Wednesday, October 28, 2009

missing you

i miss you brooke...
you'll get to spend the night with me soon!

Friday, October 16, 2009

raising my white flag

What a journey my daughter has brought me on. Boy, little did I know. Little does she know how she helped me find the one thing that was needed the most—Jesus. Brooke is not only my daughter but a gifted teacher. She has taught me many things in her short lifetime about myself. Some I have wanted to learn, and some I have fought with clinched fists. In the process of it all, she has been God’s special instrument in my life to ultimately teach me how to wave that little white flag up in the air. And when I put myself in that selfish position of control again, I know that with just one look in her innocent eyes God will remind me—remember to surrender.

a good cry!

Brooke has had Ci Ci as a teacher pretty much ever since she has been at TLT. brooke recently moved to another classroom in her school. i asked about how she was adapting to the new move...knowing any move is aways a trigger for anxiety. one of her direct staff told me she hollered out, "Ci Ci, where are you Ci Ci?" amazing to me and others that know brooke. from what i hear brooke never once said Ci Ci's name in the classroom.

thanks ci ci for your dedication to brooke and the rest of your classroom.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Little by Little (cont.)...

Early 2008 I got a chance to go to visit my sister, Cherie’, in Colorado. I was amazed at the pine trees and how much snow they can hold. My sister later told me that softwood trees such as pine and evergreen can bend under the intense weight of the snow. However, hickory and oak trees can break in the storms. “God knows how much we can handle.” I have heard it said over and over in the course of my life. However, living it is another thing.

Like an elephant remembers, I too cannot help but remember all that Jesus has carried me through. I remember how God has rescued me from death. I remember the lives of others I so badly messed up. I remember the big, the little, and the profound. I remember the bondage I kept myself in, and I remember the liberty of letting go. I remember the laughter and the tears. I remember the ones that prayed me through the most difficult moments, moments I choose to forget. I remember the God who saved that pitiful teenage girl of myself, so longing for love. I remember when she received that love. I remember the pain, grief, sorrow, and suffering. But oh man, I also remember the moment of being fully alive and awake while still living with my present suffering.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a new beginning

Little by Little (cont.)...

Coming back home from the hospital was like entering a war zone in a land of giants. I had been in such a safe place that the real world was almost too much for me. However, I had my husband and a couple of close friends that stood beside me and held me accountable.
Brooke was adjusting okay to the new facility. At the time we could see her each weekend. We visited her when we could, which was almost every weekend. After the 45-day trial period, Bill and I had to make another difficult decision about whether or not to put her in permanent placement again. In August 2007, we made the decision to move her. She moved into her new room decorated with butterflies. The visits changed; we could only see her or get her for home visits once a month. This was quite an adjustment for our whole family. The boys know she is gone and miss her. And as far as Bill and I go, we treasure each moment we have with her until we see her again. Each time I leave Brooke, I hug her and say, “Brooke, Jesus has got you, baby.” With those words I walk away (each time trusting God).
I continued to struggle with my own life. Battling daily with my medication addiction, I seemed to mess up everything and everyone I loved. The giants of the past and present were winning every war and not only did I feel defeated, I looked defeated. Trying to do things on my own was a hard and a very lonely road. I failed to give to God what He had wanted all along--me.
However, it was through my aloneness that I finally came to the end of myself.
One, ordinary day, I desperately reached out for Jesus’ cloak for healing. He responded back with forgiveness, abounding grace, mercy, unending love, and healing. (Matthew 9.20). How selfish I was to think I could have lived my life without Him in complete authority. It finally took my surrendering to His authority to bring me much more than freedom—it gave me life. It gave me the chance to breathe again. I was sick for a long time, but now I know what it is like to be well and alive. In his book, Recovering From the Losses of Life, Norman Wright says, “Trying to control your life imprisons you to need to be in control. Trusting in His control leads to a life of freedom rather than a life of bondage.” I found this to be so true. God delivered me from any form of medication and any desire for it! According to Dr. Henry Cloud in Changes That Heal, “He has always been a releaser of the captive.” (Psalms 56.13; 2 Timothy 4.17-18). Hallelujah! What a Savior!
I admit, I do not understand all my circumstances. If I did understand them all, would I not be God? I am aware that Brooke may never come home to live and that my situation may never change. However, I do know that my situation has strengthened my faith in Jesus Christ. It is because of Him I can move on and will move on.

