house is fairly clean, but some of the kids' Spring Break chores were to clean and organize certain rooms. Instead they took everything out and piled it outside of the room. *sigh*

Friday, March 19, 2010

Integrity Study - Day four


Today went much faster so if I were to do it again (which I won't of course, but if anyone wants to borrow the version broken into days and with highlights...), I'm glad it broke down this way.

Technically this study was for leaders, so it assumes that that is your goal. It wasn't too difficult to point out that we should all try to be leaders. We did a quick review of qualities people want in a leader. We talked about leaders in our lives, including parents. The big focus was on walking the walk, and how kids are more likely to do what their parents and teachers say if they're not saying, "Do as I say, not as I do."


A person may forget 90 percent of what a leader says, but he or she will never forget how the leader lives.

Of course we talked about the fact that parents aren't perfect and you shouldn't judge them based on one mistake, because the kids, especially Bear and Kitty are notorious for saying, "Well you yell," or "Dad cusses." I've yelled at the kids about 3-4 times in the 3 years they've been here! This is not an acceptable excuse for the kids' screaming violent meltdowns and I tell them so! Hubby does occasionally slip (mostly naughty words not real cuss words) when he's in traffic.


This is why Paul tells Timothy:
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:15-16
We talked about hanging out with Christians can make it easier to behave with integrity, and act in a Christ-like manner. Hanging out with kids with issues can mean others assume you are like them and you might start acting like them.

I mentioned something I'd read recently about an agnostic waitress who commented that she hated waiting on groups of Christians on Sunday afternoons after church, because they were horrible tippers and rude and demanding. We talked about whether we wanted to be the kind of Christians that people admired and wanted to be like.


In this life, we never attain perfection. But there should be progress toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We will never attain it this side of eternity, but the there should be visible progress, evident to others. Notice the two things Paul exhorts Timothy to watch: your life and your doctrine. In other words, give careful attention to your behavior and your belief. Make sure they match. Constantly examine yourself to see whether or not your walk matches your talk.

In other words we're not going to be perfect, but when we said we were Christians - through baptism, joining the church, or just declaration, we committed to trying to be Christ-like and live with integrity. We should always be trying to be like him.



“How do I live when no one’s looking?” It’s easy to look like a person of integrity when people are watching, but do I live my private life with the same level of consistency as I live my public life? So much of our lives are consumed with what might be called “image maintenance.” We spend vast amounts of energy trying to get people to think about us the way we want to be thought about.


John Ortberg suggests, “Human conversation is largely an endless attempt to convince others that we are more assertive or clever or gentle or successful than they might think if we did not carefully educate them.”


WWJD?

I talked about my own focus on caring a lot about what people think of me. We talked about how much time we spend trying to get others to like us, think we're cool, or sweet or nice.



Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:1 are hard to get around: “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”It’s possible to live one life publicly and another life privately. That’s not integrity; it’s an invitation for God’s discipline. We are to live with consistency in public and in private, because our Father “sees what is done in secret” (Matthew 6:4). Since this is the case, being faithful in small, secret things is a
big deal.

God is far less concerned with your public persona than he is in your private character.

It’s in the small, secret places of self-evaluation that God’s grace changes you and shapes you into the image of his Son.

In the end, we become what our desires make us. Who we become reveals what we really desire. If you desire the praise of men, then you will become a certain kind of person. But if you desire the praise of God, then integrity will need to become a priority. As you sense the overwhelming holiness of our Creator, you will understand how unraveled you are. But as you focus on the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you will recognize that even though you may feel undone, you are not undone
because he has made you whole. His grace is sufficient, for his power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Integrity Study - Day three


Whew! What a morning! Let's just say it started out with overflowing toilet which the child had to clean up alone for once (and redirection multiple times to get it cleaned and never did a good job. *sigh*). This is day 6 of using Colon Clenz to try to see if we can get rid of this poo that's apparently perpetually backed up in her system and she's still clogging the potty. *deeper sigh* So far I'm having a sh*tty day which isn't showing signs of improving.

