Welcome to The Whole House!

If you’re a regular reader, we hope you’re enjoying the updated look! If you’re new here, welcome! This blog covers adoption, attachment issues, homeschooling, parenting, and more! We’re glad you’re here! Feel free to read the most recent posts or just browse the archives.

Jewelry Rack DIY

I started unpacking from our beach vacation and ran into the same issue I have had for years-storing my jewelry. I really had no where to store it without it getting tangled. I had tried my closet doors and jewelry box. Everything just got into a tangled mess. So….I dug into my old barn wood pile, got out the old knobs I had been saving for a project, a tape measure and some Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue. I just followed these simple steps.

  1. Clean the board with a wire brush.
  2. Measure the board and determine where to put the knobs. My board was 49 inches long and I had six knobs. I wasn’t concerned about being perfect, so I rounded off to 48 and divided it by  6. I marked every 7 inches.
  3. I painted the board Duck Egg Blue.


and measured again to be sure.


4.Hubby drilled the holes for me (next time, I may do it myself). We put the knobs in and TADA. A jewelry rack to hold my necklaces!


Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!


Why should you sign up for ETC Parent Training?

Empowered to Connect, Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, trust based parenting, these are not household terms in Wild Wonderful West Virginia. In fact, many adoptive/foster families have never heard of any of these terms, so it’s not surprising when I ask adoptive/foster families if they want to sign up for ETC Parent Training, they look at me as if I have three heads. I would too. Why should anyone sign up for parent training when they are already a parent and have been for quite awhile. Why plop down money for books and set aside time for homework in an already chocked full schedule?

When Mom came home and told us five kids we were moving to a farmhouse in the country, I constructed a mental picture in my head based on the Waltons. A large white farm house on the top a hill. When we pulled up to the tri colored, mustard, blue and red boxy, dilapidated structure with the overgrown yard, my illusions were shattered. the house boasted a Pepto- Bismol pink mantle and layers of faded wallpaper, not my ideal. My mother saw something we kids didn’t. Beauty. Value. Potential. she saw the eighty acres as a refuge. My mom believed in restoration. Now, I do too, and if you adopt/foster, you’re a family builder.

My parents knew the value of hardwood floors, the hundred year old construction and the fresh air for growing children and veggie gardens. Mom took our family habits and government and sifted through it. Some stuff got chucked, like the television, other things were added, family devotions around the oval oak table. It was a new way of living.

What’s the point of this wordy meandering? Adoption/fostering is like the farmhouse family journey. We believe it will be a certain way. We have expectations. We have as set of parenting beliefs that don’t work with children who have had trauma. They’re like those layers of wallpaper, we have to peel them back, examine them under the light of our current circumstances and determine what our goal is.

When my family moved to the farmhouse, Mom had a set of goals. In order to meet those goals, she had to make some changes. We adoptive/foster families need to do the same. Those layers of wallpaper may be our child’s past or our own. We need to peel them back and work on restructuring.


Traditional parenting doesn’t work with these kiddos. Just like the lifestyle Mom wanted to leave behind, we need to be willing to leave our suppositions behind. Punishment doesn’t work. Yelling just breeds anger. Time-out backfires. Logical consequences fall flat.

If you are reading this and you see yourself or your child you should consider ETC parent training. Maybe you’ve tried everything and your child’s behaviors are spiraling out of control. Or maybe he is well behaved, but distant, there is no connection, you feel as if you are just going through the motions. Your vision of that wonderful parent/child relationship has turned Pepto-Bismol pink. Do you feel as if you have lost the parenting gene? Probably not. What you may need is a reshuffling and restructuring of your parenting theory. I did.

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2

We parents must renew our minds and our families will be transformed. We must have tools that work. If you don’t want to keep fighting the same battles and making no progress. I understand. Been there. Done that. Then I studied, learned and renewed my mind. ETC Parent training is taught by regular ole adoptive/foster parents like me who have lived it, tired it and found success, not perfection. We are in the trenches with you. You won’t just learn some theory from some lofty perch. ETC training gives you twenty-five tools to use help your child (and you) connect, grow and heal. It is an investment, not just another sharpie mark on the calendar.

