Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Lovers ~ Check out this Awesome Contest to win books!!

If any of you love to read, you'll LOVE this contest from a fellow blogger! Check it out here at Bloody Bookaholic.
Now I just need someone to tell me how to post in the side bar! Thanks in advance  and good luck in the contest!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

During the last post...

First, I want to note that I noticed when I post about "then" that I start the post out in past tense and by the end am writing in the present tense. I could go back and change it and am fully aware it's not "correct", but I've decided I will leave all "then" post as they are because I literally do start out thinking in past tense and as I journey feel I am actually there. (Probably the reason the posts are slow coming LoL).

Secondly, I want to say that three young Mormon Missionaries graced my door while I was posting the last post.

My first thought was that I didn't want them to come in because I haven't started Saturday chores because I was blogging and few chores get have gotten done this month because I worked the past two Saturdays. How embarrassing.

We stood out on the porch for a bit,... a former bishop had given them our names and said we were "good people". He really should have warned them and maybe he did.

Good or bad, I am an honest person. Can we come in... well, no, the house is in disarray ( I haven't even brushed my hair and so am I). I feel caught off guard and struggle with wanting to send them away and the feelings that these three young boys are someone's sons.

These young children saved their money and left their families to have this experience.

Come to the back porch and I'll talk to you for a short visit in the sitting room. We're remodeling the living room and there's drywall dust on everything. Dishes aren't done and the dogs are excited with visitors. Trash isn't taken out yet and our house needs a good cleaning.

I'm very thankful they can't see my car which is much worse since my daughter took it to go to work this morning.

The boys come in and have a seat. Awkward silence fills the room. Finally I say "You realize I'm inactive and have been for more than 20 years right"? They reply yes and I realized they had been warned. " Do you mind telling us what your issues with the Church are"?

Oh good grief... Really?? DO you have all day? I try not to cry. I hate talking about my relationship with "God, the Church, and especially Mormon Doctrine". I'm fully aware that this is an unresolved issue in my life that I try to ignore, but is harder to ignore than any  other aspect in my life.

How much is appropriate to talk about? Why open this can of worms? These boys are barely older than my own children. What life experiences do they have that can equip them for not just a non-believer, but someone who carries baggage regarding the Church?

I just sat there embarrassed and wishing my eyes weren't filling up. UGGG. Where the hell is the control you have at work... This is my home... I wasn't expecting this and not prepared to put my armor up. I was JUST blogging which makes me really vulnerable.

"Did you grow up in the Church"? - Yes, my father was Catholic and my mother was Mormon"...

Church babble began filling the room and I can't hear anything being said because my mind is spinning --- "Can we pray with you"?
"You're more than welcome to pray for me when you leave as I'm sure you will, but no, I'm not comfortable with us having a prayer"...

One of the boys is speaking, the other two are quiet. Finally, I just spill it...

"I don't believe... I think the Church is based on a bunch of lies and nit-picky rules that are meant to control it's members and nothing you say is going to change that today... can I get you something to drink"?

"Mr. Bishop did tell us you had some harsh experiences with the Church and feel very hurt by the Church... I've also been hurt by the members of the Church"...

The Missionary talky boy is struggling and has soft eyes. His chin quivered. I feel sorry for him. I'm making him uncomfortable. I again realize his heart is in the right place and he deserves respect and honesty...

I don't have all day for a back story and quietly begin to talk with the young men.

I ask if they ever read a book called "The Miracle of Forgiveness", written by Prophet Spencer W. Kimbell. A book that teaches the six steps to true repentance.

They have read it.

I start by stating that I respect every other person's right to self-determination and that I don't want to share my views of the Church if with them because I just don't have nice things to say.

They continue to press me and I share with them that I believe the Church to be racist, sexist, and harmful.

Most people are aware that the Church did not allow Black and Indian people to hold the priesthood until 1978.
That they were marked with their blackness as a punishment for the sins of Cain.
Prophet Kimbell often talked of the delightsome of their races becoming more white... as can be seen in this quote:

"I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today.... The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl--sixteen--sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents--on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather....These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness."