Last night I stayed up way late finishing most of the alterations on my sister's dress so she can get it pressed, I cut out and whipped together a sample jacket for the girls to try on this morning, wrote Kitty's FAIR Club assignment, created and worked on the Integrity Game board and questions for a new game I want to try with the kids, and I got a call from a friend who wanted to talk about the upcoming Katharine Leslie 2-day seminar in Fort Worth that I will be attending Wednesday and Thursday next week and offered to help with. I'm still working on trying to find a friend to travel with, and my friend in Fort Worth has offered a place to stay.

(If you can possibly make it you should! There are still seats available and as both a professional and a parent of children of trauma herself, Katharine gives ABSOLUTELY one of the best seminars on children of trauma I've ever been to. The professionals attending learn a lot, the parents learn practical advice. I saw her last year and it was one of the most recharging experiences I ever had. I can send you info if you're interested.).

So anyway!


The Integrity Study session started late as usual, and ran long. There were a LOT of big words and concepts in this one. We only got half as far as I thought we would, but I think we can still get it done tomorrow.



The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees

After defining Hypocrisy and explaining who the Pharisees are, we talked about how some people think of Jesus as being kind of hippy-like, all peace and love, but he was not feeling peace and love here! I had Kitty read the following passage "the way Jesus would have said it!" (really angry!)


Except for stumbling over all the big and unknown words and concepts, she did pretty well and I think the word stumbles helped because we could stop and explain them... all of them... and then explaining the words we used to explain them... and then giving examples...and then tying it back to what Jesus is saying...). This part took forever, and wasn't even the main focus of this section!


“Woe* to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites**!
You travel over land and sea to win a single convert***, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell**** as you are….
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs^, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous^^ but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness….
“You snakes^^^! You brood of vipers^^^^! How will you escape being condemned to hell^^^^^?”
Matthew 23:15, 27-28, 33

*Woe - not a command for stopping a horse! It means "pathos ('chaos'), anger, warning and derision ('looking down on someone and ridiculing them.'); and may include all of these at the same time."
  • Derision - gave them the example of Rathbone from Disney's Pocahontas looking down on the Native Americans - Rathbone was the governor of the pilgrims if I remember right
**Teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites - we talked about Judge Frollo from Disney's Hunchback of Notredame - he was a perfect example of hypocrisy. Someone who dictates rules to others, but does not follow them himself. (I also verified that they did not believe that the gypsies/Romany were lying, thieves and they did not. *grin* They also think Esmerelda is cool!)
***single convert - "convincing someone to believe what you believe." We talked about evangelists. The example they understood best for once wasn't a Disney movie! There is a group of Christian weigh lifters that testify while doing feats of strength called Team Impact. Bear decided to be baptised after attending one of their events. One of the members of the team grew up in a family that did foster and adoption, and he wrote back and forth to Bear while Bear was in residential treatment.
****twice as much a son of hell - new converts are often more enthusiastic and vigilant about the rules, and enforcing rules is what Jesus is against.
^whitewashed tombs - whitewashing is putting a coat of paint on something to make it look nice and pretty and cover what's underneath.
^^on the outside you appear to people as righteous - back to Judge Frollo from Hunchback to explain the word righteous!
^^^You snakes - snakes were unclean because they crawled through the mud and muck on their bellies.
^^^^vipers - Bear didn't know this was a snake.
^^^^^hell - tangent on whether or not this was a bad word.
Pheww! Finally ready to move on to the next section, but it had even more hard concepts and big words, and to be totally honest even I got it a little mixed up.
· Ethics refers to a standard of right and wrong, good and evil. It’s what the Pharisees said they believed was right.
· Morality is a lived standard of right and wrong, good and evil. It’s what the Pharisees actually did.
· Integrity means “sound, complete, integrated.” To the extent that a person’s ethics and morality are integrated, that person has integrity. To the extent that a person’s ethics and morality are not integrated, that person lacks integrity.
We talked first about Bob and her plan to be evil and take over the world. We decided she had low ethics because she has committed to the Christian values of the church, but she says she's going to be evil and go against these ethics. She had high morality because she didn't actually act evil. She has low integrity because her stated ethics and morals don't match. If she had evil standards, and acted evil, she would be unethical and immoral, but would have high integrity because her ethics match her morals (she doesn't just talk the talk, she walks the walk).
We briefly touched on Hitler, but went off on a tangent about the ethics of using the results of the medical research Hitler conducted on humans. The kids decided that not using the research would mean that those people were tortured and died in vain. I talked about whether or not this meant others would felt that they condoned the means to justify the end, but the kids decided it was OK.
We continued the tangent with whether or not they would use products from companies that used animal testing, we talked about the difference between free range chickens and those that were not allowed to move and were stuffed with antibiotics and growth hormones, tuna caught in non-dolphin safe nets, child labor, prison labor, unions and domestic labor. It was a long, complicated discussion and the kids decided they would pay more for organic and to purchase pruducts from companies with unions even though they cost more. Of course they have no money and no way of telling which companies those are (Bear said he knew, and all his clothes were "safe.")
We finally just called a stop to the conversation, and I decided that the rest of what I'd planned to talk about today would just have to wait until tomorrow.
Speaking of waiting until tomorrow... all the rest of the stuff I needed to get done tonight will have to wait until then. I'm tired and it's 1am.
*********************************



