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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!: My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there di...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sports Playing Impaired!

Sports Impaired, functionally disabled. That's me! As a little kid, I liked to run and jump, but I fell a lot. I could trip on most anything. I fell off my trike, I tripped on the sidewalk,and sometimes even my own two feet got in the way. My skinned knees and elbows had scabs on scabs. It seemed nothing healed totally before I fell again. The old scab would be torn and bleeding, and a new scrape would be there too. I bet my Dad wished he had stock in mercurochrome and band aids. That stuff stung so bad, and I love the way parents somehow thought, "This will hurt me more than you." I remember one really bad fall. I was four, and chasing my dog. He zipped out the back door, which he could push open himself, with me right behind. Too late....the water hose was stretched across the steps and over to the yard. I hit the hose, flew off two steps and landed knees down on the cement! That took more than a band aid, and it took a long time to heal. 

It took me several years to learn to ride my bike. Daddy started teaching me when I was seven, but I didn't get it until I was eight. Roller skates! There's another story functionally disabled! All my friends had roller skates with keys. I got mine, but could never stand up on them. I tried over and over, with the same results. I couldn't stand up on them long enough to learn what to do next. Then there was recess and PE in grade school. Basketball and gymnastics in winter. Baseball, and soccer in spring. Time after time, I was always picked dead last for any team sport. I used to kind of feel bad, and then I realized I didn't like any of those sports anyway!  I remember following one of my friends across the railroad tracks by her house. Of course I tripped and fell. For years I had black cinders imbedded in my one knee. Eventually it went away, but I'm not sure where! (The cinders...Not my knee.)

I took dance from age three until seven. At three un-coordination is cute, but there comes a time when the costumes and the others in the group can't hide the one with two left feet. Then when I was in Junior High, my time came! Why with my track record, I decided to try ice skating, I don't know, but it was the one and only sport I could do, and was good at. Where I could not stand up on four wheels on skates, I could stand up, and move around on a single, thin, blade of an ice skate. Years of failure suddenly opened up a new world for me. I got to take lessons, and skate during the week, and on weekends. I loved the cool, glassy ice under me, and the wind created by my own body whirling around the rink. Each year the skating club I was in put on an ice show. We had costumes, were each in several numbers, got to wear theatrical makeup, and skated to routines we practiced over and over. The Sioux City Orchestra played all the music, and the light effects were just like the Ice Capade Shows of that era. For a girl who could never be a welcome part of any team effort, this was a magical time in my life! The day my parents upgraded my skates to a professional pair with wooden blade guards, was the absolute ultimate affirmation that I had one thing I had mastered! 

That was the beginning of confidence for me! I was no longer a clutsy loser! In high school I tried out for the Drill team, and found out I could follow directions, do synchronized moves, and I loved it. The Drill Team performed at every football and basketball game. You have no idea, unless you've been there what those things can do for a girl's self esteem. I still fall sometimes, and I still can't roller skate, but that's O.K. I have always been hard on myself when I can't do things. It has taken many years of walking with Jesus, for Him to finally get me to believe, I am just the way He made me! There will always be physical things I can't do, and other abilities I do not have, but He has gifted me in other ways. Since I gave my life to Him, He has shown me those gifts, and He has helped me use them for His Glory to help others. For this functionally disabled person, I was terribly insecure for so many years and really doubted my worth. I have learned that just because you can't do certain things, that does not define who you are! If we were all good at all the same things, there would be no challenges, and it would be a very boring world.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!: My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there di...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Christmas Past!: My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there di...

Christmas Past!

