Years ago my boys and I would spend a lot of time playing with play dough. It's recommended for ages 2 and over and really good for their fine motor skills. They are growing up and almost out of elementary school now but they still love it.
As a foster family we have recently been directed to a RADS diagnosis for one of our little ones. It's kind of a big deal but thank goodness he is still little. There's a great deal to learn about the cause and effect of having Reactive Attachment Disorder. I won't go into detail about the diagnosis we have but you can read more about it here.
What I want to focus on is the healing. I'm no expert on RADS but I'm learning and my background is Early Childhood Education and Reading. These two degrees have given me an excellent base to start remediation at home while Occupational Therapy takes place with the professionals.
These photos are of my boys when they were little. We loved to squish and model together on our patio table. Today I bring the activity in doors at the kitchen table until the weather permits us to go outside. I'm going to post links to a few of my favorite recipes for homemade play dough and activity at the end of this blog.
How can playing with play dough be beneficial for a child with RADS? It has to be a combined effort between caregiver and child.
Working on building an attachment is one part of the process. The other part is trust. For children with RADS they have been let down by their caregivers in the past. The connections in the brain that connect a caregiver to trust or love just simply isn't there. So we build new ones. Like a bridge from island to island we work on building trust and love. Following trust and love is self worth and recognition.
As as I sit with my FS (foster son) I pull out of a box a choice of tools. I let him pick which ones he wants to try. He's intrigued by the plastic knife and extruder tools. I pinch off several colors of play dough and show him how to squish, roll, and model. I make it a point to sit beside him and help him. I show him new techniques and help when needed. Being very considerate of the fact he may not ask for help but would rather adapt to meet his own need.
The task at hand helps him:
Here are a few resources I loved
Tip Junkie's No Cook Kool-Aid Play Dough
Jell-O Play Dough
Yogurt Play Dough
Psalm 91 is the key to winning the spiritual battles going on around you. It's the key to winning your day. As a foster mom, I see first hand the spiritual battle going on. There is always carnage to clean up after a battle has been fought. These scritpures are key scriptures for activing blessings over battles. Many of us neglect to find a place to meet Him and even, a time. Make an appointment to meet God and carve out a time. Prayer time anywhere you want to be is amazing but if you're not meeting Him in a secret place, free of distractions from the world, then you are missing out on all that He has from you.
Remember, our battles are not with flesh and blood but with the unseen. Eph 6:12
Below is the book I reference that I am currently loving.
HERE is the link for the decal on my shirt.
*I am not compensated in any way by sharing these links with you.
I feel like there has been a force at work today to keep me from posting this. This is for someone. This is for a momma, a wife, a daughter of the King who needs to be encouraged and reminded that He created you as special and as beautiful as the galaxy itself. At our very best, He still wants to show us how much better He can make this life, this journey back to Him. If we will trust His plan and His design, we can all be a Virtuous Woman. What is your vice that holds you back from being that woman? I know what mine is. Can you relate?
I shared on January 1st the word for my new year.
In order to be the light I must be transparent. Social media and the internet love to show you perfect lives but sometimes we glorify imperfection to a degree that makes our lack of effort okay. In order to produce fruit and harvest what God is trying to give we must be the light and put the effort in. This is my prayer today.
Pray with me.
Help me Lord to see your Son in every situation. Help me Lord to lift the veil daily to see Him standing at my right side, arms open and out, ready to guide and help. Help me Lord to be a light for the rest of my life, let's start with today. Use my broken, tired, weak vessel, make it beautiful, lively, and strong to serve. Let the words and love that pour out of me be with such gracious abundance that it falls on others. All from You. I don't want to simply splash Your love on others. I want to help drench them. Help me to start with my closest family and friends. They are closest to me, given to me, so let Your love pour out on them first. Let me, Lord, shine for you. Help me be a guiding light straight back to You in this dark world. Increase my wisdom to know how to lead and direct others to Your written Word. Help me to be bold when I tell others to pray, even if it's not what they want to hear as a solution for their problems. Let my conviction of the goodness of prayer and the relationship it brings with Your mighty power be more evident than ever. I give my all, my everything, to You. I am not short of struggles and pain. Set me up right daily as I come to You. Pour in me the light. Give me a peacefulness that only comes from you so that others may find peace and rest when near me. Let them experience You through the light. I realize that in all my asking for help that it is a direct reflection of my weakness. I realize that my weakness, my cracks, is where You shine through to others. Help me to seek You in all. I come to You in all I do through Your Son Jesus.
