5 Words of Hope to Ease a Mother’s Broken Heart

Motherhood is something special. It brings great pleasure to your life, an unexplainable joy.  But there are times when sorrow seeps in.  A baby is lost through a miscarriage or still birth.  A death of a child through an accident or illness. A child is kidnapped or murdered.  A teenager runs away and is lost.  A young adult is killed while serving in the military.

The unexplainable empty feeling and sorrow.  The angry and frustrating.  The confusion  and uncertainty.  A mother’s mind goes through a million miles of emotion while trying to balance the rest of her family.

Doing those times of sorrow here are 5 words of hope and bible verses I want to offer to help ease a mother’s broken heart while it mends. These are words and bible verses that have helped my heart.

  •  Refuge:  “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my Savior, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18: 2 (GWT).  The first place I go in time of trouble is to God.  I want to scream it out in other places, and sometimes I do, but I always find myself back in His Word.  I find myself back in His refuge.
  •  Find: “My child, find your source of strength in the kindness of Christ Jesus.” 2:Timothy 2 :1 (GWT)   Find your source of strength….sometimes in our darkest hour we do have to seek God.  We do have to call to Him….and while we are calling to him in the darkness…He is already carrying us.  He was already there.
  •  Restore:  “God, Who shows you his kindness and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as suffer for a little while.”  1 Peter 5:10 (GWT)  Restore me, I hold on to that, God will restore me to what it is I need.
  •  Love: “Continue to love each other” Hebrews 13:1 (GWT)  Love each other.  Love through family and friends.  Love through worship and church.  Even in the darkest hour, love seems to shine through….make sure you are looking for it!
  •  Grace:  “Through the blood of his Son, we are et free from our sins.  God forgives our failures because of overflowing kindness.” Ephesians 1:7  God Grace.  His forgiveness.  Sometimes in the darkest hour when we are mad at the world it is the hardest thing to give ourselves-His forgiveness.  It is the death of Jesus that gives us His forgiveness.  God’s Grace is what we need. God’s grace is what gets me through every day, through the good and through the bad.  Hold on tight to God’s Grace.

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Summer Survival: Cookie and Cream Coffee Please {5 in 5}

Welcome to 5 days of Summer Survival. For the next 5 days we are going to look at ways to “survive” the rest of the summer. From tips on traveling with kids, to getting into the kitchen with your kids, to some Olympic fun and a Phineas and Ferb style of summer, I talked to you and asked you where you need help this summer. Out of all the moms I talked to the one thing that was common was they all felt like they, themselves, were overwhelmed. Today I want to focus on you.

You know who you are

  • The new mom who doesn’t understand why her new baby will not stop crying.
  • The young mom with small children who can’t go outside more than 10 minutes because it is just plain too hot or it’s raining.
  • The mom counting days till school starts back because her ADHA child is bouncing off the wall and she doesn’t know what to do any more.
  • The working mom who is spending her day dropping kids off at camping, going to work, picking kids up, cooking dinner and crashing in the evening, wishing summer was longer to be with them more.
  • The homeschool mom spending her time getting ready for school while balancing summer fun with her kids.
  • The mom traveling to be with family and barely finds time to just stay at home.
  • The soon to be empty nester getter ready to send their last child off to college wonder what will be in store for them next.

Personally, I am the homeschooling mom spending her time getting ready for school while balancing summer fun with her kids. I felt like I was failing. I am right in the middle of my summer. We always make our list of a 100 things to do each summer and while we were getting some done, I still felt like nothing was going as planned. Weather too hot. Weather then too wet. Washer broken for TWO weeks. Computers broken. I felt like all I was doing was yelling and screaming at the kids.

One night I could not sleep. I wandered our house, which was mess. I came to our front door. I love staring out into the night. I love listening to the night so I opened the door and stood on my porch. The air was the warm, humid summer air with sweet rain smell in the distant. As I breathed in and out, I heard God’s word speak “Be still, and know that I am God;” (Psalm 46:10a)

“Be still, and know that I am God”

I so needed those words at that moment.

What about you?