My first Christmas was in Immanuel children's home in Omaha. Needless to say I don't remember it. I imagine the Deaconesses there did what they could to celebrate Christ's birth. It was during the war years, so from history we know there was rationing, and hardship, and families separated. After I was adopted and we moved to Colorado, I remember the Christmases as times of wide eyed wonder, snow, and my heart's desires. Yes you could say I was a spoiled, long waited for, only child. I vaguely remember at about two years old, I became aware of lights on a Christmas tree. According to the grown ups, my Dad went up into the mountains, picked a tree, cut it, and brought it home. In those days you were allowed to do things like that. After it was decorated, my parents brought me into the living room, dimmed the floor lamps, and lit the Christmas tree. My Dad said my eyes got big, and I clapped my hands and said, "Oh Boy!" He said that was the best thing ever. I remember from then on the joy of snowfall on Christmas Eve. We always had oyster soup, crackers, cheese, and meat for supper, then we went to Church. One particular Christmas, as we walked out of  Church
at Midnight, snow was falling. It was so quiet, and magical that night. Christmas in the 1940s was a time for families. Stores were not open on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day. It was a time of not worrying about offending anyone when you said Merry Christmas. Getting ready for Christmas, and celebrating it was a busy time, but it was not stressed, or all about shopping. It was a time to remember Jesus birth, and to be with friends and family, and to enjoy the season.

One of the best memories was driving from our city, Ft. Collins to Denver to shop. You shopped downtown, not in a mall. The streets were decorated with lights and trees, but it was the department store windows that captured my little girl attention. There were many stores in downtown Denver, and each one vied to have the very best Christmas display. They were elaborate, and animated, and beautifully lit up. What a wonderful tradition that has been lost in history. We always stayed downtown at the Brown Palace Hotel while in Denver. While my Dad did business, Mom and I could walk to the stores. There was a movie theater across the street. It was there I saw the classic movie that had just come out, White Christmas. I remember the clerks in the stores were always polite and friendly, and everyone wished each other a Merry Christmas!

We moved to Sioux City, Iowa when I was 6. Christmas there now included family that were too far away when we were in Colorado. School programs included Silent Night, Joy To The World, and a Nativity. Santa was a part of Christmas, but never in place of Baby Jesus. The best part of Christmas then was going to my grandparents in Wayne, Nebraska. I got to play with cousins, and the food was always good Swedish fare. There were turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing. There were presents, and always something special from my grandpa. We spent Christmas according to our faith, and none of us had to worry about offending someone else. Many friends of ours were Jewish. They knew their Hanukkah was different from our Christmas, and that was alright. We visited each other's homes, and were merely curious but never offended by our differences.

I think it is pretty amazing we of the 40s and 50s got along just fine with other's beliefs, and no one ever felt like we were being picked on or offended just because we didn't believe the same. What happened to our world? Now we can't do this or say that, because we don't want anyone to feel bad. I am offended that it is always we that follow Jesus that are the offenders. No one else is told to change the names of their holidays or religious celebrations. We are told from our schools to our businesses to our everyday lives, that we should not say Merry Christmas. It is Happy Holidays, Winter Solstice, or anything other than Christmas. I'm sorry, but instead of Christmas Day on our calendars, I guess we should have Holiday Day. How silly does that sound?  This is where Christians need to stand taller, and object louder! We are many in number, but we are too quiet about our Jesus and His birthday.

If Jesus willingly came to earth, born in most humble circumstances, as a human, then died a horrible death for us, we should be shouting loud and clear that we will celebrate Christmas! In one school, the ACLU decided that Christmas Carols, were not appropriate because it led people to have religious thoughts. If Christ's music, celebrating His Birthday, sung by His people lead to religious thoughts, I say, "Praise The Lord!"   And MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Three Of A Kind......No Way!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Three Of A Kind......No Way!: Three lives, gifts from God. Three lives each unique, each special, each a huge blessing. These three lives would be our children. I pray th...

Three Of A Kind......No Way!

Three lives, gifts from God. Three lives each unique, each special, each a huge blessing. These three lives would be our children. I pray they forgive me for the sentiment, the memories, the reflection from my heart. Each life has been molded and planned by God, and their faith in God is being passed on to their children! How did we get to this grown up plan? It has been a journey, just as your families had a journey. Sometimes there were fun, innocent times, sometimes sad times, and some bumps in the road were bigger than others, but a family emerged and survived.

