In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Monday, May 9, 2011

4 Years

Today marks a turning point in my life, my husband’s life and most of all in the little’s lives.

It was the day after Mothers Day 4 years ago that we officially became Daddy & Mommy again.

Even though they were already living here 90% of the time for the 8 months leading up to this day but was instead called “babysitting” while she supposedly worked. Even though they already had beds, dressers full of clothes, toys and all little ladies baby paraphernalia. Even though I had been hauling them with me to work every day. Even though we held the titles of  grandma and grandma and we did everything daddy’s and mommy’s do. Even though they had already bonded with us. 

It was Mothers Day 4 years ago when my eye’s were opened up to the truth that I had refused to see. I had been manipulated. I had been lied to. I had been used. My husband had tried to tell me. I didn’t believe him. Instead I felt sorry for my step daughter, closed my eye’s to the hurt she inflicted on us and believed that if we supported and helped her to start loving herself then she could get her life together and thus be a mother to the little’s. As you know it didn’t work that way.

She made that Mother’s Day pure hell and then walked out the door. Without her children. With my youngest daughters help we spent the rest of that day and the next getting to the bottom of the truth. And the truth was not pretty. When she came to our home the day after Mother’s Day, she was angry because she had gotten word that we had found her out. She threatened to take the little’s and that we would never see them again. As lies spewed out of her mouth I stopped her and told her that she needed to take her children and go home because I was DONE with her lies and manipulation. I told her that her father and I would be over immediately after he got home from work.

When they walked out the door and drove away, I sobbed. I hated sending the little’s with her but in reality these were her children and we had no rights to keep them. A couple of hours later, my husband and I went to her apartment. We were horrified about the condition of the apartment but even more so of seeing little lady laying in a filthy crib with a bottle propped up to her, while little man held a cup of juice that had mold floating on top, in his little hands. It was mere minutes of confronting her that she verbally asked us to take the little’s. Within an hour of confronting her, we walked back out of the apartment with the little’s in our arms, after my husband loaded up the remaining of their belongings into our car.

They have been with us ever since.

Now I could say what a horrible person I think she is.  I could lament about how much we tried helping her to be the mommy. But, I won’t. While it was wrong of her to lie, manipulate and use us like she did, it would have been worse for the little’s if she hadn’t. I cringe at the thought of what life would have been like with propped up bottles and dirty juice cups in the midst of a filthy apartment.  But even more I cringe at the thought of them not getting fed emotionally. She was and still is emotionally void. As much as it makes me angry that she did all these things in order for us to be constantly caring for the little’s, I am thankful she did. I am thankful that we were her safe place and that she knew we would love them.

She loved the little’s enough to manipulate us so that they were with us the majority of the time. When she was confronted with the truth of having to step up to the plate and be the mommy because we were not going to be helping anymore she loved them  enough to admit that she couldn’t be the mommy. She loved them enough to ask us to take them. She loved them enough to walk away. She loved them enough to want them in a loving safe home instead of the alternative.

There are those that throw stones at her and mothers like her. It could be easy to condemn her. In our hearts we ask how could a mother do this? Yet, when I heard this morning of another mother killing her children I thought more mothers need to walk away from their children before it reaches this point of no return. More mothers need to love their children enough to hand them to someone that will.

This doesn’t mean that she didn’t change her mind once we wanted to make it legal. This doesn’t mean that she hasn’t continued to lie and manipulate. This doesn’t mean that she hasn’t  told whom ever will listen that we stole her children from her. This doesn’t mean that it has been smooth sailing with her.

Over the past 4 years we have had a bitter sweet journey that led us to being called daddy & mommy today. Early on, it cost most of our savings and some of our sanity in order for us to have complete legal & physical custody of the little’s. I don’t care who you are, no one likes fighting their own child in court but you do what you have to do when faced with the alternative. Thankfully we live in a state that gives relative caregivers as much rights as birth parents in the eye of the law. 

At this point she has done nothing to improve her life or ability to parent so the likely hood of them being with us through the long haul is very high. The only way she could get custody of them is if we were proven to be negligent parents or if we see fit to hand them back to her ourselves.

She will always be the birth mommy. The little’s know she is mommy and that we really are the grandparents but prefer to call us daddy & mommy. She will always be in their lives and the little’s will get supervised visits with her. We are a family with more than one mommy.

We were newly married when we received these children. The plans we had  were put on the back burner.We thought it was just going to to be a temporary thing and we surely didn’t plan on being daddy & mommy. Almost 5 years later here we are. We may not be doing what we planned to be doing but I truly believe we are exactly where we are suppose to be.

You would think that with all they have been through they would be messed up little people but in reality they are very happy normal little people. Yes, on occasion we have issues with them being overly attached to us and they have difficulty being apart from us. They have an issue with people leaving them. If it were up to them all five of my adult children and grandchildren would all be living with us, along with various aunts and uncles. Smile

The little’s have changed our lives and filled up our hearts. They have expanded my family and added a whole new flavor to it. They may exasperate us every some days and we may not get many breaks but they add so much love and joy to our lives that I cannot imagine them not being here.  

