Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Self Care - Part V

One of the most important realizations that I've come to as I've pondered the issue of self-care, is the fact that foster, kinship and adoptive parents need to realize an important fact:

Our children's problems are not our fault.

This is very easy to say, but it is much harder to believe, since inevitably parents are blamed for the problems their children exhibit.  When a family is out in public, and a 10-year-old throws a temper tantrum in the middle of a warehouse store, the public doesn't think, "Oh, the poor family of a special-needs child."  Instead, they think, "Geeze, what a lousy parent!  If that was my kid acting that way, I'd belt him into next Tuesday."

Likewise, teachers, medical professionals, friends and even family don't understand why our children behave so badly.  If a child has problems, people reason, it has to be the parents' fault.

Maybe this idea might be true in the case of badly-behaved children who were properly nurtured and cared for since birth.  Unfortunately, most foster and many adoptive parents don't have that luxury.  Many of us have adopted from the domestic foster care system, and most of the children in that system are there because they were abused or neglected for years before they came into our homes.

So they act out, some in very profound, troubling ways.

And society at large wants to blame us for those problems.

But to properly care for ourselves (and by extension our children) we have to recognize two important things: 1) we didn't cause the problems our children have, and 2) we can't necessarily fix them.  This is especially true in cases where our children have been prenatally exposed to drugs or alcohol, or they are burdened with a biological destiny of mental illness.

We didn't cause it, and we can't fix it.

As painful as it sounds, many of us have to realize that there are some problems in our children that simply cannot be repaired, no matter how much love, attention, or services we shower upon them.  Some of our children are too broken, too damaged, and too disabled to function as normal children can.  Worse, many of these kids are going to grow up to repeat the cycle of their birth families.

For most families, that reality creates a lot of guilt.  Parents question themselves and wonder, "Could we have done better?"  They wonder if perhaps they should have sold the family home or gone deep into debt to cover therapy or services that weren't covered by insurance.

But as I've discussed before, bankrupting one's future in the hopes one might save a child isn't the wisest choice.  At some point, that child will leave the family home, either when he reaches the age of majority, or when he runs away or becomes too violent to stay.

So we have to realize that there is only so much we can do. We have to recognize that there is a limit, and all we can do has to be good enough.  Sure, there will always be critics out there, accusing parents of being selfish, or having not done everything they could do, but at the end of the day, a family has to live within its financial, physical and emotional means.

And sometimes, good enough just has to be good enough, even if it's not perfect.

If we recognize that there are some children who cannot be fixed (and who will never be "normal") and we simply do our best to give them the best childhood we can then we should be satisfied.  That doesn't mean allowing a violent child to abuse the family, or a manipulative one to escape consequences.  It means that we make the best of what we have, and do the best we can given that we began from a crappy starting place.

If you can forgive yourself for not being able to save your children, you'll sleep a lot better at night.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Self Care - Part IV

Yesterday, Integrity Singer wrote about how she came to the conclusion that her mentally ill daughter's life is not more important than her own. I thought it was a moving, well-written post, and I found myself wishing that I could come up with something even half as eloquent.

And then, I was reminded that I really ought to add to my series on self-care.

An important aspect of self-care, especially when dealing with seriously damaged, disabled, or traumatized kids, is that we realize that their lives are not more important than our own.  We parents are important.  Our needs must be met.

In fact, I would argue that our needs should be met first, if for no other reason so that we have the energy to do our best for our children.

I realize that my critics will argue with me and perhaps even call me selfish for advocating that parents should put themselves first, but I realize that when one lives in a world of scarce resources, it's the only healthy conclusion one can reach.

Children, whether disabled or not, rely on their parents for everything.  It is the parents who provide the food the kids eat, the clothing they wear, and the housing, entertainment, and everything else the kids want or need.  If a child's parents are sacrificing their basic needs in order to "save" their child, they are forgetting an important reality -- if a parent is too tired, depressed, overwhelmed, or hungry -- he or she cannot do a good job providing for that child, themselves, or the rest of the family.

In our family, I am the primary breadwinner.  In order to better take care of my family, I owe it to them to take care of myself.  So my wife and I try to spend time together, away from our child.  We try to get adequate sleep, even if it means putting an early end to conversations that might be important to our daughter.  (Why is it that she never wants to have these conversations at a convenient time, instead of wanting them five minutes before bedtime, when we are all exhausted?)  I take time to exercise, even though it's not always fun or convenient.  When we take our rare vacation days, we spend them doing the things that will give us adults the maximum rest and relaxation, even when those plans are in direct conflict with what our child wants.  (She wishes for noisy and chaotic amusement parks, while we crave quiet, natural campgrounds.)

