Saturday, November 18, 2017

In the Darkness of Medication Came Light






I am not sure how to talk/write about medication when it comes to my kids. It is not because I am embarrassed, ashamed, or not confidant in our decision. I really think its because you want to protect your child from an already cruel and judging world. I do not want you to see medication before seeing my child. Or even have thoughts "must be a day they need to up the meds..." Medication and mental illness do NOT define our children or our family. We are the Tanners, we stand firm in our solid foundation in Jesus, and this is our journey, not our identity.  Therefor, medication and the topic of diagnosis is a touchy one. One we desperately need to shine the light on, but also one you have to be so cautious with. Each word I ever write is prayed over, He gives me permission and releases things I didn't even know could exist. 

I do know I have yet to meet a parent that is excited and happy to put their child on any type of stimulant, anxiety pill, or antidepressants. There are not happy dances and praise hands the day your doctor says "its time." No. There are fears, and sadness...there is concern and the unknown of the future can leave you frozen unable to put one foot in front of the other.... 

There is also thankfulness, yes. Hopefulness, yes. Even relief, sweet relief...but happy, joyful, excitement? No, not terms I hear from parents that are walking this very hard and challenging road.  People ask when we knew it was time for medication, my response is always the same "You just know..." it is really that simple. Every other thing fails you and you are left so desperate and so low you are not sure which way is up...its in that moment you can't wait another day. Relief is desperate. You are screaming for anything to help you and your child. You see them drifting and somehow someway today is worst then yesterday which was worst then the day before.

You find yourself googling, looking for anything that could possibly help. You feel like the most contradicting inconsistent parent on the planet. What worked yesterday made things worse today. You try hard not to stir up any battles or wake the sleeping anger that lays beneath your sons sweet demeanor. So eggshells is your life, you walk lightly, talk sweetly, take so many deep breaths you feel light headed. You find yourself losing your cool on every other child and living creature that crosses you wrong. Your exhaustion is beyond anything you could type on a blog.  You look like a parent who doesn't discipline because you put up with attitude and sharp comments and big fat "NOs!" and its not because you agree with the behavior, its because you know where and what it could do. Desperation is probably not even the right word.

You find yourself crying to anyone who will give you a moment to speak, you find yourself sobbing into the phone leaving your dad a message of total brokenness. You are unsure how you will face tomorrow or if tomorrow can even be faced. You are lost. You have prayed the name of Jesus in every room of the house, anointed with oil, crawled to the foot of his bed while he sleeps and make your desperate pleads to the One who Knows all and is All. And yet....silence. The next day is worst then the day before and it feels as though your prayers just made everything worse.

You finally hit the roof after weeks of walking on eggshells and all your pent up anger comes rolling out of you like Niagara Falls and there is nothing to stop it.  And 5 min later when your voice is horse from all the yelling you are broken once again because you feel like you just lost everything you had maybe gained. You are done. And you see the brokenness on his face. How did it get to this place?

You know....You go to the doctors with your beloved son and you lay it all out. You are done, he is done, we are done, everyone is done. By golly, the dogs are done. You know... It is time. And although there is no happy dance there is hope.

One week later post "vitamins" which is what these medications are referred to in this home, you see glimpses of your son. You see a smile return, a skip to his walk, a sweet hug and a kind word...oh my heavens, then the happy dance starts. Your heart could leap...

Two weeks later and there are no broken pencils, no thrown objects, there is a calmness and peacefulness that returns to your home...Oh Jesus. Thank you.

One month later. I have no words. We are thankful for the reprieve and although we know in two months we might be back to the drawing board with a growing and changing boy we know that medication is needed in this family. We see the change. And when the doctor asks how it is going and he says "I feel better..." you want to squeal and hug every single person in that doctors office. All of the sudden the dark, scary, awful, medication becomes the light, answers, peace, joy, thankful medication...

Now it is just a part of the day. No one even blinks an eye. .3 seconds it takes to take and our world aligns and peace come.

See, desperation always brings us to solutions and cry for help. If I didn't experience the desperation I wouldn't of been willing to go this route, and Jesus knew we needed this medication...he needed this medication, but we had to walk the dark and scary road to see those things.

I don't know where you are on in your journey. But you are not alone. Coming to the decision to put your child on medication is one of the hardest and scariest path a parent has to walk...see its brokenness in this world and its not suppose to be this way. Neither is cancer, or disease...but we live in a broken fallen world desperate for Jesus. Desperation broke us, and in that brokenness we were able to find the healing we all needed.

If you are a parent who has never had to face this journey with your child, I am thankful, this community of parents who are facing it would never wish this for anyone. No one. Be thankful, but be sensitive, be quiet, we don't need words or answers we need prayers and grace. Don't be quick to judge that parent with a child who is out of control in the middle of Walmart...you don't know what their journey is or what they are facing that day.

I know now, but it took desperation and brokenness to know it.

But Jesus, getting glory. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Transparent Glass Door. Honetly..I don't even think I have a door.

Sitting in a Psychologist office with on of your kids is never easy.

I gripped the steering wheel pretty tightly that morning as we drove. I tried to seem as calm and as normal as possible even sipping on my coffee occasionally  although my stomach was in all kind of knots. His sweet profile catching my glimpse every once and awhile as I asked if he was nervous or had any questions. "No." It was a simple answer with no concern, no emotion, no anxiety. Hmmm I wish I could calm my heart to meet my sons. This is the second time I have had to drive to an appointment for one of my boys to see if we could get a glimpse of what was going on in that brain of theirs. I couldn't help but have to fight all the feelings of failure as I drove. I shoved them down deep...again.

People commend me often for being open and writing so freely- it is not a choice, I was born this way. To be silent slowly kills me. Ann Voskamp wrote a post today about transparency and I drank it in and it nourished my dry and weary soul. One of her quotes will be one I will butcher when I say it, but will cling to it for a life time.

"Transparency is the glass door that opens up a house of trust so you get to live in love."

There is zero artistic or poetic beauty in my writing, believe me I know this. But there is a rawness that just comes from my heart that I can't control.   That glass door. My glass house.

We spent three hours in that testing. He did amazing. We will have the final write up of a diagnosis in three weeks but before we left the dr. said without hesitation that he has ADHD.  It was not a surprise, taking on the role of teacher has made it very clear that he struggles with this. Now my Two oldest sons have that diagnosis. How can you not wonder where you went wrong? There will be more diagnosis coming my way, the doctor was also sure of this but he wasn't ready to finalize it until he had gathered all his information from that morning. I wasn't emotional or sad when he told me it, I wasn't really anything honestly. Numb maybe? But really not even that...just okay. It is the reality and I can push up the sleeves on my arms and move forward.  

I had someone say to me "I don't know why my kids are so amazing and so good and don't have struggles..." literally. Said that. WOW. I am so happy for you. Please take this from my post, if you know someone who has a child or children struggling with anything outside the BOX of "normal" please don't go on and on about the struggles your children DON'T have..it is not soothing to an aching heart. Just not.

When I dealt with infertility I was trapped in a world of wanting...it was the most intense and horrific and life changing three years of my life. I would spend hours dreaming of what my children would be like, I would beg Jesus for them, I would grieve over the ones I lost and think about all I was missing because I didn't get to know them...but in those dreams I never imagined having boys that struggle with anxiety, ADHD, depression or disorders. Why would I dream that? Why would anyone dream that? But you know what, each and every day I wake up and I am living my dream. It wasn't what I thought it would look like but there is so much broken beauty in the imperfectness that is my life I couldn't for one second want anything any different.  