Before I forget. Grandma told me today that Samuel was a High Priest not a king, and that after him the priests were elected or something so his sons didn't inherit the title. Honestly, that changes way too much of what we talked about that day, so I'm going to ignore it. If you decide to try this study with your kids, you can handle this as you wish. It was mostly a help with the 'taxes/government/ king' thing which wasn't in the original study anyway.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Integrity Study - Day two



Whew! Today's study was a little tougher to get the kids to sit still through. Kitty was still activated from last night's therapy session and could not stop talking (or singing). Bob was pouty about being woken up, only to have to wait 15 minutes on Bear (of course we'd waited 30 minutes for her yesterday!). Bear was feeling obstreperous (like that word Sharon?!), and kept physically, verbally and non-verbally "poking" his siblings. Ponito was easygoing as always, but getting involved with whoever was being the most entertaining, and so perpetuating the problem.




Both today's and yesterday's session lasted about 45 minutes. While today's lesson covered more pages, it really didn't quite say as much as yesterday's. Not because it wasn't important, but it was a little more cut and dry and "preachy" until the end. (God is trustworthy. God never lies. Seeing God or Jesus in his holiness would be traumatic - with some examples from Isaiah, a story where 600 armed soldiers came to arrest Jesus and fell to the ground, and the disciples awestruck by the Jesus they were "comrades" with only moments before).




Technically this is a study designed to develop leadership qualities so maybe that's why in a couple of places it emphasized other things and it didn't say enough about why you should have integrity (since it assumed you wouldn't be doing the study if you didn't want to be a good leader). I think tomorrow's lesson is much more personal.




By the way, if anyone besides Sharon wants a copy of the study the version with study questions and bible verses, it is available here - just click Download Word Doc (it has an audio version as well).




What we talked about today boiled down to:




  • God and Jesus can always be trusted and never lie.


  • Unlike God, people can break promises and disappoint you. It is the unreliability of humans that causes a lot of our heartache. (Believe me I did not mention parents at this part, but Bear brought up biomom because Kitty started talking about biosisters who live with biomom. Bear told Kitty they were in a good home. Kitty looked at him like he was nuts - have to admit I'm not sure why he said that either unless he was trying to reassure her? He does surprise me sometimes. He might mean it too, who knows?).



  • God and Jesus are fully integrated (whole, wholesome, "have it all together.") and we should aspire to this. (We talked about crazy quilts and how they are a bunch of different random scraps, but when they are integrated they make a beautiful quilt. We also talked about how we must be TRULY integrated, because if you put a quilt together with Elmer's glue it might look beautiful... until there is some stress on it - then it falls apart).


  • Seeing God and Jesus in their glory is always traumatic and reminds us that we are unclean / sinners.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Kitty immediately started singing this song.)
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined!
For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal (we talked about what a live coal is, Thanks Santa!) in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” (We compared this to baptism)

Isaiah 6:1-7


  • We can never live up to God and Jesus' integrity and standards and trying to be self-reliant leads to trauma. (I stared at certain kids when I said trying to be self-reliant - can you guess which one was primary?)


  • The disciples were with Jesus all the time and were comfortable as his companions - while he wore his mortal* guise (*Kitty loved when I described this as his body - the part that eats and poops), but when he dropped that guise for a milisecond - all fell down overwhelmed (including 600 armed soldiers). (We also talked about this song -one of my favorites. I asked the kids what they would do if Jesus walked through our door. By then the kids were mostly off topic and talking about how they wanted to walk on water like the lizard?! ).