What our child wants is important, but I've come to realize that there is no way we can take care of her if we do not take care of our needs first.  Although she's not as difficult as some kids that we've read about in the blogosphere, she is by no means an "easy" child to live with.  Some days, she can be a joy to be around, while others are so bad there are simply no words to adequately describe them.

And in some ways, riding the roller coaster that goes up and down, sometimes stopping in Crazy Town and sometimes not, is more difficult than dealing with consistent behavior, even when it is all bad.  Her behavior constantly reminds me of the line from the movie Forest Gump, "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

In our case, we never know what version of Danielle we are going to see in any given moment.  The word "unpredictable" doesn't adequately describe her behavior.  Sometimes we brace for what we think will be an inevitable explosion, and she will respond favorably.  Other times, she'll explode over nothing, when we least expect it.

We never know what we are going to get.

So when we ride the roller coaster, up and down, around and around, sometimes stopping in Crazy Town and sometimes not, we find ourselves exhausted.  The phrase, "I am so tired," frequently escapes our lips, so we grab whatever crumbs  of respite, relaxation and enjoyment we can, even if it means that our child doesn't get everything she wants.

One of the ways that we adults try to take care of ourselves is to spend time outdoors.  Camping, especially at some of the more rustic local campgrounds, is one of our favorite activities.  We've spent many a nice day, simply sitting outside under our sun shade, watching the day go by.  Since we have parrots, and sunshine is imperative for their health, we try to take them outside nearly every day.  I also make a point to run outdoors three times a week*, or find time to wash our cars, so that I can breathe in fresh air while also getting some badly-needed exercise.

Even though I'm fair-skinned and burn more easily than anyone else I've ever met, I've noticed that my mood really has come to depend on getting a certain amount of outside time.  Being able to go outdoors, even if it's only to watch the cars buzzing down my street, is hugely important.  Although our child often manages to bring her own portable rain cloud with her, even on the nicest days, we still make a point to spend some time in the sun.

I've noticed something important: the more time I spend doing the things that I enjoy, that fill my soul and meet my needs, the more able I am to effectively deal with my child's explosions, disrespect, and challenges.  The more content I am with my life, irrespective of my child, the less her behaviors bother me.

Now that's not to say that her behaviors don't get under my skin.  They absolutely do.  It's just that if I'm more happy, well-rested and fed, then I have more emotional energy to allow her "let's take a trip to Crazy Town" behaviors roll off my back.


* After a long break from running because I was sick, I re-started Couch to 5K.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Self Care - Part III

I apologize to my readers who have been waiting for my series on self-care. I had planned to write a number of posts, one per day, until I'd covered all the topics I wanted to address. Unfortunately, life got in the way last week, and this week Danielle's behavior has been in the toilet.

It's hard to write anything really meaningful when you are being aggravated to death by petty, ridiculous behaviors.  Last night, for example, Danielle tried to argue that the case of sparkling water sitting on our front porch wasn't water.  FosterEema had asked her to bring our monthly water delivery inside, and she had brought in the five-gallon jugs, but left the case of individual bottles sitting outdoors.  When FosterEema called her on it, she argued that the [brand name] bottles weren't water, but were something else, so she wasn't supposed to bring those inside.

Funny that, considering the fact that the case was clearly labeled [brand name] sparkling water on the sides and top.

It would be funny if it weren't so darned pathetic.  Danielle has no idea how idiotic it makes her appear when she tries to argue things like water isn't really water, or that the Air Force isn't part of the military.

But I digress.

This morning's post was supposed to be about self-care.

