The Need Exists

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What holds me back from telling you how I really feel are a thousand little voices on my shoulder. One voice says that I’m a bleeding heart and I should shut up. Another voice says that the only reason I’m here is because I haven’t been able to get pregnant and sustain a pregnancy. Yet another voice says that it’s annoying to sound this trumpet over and over again, that people don’t want to hear it. And still another says that if Jeremy and I are this scared every time we get a phone call, every time we say yes, then who in their right mind would willingly join up?

The voices are going to take a back seat for a minute. I have something to say.

The need for loving, mature and capable foster families is huge. It is huge and it is real and it is not going away anytime soon.

As soon as one family takes in a kid—whether for a short duration or a long one—another child is in a bad situation and will need a home. As soon as one bed is filled, another bed is needed. We could talk until we’re blue in the face about why this is. Why does foster care exist? Why are people so terrible to their children? Why are people irresponsible and why does the government, of all entities, have to step in? We could get absolutely lost in those types of conversation and then miss the fact that the most vulnerable in our society still need beds and warm showers and three square meals a day and, oh yeah, adults who love them.

When you read a story in the newspaper about a drug bust where children were present, you can bet a foster family is getting a call that very night to take in those children. When you hear a story on the news about an infant found in squalor in an apartment, perhaps with roach eggs on his feet, you know a foster family’s phone is ringing. When you hear that a parent is cited for neglect because their five year old was found wandering downtown streets at 11 o’clock at night, you know a case is being built and perhaps that child will need another home for a time until their parents can figure out how to parent a little bit better.

The need is real. The need is huge.

There are stories we all hear, but then there are actual phone calls I get. I recently got a call to take a one week old infant and had to say no. It broke my heart to say no, but with our health concerns, I simply couldn’t tend well to the needs of a newborn and still tend well to my own needs. This was wise, but it was sad, too. Awhile back I got a call for two little sisters. Their mom had lots of services to help support her family but she still chose not to protect them from dangerous people. They needed a place to go. Another call involved sisters again who needed a home while their mom went into drug rehab and yet another involved little boys whose mother constantly neglected them. One series of calls revolved around a baby boy whose outlook for life was pretty rough after he sustained tremendous abuse from an adult in his life. Did this little guy need a lot of care? Absolutely. Is he worthy of care and respect and love as long as he needs it? Again, absolutely yes.

My request is that you open your eyes and simply do what you can. Don’t pretend like these kids don’t exist or like their lives don’t matter. But do what you can! If you can become a foster parent, sign up for the next session of classes. Babies, toddlers, middler schoolers and high school kids all need homes. Kids without support systems can use your help. If you cannot foster, support these kids another way. Lincoln is full of charities designed to aid kids in need, not just foster kids but other at-risk youth, too. Project Everlast, Lighthouse, Christian Heritage, Cedar’s, City Impact, the City Mission, The Bay, so on and so forth. You can give money, you can volunteer your time, you can rally a group of moms from your school, workout partners from the gym, neighbors and/or friends to do something big together. You can also provide support to foster families you know by taking meals, sending encouraging letters, providing diapers, sharing baby supplies, driving their kids to therapy appointments, getting background checks so you can babysit and so on. Your support is incredibly valuable if you didn’t know it already. That pack of pacifiers or diapers may not mean much to you, but I can guarantee it means a lot to the foster family who is working fast and furiously to prepare for new little people in their home.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. If you’ve read my words and have kept an open mind, thank you. If you’re supporting the kids of my beloved city, thank you a million times over.

I can say with utter sincerity, these kids are our future. They are our most precious commodity. Let’s take care of them.

Chicks in 3rd Grade

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This child is destined to work with animals someday. It is her dream and it is deep in her DNA. Hatching chicks in her 3rd grade classroom is something she’ll never forget!

My Pre-Snowbird Existence

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This winter I declared I wouldn’t live in Nebraska forever.

However, since I’m not in any way prophetic and since I can’t package up my family, friends, and basically the entirety of Lincoln, Nebraska, my declaration is a little weak.

Instead I should declare that, a thousand times over, I adore warm weather. And the color green, I adore that, too. And oceans with vast beaches. Surely I annoy people when I tell them that nicer weather is in my genes, but it’s true. My mom is from Miami and my dad is from Santa Barbara. It’s a wonder any of us survive the winters here.

Today I went hunting for spring and I found it. Thank you, Lord, for spring and for sunshine. It. is. time.

El Poocheroo

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Little Rosie Ruth

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This darling girl has been charming Jeremy, Liv and me since she came into our household last week. She’s the daughter of our friends Sarah and Matt and her squeals of glee have brightened up the walls of Chateau Prairie Box.

There’s something to be said for communal living, for sharing space with one another and connecting over coffee or a bowl of cereal. Dishes become much less of a chore when there’s someone to talk to while I get my hands wet and just knowing someone else is around when Jeremy’s gone makes me feel warm and cozy inside. I’ll miss this sweet family when they go home again. Sarah, Matt and Ambrose, we’ve enjoyed having you here!

March Frost

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My body is moving slowly this morning and my head is congested, but I found two gifts waiting for me when I awoke. One, a cheerful and sweet daughter who obeyed and easily got ready for school. And two, an outdoor landscape transformed by frost. Both gifts are life-giving and one lent itself to the other being enjoyed. While Livia ate her breakfast I wandered the yard in my slippers, grateful for something new to see at the end of winter.