I don’t share our story because I want  pats on the back or for you to praise me with accolades. I share this because if our story can help one person it is worth sharing. If our story can help others to be supportive of someone that is raising someone else child or children. If our story can encourage someone that is walking in our shoes. If our story can help others to be more understanding and less judgmental of parents that walk away. That just maybe if we all consider the alternatives…the children killed by their parents, children that are abused and neglected…the children that are all alone, that are not nourished physically, mentally or emotionally, then we could stop throwing rocks at parents that walk away instead.

Our story has a happy ending but not all do.  Motherhood and fatherhood is not a right but a privilege. Children are not but mere objects that we can discard at our discretion but sometimes walking away is the most loving thing a parent can do. I wish with all of my heart that mother’s  or fathers that take their children’s lives had thought about this alternative first.

That night, 4 years ago, when we walked back into our home carrying these two precious souls, we started a journey into unknown waters. So much has happened since then. We may struggle at times. We may lose  sight of where we are going at times but some how we always find our way. I know we are right where we are suppose to be.

I hope each of you that are mom’s, and those that stand in as mom and those of you without children but have mothers hearts had a happy mothers day this past weekend.  As I reflect on getting to be a mom to each one of my children and grandma to my grandchildren my heart is full. I could not ask for more. (Well, except that they lived closer. Smile )


Until next time, much love and big hugs to each one of you, Lori


PS Thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts that are sent my way. I so appreciate you!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It is has been quite some time since I posted here. On occasions, when the pain is less and my mind is more clear I stop by your places and read and if I am able…meaning, if the house is quiet and my mind is working, I leave a comment. I cherish the moments of partaking in your words. Your words move me…they make me smile and sometimes cry…they make me forget the things I carry and remember why I love you and the blog world like I do.

Right now, I feel like I am caught in the “meantime”…in the middle some place between heaven and hell. If I were to write that I am doing good I would be lying even though I am not doing horrible. At least not on most days. I still have days of wanting to just stop this nonsense and be done. Still, I am spending less time dreaming about dying and more time dreaming about living.

Pain is pain and it still sucks. I ended my set amount of therapy sessions and have been waiting numerous weeks for approval by the workers comp company for more sessions as requested by the therapist and doctor. Thankfully, more sessions have been granted and now I just wait for these sessions to start again. It did help me with my pain and gave me a spoonful of hope so I am hoping that additional therapy will give me the kick in the butt that I need.

I have also seen a small improvement in my thyroid issues which came in finding that the medication does it’s job better when I crush it and put it under my tongue. While I do still feel exhausted towards the end of the day…to the point of feeling like I have the flu, it is not as bad nor do I wake up feeling like this. I am keeping more energy during the day and not having to fight through bone tiring fatigue all day long.

Still, I am constantly seeking out answers to help things improve even more. Our diet that was already healthy has become even more so. Eating the way we do does keep everyone from getting sick but I think it is helping me to ever so slowly feel better. Removing pretty much all processed foods and making everything from scratch is work…hell it’s a lot of work, but cooking and baking is therapeutic for me(most of the time Smile ).

My counters have bowls of fresh ground grains, rice or beans soaking in liquid and an acid medium, which is usually whey from my strained yogurt or sometimes yogurt(This helps break down the phytic acid which helps aid in digestion). I have kombucha tea brewing and now instead of just making yogurt I started my first batch of kefir this week.

While the little’s are my top priority, the pain and working in the kitchen take all of the energy I have and leave little for anything else. Literally.

It has really been a long winter. Spring has not really come to my neck of the woods yet. We did have a few warmer days back a few weeks ago but the kids have been back wearing their winter coats and hats. It does look funny to look outside and see them riding bikes and playing in the sand box with winter coats on. Smile Even though the snow has finally melted we are still getting snow on occasions and this does nothing for the spirits of anyone. It looks and feels more like the middle of November then it does April.

The little’s are doing good. Little man informs me almost daily of how many day’s of school are left. As of today he say’s he has 26 days left. He continues to say the funniest things and I really wonder what they must think at school. Little lady is just as full of sugar and vinegar as always. She is quite the mix of being a princess and a tom boy and that is evident when she is wearing a long princess dress while wrestling with her cousin, A-man.  A-man (he is my youngest daughters son and they live with us but plans are in the making of them moving this fall) is included as one of the little’s because of living with us and I take care of him while his mom works. I call him and little lady “The nose picking, booger eating double trouble makers”. Believe me they live up to the name quite well. Smile All 3 of them sure keep me on my toes and my heart full.