In response to Self Care - Part II, Lisa wrote:

It took me too many years and tens of thousands of dollars (put on credit cards no less) to figure this one out. I felt like I had to try EVERYTHING to help my kids. I was depressed for weeks when I couldn't swing one type of therapy for 3 kids that would have run me over $300/week. I felt horrible guilt when I couldn't enroll 4 kids in a tutoring program that would have been upwards of $1,000/month. I was nuts. It took me much too long to realize that these kids would be GONE and I would be paying on these failed therapies for the rest of my life. I just had to start saying (and meaning) NO - and I did! It's been 3 years now and with a ridiculous amount of belt=tightening, most of the debt is gone. Of course one of the kids is gone, another is leaving in 10 mos and another a year later so it's not like we have time to develop a nest egg - and we are much older now than when we began this journey - but nevertheless, it's happening. Self care is so...important, and the one thing we NEVER budget for. Vitamin supplements that cost $300/month? We found a way. $50 for dinner and a movie once every 6 months? nope, could never do it. I regret that the most.

Try to ignore the haters, they have no clue...

And this is exactly the point I wanted to make in this morning's post.  There may very well be talk out there in the blogosphere about self-care in terms of respite, or taking time to do things one finds rewarding and satisfying, but there's very little talk out there about financial self-preservation.  Many parents feel, rightly or wrongly, that they should do everything possible for their children, even if it means destroying the family finances in the process.

In our family, we've come to financial crossroads a number of times.  We came to one when the county fought to remove our daughter, before her adoption was finalized.  We came together as an extended family, decided to fight, and spent tens of thousands of dollars in doing so.  We did this because Danielle said this is what she wanted.

Later, when her behavior completely cratered, we again came together as an extended family and scraped up the money to send her to a summer-long boot camp program.  We thought it would help her, since all the other interventions we'd done previously had failed.  We had taken dozens of hours of parenting classes, we'd gone to countless hours of individual and family therapy, and Danielle herself had worked her way through five or six different professionals and para-professionals, with no real, measurable, or lasting improvement in her behavior.

So this summer, when my wife and I found ourselves with a big financial choice ahead of us, we made the decision to go with what would make us happier.  We have made the decision not to incur additional debt in more attempts to "help" or "cure" Danielle.  Instead, we are making choices to fund our retirement and savings accounts, pay off our outstanding debts, and keep our credit cards paid off each month.

No doubt there are some people out there who will find us selfish for not sacrificing our own happiness and financial security in a futile bid to "save" our child.  Unfortunately, I think the sad reality is that she is who she is, and there's only so much healing she's going to be able to do right now.  I think she may do more once age, maturity and the school of hard knocks known as life, instruct her in ways that no parent, no counselor and no schoolteacher can do.

At this point, I know we have roughly two and a quarter years left until our child turns 18.  She's told us, hundreds, if not thousands, of times that she plans to move out the day she becomes an adult, so that she doesn't have to live with us, and our miserable, demanding, and unfair rules.

I can't fight that.  I'm not going to try and sit down with her when she's raging and offer her a bowl of candy to make things better.  Because honestly, knowing her as well as I do, that bowl would probably end up tossed across the room and I'd just as likely end up with her fist in my eye.

I realize that my kid, her problems, and our relationship can't really be "fixed" in any meaningful way.  So yes, I still owe her the duty of doing the best that I can for her, within reason.  That means that we aren't going to sacrifice everything for her, and we are especially not going to sacrifice our financial future.

Could we go $50,000 into debt and send our troubled, adopted child to a private RTC for a year?  Sure, we could.  However, I'm not convinced that it would truly help her, and certainly the financial stress of carrying that amount of debt in an unstable economy, combined with the negative impact it would have on our future retirement plans, won't make things better, for us as a couple, us as a family, or Danielle as an individual.

So sometimes, we parents just need to put ourselves first, especially when it comes to financial decisions.

At this point, we've made the decision to put ourselves first on the financial totem pole.  Our retirement, savings, and bills come first, because we know in just over two years Danielle will be calling the shots for her life anyway.  We are making decisions that will ensure our financial future, and by doing so, we'll be more likely to be  relaxed, less stressed, and better capable of dealing with the regular side trips to Crazy Town that our child routinely seems to make.

In ten years, will I regret focusing our financial resources on my wife and myself?

Probably not.

At this point, I'm not sure that throwing more and more money at Danielle is really going to help her.  I fear that she will never get better, but if she does, I think it's only going to come at the expense of bitter life lessons that come from the school of hard knocks.