John is the oldest. He was always a scholar, learning to read at an early age. He got to travel all the way from Nebraska to Arizona with Grandma, and he always knew things most adults never even thought of. He was always the neat and tidy one, and liked everything in it's place. He was content to be alone, but grew into a man who loves people, and above all helping people! He always knew what was current whether toys, electronics, or activities. I remember he loved electronic toys, but as soon as the newness wore off, he took them totally apart just to see how they worked, and if he could put them back together. I will not reveal how that worked for him. He loved magic. He spent hours with his magic kit perfecting it's tricks. He mastered Rubic's Cube, and can figure out almost any computer issue his parents have. Later as an adult, he became a collector of comics, classics of course, and other toys. He still can tell you what toys of the past are worth. He completed college, was always in plays, and musicals through high school and college. He is talented, creative, and yet adventurous to the point of bungy jumping! Today, he follows Jesus, and still ministers to anyone who needs his help. One of the memories that stand out was our trip to The Blackhills. After the a day or two, John's Grandma Mary noticed he was always carrying a small brown paper bag. She couldn't resist any longer, and asked him what was in it. Ultra cautious Mary was horrified to learn he carried his money in it. After her lecture on how unsafe that was, she bought him a billfold. I think secretly he preferred his brown paper sack. He is a writer, including doing a column for a local paper, and he is amazing doing anything in media, video, and advertising.

James is in the middle. He was the adventurous one. He was a boy of a million questions....on everything. If it existed, he wanted to know why, how, and what. He was always unique in many ways. Once when he was very sick, the only way he could rest was with his beloved blanket and Dad laying next to him, so James could twirl a lock of his Dad's hair in his fingers. James loved cars to play with, and he liked Cabbage Patch Dolls. The cool thing is that he has kept most of his favorites, and now his  one year old son is playing with them. James loved remote control toys, and as he got older, he had a love for airplanes. We lived within about three or four blocks from the air port in our town. One evening, James disappeared. In a panic, we looked everywhere, but it was only when we remembered the air port did we find him. He walked across a busy highway, because he wanted to just be near the planes. He didn't care if they were landing or taking off, or just sitting in the hangar. Because he was so inquisitive, he sometimes got in trouble. All of us went to an antique show, including Grandma Mary. We warned all three children to not touch anything. After awhile James couldn't resist. He began picking up glassware of all things. Grandma Mary told him to put his hands in his pockets, so he wouldn't be tempted. Curiosity overcame that, so we decided to buy him something, to occupy his hands. We found a metal top, and gave it to him. Grandma Mary was looking at it, and discovered it was made by The Gibbs Toy Company. We immediately took it from James, deciding it was too valuable and special to be played with. His wise words of course were, "Next time you buy me a toy, make sure it doesn't have our name on it!"  The scariest times for us was when James tried Bull Riding. Needless to say he was injured several times, got back on in true PBR (Professional Bull Riding) style) The last ride was a very serious injury and ended that career. Bike riding then became his passion, and still is including his little son and his wife.
Today, after many plays, musicals, and being a people person, James is a DJ. He is a devoted follower of Jesus, and adores his wife and son! He is a blessing to all who know him,

Last, but by no means least, is Juliane. She was our princess, our dancer, or creative one. I cannot tell you how many games of Candyland and Strawberry Shortcake we played. I do remember it was a hard lesson for her to learn to be a good sport when she lost. As the youngest, and the only girl, it was a joy to buy girly clothes, hair accessories, and shoes for her. She loved games, and her stuffed animal collection and dolls covered her whole bed. Each night they had to be moved just to find a spot for her little body. She too had a favorite blanket, and she sucked her thumb. We only got concerned when she was ready for Kindergarten, and didn't care if the other kids made fun of her or not. No reasoning would sway her. Finally at some  point, she just quit. Our girl loved dancing more than anything. She started lessons at age four, and continued even after college. She loved recitals, and always was in several dances in each one. From the costumes, to the hair, and makeup, she was hooked. From the time she saw the movie, Annie, the music would find it's way into our living room often. I bought her an Annie dress, and she was Annie. We had to stop whatever we were doing to watch her entertain for us. Her one line I'll never forget was, "I was born to dance." She was in every school musical in high school and college. In college she also did choreography for the musicals. Eventually the foot and ankle injuries, and motherhood ended her dance, but I can replay the dances in my head. The absolute love of Juliane's life now is her children. Over the years she has loved taking care of little ones. God blessed her with three. She was a foster mother for several years, and dealt with situations most of us would not have the patience for. Another love that developed after college was hair styling. She went to cosmetology school, and has been doing hair ever since she graduated. She is a good Mom, wife, and friend. She still dances across people's hearts with a style only she has.