At what moments do you need God to come and remind you to be still? Stop moving, stop with all the excess that is going on. Refocus yourself to what he has put into your care. I had gotten too caught up in trying to keep my house clean, I was missing my kids. I had to back up and be still, I have to refocus.

I know you all are still wondering what is up with the Cookie and Cream Coffee? When do I get some and what has that got to do with stillness?

Ok ok, when I get stressed at home, I like to got to Target or Kroger’s after kids in bed and get a Starbucks. But lately I’ve had to take them to the store with me. One day the kids where driving me crazy and I needed my mocha. I’m Lutheran, I don’t change much, but they introduced that new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino early this summer. I am not a cold coffee drinker, but the girl said try it. It was like pure bliss (which I just ignored the calories). I was strolling along, with one whining beside me another dancing and singing and one flipping on the cart. Then I had a stillness moment – a moment where God was saying, even here in the supermarket – be still and know I am God. I will take care of you. You take care of yourself first. And that is what I did. I was taking care of my needs for a bit. You know what, the rest of the shopping trip was just fine. Oh the name Cookie and Cream Coffee is what my five-year calls it. “Mommy is mad, let’s get her a cookie and cream coffee!”

Where can you go for your Stillness or your Cookie and Cream Coffee?

  • Find a Friend. Grab a Cookie and Cream or Cookie Crumble or whatever kind of coffee.
  • Where is your quiet spot? Go there often. Find one if you don’t have one.
  • Headphones. Plug in those headphones while the kids are watching a movie and listen to your music. Here is a song that a friend just introduced to me that really speaks to me.

;

Online

Apps (iPhone-sorry that’s all I know-but many are the same for other phones!)

Books-

  • From CPHCoffee with the Savior by Kristen Myers. I really enjoyed this book.
  • From CPHGod Is in the Laundry Room by Susan Senechal. This is a great Bible study.
  • Four other great books that two friends have suggested to me recently. I have not read them but they both say they are good and worth reading so they are on my list.

Mom, first be still. Go get that Cookie and Cream Coffee, or Crumble Frappuccino. Breath, regroup. That stillness was what I needed. Just that moment with God, the coffee just a bonus.

So here is what I want you to think about. Where do you need stillness in your life? Where do you need to stop for a moment and refocus? For me it was the time I was spending or not spending with the kids. I was too worried about the house and other things I was missing out on fun time with them. So I made little changes. I readjusted my schedule and I feel like I am back on track.

For the next five days join me and these other fine ladies for one-hundred high quality posts full of homeschooling activities and advice, child-friendly and specialized recipes, Biblical encouragement, and much much more!

The premiere homeschooling blog hop, a first of its kind in the homeschooling community,

sponsored by our good friends at The BEECH Retreat.


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The Bond of Siblings -Does it Matter in Foster Care and Adoption?

My sisters mean the world to me.  They are who I grew up with.  Now we are raising our children together-even though separated by many miles.  One day we will be old and our parents no longer with us, but we will have each other.  We have a special bond.  Regardless of where we are in life, that bond is there. 

One of the unique things about our three adopted children is they are from a sibling group of 11 children.  I know what you are thinking.  For a while, I had the oldest and the youngest, at least for two weeks.  3 days before Isaiah was 1 number 10 entered into this world about 9 weeks early.  He is now a bouncing happy boy!

Out of the 11 -6 are together in one family.  They live not far from us and we see each other often.  The kids need each other.  One of the things I have watched over the last 5 years is they don’t wrestle every time they get together now.  They can play together, talk, and laugh.  They tell stories and are silly.  They have grown so much.  There are two siblings they don’t get to see as much as they like to.  For various reasons it does not work.  But they know who they are.  And my kids say prayers for them every night.

We have pictures of all the sisters and brothers hanging on the wall so my younger ones, who were babies when they were taken away, know who every one is.  We talk about how everyone grew in their birth mom’s belly.  How she was the one that made them all siblings.  And the bond of siblings was going to keep them together forever, regardless of their last name.  We have become a huge extended family.  Last August we welcomed another baby into the family.

