Sticking Closer Than a Brother-Renee`

The greatest thing about friendship is the ability for a friend to see you. I mean really see you. I don’t mean the arbitrary “hey how are you doing”  “I’m wonderful” play we put on every day for the people around us. I mean the ” I am so worn out right now that I have been on the verge of tears” conversation.

True friendships stand the test of time and trials and one of my longest friendships…we’ve been family.. is with Dani.

Dani and I have literally been best friends since we sat beside each other in Psychology Club back in 2005..2006?? I forget the year but..she’s been here. She was the maid of honor in my wedding. She is the Godmother to all of my boys. She is my first true baby daddy LOL and overall she’s my left-hand girl.

She FINALLY moved close enough for us to see each other on a more regular basis. The crazy part was life kept getting in the way and we were actually seeing each other less than when she lived an hour away. We decided to institute “bestie days” so we would schedule out time to see each other. Well, this past Saturday (February 10th) was supposed to be our first official bestie day and we were going to see the play Color Purple. Two days prior…she lets me know that she entered me into a Valentine’s Day contest…and I won! Now I was shocked, happy..and yes a tinge of guilt hit. One, she really wanted to go see the play and 2) I would be away from the kids for atleast 6 hours. Now that I am working full time I feel bad if I am not with them when I am home. But can I tell you that the week prior had been VERY hard. I was all the way worn out. So… this bestie day and make-over couldn’t come at a better time.

Dani picked me up and we headed to the mall where the transformation would begin. I got styled by StyleMaven, got my hair done and make up done and got to walk the red carpet. It was AMAZING. I got to do it laughing and joking with my best friend and surrounded by black women entrepreneurs. It was so empowering. I can’t thank Dani enough for helping me to really focus on self-care.

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2017~Audrey

With the New Year just starting, I wanted to take a minute to let you know what happened during the past year.

IMG_2295At Bridges of Faith, we had three group of orphans come to Bridgestone. In July, many of the children were from a speclal needs orphnage and I really loved working with them because of my background in teaching those with special needs.

We also had two group of kids stay in private homes to see what living with a caring family is like. The children get to see what it’s like to not have parents who are drunk or violent; ones that care about the kiuds.

But the big news is that 117 chidlren have been adopted since the program started! Two families just got back from Ukraine and many more families are going through the paper work process. Theese are the miracles I see at work: wodnerful children finding a loving forever home.IMG_3432

I also had some big things happen personally as well. I have been on IVIG treatments for my Common Variable Immune Deficiency for two years now. Every three weeks, a nurse comes to my house to administer a treatment that takes four to five hours. This keeps me from constantly getting infections. I have also seen a decrease in pain in my joints as well. My energy levels are great and, though I have bad days, I am doing so much better that I was before treatment.

Besides that milestone, I had a port installed. In July, I went to the Kirkland Clinic to put the port in my chest. This allows me to continue to receive treatments without continuing to do harm to my body. Not only do my veins roll, but that rolling causes them to blow bruising my arms. A lot of the antibodies I was infusing were going to healing the bruised and purple places in my arms. The port is set IMG_2369.JPGin a pocket under my skin with a catheter that leads to my carotid artery. Each treatment, we pierce the skin once (it doesn’t hurt much anymore as I am building scar tissue in that spot). We can do treatments, take blood, and do CTs scan with this piece of equipment. It has made treatment easier, faster and less painful. I was able to have this done thanks to generous donors who saw the need for me to have this medical equipment installed.

At home, I have a new addition. I got a new kitten named Iggy. Iggy came to live with Tig and me in June. At first, Tig wasn’t sure wat to think of the little one but the two have become brothers. When we go on walks, Tig always makes sure Iggy is with us and won’t let us leave an area without him.

Iggy is a seal point with a tabby face who loves to run around outside and cuddle. He is about 10 months old now and is a little rascal who spent all Christmas knocking IMG_2893ornaments off the tree. I love him so much! He is so fluffy I could die!

In regards to volunteer work, I acted as the Region 5 Representative for the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intonations. I over saw Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Puerto Rico (please continue to pray for them; they still don’t all have electricity and horse feed and hay are scarce) and Africa. I enjoy being able to be in the therapeutic horseback riding world even though I am not an active instructor.

Thank you for all your support this past year! I could have not have made it without your prayers, love and monetary support! Here’s to another great year!

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Epilepsy the dreaded “E” Word -Renee’

1516800766277_imageWriting is therapeutic for me so…here I am writing in the midst of a confusing and trying time again.