Three children, each very different, each very special. They have children that are growing up too fast, but they are involved in those lives. These children of ours have made their mistakes, shed
their tears, smiled their smiles, and gone on to teach their children. When they remember their childhood, I pray it is the good they remember. I pray that the lessons they learned will always serve them well, and I pray tha Jesus remains the priority in their lives! Above all I pray they know how much their Dad and I love them in their uniqueness, and how proud we are of all they have become, and have yet to achieve!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Birth, Adoption, Rebirth.....God's Bigger Plan

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Birth, Adoption, Rebirth.....God's Bigger Plan: National Adoption Month is dear to my heart! When I pray for Moms and babies thinking about abortion as a solution to a problem, I think abo...

Birth, Adoption, Rebirth.....God's Bigger Plan

National Adoption Month is dear to my heart! When I pray for Moms and babies thinking about abortion as a solution to a problem, I think about my own life. Abortion was not an option when I was born, at least not legally. My Mom would never have considered it anyway, for which I am grateful! Talk about a problem.....she had seven other children, her husband had died, and now there would be one more needing food and care. I have learned she was overwhelmed, and the agencies helping her, strongly suggested adoption. She did not want to, but the bullies coerced her, and won. I often wonder, now that I have reunited with my family, what I would have been like if left with my Mom. I know that God had a much bigger plan, and I have been blessed to see it unfold.

Through adoption, my Mom and Dad, had their heart's desire....a child of their own. My Dad was an awesome Daddy, and my Mother, even though we never bonded, tried her best! Through them I had a good life, met a lot of great people, visited almost all 50 states, and learned many things. On the birth side, my Mom had to endure hardships, and heartache. She was strong, and she loved her Savior, Jesus. She raised seven children to be strong, and love The Lord. She grieved for three who were taken. One baby died at birth, one brother died at nine months, and I was given up. God's plan was so much bigger than all of that.

I was always proud to be adopted, but now am even prouder to be a part of my wonderful birth family. My only regret was not trying to find them sooner. Did I mention God had a bigger plan? God chose for me to be Mom and  Daddy's child into their old age. He used the time to bring me to Him, to teach me, and to bring me to the place where He would unfold His plan. Only He could have orchestrated my finding my wonderful family, and for 13 years I have been loved, and included in that family. Our Mom and Grandma died before this, but because they were believers saved by Grace, I will walk into my heavenly home someday, and walk into their arms. I am so thankful that God allowed me acess to the records that were sealed, and let me have my family back. His bigger plan!

Adoptions today can be very different. Some years ago when I was teaching pre-school, one of my students was adopted in an open adoption. He got to meet his birth mother, and she got to be a part of his life. At the time, I thought that was just too weird. When I started writing for our local newspaper, I had a chance to walk through an open adoption with the people involved. It was a beautiful experience for everyone. The birth mother picked the family through files she was given, they in turn were a part of the birth. The day the mother was leaving the hospital, they had a formal ceremony where she physically handed her daughter to her adopted Mom. What was a sad, traumatic event for my Mom, was a celebration for this Mom. She remains a part of their life, and the little girl calls her Mama Carol(not her real name).

These little ones are a God given life from the moment of conception. Their DNA is already in place. God sees them before they are formed. His fingerprint is on them. I know the abortion industry lies to get their way. When I pray, I pray for the Moms who are deceived and for the tiny lives affected. I know some babies are not planned, and can cause problems, but for a short nine months, adoption can be the solution that does not kill. Nine months of inconvenience compared to a lifetime of regret. For this month of November, join me in praying that our world will eliminate abortion, and promote adoption.When I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord, I was blessed to be not only adopted into His family, but I was reborn. I am no longer the un forgiven sinner, I am a new creation in Christ, and a forgiven sinner. To sum it up God gave me birth and life, He gave me an adopted family. Then He re birthed me in His Spirit, and gave me back to my family, and adopted me again into God's family.
Talk about blessings....and God did have a bigger plan!