Yeah, I knew that would get your attention! But I really am and it’s not from who you think. Read on my fabulous Look for the good . . . family and friends . . .
On January 5th, 1995, at 19 years old, I gave birth to a precious, little girl. I named her Brailee Michelle. I also knew that within a couple of days I would quite possibly never see her again. You see, I placed Brailee for adoption. Not because I wanted to but because I was forced to. When I found out I was pregnant at 18 I was a Senior in high school and still a few months from graduating. My daddy and stepmother told me if I kept this baby then they would pretend they never had a daughter named Jane. I wouldn’t even exist to them anymore. I had an afterschool job at a daycare center and was completely dependent on my parents as most 18-year-olds are. The last time I saw her was when I literally placed her in her parents’ arms at 48 hours old. I will spare you all the sad and horrific details and instead concentrate on the good . . . Y’all know this post could go on forever because I love to write, and the details are tremendous – but I will keep it as simple as I can.
Just over two weeks ago a beautiful, strong, determined, 24-year-old woman rang my doorbell. (We planned this only 4 days before when she somehow found me???!!!) We have text everyday and have seen each other again. Her parents named her Rachel and yes, all those years ago I knew they were going to change her name. They were her parents, not me, after all and I just had to live with it. I have respected their entire family all this time by not being intrusive. Rachel is so much like me. The top half of her face looks like mine. She loves to write (and writes beautifully). The list just continues. As my readers know and especially those very close to me – it was earlier this year that I didn’t want to go on. Too many bad things have continued to pile up on my shoulders for 43 YEARS and I just completely fell . . . apart. Broken. Shattered. Crushed. Exhausted. But somehow by the grace of God Himself, He helped me hang on. He has given me a new life. I have an extremely supportive husband who is working hard everyday with me to have THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER. I have not just two but THREE magnificent daughters who are all very different but have their own special place in my heart. And now I’m a grandmama to a darling little boy. Rachel’s son. It’s surreal. So, for today here is the good . . . Are you kidding? All the above is good – no, it’s GREAT! I am attaching the video of our reunion and one of my favorite pics from this past weekend. Also attaching a pic of her “info card” that was on her little hospital bed (even though she never laid in it because I held her as much as I could in the hospital). I can’t say it enough . . . DON’T GIVE UP! HANG ON! There really is good . . . on the other side of whatever it is that haunts you. Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste
IMG_5117 Click for video
Courageous. Giving. Strong. I mean yeah, she is a runner and works out but that is NOT what I mean when I use this word to describe one of my best friends. Try these definitions – of great moral courage; powerful in means of prevailing; decisively unyielding. Now to break those down . . .
She has been tested on numerous occasions on how she should handle her life with a blended family but like I said – she is decisively unyielding when it comes to what is best and benefits her family as a whole. It isn’t a competition to win but a journey that continues and she always prevails. (Whether she knows it or not) She will not waver on what is best for her children. She is courageous. It isn’t always easy to be the mother to children who are not biologically yours, but Lisa holds her head high and presses on making sure her family is always taken care of. And then there is giving. Most importantly, she gives with her heart. She also gives with her time making sure all three of her children know she is present and there for them at all times, as well as for her husband. She gives in so many other ways not just to her own family but to me as a friend, even to strangers. She is the founder of www.wearefamilies.org Their mission is – to progress society’s awareness to the value of nonbiological parents in a blended family through improved rights and increased responsibilities, participation and empowerment, with the understanding that mindfully and intentionally uniting families in this way will strengthen the marriage, and thereby the children.
My list of behind the scenes details of what she has endured, let go of, and fought for would blow your mind but for today here is the good . . . I am BLESSED to call her my friend, my sister and to have her be part of my inner circle – my Girl Gang. I love you, Lisa! Much Peace and Love Y’all! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Pardon me for the interruption of the “Girl Gang” posts – the rest are coming – BUT it has been awhile since I have done a Positive Purposeful Post. I need one! I am so busy being chased WHILE ON MY HAMSTER WHEEL that quite honestly, I haven’t had the time but more importantly the brain cells left to hardly write at all! I love writing and miss it. It’s just this roller coaster I have been on doesn’t seem to have a STOP button. (Insert mind pic of me getting thrown from the ride into a lava filled, alligator infested swamp)
For those of you who may be new to my blog or may just have missed the meaning behind my “Positive Purposeful Post”(s) here is the explanation – The founding belief of this company is to bring you inspiring positivity one breath at a time. All our products reflect this very idea. For example, our LFTG (Look For The Good) jars are filled with inspirational sayings/quotes. Each saying/quote has a crack ‘n peel backing so if you want to you can stick it on something for a positive reminder or simply throw it back in for a random draw another day. Head on over to our SHOP and purchase your very own today or bless someone else with one! WE ONLY HAVE A FEW LEFT! So, having said that, periodically I will be doing my own random draw out of my personal LFTG jar and will be posting it on here with a story that emulates that message. These will be named “Positive Purposeful Post”. Time for another one below –
“Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe in the one reason why it will.”