Prophet Kimball also taught perfection... which plagued my daily life. 

But the final straw for ME... was when my mother was murdered... We no longer talked and that's for another post... but I truly believe my mother died due to the teaching of the Prophet Kimball who taught that:

"Also far-reaching is the effect of the loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle."
- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, page 196

These types of teachings caused my mother to 1. blame me for not fighting back an incestuous relationship with her husband... and 2. to lose her own life because she DID fight back. I believe if she had been cooperative she could have escaped with her life... and she didn't. 

So Dear sweet Missionary boys... this river runs deeper than any bishop could prepare you for and while I will never disrespect you, because I understand you have the right to do and believe as you will... Life has taught me more than your testimony will ever overcome. 

Pretty much after that they left. I should have just let them stand on the porch until they left. 

******* I'm moving this post to the "then" section" because I feel like it's a better fit. Hope that doesn't make things too confusing!! ************************

The Worst Birthday ever...

The auntie had built her house on the farm and within a year or so moved away. We moved into her house which had concrete floors. We were excited because it had running water (no water heater though). We still would heat with wood or coal, but the house was bigger.

My mother started dating a man who we'll call Bob. Bob had bug eyes and a lanky awkward build. He was a godly man, but not a Mormon. The mixed messages were infuriating. I wore my homemade "Little House on the Prairie" matching - my - sister's -dress as we drove to the next nearest town to attend Bob's church. They did not believe the way we believed and also held a Book of Mormon up during their sermon and talked about how Mormon's were a cult.

I looked at my mother with accusing eyes.

She ignored me. She knows I'm on to her bullshit.

On Monday we had Family Home Evening as "suggested" by the Church. Momma read an extra long article from the Mormon Doctrine book she'd purchased years earlier. The book was thick and laid out in an encyclopedic fashion. Footnotes legitimized it's content from the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine & Covenants and now and then the Bible. There were also teachings from prophets of the past and their teachings of blood atonement and multiple wives scared me into submission.

My birthday was coming up and I had not embraced my mother's new boyfriend and his wicked religious ways.

He attempted to make friends with us and I was having none of it. When I saw them kissing I would interrupt them. He would be the damnation of my mother and God would be proud of my interventions.

I whispered hateful scolding words to my little sister if I caught her interacting with this misguided weirdo.

My interference in my mother's personal life would be paid for. She reminded us daily of how she risked her life to get on the interstate to go to school to provide us a better life.

On my birthday, the May morning sun warmed the air to a comfortable temperature. I loved Saturday birthdays and was excited at what the day would hold. School was out for the summer and I was excited the exploring to begin. My mother usually set aside her usual sarcastic bitter tongue on a holiday and birthdays were definitely a holiday!

Chores would be done first and I thought we could rush through them and maybe we would get to go to the town library which was our tradition.

I was assigned to dishes as usual and set about warming the water on the cook stove. While the water heated I ran into my room and quickly straightened and tucked. I was only a head start.  Dusting would wait! It was going to be a great day!!

Grandma would make something special to eat. I just knew it would be my favorites.

I took extra time while doing the dishes to make momma proud and to ensure the day went well. I carefully unfolded a clean towel, careful not to let it touch me in any way. She had cautioned that we were unclean and mustn't contaminate while we cleaned by touching clean things on our bodies, letting it brush the front of our shirts etc.

I poured three caps of bleach into the soapy dishwater and swooshed it around.

Always start with the glasses. Wash inside, then outside, then wash the rim, then the bottom. Rinse very well because if she tastes soap in her drink she will bare down on you.

Silverware is next and make sure you wash where you held the utensil to wash it. Then bowls and then plates. Pots and pans will be last because they are the dirtiest of all the other dishes.

