Thursday, December 29, 2011

April Rebecca Averitt….21……oh my!

Today I write my blog in honor of April,April's 20th Christmas 004 she turns 21 today!


birthday cake little girl!  We first met her birth father at a church cook out, he was there with a friend.  He then came to our church some, he was living at the Union Rescue Mission, he had a drug problem and was getting help in their program.  Not long after that, we met his girl friend, she was seven months pregnant and homeless.  A couple in our church the Shaw’s, had her live with them, in a few weeks this was too much for them and she needed a home, Steve and I came home and had a family meeting, we ask our children if she could stay with us, she was to marry April’s birth father when he completed the program.  They of course said yes, over the years we have had several people all ages live with us to help them, my children have always been so giving of them selfSmile Needless to say she moved in. On Dec. 28th she started having contractions, every time she would have one April would totally go crazy in her tummy, I could see her moving all over and kicking, she was not due till January. April’s birth mother is half Indian, joking, I told Steve we need to get her checked, I did not feel it normal for the baby to be so active with each contraction, and since she was Indian, they just squat to have babiesSmile we went to UAMS labor and delivery, April was a emergency C-section and here, it all happened so fast, the cord was looped around her neck.  April was ok and so was her birth mother. At this time in our life, we thought Dee, birth mom and John Birth dad would get married and live happily ever after, we brought April home, our house hold was so excited, Hannah had her own baby, Alex totally cared for her too, everyone pitch  in to help except Dee.   Dee wanted to be with John, he had been in the program for 90 days and had done well, he left the program to be with Dee, they moved into a room, the size of a closet, the home had been condemned, on 14th and Cumberland. John’s mother lived in the back of it, not sure how with it being condemned? but they did. When April was a week old Dee left with her, our hearts were broke because we knew she would not be cared for, with in hours Dee called me to come and get her, we did. This went on for two weeks. My heart was broke for April, I did not know what to do, I could not keep her she was not mine, John was back on drugs and very abusive verbally and could be physically. I remember going to the church by my self, in the sanctuary and laying at the alter begging and crying to God to please do something, I was there for hours, felt like a nervous break down.  I knew I had to protect my family from John threats but what about April, how did I protect her?????  A lady called me and said she took April away from them, they she had a butcher knife on them and got April due to abuse, we went and got her, I said then I will never give her back, but  you can not keep someone's baby even if suspected proven abuse, I had to take her home……..we had custody paper drawn up by our sweet friend Cindy Moody, I begged them to let us have temporary custody they said no…I had to leave her there, now if you wondering why I did not call DHS…..I did……a week past…Steve and I were in Hot Springs with Derol and Ann May, when John called drunk, I told him I could not help, which totally killed me inside, so I talked Steve into going by there and checking on them, when we did April had a bruised on her forehead and totally blind, the smell of paint thinner was so strong you could not breath, she was dirty, stunk and her tummy was so distended….they sold her wic/ formula and giving her onion water….John’s mother told him it would help her tummy not hurt and quit crying…..I was devastated….I could not leave her again…I said…let’s take her to Children’s Hospital, it was right down the street, to get her shots….Dee said ok, we did…they admitted her and she was in there for two weeks, during this time her vision came back, she began to respond normally, John and Dee “looked” like good parents, they had a room, food, laundry, TV………I looked like the crazy one, But in time true colors show….John came high and drunk to hospital…Dee would not stay with April in the hospital…then John and I got into it and we both got put on security alert and kicked out of hospital….the next day they discharged her to them……I do not know of a time in my life of the anguish I felt, it really almost did me in emotionally.  I was distraught at what had happened, the next morning John called and was upset, the DHS woman had come to get April, he kicked her down some stairs and wanted us to meet him at Children's to take custody of April, Dee nor John wanted her in DHS, they both had been raised in DHS….we were there in seconds, went to Children's had a notary sign and we signed and they signed….I took her home NEVER to let her live-in hat abuse again…….

Some funny things about April….due to the fact she is the baby of five older brothers' and sister's, she had everything done for her, when we started kindergarten, I remember the teacher saying, she needs to fix her own cereal and pour her own milkSmile  she literally was our little princess, everyone who knew her was protective of her. One day when I had picked Jared up form school, April was maybe four, she was so mad at him, she looked straight in his face, and hollered YOU BABY! YOU BABY! YOU BABY!!!   She normally did not have out burst of anger so it was really funny to us but not to her… when I washed my face, I would take toilet paper and make a headband around my face to keep hair form getting wet, one night April went into the den and said, JEEERRROD….mommy has toilet paper on her head!! I have this on video, her voice was country and had a draw on all her words…it was, I huuuuuugrrry moma…..her best friend was a little dog name Cooley when she was little, it was the neighbor’s dog, and I had got on to it for something, she said…do not be mean to Cooley, he is my best friend!! 