A couple of months ago I mentioned I went to a conference that kind of left me spiraling and in some ways more broken then I was before I went. It was suppose to be a "rest" ful retreat but all of the hurting broken adopted moms hearts, threw me into a tornado I wasn't even prepared for.  One of the activities the speaker had us do was write out all the things we had dreamt of that didn't come true and then we took that piece of paper and shredded it. It was a beautiful imagine but it didn't sit well with my heart. I usually love things like this, if I ever had a chance to be a speaker I could so see myself doing something so similar. I was known for things like this while teaching the youth years ago...but the thing is, it was hopeless. It made me focus on things I don't even consider. My kids are my kids, sure I didn't dream of this but they are still my dreams. If we live in a world always looking at ways we thought our life should of been or could of been or we deserved we miss the beauty that is our life RIGHT now.  The broken beauty. Its is not perfect and there is a lot of scary and dark days, but Jesus is writing a pretty epic story through each of the characters on my stage. 

I know that mom meant some kind of well when she spoke those words about how her kids didn't have struggles... I couldn't shake it from my soul- but then I thought, well- Lord my kids are exactly who you created them to be - perfectly and beautifully and wonderfully made- broken and all. And are we not all broken? Heavens. YES. Maybe her kids didn't have the struggles my kids have...but we all have struggles...its why I want to live a life of transparency. Transparency brings love, and healing...

Our life might consist of therapy's and doctor appointments and prescriptions needing to be filled. But it is beautiful, and complicated, and chaotic...and epic...and Transparent. 


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Utterly and Fearfully Exhausted.

Since deciding to homeschool I knew mornings would be cruicial for me. I needed to get up early before the boys to make sure I had a few moments of peace before my day started. Just 30min even to clear my thoughts or have a thought without interruption. Yall. Its as though my kids know this desire and ensuring that they don't miss one second of mom (because I still have a couple of little guys who find their way into my bed, onto my pillow, and into my back, I swear if they could crawl back into me they would...) they are up at the butt crack of dawn. I try to be so quiet, I try to sneak downstairs, but I swear the atmosphere must shift and their eyes pop open because mom is awake...don't. miss. one. second. Must. get. to....MOM.
Be near Jesus. It is real.

So here I am at 11:58pm trying to calm my thoughts so that I can actually just maybe get a few hours of sleep before they sense the atmosphere changing again.  And know what, I am utterly and fearfully exhausted.

But here is the thing, I am utterly and fearfully exhausted both emotionally and physically and to be completely honest spiritually. I have to fight daily to find the calm, the peace, the soothing quietness of my soul. I have had so many "older" moms and when I say "older" I don't mean physical age, I mean stage of life. Older as in kids are in high school or graduated or married. Anyway I have heard from these older wiser moms in grocery stores, at sporting events, always at target, and of course FB and Insta. But these wonderfully older moms inform me many times as they watch me twitch and squirm and sometimes loose my cool at my child who is fussing about their sock or shoe or the fact that the sun is somehow chasing them down and tormenting them with brightness..... that the "days are long but the years are short," or "its hard physically now but just wait until they older...then its emotionally hard..." or "don't blink, its gone" or.. "fill in the blank you have heard it here.."  And believe me I DO GET IT. I do, STOP TELLING ME AND ENCOURAGE ME.... I see it going fast and I have written my rant about this...that is not my thing... no my thing is that it is not just physically hard right now...it is crucially emotionally and spiritually hard RIGHT now...and it if it is not hard right now then I think we might be missing something.

My boys ages range from 4 to 8, and in that I am juggling a whole lot...a WHOLE lot...and I can't even tell you how many sleepless nights and enduring days where I think I am failing them or missing it or screwing them up and it makes me paralyzed with fear. It is physically and emotionally and spiritually demanding right now. Throw in that what we moms are faced with daily now is comparison that comes full force with social media and every single flipping person has a BLOG and is writing out their "articles" on how we are screwing up our kids. I combat these fears by pouring my kid a bowl of fluorescent Cheetos and top it off with a big ol' cup of straight up red dye while making sure that EVERY single media outlet is BLARING in their faces and also making sure that every ALARM is set in every single corner of my house ready to alarm me when my kid breaths funny or sneezes snot that might be a color that is not normal....Glory. JESUS for the love would just hurry on  up and come...by the way, Jesus, incase you didn't know my kid loves Mindcraft and the last article I read said that he most likely will be a bomb maker in the future...so yeah...you better sound the trumpets NOW. Bless it to my bones Mamas, how are we even breathing?

And I can't even begin to start to tell you that when you have a child that is not like the other 20 in his class and starts showing some signs of things that might need "early intervention..." and you find yourself at midnight googling side affects of medicine your child has to take and you feel as though the red dye just has to be the reason your kid is like this or maybe its because all they want to eat is fruit snacks and graham crackers or maybe its because they spent 3 or 4 hours on media and not the recommend 1 that clearly this is all YOUR fault and you made your child this way...and because you google all these such things now every time you get on the stupid comparison Facebook page now all the adds are "dangers of red dye..." "10 unknown side affects of this medicine" "Going vegan and using this oil got my kid off his meds..."  and so you stuff all these fears down deep, you take a breath of muggy barely breathable GA "Fall" air and you hop in your car to take your crazy 4 to church and you ram into your husbands truck that has parked in the same spot the last 3.5 years of living here. Yeah that might of happened today. There are not enough bless its.

And you can barely breath. Jesus. Its all so much. And that lovely older mom says "just wait..." and I think, great...now all my fears are even greater, thanks.

BUT JESUS...

Lets take a moment and think of this. BUT JESUS sweet friend. You are not alone. Solace, read my words and take hope, you are not alone.  We will survive, they will survive, and Jesus is our hope. I do know this. And when I handed my child his first dose of medicine and I had to fight demons from ever corner and I breathed shallow every day as I watched for side affects or changes...and my child looks at me one day and says "mom, I just feel happy..." I breath deeper. And Jesus says to my fearful and overwhelmed spirit..

"But me, Child...I am the start of every morning, the middle of every darkened afternoon, and the greatest finisher of each and everyday."

And I breath.

Every single day raising children is hard and exciting and scary and rewarding...each season might bring on new and different challenges I am sure, but my journey with my 8,7,5,4 year old boys is just as much demanding spiritually and emotionally as it will be when I have 17,16,14,13 year olds. Parenting requires you to sit constantly at the feet of Jesus as you open and close those hands every single second of each and every day for your children.

We are raising children in a very big and scary and failing world. We are raising children where we have to teach them how to be different, see different, love different. That doesn't change from 8 to 16- that prayer, that screaming to Jesus that they would have hearts that love Him so they can love others well doesn't change.  I think my sleepless nights are going to become more and more as my boys grow, and I am sure my prayers will change, but the core of them does not. Jesus.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Medication - Thing 3.

When I go to write it is as easy as filling up a glass of water. It flows. It pours out of my heart and onto the screen in a matter of moments. It is how I know its His timing and His words...Its like He releases the words to me. This "Thing" I have been in communication with Him for sometime. There are several topics..."Things..." I so long to discuss but I don't always know how, so I wait until I feel Him prompting me to lay my fingers across the key board. Like this morning. 