  • Jesus is the mediator between us and God.


Then we got to the important stuff (not that the rest wasn't important, just harder to show its relevance to the kids, particularly in regards to their integrity):


  • Christ is inside us ("then how could he walk through the door Mom?" *sigh* So glad you have a good memory for a metaphor Ponito!).


  • We have to try to behave with integrity because this is what we agreed to do (ex. when Bear and Kitty were baptised and accepted Christ).


  • We are given the ability to behave with integrity because we have Christ inside us!

Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship. Christianity is not about rules and regulations. Instead, it is the presence and power of a person who indwells us and promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).


  • If we are Christ's body then we should be behaving as he would want us to. (And here is the song we talked about that is now stuck in my head).

  • Isaiah's commitment and his life as a faithful prophet demonstrate for us the possibility of framing a life of integrity with God’s help.





Tuesday, March 16, 2010

For Struggling To Stand


For my friend Struggling to Stand,
This balloon is for you because you deserve it. It has NO negative aspects. It is the pure spirit of the balloon that is gone.
Hugs and prayers,
Mary

Integrity Study - Day one


So of course today didn't go exactly as scheduled. Ponito is my early bird and this morning he wanted me to give him a fauxhawk (the clippers broke so I've been cutting his hair with scissors so this takes quite awhile. The first time I just left it all long on top. I got distracted by this and didn't make sure the girls were up and moving until 9am (Daddy woke them at 8am, but they went back to sleep). Bob was surly and difficult to get moving so we weren't ready to go until 9:30am - when we were supposed to be done! Plus most didn't have breakfast, clothes for the day or chores started. *sigh*

I'm really excited about the Integrity Study though so I forged ahead.
Please forgive any and all historical inaccuracy in this - that wasn't really the point! I tried to limit just reading the study and focus on discussions. I think we had some great insights.

We started by talking about what things are important in a leader (leader on a group project, superior in the military, boss at work...). The kids knew what the study was about so it took awhile to get them to say anything beyond honesty and integrity!


After surveying thousands of people around the world and performing more
than 400 written case studies, James Kouzes and Barry Posner identified those characteristics most desired in a leader. In virtually every survey, honesty or integrity was identified more frequently than any other trait.


That makes sense, doesn’t it? If people are going to follow someone, whether into battle or in business or ministry, they want assurance that their leader can be trusted. They want to know that he or she will keep promises and follow through with commitments.



The Integrity of Samuel

In light of this research, Israel’s high regard for Samuel comes as no surprise. Samuel was a man who exuded integrity. Nowhere is this best illustrated than in 1 Samuel 12:1-4: Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right.”
“You have not cheated or oppressed us,” they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.”

During his farewell speech, after having led Israel for decades, Samuel promised to repay anything he had unjustly taken from anyone. What a promise! Even more impressive was the people’s response. Not one person rose up to make a claim against Samuel.

We talked about how great Samuel was, but quickly went off on what seemed to be a tangent about Hitler being a good leader (Bob is playing at "Evil" being a good thing right now - her alleged goal is to take over the world!). This actually really helped us talk about good leaders. I pointed out that Hitler was a very strong leader. Most of his followers believed he was right and followed him not out of fear (although that was certainly a big part of it), but also because he was a very charismatic leader who knew how to influence people's thinking. He took full advantage of people's greed and feelings of superiority. He encouraged it.

Hitler told people that Gypsies were lying thieves who were inferior to his followers. Bear wanted to know if that was true about the Gypsies. I told him there was probably some truth to it, but that a lot of it was perception. We talked about a Bugs Bunny cartoon that makes me cringe to watch it. There's a witch on a broom chasing Bugs Bunny, and she keeps running into things. She says something along the lines of, "Tee hee, women drivers!" This was funny because in those days women were considered to be inferior and bad drivers. It was acceptable to make fun of them and perpetuate this stereotype. Nowadays we know (well insurance raters know) that women are considered to be better drivers than men. The point was you can make people believe a lot of things.


We also talked about taxes. How amazing was it that not only did Samuel live such an exemplary life, but he must have charged taxes and done king/government things which were not popular with everyone and his people still could not find anything negative to say about him?

We talked about why people didn't get mad at Samuel for making people pay taxes.

