Saturday, November 5, 2016

Teaching children Gratitude.

*Originally written for Forever Bound Adoption Website.
Thanksgiving is a special time of year when families gather, memories are shared and new memories are made.   Many families take turns sharing what they are most thankful for as they sit around the table filled with savory dishes waiting to be devoured.   Having the attitude of gratitude is an important gift we can give to the children in our lives.   November brings a great opportunity to teach gratitude.   You don’t have to have children in your own home to use these ideas.   Teaching children in your extended family, in your neighborhood or in your church congregation, would be a great way to bless the lives of children around you.   Sometimes an Aunt or Uncle or special neighbor can impact a child’s life in a unique and special way.

Teaching Gratitude starts with words:   Saying “Thank You” often is a great way to help children learn to say thank you.   When our children were little toddlers we would hand them something they wanted and we would say “Thank You”.  It didn't take long for our child to start saying those words to us.
Thank You Notes:  Thank you notes written to our children not only teaches by example, it allows our child to feel special and begin to understand what it feels like to be appreciated.

Stories about giving thanks:   Keep a basket filled with books, magazine articles and/or movies for all ages that teach the art of being thankful.    We try to add a new book to our collection each year .   Visiting your local library is another way to add a few books to your basket for the season.

Special acts of service:  Look for opportunities to serve others in your family, extended family and/or community.   Helping others gives children the opportunity to give back and see how their service touches the heart of another.

November “Giving Thanks” packages:  Kids love to create so taking treats to a neighbor, or creating their own thank you notes, is a great way to get kids involved in showing gratitude.   This year we are taking these little turkey baskets filled with goodies and a note of thanks to some special people in the lives of our children.

Get the pattern here.

Go here to learn how to create the paper basket.

Trace, cut and chalk or ink the sides.
Glue together.  Don't forget to dot in the eyes.
Thanksgiving baskets ready to fill with goodies and a note of gratitude.
Thanksgiving is a great time to share a special note of thanks to our children's birth families.  Any of these ideas can be used to tell the special Birth Families in our lives Thank You!   I feel  there aren't enough ways to tell my children’s birth families thank you!   Nothing measures up to the joy they have brought into my life and into my family.   When I create something with my own hands and give it to them, it is my hope they realize my gratitude and love for them runs deep.   When my children create pictures (like a hand turkey) for their birth parents they get excited because it is something they did themselves.   What a great opportunity we have to share our love with these incredible people in our life!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Brenda Horrocks is a mother of four children through adoption. She promotes adoption, foster care and Utah's Safe Haven Law through blogging, public speaking and writing. She enjoys time with family, reading books, running, gardening and movies. You can visit her blog here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Day I Played.

One afternoon I had just settled down into the world’s best recliner (seriously…best money ever spent at RC Willey) and was very ready for a moment to myself.   My little Spencer comes up to me for the millionth time that week and asked me to play Lego’s with him.   I really don’t want to….I just want “my time”.   But something about the way he is looking at me this time makes me realize he really needs me.    So I put on my super mom cape and go to the business of doing what moms do best…..sacrifice their time for their child’s needs.   At least that is what I was thinking at the time.

I sat down at the tiny red Lego table Brad and I made for our boys for Christmas. The tiny red chair, way too small for my backside but not too uncomfortable became my station in this world he created.   The playing begins….I decided to put some of my own imagination into it and the story started unfolding.   Spencer became Batman and I was just Brenda but I was helping Batman.    I starting introducing non-Lego toys into the play and things starting getting a little giggly.   But when I placed Joker on the Lego horse and then put a Littlest Pet Shop acorn in Joker’s hand and called it a Cherry bomb, Spencer laughed so hard he couldn’t talk.   I also saw the awesome silly humor and caught the laughing bug.   Before I knew it we were both laughing so hard we couldn’t play for a few minutes.   Then things got really crazy and the laughing became hysterical!   In that moment I was really truly present with my sweet little boy and having more fun and releasing more stress then I ever could by sitting in the world’s best recliner.   

I learned a great lesson that day.   It wasn’t me putting on a super mom cape and sacrificing my time for my child’s need.   The superhero was really Spencer.   He helped me relax, have fun and laugh away my concerns of the day.    He was taking his time away from his short childhood to include me in his imagination play.    What an amazing privilege it was to be invited into his amazing world!!!

I now look forward to our continued “game” in Spencer’s Lego world.  Best therapy ever!!!!
I love my Super Spencer.
Hero of my heart!

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Sometime in very late January or early February I came home from work and Haley pulled me into the living room and poured her heart out to me about how badly she was being treated by friends and how much she just didn't want to deal with the pain anymore.   She cried harder than I have ever seen her cry and as I reach out to her and pulled her close to me and held her for a long time I realized she wasn't just totally heart broken but she was fiery hot with a fever.    She had a horrible cough to add to her horrible fever.   She was fragile emotionally and physically.   After talking on the phone with a doctor I learned how physical illness can make depression worse.   This  made complete sense and I wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself.   That night and many many nights following I slept downstairs on the couch so I could be by Haley.   Within a couple days I running a fever and coughing. By the 4th day the whole family was sick.   It was not a fun time in our home.   Haley and I had the worst of it.  We went to the doctor only to be told it was a virus and go home, rest and drink fluids.   It was the first time I think in my whole life  I called someone in my ward and asked for help with a meal.   And being the wonderful friends they are we were taken care of that night and a few nights following.

