Monday, March 2, 2015


PRE BLOG UPDATE: I'm out of sync at blogging as I haven't done it for a very long time. FB has made it so easy to pop photos on there, say a line or two and move on. I want to get back to this form of documenting our family ups and downs and well, as you will read below, life has been full. There has been utter chaos and disorder as well as triumphs and joys in our family these last few years since moving to CA. We have loved living here  and have no regrets but it has come with a price of  loss and hard times. Since moving here, we took in 4 kids from disruptions, two of which we claimed as our own and two of which we were their healing home for several months til a permanent family was found. Those 4 kids really grew us and tested us in our transition here. :)                                        
In addition to our own family we have had several people live with us on and off these past 4 years. One of our joys is hosting visitors to our church who come from all over the world, but even in the last six months we have not felt to host anyone as we have been tending to our family.  We have moved twice- which is hard after owning your own home for many years. We lost our dream home in Alabama that we were renting out for a vacation rental, lost a significant part of our monthly income moving out here, and cost of living was higher , went through a  harsh bankruptcy and lost connection with two of our daughters as they decided to figure out life on their own without us as their family. Missing family has been hard as well.  The list could go on, but in the end we have no regrets. We still have our head raised and are finally finding community here in Redding.  I have started two businesses and teach a course for an organization named Idignify which advocates for trafficked victims. Duane is on the board of directors at his Medical Group, is STILL a fabulous and much sought after Pediatrician, works in the healing rooms at our church and works with me on my businesses.  In a nutshell, this has been our life! LOL! Forever interesting and moving!
My little man Isaiah "Suffered" through the  concert. but later told me, Thanks mom, for taking me! 

This beauty, Allenni is my gardener and all around pretty cool person

My man, Duane is rockin that cool shirt! 

I "made" them all dress up! Violetti, Andrew, Graham, and Nathaniel- who missed the memo- Ended up enjoying it afterall! Eli is missing in the pic. 

The musicians - Swan Lake

Well, a full life with 7 kids still at home does not leave you with much time to pursue gardening, doing extra things etc. That is if you let it consume you. Which is what has been happening for a long time now. We have been consumed with living day to day sorta in survival mode.  Duane and I finally realized, We want better for all of us. So we have started making CHANGES.

Sometimes, living with kids with trauma/abandonment/ backgrounds and sometimes mental instability calls for you to be on the alert just about all hours of the day. It can literally drain the positive energy out of you. Duane and I have been on journey lately to move out of that mode and start living again. We've been taking steps towards our health in all areas of our lives- spiritual, mental, physical and emotional.

Using Essential Oils daily in all our lives has brought great healing both emotionally and physically for all of us. I am so glad we discovered them a couple years ago. I have no clue how we managed before then!

Another thing we have been focusing on is eating healthier. I typically cook from scratch or so I thought , then after an evaluation of our pantry, I realized we were eating way too many preservatives.  So I have been thoughtfully planning our meals to be healthier.

Now, I didn't go all crazy and go cold Turkey. I would have had a mutiny on my hands! This has been a gradual change. We started everyone on Juice Plus and wow! What a difference it has made. We went from consuming 50 lbs of sugar a month to now buying only 10 lbs in 3 months. Our kids now crave smoothies and fresh fruits for snacks. We no longer buy koolaid.  LOL! I hear the angels singing! Miracle sighting!

This may not seem like a big deal, but in our house we had sugar addicts. Myself included. It was a stress thing. Sugar makes you feel better. It does. Or used to. Not any more. My kids are making smart choices on their own now and I know we did the right thing. :) Even though I had to endure the  moaning and groaning and sneaking of 32 oz Mountain dews from the convenience store down the street. We are a work still in progress.

In my ideal world, I would love to bake all our own bread and make EVERYTHING from scratch down to the last bit. BUT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. As much as I love to cook, preparing food for 20 servings 3 x a day, just is not what I want to do. I have kids to tend to and art to paint and businesses to attend to! Oh if there were more of me to do several things at once!

So anyway, Back to our busy life that does not leave time for me to be Martha Stewart. :)
Because our group is 10 people whenever we go somewhere, it can be costly to do stuff.  We decided to try to fit things in our budget where we could.
We started trying to put a little money aside for special spontaneous trips to the Yogurt shop or Starbucks- Making little joy moments and memories.  We have taken short trips to see things like Disney on Ice for the younger ones and weekend trips to the beach or expose them to the Symphony Orchestra or local plays.  
At home, we have been trying to have more family movie nights and go on more picnics.
 Yes, last year, we did have a small garden. I said I wasn't going to have anything to do with it but a few kids convinced me to fork out the money for the shovels, seeds, extra dirt, planters etc.

AND  guess what? I did get involved and it actually became a bonding project for my daughter and I. She did do most of the work and found her green thumb. I was proud of her harvest.

This year though we may forgo that dirt gardening.  They NOW want to go bigger and better.
My energy level is low and the thought of a larger garden does not enthuse me.
 So I compromised and bought a JUICE PLUS TOWER GARDEN and now we already have harvested some lettuce from it! We started it indoors but after it began to warm up we moved it outside. I am looking forward to the nutritious dense veggies it is going to produce. I think we are going to order 3 more of them.  The great thing about it is that it is EASY! Once a week, I have to add the all natural nutrients in the basin , add water if it needs it and my plants grow aeorponically!
The kids love it and so I am thinking I can talk them completely out of the dirt gardening. We will see!
BTW, I love my Tower Garden so well that I just can't shut up about it. I am having a FB party on March 6 to tell you about it.  Here is the link to JOIN THE PARTY. 
Everyone is happy that our Tower Garden has plants in it! 

Goofing off! we are so excited! 

Allenni and Eli helping to put together the dolly for our Tower Garden

Our first pickings from our Tower Garden! 

We are getting our Backyard ready for outdoor living! 

Fresh Spring Rolls we made using our fresh basil and Lettuce from our Tower Garden

Our Tower garden arrived and we are excited! 

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