Counting Every Blessing

pexels-photo-459846.jpegToday is the anniversary of us joining our adoptive family. We packed up the body’s children, our dog, and we went into hiding from the abusive husband. Well, semi-hiding. That’s a long story but it’s the 3 year anniversary.

The kids call it our Extraction Day (Naked and Afraid reference). It certainly felt like an extraction. We left all we knew behind to pursue a safer (where J couldn’t find us) home and a place to try again at life. We didn’t know exactly how to do any of this. And at the time we firmly believed that while God was a loving being, He didn’t want anything at all to do with us. We were too far gone.

Fast-forward 3 years and we have learned that God does, in fact, want us. He has much to teach us and we have a lot to accomplish in this lifetime. We are going to walk the path He set, the path to help others move forward in life. We are getting healthy. The children, who are really the most important part of our life, are growing and learning. They are healthier than ever and they have bright futures ahead of them if they take advantage of it.

We are blessed in crazy ways. We’ve had the room we need to discover who we are and how each of us helps the system as a whole. We’ve learned that hair grows back and it’s fun to play with. We’ve learned that we can not progress in anything if we aren’t working together.

We have an amazing dog who lights up our darkest nights, which is kind of funny since he’s all black haha.

On our worst days, we found we can get through them by having ongoing conversations with God and by finding things we are grateful for. Every day holds a small reason, at the very least, to be grateful.

Today as I write we’re listening to Anthem Lights on YouTube singing a variety of pop Christian songs and older hymns. They put their own spin on them and it’s really beautiful. The older hymns remind me of growing up in a Congregational church. The services were so rich with ritual. One of us (can’t remember who) was often an acolyte. The Doxology was sung at every service. The beauty of the ritual went right over our heads at the time. I love our church now and wouldn’t change it at all, but at times many of us miss that beautifully rich ritual service. I think they mean more now because our relationships with God are so much more solid.

I’m listing the fact that we got to experience those services as a child as a blessing. I like the fact that we can find things from that time period and realize what true blessings they were. We can be grateful for some positive things during that time also.

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If You Can’t Beat Them….

If You Can't Beat Them....

 

The shadows have been a consistent problem for the last couple of years. They cause chaos, they get quiet. The reject members of their colony and then get mad at us for taking them in. They cause choking while trying to swallow things. They feed negative and painful thoughts to the majority of us. They play old and hurtful memories on a movie screen inside. They are not kind.

Before we left Colorado and our amazing therapist we were working on how to handle those events. They aren’t intentionally cruel, they are trying to protect us in very maladaptive ways. B, our therapist in Colorado, said that it was like bursts. The longer we fought them the longer it would go on. To make it stop we needed to not react to the negative and yet thank them for trying to help.

It makes sense, but it sucks. Not gonna lie there. It almost feels like rewarding and thanking them for bad behavior and hurtful behavior even. It’s dancing the dance. The dance that always seems to have us* captivated and mesmerized. The dance that catches our souls and just grabs on. We are compelled to dance the dance because not dancing means chaos reigns.

Not sure if that’s the right way to deal with them or not. It’s a catch 22 in a lot of ways. Not sure we have a choice. We will continue the dance.

 

  • us/we/our from this point on refers only to Layna and Cadie as we’re the ones writing this.

Wings

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No one can do it for you. Duh.

I mean, I know. No one can write for me. Maybe they could but would it say what I wanted to say?

Sometimes we have to just get up and do it. Make the choices. Use our wings. Fly.

Open Doors: In or Out…

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Open Doors

Open doors. They can be a challenge. They can be obviously open and you know it’s for you to enter. They can be obviously open, yet you know you just don’t want to go there. Some doors are more subtle in their openness. They look like they could be open but it’s not very clear. Others are absolutely closed.

The sermon at church last night was about open doors. We learned after talking to Mom, Dad, and R that different people get different things out of sermons. We’re pretty sure that’s because you hear what you need to hear, or maybe what you want to hear. Maybe a little bit of both?

The lesson on open doors took us to far more places than just our journey to find God. We found it helpful and thoughtful in many areas of life. On the way home, Cadie took notes of our thoughts, hers and mine. I’m using those notes to write today because both of us have things we want to share and learn from. I point that out because it’s interesting to know that we’ve started taking notes in a small journal to use in our posts.

God opens doors. It’s up to us to walk through the doors. I believe Pastor called them God-inspired opportunities. It seems obvious, fulfilling our wants require action on our part. We want to have something, we have to act. Whether its a relationship with God, or people, or a community, or a job, it is up to us to act on that want. We need to walk through the door. Wants need action. Got it.

Taking action involves risk. Remember that? Risk? We covered risk already. Taking risks is scary. I’m not going to re-hash that. No, I’m going to move on to another iffy word, effort. Taking action reminds me of the saying “you get out of it what you put into it”. I can probably come up with another couple of sayings to illustrate that point but I think we’re all covered there.

If we want to find God, we need to walk through the doors. Knock on a few that aren’t obviously open. We need to open our eyes and find the doors that are waiting for us. If we want to find friends and community, we need to smile and say hello. We need to show up in our life, create a life. We need to do more than sit at home and wish and wonder. No one, God included, will do for us what we can do for ourselves. And no one should.

Find the doors in your life and start opening them. Say hello to people. Online, offline, at church, at the store, out walking your dog. Open the doors. And if you need help opening doors, send us an email. Our contact link is above. We’ll be happy to say hello!

Self-Care Saturday

pexels-photo-259363.jpegIt’s Saturday again. Funny how this keeps happening.

The weeks keep cycling through days whether we are ready or not. Like children playing hide and seek with days of the week. “Ready or not, here I come!”, the next day calls out.