I was hoping to sleep in, I mean it is Saturday, but remember the oh so cute but oh so annoying puppy- yeah - he had me up at 5:15am. Its ok. If you have followed me at all the last 12 years of having this blog you know I went into a season where I was trying to be a morning person. I failed. Like big fat fall on my face fell. It was because it was what I wanted with all the greatest intentions but I forgot to see if it was what He wanted. My intentions were pure, but my heart was a bit muddy. This year moving into homeschool I prayed that the Lord would help me get up in the mornings before the kids get up so I could settle my heart and breath His name. I say this in complete honesty. I have yet to use an alarm clock. I loath (and if there were a deeper word for hate I would use it) alarm clocks. We are 30 some days into this school and I have gotten up just about every single one of them early. Its less about me and my wants of what I think a good Christian looks like, its because I am desperate for His presence- He beckons me each morning. And  for the record and just so you don't think I am spiritually perfect- I don't read the Bible every morning. Sometimes I stare at the wall while I drink my coffee, scroll through Insta, or look at Timehop....but I sit, I calm my heart and I breath His name.  (I say that discloser because we live in a world of comparison, and it can eat you up and make you feel less then who HE says you are. That is not the point of my writings, my writings are to encourage you to be exactly who you are right where you are...)

So this morning it is starting to flow, to be honest I am not sure which direction the Lord will take me on with this post. So buckle up and enjoy....  

This past week I sat in my doctors office for an hour and poured my heart out as to where I am right now. I was not there because my throat was hurting, or I had an ongoing headache, I was there because I was feeling as though I was barely keeping my head above the water, or I am in a storm and I just need a moment to gather my thoughts and I can't find cover...or I am a beach ball with holes and I can't figure out a way to plug them all before the air leaks out... pick the analogy you like best...I am once again reminded of how different I am to everyone else (which I know is true for all of us...) but I am an extroverted introvert, I enjoy people but I LOVE to be home. If I go days without leaving the house or seeing people I am the most content and happy.  I am a bouncer in most things in life, things happen I bounce. I can tend to see the positive in most things, I have a very child like faith when it comes to Jesus and His abundant love and grace for us.  I can fall a thousand times and keep getting back up....but I am overcome with fear most days, I have about 1,000 really crazy and obnoxious anxiety filled thoughts that if I am not careful can consume me and freeze me.  Most of the time I can contain and control them, Kevin as you all know I refer to on most days as my Calm talks me off the ledge of complete and utter dismay about a 100 times a week.

Growing up if you were to ask my siblings or parents to describe me they would be tempted to use the words "a bit dramatic about somethings..." I am sure they would have much more to say...but this would probably be one of their first thoughts, and I say tempted because I fought those words growing up to the point that I am pretty certain they would be a bit scared to say them now to describe me (sorry Y'all...). But I am, I am a bit dramatic but in my world and in my view it doesn't feel dramatic, it feels very real, very big, very scary....and so I fight and I fight and I fight to maintain a level of "this is not big..."

Until, well, it is big. And right now in our life, it is big. It would be big for anyone. Anyone sitting in my house dealing with some of the things we are dealing with would say...yeah...that's big.   My doctor was amazing, she was so compassionate and caring and understanding and validate all my fears about what I needed. You would look at me and think, why in the world would she need medication...but I do. I need it to be able to fully function and fully live and fully enjoy the sweetness that is my life even with circumstances  that are scary and out of my control. I am also being asked by Jesus to regulate myself a lot more for the sake of one of my children. I have to regulate emotions for the both of us because he is showing signs of not being able to regulate and control emotions.  And so each morning I am choosing to embrace the season we are in, not fight it, not try to make anything other then what it is and I swallow a little white pill and move past it. I need help, and that is not a sign of weakness that is a sign of strength.

I am not sure why medication is a taboo subject, maybe I am naïve I will fully take on that reality. Maybe it is because medication is so overwhelmingly used in todays society...maybe its because of people like me, who you look at and think "Why in the world would she need it?" I am also not sure why it is a sign of weakness, this one I don't really understand- because let me tell you, it took a whole of strength to admit I needed it and a whole lot of strength to take it and not beat myself up about it.

I am believing that as we continue therapy and as we continue figuring out puzzle pieces and as we continue to learn how to cope with some of the realities Jesus has given us that I will not need this forever. But right now, I am admitting that I don't have it all together and to be the mom I need to be for these amazing children God has given to me I needed an umbrella to weather through the endless storm.

As Jesus continues to release me to write more about this I will, because I want to talk about medication and children, however, Jesus has not asked me yet to share about this thing just yet.

I hope this encourages you, I hope and pray that if you are having to take medication and you struggle with guilt that this releases that guilt for you, Jesus is not disappointed in you nor does this have any reflection on our dependency on Christ. I am still so dependent on Him each and every day in every moment. I am thankful for a doctor who cared, for a supportive calm husband and for the little white pill.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Since, Sense, Through, Threw, To, Too.... Thing 2.

For the love people. I had a complete and utter panic moment...well to put this in perspective I have one every 3 hours on average. Never the less, I had one...I had one and I have yet to come to the top just yet.  First let me say I am excited about my series I'll write over the course of time about "Things..." Its amazing how many times I think during my day "oh there is a thing..." it is brilliant Jesus. Also, these "things" just so you know don't apply only in the adoptive world, I am speaking on bio kids as well. And yes people, these are real terms in the adoptive world that we use...because well that's a "Thing..." Your kids are different. However, I am not talking on that "thing" just yet.

Today my thoughts are on the sheer and utter panic I have about school right now. Since/Sense I started school almost 30 days ago (holy moly that is amazing and I survived- if you were here we would celebrate over a margarita..) it has been a roller coaster of emotions. The ride is fun but scary and dark sometimes and other times when we crest a hill and I can see a view I had not seen, glory its the best...We have highs and lows about a 100 times a day, not joking.  Most days I know without a shadow of the doubt I am doing the absolute BEST thing for my kids. BEST. I have seen a transformation in my ADHD high driven anxiety kid and a full in fall to my knees in thankfulness he is home for my other son. It is good, it is right, and I really do (most days) love having them home.

Here is todays "Thing..."

I have learning disabilities. Adult learning disabilities is a "thing." You don't out grow your learning disabilities-  you just learn over the course of your life how to navigate them.  I know I have them, and 20 (ok or more but do we have to go there?) years ago the testing is not nearly where it is now. I actually think I have ADHD, anxiety, and learning disabilities. Self diagnosing at its finest people. As I have been thrown into the world of diagnosing with the boys so many times I listen and I think... whoa that's me. I think if I were in school today with the aids they have I would have had an IEP or 504 plan and I think....maybe I would of gone to college. My dream was to be a counselor (I had to spell check my dream...just saying.) but school was so so so so so so hard so so so so hard. Like for real guys, I would study and study and study and we would celebrate if I could stay out of the 60's on a test.  It kind of makes me anxious talking about it, not because I am embarrassed but because I remember how sick I would feel before every test and how much I hated being called on and how awkward it was when a fellow student would ask me a question and I NEVER knew the answer no matter how simple it might of been.

I can tell you so many reasons why I should of failed, I can tell you stories of beloved teachers seeing me barely make it, coming to their class rooms after class in tears because I knew I was failing and literally CHANGING my grade in front me.