My step daughter, the little’s  birth mommy, has just informed us that she will now be moving back to Nevada at the end of the month. She spent an entire year back here in Minnesota and did NOTHING to get her life together. While she has had supervised visits every 4-6 weeks for a couple of hours at a time, over this past year she has made no efforts to get them back or to improve her life. She is an emotionally void person that gives nothing to them but “stuff”. This is sad. Still they are very happy, well adjusted children and have never asked to live with her. They are aware of her leaving and their reaction was, “it doesn’t really matter”. Even though they don’t appear to be upset I still worry what her leaving once again will do to them.  It is highly unlikely that we will or could ever hand them back to her. At this point of them being with us for this length of time, what would it do to them to leave our home? 

It makes me angry that she has done all of this to them. This coming and going and leaving and not thinking about their feelings…or ours. We have stretched ourselves to our limits in dealing with this situation and just when we have peace after we have gotten the little’s through a hurdle she comes along with another cross for us to bear. I feel sad for my husband because this is his daughter and she treats him with such disrespect even in the light of all we have done for her.

More change is coming into our lives as my husband will be starting a new job, which is a good thing. Since he will now be working the days I am working, he will no longer be able to care for the little’s while I work.  We cannot afford daycare and the gas and make it worth my working the 2 days a week so when he starts his new job in a few weeks I will be staying home….at least until both of the little’s are in school and then we will go from there. I am sad because I have loved my job and the woman I care for…and I’ve loved getting out of the house and contributing money to our family.

It sure has been quite the journey over these past months and weeks…and during that time there were moments I stood on the edge of despair and just when I thought there was no hope left, one or more of you would do something like leave a kind caring comment here, or send me an e-mail inquiring how I was doing. Some of you wrote posts to let me know you cared or to make me laugh because laughter is the best medicine. One of you even sent me a book that you thought would help me get through. Each one of you made me remember that I am not alone and that there is indeed hope. I cannot thank you enough for the love you have shown me, and for the prayers and positive thoughts that have been sent my way. Each act of kindness left me humbled to be part of such a community as this.

It has taken me over a week to write this post. And this frustrates me. Still I am thankful for the small moments I am able to write or even read. I appreciate every moment that I get to read one of your posts. I am trying with all of my might to just be present in this meantime of my life. The pain has been extremely high these past few days and it’s hard not to let the pain speak for me. When I catch my breath I don’t feel so desperate or scared. And I feel like I can do this one more day.

Thank you for taking the time to listen…to care…to reach out to me. You move me to tears each and every time.

Bless your hearts and lives and those you love and fill your time.

Much love and giant hugs to each one of you. Until next time(hopefully soon), Lori


Friday, March 4, 2011


I really do not know what to say. I sit here looking at the computer screen and I cry.

For what it’s worth, I’ve missed you. And your words. A lot. I  visit you on occasion. Hungering for words that could distract my mind from what is…chewing on your words…yet I leave without saying anything because I am speechless. Go figure. Me with my long winded comments has been silenced. I have nothing to offer anyone. And this makes me beyond sad.

I’ve thought about a hundred things to write about but words escape me. When I think about writing about why I have been absent here and why I haven’t visited your place, I struggle to find the words.  I cannot stand superficial or people that pretend to be who they are not. I like the real deal. Yet, here I am finding it really hard to be “real” because I don’t like spewing out negativity. If you have spent any amount of time here then you know that. Still here I am. Spewing out what is within the walls of my world. And it’s not positive…so if you are steering away from negativity, now is the time to click away from here.

Pain has swallowed me up. Intense therapy has made things worse which although I know it’s normal for it to get worse before it gets better, doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. It sucks the life out of me and makes me feel less then human. It’s leaving me bruised and wore out.

Since there is nothing that takes this kind of pain completely away, there really is nothing that the medical community can offer me to relieve it. Maybe it’s crazy that I refuse to take any pain medications but after spending the first two years of my injury going that route I know it’s not the answer. I will not cloud my mind and fill my body up with substances that mess me up and don’t really help anyways. Pain medications are not meant to be taken long term and after awhile our bodies build up immunity to them.

The things that can help with pain…. Alternative things… are not allowed by worker compensation. They do help because I have experienced their benefits but are not an option right now. Things like acupuncture, medical marijuana, healing touch and massage. They are either not in the budget or not legal in Minnesota. I know people who are using all of these to help with pain, and for other ailments. I know someone with severe arthritis that manages her pain and sleeps through the night(after years of not sleeping) with the help of the medical marijuana. This is enough to make me want to move to a state in which it is legal…and if this state was warmer(and with less snow) than where I live now, it would be an added bonus.

The thing is, just to get the intense therapy that I am getting now, which borders on the alternative, I had to jump through hoops and go through the court system to get it. They put me through 9 months of court fighting over me getting this therapy that costs them $150 a session, yet ironically they had no issue with providing me with morphine, other narcotics and drugs that cost well over $5,000 EVERY month for 2 years. The thing is, this therapy helps and the narcotics do not. The fact that they only approved for me to have 12 sessions means that if my therapist wants me to have more I will likely have to fight for it. And I’m not sure I’m up for it.