Again – perfect timing! So, as you readers know our life, our “situation” (which it is so annoyingly referred to on a regular basis – even by me) is difficult. Challenging. Demanding. Heavy. Painful. Emotional. Toilsome. And the list goes on . . . You wouldn’t believe all the negative words I could use to describe my journey on having a child with special needs. But who needs all the negative? Where is the positive? That is the whole reason why I began this blog. I not only wanted to help others “Look for the good . . . .” but I needed it too! I still do, probably now more than ever. But just like the quote says “ . . . believe in the one reason why it will” is how I survive. I have to constantly look for the one good thing. Just one. No matter how small. This particular saying is screaming at me so loudly today because of another big question we are being faced with currently. WHERE ARE WE GOING TO LIVE? I will stop there for today only since no one wants to read a blogpost soooooo long. If you personally know me and are freaking out about this question – yes, you will have to wait for the next post too. So, for today here is the good . . . . I had time and the heart to write today. Writing is one of the few things that really makes me happy. I am thankful. Remember . . . Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe in the one reason why it will. Much Peace and Love Y’all!
Have you ever thought about the words in the title of my post? I mean really thought about them? Can a heart smile? What does it look like when I picture a heart smiling? When I hear the word “heart” I think of love and happiness. Even if you don’t know me well, just by reading my blog you are beginning to learn a lot about me. Lately, I have been writing more about my broken heart. My sadness. But last Friday, as I was subbing, we decided because it was such a beautiful day we would take our boys outside. Two of our boys went right to the “typical” swings and sat down while the other two needed to roam around a bit. The student I was with seemed a bit restless. I walked him over to the swings that are more conducive to full body support. He readily sat down as I stood in front of him making sure he was safely in the chair. I asked the other assistant if it was okay to push him as sometimes this motion can cause seizures. She said it was fine.
I began to slowly push the swing until it was in a steady motion. That sweet boy laid his head back and to the side and completely relaxed his body into the rhythm. For 25 minutes, I pushed. Back and forth. Back and forth. Twenty-five minutes is a long time to consistently push a swing. However, I didn’t grow tired. I gazed at him and a wonderful sense of peace came over me. I was working so I HAD TO be in this moment. I asked myself “Why can’t I slow down more in my life and be present in every moment? Why can’t I be still longer, more often to experience this calm even when I don’t HAVE TO?” So, for today here is the good . . . The cool breeze blowing and the repetitive movement helped this antsy child to be less anxious. Watching him made my heart smile. It showed me how simple some things really can be. These students who are non-verbal or non-mobile, sometimes both, are usually the best teachers of how life is meant to be. Slow down, maybe even stop a minute and be in the moment. He helped me and my heart. For this I am thankful. Have a beautiful day! Much Peace and Love Y’all!
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
This is the exact description of what has happened to us over the last 4 days. It could only be God. Let me just go ahead and tell you how super awesome things have been since Friday early afternoon.
I received a call from Grayson’s school that she had three seizures back-to-back already and as we were speaking the FOURTH! I told them I was leaving a store and had to run home to take things out of our (pimped out, lowered, handicap accessible) minivan so Grayson would have a place to ride and then I would be on my way ASAP! Literally minutes later as I pull into our driveway I received another phone call saying Grayson is on her SEVENTH seizure in a row and they were all very hard seizures. I told them I was grabbing her rescue meds and on my way. As I was driving there I hit every red light and got behind all the joy riders. There was nothing else I could do but pray. Now saying that out loud or typing that or reading that sounds terrible! Nothing left but God!? Shouldn’t He be first!? But nonetheless I prayed that EMS would not be called and that the seizures would stop and she would still be alive when I got there. I drove up to her school, which is all the way across town, ran inside and she was better. They said the seizures stopped at number seven. I gave her the rescue meds and waited a bit. Just sat there and watched her breath. Thank you, God! Then I finally felt it was safe enough to get on the road and make it home. The rest of the afternoon was okay. Our nurse, Grace, was with Grayson so I ran some errands. Now it gets even better.
