Friday, April 30, 2010

Angels on Earth?

Today marks the 14th day that Taylor has been in the Phoenix House. 

Our lives now, at times border on boring. I can not describe the strange peace that has fallen on our home like a blanket of fresh, unspoiled snow. The beauty of knowing that our son is safe and warm at night is indescribable. I have a sense of calm when I lay my head on my pillow at night. I feel like I have been given a new life. We have all been given a new life. A refuge. We have been blessed. Our bruised and broken hearts have been mended. 

It is not that we do not miss Taylor, we do. We miss HIM, the Taylor that we once knew, but not the person he had become. We have not seen the real Taylor in a long time. The Taylor that is not impaired, high or intoxicated. The happy, content Taylor. That boy has been gone a long time. The impact of his addiction is clear in his younger brothers. One misses him, one does not mention him, one is inquisitive yet at peace that he is away. 

Yet, he is very loved. He always has been and always will be. 

Today I wanted to call the man who was instrumental in "giving Taylor a chance". The man who after many phone calls and doors slammed shut - called me with the words that changed my life. The man who told me that he had arranged for Taylor to get into the Phoenix House. I went back to listen the voice mail with his name and number on it and then called. 

I asked for him and was told - "There is no one here by that name." So, I asked "What number can I reach him at?" I was put on hold only to be told that no one in the office had ever heard of him. 

Shocked - I listened to the voice mail again and re-dialed. I asked for a supervisor. After being placed on hold a woman came on. I told her that on Thursday, April 15th at 2:32 pm I got a message from Mark Sailors at this number. I told her that he left me a message and that he was the one who arranged for my son to get into the Phoenix House. She told me that they did not have an employee by that name or any name close to that. She was matter of fact - to the point and was borderline annoyed with my instance. She curtly told me to have a nice day and ended the call. 

I immediately went to my laptop - I Googled his name looking for an answer, an explanation. Nothing. 

"LET IT BE" rung in my head. " JUST LET IT BE." 

Weird. Totally weird. Unexplainable. Tiny hairs on my neck and arms stood at attention sending a cold chill down my spine. 

Irritated, yet intrigued I rushed about getting ready to go meet my friend Karen for lunch. I will ask Karen what she thinks. She will have an answer. Satisfied I drove to meet her with Trevan in tow. We chatted and caught up with each other over a nice meal. 

As our time together was drawing to an end - I asked her 
"What do you know about Angels?" setting the tone prefacing the question with "Don't think I am crazy or anything, but..." 
She said - "Oh, I think they exist for sure!" Then I told her what had happened. 

She shuttered and rubbed her arms - "Whoo - I just got the chills!" she responded. "Yeah - weird; huh?" I told her I had the same reaction. We both agreed - that it was God's hand. 

We smiled at each other then we just "LET IT BE." 

I have shared this with 2 others this afternoon - and both people also, got the chills. 

Amazing. God, He is a mighty AMAZING God. I know this, yet - I am surprised each time he reveals Himself to me. Why is that? I know he is almighty and powerful. 

He tells us to expect miracles. I just am so human. Forgive me Father, for not having more faith and trust in YOUR word. 

I feel chosen. Taylor was chosen. It is not an accident. Years of sorrow. 

God chose to bring us through the storm to taste this incredibly flavored rainbow in the form of a miracle. He knew that before Taylor was born he would enter into a rehab center after years of addiction on MY 43rd Birthday. It was already written in Taylor's Life Book. 

I know that man who called me - was an Angel. An Angel that God sent to deliver that message. The message that WE would be delivered. 

For this I will be eternally grateful.  


Angels are essentially “ministering spirits,” (Hebrews 1:14) and do not have physical bodies like humans. Jesus declared that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:37-39). The Bible does, however, make it clear that angels can only be in one place at a time. They must have some localized presence. Angels can take on the appearance of men when the occasion demands. How else could some “entertain angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2)?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Expecting Miracles

I must admit it has taken me nearly 5 days to digest what has happened.

You see, I know that I have experienced a miracle.

On Thursday April 15th shortly after I hit "post" on the entry below, I got another phone call.  It was one in a series of calls that transpired over the next few hours.

I had been told that Taylor was being released from jail and that his social worker could not place him ANYWHERE.  He did not meet criteria for any of the homeless shelters, or programs that were offered for people like him.  We were given NO options other than to let the jail turn him into the streets, penniless, unable to find shelter, without food and medicines.  

HOW could I do that to my own son?  I knew having him back in our home was not an option.  I knew in my heart of hearts that I would be having an emotional breakdown on my birthday.  Instead of going the next day for a much needed rest at my mom and dad's, I would be going to a mental hospital.

I ripped my heart out bleeding before God.  I told Him He was going to have to "fix" this situation.  I do not advocate "telling God what to do" - but I had reached a point of brokenness like I had never felt before.

