Saturday, November 16, 2013

Trauma Mama's Holdiay Gift Swap

Yes, mamas, the annual Trauma Mama's Holiday Gift Swap is back!!  It's grown too big for any one person to do on their own anymore, though.  As such, it's being hosted by a whole group of amazing women this year.

You can find information about this year's swap at

We have a very narrow registration window this year, so don't procrastinate registration if you want to participate!  It really is a fun way to get to know other moms who are living tough stuff.

By all means, please also share the blog link above anywhere you groups, on your blog, on facebook, and anywhere else you wish.  The more moms who know about it, the more can participate.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Stand and Knock

Revelation 3:18-21
 18.  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
  19.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
  20.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
  21.  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
These verses of scripture have stirred my soul today.  I'm not even sure I can convey my thoughts, as many of them are too sacred to me to share publicly.  But I will try to convey at least some of what I have learned from them.  They have touched me deeply. 

The message I see in these verses that this life wasn't meant to be easy. In fact, it is part of the Plan that it not be.  As Thomas Paine once so eloquently stated to the soldiers of the American Revolution, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated." 

While there is no doubt the freedoms we profess to treasure here in America are being threatened on every front, my thoughts today go more to the freedom (and loss of it) that has come to myself and my family as a result of the things we're all still living with...things that were done to our kids and to us...poor choices that have left a wake of destruction in their path...things that have happened to all of us that have permanently changed our hearts, our lives, and our souls (often in ways we resent and grieve over.)  And yet, we are told point blank here in these verses that whom the Lord loves, He chastens. 

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has ever said that sometimes I wish, perhaps, that He didn’t love or trust me quite so much because this business of chastening is getting really old and has just about done me in.  I’m also sure I’m not the only one who has sat through one of those fluffy Sunday School lessons of “all this stuff will be for your good and if you let Jesus into your life, all will be well” and been very frustrated and disheartened because the reality we live has proven that it isn’t that simple.  Hell doesn’t release its prisoners easily or willingly, and the process of “fixing things” isn’t as easy as simply opening the door and letting Christ into our lives.  In fact, I confess there have been times…more than I care to admit to, actually, when I’ve wanted to stand up and scream “But I’m not I’m not a martyr.  I’m not a saint.  I’m not one of those famous people in history who will live forever glorified on a pedestal because they died for what they believe. I’m little old me.  I’m very human, I’m very imperfectly and weakly ordinary, I don’t have any special training or calling, I didn’t sign up for this, I’ve done everything I was supposed to be doing, and yet the forces of hell…not little trials mind you, but the very forces of hell itself…are still incessantly raging against me and have all but shattered and devoured my family!”

I'm sure many of us have seen this picture, or at least one similar to it.  It references verse 20 above in which the Savior is standing at a door and knocking.  Except there is no door knob on the outside.  The only way for him to gain entrance into this house is if the door is opened from the other side. 

I suppose one could say the "eyesalve" spoken of in verse 18 above has finally began working today.  As I read these verses, I finally saw the person the Savior is really requesting audience with on the other side of this door. It’s not the prim and proper, well dressed, well groomed, and nicely polished soul. It’s not the well-intentioned, or even well-doing Christian. It’s not the missionary. It’s not the people sitting reverently in church.  It’s not the pastor or the bishop or even the Sunday School teacher.  It’s not the ladies who have prepared a lovely meal, and nor is it those who are eagerly awaiting His arrival so they can sit at his feet and bask in His presence.

While I don’t discredit that any of those others will benefit by and be very blessed by opening the door and allowing the Savior into their lives, I realized today that the person He really wants to reach on the other side of that door is me.  It’s my family and my children.  It’s all of us who have been beaten up, knocked around, worn down, burned out, chastened beyond what we feel like we can take anymore, know exactly what the forces of hell and refining fires look like, and have the battle scars to prove it.

Look carefully at the order these things are stated in the verses above. Notice what comes before “I stand at the door and knock.”  There is a lot. We are counseled to buy the gold of the Savior…not just any gold, but specifically the gold that has been tried and refined in the fire of adversity, for it is in that gold…and the lessons we take away from those refining fires… that the riches of eternity really lie.  We are likewise invited to seek understanding, to be cleansed and not be ashamed, to change what is in our control to change, and then to see this refining and renewing process and the purposes of it for what they really are. 

Even more importantly, notice what comes after the chastening, after the refining fire, and after the Savior knocks. Again, there is much.  He isn’t merely asking for us to open the door and let him drift in and out of our lives.  In all his love, compassion, and mercy, He is requesting that He be allowed to come in and sit down at the table with our very broken, worn out, beaten down, imperfect, battle scarred selves. He wants to explain things as we dine…feast…and commune together.

