Archive for August, 2017

Collateral Beauty-Renee’

I finally got a chance to watch the movie Collateral Beauty. Well really not got the chance but actually wanted to watch it. When I first saw the trailer I was like nope, seems too sad. But… I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised. 

I wont spoil the movie but the premise is a man loses his young daughter to cancer. He’s unable to cope and turns into a recluse. He speaks to no one but writes a letter to death, time and love everyday.

It got me thinking… 

What would I say to those entities if  they were a person. We all in one way or another fight with these entities our whole lives. We try to forget someone we no longer want to love. We try to hold onto someone who is slipping away by death either slowly pulling them from us…or worse they are gone in a flash. And time….time creeps by and then you look up…and you’re 30 wondering how you got here. 

The older I get, I realize how precious life is. How quickly things change. I see my parents getting older everyday. I am blessed to have both sets of grandparents still walking this earth. I see the wisdom they hold and fear I won’t get enough time to dip into their wells of knowledge. I see my boys and realize in the blink of an eye they will be adults. I see my husband and think a lifetime isn’t enough time to spend with him.

When I think of all the bittersweet moments in my life I see the beauty. When I lost Baby Smith, I began to appreciate the true gift of motherhood. When I REALLY struggled with HG, sick everyday and how my husband comforted me. How tender and loving he was.  When Darren wasnt breathing I got to appreciate life in general. How this precious soul fought his way into this cruel world and reminds me to never give up.

I am reminded how bloodied my Saviour was for me and how that act of sacrifice is beautiful although it came through so much pain.

It all has a purpose….

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Year Six Recap-Renee’

I cant believe Radical 7even is almost over. So much has changed since starting on this path. The bloggers have dwindled as have some friendships, but here we are…entering the last year!

5 wk old Baby Darren

Year Six…well let’s just say Darren K.W. Smith really threw my goals for a loop…but let’s recap

My goals were:

  • Write to heal
  • Experience life
  • Using my voice 
  • Read for my life 
  • Eat for my life

1. Write to heal.

This goal…just didn’t quite take off. I didn’t blog as diligently as I should have. I did do some other things to heal. For the first time I participated in counseling. Counseling really helped me refocus on me and my husband. A huge chunk of my focus is always my kids, but you cant pour from an empty cup. My husband and I also had a bad habit of putting the kids before us, date nights suffered and our first trip without kids came 4 years into our marriage. Counseling helped me realize that parenting is indeed important but having two healthy and whole parents will ensure healthy parenting can occur.

2. Experience life

So….. zero percent was done ..minus the fact I birthed a new life. Lol. My hyperemis gravardium had me down totally for 6 months and semi down two extra months. When I finally felt well enough to travel I was too pregnant to travel. But…I have a feeling my last year of Rad7even this will be a lot more eventful.

3. Using my voice

My levels of passive aggressiveness has gone down a ton. I’ve been addressing things head on and I really feel out of all my goals this is the one Im most proud of and also has been the most successful. 
4. Read for my life

Um………so….i downloaded the audible app. And listened to a book halfway through. I think i should finish it before the end of the year. Im also doing a devotion that will allow me to read through the Bible in 90 days…unfortunately I’m 15 days behind lol…..so..  maybe 90 plus 15 days I’ll be done. The devotion has someone reading 16 plus chapters a day. I tend to get sidetracked looking up old maps and commentary so I do like maybe 8 or so a day. I feel this is fine because I’m studying and not just reading through.

5. Eat for my life

This goal was side tracked for 8 months because I was only able to eat fatty foods and drink tea while pregnant. I have done much better since having Darren K.W. I’ve been back on my Pinterest game and made more things from scratch and with fresh ingredients.

 

Rosemary Chicken w/portabella mushrooms

Pancakes made from bananas w/blueberry sauce

Squash Souffle

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All Things -Renee’

all things

*Family Updates*

It’s been one month and one day since Darren was born and it has been a whirlwind. Nursing is going well and he has gained weight fast! I’m not as tired as I was but…still not fully rested. We found out that Darren’s umbilical cord was not centered in the placenta; this caused the cord to be constricted with each contraction leaving Darren with minimum oxygen. I’m glad to have some answers and even happier that God allowed my water to break first so I would go straight to the hospital and not labor at home.Lennon is now officially fully potty trained and has been since we brought the baby home. The big boys are officially in second grade and started school not long ago..so I’m semi back on a schedule. LaDarren had surgery on his ankle on Friday (two days ago) so far,so good.