I am forced to face the truth of living a life with pain. Saying goodbye to what was and welcoming what is, is not easy. I can pretend it doesn’t bother me. I can say all the right things to convince those around me it is just fine. But, sometimes it just isn’t. I’m not fine. In these moments that I lose hope I feel far from fine. I loved that job. I was passionate about it…hell I still am passionate about it.

I’ve been a step away from saying goodbye…calling it quits…I dream about dying and it feels good. Actually that is the only time I have good dreams these days. It feels good to be done…but then I wake up and I’m still here, in pain…either that or I wake up in total terror because of the monster that visits me when my eye’s are closed…the one that attacks me over and over again while I sleep that leaves me wishing I never had to sleep. When I finally get up after only a couple hours of sleep I promise myself that I only have to make it through today.

I am sure my thyroid that is still giving me issues only compounds everything.

I know this long, cold, snow filled winter, that has kept us inside a lot, has not helped matters. The bitter cold does make my pain levels higher and all this never ending “togetherness” is causing all 7 of us in this house to be a little bit stir crazy. There is no end in sight either as the big piles of snow are not going down and there is talk of a lot more being added to it in the near future. Actually I can handle  more snow than the bitter cold days and the winds that blow snow across the roads, making them icy.

High pain levels increase the PTSD symptoms. I find myself fretting about being attacked again. It really is ridiculous because I am not in danger of being attacked. I find myself not wanting to sit where people can come up behind me. I have less tolerance for loud noises. I startle easier. There are moments that the cloud of fear is so strong that it is hard to see through the fog. I rarely leave my house except to go to work or to go to therapy. Not just because it’s cold or hard to be out in public but more because masking the face of pain is exhausting.  Making sure no one see’s how much I’m hurting is a full time job.

I am seeing a counselor that specializes in chronic pain and PTSD. He say’s that everything I am experiencing is normal for someone in my position. He say’s it’s perfectly normal for people that live with pain to go through periods of wanting to throw in the towel. He would like to see me go through the pain program again. He also say’s it’s time for me to express my anger about the attack, my attacker and the company that did nothing to protect me. When I say “I’m not angry.” he just smiles at me.

My day begins and ends with pain. In between I do all the things I can to maintain. I ice. I stretch. I breathe through it. I mediate. I pray. I try to let it go and not fight it. Not allowing any of this to stop me from living life is not easy on the best of day’s but when the day’s of high pain pile on top of each other along with the piles of tasks that need to be done around my home, I start to lose my fight to want something more.

Since pain and not sleeping so well drains me of energy, I prioritize what gets done and what doesn’t. My little’s literally get the best of me. They are at the top of my list. While they exhaust me, they give me life. Their joy for life and the simple things ... Their big love for me and the way they look at me is what keeps my heart beating. Their gentleness with me when they see the pain that I cannot hide is priceless. They breathe fresh air into the moments that I feel like I do not want to go on. They fill up my day with beautiful messes and sweet chaos and I cannot imagine life without them.

Nor could I imagine life without my husband or my adult son and daughter that fill in the gaps and give me endless support. I know it is not easy for them to see me suffering. As hard as I try to hide it, they see the pain in my eye’s and read between the lines. Giving up sleeping in or their own interests in order to drive me to therapy or to watch the little’s so that I can go. Taking the little’s outside when it warms up enough, just so that I can have some moments to breathe or coming home to the living room being dusted and vacuumed are priceless gifts they give me.

Between them and the little’s I have a reason to get up every day and to not check out of this life. They keep me from laying down and never getting back up.

The other day, in the middle of my intense therapy I broke down. After these weeks of therapy I finally felt safe enough to express the emotions that screamed to come out whenever her hands touched certain area’s of my head or neck. I had no control over my emotions. While that didn’t freak me out it did make me aware of just how much I still have inside of me and how I am still coming to terms with what happened and my new life that resulted from that.

In May it will be 9 years that I started on this journey. The physical pain and the pain of PTSD have taught me lessons I would not have learned otherwise. I am grateful for what I have learned and the people I have met because of pain. I do believe there is a reason that I am going through all of this even though I may rage against it every now and then. I know that there is a greater purpose that is bigger than me and my understanding. I know that each trial or tribulation that I have been through was an invitation to learn something that would benefit me when I got to the other side. There are blessings and lessons in these long day’s and I am trying to not miss them. 

I have always been a bit of a rebel. Okay, a lot of a rebel. Right now I feel like rebelling against what is and what I “should” be doing. I want to take this shit sandwich and throw it at my old bosses heads and see if they like how it feels.

It’s these moments that I want to stand in the middle of the room and scream out obscenities. Or I want to curl up into a ball and just cry.