Yesterday, Paula wrote:

Yesterday afternoon I had a long talk with one of my adult sons. He and I had our fair share of disagreements when he was in his teens, but he's turned out to be a pretty intelligent young man and is making wise decisions now. Unfortunately for him, he is also having to live with some very severe consequences from some of the foolish choices he made when he was younger. He's not whining or complaining about these consequences at all. He knows they are a direct result of his actions. As we talked I asked him if he remembered the warnings I'd given him. He did. I asked him if he remembered when I told him what the consequences would be if he didn't heed them. Again, he said yes. I asked him why in the world he didn't listen and obey then. His conclusion was that he just doesn't think that kids truly realize what they are doing and how it will affect them in the long run. I told him that's why God gave kids parents. They KNOW. They have gone before and been kids and now have an adult perspective.

With so many things in life, there are two ways to learn: the easy way, or the hard way.  Sadly, I think for so many of our kids, it's life's hard lessons that are truly the memorable teachers.  I've come to the realization that much of what we do for Danielle is really futile.  Telling her, showing her, counseling her, and teaching her isn't going to spare her from life's ugly lessons, because she simply can't or won't listen to us right now.

So, rather than futilely throw thousands of dollars more at ineffective therapies and cures, I think our money is better spent on things we all can enjoy now, and focus on our financial future that will be coming once our nest is empty.

I have a hard time being optimistic for my child's future anymore.  Her struggles, her pain, and the emotional, psychological and educational damage that has been done to her may very well be an intractable problem.  I realize that I am not capable of fixing her, as much as I might have liked to do so.  Since I cannot guarantee her future or her happiness, the best I can do is to take steps that will ensure mine.

Sometimes, when one is faced with a no-win situation, it's best to cut everyone's losses. Danielle has made her feelings absolutely clear, and I think continuing to try and pretend we are a "real" family (whatever that is) is only going to set us all up for more disappointment.  She has made it clear that she doesn't want to be around either of us (she is just as spiteful to my wife as she is to me) and that once she is an adult, she's going to leave and never look back.

There's an old saying that I think applies here:

When you find yourself standing at the bottom of a hole, stop digging.

I think it's time for us to put away our shovels, and focus on the things that will maximize health, happiness and security for my wife and me.

And perhaps, just perhaps, that happiness might rub off on our child.


As an added footnote, I should probably say that I'm not advocating that parents never spend money on their needy children. I'm just saying that it's important we strike a balance.  If a therapy, treatment or medication helps, then it is probably worthwhile.  I just think, especially for those of us parenting kids who aren't being helped by whatever interventions are available, that we need to strike a balance between providing continued treatment that has been proven ineffective, and bankrupting a family's financial future.

The bottom line is that parents need to take care of themselves and their children.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Self Care - Part II

I've had a lot going on in my personal life for the past couple of weeks, which explains the dearth of posting and my failure to get my series on self-care written last week as I had planned.

Most of what's been going on is good stuff, though it has resulted in a lot of unplanned scurrying around.  We had a big change at our house, but I'm going to refrain from sharing the details, because frankly I'm kind of tired of anonymous commenters criticizing my decisions.  It just gets old, sometimes.

Just over a week ago, my wife and I made a decision that will allow us to spend more time doing something that we love to do.  We made the decision to support our need for self-care.  I'm not going to share details, because I'm tired of people telling me I'm a bad parent because I choose to spend my time, money and resources on x, instead of y, but I will say that what we did is a good thing for us as a couple.

And maybe, just maybe, it will enable us to create some good family memories over the next couple of years before our child turns 18.  Or maybe it won't.  Maybe our kid will dive in and enjoy the opportunity for what it is, and maybe she won't.  If she doesn't, I'm not sure what difference it will make. If she is prone to being surly, sullen, grumpy and unhappy at home, why not allow her to be surly, sullen, grumpy and unhappy while we are doing something that we truly love?

I'm sure there will be plenty of people out there who will criticize my decision.  I guess the reality is that there are people out there who will criticize everything we do, even though they have never met us and haven't walked in our shoes.  Maybe that is just the reality of the Internet and the sad downside to blogging.

Corey, over at Watching the Waters, recently posted some criticism she received from our favorite nasty, Anonymous, and what was written there is pretty much the same B.S. I see over here on a regular basis.  It gets pretty old receiving the same tired, worn-out criticisms and being called a bad parent, when I opt not to battle my kid over trivia, or I don't give her something she wants because her behavior hasn't been good enough to warrant it.  It's pretty obnoxious when the person who is griping doesn't understand the context of the situation, and often hasn't bothered to read the entire post.