This radical Seven Journey has captured all of my trials with Daniel and his epilepsy journey. No matter how many seizures he has I will NEVER get used to them.

It’s incredible how quickly things change. Yesterday, Daniel complained a little bit of feeling dizzy before school (which he does from time to time with no incidents) we try to listen to him for cues because the older he gets he can communicate when he feels off. We gave him a whole bottle of water, B6, B12 and Magnesium like every morning. He said he felt better. An hour and a half later he had a seizure in the computer lab.

I always, always feel guilty because I’m like should he have gone to school?  He’s usually good about telling me if he can go or not. He said yes but I was unsure even then. This time it happened in front of his class. This is the first time thats happen. He had a dizzy spell before but never a full on seizure.

He’s always scared after because he can’t control when or if they happen. How awful to live in fear of your own body?

I was able to get him home where he slept for hours  (which is normal) the seizures take a toll. The school nurse checked for fever and he didn’t have one.

When he woke up he ate and was trying to get back to “normal”. But he just didn’t look right. I kept asking him how he felt he responded “awesome” “great” but I knew better. I was cleaning up the house and checking on him every 5 to 10 minutes while he laid on the couch  (he didn’t want to go to his room).

I got an urging from the Holy Spirit to go back and check on him. He was seizing on the couch.

The.worst.sight.ever.

Afterwards he was burning up. He was disoriented he kept hugging me and then pushing me away. He was scared and knew I was a comfort but I don’t think he knew I was “mom” for a few minutes after. He now had a fever of 102. Within 4 hours he developed a fever and had another seizure.

Our neurologist is out of town so I made my second call to the on call neurologist, gave Motrin then Tylenol.

I have some comfort in knowing the last two seizures were caused by fevers ( he had one in December when his fever was breaking). And maybe the one at school was caused by his body trying to fight this illness off.

After a seizure he sleeps with me. I wish I had the power to stop these atracks but i feel better knowing hes near me too. My hubby always understands and makes other accommodations. Maybe I can talk him into that 12 ft bed 🤔 lol.

I’m going to go on a fast to focus o  praying for health, strength and bravery as we face this and other obstacles. I read Ephesians that said God can do more than we think or ask…I need to know what my Father wants from me and Daniel with this.

Anything you need to pray about or for? Remember God can do more than we can think or ask.

 

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31 reasons-Renee’

 

received_10100237270960244Yesterday, I turned 31. It’s hard to believe that I started Rad7even when I was in my early 20s. I’m still here!! I’m so blessed and happy to have this blog to remember alllllll that God has done for me. So today I’m giving 31 reasons or lessons Ive learned that have brought me happiness. Don’t worry I’ll only do 10 at a time.

31. Time is an illusion. We tend to live like tomorrow always comes, but in reality it doesn’t for all of us. We can use this to depress us, put fear in our hearts or motivate us.

30. Being a wife/ mother will not complete you. In fact, it will splinter you even more if you’re not centered. Enjoy the moments and accept the blessing of partnership but dont stress it until you’re whole and healthy.

29. Laugh more. Stop being so serious all the time. Belly laughs are so healing.

28. Go for it! Push past pain and run straight towards your goals.

27. Love someone unconditionally. Love will hurt at times. Remember that all people are fallible and no one is a superhero. Learn to love people as they are.

26. The worst things are survivable. Many times something has happened and I felt like I couldn’t move forward. But I did. If I’m still here it means I can survive at least one more day.

25. Do something for you. There are sometimes weeks that go by without me doing one thing for myself. I’ve learned sometimes…just focusing on me is the best thing I can do for my family. When I feel good I am able to love better.

24. Ask for and receive help. Stop trying to save the world while simultaneously killing yourself.

23. Silence is golden. Take time to be still and focus on what God is telling you.

22. Be creative. Write, dance, sculpt do whatever you like that is a creative output. It brings new energy into your space.

 

See ya next year with some more!

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Just Hanging On- Renee’

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It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged because honestly the past month and a half have been …lets say challenging.

Darren was sick for two weeks and I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. He was having breathing issues and if you read our birth story you’ll know why this is such a stressor for me. Come to find out…he had pertussis.  Scared me to death.

Then Lennon ran back to back fevers for two days the highest being 104.2 and back to the ER we went. He had walking pneumonia and last Friday..my mom was in a car accident.