Done. I start drying and putting up dishes. I inspect them quickly to make sure I got them clean. I'm trying to hurry so we can get on with our special day. I know if I put up a dirty dish, I'll have to wash every dish in the house because I've contaminated and need to be taught a lesson.

After I finish I am assigned to clean the tub... I sprinkle Ajax in the tub and carefully scrub in  small, circular motions and try not to miss spots.

Methodically and carefully,  I scrub the tub when I hear her from the other room remind me to wash the walls as well. Uggg. My arm is tired and my fingers are pruney.

I hear her tight voice tell my sister that cleanliness is next to Godliness and to gather the laundry. She will begin the laundry in the electric ringer washer and I will hang it on the line. Dread fills my body. My arm aches from scrubbing and I long for a break.

Hanging laundry is hard because you have to shake and snap out the wrinkles without the towels and clothes touching your body.

Then you have to reach above your head to hang the clothing as she has specified in a very particular fashion. Nothing can fall to the ground so you have to ensure that socks aren't stuck to the clothing you're hanging. My arms and shoulders ache and I'm feeling overwhelmed. I can tell we're going to clean the entire day.

Hopes of going to town soon vanish and I clean and cling to the hope of going to Grandma's for supper.

After laundry I'm sent to finish cleaning my room. I'm tired and don't really give a shit. I tuck and hide what I can and spend some extra time making the bunk beds. The top bunk is hard to make and I pinch my sister hard when I see her sitting on the bottom bunk I just made. She cries out and runs to her savior and queen.

I turn up the radio in my room to drowned out my thoughts. TURN THAT DOWN AND GET IN HERE.

"If you can't be trusted alone in the room with your sister, you can work out here where I can watch you". ... I Windex about seven windows and the storm door inside and out. We finally eat a sandwich which I devoured. My hands smelled of bleach which made the sandwich taste funny, but hunger won  over.  I wonder how much more we'll do. She has cleaned out closets and done chores we're not able to do. Momma tells me to sweep.

After that I can dust. You never dust before you sweep. I sweep and sweep with vigor because her eyes are on me. Anxiety and anger begin to make me shake. Clouds of concrete dust fill my nose. My bleach burns the back of my throat and my left eye begins throbbing.

I hold back hot tears of anger and despair. Hatred fills me and I try to fight it off. Nausea and pounding fill my head and stomach.

I hear her in my room dumping out my things in the middle of the floor as she has done so many times before. A mountain of shit... clothes, Legos, toys everywhere. I hear her fake-calm, sarcastic, tight "Do right the first time, or do it over"

I drag myself into my room... I can't take anymore. I feel so sick and I just want to lay down. I don't even CARE about this shit. I know I can't throw it away because she sacrificed to buy these things for me. I sort and fold and recruit my sister to please help me.

She forgave me for the pinch and I could see the pity in her eyes. Quietly we sorted and dared not stop... The longer I sat there, the sicker I got.

Finally, as we neared the bottom of the pile, nausea overwhelmed me... I knew the clothes on the line were dry and needed to be brought in for ironing while I hung another load outside... the day was nearly over... There had been no acknowledgment of my birthday and I was given nothing but a migraine for my 11th birthday.

I heard Bob's car pull into the drive and it was more than I could take. I got sick and was grateful to have made it to the toilet. I recalled having my hair cut off because I got vomit in it several years before... I always felt so much better after getting sick. Not well, but much better.  My mother's demeanor changed immediately with the arrival of guests and, of course, now that I was sick, the "other mommy" would visit. I took a nap with a cold cloth draped over my eye and when I woke up we walked down to Grandma's for cake.

I ate my favorite... Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing... There was no excitement, but I forced a smile knowing that despite the day I had... Grandma didn't forget... she cared enough to make a cake that I swallowed over the lump in my throat. I eyed Bob across the table and was happy to be invisible for awhile.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our responsibility...

This week has been filled with so much work related drama. Last Friday while I was in another town seeing some of my little ones, a referral came in on a case I had decided I was going to close. Actually three referrals came in on the case.