Keeping these siblings together is important.  Even thought the youngest of the group won’t remember all the stuff that happened, they will know they have a HUGE family to grow up in.  We pray that the birth mom is done having babies, for her health, and for the children already here.  We are not sure that is the case now and of course we will do our best to keep siblings together.

Last year we fostered two of five siblings.  They had a very strong bond together, but all five were separated.   They were a handful to handle, but in the long run, the goal was to get them back to parents so the kids had to learn how to be together.  I ended up with two, (we were 3rd placement for one) and that help those two bond more.

But many people believe that siblings need to be separated in foster care, that it is better.  People want the younger siblings, but not the older ones.  The older ones have seen more and are more “damaged.”

Again I had the oldest of these five kids and I could tell that he was very attached to them.  He knew everything about them and even though he wasn’t together with them, he looked forward to their visits.   He would look forward to seeing his siblings more than his parents at first.   This bond is very tight and very special.  And even though the bond each child has with their foster families and adopted families is tight and special, siblings cannot be over looked.  When siblings are not together it is like a piece of the puzzle is always missing.

It does not always work to keep all siblings together in one home.  I had two of the sisters come into my home.  After a few month it was obvious that they needed to be separated, but they needed to sister, and friends.  Working with our dear friends who had some of the other siblings we have been able to do the.  Each girl needed a different kind of attention.   They also need each other.  They were in two foster homes before coming into mine and they were bonded, but there was a lot of unhealthy stuff going on too.  Keeping them in contact with each other again is a key to keeping the bond strong.

There is a great document of the Ten Myths and realities of Sibling Adoptions  

10 Myth: There are higher rates of failed adoptions in families who adopt siblings.

Reality: Siblings who are placed separately are more likely to demonstrate greater emotional and behavioral problems. Research indicates that when siblings are placed together, they experience many emotional benefits with less moves and a lower risk for failed placements. (Leathers 2005)

Siblings together do matter in foster care and adoption.  Also foster parents and adoptive parents keeping sibling from larger groups connected is important too.   As much as it hurts some foster parents hearts to lose a baby they have fostered to be with a sibling, in the long run it will be  better for them.  Adoption is not a black and white type of thing.  It come with many challenges and obstacles.  While it would be nice to shut the door of any relations to the birth family it isn’t always that easy.

There is a story of siblings who waited 80 years to find each other.

Put up for adoption to relieve the pressure on her family, Barbara Miller spent decades searching for her biological relatives. She was unaware that she had eight brothers and sisters looking for her at the same time.

Imagine that family they all just found with each other.  Those pieces missing, nieces and nephews that they never knew.  At what point do we say it is ok for them to know each other.  These were 80-year-old siblings who still could not open up their adoption records cause they were sealed.  I think that siblings have a right to know who their other siblings are.

Yes, it does matter!

 


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25 Random Things to Know about Me

Who is MommaHopper? How did my name come to me some ask? Well truth be told I started collecting frogs without realizing it! Started with two cool ones one summer and soon before I knew it, I was getting frogs for gifts all the time when I was working in the church. When my son was born-frogs and dragonfly where the theme. Now I have slowly separated my collection, you would never know walking into my house. But they are there, in corners and on selves each with a special story to tell.

So here are 25 more random things about me, mommahopper!

1. I am a child of God.

2. I hate writing about myself.

3. I do not like getting up in the mornings, unless no one else is up.

4. I like a clean kitchen, but wish it was automatic.

5. I love to eat sushi

6. I love music of all kinds except heavy medal, raunchy rap and twangy country.

7. Yes I break out into song over crazy things in the house.

8. I do talk to myself in the stores as I mentally go over the list of things needed. One day I hope I don’t talk back to myself.

9. I love to sit a round a campfire all night just watching the wood burn.

10. I love to start that campfire up the next morning with no matches.

11. I love my husband with all my heart. He is the best thing that has happened to me and he completes me (wasn’t that line from a movie?) But it is true.