This year has been a season of loss for me. A season of pruning and it’s hard. Every time I feel like I am about to take my first deep breath something else hits me in the gut.

I’ve not blogged because I didn’t want it to be so negative…but what I realized is that’s what makes this blog different. We all aren’t just the perfect Christians that never doubt God. Or get angry at Him…we have real emotions; real stressors.

Plus when God does fix it so sweet and I’m sure He will…this will be my testimony.

~Renee

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Seeing My Work Come Back to Me~Audrey

Each time child come to Bridgestone, something magical always happens. This time it was the night of the Ukrainian dinner. Each Saturday before the children leave, we host an authentic Ukrainian Dinner with borscht and pelmeni. We invite everyone to join especially post-orphans and their families.IMG_6564
At the dinner I got to spend time with a special post orphan named Vadym. He had come to Bridges of Faith two Decembers. You may remember that I wrote about him because he and God made him a special place in my heart. He was adopted by a wonder family and I keep up with his goings on Facebook.
The day of the dinner they came early to help with other activities. I was so excited to see him. He was also very excited to show me a new way to read comic books for free. We sat down and he walked me through on my phone on how to read them. It was pretty awesome and I love that we had bounded over being nerds.
We had dinner and I sat with the current children and a friend that I knew. I was trying to make sure that I didn’t hog Vadym all night. Plus, I enjoy seeing the kids eat their native foods. They always enjoy the night and get all dressed up.
After dinner, we headed to the chapel for a little service so we could pray for the children plus we got to hear from them their favorite part of the trip. This is always a special moment. I did sit with Vadym and his family and it was interesting to be on the other side with him. He knew how these children felt; he had bene there and done that. When it was time for me to leave, he begged, very quietly, for me not to leave (or so his mom says). So I stayed a little longer just to spend time with him. It was an honor to spend time with this child who we brought over and helped find a forever family.
The point of this story is to show that my work has meaning. This boy’s life was changed forever because of this program and my work with it. These children don’t disappear from our lives. I see a majority of them quite IMG_3290often. In fact, God brings them into my life and changes both of us. He doesn’t just make this a quick relationship; many I get to be in their loves for so much more than just thirty days.
Children like Vadym are why I do what I do. I watch him grow in a local school and see him loved by parents who would (and have) done anything for him.

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/
And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

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Better Late Than Never -DaniGee

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I’m not sure if anyone noticed in the last  post, I mentioned moving to a new city with my fiancée. That was my first mention of ever having a relationship on Radical 7even and that’s because I was in a secret relationship for the past 8 years.

This is my coming out story…

National Coming out Day 2017 was October 11. I am late, as usual but I felt it was time to share and be open. Even as I am typing this, it is very hard to put into words. For the longest time, we denied the relationship, even hope the feelings would revert back and we could chalk it up to experimentation.

But it didn’t.

During my junior/senior year of College, I began falling in love with my best friend, who happened to be a girl. We’ve had this conversation before and we can never pinpoint the moment where we knew we liked each other. It was simple stuff like having lunch together at the café, started from one day a week to every day. She would walk me home from work. I would keep her company on her Sabbath. It just became a time where my day began and ended with her. I felt it was strange but it also felt very natural to be her.

Then, the first kissed happen. It seemed like time had stopped. Up until that point, I could chalk up my feelings to just my overactive imagination. The kiss made it real. Where do we go from here? It began as nice and fun, but she never wanted to be open and refused to even call it a relationship. That saddened me, but honestly, did I want to be in the open? Quite honestly, you open yourself to criticism and to actual physical pain.  I grew up in a world, the same world most of you grew up in, the world that said and still says same sex relationships are wrong and Hell will be your final destination.

I honestly never thought we would ever be known to the light of day. I had convinced myself that the feeling would one day stave itself off but it didn’t, it only intensified. One day, we were going through things and I felt like I was slowly drowning. I reach out to my best friend and asked her if I could tell her something. She said as long as you haven’t hurt my husband or my kids, there is nothing that you could tell me that would make me love you any less. A burden was lifted. Her words were a spark. I no longer had to stay in the darkness. It allowed me to share with my other close friends and family.

I wanted to let others know, falling in love with a girl and marrying her, makes me no less of a Christian. I love God and Jesus, with my whole heart. Everyday, I sin and fall short but HIS grace saves me for another day. I have been blessed to have wonderful people in my life, who have prayed, laughed, and cried with me.

I married my fiancée on October 21st.

 

 

Until Next Time

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