Coach C "Come here Beth, look at that grade..." I stared at the computer screen and in the excel program laid a 67- fail. Tears streaming down my face...Coach C "Beth why are you crying, look at that grade.." Delete, Delete,  and watched as his big fingers change that grade to a 76. I just stared at him, "Beth, you got this- I see you. You will be just fine."

I can tell you of sleepless nights, sweats and anxious fears on projects due, homework unfinished and test scores I knew were coming my way. It was like I was frozen inside a box I didn't fit in and I didn't choose. I was capable of more, wanted more, dreamed of more, but I was frozen feeling like I didn't have what it took to get to the next step to see my dreams become a reality.  I don't hang my hat on that...BUT JESUS.

And thank Jesus I had parents who understood, embraced, and encouraged me right where I was at. They saw the difficulties and my dad would so often remember his own struggles with school.

My struggles followed me to a small Bible school in Colorado where I barely made it by but grades were not that important (yay for me...). I have stories of writing papers on the wrong people...y'all, this one has to be shared with you with a cup of coffee in hand. And then after three years of living in Colorado I moved back home (broken hearted after a failed relationship.... PRAISE JESUS) and signed up for community college. I thought, its time- I am  going to chase my dreams. I took the assessment test to see what classes I could skip and what classes I needed. I didn't even place. They started me in classes that kids who had failed high school were taking. You want to talk about humbling...glory Jesus. I did it though, I walked into the vocab class with pride. I was going to do it.
Its is how I knew I loved Kevin. (This story is not about how I met Kevin ((Although a glorious one))....But I did know I loved him when we were just beginning our dating and I was getting supplies for school and my brilliant, so very smart engineering soon to be husband asked me "so what classes are you taking..." Hmm lets see "Vocab 1, Beginners Math 101 (the actual name)..." Oh yes, so very proud of these classes. He didn't even miss a beat...he still chose me and to this day I'll love him even more.

Last night I told him about my blog I wrote and I said "I still can't in my head get so many words right..."(Since/Sense) I had every intention to google it and change it...but life.  It is like a blank in my mind, no matter how many times I concentrate on certain words to memorize my brain draws a blank...but on so so so many things. I wonder if I actually know it and its literally a disconnect in my brain where its buried there but I can't bring it forward or if it is that something in my brain can't retain certain information...I don't know. So I had every intention to go back and fix "since to sense" in my last blog post. Which led Kevin and I to this conversation and my total freak out moment...

I told Kevin " I don't get it, if I loved teaching and it came easy to me I would do it in a heart beat. I love having them home, I love the schedule, but I am not a teacher... Its like God placed me in a surgical room and asked me to perform surgery and I am screaming 'uh...I'm not a SURGEON'..." And I know "BUT JESUS" but y'all this really is a Moses moment of inadequateness...I just don't know, my brain is just struggling and in all honesty right now I am learning right along side of my 2nd graders, but I am not sure what I will do when they pass me by and please Jesus in your grace and mercy let them have their daddies brain and soar pass this mom.

I have dreams, and as ironic as it is writing is a huge one and one of my greatest disabilities is in writing (Oh glory I just heard all of y'all sigh and say..."now that makes sense/since").  Bless it, but Jesus. I am not sure what our future is, I do know in all of history and every story I read Jesus always provides, always shows the way, so I am believing that with my whole heart today as I show up once again in my surgical room and look at my sweet children and think "I am not surgeon please help me not damage them.." I know this seems dramatic, but glory it is a good picture of reality.

God always call us to the impossible. Always. I am not sure what our future will be, how God will provide in the next seasons of our life and days of school. I know whatever it will be it will be good, but there are days when it seems extremely scary. Jesus is asking me to be in a scary place right now, on so many different levels. We have some scary testing and diagnosing going on ( in His timing don't worry sharing will happen...) and most mornings I walk into our makeshift classroom (surgical room) and the only words I can utter beneath my deep breathing and pounding heart beat is "Jesus, show up..."  And I pick up the scalpel and begin to cut....

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," Says the Lord.  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher then your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 54:17




Monday, September 18, 2017

Things 1. Don't hang my hat there.

I am an 8 year old mom- I have been doing this for 8 years and I still know about as much as I did the day Jaden was born... okay maybe that's a bit of an over dramatic statement...maybe.
The truth is I am still learning on how to be a mom, each situation my boys bring me into is new and I am learning how to handle it and not screw it- or at the very least not screw it up majorly. An actual goal I have is that the boys don't grow up band together to write a book on all the ways their mom screwed up. Actual goal people.  So lets be real....Add in adoption and it throws you a bit.

See, I am learning some things. No one told me some  of these things- and I am learning these things  were very important things, that no one thought it would be important for me to know..the thingsThe things like DNA - yeah that's a real real thing. I am not even joking friends- you don't think about those things, until you have to think about that thing! DNA plays a HUGE role in parenting. So much of what makes up our children are details deep within the makeup of their creation. And to be completely honest I need a crash course on DNA to even understand it....but I do know it is a thing!  Bio kids throw you for loops, do things "I never did as a kid.." and make your head spin some days the only thing you can do is sit and stare at a wall until the next day finds you. Can I get an AMEN?  Throw in your adoption DNA pool house and you don't know what the heck might come out. The door opens and you think "whoa what is this..." No one told me that was a Thing.

There are more things...and I am going to start slowly sharing those things as Jesus teaches me how. I believe it is important, because maybe someone will read this who is walking into the world of adoption and they need to hear some of these beautifully messy things... But Jesus first needs to teach me how to tell a story that affects me without telling my boys story for him. Maybe that makes since, honestly does my writing ever make since? (And I am here sitting thinking is it since or sense? and I homeschool- bless it to my bones Jesus.). What I do know is that I have a story to share, I have things happening in my life that some of it just needs to be shared with fellow mama's adoptive or bio. It is a reality we are facing and parts of it I believe do have a place and a small platform.

Someone asked me if I have always blogged. My response was that I am a seasonal blogger. The real time in my life where Jesus opened the flood gates to my writing was when I experienced my loss and infertility. So many (again I think 13) followed me on that journey. And Jesus in His infinite goodness used that and still uses those post when I was raw and real about my grief and pain.  Then its been a come and go blog. I played with the idea of starting a completely new blog but honestly "Walking the Journey" it is just so my life, but if I could name it again I would call it "Bless it, to my bones JESUS." Ha!  But I feel it in my heart and soul and in the tips of my fingers- writing is coming back to me. To share the journey we are on. The difference is the characters to my journey no longer only include me and Kevin, I have a whole cast to think about, that's a game changer.

This Weekend I sat in a room along side my soul sister and fellow adoptive mom and 70 other moms in a conference geared towards adoptive and foster moms. The name was REST. And it came at a point in my life, day, week, second, that I desperately needed rest.  It was a sweet weekend, a weekend that has memories and a weekend where Suzie and I laughed (which honestly would happen anywhere...) and cried and processed somethings. But to be honest it was a really, really, really hard weekend that was very emotional and took a lot A LOT of processing. 