Yes, Lord, let it be done.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power than is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I laid in bed with my boy and rubbed cuticle cream on his little fingers. He's been chewing his nails down and picking nervously at them for awhile. I'm not sure when it started but I remember the day his teacher mentioned it and I realized it was serious. He's the kind of kid that tries to do his best and do right. If he thinks he's is struggling his little heart worries and then his fingers suffer. I feel helpless. He feels helpless. So, I rubbed cuticle cream in and we talked about how nourishing his hands and fingers would be much better than picking. Seems many of us need more nourishment in our lives rather than picking.
As he laid next to me and fell asleep I thought of all the other mothers before me. Centuries of mothers throughout the whole world have held their babies close and wondered about the life ahead of them. I was once a worrier concerning my babies. When my oldest was little I rarely turned to God for help. One night I gave up. I laid flat on my bed and cried out to God. I couldn't do this mothering gig anymore under the stress. If I didn't worry about something concerning my baby then someone made me worry. It was constant and at every turn. I cried out. He was almost 3 at the time. I couldn't keep worrying like I did about things that would probably never happen. So I prayed.
I became a warrior for my children and not a worrier.
That night I gave my boy back to God. Not in a ceremony at church in a baby dedication but right in my home with a tear soaked pillow. I asked God to be in charge. I would simply do the best I could and He would have to do the rest. I was not sufficient on my own or even with my husband to raise this boy child into a man. He belonged to God. The most important part of him, his soul, belonged to God. I was just the caretaker of this little guy. God knows better than I at all times.
Since that night we have been blessed with 4 more children. I keep them out of the streets, the knives safely put away, the thermostat on the water heater turned down, warm clothes in their closet and blankets on their bed. God provides and I use the provision to do the best I know how to protect them but what about loving them. That's what I'm called to do daily. Love them.
Showing God's love for them is a challenge sometimes. When I'm busy and forget the kiss on the forehead, the hug, the reassuring words then I feel guilty. See! I'm not sufficient. So I pray for them. I think about every mom before me that raised babies with love. Did they worry? Did the regret? What would they do different? Does their heart long to go back to holding their babies once they are grown? Does it hurt when they are gone? It's not just a purpose I serve. I'm deeply attached to my purpose. My babies are so precious to me. Does every mom feel these?
I cry tears over my babies regularly. Mostly they are thankful tears and happy tears. Rarely do I cry over disappointments but this fleeting life does make me wish I could go back. The remembering of their tiny baby bodies and the way they smelled as infants is harder every year. I'm grateful I live in the day and age that I can look back at lots of pictures. However, looking back isn't looking forward.
My prayer today as I hear a toddler squeal and bigger kids pour cereal, I know my oldest is still sleeping and the youngest is still too, I pray for them. I want them to have the qualities of Christ poured into them as the grow to be men and a lady of Christ. I pray they seek to serve him. I pray for protection. I pray for so many things that God is not withholding. I pray for wisdom. I ask God. I simply give them back to Him daily and let Him be sufficient in the many places I am not.
Prayer is part of my strategy as a warrior. Reading God's word and seeking wisdom is another. I refuse to sit and wring my hands with worry when I can pray and fight for them wearing the full armor of God.
Raising them to do the same for themselves is a whole other blog post.
Be a WARRIOR!
Sometimes you have that dream that is different than any you've had in awhile. It's a dream that you seem to remember as a whole even after you been awake. You almost feel as if you could lay down and keep the dream going. These dreams, in my experience, have been meaningful. Like preludes to something that is coming. They usually leave me baffled and confused and searching for answers.
A few nights ago I dreamed a dream I probably won't forget because, well, it was one of those. It wasn't spectacular, it just sticks. Let me tell you about it and what I believe God is trying to show me. Because I know and He knows, I pay attention to these dreams.