He also wants us to know that we’re not alone. He wants us to know that He understands where we’re at and what we’ve been through.  After all, he’s been beaten down, stripped, screamed at, spit on, mocked, falsely accused, misjudged, and rejected, too.  He’s even had mean people hammer great big nails into his hands and feet just because they didn’t like what he had to say.

And then, finally, He wants us to see that there really is a way out of the darkness.  He wants to help us see the big picture.  He wants us to know that holding on, trusting, doing the best we can, and overcoming is worth whatever it takes to make it happen.  The promise is right there in the scriptures.  Those who overcome are promised the riches of eternity and have a place at His throne, which is right next our Our Heavenly Father’s throne.

Notice he didn’t say that overcoming is synonymous with having things turn out all peachy and rosy, or even with having our trials end.  He simply said the promises are there for those who overcome whatever it is they need to overcome…be that sin, doubt, fear, weakness, anger, resentment, hopelessness, exhaustion, or whatever.  Perhaps, and probably, it also means patiently and willingly enduring whatever life throws at us, regardless of whether we understand the reasons for it, or regardless of whether they come to an end or not in this lifetime.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Calling All Utah Area Mamas!!!

We've decided to something super fun this year with our retreat.  Because we filled up so fast, and because we know there's still lots more of you out there looking for support and friends who get it, we've decided to open up our house for an evening and invite all of you over for dinner!  Please, please, please come join us...and bring your other trauma mama friends as well!! There’s no reason for any of us to do this alone.

Date:  Friday, September 20, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location:  Park City, Utah

Please bring a potluck dish to share.  Dinner for the evening will be whatever shows up.  That means if everyone brings dessert, we have dessert for dinner. Yum!  Plates, cups, etc. will be provided.
Parking for this event will be limited.  As such, it will be necessary for us to meet in the parking lot of the outlet mall at Kimball Junction (near McDonald’s…just off the exit) and shuttle everyone up to the cabin where we will be having dinner and staying during our retreat.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Sage at  She will be coordinating the shuttle service and making sure no one gets left behind.

* NOTE*  If you've heard about this event from other places and you sent an RSVP before Labor Day, please do so again!!  Sage's computer crashed and she lost her RSVP file. :-(  We don't want any of our moms to get left behind!

Please also note that w
e will be high up in the hills of Park City.  It will get chilly in the evening.  Don't forget to bring a jacket!

Wow! How Time Flies!

It's been awhile since I've posted on here.  Thankfully, for me, that means life has been busy and full of normal things. The kids are back in school now.  They are happy to be there!  They think they had the most boring summer ever.  And they did.  I told them when school got out in May that it wasn't my job to be their entertainment committee for the summer.  I meant it, too.

Personally, though, I thought it was our best summer yet!  No one had to go to respite.  No one except dad was hospitalized.  Dad had an emergency appendectomy and a partially ruptured appendix.  So he got to spend a few days in the hospital.  Meh...that didn't even make the radar screen of stressful events for either of us, though.  He was super bummed that he had to miss the big launch of a HUGE project he'd been working hard on at work, but oh well. He's fine now, people at work still love him and even sent him flowers while he was in the hospital, and life is back to normal.  We'll all take a week in the regular hospital over 1 day in the psych ward!!

I have been kept very busy with what I think I remember most normal people kind of doing.  Well, sort of.  Much of my time has been spent planning and preparing for our upcoming retreat.  I'm super excited about this one.  We've doubled in size, we have a wonderful, eclectic, energetic mix of alumni and newbies coming from all over the USA and Canada, and we filled our place well beyond capacity.  Moving our retreat to the fall was definitely the right thing to do!  It's been pretty humbling to realize that we could have filled it 3 times over had we had the space to do to.  The need for these retreats for our moms of trauma is still so great!

Aside from that, we've made a few other significant changes in our household.  My kids are finally healing and stabilizing.  It's been almost a year since we've had any major issues and backslides.  I don't declare them healed as there is still plenty of evidence that we're still working on that process.  But they've come a LONG way!  In a strange twist of fate, we discovered they were also now ready for a family pet to enter our life.  We had what for all intents and purposes appear to be a protected desert tortoise wander into our yard this summer.  Even the state people thought it was a desert tortoise when they first saw it.  They had to pull in several biologists and consult several sources to make sure they made the correct identification.

The problem is that they're not native to this area.  It's much too cold in the winter here for them. Seeings how it's a federal offense to possess one without a permit, we needed to make sure we knew what it was before we either got a permit, released it to a zoo, or even tried to find it's owners.  Had it been a protected animal being held without a permit, it's "owners" would have been facing some jail time!  It's also illegal to release them back into the wild after they've been in captivity.  So, we couldn't do anything except babysit it until the state identified it.  After much to do, it turns out it was a greek tortoise that belongs to some neighbors on the hillside above us.  They found him wandering on a trail a few years ago and did exactly the same thing we did. Needless to say, this isn't the first time the state had seen him or had to identify him.  Except they got to keep him because he's not a protected species and there was no way to find his previous owner.