It's boring, and it often saps the motivation to blog right out of me.

Okay, fine, there's some of you out there who think my wife and I are crappy parents.  We hear it.  We get it.  Move along.

But the reality is that I know that I function better as a parent when I put my needs first. If I'm rested, content, and mostly happy with my lot in life, then I am much more capable of responding better to all of the crazy-making things my kid does.

So I think that one of the things adoptive parents must realize is that there are times when the financial resources must go to the parents, instead of the children.  Yes there's a balancing act, because some of the sickest children need expensive services, medical care, therapy or medications that are not covered by insurance.  There comes a point, though, where you have to ask yourself the following question:

Will spending money on y really make a lasting difference for my child?

If the answer is no, or maybe, perhaps it's time for a reallocation of resources.  Even if the answer is yes, parents need to ask themselves if the long-term consequences for the decision are healthy.  If spending huge amounts of money on a child's needs will bankrupt the family or empty out a couple's retirement fund, maybe it's not the thing to do.

Helping our children is important, most definitely.  However, ensuring our own future is equally  important.

For most parents, a day will come when their children no longer live at home.  It's important for us to plan for our health, welfare, and financial stability when that time comes.

So that is why we made the decision that we did.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Self Care - Part I

For the past several weeks, I've been pondering the post Brenda, The Adoption Counselor, wrote about self-care.  I've been thinking about it a great deal, especially since I've realized that my wife and I are not always good at doing things that meet this very important need.

I've been thinking about this topic so much, that I've decided to write a series on it.  This week's posts will be dedicated exclusively to the subject of self-care.

Before I get into some of the particulars of self-care, it's probably worth discussing exactly why it is so important.  I know a lot of parents who give and give and give to their children, and they end up exhausting themselves and having nothing left.  Even though they might agree that their living situation isn't really comfortable, livable or sustainable, they keep doing it because they feel they must.  They feel that it's unreasonably selfish to meet their own needs first, because their children's needs are more important.

I disagree.  Although taking care of one's children is important, taking care of yourself first is more important.

It boils down to one important fact: 

If you are too exhausted, too stressed out, and too burned out to function decently, you aren't going to be able to do a decent job of meeting your children's needs. 

If you are parenting a special-needs child, taking care of yourself is even more important, because you can't give what you don't have.

When you ride on an airplane, the flight attendant will always give you the same instructions:

In the event of cabin depressurization, oxygen masks will pop out of the ceiling.  Put your own mask on first before assisting others.

Put your own mask on first. That's an important analogy for living life with special needs kids.  If you are taking good care of yourself -- eating right, sleeping enough, getting exercise, and taking time to meet your own needs -- you'll have much more physical and emotional energy to do the things your child needs.  If you are taking care of yourself, you'll have the ability to also meet the needs of everyone else who relies on you, including your spouse, employer, extended family and other children.

Take care of yourself first.  You are the only you that you have.  If you destroy yourself in the process of taking care of everyone else, eventually you will find yourself in the position of not being able to take care of them either.

Although there are folks out there in the world who will tell you otherwise, there really is no glory in martyrdom.  This is especially true with some of our more damaged special-needs kids, because what we do might not make a long-term difference.  For some children, prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs, a familial history of mental illness or intellectual disability, or the weight of abuse and neglect that they received during their most crucial formative years, will forever alter the course of their lives.  What we do might not make a long-term difference in their adulthood.  Even with the best parenting, some of these children aren't going to do well.

So we have to do all that we can to help them, but we need to take care  of ourselves so that we can.

Because the reality is, at least for the majority of parents who are caring for special-needs children, that these kids will eventually leave.  Some kids may end up blowing up and ending up in residential treatment centers or jail, while others will navigate the tumultuous waters of adolescence and move out when they reach the age of majority.

So, with few exceptions, those kids are going to leave, and we parents will still have to live what's left of our lives.

If we've neglected our emotional, physical and spiritual health, we've not only shortchanged our children, but we've also created lasting health and emotional consequences for ourselves.

So we must, no matter how difficult or unreasonable it seems, find a way to carve out a space for self-care.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


While we were away on vacation, some friends of ours had to take their children to the hospital. I won't go into specific details, because their story is not mine to tell, but I'd like to comment on the reaction of the hospital's emergency room staff.

