Sunday, April 10, 2022

How To Save A Life

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1rFA1QXD4T2_tZh00LkIEOXViiv4Nf7vf

“Mama. You can go home and rest easy now. He is in good hands and he’s not going anywhere. Your shift is done. We have him.”


After one of the worst months of my entire life, I found myself on a red-eye last Saturday.

My oldest son has been homeless for over a year. And three weeks ago he called me and told me he was going to kill himself.

And then he went radio silent.

I knew that he had been robbed many times and I knew that it was a distinct possibility that his phone had been stolen, but I also knew that these couldn’t be the last words I heard from him.

So I took the week off, made all the plans for childcare (because my husband can’t take time off work right now #bluelinefamily), printed out everything my boys needed, went on an extra grocery shopping trip for easy-to-make food, and took a red eye with my daughter to find my oldest son in a homeless camp 3500 miles away.

The only thing I had to go on was a Wendy’s that I bought him food at regularly, that, and a hundred prayers.

I had told my pastor before I left that I wasn’t sure what to do and he connected me with a pastor in a church in the next city.

So armed with prayer, I left. Not having any idea what I would find.

We got there at 6am. We got settled in. We slept a bit. Then we went to sit at the Wendy’s and wait.

And he came.

Dressed in holy pj bottoms and a woman’s sweater, he looked terrible, but he didn’t run. He just hugged me and cried.

I was right. His phone was stolen. Along with absolutely everything he owned.

So.

First things first, dignity and communication.

We got him clothes, shoes, and a few simple supplies to shower with. We had him put them on as soon as we bought them.

He came out and looked human.

Dignity is absolutely invaluable.

Then communication. Next stop was Best Buy to purchase a phone and some prepaid Mint Mobile cards. (They are the best value, and the easiest to use.)

And now I had checked off all of the boxes I had for the trip. On day two.

If only I had had some idea of what God had in store. Because, my friends, God works in mysterious ways.

No.

God works.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1AOadVE7GO8rBvLoJR5NapfwLbu8AcVNj

The next day I went to visit the pastor.

He just wanted to connect.

And after all, my son was still homeless… dignity only takes you so far.

My ‘loaves and fishes’ moments were just beginning.

Although we gave him dignity and communication (and my daughter bought him a used bike so he had transportation, too) he would be in a very similar spot when we left there and flew home.

I was just hoping for a few resources that he could lean on to help ease his way.

I met with the pastor for 20 minutes. In that amount of time he set me up with a woman who’s son had been in a similar situation and ended up dying of a drug overdose 4 years ago in May.

To say this woman had a thumb on this part of the population is a gross understatement.

She asked the right questions, had intimate knowledge of the area and the population I found my son in, a no-bullshit attitude, and a huge heart for him as well as the things I had gone through. “Does he have insurance?” “Yes. But only for 4 more months”. “Well we should use those wisely then.”

She had a room in a private rehab facility for him within hours.

The speed of it made my head spin.

She was an absolute force to be reckoned with and she had friends.

Then he failed intake.

He “didn’t need help”. He “was fine”. He “Wasn’t a danger to himself”.

They saw right through it.

But I didn’t.

Thinking he was going to a rehab facility, I decided to help get him ready. Having no idea I was being lied to.

The next morning we went to his camp and got all of the clothing items he had left to take to the laundry mat to be sanitized. And I was humbled and terrified by what I saw at the homeless camp.

I thought it was all buttoned up. Until she called me and said he said he wouldn’t go.

She connected me with two other contacts. Steven and Mark. Both former addicts that had found salvation and spent the last few years dealing with the addict and homeless population.

They started texting me asking for his whereabouts and asking for more history. They had another spot, if only he would answer questions honestly about what he was dealing with.

He failed intake again.

I was now in the loop, though….

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1FTLw5I-mpn8H-FqMQqRV9iaNwjp_8Fk6


Me being in the loop he came upon some hard realities.

I wasn’t taking him home.

First off: He is on probation and has to stay in FL.

Second: I have younger kids still living in my house. There was no way I was adding the chaos of mental illness and addiction back into that mix.