12. I hate to be rushed getting out of the house.

13. I secretly love to bake but don’t so I won’t have to do it so much.

14. I love my iPhone. I never thought I would use it as much as I have and would be lost without my calendar.

15. I love to travel everywhere!

16. My favorite meal is when one of the kids says, “I love this mom!”

17. I like to grown my own vegetables. So do the bugs and birds.

18. My all time favorite movies are A Long Hot Summer, Buckeroo Bonzi and Oscar

19. I want to travel to all the National Parks before I die.

20. I miss my family and friends who don’t live here.

21. But I am glad I have my church family.

22. I like to walk into the sanctuary very early in the morning when I lead a lock in at church and all the kids are still sleeping. It is my most peaceful place.

23. I have parented over 20 kids.

24. I love spell checker because I hate to spell.

25. I love my children!


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Makings of a Strong Families: has a Sense of Play and Humor

5.  Has a Sense of Play and Humor

All can be perfectly quiet, calm and before they know it, momma is doing something silly!  You got to!  Kids love that stuff, when moms and dads can be silly!  Watch the smiles on their faces when parents get down and play with them.

When Robby was little he had lots of toys.  But the thing he loved best was when Dan got on the floor with him and played horse.  He loved that.  The smile beamed from his face!  Sadly many parents don’t take the time to get down and play with their kids.  We often are tired or busy.  But kids they want us to play with them.  They would rather us take a ball and throw it with them than sit and watch TV or computer.  Kids would rather sit around the table playing a board game or cards on an evening then all this other stuff we have them in.

Families have to play.  Together.

 I don’t always do a good job on the together part.  You often hear-go play-so I can get things done!

I remember one time we were outside working on some yard work.  Before I knew it we had a football game going on.  The kids ate that up!  More so cause daddy was the one running the football!  Kids love parents when they play!

Marriages do better when you can be silly every once and a while.  Or more.  Most marriages balance each other one, one a little bit more serious the other a little bit more silly.  Dan and I balance each other out!  I have the daily fun down better, he has the big fun down better.

Really as I type this Isaiah walks out with a huge bead necklace, going “look at me” and “shaking his booty!”  Where’s my camera?  Humor and Play!

Jeremy and I can go from having the most serious conversation about life, to have the funnest conventions about life.  Robby thinks we are funny.  Sometimes we are.  But in our house, you just got to find humor to make it through!

When was the last time you all had a belly aching almost peed in your pants laugh?  I remember years ago, I was at my granny and pop-pop’s house.  We were playing cards like we always did there.  My great Aunt Dinny was also there.  I don’t remember what happened, but she said or did something that we all laughed so hard.  We normally didn’t laugh like that together.  But that moment, I will always remember!  We always played together, but the humor was the bellying laughing kind.

I am going to write a book.  I have been saying this for 10 years now. It is going to be called “When All Else Fails There is Always Duct Tape.  Humorous Parenting Advice”

Have fun.  Play games.  Laugh.  Blow bubbles.  Tell knock knock jokes.

How is your family playing and finding humor in life.


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Developing a Sense of Trust Makes Strong Families.

4. Develops a sense of trust

When babies are born, the first thing that they learn is trust. Trust that when they cry their needs will be met. Crying is their only form of communication. When our babies cry, we pick them up, love them, feed them, and care for them. This teaches them that every thing is ok.

This little guy above is my nephew Jon Jon. My daddy took the picture!

When you get married you form a bond of trust. For better or worse. I promise to be there.It is wise for you to create hedges or fences to make sure that trust stays true in your marriage. Listening to each other and keeping communication strong helps keep trust strong. Respecting each other creates a sense of trust.

Divorce is not in our vocabulary. We never have to worry about if we have a bad day with each other that it may end it all. We trust each other that we can make it through those tough times. We trust that God has given us the strength. But it takes work. All the time.

That trust we have in each other is something we have to teach Jeremy. He makes comments that Dan is cheating on me or me and the pool guy. Coming from a normal back ground kid, I would be mad. But we know his back ground. We know that we have to teach him, that Dan and I are strong and together. I do not go to the store to “cheat”. I goto the store to go to the store. But if you understood the history of where he grew up, this is what people did. They didn’t commit to each other for ever. They came and went. They cheated. They were not there when you needed them. Sometimes the only person you could trust was yourself.

Robby grew up with a strong sense of trust. He was hungry, I fed him. He was wet, I changed him. Yes there were times he cried and I didn’t know why. Sometimes babies cry. But we gave Robby that sense of trust.