In the process of babysitting him, though, we all pretty much fell in love with the thing...even daddy did! And I did.  That's even more amazing!  I'm not really a pet person.  But, there was no denying the positive impact it had on our kids.  They were fascinated by it and really got into learning how to take care of it.  We were all very sad the day we had to return him to his owners.  But alas, we also discovered that we'd finally found a suitable pet for our family, even though we had no idea we were even looking for one. After a couple months more research, we finally settled on a type of tortoise and a reputable place to obtain them from.  And then our family grew by two!  Who knew that two little shelled creatures...reptiles even...would be just what our family needed?  I'm in the process of building a grand enclosure for the little guys.  And when I say grand, I mean grand...and I hope we can get it down the stairs!

In the midst of all that, we also sold the old family hauler we bought when our daughter started kindergarten and we began the process of international adoption and acquired a new family hauler. That came with it's own set of grief and loss and wondering why we couldn't keep the old one and get a new one, too.  They're finally getting used to the new one, though.  Car shopping is a total pain in the arse, though, and we are ALL glad it's finally over...especially because it came with it's own brand of drama!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thank You!!!

I just wanted to offer a HUGE thank you to all who contributed to our "Moms of Trauma" Retreat Fundraiser!  It really is quite an amazing thing to watch the whole process unfold.  I always find it so inspiring to see the generosity of others.  This journey of parenting difficult kids is so very lonely and isolating.  It can be really easy to start to believe that no one cares and no one gets it.  What a joyously grateful thing it is to realize that we are mistaken and we really haven’t been forgotten.

The side of this that most don’t get to see is the reaction of our moms who receive these scholarships.  I feel it’s a private thing and not my place to share who receives them.  But suffice it to say, we were able to provide several scholarships this year. I can't think of one single mom that didn't end up in a puddle of tears when they received their scholarships, too.  I’ve come to realize over the years that they not only need them financially, they also need them emotionally.  So very often the moms who receive these scholarships are at incredibly low points and are drowning emotionally, physically, mentally, and every other way.  Just knowing that someone notices, cares about them, and that they are finally going to be able to get something they need for themselves and have something positive to look forward to often brings them to the point of grateful overwhelm. It really is a beautiful thing to be able to share in those moments with these amazing moms.  Thank you all for allowing me to be able to share in those sweet times. I guess you could say that’s my blessing and my payback in all of this.

If you still feel inclined to share some financial love with our mamas, we are still gratefully accepting donations.  The donation button at the bottom of this post, as well as on the side bar of our retreat site, is still active and will remain so throughout our retreat.  We will also leave our sale pages up a little longer too just in case you’d still like to browse there and find something that tickles your fancy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Neat Stuff!!

The above images are just a sample of some of the neat stuff that's available in our Moms of Trauma Fundraiser Sale!  The cards at the top were made by me and feature some of my own photography work. I personally think they're pretty neat!

All proceeds from this fundraiser will help to fund outreach efforts and scholarships for moms who are parenting extremely difficult children...children whose lives have been shattered by early childhood trauma and now bear deep psychological and emotional wounds.  With these funds, we will be able to find and support more moms as well as help some really deserving moms who really need the break but don't have the financial means on their own be able to attend our annual Moms of Trauma retreat this fall.

If neat stuff and tasty treats aren't your thing, we gratefully accept cash donations in any amount as well.  Donations can be made by clicking that "Donate" button below.  When many help a little, we can accomplish a lot!

By all means, PLEASE help spread the word about our cause and our fundraiser.  We're keeping it short so as not to uber annoy all our friends and family, so getting the word out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible is vital to our cause.

We appreciate your support!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moms of Trauma Scholarship Fundraiser!

As our Utah retreat isn't just “mine” (and it hasn’t been for quite some time now), we’ve finally moved all the information about our retreat to it’s own site.

We are currently running a super neat fundraiser to help provide scholarships that will allow some of our moms who need some financial help be able to join us for our upcoming retreat this fall.  We are also working on expanding our outreach efforts as well.  Proceeds from the sale of all the neat items we are offering  for sale will go towards these efforts.  And, of course, cash donations are also gratefully accepted as well.

Hop on over to our retreat site and check out all the neat stuff we have for sale.  All items have been donated by our moms and their generous friends to support this cause.

You can also make cash donations to our cause simply by clicking the "Donate" button below.

We appreciate your support!