Spring is coming.

Little Man Jack

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It’s a wonder I ever have a complete conversation at women’s events at church anymore with little faces like this looking in my direction. I’ll often try to leave my camera in my bag (women get really weird about being photographed, for the record) and live in the moment. You know, engage in the present and all that. Jack’s enormous brown eyes, though, were too much to resist. This little guy is so cute and so precious that I was powerless against his charm. I expect to soon be laughing at his antics as his mom is one of the funniest people I know.

Glimpses from Alcatraz

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All images snapped in January 2014.

A Master of Comfort

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Last weekend approximately forty women descended upon my friend Jen’s home for a daylong women’s retreat. It was awesome. And restful. And life-giving.

Jen’s cat Clooney held his own amongst the ladies. Initially he planted his fluffy body in the middle of a walkway as though to make sure everyone knew they were in his space. Later, as I walked through the home snapping photos, I found Clooney in the ultimate position of repose—reclining on the master bed. Nay, not just reclining, but leaning back into the pillows as though the plebians could go about their business in the main rooms, but he was going to catch up on his beauty sleep, thankyouverymuch.

Oh Clooney, you are too much.

Writing about Diabetes

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I went to an appointment this morning. And then it snowed really hard. I scraped the heavy, wet snow off my car and came home more bionic than I was a few hours ago.

Bionic? Does anybody use that term anymore?

This girl, the one who is s-l-o-w to embrace new tech is now wearing new tech. I’m plugged in. The nurse educator I met this morning wasn’t familiar with The Matrix, so I had to explain that it felt kind of sci-fi, almost like I was getting a bug implanted in me. She is CLEARLY not wed to Jeremy Tredway. (I not only know The Matrix, I’ve watched it more times than I can count and can quote it if the mood is right.)

I already wear an insulin pump. Every few days I insert a needle into my abdomen, remove it and in its place is a small catheter that delivers insulin to be absorbed through the fat layer of my body. The insulin pump is an incredible piece of equipment and is worth the irritation of wearing a pager-sized device on my person at all times. I remove the pump itself for bathing or swimming, but other than that, like Ruth and Naomi, wherever I go, the pump goes too.

Today we added another piece of equipment to my body and from what I understand this new device will also make my life more beautiful. Once I figure out how to really use it, that is. I got all squared away with a CGM—a continuous glucose monitor. It is a lot smaller than the pump and is inserted in a similar way, with a needle that is then removed almost right away. This time the teeny-wheeny super duper small part left in my skin is a glucose sensor. It reaches what’s called interstitial fluid underneath the skin layer and reads a glucose. From my fingertips I draw blood glucoses (BGs), but from the CGM it’s called a sensor glucose (SG). The deal is that I wear this small sensor and transmitter all the time and then I don’t have to prick my fingertips as often. The real beauty of the situation is that the CGM will allow me to see how my blood sugars are trending. Going up, going down, going down fast? It can tell me all that. It will also beep incessantly to, say, wake me up at night if my glucoses drop dangerously low.

A few weeks ago I woke up around 2:00am to sirens in my neighborhood. I am strongly attuned to siren activity after living in a fairly transitional ‘hood for over 10 years, and as any good neighborhood watch person would do, I went to the window to see what was going on. A few days later I learned that a neighbor had a really bad low blood sugar reaction complete with seizures and the emergency personnel struggled to wake him. He went to the hospital. Having this occur so close to home was a solid reminder that good control for someone with diabetes means walking a fine line of normal glucoses versus dangerous ones. Thus all the helpful tech I’m talking about. The goal is to keep folks with diabetes as healthy as they can be.

I don’t really know what I’m doing with the CGM. I know that I’m waiting until noon to calibrate it and that I’ll do several more calibrations later in the day. I have a few handy guidebooks that will help remind me how things work and what goes where and when to do what. There’s an 800 number that’s available 24/7 and the nurse wants to check in with me later in the day. Other than that, I feel confused and trust that various pieces of equipment will beep at me soon and then I’ll be digging for those guidebooks once more.

Those who know me and love me well know that I would completely ignore diabetes if I could. They don’t like this about me and everyone wants to help me care for myself better. But the truth is that *I* have to want it. All the wanting in the world can’t make me be responsible for diabetes if I don’t want to be responsible.

Diabetes is full of numbers and graphs and charts and precision and pokey things like needles and lancets. Do you see all the graphs and stats I post on The Prairie Box? No? And there you see the bend of my personality.

But this year I will hit 20 years of living with diabetes. I want to stick around for a long time. I want to be in good health as long as I possibly can be. I want to be ready when a surgeon comes at me with stem cells that are magically turning into a working pancreas, though I can’t really talk about that much because it seems like such a far off dream. So for now, for today, I want to engage the absolute best piece of tech—the one that makes more of an impact than any insulin pump or CGM on the market—and that is my brain. Nothing money can buy is more important or helpful to diabetes care than the strength and will God has given me to make good choices.

Feel free to ask me about diabetes. I’ll share what I know! Do not feel free to ask me if I can eat that piece of cake or not. It’s none of your business. And I say that in the nicest way possible. ;)