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July 27, 2017

It’s 9:40 in the morning and I am absolutely exhausted.  My allergies flared up a couple of days ago and so I’ve been drugging myself and not sleeping well.  Normally I don’t have a bit of problem until around Aug. 10 when they start in earnest, but I’ve had several days like this already this summer.  And then I read this morning that we are supposed to have another warmer-than-usual fall which usually extends the allergy season for me.  Maybe the weathermen are wrong.  Will and I heard locusts last week and according to Siri, the first frost comes 6 weeks after the locusts – which would make it early Sept, which seems about a month too early, though.

I don’t have a lot to report.  All the things I thought we’d be getting done after the wedding, we aren’t.  I’m tired.  I feel like just getting through each day is an accomplishment.  Will and I did start the ceilings this week, so that’s something, anyway.  I don’t know if I mentioned on here that I decided to plank them.  I found the idea on pinterest.  You take lightweight tongue and groove boards and both glue and nail them over an existing ceiling.  We have 3 or 4 rows done – looks wonderful!  It’s going to give the rooms a rustic look, but best of all, it will cover up the terrible ceilings in my dining and living rooms!

I also got my basement finished, which feels good.  The laundry room is so pretty now.  I painted the walls a super pale green and silvery gray.  I got the entire basement floor painted, too, which has really lightened the whole atmosphere down there.  Nothing like concrete gray to depress a person, I guess!  I found some “laundry” decorations half off at Hobby Lobby this week.  I need to have Will or David hang those for me.
 School is going fine.  So far, I have been given full credit on all the assignments I’ve turned in, so I have a 100% GPA in there still.  I knew there are 2 research papers due at the end of the class so the other day I thought I should probably look up the requirements on the papers and get started on them.  I about laughed when I read them.  The papers are only 800-1000 words apiece and only require two outside sources!  Easy, peasy…

Which is nice – I can use an easier class right now.  This fall sure won’t be easy, so I had better enjoy what I have while I do!

Sunday, I sent Sam into Caseys to get the Register.  This is a weekly event.  I don’t let them deliver, even though it would be cheaper, because the delivery/customer service dept at the DM Register is very pitiful.  They do not care about their customers at all.  But I do want a Sunday paper.  So every Sunday after church I drive over to Caseys and Sam and Lizzie proceed to fight about whose turn it is to get the paper and whoever loses then immediately calls dibs on the comics, which irritates me because when I get my paper I like to be nicely folded and by the time they get their comics out it looks like the paper was used for a paper mache project.  Only, last Sunday, Sam was the only Little I took home.  A friend asked me if she could take the girls home  with her instead.  She wanted to take them to lunch and then to a play of Beauty and the Beast.  So, Sam got the paper and instead of coming out with the Des Moines Register, he emerged with the Indianola paper.  I momentarily thought about going in and exchanging it, but decided it wasn’t worth it and told him I’d just read that paper this week, instead.

I’m so glad he made that mistake!  That evening as I was going through the paper, I stumbled across printed Deans Lists from area colleges.  I don’t think the Register prints these.  And there in bold print, under “Buena Vista University Deans List – Spring Semester” it read, “Sarah Heywood of Swan.”  Well, would you look at that!  And if Sam had gotten the paper I thought I wanted, I would have missed my 15 seconds of printed glory.
I had another blessing last week.  An old high school teacher who I am friends with on Facebook, sent me a message.  She told me that she and her husband have made a point to pray for me and each of the kids by name every single week since Paul died.  She wanted some updates on the kids.  It’s hard to even express how encouraging that is.

I mentioned to her Ben’s renewed struggle with his eczema and she’s been sending me links ever since.  And I’ve been trying some of the solutions.  Apple cider vinegar burned his sores, but so far he’s really liking the coconut oil and witch hazel solution.  I took him back to the allergist a week and a half ago.  He does not want to put Ben on any internal drugs, like I suggested (that ended up being the only solution that worked when Ben was a preschooler and we were going through this) but he did give me the name of a dermatologist that might be willing to prescribe drugs.  So we may try that next.  He did prescribe a stronger topical steroid cream, assuring me it would be covered by Ben’s insurance.