I was going to be in a holiday craft show in our neighborhood on Saturday so before I left to run errands I packed up my van with everything I would need. Tables, crates, naked mannequins, products, etc. Now I’m on my way. Thank you, God, I didn’t go too far from home. Y’all know I don’t like to cook and it’s Friday night (even though I can always come up with an excuse not to cook) so of course it’s take out. I ran through KFC drive thru (don’t judge me) and after paying, taking my big plastic bag of all things bad for you I began to drive off. All of a sudden, my steering wheel starts making a clicking sound. I stop, turn the car off, turn it back on and go again. Same thing. Oh well, I need to get home. I press the gas and within a few feet the whole car feels like someone slammed on the brakes and the steering went out. What the heck??? I had to be rescued. I unloaded my entire van, including stuff that normally stays in there because I didn’t know how long I would be without it, like identifying papers, etc. all into my neighbor’s car. Again, thank you God she is like a mother to me so I wasn’t too embarrassed. We made it home and after all that had happened that day I literally said out loud “Thank you, Lord. I don’t know how we will pay for this van to be fixed. I could be worried about that and extremely sad that now Grayson can’t even leave the house because that is her only way out. I could not trust in You at all but I do. I trust You to take care of us. I am thankful Grayson wasn’t in the car with me. That would be even worse to figure out how to get her home. I am thankful I was not in traffic when the car quit. I could have been killed or hurt badly but instead I am okay.” Those words would not normally come out of my mouth. I tell you my faith has grown continuously stronger this year despite many difficult times. It is weird!!! Final word on the van as of today – many issues but we did get it back last night. A lot of things still do not work on it and it may take months for back ordered parts to come in but it is drivable.
So, for today and the last few days here is the good . . . In the world’s point of view this was not peaceful AT ALL! Only the Lord, God, Himself could help me see that He was leaving me with a gift – peace of mind and heart. I hope and pray you can find your good today no matter how ridiculous the situation may be. Peace and Love Y’all!
Today is my mama’s birthday. She would have been 82 years old. She is no longer here on earth with us but I’m sure her celebration in Heaven is something we can’t even begin to imagine. Of course, I rejoice for her but even though it’s been almost 31 years my heart still aches for her. Some days more than others. I always wonder what she would have been like with my girls. I wish she could have known Kevin as well. I realize if she hadn’t been killed, though, that my life would have been entirely different and I wouldn’t have Kevin, Grayson, Kloie and other special people in my life.
We usually don’t speak ill of those who are no longer with us, therefore, most of the stories I have ever heard are positive about my mama. However, I really do believe what has been said and continues to be said about the person she was, is true. She was loving, caring, carefree, and a great mother! Thinking about what kind of mother she was, makes me dream about her relationship with both of my daughters, but especially Grayson, because most people ignore her altogether. I bet she would have gone out of her way and done everything in her power to help me with my girls.
It is mostly just Kevin and me. We have been a team in taking care of Grayson and Kloie. As you have read in previous blogposts, Grayson came before I met Kevin. When our youngest, Kloie, was born we had no help. No one came over to help me or to help with our newborn baby or to help with our severely handicapped child. No one helped Kevin. He worked full-time of course and took care of all of us. We did it all on our own. I will admit I have been envious of those who have mothers or mothers-in-law that come over to help with their children.
Even though Grayson will be 19 years old in a few weeks I know in my heart my mama would have been at my house and taking care of Grayson and doing all that she could to help with Grayson and to help us have the best life possible – for all these years. I know she would have been one of Grayson’s very few, but biggest cheerleaders and she would giggle at how much Kloie’s carefree spirit is like hers. My mama would have been proud to call Grayson and Kloie her granddaughters.
For today here is the good . . . My mama is in Heaven with The Lord Himself and I am blessed to have my best friend, The Kevin Hart, to help me and share on this difficult yet rewarding journey. Hug the ones you love! Peace and Love Y’all!