Saturday, August 24, 2013

Adoption and my friend, Carol

This is an article I wrote last November about a beautiful woman I am proud to call my friend. She is funny, sweet and caring. She and her husband home school their children and she loves the Lord like crazy!  I hope you enjoy this tribute to her, although mere words can't do justice to her character. 

Everyone Has a Story - Carol Gloetzner
By JC Drennan
There are currently over 2000 children in foster care in New Mexico. Typically, a child is placed in foster care because of neglect, abuse, or criminal activity on the part of the parents.  "The system is getting better," reports Carol Gloetzner, Family Contact for the New Mexico Fiesta Project. "Efforts are being made to minimize the number of foster homes in which a child is placed. There are a lot of kids who need families," she said. Carol, and her husband Ron, have a heart for adoption and helping adoptive families - it truly is their passion! And, like any compelling passion, it's difficult to explain where it came from or how it materialized. "It's just something that's in me," she said. Carol can remember wanting to adopt children from a very young age. "It was always in our hearts to do foster care," said Carol, so when she and Ron, a social worker, married when Carol was 18, it was no surprise that just a year later they stepped into the world of foster care, by running a county home for teen-aged girls.  Later, they became licensed with ARCA to do foster care for mentally disabled adults.
Carol and Ron have raised six biological children, and a nephew. Their first adopted child came to them with Down Syndrome from an orphanage in India when she was four years-old. That precious one is now 22. They adopted their second child when she was two. The couple now has eight adopted children living at home, ranging in age from six to 29. All from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities with varying degrees of disability. In this home these children are loved and cared for. They are given structure, stability and a firm foundation. They are taught responsibility and respect in a safe and nurturing environment. But to Carol and Ron, "it's just family." Carol was quick to affirm that they are not saints, or angels as they have been told by some well-meaning people. They are not "doing a good deed, or trying to save the world, and it's not a ministry." This is just how they have chosen to grow their family. "It doesn't matter that they don't look like us or that they are disabled," she added, "They're just our kids."
Certainly challenges and difficulties may arise when adopting a child, particularly if there are behavioral or physical considerations. But, "the good part is just like the good part with any one's kids," Carol conveyed. "Seeing them grow, change and get healthier. Helping them go through things that they have to go through and seeing them come out on the other side stronger." Carol asserts, however, that there is an extra layer of gratification with adoption because the kids have been through so much.
Carol now funnels her experience and passion into helping adoptive families as a "Family Contact" through her work with the New Mexico Fiesta Project. Her primary responsibility is to support families who have adopted children who are medically fragile or disabled. She has expertise in the areas of: Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, vision impairment, autism spectrum, missing limbs, spina bifida, cognitive delays, feeding tubes, wheelchairs, home schooling, and every kind of therapy. The NM Fiesta Project, offering the only post-adoption support in New Mexico, also supports and trains adoptive families (and those considering adoption) across the state with free classes, groups, and family activities. These services are available to anyone who has adopted, whether private, international or through the state. They also offer an extensive free lending library and a respite co-op. "We want people to know they don't have to go it alone," affirms Carol, "we want to help them be prepared."
November is National Adoption Month and Carol would like to encourage anyone who may be contemplating adoption to take that first step by contacting NMFiestaProject.org. They can help families discern myth from reality while eliminating the mysteries surrounding adoption. For example, many people do not know that adopting through the state is completely free!
Establishing a supportive community with other adoptive families will help make the process smoother for everyone, while building life-long friendships.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Living Out Loud, Part one

Good day everyone. I hope you are living well.

I have been focusing on my business blog as of late, which has kept me from Bits n Pieces. Our Home school starts up in less than 2 weeks and I am taking on another writing project, as well as hoping to get back to the business of writing my book. Additionally, I will continue to see therapy clients in my home clinic and manage our home (well, I pray). I know that the Lord will direct my path and quickly let me know if I have chosen well and in accordance with His will. He is awesome that way!!

God has been working on me in some great and greatly painful ways the last few months and I love it! I am tremendously humbled and excited beyond belief that our Magnificent Creator of All Things loves me so much that He would care enough to transform me, help me, move me, shake me and teach me to shine!

I have been reading a book by John Eldredge called Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive. It was given to me by a client of mine. I struggled with this book for several months; only reading small snip-its here and there and never getting much out of it. Until last week, that is. I love it when God brings things to me at just the perfect time; the time when I am ready to receive it. It's like receiving a gift.

I have been thinking about what it really means to be a Christian. What does it look like? What exactly should I be doing for God, for the Kingdom, for Eternity? I just felt discontent in my walk because something was missing. I had this nagging awareness that there had to be more to it.

John Edlredge (JE)  wrote how, in the story of Cinderella, the king's son "insisted she come out of hiding." Revelation 2:19 relates that we are chosen by God. We are the objects of His love. God is calling us out. The Bible tells us to let our lights shine before men, so that God can be glorified. So then, we have a light to shine, but, personally speaking, I have been mostly hiding mine under a bushel. The truth is, we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God! Is my life a reflection of that truth? Is yours? JE states that often we don't even know who we are in Christ and what our true self is...the one God created us to be. The unveiled self that reveals the glory of God's reflection.