Monday, October 12, 2009


this past weekend we had got a special privilege to go deep sea fishing with our 8 girls, our boys, and about 100 other kids in the southeast region children's homes.

early saturday morning we headed 25 miles out to sea (yes, i'm still feeling a bit sea-sick). we caught about 150 fish. i felt like Paul on a missionary journey. it was great. not only did we catch fish, but we taught/showed our girls and children we had never met how to "feel" the bite and reel in their enormous fish (some being almost as big as them).

on our easy ride into shore still several miles out, i was enjoying the wind in my face with one of my girls when to my surprise we saw a butterfly flapping his little wings over the gulf. it was just an amazing sight. i did not have my camera to capture it so this picture will have to do. in seeing this little guy i was in thought all the way back to the dock.

i've had some pretty tough weeks lately but this little guy gave me some hope. he seemed not to struggle on the outside and he seemed like he had not a care in the world being 25 miles away from something to land on. he just kept on flapping his wings...hoping he would get somewhere. pretty impressive to me. sometimes God gives me a tiny picture to hold on to.....and out of nowhere this little guy showed up to remind me that, "all things are possible with God".

i'll be holding on to this truth today!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


the past week has been difficult. i have no words today.

brooke has been sick the past couple of days. i will see her on sunday.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Little by Little, (cont)

The stress and anxiety of getting Brooke well had taken the better part of me. After April 2007, things for myself had gotten worse, although I never did see it. I was too selfish in my addiction of over-medication to see anything differently. Depression had influenced my whole world, and I literally wanted to just end it all. My hope had faded in a fog, dreams shattered into dust, and my faith was challenged.
In June 2007 Brooke’s behaviors had gotten worse again, and we had to put her into a hospital in Birmingham. Walking out, leaving her in that confinement tore at my soul. I mourned for her.
It was later that week that she was put into Glenwood, a facility for autistic children, for a 45-day trial period. This put me over the edge as I saw Brooke differently than I had ever seen her. She seemed so sad.
I woke up soon after that transfer and told Bill he needed to put me into a hospital too. I needed help. After I got in, I wanted to get out. My physical health was weak, and I was low in many minerals. After being accustomed to having as many pills as I wanted, not having any more made me physically sick.

Journal Entry in hospital:
Lord some things are just too numerous for me now, and You know that. Give to me what I can stand until I can be fruitful again. I know I have put so much time and emotion on Brooke that it is destroying my own life by self-medication and selfishness. I know I need to trust you little by little. Really that is all I can do right now. It does not dismiss the pain, and it does not dismiss the loss. I need Lord to release the responsibility into your hands because contentment is a matter of accepting what you have for me. Help me to have Your thoughts--to have a correct thinking pattern than what I have had for many years. I confess that I have fought against what You have given me. Grant me the courage to be a servant. Oh God, I long to be faithful to You. I accept my assigned role as a gift. Teach me to “cease striving and know You as God,” little by little.

1 Timothy 6:15 “…God…is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings, and the master of all masters.”

God, do not let my pain be wasted.

Monday, October 05, 2009


One day, one of Brooke’s therapists came in to work. I told her, “It has been a roller coaster ride today.” She looked at me and said, “But the roller coaster will stop.” It always does stop. Maybe not in my lifetime, but our Savior will come. There is going to be a day when my dreams will come true, when my hopes will embrace me, when my earnest desires will suddenly be fulfilled, and there is going to be a day when Brooke will truly be embraced by her groom, her beloved, my beloved Jesus Christ. Until then I am encouraged by this scripture in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of Glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Now who wants to miss that roller coaster ride?

i have to pause in my story to encourage you! i hope that you will not miss the ride Jesus desires to take you on. i hope by any means it is not like mine. however, i do hope it results in a relationship with Him. He loves you and offers us more than we could ever imagine. Believe in Him today...and get on that roller coaster!