The Connect Parent Training begins Monday October 3, 6:30-8:30pm. If you are interested, contact Kathleen Guire by emailing PositiveAdoption@gmail.com.

Want to know more about the training? Click here.


Expectations and Reality

“My car broke down. It won’t start,” son Hunter said. We were on the way home from a beach vacation. He was at least an hour behind us and we had no room in the car. None. No squeezing in.

Everyone has to get back to real life after vacation. No surprise there. Family vacations are full of fun and exhausting at the same time. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Biking, long walks on the beach, playing in the surf with grandkids Great fun! My issue? My expectations. After an jam packed full vacation, I expect to jump right back on the treadmill of real life. In my mind, I have on the cutest athletic wear, neon yellow running shorts, bright Nikes and a coordinating tank top. I see myself jogging along with a smile, everything is under control. My energy level is steady. I have a perfect school plan, meals planned and I fill my schedule with appointments. I bump up the treadmill to high speed.

Real life doesn’t wait until I get home and suited up and fill up my water bottle. He hits hard on the way home when our son’s car breaks down in N.C.. Calls and texts fly back and forth about insurance, towing and finally a hotel to spend the night in. I get a call from our drama director about the Scrooge production I assist with, nothing major or even negative, just another string pulling me back to real life too soon. The nine hour trip on the way home I consider sacred. I have a notebook out to jot down a to-do list. Reality should stay put until I get home. It doesn’t. Texts from daughter at home informing me that the front door is damaged. Puppy scratched it after getting locked out. Not pretty. Not what I want to come home to either.

My expectation for coming home and sailing through the week the way I planned it went down the drain. There were other complications that I won’t heap on you. The point is expectations. What are they?

Expectation-a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future:

“Reality had not lived up to expectations.”


I expected to come home to perfection. I expected to be full of energy. I expected to walk out the schedule that I had ordained. It didn’t happen. Instead, I came home discouraged, tired and overwhelmed. So, gals, where do we go from there. I felt my morning devotions slipping into an abyss of darkness. I couldn’t pray straight. It sounded more like complaining, followed by begging than gratitude and praise.

Guess what. God understands. He didn’t pull out His rod and whack me with it. Instead, he used it to gently nudge me. Every Bible verse fit my circumstance exactly. God knew exactly what I needed. When I was at my lowest and I had cried big crocodile tears to my husband, a friend text me out of the blue, “Hey lady….hope all is good. Thinkin about ya.♥” I texted her a list of prayer requests and she prayed.

The truth is God already knew my heart. He knew ahead of time what the circumstances were and how I would internalize them.
Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous,
But the Lord rescues him from them all.– Ps. 34:19

I often believe that I have to be doing exactly the right thing in order for God to rescue me. I can’t be impatient or stressed or ________. It’s just not true. We aren’t rescued because of our righteousness, but because of His. He makes a way because that is consistent with His character, not ours. He relieves us of our heavy burdens because He is not harsh, hard or pressing, not because we aren’t. Grace and forgiveness are free for the asking. His mercies are new every morning.

I had to cut myself some slack and rearrange my schedule this week. I cancelled a hair appointment, missed a PiYo class, all because I knew I needed rest. My boundaries and my values must line up, so must yours. Some of you reading this may think cancelling things or rearranging schedules because you are stressed and overwhelmed is irresponsible. Your inner dictator may yell that you must always be all things for all people. It isn’t telling you the truth. You must take care of you. You must know your limitations. I’m not talking about sitting on the couch and eating donuts for a week because you have a hang nail. I still homeschooled this week, throwing in an extra day for one missed. I still kept my commitments for Scrooge rehearsals, met the tow truck to get my son’s car towed, managed my home. The problem is ladies, we expect to be super heroes. We are not. We are just humans, living in bodies that need rest. They need a regular infusion of prayer and the Word. These bodies need other sisters praying for us, texting us, supporting us. We are weak and that’s not a bad thing.

