Wednesday, July 31, 2013


First of all I know every post has been about things we are dealing with lately at home but it really just seems to be where we are right now!  I truly can't make this stuff up.  However, this one is more about how God takes things that seem so bad and works it all for good.

Yesterday we got the work started to fix the damage from our water leak.  It turned out to be a much bigger deal than I anticipated because the front room that was affected was pretty contaminated with lots of sewer water.  They had to rip down the ceiling, walls and take out the floor so it's basically rebuilding a room from scratch.  I honestly have been completely okay with that.  I'm too indecisive to ever build a house so maybe this is God's way of letting me "build" a room. (I'm already trying to decide whether to paint it the same color as my whole house or change it up??  So many decisions....)

Anyway, that was going on and it was loud and dusty but overall not a big deal.  Then we got a call from B's caseworker and his mom had made a claim that may or may not be true.  However, it was a major claim and it could majorly affect B.  So, I had to take B yesterday afternoon to have a test run and I was in such turmoil yesterday I could hardly stand it.  The test was supposed to take 24-48 hours and I just wasn't sure I could make it until Thursday afternoon.  I tried to tell the "sweet" lady at the lab that we needed it sooner but she just growled at me and I was close to tears anyway so I got quiet.  All afternoon I played scenario after scenario over and over in my head and just had no peace. 

Then J.O. came home and although he was nervous he just said, "I can't imagine God would have brought us this far only to take us down this path."  I decided to quit thinking so negative and start claiming that promise.  I changed my prayer to a complete prayer of acknowledgment that God is in control and the outcome would be favorable.  I then focused on praying for early test results.  I prayed that by some miracle I would know before DHS came out at 3:00 so that I could focus on that visit while they were there.  I prayed that a nurse would call me and not the doctor so I would know immediately it was okay. 

This morning I was still nervous but I had such a better peace that everything would be okay.  I knew that the same God who brought us B was still in control today.  I just wanted those results quickly!! 

Well wouldn't you know my phone rang about 1:45 and when I answered it was a nurse at the clinic.  Relief flooded over me and we got the results we wanted to hear.  Everything was going to be just fine.  I called B's caseworker and as I was talking to her I realized why God allowed this to happen.  I can't really say much but it's very clear to me that my discomfort from 10:15 Tuesday morning until 1:45 Wednesday afternoon was for a much bigger picture than I could have ever seen. 

I will be honest...this one really shook me and had me yelling "enough".  I didn't handle this well at all at first and I'm ashamed at the lack of faith I had that God would see it through.  However, I am thankful that once again, God saw us through and never gave up on me.  He cared enough to send me a phone call at 1:45 when in reality I still shouldn't know.  He cares enough about B to help him hopefully be settled sooner.  When I hung up the phone (I was in my car) the song, "Our God is greater, Our God is stronger" was playing on the radio and I just lost it.  It's so hard for me to grasp sometimes how much He truly cares. 

Monday, July 29, 2013


This is totally not the blog post I had planned to write today but happens. 

Today, I truly can't help but be thankful.  Now, to be 100% honest that was not the thought going through my mind this morning as sewer water was running through my ceiling and filling my downstairs room, but now that I have thought about it, I am.

I am thankful I know longer look for random "signs" that I am doing the right thing.  In the past I would have taken a broken air conditioner, broken washing machine (twice) and a minor flood (ha!) all within a month of school starting back as a sign that I had totally made the wrong decision.  I would be sending out applications as we speak and looking for part time work because this would surely mean God had other plans for me right?  Today, I am thankful I can know without a shadow of a doubt that we are so smack dab in the middle of God's plan for our lives that Satan is ticked.  He is trying to trip us up every step of the way and thankfully God allowed me to be so awakened to the reality of spiritual warfare that I now recognize this.

I am also thankful this happened today and not tomorrow or Wednesday.  DHS licensing is coming out Wednesday and they are the real deal!  They have the power to keep us licensed as foster parents or not.  One of the requirements is working toilets!!  I am so thankful we now have 2 days to repair the toilet and my dad is able to come replace it tomorrow night!

I know there are so many bigger things happening besides appliances breaking and water leaks.  However, in my life these are things Satan is using to keep us on our toes.  I put in one of my previous posts that I can only imagine that things will get worse the closer it gets to school starting and I would say today definitely qualified!  At one point J.O. and I just looked at each other and laughed as we were covered in dirty water and trying to haul the heaviest rug known to man to the curb.

I will say this, however....I am grateful for a God who brings blessings during the storm but at any time I could take a very boring week!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just the Truth....

First of all 2 blog posts in 2 days...someone write it down because it won't happen again....I also hope this post isn't offensive.  It's just something I feel strongly about.

I feel like a lot of times my posts can be all about the challenges associated with fostering.  I would never want to sugar coat what it's all about but I would also never want to discourage someone from fostering or getting involved in respite care because I make it sound so hard.