The reality is:  I am learning right now. I am learning about adoption and one of the greatest lessons I have learned is this...Adoption is birthed out of tragedy. No one told me that "thing." I was naïve to the tragedy that was happening all around me. The loss was great and in the midst of it was a grieving boy. No one told me that thing. And here I sit 8 years and 2 months later and I am baffled by all that went on in my little boys life far beyond what I could see. Jaden experienced a tragedy that as his mom I was unaware of, that breaks my heart on a level I cannot express with words on a blank screen. It wasn't that I had my head in the sand or that I didn't acknowledge something- I was not taught, I did not know, I was unaware and I desperately wish someone, anyone had told me. Jaden from day one of his existence (inside the womb and beyond) experienced tragedy and trauma. This is real, this is truth and my boy has been dealing with this pain for a long time, and as his mom I didn't know. I don't hang my hat there...that is not then end of his story.
And this is part of the "things series" Jesus is revealing to me and asking me to share...in HIS timing, with HIS words.

Don't get me wrong, adoption may be grief BUT JESUS the story does not end there. Adoption is birthed out of tragedy and covered in redemption. BUT JESUS! For these beautiful children. I hang my droopy, exhausted, out of style, worn to the brim hat on that EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. BUT JESUS.

As I walk this journey with my beautiful son, his story will be far more beautiful then anything I could ever write, or tell, or imagine all because of, But Jesus....

Bless IT!



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We are in the midst of waiting for Irma to hit. It literally has been the talk of our town for two weeks now, and now we are waiting to see just how bad this thing will actually be once it comes to us. I am a skeptic, I have always felt like the more you talk and build something up the less likely it will be to even touch that expectation. However, we did take the precautionary efforts in securing a few things around the house, filling up a couple of water jugs and prepping the kids for what could be scary winds, but beyond that we are calm and ready...even if all it will be is rain.

The boys were a bit disappointed when they realized there would be no reason for school to be cancelled in the homeschool world- schools are cancelled in our community... Jaden did say "mom, if the house blows away do we have to do school?" "No son, if our house blows away school is the last of my concerns."

Prepping for this impending storm has come at a time where I feel like I have been in the midst of my own storm in life. It is interesting because even though you know a storm is in the midst of your horizon, you see, hear, feel the winds picking up...really nothing can prepare you for the actual storm itself. If I could have all (13, I think that's how many of you read my last post) you over for coffee and share the details of this storm we are in I would, oh I so would. I would share in tears, fear, confidence, sorrow, thankfulness, grace, and honesty just what we are facing with one of our sons.  However, I can't post the details of my sons life as if they are my own. Yes, they  affect me- but I wouldn't want my struggles out there for everyone to read if I hadn't been the one to tell it...it will be his story to tell one day.

I can say this, parenting is hard. So hard, and hard for so many different reasons. It is the greatest journey, the most amazing ride, the most exciting path I have ever walked...but it is covered in grief and  fear and a constant battle of tug-a-war as you let go and then pull in with Jesus. Trusting your children to the Maker sounds so wonderfully spiritual but the actual letting go-  it is a daily moment by moment decision. And throw in social media, where every article contradicts the last and we hear from every single parent of grown children how fast it is going and that they wish the could go back, and you see all the "perfectness" on insta and facebook it makes you feel like an utter failer the 30 minutes you took scrolling through it all....its just to much. Time is going faster because we don't know how to be present, we are to concerned with posting our everyday moments we are not really in the moments at all (talking to myself people..). We see posts and think "they must never watch TV, they are always outside, her house is so calm, how does she get that calm peaceful glow in her home, her house is so clean, her husband is always there to help, their marriage is amazing, she eats so healthy, she runs so incredible, she has no wrinkles, her kids are never fighting..." Listen, we all say we know its not perfect but we get swept away with it anyway. And then there is the paradigm flip, the one where you take on the "I can't be perfect so I'll be the exact opposite and be proud of that..." Which, that is not any better.

The reality is we can't escape the storms, we can't escape social media- its our impending future and our everyday reality. We can take breaks but we normally get swept back in someway somehow....

My dream is that I would live a life that is honest and real, what you see y'all is not always the greater picture. We are in a storm, I just can't share the details of the raging storm with the world. I can be honest and say- we are struggling, it is real, it is hard and it is scary....And I don't know the outcome, I don't know what our future will look like, I don't know all the damage yet, I don't know how or when we will recover- I do know it doesn't' change who God is in my life, it doesn't change my belief that no matter what HE is good, it doesn't change the reality that He is in it, in control, and hasn't left us alone in a raging storm in the middle of the ocean. I may feel tossed about, but I am anchored far beyond what I can see or feel...I trust that.

So be encouraged sweet friends, my life is far beyond perfect, the failure goes deep but the hope and grace goes far deeper. Take a deep breath, scroll faster through that FB or Insta- or better yet skip it all together a couple more times today, take a deep breath and let the wind from that storm fill your lungs with fresh Oxygen!

Bless IT!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

All the Things...

I have been up since 5:30am, not by choice- because a stubborn little (not so little) puppy. He's cute, He is a very cute annoying early riser. Most days I don't mind, I need to get up and he is a good alarm clock, but he hasn't gotten the hint about weekends, and he doesn't register with my annoyed no's just yet. He wags his whole butt to shake his tail and looks at me with puppy eyes....yes, a cute annoying early riser is what he is. However, the early wake up call was ok after I got over my initial annoyance and downed my first cup of coffee, then I was happy to be awake.  I need to break the habit of checking my phone first thing in the morning, there is absolutely no reason and I think it is stealing away from my Sweet time with Jesus. But alas- I'll be totally honest, Facebook totally won some time this morning.... but it did make me realize that I am super behind on prepping for Christmas. OY!

Usually by this time of year I am elbow deep into planning for my next year of Secrets From the Stable. If you are new to me (which is highly doubtable) then you know one of two things or (and for most) both things. One I am a co-founder (wow that sounds way professional (also sorry for so many ()) of a very sweet thing my friend Jamie and I and so many other sweet friends do at Christmas time called Secrets from the Stable (SFTS), if you would like more info on that click HERE. Two, I started homeschooling my two oldest boys this year. So I have yet to figure out how to do both things well. Yesterday Kevin and I taught the Pre-k class at church he asked what I prepped and I said "Zero. I prepped zero things. I am working hard at homeschooling, If I am succeeding at one thing most likely I am failing at the other things." And that my friends is the truth of all truths. Maybe you are a succeeder of all things, and maybe you post those succeeding of all things on facebook or Insta but I can assure you I am a succeeder of one...maybe two things and a failer at most all other things (these should be real words by the way...). Here are few other examples: If I am rocking it at working out, most likely I am stuffing my face on the side with all things that taste yummy, If I am doing awesome at eating healthy there is no way I am working out....If my laundry is caught up my toilets are nast, if my meals are planned my pantry is disorganized, if my kids beds are made their floors are a mess....And so so so so on. Its just the way I do life, or maybe the way I have learned to do life in chaos.

So, here I am a lover of SFTS and wish I could take it to the next level. I have shown it to so many people hoping and praying they would help me make it into something bigger and yet here it sits. Some would say "take the reigns, do it yourself, push it into the next level....make your dreams come true..." And yes, we could very well do that, but here is the thing, something in my life would suffer and it would most likely be the very people I designed it for. That is not ok in my heart.   Jesus has asked me to turn my eyes and focus on to His children that He has given to me. I am on a journey and battle field with these boys- right now anything else needs to fall to the side.  There is coming  a day (faster then I want) when my boys wont need me for most- all things...and when that day comes maybe then I can take my dreams to the next level. Right now my dreams are these boys, my marriage, this reality...and I can't risk letting anything else take my attention.