Apparently the teenage child in the home told some of her friends some disturbing information and they shared with their own parents who called it in. (Which actually makes me very happy! It's very comforting to know that people who are called to action are taking that action.).

The referrals were of a sexual nature... in our town, on-going workers only investigate neglect on their own cases, so one of my favorite investigators was assigned to the case... after placing the children with a relative, having interviews, having a forensic interview at the Child Advocacy Center, it turned out to be false information.

Regardless, the situation really made me question my own abilities... I absolutely want to remain fair, unbiased, professional, objective etc, but in this instant, I felt like I was riding a fast moving train and had no control over where the train was going, where it would stop, what seat I was sitting in and who the conductor was.

I am so thankful for my supervisor who I felt comfortable enough to say you know... I just don't know if I can continue to work this case. He offered me a get out of jail free card, but also encouraged me to take some time to deal with myself.

It's hard to deal with "self issues" when so much other crap is going on... a bio mother harrassing a foster family, another mother up in arms because she missed her visit due to weather, and yet another issue with another family. We need time to process, but people want an answer now. And they want respect now. Sometimes I don't feel respectful. I realize that we are supposed to provide "unconditional personal regard" (phrase stolen from SocialWrkr24/7), but sometimes I just feel things.

I feel disdain and I feel discouraged. I feel disgust and frustration. I lack understanding.

Then again, at times, I feel empathy and warm fuzzies... I am a person before I am a social worker. I am a mother, sister and wife. I am a friend and I am not always confident.

Then some days I am confident and self-assured. I am the master of my own domain; I am quick and productive. No, I'm not bi-polar LoL, but I definately have to continuously check myself...

Am I giving my best, am I honoring the families I work with, am I honoring the relationships in my personal life.

When we get a case that we don't feel we can be objective about, is it our responsibility to give it to someone who is more equipped?

Or to work through it and learn from it? 

Feedback welcomed :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Woo hoo! Awards!

This blog has connected me with a few like-minded (and sometimes not so like-minded) people who have been reading, inspiring me, encouraging me and of course, teaching me. One that I look forward to reading every day, SocialWrkr24/7, in her awesome blog Eyes Opened Wider, has very kindly given me an award.


Thank you so much 24/7!! That made my day :) 
So here are the rules: 
1. Put the logo in my post or within my blog.

2. Pass the award onto 12 fellow bloggers.

3. Link the nominees within my post.

4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blogs.

5. Share the love and link to the person who gave you the award

 Kk, So first, I'd like to share this award with a very special lady named Kelly who writes The Missing Pieces. She is an amazing woman who is parenting 8 beautiful children! She can really touch your heart with stories about her very special children who have had to endure so much. She has true insight about her children's needs!

I'd also like to award Kevin Barbieux, who writes The Homeless Guy. This blog is an accounting of being chronically homeless from his standpoint. His advocacy for the homeless in his community is unparalleled.

Okay, that's two... # 3. goes to Anti-socialworker , an MSW student with a sassy flair.

4. A very funny and interesting OB nurse who needs to remain anonymous at At your Cervix

5. Neikiegirl - at Single Mom . She is definitely able to pull you into her journey.

6. Momma Chaos at Kingdom of Chaos - She cracks me up.

7. Tudu, a mom of 9 children who is Finishing off her family. Kelly you and this mom have lots in common!

8. Kimberly, has something she wants to tell you. She takes amazing pictures too.

9. Rain at Raining Rain who is a wonderful writer trying to complete her family.

10. Paula, an amazing foster mom at Circle of Love

11. Melissa, a fun mom of three at Mrs. Firecracker

and finally, last but certainly not least, Karen at One Good Egg who is also looking to complete her family.

YAY. I love reading all of your blogs and hope everyone else loves them as much as I do.
Don't forget to follow the rules. :)

Hello Sky

Why are you pooping snow again?

Don't you know I have to wear dress shoes today... smile all day after you get the bottom of my dress pants wet?