Just yesterday Rachel and Layna wrote a long post about our journey to find God. This morning I’m chatting with a friend and she’s reminding me to re-frame my thoughts about possibly having to pair a black keyboard with a white and teal computer. It will be a white tiger computer (like Bella and Olly) with teal eyes. Because sometimes we need to change how we look at things in order to see the beauty in them and in order to make it work.

And that was a tangent. A tangent designed to distract me from the fact that it’s already Saturday. Another week has gone by, and I worry we have nothing to show for it. Have we wasted yet another week of our life?

Rachel and Layna say we definitely haven’t wasted this week. We attended Celebrate Recovery, we found a journey that means something to us, we worked through some big things, and we communicated a whole bunch. Even I can see that we wrote.

So today we care for ourselves and each other. We drink our water. We cleaned the kitchen and that gross microwave. We hug the kidlets and the furlets. Good music is playing and I did some stretching. We will get our next week on the calendar and we will be ready to take on a new week.

Take care of yourself(ves).

 

 

Our Tribe, Our People, Our Family

Family

Family… pretty much everyone knows what family is, right? The people you have a blood connection to, that you can be traced back to, blah blah blah. You know, the ones on birth certificates and marriage certificates and the ones you’re now related to because Aunt Jane married Bob the Builder so now you have Uncle Bob the Builder and now you’re all family.

Right. Whatever. That’s not how family works. Maybe in an ideal world the people you are connected to through blood and marriage would/could be family, but for a lot of people that doesn’t look like reality. We fall into that category. It took a long time to find a family we fit into. To find our people. Our tribe. Our family.

For whatever reason, reasons, etc, whatever we never fit into the family we were born in, on either side. Our bio dad, who is a great person, remarried after the divorce and we never really bonded with the step-siblings. We were never really part of that family although everyone was always kind to us. We just never belonged or fit in there. Our bio mother’s family always found us lacking also. Her husband’s family was also kind but we weren’t really family. Not one place that we were “supposed to” be welcome did we ever feel anything more than politely tolerated visitors. I suppose it didn’t help matters any that we never formed any healthy attachments with anyone due to ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of a stepfather.

The attachment issues ran deep. So deep that it kinda seems like we didn’t do the maternal bonding thing with the body’s own kids. If you’re dumb enough to translate that into us not loving them, you’d be very very very wrong. But we don’t feel like “mom”. I remember telling the husband just days after giving birth to one of them that it felt like a babysitting gig that was never ending.

When we moved here, we didn’t expect to find a place we really belonged. I dunno what we expected to find at all actually, except safety. Safety is huge, like major huge. So that was worth moving a couple thousand miles for but I don’t think any of us actually thought we’d end up belonging.

But we did. I mean we do. We have a family here. We have Aunt J, and Nana, and Papa. We have Mama and Daddy. We are celebrated and loved. We are expected, not just welcome, at everything. We are included, we are wanted… not tolerated. They are aware of all of us. They take us as we come, whoever happens to be out at the moment. We are met at the level we are at in any given situation. I could call Nana right now and tell her I need her and she’d figure out how to help. Right now though I don’t need help because I’m safe at home with my dogs and with youtube and this blog.

On the other side of the country we have family. We have our bio dad and step mom who are doing their very best to understand us. They love us, accept us, and help us fill in blank spots in our memories. They are getting to know and learn about our family here, and they are accepting them too. The body’s kids are so blessed to be surrounded by so much love and so many people dedicated to them.

We found our tribe, our people, our family. We found them in support groups on Facebook, in blog posts, and in the friends and family of our people. We found that to some people, we are wanted, loved, and valuable. So they can hold that for us until we can see it for ourselves. That day is coming though. I’m sure of it.

Inside Where We Live (Alexandria)

hi im lexi and im 10. i wasn’t always 10. for awhile i was grown up but that didn’t work so good. i didn’t get married but i was there like rite after we moved back after we got married and we had two baby girls and it was stupid and i couldn’t figure out how to be a grown up and kaya was no help at all, like not even a little bit because all she cared about was shoes, so i tried real hard but it didn’t work.

so i went to live on a island inside. there was a big keeper on the island. he wouldn’t let anyone on the island and didn’t let me off the island. i was gone from my sisters and kaya and betsy had to figure stuff out themselves because all i did was get in trouble and get the body hurt and almost get the kids taken away two times and make the husband mad and hurt us and the body. when i was around and married i made him mad a lot and the body got beat and burned and ignored and yelled at and tied up and put in bad situations a lot. they were better at not getting hurt then i was. i tried real hard but kinda figured out after a lot of failing that my job wasn’t to be a grown up and i didn’t know what to do. so i went to my island and stayed there til one day the keeper went away and i still dunno where he went. he was like a big stone giant guy. sometimes i miss my island.

i came back after a long time but i came back as a baby and i played inside and i stayed away from touchin anything outside so i didn’t brake things. the outside life was real bad but i tried to help inside by givin sisters someone to snuggle an cuddle and playin games with them an they were nice to me and we all thought maybe i was the original person in our body but it kinda turned out that im not. we kinda thinked that maybe kenzie was too but she’s not either. me and kenzie both weren’t very nice to anyone inside or outside cuz we thought we were special and better and had the rest of the sisters to work for us but mostly we don’t now and momma don’t let that happen and daddy gets really mad when any of us sisters treat the other sisters bad and then there’s consequences and trouble and a lot of not fun.

i love my family an our new life. no one hurts us here an i feel safe. momma and daddy don’t let me lie, cheat, hide, or boss people around but i still try sometimes an then i end up in trouble but they take care of me and even tho i miss my island inside sometimes i don’t ever wanna be away from my momma and daddy cuz even tho i dont always be good, they still want me and love me and buy me yellow things.

my favorite color is yellow. i love most anything yellow.

(kaya = cadie            betsy = zoey)