I am weary and sad. I am tired of the pain gnawing at my last nerve. My hope is running on low. I am clinging to my faith but I would be lying if I said I never questioned God on all of this.

I ask myself, What am I being invited to learn right now? What would I be missing out on if I wasn’t  in this present moment, pain, exhaustion and all? Would I be missing out on these precious simple moments because I would be too busy “doing”? Being forced to literally “stop” I am forced to see what I may miss other wise.  I know that even though I may not “feel” it right now, I have a great life and much to be grateful for.

As I was getting ready to go to work a couple of weeks ago, my husband was asking about all the work that needed to be done and sounded kind of exasperated about doing it while caring for the youngest 2 little’s. Without missing a beat, little lady say’s to him, “Welcome to Mommy’s world.” Too funny and so true.

It’s things like this that fill my day’s and not only put’s smiles on my face but reminds me of why I can’t check out of this life.

I am not sure if I will have the guts to push publish on this post but if I do I ask that if you are a prayer, that you would pray for us here. I ask that you would send positive thoughts our way.

I promise that I will be by to visit you and leaving my two cents worth as soon as I have something to offer. I really do miss you.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori




Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love really is Louder

We’ve been talking a lot about love at our house this month. Of course the little’s were excited about Valentine’s day. From the time they came home with letter’s about the upcoming “love” holiday, the talk began about decorating a box for Valentines and then of course picking out the special Valentines and treats to give each of their classmates and teachers. Oh the joy that I had completely forgotten about, that takes place with children and this holiday.

Oh the joy of writing out every single one of those Valentines with them. At one point, little lady was getting pretty sloppy writing her name and I asked her what it was that she had written because it surely didn’t look like her name. She responded with, “I can’t help it, my brain is telling my hand to write something else.”

The fun of making their boxes with my creative daughter…boxes they claim they are “never ever” throwing away…thank you dear daughter for doing this with them.

love is louder 001love is louder 012winter 007

Little lady with a love bug. Little A man with a monster(he claims this is what our monster Franklin looks like) Little man with a puppy.

Quite naturally the topic of love has been brought up a lot these past few weeks. I like to use these  teachable moments with the little’s because I not only have their complete attention but they are still young enough to think I know what I am talking about.

We talked about how important it is to keep our love buckets full because we act our best when they are full. We also talked about how important it is to make deposits or delivery's into other people’s love buckets.  We talked about how when  love buckets get empty they leave room for things of hate to come in.

We talked about the opposite of love being hate. Which led us to discuss what happens when people have hate in their hearts…which led to talking about why we say “I’m sorry” and why we forgive each other and why loving is so much better than hating…and so on and so on. This is what gave birth to my previous post on love beating hate.

We’ve had some really interesting discussions. And a lot of funny one’s. Okay, mostly they end up being funny one’s because how can they not with a 3, 4 and 5 year old? If you were a little mouse in the corner of our house your ears would be full of our nonsense and silliness.

In one discussion we some how started talking about how people  can be mean to people that are different.

Little man say’s seriously, “I’m different. I have brown skin.”

Little lady excitedly screams, “I’m different. I have really really blond curly hair.”

Little A man, really excited, screams, “I’m different too Grandma. I’m a boy and I pee standing up.”

Obviously, the younger two are not completely getting what I am meaning by being different but I still attempted to go with it for little man who had been seriously into this “talk”. Yet once again he was swayed by the 3 and 4 year olds because  they couldn’t get off the topic of peeing while standing up and he thought this to be quite funny. To no avail this led into them counting who can pee standing up in our family. At least their getting good at counting.

With the many days of sub zero temperatures, we had way too many days of togetherness.(except we are having beautiful weather right now)  As you must know it gets pretty loud around here so one day last week I asked them, “Is this what love sounds like?” This led us to ponder what love sounds like. Which led into us asking what hate sounds like. In the midst of this discussion, little man responded with, “I think love should be louder than hate so all the hate can go out of this world.”

Amen Little Man. Amen!

Oh the sweetness and heart of this little boy.  This little boy who has been mistreated for the color of his skin and because he doesn’t go to church. Still he loves proudly and he doesn’t care who you are, he will love you. He loves big and loud and is not afraid to let anyone he loves know it. Just ask the lunch ladies, the janitors, the recess lady’s and the teachers at school.

I had heard about the love is louder movement on Facebook and since they had so much fun doing the “love beats hate” signs with me, I asked them if they wanted to write on their hands, “just this once” and of course they were all over it. I asked my eldest Granddaughter to take part in it with us and she created the love is louder hands picture in the middle.

Love is louder was started as an anti bullying campaign and it became something more. What I appreciate about these group efforts is that it causes people to stop and look at their own actions. If just one person changes their behavior due to this movement it is worth it. It also helps those who are the target of such bullying to know they are not alone and gives them a voice.