Why have you pooped your white doo doo on my car windows? Don't you see I can barely get in it from all the McDonald's bags my daughter left in it when she borrowed it for the last three weeks? and now you want to bury it in your icy grip?

Don't you know that my son needs to go to school because he's a messy fart and will vegetate in front of a video game all day while I'm trudging out into your cold hug?

I know you think you're pretty... I think you're pretty too, but you need a reality check because you're only pretty for the first snow of the season and then you're just annoying.

So seriously, I'm sick of you and want you to go back to Michigan or somewhere people are expecting you every few minutes. Thanks!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Soloist

Has anyone has the chance to see this movie on HBO? Here's the synopsis:

HBO will be running the Soloist movie starting midnight tonight, January 3, 2010. The Soloist movie is based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers (played by Jamie Foxx Foxx), a gifted cellist who had a mental breakdown in his third year of studies at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. The breakdown caused the loss of Nathaniel Ayers' hopes of a music career, and left him homeless in Los Angeles.

It's been a really good movie so far. Definitely makes a person think about the causes and effects of homelessness. I hope it ends well LoL.

A child's spirit.

A few months ago, I inherited a case with five special needs children in three different foster homes spread all over our region. These children were feral when they entered care. Thankfully their foster parents, hospital staff, Impact, and their previous social worker were able to help these children learn to function on a daily basis.

When I got the case, one of the little girls had just started a new school. She is seven, non-verbal, with Rhett's syndrome. She is served by two speech pathologists, two OT therapist, Impact, Michelle P. Waiver, special ed. etc. The foster mother was overwhelmed with the school when I met the family because the child was being mishandled. She was being restrained in class daily and laid over in her restraint chair when she would try to kick the chair over. She was having recess taken away when she would ask to go to the bathroom, but didn't "produce", and left to sit in her own feces if she used her pants because the teacher thought if she had to sit in it she'd stop doing it because she was just trying to use the bathroom as a control issue. I tried to discuss my concerns with the teacher and principal who believed they were justified in their behavior management techniques.

Soooo I called a referral in against the school so someone could look into it (since it's outside of my county), and contacted Protection and Advocacy to assist me in helping the school develop an appropriate IEP for this child since I'd already alienated myself with the school. (Thank you to my sister who has been battling with schools on behalf of her autistic son and guided me through the process!!).

Yesterday I drove to a town about an hour away and went to the IEP meeting for this little gem. I was already sour because I had to miss the adoption of another one of my "kids" to be there. I already knew things would be tense. THREE hours and a few tears later, the meeting was finished.... the child has free access to the restroom without pentalty. Child will be changed immediately. School with develop a Safe Crisis Management plan before using "the chair". School with use IRS method with child daily (Interupt, Redirect, Subsitute) for behaviors that are disruptive to the class. Teacher will attend new training in behavior manament to learn positive, rather than punative responses.  I hated missing the adoption, but I felt so victorious for this child!!

We  went and got her some soft tacos and went to the home afterwards for a home visit... She had a Valentines Day party at school and was anxious to show me all of her candy and asked me to teach her the signs for some of them... She learned party, peanut butter, and taco!!! Her spirit was SO contagious! She's stopped maturbating when she is stressed out. She isn't spitting, biting, or kicking. She's learning to sequence in school and her intelligence is really beginning to shine through. And even though I came home and did a removal last night, her spirit stayed with me and is still with me as I get ready to go do some home visits this morning. If she can endure all she's been through, change, grow, smile, love... then home visits on a Saturday morning should be a breeze!!

Have a great day everyone :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

To foster parents...

I just want to say that I personally feel so BADLY that at least on my caseload of 23 cases and no telling how many children, that I never EVER seem to have enough time to devote to them and my "children" that they deserve.

I obviously can't keep up with the pace I met yesterday, but somehow I still manage to put in at least ten hours a day and hope it's enough. What is it about the system that makes judges, community partners, parents, etc think that because we're the social worker, we can do EVERY thing. And maybe I just need to vent, but we have approximately 20 work days in a month. I'd say I spend five of those in court.... ALL day.