It was during this illness and intense concern for my daughter's health and well being that I had a breaking moment.   I cried harder than I had cried in a while.   I'm sure from the outsider's perspective I looked like I was crying only because I was so sick (which illness was a huge part of it) but there was so much more.  All the pain of all the trials from the past 12 months came down on me in a way I can't describe.   I think those feelings had been sitting there festering for a long time.   Feelings about all of my children's challenges, to my weight challenges, to the criticism I endured from others while serving in Young Women's, and difficult feelings coming from  the hurtful silence from those who should have come to our aid on our darkest days.    I was also letting out my feelings of sadness for all the things I couldn't give my children because we live too far away from everything.   And it wasn't just the distance... it was the financial struggle as we paid more and more towards doctors visits, ER visits and all things medical.  I felt locked into a life I didn't like anymore.   I wanted to give my children more experiences, more of my time and much sweeter memories.  I wanted them to have more time with a little closer to help cut a little time off his commute.  I knew on that very day I was done, but I had no idea how to share all of these tender feelings with Brad.  I wasn't sure how to tell him how I knew if we continued to live here I would heading to a mental breakdown.

Somehow in the Lord's own way He was able to help me communicate to Brad my needs.   And Brad heard me but more importantly Brad heard Him.   And here we are about a week away from moving.  A week away from a fresh start in a smaller house which doesn't have everything we dreamed we would have but has everything we need.   I have seen the Lord's hand guide us and help us! I have felt His tender mercies upon my family!

Haley has greatly improved!!!   I can see the happy girl who fills my life with sunshine!   I also see a a girl who is a little wiser and is open with her feelings more often.    Our whole family has been making changes for the better and we are working together to overcome the stumbling blocks.   I am feeling joy again and I have hope again and feel excited about our future!  I am ready for this incredible chance to make a fresh start!   Fresh sounds beautiful to me!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Spencer turns 6!

Happy 6th Birthday to my tiny little boy!!!
If I could describe you in one word it would be Miracle!

Love makes little things grow!
I Love You!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Alyssa Diaz Has Our Vote for Miss Utah 2015!

I had the privilege of doing a write up for one of my favorite young adults.   Alyssa Diaz.  She is talented and full of heart.   Another thing I adore about her is her love for Adoption.  
Our Family along with is rooting for her to take the crown!  

Alyssa Diaz, Miss Eagle Mountain 2014, is the sweetheart of the Utah Adoption community.  She believes in promoting the positive benefits of adoption.   She has witnessed first-hand the love between adoptive and birth families.   Alyssa’s Mother is a Birth Mother who placed her baby in an open adoption years before it was a popular to have openness.   Alyssa and her family enjoy an extraordinary relationship with this special sibling and have seen how adoption blesses all the lives involved.
This past year Alyssa has worked closely with various adoption organizations including United For Adoption, Forever Bound Adoption and Utah Adoption Association to help promote adoption awareness.    She has been involved with online support groups and local events such as the Adoption Walk with Me 5K.  Alyssa just held her own benefit run in Eagle Mountain to help a local family with their adoption expenses. 

Alyssa believes adoption is a positive option and enjoys sharing her love for all involved in adoption by sharing her family’s story.   Alyssa’s Platform “A Choice of Love” is centered on creating support and awareness surrounding the blessings of adoption. 

Alyssa will be competing in the Miss Utah Pageant June 17th – 20th.   
We love the energy Alyssa brings to this heartfelt cause and we are rooting for her to take the crown!
Good Luck Alyssa!!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Funny ~ How we roll.

Photo by: Brenley Horrocks
Yep!   My kids are a little crazy.   
This is how we roll at our carpet.
I am crazy about this silly girl!

Life is happening all the time.

I guess my goals for my blog were a little lofty.  I was ready to write, ready to share and ready to jot down memories we were making here in our little home.   But life happened.   And then it happened again, and again until I realized....this IS life!

To give you a basic run down this is how life has gone from Feb. 5th until today.

Spencer has surgery on his burn scar, less than a week later I get a bad virus, a week later Spencer (who is still healing and we are taking many trips to the burn center) gets sick.  We go to the ER due to major asthma attack brought on by the virus.   He starts to get better then is hit with a new virus the next week.  We are back to the ER where I finally say "hey we need a nebulizer at home people!" (Ok so I didn't say it like that but honestly wanted to.) Spencer improves just to in time to get a brand new virus the next week (yes, if you are counting that is 3 weeks in a row of different viruses).  This one gives him very high fevers, massive headache and a week full of yuck.   Thankfully this virus didn't trigger the asthma.   But doesn't end there.   During a moment of feeling better, or so I thought, Spencer's Orthopedic doctor had him cast on both legs to help stretch out his tendons in the back of his legs to help him be able to walk on his whole foot/feet.  So here is this little 5 year old with only one truly working limb.

 We are still making trips to the burn center as we go through the long process of helping prevent new scar tissue where they did the cutting for the zplasty. He wears a pressure glove on his hand.  He also now wears leg braces and has to go back to get his legs rechecked soon.  Last time I counted, on top of the surgery and 2 ER visits we had over 20 office visits just for Spencer since Feb 5th.   It is well over 20 by now.  

But wait....Camden is now in his 2nd round of influenza virus.

This round is a little easier than the first.
And now we come to me.  
Apparently the weeks and weeks of helping my youngest took it's toll on my body.  I ended up in an ambulance/ER with heart palpitations.   All is body just can't tolerate stress so it likes to kick out many many PVCs.   They are common with most people but mine appear to be stronger and they cause symptoms like dizziness and shortness of breath so after following up with a cardiologist we have a plan of action with medication and life style changes.   I am suppose to simplify my life and let some things go.   My only problem is some of those things I can't let go of permanently.
 So I am not sure what I am to do when I have to pick a few things up again.
I am a little nervous.
Any Advice?