Third: Boundaries save your damn life. They are SO important. The only way that *I* was going to get through this is if I had clear and consistent boundaries. I knew it when I decided to come.

So I held firm.

And slowly he started to break.

He admitted he needed help.

He admitted how dark his mind was.

He admitted where his dealer and ex girlfriend (also an addict) were and they were just blocks away from the cabin I rented. So close to him that the only thing between him and using was a phone.

And I had just handed him that.

But, by God’s grace he had just failed the intake at both of the local places. The only one left that we KNEW had a room was 4 hours away.

This time, he didn’t fail intake. And they sent a car 4 hours to pick him up.

The drivers name was also Marc.

(God bless the Mark/c’s of the world my friends. That name will forever be in my good graces.)

At 8:30 Wednesday night, Marc comes with the car from the rehab facility - 4 hours from my son's troubled past and current pitfalls - and took him to a place filled with therapists, medical professionals, and HOPE.

……………

Yesterday morning I got a call. After reviewing as much medical and mental health history as was needed, the therapist said:

“Mama. You can go home and rest easy now. He is in good hands and he’s not going anywhere. Your shift is done. We have him.”

It’s the only time the whole trip I cried.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1DIGkQUmRdzfe_tdgF11QT36QwtCtfera

But wait! There’s more.

The successful ending of the trip had not even truly dawned on me yet where we had to go to the airport. I was still in the heavy work of processing processing processing… it had only been an hour since I had spoken to the therapist.

I had done a great job of not falling into my more detrimental patterns of self-soothing while we were gone, but with the end looming and relief coming, I wanted a coffee, badly. Even though I knew it would hurt me.

Bad habits don’t always have to ruin your life. Some just ruin your day.

I am walking towards the Starbuck’s line, kinda like a zombie… but trying to convince myself to walk past when I see a familiar face.

Guys.

When I say that God’s hands were on this trip… that the obviousness of miracles was so near that I could feel the beauty of the grace right next to me like the gentlest welcome touch…. I can’t even express my shock and awe at the “coincidence” of it.

Because here I was, at the Tampa airport, 3500 miles from home and I see one of my best friends.

We have raised our kids together. Gone through tragedy and divorce and (yes) her brother’s addiction together.

We had drifted apart due to our kids being in college these last few years, but not in a bad way. In a “we can pick this up next time we have time” kind of way.

And she was right in front of me.

Then the absolutely unbelievable happened.

We were seated together on the plane.

I kid you not.

We had assigned seats SIDE BY SIDE.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1nnUl396EEEwon698YysP6VOEnYfRqxM0

She being the only one of my close circle that didn’t know about this because we hadn’t talked recently. And also being the only one who would truly understand what we had just accomplished. She was next to me for 7 hours and 14 minutes.

My mind was blown. My “loaves and fishes” moment had happened.

God had spoken.

And he said that it was good.

God works in mysterious ways.

No.  

Wait.

God works.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

I thank you, God, for this most amazing day….

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ePs87Fgjd-JXmbH4fqG4zseYkskABFlg

I thank You, God for most this amazing
day:

for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;

and for everything
which is natural

which is infinite

which is yes.

I who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;

this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:

and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any — lifted from the no
of all nothing — human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- E. E. Cummings
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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1etsa37SXficYjVlM2QY2dzfS6Dc239fN


“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

- William Martin
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Sunday, March 6, 2022

Fantastic Beasts Party

Fantastic Beasts party in the books. ❤️

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1cqsvMlTJbgqwDVncYH7qMTxw7D8oCF2y

First up, decorations.  I went all out creating the inside of Newt Schemander's magical suitcase.  Outside the door I put up an Owlry, giant spiders, and all sorts of fun things that Newt would need for his magical creatures.  



The party table was filled with giant plants, Newt's Magical Creatures book, the Monsterous Book of Monsters, a Niffler with his pile of gold, and Jacob Kowalski's suitcase filled with his amazing pastries.  

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=14D0jvGCTdmq2wQv-WZpYDnpAmscLcDBA

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1jYjx9XvmITWTl_enKJrwFcfkByklNikT

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1I5JA-WTsxCpu8H5a_Z0pXwo60bdUZlMm

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1nKiOlZqgQ7XK6AciATwGutM8Yo3_-OSo

I even made a "Muggle Worthy" suitcase for our friends at Ellis Island.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=18rSW43K_rctAAWiky0Pl4XyNy7DVtjKj

We had two games to play.  