When the kids were brought in, the ER staff carefully questioned the parents about what had led to their visit that day. The staff repeatedly questioned my friends, as if they were trying to find some inconsistency in their story. They would ask leading questions such as "Now let me make sure I understand this, x happened, right?" when in fact they had been told, several times, that y was the reason for the visit.

After the parents had been questioned several times, staffers started the same line of questioning on my wife, my kid and me.  At least to me, it felt more like a police interrogation than nursing staff trying to find the answer to important medical questions.

Although the kids did get the necessary medical care they needed, I couldn't help but feel as if my friends were treated with a certain amount of suspicion.  I'm sure it didn't help that we were all wearing old clothes and were muddy and smelly from camping in inclement weather.

The nature of what happened was clearly accidental, and I don't see how any hospital staffer could have interpreted events any other way.  Small children often lack common sense, and they can do stupid things they shouldn't do in a matter of seconds, even if an adult is standing right by.

It felt really bad to watch my friends treated with such suspicion. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So, How Was Your Vacation?

Sometimes, I find myself in a quandary about what to write about in my blog.  I'd like to share the details about my vacation, but given the fact that it's clear that at least some of my blog stalkers are back, I'm not sure I should share much in the way of details.  Even if I didn't have concerns about revealing too much identifying information, I think some of my critics would think that I was bragging or showing off, and accuse me of further abusing my child by doing the things I wanted to do on vacation, instead of booking airline tickets, renting a car, and spending a week at the nearest Disney theme park.

So without going into too many specifics, I'm going to share a few bits about our vacation:
  • We went camping at a somewhat local campground.

  • The weather was not as nice as we would have liked, but a bad day camping is better than a good day doing almost anything else.  Everything we have came home unusually filthy.

  • To our surprise, the kid behaved better than she has on any other camping trip.  It's unclear why, though I'm hoping that interventions with the crisis counselor may be helping.  Her worst behavior appeared after one of her friends arrived to spend a few days with us.

  • The friend ended up going home a day early, not because of our kid's behavior, but because she wasn't having fun (choosing to go camping when one is sick is generally a bad idea) and called home begging for a ride.  The adult who came to pick her up was not pleased.

  • It turned out that the friend's departure was a blessing in disguise, because an emergency popped up a few hours later that resulted in a mad dash to the nearest hospital. (The emergency didn't involve anyone in our family, and everyone who was involved is now fine.)
Some things I learned this trip:
  • My big truck can go scary fast.

  • I am mean because I won't allow a pair of teenagers to spend the entire day inside my RV, especially when we have a perfectly good enclosed and heated screen room outside.

  • I am extra-special mean because I insist all teenagers who are not helping with meal preparation go outside when I'm trying to use my tiny galley (kitchen) to make dinner.

  • I am extra-special, double-trouble, quadruple-whammy mean because I do not allow non-helping teenagers to sleep in when other adults in our group are waiting for breakfast, especially when I need the dinette table, which the kids were sleeping on, for a meal-preparation area because there is no counter space in our RV*.

  • Jumbo marshmallows, in my opinion, are not as good as the regular-sized ones.

  • I can tow and back up a 30' trailer without wrecking it.

  • Sleeping in a car, parked at a gas station, in the middle of the night, with a friend, because you are too tired to drive another mile, is just as fun as it used to be.

  • Even the most boring of vacations can turn into an interesting adventure.

I had a great time.

* Said teenagers had the option of sleeping in a tent, where they wouldn't have been disturbed by our need to do something as trivial as meal preparation.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Technology Diet

I've received a number of concerned e-mails and comments from folks asking if we are okay, since I haven't posted anything in more than a week.

I've been on a technology diet while on vacation, so that explains my absence and lack of communication.  I had every intention of pre-writing a list of posts to go up while I was gone, but work got crazy, packing didn't happen until the last minute, and I didn't manage to write anything in advance.

One of the last posts I read on The Adoption Counselor spoke about the importance of self-care, and I've spent a lot of time doing things that meet my needs for rest, relaxation and self-care.  As I spent many days sitting under the shade of a tree, watching the sun rise and set with nothing to do but tend the fire, roast marshmallows, and grill steaks, I've been thinking a lot about things that I need to do to take care of myself..

So that series is coming soon.

For now though, I have work to catch up on, and a giant heap of muddy clothes, shoes, and camping gear that needs a friendly visit from a garden hose.

So all is well.