*90 Days*

I got off of Facebook and Instagram on August 2. I felt it was a distraction and I really needed to hear from my Father. I also started a 90 day read-through-the-entire Bible devotion…that’s been a tough reading schedule. Which means I’m behind. But…I have been listening to the Bible which has caused me to have my daily readings again.

I’m not going to lie summer is not my season. Summers are usually very difficult for me..it’s almost always a season of pruning for me… I usually have weird (well I should say painful) transitions and I always spend my time struggling with my faith because it is so difficult. Fall is my season for change…which usually has very strong ups and downs…but the ups are sooooooo much better than my downs. Summer…is not quite that easy. This summer I’ve been attacked in pretty much every area of my life. There was some mix up with my maternity leave paperwork and I missed a paycheck; Hubby was injured at work and we don’t have STD  (short term disability) so…we will only get 2/3 of his check for the next…3 months. Ive also not received financial support for Daniel in months…and months. Daniel did spend two weeks with his father this summer which was great for Daniel and his dad. His dad also purchased his school supplies (so…progress 🤔). The kids are back in school and we are trying to push them to greatness in all areas. Nursing is going well…but Darren absolutely refuses to take a bottle which means it’s been difficult to share responsibilities with Hubby.  Today’s the anniversary of my cousin’s murder. 3 years…he’s been gone.

Been a rough time, but I know to lean on “all things work together…”. I know God loves me and my babies…He will provide peace,financial stability and purpose. I just have to trust the process… which I’m still learning. When I blog again I guarantee a testimony!

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Send Me

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8

I graduated in 2005 with a degree in psychology and a desire to help children. One of my biggest interests in school was developmental psychology and helping children grow up well-adjusted so they need less help as an adult. I believe in the cliché that children are our future and if we can get them on even footing as they grow up, they can be happy, stable adults. IMG_2405
That same year I was introduced to therapeutic horseback riding. Using horses, I could help those with physical and emotional disabilities thrive in a world that doesn’t take the time to get to know them. I helped one be able to walk across the stage at graduation as well as helped those with Asperger’s find confidence and self-esteem. My niche was those with low functioning autism and developmental delays and helping them blossom. I’ve heard first words, seen first steps, and had first hugs. And I LOVED it!
Then I started getting really unwell. I’ve had health issues and reoccurring infections my entire life. But then abscessed tooth pushed my body over its limit. Struggling to find help and a diagnosis, my whole life changed. I couldn’t live my life as I had. I was stuck. But then Bridges of Faith happened.
My history has been really helpful especially when we have children from special needs orphanages like we did this time. Their chaperon and Alona worked really hard with two of the kids to help them transition to another culture and have a great time. No one asked me in particular to do this. I saw that these kids needed some who knew how to work with their special needs and stepped up to the plate.
The Lord sent me here once I was open with him about needing a change in my life and wanting to follow his ways. He has rewarded me not just in my health but by allowing me to work with these sweet precious children. The orphanages are bleak places. One in ten will commit suicide before they hit 21, one will be in jail and three in five girls are sexually traffic. Since the program began, we have seen 110 orphans be adopted. Being part of that has been magical and amazing. I said send me and he showed me what I could do!
In the Mary Poppins picture are Ilona and Bogdon. Bogdon falls in the developmental delay category but if it’s because of abuse and neglect or other issues, I could not tell you. What I can tell you is he wants someone to love and to love him. He needed someone who could love him but discipline him as well. Bogdon doesn’t respond to yelling and running after him. This makes him happy; he has your attention and he loves that you are paying attention. I pulled out some Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy tricks that helped him see he could get love and attention without acting out. Was it easy? Not at all. Was it worth it? Yes; to see that smile on his face and have him hug me knowing he felt safe loved meant everything to me.
IMG_1898Another young girl named Luyba (Russian for love) had some similar issues. While she didn’t run off, she would hug you too tightly or squeeze too hard. She had so much love inside she didn’t know how to express it at all. She and I spent a lot of time together. She saw she was loved but I didn’t fool around with unwanted behavior. The last day, while they waited at the airport for them to go home, she gripped my hand hard. She didn’t want to leave someone who didn’t just yell at her like they are prone to in orphaned (if they get any attention at all);she wanted someone who loved her for who she was, who she knew loved her even as she corrected the behavior.
God knew where I was needed, where my gift would fit perfectly. Because I let him send me so many people are happy and have had their lives changed. It’s more than just about me. It’s about our world, or brothers and sisters in Christ.

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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