So what does this mean for SFTS?  This means we will re-open the FB page, and we will continue to share the journey of sweet Gabe, Obi, Kia and a sweet few new friends to join in the fun this year :) However we are shutting down the webpage and holding a few things closer to our hearts until Jesus tells us to invest and run full force with them. We will share most all things with all of those who want to be a part of it, if you want anything you see we will gladly hand it over. What in this world is free? We will share and give and let go of anything for the sake of His Kingdom! So if you want it just ask for it!!!

Our family will not be bringing back the Shepherd this year, we absolute LOVED this idea and if I had stumbled upon this years ago I probably would still be doing it. But I adore my animals and that is theme I want to stay with. I noticed last year bringing in the Shepherd changed the dynamic a bit and because I am still developing SFTS I want to stay focused on what Jesus has called me to do with my kids and do it well- remember the succeeder/failer.....? However if you have done the Shepherd or want more information on the Shepherd feel free to contact me or Jamie for that information!

I am beyond humbled by the things Jesus places in my life, why me I'll never know. May you not see me when you see my life, may you see a life of chaos, a bit stained with coffee and covered in a whole lot of Grace and Jesus.

I hope y'all have a Merry Christmas....oh Glory so thankful we have a few more months!

Bless IT!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Here's the Thing...

So here's the thing...it is hard. Anyone who ever tells you that this whole "homeschooling thing is easy" is lying. LYING. Although, to be honest I have never heard anyone say that homeschooling was easy or for the weak at heart.  Rewarding....YES (well...maybe, ask me at different moments and receive different answers.).  We are finishing up our first week, how? Well because I decided long ago that if I was going to homeschool and I was going to be with my children A.L.L. day I was going to schedule in some perks. So if you send your kids to school a perk is that you have 7 hours. For me, my perk is that I am scheduling Fridays as light days. We will use it to catch up and move on. I need it, they need it, y'all the world needs it. 

But here  are a few things I come away with. I can say all day long that I want to live in a glass house, but I live with 5 other people who don't want, or know yet if they want, to live in a glass house. Their lives are their stories to tell and I can't showcase their struggles to the world. I surely wouldn't want that. So, don't let my insta stories fool you. It is hard, it is raw, there are tears and banging heads and clashing moments. We are figuring it out, we are forging our way through to what feels right and normal for us.

One day at a time. This has to be my motto. I can't think ahead, I can't think about future, I can barely think through to tomorrow. Today. That is all I got and I have to be ok and content in it.

It doesn't look like what I thought. But isn't this true of most things?  What we picture...is never what it really will look like. In some ways it is better, they do learn, they do listen, we do have sweet moments...but when we came down on Monday morning and started our day with a huge meltdown .2 seconds in...whoa I was not expecting that.  Its okay though, I am learning to have grace, give grace and receive grace for each moment. It doesn't have to look a certain way... Grace....coffee...repeat.

Its to early for me to say "I love it...or I hate it.." And maybe I will feel differently each and every day, but I will say this, "I am suppose to do this." And my reality that this is exactly what Jesus is asking me to do did not come because of a moment of "wow this is good" or one of my children saying "Wow mom this homeschooling thing is AMAZING.."  in reality we have more "I hate this..." from them then anything. It came because of a true moment with Jesus when It became clear just why I am doing this for each one of my boys. I saw it and Jesus clearly said "This. This is why." 
I told Kevin this morning, I know they will learn, but this isn't about what they learn this next school year, this is about investing in my boys hearts in ways I know will impact their future and our future relationship for years to come.

And lastly the thing is. I am tired. There is not enough coffee in this world. However, my two littles were home with me this week for school, they start next week and I think that will change a lot of things.  Can I also say I might be tired because we got a puppy...ha, a puppy and he has been just as demanding as the kids. Bless it to my tired and weary soul Jesus.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Yeah So This is Happening...like tomorrow.

Holy Crap, bless it, Jesus be near....Tanner Crew is bringing school home! I can't even. Let us all take a moment to really think about that. Whoa, my stomach just flipped a thousand times. I am not even joking. Close your eyes...wait for it...did you hear it? That really dramatic them song music that lets you know something is about to happen...the atmosphere changed...something is happening? That's coming from this corner of the world.

Some have called me dramatic....some...I have fought this, I am not dramatic...no no...I just feel things very deeply and things are very big and very much a BIG HUGE GIGANTIC thing. Also. My educational status of my brain is very much on a 1st grade level and that is being gracious. How many times I have had to look at my very smart and intellectual (had to spell check that word...) husband to make sure I am explaining something correctly to my children... Yeah...that girl and that brain is bringing home her two (TWO as in at the same time) Boys to teach. Holy crap, Bless it, Be near Jesus.....I can't even.

But, Jesus. always and forever people BUT JESUS. It wasn't an overnight journey. It wasn't a split second conversation. It has been happening since my Sweet Tyler, and then my Sweet Jaden. Things...signs, that stirring in your heart that something was just not ok. And we pray, and we pray, and we talk, and we agonize.  So I invest, and investigate. I become room mom (uh....yeah don't do that.), I make it a priority to be IN the school and IN the classroom and IN the cafeteria. I warm (beat, bang, kick and knock down) my way into the front desk receptions cold heart and receive finally her grace and occasional kindness (Yes...elementary front desk.). I watch, I listen, I have 5 IEP meetings where I cry and bang my hands on the desk and literally FIGHT for my son. I come to the end of two years of that school and feel just as much an outsider looking into my children's education and its not ok.

I watch one kid fall further behind and not because he is not smart...no, he is very smart.... and I'm not just a proud mama...but that brick and mortar school is failing him.

And then there is my other kid, the one who is listening and watching EVERYTHING. I could handle the "what does this mean?" As my 1st grader waves his middle finger around, and I could handle the "I learned a new word, what does Shit mean?" But the day my 7 year old bounded into the van and before the sliding door of the mom van could close he says "mom, a learned a new word...Fu**...." Why couldn't of been Fart. I was ready for that word.  I sat there paralyzed, literally, teachers kept waiving me down the line and I couldn't even move. I have always tried to prepare myself so that I didn't react in a way that would make my boys not ask me questions...but I couldn't stop the tears, I couldn't form a word, I just sat there and let the tears fall from eyes. I was witnessing innocents  robbed from my children and it made me angry.  I am not stupid or naive y'all.  I know its coming, but not at 7, not for the ears of my 3 and 4 year old...where they ALL took turns saying it because mom wasn't breathing or speaking or responding she was sitting in the carline crying.

On that day, my heart begin to break. I knew something had to change. I begin asking all my friends their experiences and I couldn't find a similar story...not in 1st grade...not in the little hallway before moving up with the 5th graders...but this was MY reality and OUR story and Jesus was calling me to something beyond myself. 

Then one night in our 1,000 conversations I say to Kevin "Here's the thing, my only job, my only focus right now for the next 11 or more years is these boys. This is my mission field, my job, my reality. I am being asked to do something outside of myself because I know its Jesus. I am weak, and will have gaps as big as the ocean, BUT JESUS..."  We had exhausted every other single thing. We cannot afford another school or a move to be in a different district. This is where we are.  It was like peace once I came to the point that I realized Jesus was asking me to step outside of myself.  I would sacrifice anything for these boys and that is just what Jesus was asking me to do.