So many wonderful memories of you growing up April, into a beautiful young woman…….when April was 19 months old, her birth parents came back into our lifeSad smile they wanted her back….Dee was pregnant at the time, they moved to Conway, still on drugs, no jobs and unfit…….at that time I said no, we went to court, not once but three times, the Judge gave them time to prove them self worthy to be a parent. John had threaten to kill us and I had it on tape and he was arrested, he came to court in his jail clothes, Dee had Matthew who was four months old now on her lap. I felt as if her life was swinging in the balance of heaven and hell, although God had told me she was ours and gave me so many scriptures, I was totally sick to my stomach…..I will NEVER forget when Judge Robin Mays had me on the stand ask looked me in the eyes, ask me why I wanted to adopt April……I begged and cried for April’s life…… children knew her as their sister, we were a family and had been for 19 months, April had not known that life anymore and I would rather die then her have to go back to that……I meant it…the Judge had to take a recess because she started crying…..when Dee got on the stand, she said she would like to try being April’s mother…….the Judge and the Oklahoma Indian Tribe terminated the rights of John and Dee… heart was over joyed, we immediately adopted her………….had a major party, for years we did her birthday in August……due to her adoption date plus it was summer and more children could come to swim party’sSmile   April I have always told you how special you are, that I did not have a choice in the other children but I did in you and I chose you to be my little girl, I would give my life for you, God chose me and daddy to be your parents, it is a miracle to ever terminate a parents rights, Kay McCloud was our attorney and yours was Mr. Peters, they fought for your freedom, we fought for it….but most of all God fought for it……..I know meeting Dee and Matthew later in life had been hard, I am thankful for Dee, without her I would not have you, I am thankful you found it in your heart to forgive them, your heart is so big with forgiveness, never sell your self short, your life has a purpose and a meaning, God has plans for you, sometimes it has been hard for you, but you have over come, I pray God will open your eyes to the Hope of His calling in your life……………..I love love love you baby girl and would go to hell and back for you, but most of all God loves you and knows you, he will always be there for you, you are His not mine, always have been, always will be!April's 20th Christmas 032

Monday, December 26, 2011

A friend shared this with me.

What Dreams May Come

At a recent Advent Retreat, participants were asked to pick a figure out of the Nativity scene they most identified with. I invite you to think about this also. Who in the Nativity story do you most relate to?

Is it the shepherds, tending to the very ordinary, somewhat dirty details of everyday life, called in the midst of all that to recognize God with them? Or maybe it's the Wise Men, moved to bring extraordinary gifts to an improbable king. Or how about Mary, invited to give birth to the holiness. Where does your life intersect with the Nativity story this season?

Did any of you think about Joseph? Nobody on the retreat did. Mary got grabbed up right away by at least two people. The Wise Men had their turn. One participant chose the baby Jesus. Even the donkey got picked, because someone in the group was feeling especially burdened. Everyone in the Nativity story got a little attention, except for Joseph. Always standing off to the side, silent and tired. He is the supporting actor in someone's story.

I know of a little girl who always got to play the Virgin Mary in the church Christmas pageant, because she had blonde hair and looked precious in a blue robe. One year, the little boy playing Joseph, picked up the Jesus baby doll from the manager. That little girl grabbed the doll away from him and hissed very loudly,"That's not your baby!"

Biologically speaking, she was right of course, and that's the problem for poor old Joseph and his part of the story. It is not, technically, his child. He's not the biological father. It seems like you could lift him right out of the story, and the story would still go on.

Almost. The truth is a whole lot did depend on him. He was a good man caught in a terrible scandal not remotely of his own making. We tend not to think of this as a scandal, but it actually was.

He was betrothed to Mary. Betrothal was equivalent to marriage, a marriage which became complete once the groom took the bride to his own home and they consummated the marriage. But in the meantime, they were already considered husband and wife. That Mary had turned up pregnant during this time could only mean one thing to him - she had been unfaithful. Joseph knew the child was not his.

If you've ever found yourself on the receiving end of bad news resulting from someone else's poor choices, then you can imagine how Joseph felt. Betrayed? Certainly. Disappointed? Naturally. Humiliated? Most likely. Angry? Probably.

Everything he thought he knew about his beloved and been upended. the future he had imagined with her was not to be. His own standing in the community would be harmed by something not of his own doing. His life has been altered by someone else's actions. He did not make this mess, but he will have to deal with it.