Before finding out I was pregnant with any of my 3 sons, I had a dream I was pregnant. Weeks later I found out I was with every one of them it happened. This past week I dreamed again I was pregnant but this time it was different. Not like the others. It was a pregancy no one could see. The baby was breach and as soon as it was turned upright where birthing positions are concerned this tiny baby was suddenly in my arms. When I say tiny, I mean it. He was perfect. We didn't have a name and no one knew he was coming. I'm the midst of it all we were moving into a bigger house. My foster daughter was older and had a completely pink room with 6 extra beds that were empty. Our foster boy had a loft with no ladder yet some how we managed to get up there. It's ceilings were shaped much like his teepee that he currently sleeps in.
I visited each childs room as we were moving in to see if they were all happy. All the while carrying this tiny thing. What was this tiny baby doing here?
Giving birth to a vision can be likened to bringing forth a child.
As I was running today and in the silent cold of nature during this time of year I asked God what this dream was supposed to mean In my spirit I felt it. It is the vision He gave me that I questioned if it were real. He has done this before, put me back on His path with an intervention. The empty beds are significant. The sanctuary for rest away from the world is significant. The safe place is significant. The names brought to mind are significant. In the middle of my run I wished I had written it all down.
See, I spoke my vision out loud to someone Friday night. I always play it off like it's a big 'maybe' but the reality is, God is asking me to be obedient and trust that this vision has a real purpose for His kingdom.
Almost a year ago my husband and I went to look at an old home built in the 20's and has 10 bedrooms. It was a complete mess. That house impregnated our hearts with the seed of a vision. We must find a home like this one in the perfect location for the perfect price of "just about giveaway". We are to renew it and make it safe. We are to add warm comfy beds and a big farmhouse kitchen table that seats many.
Our dream, the legacy we want to leave, is for foster children to have a safe place. I don't know how we are going to make this happen. We trust God knows.
This seed of a vision has to stay put inside of me. It is my duty to keep it safe, to guard it, to nurture it and let it grow until it is ready to be born like a new baby. Only it will then still need tenderness, love, safe keeping, nourishment, discipline,and protection. A small group home for foster children as they wait for a more permanent foster home. Too many children today are living in hotels while they wait. Can you imagine?
I want clean, cozy, private rooms. I want security and peace. I want nourishment and education. God is putting this in my heart. This is a rare vision. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone else with this like mind unless God is moving people. I believe He is equipping women every where, right now, to use our gifts and talents to serve Him. Lift up the widows and love the littles.
I am going to leave this post at that. I'm not sure what will come of this vision. I pray that if I am meant to see it through that God be completely in charge because it's too scary if He's not.
Pray with me please.
For the last 8 years my boys and I have participated in a homemade Advent Calendar. Each night for 25 days in December we do an activity that settles us down and allows me to spend time talking to the boys about Christmas. The house can. be so quite sometimes and so busy the next. I honestly am not the mom who enjoys the crazy life. I like things to feel settled and quite. I like things in their place. This is one of those things that allows my house to feel settled for a minute and having a daily activity like that helps is to feel that all is right with the world. The moment only lasts a little while but I cherish every minute.
Before each day I check our Advent Calendar to find out what the kids will be doing that evening. If I come at the activity prepared, just like I did as a teacher, then it all goes pretty smoothly. Today I cut 12x12" scrapbook paper in half and the cut 1x6" strips and had them ready and waiting.
The thumbprint recipe can be found in my craft blog HomeSpun-Threads.
Someome stole an Instagram picture yesterday and shared it on their Instagram adoption page. It was weird. It was a legit organization. A sweet friend saw it and messaged me, it was one of my youngest son holding our youngest foster baby. A perfectly fine social media picture wear foster care rules are concerned. It was beautiful and enduring but it was swiped. They did not have permission to share my photos so I am reposting them from my business site to my UnveiledMom Instagram site with my logo/watermark. I love sharing our journey and pray that it inspires others to open their hearts and homes. However, stealing images is not okay. Help preserve the integrity of what we are doing to spread awareness by simply asking. I may so no or I may say yes but please swiped no swiping.