So that leaves about 15 working days to do about 44 home visits, answer endless phone calls and emails (usually bitching about something you just haven't had time to do)... write court reports, supervise visitation, transport, make referrals... meet with the community partners of all the referrals you made (MONTHLY)... Go to therapy and/or mediation with your families because they can NEVER get along for some reason... do case plans, assessments, document every single contact you have. Initiate, investigate, terminate, ... All kinds of crap I'm not even listing, get cussed on at least a weekly basis, and expect you to  it all with a smile? I'm obviously tired tonight. I'm working on a spreadsheet so I can TRY to keep up with myself. I'm doing home visits on Saturdays this month because I can't even get to them without staying out until 9 pm every night. Oh and don't forget TRAINING.... and there's just not ENOUGH of me.

But I'm still here. Even if I never do laundry, grocery shop, sweep, mop, wash my car, etc. I KNOW it's worth it. I believe in the power of CHANGE. I just think that we should be allowed to carry reasonable case loads so that we can SERVE.

And I think I'm going to go to school full time next year? I am Crazy!!

Ok. Thanks for the bitch session... Therapy is over LoL.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Because I'm amazing!

I popped off 1 CQA, 12 court reports, initiated a new case, answered 9 emails, had lunch, and prepped for a termination hearing tomorrow. And I stabbed no one!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Something about Sunday

I used to hate Sundays. I hated getting ready for Church. I was sure to make her mad. I hated feeling guilty for my hateful thoughts. I hated meeting her disappointment.  I hated feeling disconnected no matter how hard I tried to make a connection with the Church, with its teachings, with God. To be a real believer.

But now Sundays are a comfort. Sunday nights are full of warmth and security. I've usually taken an afternoon nap, chores are as done as they will or won't be. We eat supper and settle in to watch our favorite Sunday night television while I straighten my hair.

I'm so thankful for my life, my husband and my children. I feel safe. I feel safe enough that my mind is allowed to wander back to another lifetime. A time I've hidden and ignored for far too long. I realize that I actually think about my past almost every day, even if just for a passing moment. That's not new, but recognizing it is somewhat new.  Over the years I've found ways to push it away. Find something else to do, ignore it. I'm glad I started this blog so I can put it all somewhere.

I realized that as I write this blog, I've begun remembering things that are just so random. I don't want to really jump back and forth but that's how the mind works.

I was on a home visit this past week and trying to get to know a little girl who is four. Her brother is six. Crafts are a wonderful way to make friends with a child and I had taken some stickers and door hangers for the kids to make whatever kinds of signs they wanted for their rooms. I imagined the slightly older boy would put "NO GIRLS ALLOWED" on his and the little girl I had no idea. She began drawing with markers and as she put her stickers on my mind wandered. I kept flashing a paper plate pumpkin that was hanging on our refrigerator. I finished my home visit with my new friend who had proudly made mini muffins just for my visit and drove home, but the drive is about 20 minutes... long enough to explore where I had gone.

The pumpkin was made from two Styrofoam plates. Each plate had a pumpkin face drawn on it. One happy and one mad/sad. They were stapled together and hung from a string held on by a magnet. I remember being happy to be making something with my mom, but then she revealed her motives.

The rule was that if the pumpkin was on a happy face when Asshole got home, then life was fine, but if she flipped it to the mad/sad side, he would immediately know my momma was mad at me and I would be in trouble by him.

I don't remember what I did to get the pumpkin on the mad face, but I begged her to turn it before he got home. I went to bed early hoping to avoid him. I was getting a migraine from the anxiety. I refused supper. I refused to speak. When she would try to talk to me, I'd look at her with that blank stare that infuriated her. I couldn't say the right thing so I would say nothing.  As I drifted off to sleep I could feel my pulse beat throb in my left eye. I might be sick.