The reality is that anything worth doing is going to be challenging.  We are so focused on what's quick and easy that we sometimes forget that.  Take for instance something small like learning to ride a bike with no training wheels.  This did not come easy for Trey.  He was blessed with his mothers athletic ability so he was not one that simply hopped on a bike and took off.  It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  And I do mean a lot of blood and tears.  However, the other night we were riding bikes and he said he loves the way the wind hits him and he can just go so fast and ride anywhere.  He would be lying if he told you he got it the first try and it wasn't challenging.  Same with parenting.  Good grief it's hard.  There are days when Addison is throwing her 30th temper tantrum (yes she's 4) and I just want to run away.  Or days when Trey is being such a smart mouth 7 year old that I want to ship him to boarding school.  But I don't.  I think any parent would say that parenting is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things out there.

Fostering is a challenge for sure.  But I face lots of challenges every not eating a whole batch of cookies when they are sitting out.  See my point?  The reward however is far greater.  Hearing Addison explain to people why we have B or hearing Trey tell people "yeah, he's my brother for a little while" let's me know they get it.  Today we were given permission to pick up the little girl we kept for a few nights last week and take her to church every Sunday morning.  To me that makes last week worth every sleepless minute.  Now, most Sunday mornings, she will be loved on by some of the greatest people I know. 

If nothing in your life is hard then you may be doing a whole lot of nothing. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Long Week....

This week has been a long week.  There is really no other way to say it.  Several weeks ago I was writing in my journal and just had the feeling I needed to pray about taking another child for a bit.  I really wasn't sure what it meant and didn't even know if it would be now, in several months or what.  I simply wrote in my journal....child ?, toddler ?, J.O. would never agree right now....Then I wrote....but I will do whatever you ask and I will pray about it.  (Seriously, if anyone ever got ahold of my journal they would be convinced a crazy person wrote it.)

So fast forward to last week and I found out about a lady who was seriously needing some respite care for her 17mth old she had.  It was only for 3 days and she attended a daycare so it wouldn't be that tough.  I wasn't sure why but I felt so convicted to reach out to this lady and so I did and we agreed to do the respite for her.  Oh. My.  I was not prepared for the little girl who would greet me at daycare.  She was the cutest thing I had ever seen and just reached out her arms to me and hopped in my car.  However, her story is heartbreaking.  She is the true picture of a lot of children in foster care.  They are in desperate need of stability and they need it yesterday.  After a day of this little girl being here she was following me around the house and crying if I picked up B or Addison because she wanted me to hold her.  She would call me mama (because that word doesn't mean what our kids know it means) and she would cling to J.O. when he would get home from work.  It was such a different situation than B because thankfully B never entered that world.  He is not being passed around from house to house and he has a stable home right now.  He's not worried about crying for hours on end at night (trust me) because he knows someone will take care of him.  This little girl has had no such assurance.  She slept in our bedroom in a pack n play and she moaned and cried in her sleep off and on all night.  All of our hearts just broke for her and what she has been through.

This week has been one of those weeks full of emotional ups and downs.  I was driving to my moms yesterday and just had to laugh...within a 2 month period I suddenly went from 2 to 3 to 4 kids.....even if for just 3 days.  It was tough.  It was tough trying to feed B without her having a meltdown at my feet.  It was tough because I was overwhelmed at the thought of how many kids are out there and how few homes there are.  But then on the other hand I was grateful.  I was grateful that I listened to God calling me to take a toddler for a few days because we will never be the same after having her at our house.  We have a name and a face to pray for that needs some very real prayers.  I am grateful because our kids learned a lot from being around this little girl and the situation she is facing.  I am grateful because once again God sustained me on very little sleep and the patience (sometimes) to deal with the kids during the day.

We all have long weeks.  Work, family, friends, kids, etc. can continually wear us out.  However, last night when I was leaving my grandmothers she told me she would be praying for me because she figured I needed it.  I agreed for sure, but I also told her that on my worst day it still wouldn't be as bad as what this little girl has gone through and if she can laugh and play then I figure I can too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spiritual Warfare...

My dear friend Rachel's husband, Brian, just got back a few weeks ago from a mission trip to Africa.  After the group returned Brian shared one Sunday about spiritual warfare and how before he went on this trip he really didn't put a ton of thought into it.  As I listened to him speak I realized this was spot on with my thinking.  I generally don't put a lot of thought into tough mornings and the fact that the devil might be trying to trip me up to start my day.  I generally just chalk it up to a good ol case of bad luck.  One morning when we were running, Rachel and I stumbled upon a man who needed help.  We had to stop and call 911 and were running pretty late.  Then when she got home it was one thing after another when she was trying to get out of the house and make it on time to VBS.  When she got to church she remembered that the plan of salvation was being shared with everyone and the devil was in turmoil trying to trip everyone up and bring the mood down.  She texed me this when she realized what was going on and I will be honest....I agreed 100%, but I still didn't put much stock into it.  However, as I deepen my walk and work on strengthening my relationship with Christ I am learning how much of a real thing this is and how serious you have to take it.