Love is louder proclaims that real love is more than romance, mush or just mere words. Love is an action.


album 2-14-2011


On Valentines Day, we declared that love is indeed louder.

Love is louder than hate, meanness or bully’s.

Our voices and hands are made for loving and building up, not hurting and tearing down.

Our actions speak louder than our words. If we say we love but act the opposite, we are but a noise.

If we say we love and back it up with our actions, it speaks loud and clear.

Love sounds so much sweeter doesn’t it?


Love tastes  more delicious valentines day pizza 007 when made with hands that love doesn’t it?

Love makes every day worthwhile when it’s this kind of love.

Can you hear it? Can you hear the love?

Love gets pretty loud here…we love loudly and fiercely…we love bigger than the universe…bigger than the highest mountains…to the moon and back…we clash and bang around…we make a lot of noise in this family that could be filled with turmoil, sadness, hate, anger, bitterness, and resentment. Love chases things like that away when you let it.

There are day’s I wish for more of the quieter kind of love and there are moments like right now that I get a few moments of it…and you can better believe I relish in it.

Little Man said it so well when he said. “I think love should be louder than hate so all the hate can go out of this world.”  I couldn’t agree with him more.

I close with this photo taken recently of the little’s playing outside on their “mountain”…

winter 028


Love really is louder.

Until next time my dear friends, love & hugs, Lori





Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Beats Hate-The answer is Love



The word “hate” is not allowed to be used in our home. It is not part of our vocabulary.


We are an anti hate family.

We refuse to make room for hate in our hearts.

I learned a long time ago that hate will kill our spirits and steal away our souls.

I believe nothing good comes out of hate.

I believe that answering things such as racism, judgment or bullying with hate is not the answer.

I believe that hate perpetuates the evils of this world and keeps them alive.

I believe that hate in the heart is where injustices begin.

I believe  that if hate is allowed to fester it can grow like a wild fire.

I believe that the wild fire puts out joy and peace and leaves the heart charred with blackness.

I believe hate breeds with evil and gives birth to things like murder, bullying, racism and abuse in all it’s forms.

Even if it doesn’t cause one to commit injustices, I believe it can make us unhappy, miserable, sick, depressed and toxic.

I may dislike something or someone. I may feel really angry because of injustices that are done to myself, someone I love or to another human being. I may even want to hurt someone back for what they did. Still the answer is not to hate.

I believe the answer is love.


100% unequivocal love. Love that is not just a feeling but a verb. An action. Love that is not about mush or sex. Love that in unconditional. Love that doesn’t expect or demand it’s own way. Love that makes room for imperfection. Love that wakes the dead heart and makes it come alive.  Love that accepts. Love that sets free and doesn’t hold back. Love that isn’t jealous or unkind. Love that doesn’t seek revenge. Love that forgives. Love that doesn’t deny or take away. Love that doesn’t leave room for hate.

I believe that love   CIMG0009    hate any day.

I believe love can knock hate to the ground. If we let it. If we don’t stand in it’s way. 

I’ve taught this to my children, my children’s children and all the children that have ever been in my care. I teach this to my little’s now.

Most of all, I’ve tried to live it in front of them so that they could learn by my example.

Because love beating hate begins with me.

It is not always easy to choose love over hate.

There was a time that my heart was full of hate. Towards myself. A thousand times I will tell you that living a life with hate in your heart is not a good way to live. Hell actually. And I will tell you that having love set my heart free was the most beautiful feeling in the world.

It is not as though injustices haven’t happened in my life or in our family.

Things like abuse, rape, racism, bullying, suicide, incest, divorce, death and loss are not strangers to my life.  These might be ugly things but I refuse to allow them to make my heart ugly with the hate that could color my heart if I allowed it to.

Do not think for one second that when my daughter was raped at the start of her freshman year of college that I didn’t feel moments of hatred for the man that did this to her. I choose not to hate him.

When little man experiences racism I want to come out of my skin but I choose to not hate the racist. When my step daughter lies or behaves in way that hurts one of the little’s I want to come unglued but I choose to not hate her.

Having put on weight over this past year and a half due to health issues  brings out my old battle with anorexia as a young woman and causes me to struggle with self hating once again but I am choosing to not hate myself.

Being attacked at my job not only cost me my livelihood but has kept me from being able to work full time. Not to mention that I now live with pain 24/7.  Even though this person attacked me and left me with permanent injuries to my skull and neck I do not hate her. Even though the company that employed me didn’t protect me and I hold them the most responsible, I don’t hate them.

There are weeks, like this week,  that it feels like the pain is swallowing me up and I start to feel panic. This is when I have to face what has happened with love. I refuse to allow hate to enter into the picture because hate would keep me locked into  the past. Hate would hold me in bondage so tight that I would never move past this.

Hate takes up too much room in the heart. It doesn’t leave room for the good. 