First one was a pigmy puff hunt.  

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1dTH8HZMSMs3ksFhR7Gcgqo7jQmTh1ghf

Newt Scamander accidentally released 36 Pygmy Puffs and we needed help to round them up in Central Park. The pigmy puffs were placed around the entire 4 acres and the kids were tasked with bringing them all home.  

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=19AzBLeXuFv_CBwXwJjeGAWNOwWRTrayl

Luke's outfit was a mix of Newt's outfits in the first two Fantastic Beasts movies.  The long grey coat was made from a man's wool sport coat I found at a thrift store.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1F7pt7yiu6i2fW7ppjLCXc-Bg5ZOsZBi6

This little guy in his pocket is a Bowtruckle. 

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=12jlmp9FkrqdQV-sjLQXHftZ7Qmfyvzyw

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1gD9bgPbYt_BX2mGMVtsLmVy2AUQiiyRO

My favorite scene in the movie:

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1HJph_H993XFSWBZd220S0nr5fimSoo5p

I thought this scene was so wonderful that I asked the kids to recreate it.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1cqsvMlTJbgqwDVncYH7qMTxw7D8oCF2y

Favors:

Three of these:

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1suG0he9AumDECZWklLFW5yhAMWfQoXqJ

And a box of these:

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=11xJYAfx5sRCTu6U7y6zwZxANnOdANqXz
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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Here's to Eleven

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1k3DsRgauHwFTa2TRddznAFR2eg10TSL-

Give me the loud giggles. The one that tells me a too-long story in the middle of school that is sort-of-almost related to what I was teaching him. The one that can’t sit still. The one that love so deeply that I feel unworthy. The one that is so grateful he inspires generosity. The one that hugs me for 10 minutes before going to bed. The cuddler. The one that calls me to his room because the cat did something cute. The messy hair. The sheepish grins. The space cadet.

And please, Lord, make me worthy of his time with me. Let me always see what a gift he is.

Here’s to 11.
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Sunday, January 30, 2022

The end of an era.


https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ut0QCG86YVl1RMgk4rcI5xiMOe6pmVR4

His parties were always the biggest and most elaborate. I didn’t realize that this was over. I am in a sort of mourning right now of all the things the pandemic has taken. Which includes my son’s extreme extroverted personality.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1O3x74XLAsY6pgPjraZmPVCeP24QvKhHv

He told me last week that he feels more like an ambivert now, he says that big groups now freak him out. That he feels he has to watch everyone and everything and feels responsible for people. Not only that but he has gained a lot of empath qualities because when others do something dumb or feel embarrassed, he feels embarrassed and frustrated, even if they don’t. They don’t care but he takes on all of those feelings for them.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1taShYu2tCJL6QxNFK4W-rX8dXtumWzHs

It’s a huge change from last year or two years ago when he couldn’t wait to be the center of attention.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1qjy2pPUxlnwcwAdYBV7BXw7HP35wTi6-

My heart hurts for what this time is doing to our kids. These types of changes in the world really do shape our lives. Just like the Spanish flu, the Great Depression, or any large war - just like that changed history, it also changed the people living through it. There are things that they went through that changed them at a fundamental level. Shifted their thinking and adjusted their personality. It isn’t new. But the things that are taken hurt just the same.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1H6Y8A12p7DduQB1F404XHGx8uZKqbcXN

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1pwBQc-GBPBzj1-ec5qUVPQCr5Xdj7Ms8

(Logan at parties from past years- medieval plague, Sherlock Holmes, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, mad science, ninjas, super spy, Star Wars, and my favorite party of all time, the Monster Adoption party.)

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1m3cnmggFmC1T1wYlpcl-RU5vGxFATSy8

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1-cRfPNqBMHQCGRP5c1Xe04aSt5iKnHqj

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1t1YMJsf27J5utlijRuvc54Sgcm68kA6U

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1jae6GJ7Q8__8uhCVtqVh3w7thy4XCiKH
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