And so he has a choice. Joseph and Mary lived in a world where right and wrong were black and white, and consequences were clearly defined. These are the choices Joseph can make in response to Mary's unfortunate pregnancy. He can divorce her, or he can bring charges of adultery against her, which means having her stoned. That's what is came down to for a woman in Mary's situation. Divorce or death.

Matthew tells us that Joseph is a righteous man, and it seems a kind one too. Because he chooses not to publically shame Mary. He will not put her on trial or let her transgressions be know to all. He will divorce her, but he will do it quietly. And for a young woman in Mary's circumstances, that is just about the best she could have hoped for.

But then an angel shows up. As far as angels go, the one we seem to like the best is the one where the glorious Gabriel comes to sweet Mary and tells her she's going to have a baby. Artists love this story, and it has been painted and sculpted and put in glass thousands of times throughout the centuries The story of a young and innocent girl saying yes to God's wild plan - it is beautiful.

But the way Matthew tells it, the whole plan hinged on Joseph as much as it did on Mary. Joseph had resolved to put her away quietly, but the dreams of an angel who says, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

If Joseph can believe such a dream as this, then the story will move forward. the boy will be born legitimately. He will be given a name. Mary and the baby will have a home and a family. God's outrageous plan to be born into our world will be protected and nurtured.

Or, Joseph can wake from the dream, shake it off, and go on and file the divorce papers. Mary will be nothing more than any other poor, unwed teenage mother, and Jesus will be an illegitimate child.

Joseph has every reason in the world to do just that, to dismiss Mary, to disavow the situation, to get back to the quiet, conventional life he had planned. But he does not do that. He gets up from his bed,and adopts God's plan. He owns the mess he didn't make, and that mess becomes the place where God is born.

This is the choice we have too. When our plans get interrupted, and our lives get disrupted, we can say, "No, I did not plan this. I cannot believe this is happening, and I will not accept it."

Or, we can say, "Yes, I will accept what life is offering me. I will consent to plans I didn't make for myself. And I will believe the impossible good news that somehow God will be born in this."

You may have a hard time as Joseph first did believing in a virgin birth, but the true mystery in all of this is that God not only decided to become one of us, but that the plan hinged on human partners. And God still wants us to to be born into the disorder of our lives. And still, God wants us to consent, asks our consent, to this radical birth.

What does this mean for us? For Joseph, it meant claiming God's child as his own, giving him a name, a home, a family. It meant bringing out into the light what he had thought to assign to the dark. It meant consenting to God's plan, responding in faith with no knowledge of where it would lead.

In order for all of this to happen, Joseph had to let go of a lot. He had a certain understanding of righteousness, one that meant putting Mary away quietly. He had to let hat go. He had a certain expectation of how his life would work out. He had a certain sense of order and control, and a quiet conventionality. He had to let all of that go. And in all that letting go he did, there was room enough in his life to take hold of something bigger, to say "yes" to the mystery that is God.

It was Mary who later would be called the "God bearer". But it was Joseph too who bore God's plans as his own.

And what about us? When you look back over this past year, I bet there's a whole lot that happened that you had not planned. Some things probably went horribly wrong. Others turned out more right than you could have ever imagined. How has God been with you in all of it? How is God, even now, laboring to be born anew in the specific circumstances of your life, the ones you chose and the ones you didn't? What do you need to let go in order for God to be born? What have you been trying to divorce yourself from that perhaps you need to embrace? What do you need to say "yes" to in order for God to be born again in your heart, in your life, in this church, in our world, because it's still what God seeks.

Every day we face circumstances beyond our control, messes we didn't make, and ones we did. Every day we deal with interruptions and disruptions to our plans. Our lives often look little like we had hoped, even at Christmas. Maybe especially at Christmas.

But can you hear the angel, even now? He is saying what he has always said: "Do not be afraid. God is here. God will be born even here, if you consent."