Choosing love to handle the injustices in my life instead of with hate stops the cycle from repeating itself. It stops hate from having anywhere to go.

Love makes room for something more.

Hate keeps a person stuck in the muck of bitterness,  unforgiveness and in bondage to “it” so in order to be free of the muck, we must choose to lay the hate down.

Hate puts up walls and imprisons us to whatever it is that hurt or angered us. I don’t want to be owned by whatever “it” is.

Love unlocks the door.  It allows us to move forward instead of staying stuck behind the cold black bars of hate.

Love, like hate, can grow and spread like a wild fire.

I believe that both love and hate are contagious and we each have a choice as to which one we are going to spread around.

I choose love because I believe love is the answer.

Love feels and looks  much better than hate.


I wrote this post as  part of the love beats hate campaign. Please join me in choosing love over hate.

Love beats hate is a campaign to raise awareness about how hate affects all of us.

 Click the daisy to add your voice on to the Facebook page called Love Beats Hate.

Better yet, join me by writing your own love beats hate post. If you do, please let me know that you did this!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori




Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Color of Your Heart is Beautiful

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Brittany, gave me a book called “I’m Gonna Like Me” by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell because she knows I am seeking to embrace myself. It is actually a children’s book but it is quite fitting for what I am seeking. My daughters know that I love children’s books and we are really loving this one.

It is not only a fitting message for myself but for the little’s as well.  When the little’s express to me that they want to be anything other than what God created them to be it hurts my heart….like when little man says he wishes his skin was the same as everyone in his family or when little lady say’s she wishes she had black straight hair like me instead of her blond curly hair… it hurts my heart because I want them to embrace and love who they are.

While I know it is normal and part of our human condition to want or desire other traits or looks, I do want them to embrace their beauty which is something I never learned how to do.

When little lady literally sobs because she didn’t get to be inside my tummy or little man cries because his other Mommy said something to him about taking him away from us, it not only breaks my heart each and every time but I am not always sure what to say to them.  I do not have all the answers. While children are not born with a manual, raising your grandchildren definitely does not come with a manual.

I am not so naïve that I don’t know that some day they will question why we raised them and not their other Mommy. Some day they are going to want to know about their birth fathers and how do you explain to children about prison, one night stands and fathers that didn’t want to be a dad? They will have questions and we will have to have answers that won’t tear down who they are and where they have came from. As much as we can say they were wanted by us, will that be enough? Will our being here or wanting them  be enough to lessen the pain that those that birthed them did not step up to the plate, let alone want them?

I know that some who are adopted question and seek out to know where they came from. While we did choose to take them in, it is still not the same as adoption. We did not pick them out and we were not seeking to be parents.

I do not want them to take what their birth parents did personal or to think they were some mistake. I want them to know that in spite of everything, we wanted them and that when the time came, we chose to be their parents. And I hope and pray with all of my heart that this will be enough for them.

For my little’s it is normal to them that while we are Grandpa & Grandma, we are mostly and foremost Daddy & Mommy to them. Their normal includes having a “other Mommy” that they see for a couple hours, once every 4-8 weeks and talk to on the phone.

We are a different family and while I am fine with being different, I don’t want my little’s for one second to think that different is bad or means they are less than anyone. The more they get out in to the world, the less we are able to protect them from the ignorance or cruelty of others.

A couple of weeks ago a little girl in little man’s class told him that he is going to hell because he doesn’t attend church. I asked him if he knows what hell is and he said, “No but it doesn’t sound good.” 

That same girl told him yesterday that she isn’t sure if brown skinned people go to heaven either. I told him, “Apparently this little girl doesn’t know much about this because if she did she would know that going to hell or heaven has nothing to do with going to church or the color of our skin.” He responded with, “Nope, it’s about the color of our hearts.”  That’s right little man, and the color of your heart is beautiful.

I want their love buckets to be so full that when they realize the truth about where they came from and how they came to be with us that they will view this knowledge with a fullness inside each of them that help them handle it and see it as their beautiful story instead of a negative thing.

I want to fill their love buckets so full right now  that when the truths of life hits them or others are cruel, they do not crumble under the weight of it. I don’t want them to be susceptible to the germs of ignorance, hate or discrimination.

I have parented long enough to know that I cannot put them in a bubble and prevent them from ever feeling hurt. My prayer is that having a full bucket will keep the hurt from sticking. 

Wouldn’t we have a different world if everyone knew they had value and worth and thus liked themselves? Wouldn’t it benefit all of us if all people embraced being different? 

Wouldn’t it be great if the picture perfect ideal was each person looking and being their beautiful selves? For each of us to say I am beautiful like me?



I’m Gonna Like Me

by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell


I’m gonna like me when I jump out of bed, from my giant big toe to the braids on my head.

cookies from Erin 007

I’m gonna like me when I grin and I see the space in my mouth where two teeth used to be.


I’m gonna like me wearing flowers and plaid. I have my own style. I don’t follow some fad.