I know my limits though people, I am not a teacher. I also know my children...one does not respond to me as a teacher...So I begin researching the online public school. And before I knew it I had a classroom in my home and was registered as a Georgia Cyber Academy learning coach, and had students attending for 2nd grade.

We start Monday. I don't know  beyond today. And I don't know what the future of the next year will look like. I wake in the middle of the night sick to my stomach as I adjust to what's about to happen.  So come along, why? Well, I have said it before and I'll say it again Jesus has always asked me to live my life is a glass box, because I know that when I share what is happening in our lives chances are...someone can relate. I love it, I love being real and honest and inviting people in. I have looked for anyone who has done this and allowed people to experience their experience and I can't find anyone.  So I am that person hopefully for someone else.  I also miss writing and with having the boys home and on a school routine it is allowing me sometime to sit and write.

So here is your invitation- come along. I am also planning on documenting some of this by video on our YouTube channel...uh...don't think this fancy or that I am planning on getting famous for this...that is not my hope or desire. My desire- authentic reality. Can we all stop pretending. That is intended to be a statement not a question. (my editing and spelling probably drives most of you crazy..yeah sorry about that.)


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdSMVd28GTywSg9CwiAY9CQ

I also love Insta its the best way to document a day in the life of chaos- so find us I believe we are Tanner Crew



Monday, January 9, 2017

"grown up" mom...BLESS IT PLEASE!

Lately. No. Mostly always. Ok. For the WHOLE duration of having children, I have feared the future ...and wept (that is a very accurate word...) over their growth. How many times as a young mama have you found yourself saying..."its going so fast?" "stop growing?" "how can they already be one, two, SIX???"

I find myself in a constant tug-a-war. Please don't grow up...holy crap grow up I AM SO TIRED...AWE you cute little boy never get big...for the freakin love of all that is good PLEASE LEARN TO PUT SHOES ON...Oh this sweet time, where did my baby go?.....IF YOU WAKE ME UP ONE.MORE.TIME.....

I mean. I get on the beloved world of hijacked "life is perfect" facebook and find myself scrolling through articles that have everything to do with embracing where you are, do more, leave the dishes play a game..., to grace for the tired mama..I feel as though we are blasted with every perspective and everything mamas of bigs wish they had done or not done...to wishing they were still little. And I am here screaming. HELP ME WANT THEM TO GROW UP. I mean. COME ON...I seriously think at this point I am going to hate my kids, or at the very least tolerate them when they get bigger... Way to make me want them to grow. We are doomed. "You have 4 boys? oh just wait until they are teens..." Anyone else heard that????

I have worked with youth...God love them they are the most awkward of bunch and I am sure my boys will be just as awkward and smelly...and big...and  GROSS. UGH, Jesus COME NOW. I can't even.

I have the greatest of friends, and one way we survive our endless crazy days it to text about them. it keeps us weirdly sane. To know someone else is doing something, cleaning something, screaming something, or banging their heads on the wall (ok mostly me..) you have a moment of solidarity, "
We are one WE can CONQUER all.." or at the very least, laugh while we die. Catch that? We are dying.  I see us struggling through each day. I see us trying, I see us doing our best. So here is the thing.

Moms of bigs, of teens, of graduates, of tweens, of anything beyond a 10year old- Please for all that is good and right and true encourage us! I know it is awkward and your kids stink to high sky and the challenges you face are difficult and if they roll their eyes at you one more time...but I promise you...you would not want to come back here...stop dwelling in the past and enjoy that moment you have. You would NOT want to come back to sleepless nights, and being covered in poop, and never having one moment to have one thought....As I am, clearly this post has to show that...... I promise. You just can't be that dumb. Don't say to be "The days are long but the years are short..." or "oh raising the littles is physically hard..but nothing compares to the emotionally hard it is as they grow." For real. What is the point? Clearly I need to quit when Jaden blows out 11 candles. I guess I'll just wave my pretty white flag as I walk out the house. WHAT?!?! Please don't tell me this. Don't encourage my FEAR.

One of my dearest friends texted such a truthful statement about how if are kids are growing and doing all the things kids of that age are doing we should be rejoicing. They are healthy, they are growing...THEY SURVIVED YOUR CRAZY HELLISH DAYS AND ARE LIVING PROOF. Holy crap you should SO get a reward for that. I mean. You did it. And they lived through your crazy moments, days, nights...you know those crazy moments where you turn into some unknown creature? Yeah you survived. And your kids are living proof. What?1?! I will be celebrating it to no end. Hand me the chocolates, the applause, and the pats on the back. My son just walked across the stage to recieve a diploma. I mean. I can hear it now "mom, they are cheering for me.." "yes yes son, but I also got you here so move your tiny hiny out of the way for this mama..." As I do my best waltz and princess wave across the stage. For real, It just can't be all bad. Please, please, tell me it is not all bad!

I don't want to live in my baby days forever, and I don't want to constantly look back and and think I somehow someway missed it and then think about how much I miss it. Can I get an AMEN?!?  AND I don't want to be reminded that sleepless nights are good and one day will be missed...Are you even kidding me? No one misses the sleepless nights who are actually doing the back to back sleepless nights....because right now as the exhausted mom...they are not good...they are HARD. I don't want to be told to hold them tighter, play more games, do more things...."the house will stay clean one day..." because that is not reality...have you met my boys? I swear they pee going around in circles. If everyday I left it for another day so that I could play another game, so that I DON'T MISS IT.. the Tanner Crew would be swimming in urine. Gross. But real.

I am a young mom, looking at the "grown" up mom thinking...you have slept solid for a month (more) and NOW you are looking at me saying...oh you will miss these days... I look at you.. as I am living it right now saying NO. Hell NO. Move over lady, I am coming your way and instead of looking in the past and missing your days cheer me on as I come to your arena!

We have to stop looking in the past. Stop living in the past. Its like telling a couple before they have kids "enjoy those days when you can sleep in..." you CAN'T enjoy it until you know a world different from it, you can't appreciate it until you know a world without it.(Babymoon? stupidest thing I have ever heard..don't even get me started. no no...you need it AFTER the baby comes....moon.) but at that point trying to get your kids a sitter to stay more then two nights...good luck.

 So teenage moms, stop making me feel bad about NOT spending more time, or not playing enough games, or being annoyed or tired...because this is MY reality. Sure I get what you are saying, and I am doing my best...but I need you to STOP living in the past and enjoy where you are. I can almost guarantee that if you came back, you would be tired and remember why your grown kids are so AWESOME. Help me want to come into that part of motherhood, and stop making me feel bad about my exhaustion. And please list out some awesome things about your tweens and teens. Like they sleep, and dress themselves, and pee in the toilet...well that one is no guarantee...ok that they can make their own breakfast and laugh with you. You can have conversations and actually play a real game with them.

Facebook, Timehop, Instagram. As awesome as they are every.single.day. they catapult us back to the past. That is not where we are called to live. We are called to live in the present. In the moment, literally as though it is our a last. And as awesome as pictures are, we can't wish to go back, we thank Jesus Himself that after raising the young crazies they didn't take our ability to remember like they took our ability to hold pee for longer then 30min. For real.