The first court date B had started at 1:15.  My mother in law was coming to my house to watch the kids and for the first time in forever ran into multiple lane closures on the way.  She got to my house at 1:05.  I was beyond stressed out.  Then, I tried to call his caseworker multiple times to warn her I was running late only to find out she had taken off due to an emergency and I had no-one else's number.  On the way to court my phone GPS took me to a dead end and J.O. was in a meeting.  I somehow found the court (with frantic phone calls to whoever would answer the phone at DHS) and showed up at 1:20.  The judge was 10 minutes late so it worked out but I was BESIDE myself when I showed up.  Definitely not how I imagined entering.  I had planned to pray the whole way there and have my heart guarded and ready.  Looking back now I recognize it for what it was...the devil was at battle.

Tuesday I went to church for a Bible Study.  The door I normally enter was locked and so I grabbed my keys to unlock it.  Only, I didn't have a key anymore because I no longer work there.  I walked around to the front door and walked in to see several of my dear teacher friends there working and I had no idea they would be there.  Why didn't they call me?  Oh yeah, I no longer work there.  Then, I went upstairs to pay some bills for school and it was more than I thought...wait, don't I get a discount??  No, I no longer work there.  I entered Bible Study in a FOUL mood.  I was really ready to walk back out and go home.  However, I stayed and really figured I would get nothing out of it (the devil was probably pretty happy I thought that) and imagine my surprise when I related to the speaker who was my grandmothers age!  She talked about being called out of her comfort zone and how tough it was!  I left feeling so uplifted!

In the meantime, my new washing machine broke (up to 2 weeks to fix) and our downstairs unit froze and needed 2 lbs of Freon.  I did not handle it well today.  For one thing, I felt awful because I had asked my sweet friend Heather to wash a "hand wash only" dress for me (I had no clue) and she stressed she had ruined it.  Totally my fault but I felt terrible because she then hand washed it and worked on it forever.  I also reverted back to stressing about all things financial and wondering how in the world we will make it.  I was about ready to throw in the towel when I get a text from Rachel asking if she could drop off some clothes and a stroller I am borrowing.  When I get the items she also hands me a bag of cookies and a sweet note about the devil being at work.  It was like someone hit me on the forehead and said "duh".  Why is it so hard for me to recognize?  I become so focused on how hard it is for us right now and don't realize there is always someone out there working against us.  The devil is truly at work and I need to recognize it.

Spiritual warfare is a very real thing and something we have to work hard to guard our hearts against.  I can only imagine he is going to step it up two-fold in the next 3 weeks when some of my best friends return to work and I wonder why I'm not.  Then I will look at sweet B and tell the devil he will not win. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Not Knowing....

For the most part being a foster parent really isn't that odd or out of the ordinary to me.  I mean, yes it took some time to become adjusted but I think that was mostly because within a few hours notice I had added a child to our family....and a newborn at that.  I know some people will always wonder how you do it and get attached to the child and then let them go or even open your home to children and the families that come along with them.  For me, the issue from the start, was the thought of starting over when we were in such an easy stage with our kids but hey...God generally doesn't care about what keeps you comfortable. 

However, I had something happen last week that really made me stop and think that this just wasn't right.  I took B to his 2 month well-child appointment on Friday and it was so different from the start.  I have never taken him to the doctor before (except one run to a Saturday clinic to confirm a cold) and I had certainly never taken him to a well-child visit.  You generally answer a lot of questions and fill out a lot of paperwork so the doctor will know all he/she needs to know about your child.  Well, as we were walking back to the appointment the nurse asked me what shots he had and if I had his record.  I hesitated and told her I didn't have that but I thought all he had received was the one shot in the hospital.  I explained that he was a foster child and I just wasn't sure.  Then what I noticed next was she didn't ask me anymore of the typical questions you would receive.  Questions like his background, how he was at birth, etc.  Nothing.  I know this is the same sometimes when you adopt a child but I had just simply never experienced it.  I felt helpless sitting there with a child that I knew so little about to tell the nurses.  I can tell you everything from 4 wks to now but there are things missing that I can't stand. 

When I got home I was googling and reading about what a 10 week old should be doing (don't forget!) and the first thing I read was they will start to be able to pick out mom or dads face in a group.  I think it just hit me at that point.  Mom should be here.  He should be picking her face out of the crowd and not mine but the fact is I am mom right now.  It won't be easy if/when he goes home.  It won't be easy thinking about him looking around for me but I can rest assured that although I won't know what happened from his birth I can be the best "mom" to him right now.  That's truly all I can do.