We talked about a mentally ill person who recently deliberately crashed his plane into a building because he was unhappy about his taxes (this happened near to where we live). We talked about being so above reproach that even mentally ill people had nothing bad to say about you.

I questioned why did the kids think that people didn't mind paying taxes to the king, but didn't want to pay taxes to the government. Bear's theory was because they were used to not having a say in whether or not they paid taxes. You paid them because the king said so. So then we talked about the King of England during the War of 1812. (Now here I have to admit we used what we knew about the king from Disney's Pocahantas 2 where the king was portrayed as an inbred, crazy loon who thought all Native Americans were savage heathens and bear baiting was good clean fun.) We decided that people rebeled against the king because they wanted taxation representation, but that maybe they didn't like this king because he didn't have integrity.



Samuel’s honesty and personal integrity permeated every area of his life. These two characteristics directed how he regarded his possessions, his business dealings and his treatment of those who were weaker than himself. Samuel held himself accountable to the people he led. He opened himself up to the scrutiny of everyone with whom he had ever had dealings. As a result of this practice, Samuel’s leadership has become legendary as this story has been told and retold throughout the centuries.

People want to know that their leader can be trusted. They want to know that leaders will keep promises and follow through on commitments. Promises and commitments are significant, though, in our day of Machiavellian ethics, it seems that they have become optional. We often seem more concerned with convenience and performance. We give lip-service to the importance of character, but we have the idea that when things get tough, the rules can be changed and commitments and covenants may be discarded at will.
Here we talked about how we often make choices because they are convenient, or it's too hard, or "everybody is doing it." I tried to lightly touch on some specific instances of lack of integrity with regards to chores, then we moved quickly on.



But the Bible makes clear just how important our covenants are. Throughout the Scriptures, God focuses on the fact that he is a God who makes and keeps his covenants, that he can be trusted (1 Chronicles 16:15; Psalm 105:8). God can be trusted because he is trustworthy.

The we began talking about whether or not the Israelites would trust Samuel's sons as leaders. They grew up with Samuel as a good example of what integrity and good leadership was. I also started comparing leadership to parenting.

I talked about Grandma's situation. How she was raised by a mother who thought she was gawky, stupid, ugly and would never marry, but would be alone her whole life with no family (Grandma's allergic to cats). That self-image will be with her the rest of her life.

I was raised the opposite. I was told that I was beautiful, smart, and could do almost anything I wanted to. When I raise my child who is 4 inches taller than I am (just like Grandma was 4 inches taller than her mom), am I going to teach my child that she is gawky and too big? No, of course not.

Samuel's sons were raised with integrity, and they will most likely be kings with integrity.

We talked about raising kids with integrity. How that is my responsibility. I don't remember how it came up, but at one point Bob made the comment that of course she knows she can trust me to never get rid of her no matter what. Parents don't get rid of their kids. WHOA!

I pointed out that like Samuel's sons, Bob and Ponito are going to act the way they were taught. Bear and Kitty have it harder because they did not start out being raised with integrity (in hindsight it might not have been a good choice for me to word it in quite that way). They have to work harder at acting with integrity because that was not how they were taught.



That’s the point: it always comes down to the issue of character, not just words. Biblical integrity is not just doing the right thing; it’s a matter of having the right heart and allowing the person you are on the inside to match the person you are on the outside. This is how God is. This is how his people should be.

Perhaps a good word to think of is “consistency.” There must be consistency between what is inside and what is outside. God is totally consistent. His actions and behaviors always match his character and nature. And his goal for us is nothing less. Christ’s objective for his disciples is to make us disciplined people. In the words of John Ortberg, “Disciplined people can do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason.” Just like God.

Integrity Study Day 2
Integrity Study Day 3
Integrity Study Day 4
Integrity Game

Spring Break Schedule



I mentioned the Integrity Study that Bear lied about completing, partly because he didn't understand it. Lying and trust are HUGE issues in our house and we've had MANY problems with ALL the kids regarding them (Bob and Ponito usually lie about having completed chores when they didn't).

Saturday night (which the kids spent at Grandma's!) when I called, Kitty lied to me about having clean clothes to wear to church. We've had many hygiene issues with her, especially lately, and I'd specifically asked her point blank if she had clean undies, socks and clothes. I told her specifically that she absolutely could not wear the clothes she had on that day. On Sunday I confronted her and she lied again.