And this is our call, in these days of Advent. Open your arms. Open your heart. Open your life to the mystery that is Emmanuel, God with us. Amen


I read this and it so spoke to me, I pray it will help give you understanding in your life too. Looking back this has been a very hard year for me, ups and downs with family, mother work. I have been dealt a hand I did not want, but I have trusted God daily to give me the grace to make the right decisions, I will do all within my power to obey the Lord and trust Him daily for the hand I have been dealt, knowing He is in control of my life and has all my answers, I pray I can walk in love, love never fails.  This year I have learned in doing the 12 step program that I am co-dependent and do what ever I can to be a peace maker and hold everything together, no matter what, keep peace, even at your expense, I have learned that is a result of my child hood abuse, that it is never ok to accept abuse, if its verbal, physical, mental, you can love,  still stand up and say no, this is not right, just as Jesus did when He cleansed the temple, I have learned that just because others think something of me, does not mean I have too, that I have to take that to the Lord and believe what He says about me, I have learned I can not please everyone and do not have too.  I have learned that my children can fight their own battles, I am to be and encourager not a fixerSmile I have learned that I love me and how God made me, its ok to say no and not feel guilty, its ok to have a PJ day and not be sick, to be honest, but only speak with love and be a few words, not to gossip, you might get over it but the ones you told will hold a grudge which will cause pain. I have forgiven Steve for not measuring up to my expectations in some areas and let him be him, I have forgiven me for not measuring up to my own expectations.  I guess I would feel more like Joseph, with Walt  trusting me to care for mother and over the finances, which he did six months before he died, there are times I want to defend my self, but God makes me be quiet.  I do not like being POA or having to do all mother’s affairs, taxes, social security, medical, etc. but that is what God has trusted me with, I take it seriously.  Like I said this has been a difficult year and I am not sure it will be better, mother has Alzheimer's , I have learned not to look forward in how I will be able to do this but to look at today and know God gives fresh mercy and grace today, tomorrow will take care of itself……if I look at tomorrow, I do not know how I will be able to do it, it depresses me with Mother…….wonder if Joseph just tried to look at one day at a time….bet he didSmile love to all reading this, I can honestly say I have no un forgiveness, grudges, at this time with anyone, I have learned to walk away before saying things I will be sorry for, to make amends quickly when I do open my mouth at the wrong time and to let my family/friends  know I love them, for we never know what tomorrow holds… to each of you if your reading this……hugs

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Steve and I got up and hit the ground cleaning, we cleaned everything, washed sheets, wiped down base boards and trim, waxed hardwoods after cleaning them, vacuumed the furniture, cleaned kitchen, stove, fridge, just did it all, everything is spotless…….I always think when I see a little hand print and I wipe it up or Windex the glass, can’t wait for them to come back and make new hand printsWinking smile  Then got my bath and fixed Suppa Toscana, my friend gave me the recipe, April came over when Kay picked up mother for the Smith Christmas. April's 20th Christmas 002 We ate, the soup had too much red pepper.  But we ate some and had salad and bread, tea….it was good and we enjoyed our time with April.  We then opened presents April's 20th Christmas 004April's 20th Christmas 011April's 20th Christmas 016April's 20th Christmas 023April's 20th Christmas 025April's 20th Christmas 030April's 20th Christmas 032 we had a sweet family time, it is hard to believe, but April will be 21 the 29th.! April has been God’s gift to Steve and I, she is as sweet as she is pretty. 

This year we did things different for Christmas for us, we went to Louisiana Dec. 3rd,connnies 020 then had the Averitt ( Steve’s brother and sisters and kids ) on the 10th, then Steve had surgery on the 12th., we had our Children Christmas on the 23rd., kept it with just us, called my brother today to wish him Merry Christmas and had told Kay my sister Merry Christmas, we had a house full, then today had just April here, with the house back in order and some hot soupSmile but have had a wonderful family fun filled Christmas! One thing we did that I have never done is go to the Christmas Eve Service at Journey Church, where we go, my son Alex is the Pastor.Christmas Eve Service Journey Church 001Christmas Eve Service Journey Church 002Christmas Eve Service Journey Church 005 it was such a blessing to began Dec. 25th with songs of worship……just a blessing!  I did have to take a nap to stay up that late and went in my flannel PJ’s and house shoes, but wore my new coatSmile  Its has been a blessed week, mother is home form the Smith’s Christmas and wore out, already in bed.  I think this will be the last year we can haul her around to all the Christmas gatherings, she loves them but it totally wears her out and her gait is not what it was, I am wondering if she will not need a cane for support soonSad smile All the Christmas goodies have her tummy messed up, plus the strong antibiotic so say a prayer for her please.  I pray over her home and as we go to sleep over her mind, I pray God will slow this disease down so I can have her with me longer, know it is selfish but that is how I pray.  Mother is happy and loves doing things, she is just getting weaker in her legs and back.  I have to remind my self to live in her world not her in my world.mother and santamother christmas 2011  I love her so much and love the time I am having with her, I will always treasure the moments when she is normal and we talk, that are far and very few between, the other night she had gone to the bath room, got back in the bed and reach over and kissed my cheek twice and said, I love you LindaSmile Nite Nite……like when I was at homeSmile Its been a good day! 