Years of pent up frustration and anger spilled out.  I cried, I shook, I prayed.  Sadly, little Trevan looked on.  He wanted to fix his mommy.  He wanted to help me.  I held him and I cried in between one dead end phone call then another.

I was told by the Public Defender's Office that Taylor was not even sentenced to REHAB - which he was.  I was told by the Phoenix House that he was not and never was on their waiting list.  I was told by his social worker that she had no options to offer me.  DEAD ENDS.  No help - no hope?

I dug deep.  I had to cling to the last shred of HOPE that I had.  I knew that the Lord will never leave nor forsake me.  So, I stopped.  I bossed God around.  I told Him - "Here you go God - FIX this, because I can't.  I need a MIRACLE and only YOU can do that."

I don't know what I expected.  I did not actually expect a MIRACLE - those just don't happen everyday.  

So, when I got a phone call a few minutes later from a man telling me that if we could bring Taylor to the Phoenix House when he was released from jail with 30 days of meds and they would take him, I nearly dropped the phone.

I felt a numbness come over me and I went into autopilot.  I made one call then another - then another.  Trying to process all the information and not get my hopes up.  I knew somewhere, someone - had made an error.  I knew this was too good to be true.

I called his doctor to find she left for the day.  No problem.  God took care of it.  A nurse called her on her cell and got the prescriptions for 30 days of medication.

Taylor's Medi-Cal had been canceled.  I knew his prescriptions would not be covered.  No problem.  God took care of that.  We went to the pharmacy and found his insurance was still in effect.

We got the call at 12:30 in the morning to go pick him up from jail.  It took 3 hours to get him home and we only had a couple hours of sleep before taking him to the Phoenix House.

Stace got him there only to find the admissions coordinator did not show up.  They waited one hour, then another - then another.  I was sitting on pins and needles knowing that the other shoe was about to drop.  Here was the hammer.  He would not get in - they would send him home.  No problem.  God took care of it.  She finally arrived and he was accepted.  

He was offered 3 months or 6 months and he took the 6 month program!  

A MIRACLE - on my Birthday - I received a true MIRACLE.  My son got into REHAB for SIX MONTHS!

He has been there for 5 days today.  He is doing well.  He will not see anyone for 30 days.  We will go to an orientation on May 5th then attend family meetings each Thursday night after that.

He can earn phone calls and day passes.

I have prayed for a Miracle for my son - I just fell short - as I did not EXPECT God to hear me and answer my cries.

I encourage you to not only pray for but to expect and prepare for miracles to happen in your life.  It will change you forever. 

God has big plans for my son - I know that.  I am just patiently waiting to see what he unfolds in His time.

Whatever it is - I know it will be AWESOME!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I want to turn back the hands of time...

Taylor age 5 circa 1996 holding Trenton age 4 months...I want to go back to these days!

My chest feels like I have an elephant sitting on it.  My heart is racing.  I can hear my pulse pounding inside my head.  Panic ... I want to bolt for the door and run away.

I was making an attempt - a real honest to goodness, wholehearted attempt to have a "good day".  
I was on my way to "walk" to Turner's school and let Trevan ride his scooter. 
I was going to take the kids to the lake afterward and feed the ducks.  All things were right and good in my world as I know it - until I got the phone call telling me that Taylor was being released TOMORROW.

"Are you kidding me?" I shrieked into the phone.  "How is it possible when he was sentenced to 10 days in jail on the 13th?"  That would be April 23rd - not April 16th!!!  It seems that there is a new law to help save the State of California money.  He got "credit" for the night he went in, and the day he went to court.  SO that takes it to 8 days from the 12th.  Then for each day he is there and has "good behavior" he gets a day knocked off.  So, he has been there 4 days so he gets 4 days knocked off -- Happy Birthday to ME! 

Instead of a reprieve and a restful, peaceful Birthday - I get to deal with Taylor.  Lovely.  
Okay God - what now?

I do not mean to appear insensitive and selfish here - but I am baked, fried and done!!

I can't deal with anymore lies, drug use, drunkenness, angry outbursts, destruction of property, being made a spectacle of in our apartment complex - and on and on.

Why can we not have just a little bit of PEACE from this hell we are living in?  What is wrong with our system - we have nothing in place to help families like ours and people like Taylor.

They say that God never gives you more than you can handle - so I will have to rest in that.  I feel like I can't take it - but know I will - I have no other choice than to dig deep.

Taylor will not and can not understand.  He will expect to be welcomed home with open arms.  He will have his apologies ready for us and for Kamille.  He has had time to come up with the words to say--
the ones he thinks we need to hear.  Sadly they will fall on deaf ears.  We can not hear the excuses any longer.  My head and heart is full - full of the lies and the excuses - they spill out now as fast as he can say them.