you will not regret it...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

roller coaster ride

The thrill of a roller coaster excites me. At sixteen I got my first job at an amusement park. I remember riding the coaster and getting off just to get back on again because it was so much fun. It did not matter how long the line was either. I wanted that thrill, that rush, and excitement.
Although I was glad Brooke came home, it was a roller coaster ride that I wanted to get off. I screamed as I headed toward a downward spiral. I felt the excitement of a new experience. I laughed out loud with a big silly grin over the smallest things. I clinched tightly to the head bar that had secured me in. I wanted to close my eyes and pray for God to remove this from me and to make it stop. The moment Brooke walked back into our home, she became both the teacher and the experiment as we started the Bio-Medical treatment. We became the student as we watched her, learning from everything she did or did not do. From her medication to supplements to fixing two different types of meals three times a day, it was always up and down.
The whole family, including the therapists, had good days and bad days. The adjustments never really subsided. We, too, never knew what kind of day Brooke was going to have. Sometimes the stress level in the home was so intense all we could do was get in the car and drive around trying to make everyone happy. Do not get me wrong; there were days that were so peaceful. Brooke was learning new words, her therapy was going well, and her social skills were improving. However, our situation was so unpredictable. I was unpredictable. I was on an emotional roller coaster ride. Adding to that, I broke my wrist in April 2007, and the easy access to pain medication deepened my addiction.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

one year home

Little by Little (cont.)...

"Excited yet nervous, we brought her home in March 2006 to start a new treatment called Bio-Medical. What a reunion it was! We maintained everything she did at the LT and stuck with her program at school and home. The adjustment was hard on everyone. It took quite some time to get in a routine. Someone always had to be watching Brooke. Bill and I traded out to ease the stress.
Bio-Medical treatment is the process of pulling heavy metals from the brain, known as chelation. It includes a regimen of vitamins and minerals and a very specific diet excluding all wheat and dairy products. The treatment can be very hard on the organs; especially the kidneys and liver, so periodic checks had to be made to avoid damage.
A general side effect of chelation is recurring headaches. Brooke, of course, cannot tell us when or where she is hurting, so her pain would often be displayed in her behaviors. Tell-tale signs would reveal the stress it seemed to be bringing on her body, like an overall heavy appearance. The dark circles underneath her eyes were another indicator. It is a very difficult thing as a parent to know that the one thing that may be helping your hurting child the most is also the thing that seems to be adding to her pain.
It did not stop there. The diet was also a part of Brooke’s treatment. It was a gluten and casein free diet, which meant all wheat and dairy products had to go. Yes! This made it a real challenge to cook even the simplest meal. Supplements were also a part her diet. These included vitamins, minerals, enzymes and probiotics—and a lot of them. Getting Brooke to take the supplements, and on schedule, proved to be a challenge topped only by that of preparing meals that were appetizing enough for her to eat.
We then had to start her behavior program at home. We had gotten some therapists from a local company to come to our home. I had the opportunity to choose the therapists, so I started asking around. I found three friends to help us out. Even though it was a huge help, there was no privacy in our home anymore. At the Children’s Home I had become accustomed to our house being a revolving door, and that is how it became in our house again. The strain of finances for the Bio-Medical treatment and the stress of Brooke being back home was making things worse for me. I began secretly over-medicating again and constantly crying because of my anxiety and depression. I became emotionally unstable, yearning for rescue."
(picture was taken last week)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

my Controller

Little by Little will continue later.

i cannot believe it is october already! this time, years ago, brooke went into TLT placement for the very first time! i do remember that moment like it was yesterday...brooke was a 7 yr old little girl. now, she still is in TLT in a different city. what makes it a bit easier is now we live in the same city.

i've been reading, hearing, seeking, considering how much God is the blessed controller of all. i cannot begin to explain how peaceful that verse brings to me. some people may use the word, control, a bit flippantly. but, in regarding to brooke, and basically everything I am, I cannot be any more serious. i'm hopeless and helpless without His control. everyday i see more and more just how much i'm in need of Him...and especially regarding Brooke. i keep having to re-learn this lesson.

what's a bit funny to me is brooke doesn't seem to have a care in the world. oh, she may care about what she'll eat for breakfast (biss-cuit), or maybe if she'll have to work on school stuff, but she doesn't have to deal with life's stress like you and i do. she just seems to go about her day depending on others to help her (bath her, dress her, get her from place to place, fix her food). she is NOT in control. she can't be. she doesn't know how. i mean, really. ultimately, she has to rely on someone to control the environment she lives in. i'm a bit in awe of that. i think you get where i'm going. once again brooke, you are my teacher.

"He must become greater, and i must become less"