We have always taken the week after Christmas for vacation, last year we went to Branson, but like I said we changed some things this year, with Steve having surgery we decided to just stay home, we may go to the condo or visit Hannah if Steve feels like it, if not I am still enjoying my treeApril's 20th Christmas 033 my clean house and my hubby……I love having my time with him, he is my sweetie! So for tonight it is staying here, working and having more family timeSmile Would still love to see my BFF Ann and Derol Mayderol and ann may new they live in Hot Springs so we will go see them for sureSmile Love the Holiday’s to see so many I never get to see.  I have enjoyed every minute of this time, did shopping in October when I closed a big deal, first time ever having it all done that soon, to my disadvantage I did give Olivia and Blake their presents early, I could not wait, that is why I do not buy early!

Nite Nite……kisses

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Week

week has been so much fun, the first of the week I had spent the night with Sherry Maxwell my BFF me and sherry smailing  she is such a important part of my life, I love her, she is someone I can tell anything too and she still loves me, she knows me inside and out, and she keeps it to her selfSmile Hard to find! I am blessed with her sister ship!  Then Wednesday had a special lunch at the Victorian Tea room with my other friends, friends Sherry was there but she was taking this picSmile this is Pam Richey, Edwanda Ware, Dinah Lawson, we use to go to the Casino together about once every four months, have for years, always a group deal with Ed telling us when to eat, when to get up and what to doSmile Dinah is our baby, she just turned 50 this year, we totally cater to herSmile Ed is ready for a trip, but we said it will be awhile, she is 79 years old, so she said do not wait too longSmile I love these women, they are a special blessing in my life, all very different, Pam gave me this neat cross made with beads, so pretty will take a pic and post itSmile Then went to Mothers Tuesday at four, she was very irritated, she had had a hard weekend, I realized it could be the steroids the Dr. gave her for her Bronchitis , so I called her Alzheimer's Dr., he said it was and we added some zanax and it helped, that with a lot of prayers!  Thursday I listed a home and showed property, I spent the night with mother, a little better night but she was still confused, Hannah and Mark came Wednesday night, I was so excited, loved seeing those babies, been Thanksgiving since I had seen them!christmas 2011 032 I loved this throw they got me for Christmas, have it on me now, just smiled at looking at Blake smiling so big!!  It was difficult juggling mother, work and company but it all worked out.  Connie mother’s caregiver brought her over Friday and we had a wonderful family time for Christmaschristmas 2011 001 we ate, sang Christmas carols had gift 2011 009christmas 2011 022christmas 2011 028christmas 2011 048 Mother and I went back to her house for the night, her  home was so pretty, we had the best time talking.mothers christmas We enjoyed the fire and the Walton’s Christmas was on, we sang Christmas Carols, special special memories for me. Got to bed and talked some more, then up at 7:30 which is early for mother, by the time the care giver got there, mother had her shower and ate breakfast, I had cleaned the house got the sheets in the wash, Saturday is our sheet washing day.   Got home and had Christmas with Sean, Anna and Cole, Sean is getting a divorce in which I am sad about, but all I can do is pray,Cole Christmas 002Cole Christmas 006Cole Christmas 008Cole Christmas 014 keep him in your prayers, this is a very painful time for him, he sure loves his babies, he is a wonderful father.  After they left Steve and I went to eat at Our Back been a long time since I had been there, had a gift card, it was delicious had lobster cooked perfect! Then came home and went to bed, had my electric blanket on and just cuddled in for a long winter nap!  I had wanted to take mother and April to dinner and look at lights, which mother and I did that when her sister Connie was here, but I was just too tired to wiggle, so it’s a quiet Christmas Eve with Mr. Steve, we woke up and in our PJ’s watching NCIS.  We do plan on going to the 11:30 Christmas Eve service at church tonight, will be the first time for us to do that, hope we can stay awake, then tomorrow April will have her family Christmas with us!!beach pics thursday 019 April has always been a delight in our life, it is hard to believe she is almost 21 years old! She is so beautiful, inside and out!  I have had a fun, family filled Christmas, loved baking and making chocolate cover pretzelschrist1 had a shoe display Christmas 2011 010Christmas 2011 011Christmas 2011 015A slight spill of popcorn, that turned into a play in the popcorn! Hannah said had that been when they were little someone would have been in trouble, and I let the Grand babies play in it, although they did help clean it up.Christmas 2011 016Christmas 2011 017Christmas 2011 018 I am grateful for all my babies and all my family, friends I am blessed!  I hope you take time to have great family time and make some new traditions!  Merry Christmas!