In Second Corinthians Three  it says, "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." See there? JE says, "we were created to reflect His glory, born to bear His image, and He ransomed us to reflect that glory again." He further relates, that we cannot bring glory to God when we are sulking around in a cellar (like Cinderella), weighed down by shame and guilt, or hiding our light.  "Our destiny," he says, "is to come fully alive. To live with ever increasing glory."

I never thought of that, probably because it appears on the surface to be prideful. I don't have any glory. What could I possibly have to shine before men? JE writes that while "..pride is bad, to be sure. It is not prideful to embrace the truth that you are created in the image of God. We walk in humility because it is a glory bestowed. It reflects something of the Lord's glory."

I will continue next time further exploring this topic. I'll discuss shame vs. humility, and why we might fear stepping into this glory...plus more, because that's just how I am. ;)

Live abundantly in the joy of the Lord.

Be blessed,
Jeanne




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blogging 101 For the "Advanced in Years" Set...


Hello all!
There is so much to learn in the world of blogging, especially when you are technologically inept, as I am. My dear friend, Sarah Heckendorn, agreed to teach a little class for myself and her Mom. This blog is a photo tour (thanks to Rebecca Heckendorn, photographer extraordinaire) of that day. Poor Sarah is probably still recovering ;)

Cathy had to switch seats because she was being so disruptive on the other side of the table. It would've been fun to be in school with her :)



Concentrating!



I think she got it!

Our brains were overloaded...



Our super smart teacher


"What are you talking about?"

This sequence is priceless! We obviously just learned something entirely new and applicable. You can tell by the reaction that we are easily impressed.




"Did you hear that??"



"I don't think I can do that..."

Hands to work :)
  Sarah is a wonderfully patient teacher. She was so good with us and our limited attention span.

Oh, here's what the young men did while we were busy... when they were not eating, that is ;)


I hope you enjoyed this diversion from the serious.

Blessings,
Jeanne

Be well. Live well. Love abundantly.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Big Five-Oh!


As promised, but much delayed, the brief chronicles of my 50th birthday....Dant, dant, daahhhh...

I still have a hard time believing that I turned 50 this year. The number just seems so old. It is a half century after all. My friends have been turning 50 for a couple of years now (and some are approaching the mark...eh hem!) and I have been completely unaffected by it because they all seem so young and vibrant. And I suppose, to a large degree, I feel the same way. A quick run down of my years ending in zero:

10: I cannot remember
20: Married my high school sweetheart and love of my life
30: Gave birth to my second child and was an emotional wreck (not because of the child though ;))
40: Health issues cropped up and hung around for a while
50: In the best shape of my life thus far, spiritually, emotionally and physically - Praise the Lord!

I have a few more wrinkles and gray hairs, but that's ok. This tent is temporary anyway, right? Someone remind me of that when I'm 60, ok?

My week long celebration began on Friday, July 19th when a friend, who was coming for lunch and conversation, brought a birthday cake along as well. Such a sweet surprise!


On Sunday, July 21st, My dear husband, with family help, threw me a surprise family birthday party. I hadn't had a surprise birthday party since my sweet 16 :) He took me to Calibers while the family gathered at our house in a torrential rain storm to prepare for the party. I felt so blessed that he took the time to arrange that for me.

                                                 




Then it happened..... The Keurig!!





I know I asked for it specifically - leaving out the store ad and a coupon (of course) - but still... I was pretty stoked! Let me just say... it is fabulous! If I have to explain further, you are not a coffee addict. And that is ok, it brews tea as well - not like that's the same thing, but I'm just sayin' ;)


On July 22nd, my actual birthday, I started the day with a funeral, which was so sad, but I was thankful that the man was honored by the many who attended the service, and that his wife was blessed by the testimonies of many who knew him and attested to his fine character and work ethic. He will be sorely missed.

My first gift of the day was an impromptu coffee meeting with my dear friend, Marla.


Next, I met my daughter, Kaitlyn, for a birthday pedicure (only the 2nd one in my whole life!).



Kaitlyn and I went on to do some shopping at Marshalls, where I ran into another other dear friend, Shelly. She was there shopping with her daughter.

That evening, the "festivities" continued at Chile's. When you have adult children, it's an extra special treat to be able to have everyone meet for a dinner. Kaitlyn's husband, Matt, was working so he could not join us.


At 50, we really know how ti live it up, so we topped the evening off with a trip to Lowe's to buy a dryer. Woo-hoo!!!


These beautiful flowers were from my sweet Luke :)


Finally, on July 29th, "God's Quad Squad" was able to gather and celebrate my birthday. 3/4 of us are now 50. The young one (40) keeps us on our toes and helps us with remembering things, seeing things (so we don't have to hunt for our glasses), and learning new things. I won't tell you who she is because we all look so young, right? ;)  I'll keep you guessing...


I have to add one thing.... My dear friends, The Heckendorns, greeted me (at the door) at drama auditions with hugs and lovely gifts and offers, in LOUD voices, to help me to my seat.... offering an arm to hold on to, etc. They keep me laughing and I love them!

I feel blessed beyond measure to have such wonderful family and friends (old and new) surrounding me. I am humbled by the treasures God has given me. I am so thankful, really!

God's richest blessings to you all!
Jeanne

Live well. Be well. Love abundantly.