So I told her she was in the FAIR Club. Now unlike all the other children who hate the FAIR Club, for Kitty it is worse. It apparently triggers a PTSD reaction every time. For awhile we decided we just wouldn't put her in the FAIR Club (she just lived as though she were always in it - but without the writing assignments and extra chores); however she's older now and needed a wake-up call. In general Kitty is pretty honest too so for her I felt this lying needed to be nipped in the bud.

We got a pretty good meltdown, but were able to contain it. Wailing, railing, tears, distraction, and arguing ("give me one more chance, you never give me chances, you said no more FAIR Club, no one else goes in the FAIR Club)... we comforted but didn't relent, so it escalated... repeated threats to self and things, namecalling of parents... We stayed calm and persistant, and eventually she broodingly accepted that she would have to comply... until after storming out to the car and repeatedly banging the minivan sliding door open and closed she managed to break it.

Kitty came in absolutely terrified because she broke the car. She was already upset, so not thinking logically. Hubby came in understandably furious and Kitty freaked out. She started insisting that Hubby was going to hit her (which he has never done and would never do). She threatened to call the police on him (because he was 'going' to hit her) and I told her to go right ahead (that usually takes the wind right out of their sails!). She hung up the phone, and we were eventually able to calm her down enough to get her to listen to reason. Luckily Hubby was able to fix the car door. He told her part of her FAIR Club assignment was to pay $3 for him fixing it.

So solution for the FAIR Club writing assignment? ALL the kids will be doing the Integrity Study together. Bear still has to write out the bible verses and answer the questions, but he also has to participate in the discussion.

Here's our Spring Break Schedule:




8-9 am Up and dressed. (Ponito morning chores - dogs, fish and am dishes)
9am Integrity bible study with Mom
9:30 Daily chores and extras
10:30 Chore check (children with incomplete chores/attitude will be dropped
off with Mom at work)
11am Run errands and do things with Grandma
12-12:30 Lunch
12:30-1 Lunch dishes (Bob)
1-2 Grandma’s nap (quiet
activities/movie...) Bob may complete her online History test on Monday)
2-6 Errands or activities (up to Grandma). Computer time (optional) closely
supervised

Extras and Attitude (in addition to regular allowance - $1/ day for good attitude and meeting or exceeding parental standards on chores)



Spring Break Extra Chores - to be done by end of week. The house needs a good Spring Cleaning and they'll be home all week...

Bear –
__Clean and organize utility room – big focus on cleaning up rat droppings (can't tell you how freaked out I was when I heard a rat in the laundry room - luckily we were able to scare him away before he got into the rest of the house).

Ponito –
__Pick up hair in family room (it's tile so that's where I gave Ponito a major hair cut the night before - he no longer looks like a girl! Although at the moment I've let him have a fauxhawk - I'll cut it off before he goes back to school)
__Clean and organize Mom’s computer cubby including area in front of door

Kitty- (consequences for hygeine issues, Mom will be back in charge of her clothing).
__Move dresser to parent’s room
__Fill with clean clothes
__Clean cat vomit off pool table cover (she leaves bowls of food out most often. The cat eats...).
__ Clean downstairs windows inside and out

Bob
__Clean and organize Mom’s sewing room (this was part of an earlier agreement. Despite the room only being 6'x7', it's a huge task, but Grandma and I will help her with it_
__Clean and organize fabric stash, etc. in gameroom
I lost my house/car/mail/work/work mail keys over a week ago. I think it's time to offer a reward. Hmm... $1? $5? I'll have to think about it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baby Picture Game

After all the comments on the baby in the picture (and the hours I recently spent scanning in photos), I decided to play a "fun" game called guess who is who? Your choices are Me, Hubby, Bear, Kitty, Bob and Ponito. There are some clues (notice the bow in the first picture? - that baby is a girl! *grin*).
A.











B.

















C.











D.














E.










F.













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Maybe it would help to see us a little older. Can you guess who is who now? (Hint: they are not in the same order as the first set.)
A.










B.

















C.










D.















E.











F.


How adorable are these babies?!!! I hope you enjoy this game, and even if you don't play studies show that babies are something everyone loves to look at. Your pupils dilated!