Do you ever have flashes of your childhood that made you feel less than, a failure, a screwup or worthless? I'm pretty sure we have all felt these things to some degree. It's simply a strategy the devil uses and he loves to use it on my self confidence. See this picture below? Satan took full advantage just moments after this picture was taken.
Growing up I never have negative thoughts about my physical self. I was a healthy girl growing up. I was strong and fast. I would run like a deer through the forest behind my house and climb trees with ease. My negative self talk about myself didn't start until I was an adult.
However, self doubt about my worth seems to be a touch point for me. I grew up living next door to my Papaw's dairy farm. My cousin was my best friend and I was only invited to one slumber party in elementary school. Then I was uninvited because she could only invite a few. I went anyway since it seemed I was the only one who had been uninvited and I didn't have the guts to tell my Mom I couldn't go. She packed my bags, took me there and I held my head high.
So, you can imagine that the negative feelings of not being included are just part of me. Being invited to special events however, should mean the world and in some cases they do but in others they feel empty. Especially now with social media invites. I'd rather not go than be the one some one only invited because my name pops up first on most lists. Not many girls can beat 'Aimee' alphabetically. Right?
If I'm "not really wanted" there then I'll make myself useful so maybe I'll at least be appreciated. So lending ahand wherever I can is what I do best at during a party. Tell me where the napkins are and I'll arrange them beautifully. Show me dishes to wash and I'll not leave the sink until they are done. What ever I can do at a social function to help makes me feel included.
The night I snapped this picture I had been in choir practice. I joined hoping that maybe I could actually sing and it's not just an illusion on my part. I also wanted to feel like I was a part of something in our church. Plus I love it. I had our baby girl with me for the last 30 mins of practice and she needed a diaper change. The room you see her sitting in is a beautiful mother/baby room.
I walked into the room and smiled. It was even more beautiful that it was months earlier when I would sit in there with the baby. I was changing her diaper and in awe of the new white rug. I was impressed with all the drawers that were neatly labeled and held diapers of all sizes. The diaper genie was new and clean. I was just in awe. I sat the baby on the soft rug and washed my hands. Then walked over and snapped a picture of her playing. That's when the unthinkable happened. It was like a scene out of a movie.
I carefully packed everything back in my bag but somehow my stainless insulated mug with tea and fallen over and was filling my bag with tea. I picked it up and turned around. When I did, tea flew across the entire room. Across the beautiful white rug, all down the new diaper genie, splattered on the clean hard wood floors and I gasped!
I didn't know where to start, clean the rug or stop the tea from spilling further. I sat the bag in the floor away from the rug and started cleaning it out. The choir book, baby's diaper bag, my phone, my keys, everything eas getting wet. I didn't even think I had that much tea to begin with.
I started blotting the rug...I started to panic. It wasn't working. The sticky stained mess was spreading. It was like I was part of a trauma team in a hospital.
As I was cleaning the hardwood I swear I heard a...
This is just typical Aimee to be so irresponsible and careless as to RUIN someone's hard work. I almost cried.
There was was that sinking feeling. That one that indicated to me that I had messed up, there's evidence everywhere and I was worthless. As I sat on my knees alone in the floor I used baby wipes to clean what was left. Tossed it all in the trash and looked around. The devil was doing a real number on me. I didn't belong there. I didn't deserve to even step foot into that beautiful room again.
On the way home I was listening to Beth Moore and heard her say "He will use this for YOUR GOOD!" She said it over and over. Why is it I believe in Him so much but don't believe He will make all of my mess GOOD. Romans 8:28 is a reoccurring theme lately. Do I believe it's for me? I believe it for everyone else.
So my little episode that looked like I should have been on film as a funny joke for others was going to be used for GOOD.
Those feelings are feelings and feelings aren't truth. God's WORD is truth.
The problem with the world now is they we rush around feeling everything instead of standing on God's Truth.
From now on I will say "get behind me Satan" and tell myself it's all for my own good. I recommend you do the same.
I am birth mom to my 3 boys, foster mom to 2 sweet babies, wife to my high school sweet heart, and daughter to my King. I love to write. I am no scholar but I love my Lord and He helps me.