I lost my cell phone yesterday.  Turner passed out in Mimi's Cafe.  I thought that that was enough activity for one day, but I was mistaken.
Today's frustrations top those tenfold.

If I were a drinker - I'd be driven to drink.  Instead I cheated.  (well sorta)  I sat down just now and instead of eating a late lunch - I ate a 140 calorie Skinny Cow Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwich.  It had my allotted carb count for the whole day - but hey - the day is almost over!  
A girl just sometimes has to have a lil chocolate and ice cream to set her world right...

I'll keep you posted.

Will I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way?
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day?

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to RID my endless fears !
You've been so faithful for all my years !
With the one breath You make me new !
Your grace covers all I do !

Monday, April 12, 2010

No words to describe...

Friday we were on the train pictured above as it crashed into a car killing a man.  It is thought that the man drove onto the tracks on purpose.  It was an emotional and stressful day - thinking that perhaps someone could have been in so much pain that they would want to end it all.

I had a strange feeling that something was about to smash into me just like the train smacked into the car.  Now I know.

Taylor.  My first born who I prayed so long and hard for.

I sit here with tears streaming down my face as fast as the rain falls from the sky.  
I can't help but think that perhaps God is weeping too.

Tonight I called the police on my son.

Enough is enough.  I can not sit by and watch him destroy the life that he has or the lives that we struggle to live.  He continues to make one bad choice then another.  He says we do not understand.  He too, feels like he does not want to be here any longer.  He is slowly destroying himself.

You would think that each time you watch your child being taken away by officers or medical professionals it would get easier.  Not so.  I sit here with pain, grief and the deepest sadness, every fiber of my being hurts.

I can not express how it feels to want to protect your child who now towers over you and outweighs you by more than 50 pounds.  A child no longer.  An adult in the eyes of the law.

I damn addiction to hell.  I pray that the strongholds that have imprisoned my son will be broken.  Drugs and alcohol hold nothing but destruction and ultimately death for my once bright and cheery boy. 

Addiction is bold and brazen.  It robs me of a life that I deserve to have.  It puts fear into my household.  It terrifies my young children.  It angers my teenage son as he watches it destroy his older brother.

I am angry.  I am devastated.  I am hurt.  I am weeping, yet I have hope.  I have hope that God who is so much bigger than addiction - has a mighty plan for my child.

God loves him more than I ever could.  I have to remember this as I sit unable to sleep.  As I worry about what will happen to my son as he is taken to jail tonight. 

He did not go in peace.  He fought, screamed, kicked and resisted with all he had in him.  My gut tied its self in knots as we could hear his screams.  My legs went weak and my head pounded.  I could see purple as the blood pumped and my heart felt like it was beating a hundred times faster.  I felt like I was going to faint. I wanted to just disappear.  I wanted to run and hide.  People came out side to look, to gawk, their curiosity peaked.  Embarrassment, shame, anger all flooded through me at once.  Why is this happening - again?   

What will it take to make this end?

He will not remember his actions tomorrow. 
He will be sorry.  He will show remorse.  He will not understand why we did what we had to do.

We are trying to save him from himself, and save ourselves in the process from the evil ways of his addiction.

I cry out to Jesus...who knows my pain.  He knows my suffering.  He tonight will watch over Taylor, because I can not.

There is an eerie peace in our home tonight.  Knowing that my son is not out in the cold rain intoxicated, doing who knows what; but that he is in custody of law enforcement brings a strange peace.

Not that I am worry free, don't get me wrong.  I am still his mother.  No matter what age he is I will always worry about his care and safety.  I just am blessed to know that our Lord and Savior is doing just that  -

Now Lord - give us peace tonight.  Let us rest. 

For tomorrow is yet, another day...
with a whole new set of challenges.



Thursday, April 8, 2010

Looking Up... It is my only option.

I am just numb right now.  I just learned after waiting what has seemed like an eternity - that Taylor is not even on the waiting list for The Phoenix House.  

He met with them on February 9th and we were told he was being placed at that time on a waiting list.  We have had him call every Tuesday and every Thursday to assure that his name is kept on the list and were never told any different.  

Today after we have left 8 messages over the past 2 weeks we finally got a call back.  I was transfered to someone who informed me that he was not on the list because they said he did not qualify.  Due to the fact he is on meds he did not meet their criteria and that he needs further assessment.  They would not place him on the list until the assessment was complete.  

News to us!  Now after 3 months of waiting - we are back to square one.  They also told me that they do not even have a 45 day treatment plan unless it is privately paid for at the cost of $30,000.  This is what the Public Defender pushed for not checking the facts - obviously.  Taylor is not employed and can not support himself - nor can we afford $30,000 for a short treatment plan when we know he needs 6 months or a year.

I do not know what to do but cast my cares on Him.  