It wasn’t.  But I bought it anyway.  Of course, now I’m cringing every time I see Ben squirt out the stuff and rub it into his arms because I know each tiny tube is almost $20!  Ben’s arms are just a bloody mess and so is the back of his neck and shoulders.  I noticed some new spots on his chest, today, too.  He’s having to take an Advil PM almost every night to stay asleep.  I need to call that dermatologist.
 Last week I had to laugh at Lizzie.  She wanted to do something but I can’t remember now what it was.  I told her, “no” and she sighed, complaining, “You make my life so difficult!” Ha, ha, ha!  But this morning she was my champion.  Sam was being bratty and Lizzie stuck up for me.  Sam told her it was, “none of her business” and without missing a beat, Lizzie replied, “When you’re mean to my mama, it IS my business!”  You go, Girl!
 I had a blessing over the weekend.  Last week, my friend, Jen had called.  She had some news on the girls’ older brothers (not good, unfortunately) and mentioned that her husband had been cleaning out some computer files and ran across a “diary” he had kept of the entire time James, Lizzie, and Ellie were in foster care.  She asked if I wanted it.  I sure did!  She sent it Saturday and since it was long, I only intended to read a little bit.

 I didn’t move off my chair until I read the last word.  I was absolutely riveted.  I was actually in tears when I got done reading and it wasn’t so much because the girls had been through terrible things.  They were thankful tears.  I had heard some of these stories before, but being able to read them in chronological order, with details I had missed in verbal telling, was amazing.  I could just see this ribbon of grace that God had woven around these three children as He protected them from circumstances and placements that seemed so “sure” but, in the end, kept falling through.  He was saving them for me!  And I am so thankful for Paul and Jen who fought for these kids and had to deal with all kinds of unfairness and the chaos in their own household while they did so.  It would have been so easy for them to say, “no” and to choose to focus on their birth children instead.  And then, what would have happened?

This report also gave me a more clear vision of the birth parents.  Any time I am feeling somewhat sympathetic towards them and starting to think that maybe I should contact Birth Mom and arrange for a visit with the girls, I’m going to remember what I read.  I’m not saying never, but it’s going to be a long time yet.  She threw away her children, which benefited me, of course, but that kind of behavior does need to be rewarded with renewed contact.  I would only consider it if it was something the girls needed.  And right now, they don’t.

So, anyway, I am very thankful for these writings.  I plan to print them out and put them in my lock box.  I think it would be good reading for the girls when they get older.  They can read how God showed His goodness and favor in their lives when they were little.  The day of the adoption I was asked why I should be allowed to adopt.  The question caught me by surprise.  I had done everything I had been asked to do.  I’d attended the classes, filled out the reams of paperwork, been fingerprinted,  done the home study, retrofitted the house to make it acceptable, taken in a troubled preschooler (turned out be two troubled kids, but I didn’t know that at the time), and made a huge commitment to raise these children to adulthood.  That ought to be reason enough that I should be allowed to adopt, I would think!  But I think the lawyer was wanting to know why I thought I could do this, maybe especially given the fact that I would be now doing it as a single mom.  I only had to think for a second.  I remember leaning forward into that microphone and saying, “These children were born to a different woman.  But they were created to be mine.” 

Reading through this diary this weekend was a reminder of that.  There were numerous times the girls were supposed to go other places, but didn’t.   There is evidence that their parents were probably involved in some very unethical and illegal activities.  What would have happened if they had continued to fly under the radar of the state, and had kept their children?  I just shudder to think of what life could have been for the girls.  And yet, it isn’t.  They came to me and while I have made plenty of mistakes with them, they are doing better.  The report detailed how out of control Lizzie was as a preschooler.  She even sent a child to the ER when she was in daycare!  But, I look at her today and all I can do is praise God.  She’s so nurturing and caring – a far cry from the angry, dysregulated child she was at one time.  Ellie has had her rough times and we’re not completely through them yet, but I think she’s going to come through fine.  Would any of this had happened had circumstances gone any other way?  I realize that makes me sound like I am patting myself on the back and I am definitely NOT. I have done things and said things to these girls that just make me cringe now.  But despite that – despite ME - , they are thriving.  God saved them. 

I see this literal “ribbon” in my mind, fluttering in the wind, wrapping its way loosely around these children, and it seems to me that these three have been saved for a purpose. We adoptive parents are only part of their story.  Time will show us what the purpose is, but it is going to be interesting and a blessing to watch it unfold.

And, really, there are so many “ribbons” of grace I can see in my life.  So many stories, so many memories, and one Person at the center of them all.


  1. So powerful, Sarah! And you make me laugh about "not getting anything done" when you've done so much work on the house, and you've kept the small people alive, and you are taking classes...I do understand fatigue. I often think and pray, "Lord, help me get through this day through your Power. Please help me to be a good mom." Bless you! Laraba Kendig


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