He jerked me out of bed and smacked the back of my head. I saw a white flash from the blow as I was startled awake. I felt like he'd picked up a skeleton and imagined my body had no flesh. I was dead. I was dead inside and my mind visualized me as a corpse. I don't remember anything else after that. I have a lot of moments that my memory gets to a certain point and I remember a feeling, but not what happened. I don't know when the pumpkin disappeared.

I think it's very odd how children deal with themselves in these type situations. How the smallest things can trigger a child into rage, tears, depression, lying, fantasizing, wetting themselves, masturbating, people pleasing, fighting etc.

I spend a lot of time trying to educate relatives and foster parents about how these behaviors are NOT personal. That "Fuck you" mentality is a defense mechanism. My heart breaks every time I get called to move a child because those behaviors are just overwhelming to their host family.

Please PLEASE stop having your foster children moved because you don't understand them!

Children need understanding, new coping skills, and boundaries. They need adults to understand what the child doesn't. Once the adult understand, they can begin to help the child understand. Don't "react" to them... TEACH them.

Questions children might wonder... Am I normal. What is normal. What do other people do when they are upset. What is this feeling called?  How can I practice using my words when I hate you? Why do I hate you?   Will you think I'm crazy if I tell you I see myself as a dead person sometimes?

Elderberry Jam and Sassafrass Tea

After we pick berries and gather roots, we go back to the house for Grandma to make jam and tea. She sends me to the garden behind the house with a small bucket to get potatoes for supper. If I'll get them she'll fry them she said. Yay. I can drench them in ketchup.

I walk down to the garden which is a section cut out of the cornfield. It's a leased field and grandma reserves a section for a mid-sized garden. She grows tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green bean etc. We take corn from the cornfield. The dirt is not soft, but is field dirt. I am a child who needs to touch things. I'm still sensitive to touch, sound and light as an adult. I run my hand over the dirt and hope I see some worms. I lift a rock in search of a worm and find some roly poly bugs. I play with those for awhile before I get busy digging up some potatoes. I could never linger while doing tasks for my mom, but my grandmother encouraged me to explore, relax, take my time.  When I've satisfied myself with a little play and gotten the potatoes, I head back towards the house.

As I'm walking, I get this sick feeling. I feel like someone is watching me. I look back and no one is there. I start off again and the feeling intensifies. I recall my grandmother telling me my mother was so connected to her father that she could announce his arrival five minutes before he'd get home. I "connect" with my grandmother and tell her I'm scared. I'm in trouble.  I quicken my pace... but the faster I go, the more I get this sick sick feeling. When I stop, I feel like it also stops.

I get to the side of the house and the feeling is overwhelming me. I'm terrified. SOMETHING IS FOLLOWING ME. I turn all the way around and see it. It licks its tongue out at me. I don't scream, I don't cry. I am frozen. I can't move. It's looking at me and I'm stuck in my own body. I don't know what to do. Its beady eyes are just there and I'm just there. If I move, it moves.  I'm screaming in my mind and the bucket is getting heavy. I hear my grandmother coming up behind me. Hot tears finally release from my frozen, tense face.

"Be still while I shoot", she whispered.  BANG!... its head is gone. Its body is still moving. WTF. OMG, its not dead. I drop my bucket and wrap my arms around my grandmas waist. My quivering voice asks, "How did you know?" I'm astounded she could hear my thoughts. "I saw you out the window", she laughed. "Don't worry, its dead, its muscles are just twitching".

I'm so impressed with her shooting skills. I'm so impressed with her intuition. She may have seen me, but she couldn't have seen that snake. It was really actually small. "Do you want to eat that snake with your potatoes", she teased. Uh, no I don't. I had the best grandma.