I am thankful God has brought me my "grown up" mom into my life. One that says "yeah I miss they are little...but no way Im going back..I love my older kids...its awesome to actually like your kid...oh and don't hate me...I wont get up till 9am tomorrow." Yes, YES!! Thank Jesus for giving me a grown up mom as a best friend!!! Please grown up moms find us and Tell us young moms that! And when you sleep though a night, and sleep past 7am, rejoice...REJOICE, it is a slice of heaven...remember....it is a SLICE OF HEAVEN. And when your kid makes you laugh, does something amazing, graduates from college, CELEBRATE! You did it mom,, you made it thus far and your kid survived...well done. And maybe, its still scary and hard and dark at times...but girl...you came so far, and they came so far...and you both survived the far!

And also, when you have an uninterrupted poop, and while you had that uninterrupted poop you had an uninterrupted thought, BLESS IT!  BLESS IT TO MY BONES JESUS! PRAISE!

So. From a young mom to the "grown up" mom. Speak life, and encouragement, and celebration over us tired moms. We need it. WE NEED IT DESPERATELY...like yesterday.

With Love
The tired, weary, urine covered, butt wiping mom of the Tanner Crew.

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Secrets From The Stable

It has been such a long time since I wrote a blog post. I have thought about revamping my blog, giving it a new look and start posting more often. But I have 4 boys, and a crazy life, and I well…Can’t. And if I am to be completely honest, everyone and their mom and their mom’s mom blogs. Have you noticed this trend? My time blogging has come to an end. But that is not why I am posting this. I won’t take down my blog as I know it is still to this day a source of some kind of comfort for girls walking the journey of infertility. I know now why that is a subject that is difficult for me to say anything in anymore. I am no longer climbing that mountain. That was a season for me, and a short one compared to the years and sometimes life some women have to walk it. I have no voice for that journey any more. My voice that went through those hard days is written for anyone who would ever need to read it. I am so thankful, so so very thankful that during that time I did not listen to people who did not agree with my complete and honest approach of living in a glass house and allowing people to see me stumble, fall, question and even be really angry with God. Jesus was glorified in that blog time and time again. AMEN?!? (I can hear you all!)

Okay, the real reason I am posting!!! Secrets From the Stable. ((If you don’t know what I am talking about you can read “Meet Gabe” on the right hand side of my blog or email me and I will tell you all about it!))  I can’t even. Really, I have thought about writing this since the advent season started. This year was by far the absolute best year my family had during the month of December. All the pieces of the puzzle came rushing together. Jesus in His sweetness made my paths cross with a sweet Girl who designed a Shepherd. In all my days y’all I had never thought of a Shepherd to go with my sweet animals, but can you make any more perfect?? I can’t. So this year Gabe and Shep teamed up. I wasn’t too sure my kids would remember Obi, the sweet Owl who helps them piece together the Nativity Scene. But boy did they. When he wasn’t there on the first day they were very concerned. But he came as promised and they were thrilled with his arrival each and every time he flew in and out. And this year we also had Kia the camel join in!! He brought three sweet boxes for the kids to fill up with pictures, drawings, and gifts for Jesus. It was truly incredible. I have 7 animals, with 7 different themes, and 7 different stories. By the time Jaden and Ty are  9 (only two more Christmases, stop it. Stop it now) We will have all of them in my home at once.

It has transformed our Christmas. It has brought it into focus, but not just for the kids….for Kevin and I as well. We have seen the transformation in my kids as they focus on the true meaning and realize that the gifts are all extra. They see now that Christmas Trees and lights, and decorations are all for one of the grandest most exquisite birthday parties you will ever be invited to. One for a King! They speak less and less of Christmas day because all month we are celebrating. In fact, all my boys separately took time to tell me they were sad a bit for Christmas day to come because our Stable friends would leave. I don’t brag, or boast about SFTS to gain anything, I am not trying to sell it….I truly share with you because If you haven’t considered doing this I really wish you would.
I posted on the Facebook page that I was closing the page and the website until next season where I will relaunch it. We have so many things We want to improve so that it is easier to navigate and understand. I still feel people get a bit confused by it and I need to make it more simple. I have prayed over and over and OVER if this should be something more? As in published and copyrighted and sold in a book store. That all sounds so dreamy. I have of course had moments of fear that someone who I have shared my ideas and dreams with would take it and make it their own without me involved in it. I would be lying if I said I never had those thoughts or concerns. But I REFUSE to live in that fear. Jesus has told me time and time again to share without reservation, it has been my whole life. To be transparent and to live in that glass house. There was a season when I tried not to be this way. That I allowed the voices of man to speak louder than the voice of God and I lost my identity of who I was IN Christ. And when I find myself doing that, stepping outside of my wholeness IN Christ…. I get anxious and worried and concerned. BUT JESUS. Oh y’all, Jesus just on repeat says “I got it.” And I breath deep, and step back into my Identity of His daughter who HE will protect and guard. He is not concerned; so why would I be?

I allowed myself to go down the what if path of fear once. And you know what? It isn’t all bad. My focus, my heart, my desire is that Jesus would be brought into homes all across the world. However, He chooses to use me I say yes to even if it wasn’t what I had hoped for. His way will be greater and so much more gift filled. I rest. Yes, I rest in that!

So I am not sure what the future will hold for SFTS but We have plans on stopping or not sharing. In fact next year we plan on sharing more! As you know my girl Jamie is my partner in all of this. I can’t take credit for all of it ever. Jesus knew I needed someone and she has always been that someone. She has inspired, she has invested, she has stood with me in my fear and walked with me back into our identities IN Jesus. She has spent HOURS on the phone with me brainstorming and talking through each animal and what each animal’s theme would be. She has written me a poem in I kid you not, no less than ten minutes. She is my soul sister. As we remain open handed about SFTS Jesus has put even more into those hands. That is the beauty of living our life in openness, there is always room for more. The more closed off, the tighter the space. Try letting go of your squeeze…Jesus never ever disappoints. He has been giving us gifts for new things left and right. We feel overwhelmed with His goodness and trust in us.

We have never felt like we should advertise. Every single time I would post something on FB it would say “Do you want 5,000 people to know more about your page? Pay us $10 and we will make that happen.” Every. Single. Time. And every time I would pause and think…. yeah…. Jesus 5,000??? And he would say “No.” I rest in that answer. We have 174 people who have liked the Facebook Page, Y’all that was all your doing. You shared it on your page and passed the word out to your friends. What a sweet gift it was to see you comment or share on that page. I wish you could have seen my face light up each and every time. So thank you!! I believe that SFTS will be passed along in ways that are way bigger then we can see or even know. And at the moment in time the only reason I would ever want to “sell” anything would be to make it more simple for you guys. I know some of you love the package idea. But for now, Jesus has asked me this “is there anything free in this world?” Very rarely.  Right now, free is the theme until He says otherwise. I have zero desire for profit. That has never been a motivator for us in any of this.

So I ask this, pray. Please pray that we would never allow fear to be a driving force for SFTS and future projects Jesus is releasing in our hearts. Pray that Jamie and I would be open handed in all things, and never tighten our grip with ownership…it is not ours. It has always been HIS. Pray that Jesus would do what He wants with it so that more families can experience Him in their homes next Christmas. And more than anything, pray that everything we do drips with His goodness and praise and that He is Glorified in it all!