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me– 2 Cor. 12:9

When we are weak, we are insufficient, but His grace is sufficient. It is always available regardless of the situation. I will boast in my weakness. I don’t have it all together. Circumstances throw me a curveball and I don’t duck. They smack me square in the face and my pseudo in control life falls off of its pedestal. It’s okay. His power is being perfected in those moments. Jesus can handle my expectations and my reality.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!


The Neglected Garden


I was working in my flower garden, weeding while I waited for youngest son finish his breakfast and join me on his bike  while I walkedran. My flower garden has been neglected this summer and the few minutes or half hours I get here and there to clean it up don’t do it justice. Anyone who knows me knows I love fresh flowers on the table and I LOVE my flower garden. I haven’t shown it the love it deserves this year. The Mile a Minute vines have been relentlessly choking out the flowers. I have yelled at them, jerked them off of flowers, bushes and pumpkin vines and they just keep coming back. So, I weeded and waited. I pulled starts of the Mile a Minute vine and wiped my sweat with the sleeve of my shirt. “I just give up, Lord! I can’t do it. It’s too much!” Then a patch of Black-eyed Susans caught my eye, blooming brightly in golden hues in the middle of the garden. Look at that, my soul whispered. Look at the beauty. Look at the victory. Look at the triumph, not the failures.

Help me see the beauty, Lord,

Help me sort out the victories and not pass over them.

Help me celebrate those victories.


Raising children is a lot like taking care of a flower garden. It sometimes get overrun by weeds. Those weeds are behaviors. If we focus on the behaviors, we miss focusing on relationship, on connection. We’re always pulling at the weeds, jerking them around with our words, “Stop that! If you do that one more time, I will ______!”

“Can’t you ever act your age?”

“When are you going to learn how to read? Everyone your age knows how to read!”

Every time we focus on the behavior, we miss the Black-eyed Susan in the middle of the garden. If we focus on the vine, we it chokes out the joy. Especially with raising children from hard places or a capital letter syndrome, there will always be regressions, there will always be survival mode, peeking at us from behind the last victory, the last ‘redo’, the last ‘asking instead of telling’ the last five minutes or five days of regulating. If we are looking for those vines, we will find them. If we focus only on them, we will want to give up.

I’m reminded of the Parable of the Sower when I weed, I have always thought of myself as a seed fallen on good soil kind of gal, until I reread it.

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.-Matthew 13:22

What is all of this focusing on behavior or checking the lists of what your child should know? It is worry. It is fear that God is not in control, something else is. When we worry that after a great day, regression is around the corner, then we are choked, our lives unfruitful. When we are led by the deceitfulness of “I got this. I can parent on my own,” as if we have the wealth, the pride that expelled satan from heaven. We cannot parent fully until we take it to the cross and give it to the one whose burden is light. He can make a way where there seems to be no way, no matter what the circumstance. He can grow the a bouquet of Black-eyed Susans in the middle of a garden of Mile a Minute vines.


Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor at Three Word Wednesday. Join us!


Thinking About Adopting Mini Seminar

thinking about adopting seminar

Have you been thinking about adopting or foster care and you don’t know how or where to start? Have you started filling out paper work or getting a home study done and you just would like to know what to expect next? Or maybe you are fostering or have adopted and you would like to talk to some folks who understand your journey and you can connect with. Join us! We would love to have you!  We only have room for ten couples and those spots are going fast! Email Kathleen at PositiveAdoption(at)gmail.com to reserve your spot (replace at with @).
Date: September 24, 2016 (Saturday)
Where: Joe and Throw, Fairmont WV
When: 10-12 (the postcard has a typo)
Who:  up to ten couples who are thinking about adopting/fostering or who are already doing so.
Price: 10 per single, 15 couple
10:00- introductions
10:10-10:30 Panel answers preset questions about adoption/foster care
10: 30- 10:45 Ciarra McCartney shares about her experience in foster care
10:45- 11:00 Molly McCartney (of the Beacon Barn) sharing about adoption consulting
11:00-11:15 Tacy Lane shares about World Orphans
11:15- 11:30 Conversation and questions with Kathleen Guire
11:30- 11:50 Free time to converse
11:50- Closing and prayer