Isaiah came to us stiff as a board. We popped him into the sling and carried him. He cried all the time. He was sick. He spit up all the time. We only fed him 3-4 ozs at a time. But in time he wasn’t stiff any more. We invested a lot to help him learn to trust. To teach him how to attach.

We did not know he was going to be ours forever. Just that he needed this. To trust.

This trust is a two way street though.

While teaching children to trust, parents trusting children is important to. Mr. Isaiah has been at it again with food. This time hiding food in the dinning room under a dresser. This brought in an ant parade. Right now I do not trust him in the kitchen. He is not allow in the kitchen. He had to get really strict with him about the kitchen and food thing.

When Jeremy move in with us I didn’t trust him. I loved him and wanted him. I just didn’t trust him. He was coming from a back ground where he had done many things and I didn’t know yet how much I could trust him. As time went on, I slowly trusted him more and more. But then when things would happen, certain trust would fly out the door and slowly had to be regained again.

Trust in the Lord you God with all your heart, mind and soul.

Trust is a funny thing. Here one day gone the next.

Why don’t you take your kids on a Trust Walk? or better yet, let them lead you!

Check out my Pinterest Board on Strong Families for more ideas on trust

How do you develop a sense a trust in your family?


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Makings of a strong family

Just before we got married almost 12 years ago, I was finishing my Master Degree in Parish Education at Concordia College, in Seward Nebraska.  One of my summer classes was Marriage and Family.  First I don’t ever recommend anyone to take a class like that just before getting married.  Everything was book defined for marriage, I really had to step outside of that to focus on getting married.  My husband understood it perfectly.  From that class one worksheet stood out to me.  The day we got married that worksheet started hanging in our kitchen.  12 years later you will still find it in our kitchen on our fridge now.

strong family

I keep it there to remind us.  I keep it there to encourage us.  I keep it there to inspire us.

I hope it does to those who also read it there.

But I also keep it there, so when we have a foster child in our home, they can see and learn what is important to us.  And to help them take small nuggets to take back to their family.

It is just like our faith.  I can’t impose it on them, just expose them to God.

I trust He will take care of the rest.

So some have asked about the list.  So I decided to blog about each one and how we use it in our family.  We are not perfect, we learn each and every day.  This is why the list is always in front of us.

Where did the list come from?  Well considering it has been 13 years since my class, I had to do some research.  I believe that a Mrs. Curran came up with the list.   There are many different list of what makes families healthy.  This one just stuck.

So come hopping with me as I taking about what the makings of a strong family are.

I would love to hear what makes your family strong!


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When things get tough….scream in the freezer!

Lately it seems I have been dealing with a lot of relationships that have been affected by hardships.  Husband-wife, young love, parent child, friends, sisters, brothers, oh the list can go on.  These relationships are being affected by choices they made and things that just happen.  

Some are affected by depression.  This you just can’t explain.  Depression affects us slowly and sometimes it comes on in a second.  We can’t always explain that.  And when those we love are affected we just want to scream and yell.  We want to be mad and sometimes we just don’t know who to be mad at.
Some are affected by illness.  This just happens and we sometimes can’t explain why it happens.  But it does.  And when those we love are affected we just want to scream and yell.  We want to be mad and sometimes we just don’t know who to be mad at.
Some are affected by the choices they make.  They say mean words and hurt someone.  They make choices to take a relationship to a stage they are not ready for and don’t understand how that changed things.  And when those choices affect those we love we get mad.  And we want to scream and yell.  And we become mad and don’t always want to blame the right one.  
And this list could go on.  What do you do?  Pray and focus on God.  Ask for guidance and wisdom.  Things  may not get better, sometimes they may get worse before they get better.  And even worse things may happen.  And sometimes things just get better.
When I was in college and bad things happened we had a saying, “Scream in the freezer!”  No one can hear you.  It will not fix anything.  It will not take a relationship back to how it was.  It will not heal the sick.  Or make those depressed feel better.  But screaming just gives you the moment to refocus to help care for those you love!  
So who is screaming in the freezer?  

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