This is a blue racer. They are one of the few snakes that chase people. I borrowed this picture from the internet and it belongs to

Mental Illness

Growing up with part of my family being Catholic and the other being Mormon was a little confusing. I always joke that I had the Pope and the Prophet covered. After the trial I tried to become a good Mormon. I memorized the 13 Articles of Faith, prayed, took the Sacrament, gave my pennies and tried to know God. My mother started school after the trial in a town about an hour away. She was so histrionic that she bitched about "risking her life" on the interstate every time she had to go to class to provide a better life for us. We were just glad she was off the farm so we could play.

My mom had this knack for drawing the weirdest people into her life. She had friends that lived in a barn (Mormons), friends that lived in a circus tent (vegans), friends who had mental health issues (almost all of them), and friends who, like her, took life to the extreme.  In our house, the extreme was religion, cleanliness, and obedience. I began noticing the lives of other people after the trial. There was a girl who rode my bus that only wore dresses and never cut her hair. Most everyone who lived in our county was poor and so no one really felt poor in relation to others. It was just a lifestyle. My grandmother had more time with us since my mom was in school. I took a lot of opportunities to ask her questions in an attempt to understand my mom better.

I wish there was some way I could describe my connection to my grandmother, but there aren't really any words. We didn't need words. I could place my hand in her hand and draw energy from her. Strength.

We went for a walk one day to pick elderberries and get sassafrass root for tea (taste like rootbeer tea,... REALLY yummy).  I asked her why my mom was so different from other moms and as always my grandma was honest with me.

She told me a story about my mom's real dad. I did know that my grandpa was her step-dad.

My mother's father was a schizophrenic. He drank a lot of alcohol and abused the family physically and emotionally... except for my mom. My mom was the youngest. The golden child. "What's a schizophrenic, Grandma"... "Someone who has a brain that messes up their thinking, sweetie"  The aunt and uncle (who I haven't introduced into this blog yet) took a lot of abuse from their dad. My mom would have too, but they protected her. Since they took the blame for everything she did, he never knew and therefore loved her the most.

When momma was eight, her daddy tried to pick her up from school. Grandma worked two jobs and was out of the home a lot. Grandma was smart (not smart enough to leave, but smart). She had told the school not to let anyone pick the children up but her. He went home and shot himself that day. He wanted to take my mom with him, but didn't. The abuse my mom witnessed and the suicide of her father shaped her.

Now I couldn't comprehend this information. I was probably ten years old, but slowly over the years, I put more and more together. It took me years after my mother's own murder to understand that she was also mentally ill. More on that another day.

Grandma's farmhouse years after we all left. 


Here's one of the Aunt's house...
Here is one of the trailer we lived in down the path...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I'd thought about posting Asshole's sex offender pic on here or the link and then decided I wouldn't because my page is pretty and I didn't want his mug darkening my space, but please make sure you check your own sex offender registry at least a few times a year so you are aware of who lives around you so you can keep your children SAFE. And remember for every convicted sex offender, there are no telling how many who aren't convicted or caught. A lot of people teach their children about stranger danger, but most crimes are commited by the people we KNOW. Our neighbors, our family members etc. Teach your children that they can TELL even if it is your favorite uncle. :)

So much for only talkin about this junk on the weekends LOL.

Oh... Who's your favorite LOST character and why? (Question stolen from a friends sister).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lesson of the day...

I'm watching Oprah (thanks to DVR!).  They are airing the show of the adult children of the woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart. I've been noticing that people are really able to acknowledge all types of abuse, but one that is rarely touched on is religous abuse.  More on that later. What I was really intrigued about was when the siblings where talking about how even though all of the children grew up in the same home, they all had different experiences. I found that to be true with my and my sister as well, but I don't think I've really realized it in a way that would be practical until I just heard it said allowed. I'm thankful I can learn something everyday!

Weekend Posting

I didn't sleep well last night. I thought about my past for the better part of the night and felt  hung over from the emotional roller coaster this morning. I was thankful to have the luxury of going in a few hours late and glad I didn't have court first thing this morning. I'm only going to post on the weekends to this blog. I need time to get over myself so I can give my best to the families I work with. I have to pace myself so I don't drown LoL. Thanks for understanding.