I’m gonna like me when I climb on and wave as the bus pulls away and I’m feeling so brave.

I’m gonna like me when I’m called on to stand. I know all my letters like the back of my hand.


I’m gonna like me when my answer is wrong, like thinking my ruler was ten inches long.

I’m gonna like me when I’m sharing my lunch cause just like bananas friends come in a bunch.


I’m gonna like me when I jump up so high. I’ll twist and I’ll stretch straight up to the sky.

I’m gonna like me when I don’t go so fast. Then they pick teams and I’m chosen last.


I’m gonna like me when I do the right thing and return what I found even when it’s a ring.

I’m gonna like me when I’m feeling strong. I walk with a smile, arm swinging, legs long.


I’m gonna like me when I sit with my mom and make a get well card for my sick friend Tom.

I’m gonna like me when I eat something new, even if Grandma makes octopus stew.

I’m gonna like me when I make a mistake and put out the candles on Dad’s birthday cake.


I’m gonna like me when I open the box and smile and say “Thanks” even though I got socks.


I’m gonna like me when I try a new task. I bring in a plate before I am asked.


I’m gonna like me when I clean in a flash and play with my brother and take out the trash.

I’m gonna like me when I cuddle up tight and know as I’m sleeping I’m safe and all right.


I’m gonna like me cause I’m loved and I know it, and liking myself is the best way to show it.

Jordan looking through holeNevaeh at park with Judie

I’m gonna like me. I already do! But enough about me- How about you?


I can barely get through this story without crying because the desire of my heart is to truly say, “I like me.” and mean it. My hope is that each of us could say these words and not only believe them but with a smile on our faces.

Here’s to beautiful you(and me!)!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori



Monday, January 31, 2011

Guilt Free

I had a fantabulous weekend with my girlfriends. Every second of it was purely amazing. We toasted with good drinks. We ate good food. We laughed. We sang & danced. We talked and talked and talked some more. We were loud. We talked all at once. We played a game. We watched movies that took forever to get through. We had moments of peace & quiet. We comforted and encouraged. We were silly. We laughed until it hurt. At one point, I literally felt like I was going to have a heart attack. At least I would have died doing what I loved to do most. Laughing.

I soaked myself in all the goodness that surrounded me and I did NOT feel guilty for one second. These women who have been my friends through births, deaths, divorces, abuse, marriages, child rearing, becoming a grandma and sickness are amazing women. These friendships make me a better person and how good to know that time nor distance can separate the bonds we share.

Each one of us is different and we each bring to the table our own individual flavors that together create an amazing feast of fun.The beauty of our friendship is that whenever we come together we each come to the table as we are…no fronts or pretending to be what we are not…no expectations…no facades…no judgments…no artificial words or actions…lots and lots of love and  pure realness that says you are always good enough… and lots and lots of grace that allows for us to come to the table to share what we have and are.

It was a complete guilt free weekend.

Now that I have soaked in all of that for almost 2 full days, I have caught my breathe. I am ready to continue seeking.

My husband and little’s were happy to see me when they picked me up Sunday afternoon. They survived without me, which I already knew they could but the crying and carrying on that took place on the trip to drop me off was almost funny. Being told that they would not sleep the entire time I was gone because “how can I ever close my eye’s to sleep if you haven’t kissed and hugged me?”

I had no expectations of what the house should look like when I got home and while I did want to dig in and start cleaning right away, I opted to leave it for Monday. Instead I played games with them and just enjoyed the kisses and hugs, while my husband made us a nice supper.

It’s a good thing they survived my absence because they will be getting to experience it again this coming weekend! Except this time, my husband and I are getting away for one night. We are going to go visit my sister and her husband and enjoy time with other adults, while my son and his fiancé watch them for us. I am looking forward to having another guilt free weekend.

Before I rush off to start my day, I share with you some familiar sights around my home these days. 


 This is a familiar sight at our house these days. They tell me they are writing on their own blogs. I ask what they are writing about. They tell me,“I’m writing about what it’s like being a kid.” They also tell me they have lots of really nice blog friends just like I do. Sweet. I would hope everyone could know the wonderfulness of people like you and you in the blog world.


Do they not look intense?




I find these 3 little monkeys in my bed on occasion. Most of the time they are jumping on it but they do call it the cuddle bed. They are pretty darn cute little cuddle monkeys that have themselves wrapped around my heart.





We have lots of snow and when it’s actually warm enough they love to play in it. Especially when their uncle helps them dig tunnels and builds forts with them.


playing in snow 004


Life with Riley is simply wonderful. He loves to cuddle and little lady takes every opportunity to do so with him.  This is a familiar sight at our home. I think Riley has a pretty good life.


Christmas 2010 013


Did you do anything fun this past weekend? What puts a smile on your face today?


Happy Monday!


Until next time, love & hugs, Lori