Okay Lord, what now?  I am at a breaking point.  I can't take Taylor's behavior and attitude - we are held prisoner in our own home.  The world has to revolve around his every move.  His unpredictable behavior has everyone on high alert at all times.  It is causing us all such undue stress.  

But, what are our options?  He is mentally unstable, uses drugs and alcohol to numb his madness.  Even though he is on 3 years formal probation - that is seeming to be a joke.  He went to his first appointment after he stayed out all night drinking and using.  We just knew he would be tested and put in jail.  No.  He went only to find the probation officer was on vacation and he was told to return in 2 weeks!  We can't catch a break!

It is sad when you hope that your child be placed behind bars.  It is pitiful that you hope each time the phone rings that it is a rehab place calling with an opening for your child.  Yet, what do you do?  Unless one has lived in this madness you really can not wrap your mind around this situation.

I know it is easy looking in.  I have been there.  I have seen other people who I care about struggle.  I have been where you are.  It is easy to tell someone else what to do, how to live their life.  Yet, there are so many facets.  Tiny roots holding fast in the unstable soil. 

You see, we are not just dealing with an addict.  We are not just dealing with some one with a brian injury.  We are not just dealing with a person who is mentally ill.  We are not just dealing with a child. 

We are dealing with OUR child who suffered a brain injury that exacerbated mental illness and depression and fed into addiction.  If he were just an unruly teen that chooses to do drugs and use alcohol things could be dealt with differently.  If we did not have to worry about his mental stability and the fact he feels he has nothing to live for - things could be different.

This is my reality.  I love my son.  I also love 3 other sons.  I have the burden of making choices that are right for each of them.  All have different needs.  So do I.

Oh, Lord...please help us know what is right.  Help our son get the help he so needs.  Help us to hang on. 

I want to live, not become a shell of a mother to my children. 


All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life
Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of his mercy
As deep cries out to deep (we sing)

Come Lord Jesus come

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Why is it so hard to stop and "hear" the voice of God?  

I am always getting irritated with my husband and boys for not listening.  I can't imagine how God must feel when he tries in vein to speak to us and we are too busy to "hear His voice."

I know the frustration that I feel.  His frustration must be magnified times a million!

I had the honor of going to Sonoma State University to photograph some of the girls there.  We stayed with sweet Chloe, a girl I have known since she was about 6.  She has been a rock for me the past few years.  She is far younger than I and is the same age as my son, yet I consider her to be a friend.  She is studying to become a teacher.  She sees a need and extends herself to others.  She has many gifts that she may not yet see, but I know they are there.  Her love and compassion for others will make her a wonderful teacher. 

While there I got to meet some of her friends.  It was such a blessing to me to see these girls as young and fresh and imagine what they will become.  They are all so lovely and gifted in their unique way.  Just how God planned.  A Purpose for each.  

I was able to be still while there.  I walked the beautiful grounds of SSU and the Lord's work was all around.  From the magnificent redwood trees to the tiny baby ducks.  We saw trees laden with large sweet blooms.  Bees humming in the magnolia trees carefully orchestrated with the chirping of the birds was music to my ears.  We walked and walked, exploring here and there.  Before we knew it four hours had passed.  I was so blessed by that walk.  I felt God's presence and felt a peace like I had not felt in a long, long time.

I have been "busy".  So busy doing fund raising for our Rwanda Trip.  Busy with my Photography.  Busy taking care of my kids.  Busy attempting to run a household.  Busy with serving at Church.  Just plain BUSY.

I had not taken time out to just "be still and know that He is God".  

While photographing Chloe and Brittney in the flower field above I was surrounded by God's presence.  There was no denying that He was there with us.  I was so at peace that when we discovered Trevan had knocked Turner's pizza onto the car floor I did not react in anger.  I was able to pick up the pieces, hug my son and tell him that we would get another.  It felt amazing.  I was not wound so tight that my first reaction was to snap!  

Ahhhh, why had I not taken this "time out" sooner?

Over the few days that we were there I was able to stay up late, sleep in, have no demands placed on me (other than the "mommy" duties that come with a 5 and 6 year old).  I enjoyed each moment for what it was.  So refreshing.

We got to the airport to find that there was a delay.  I had 3 hours to entertain the boys.  Normally I would have been stressed by this.  Not so.  I thought of it as an adventure.  We walked and talked.  We went in and out of the stores exploring.  It was actually a lot of FUN!  I took them to the international terminal and showed them the HUGE airplanes that Trenton and I would fly to Africa on.  They asked questions and I answered them.  We learned a lot in those 3 hours.

I am taking time now.  Time to "be still".  Time to listen.  Time to Hear God's Voice.  He speaks to us all the time.  Through people, through experiences, through the beauty in the world all around.  We just have to be open to "hear" Him.

This Easter Sunday I encourage you to make the commitment to take some time for you.  Time to be still and let God speak to you.  

You'll be glad you did!

Happy Easter!