Wednesday, February 25, 2015

First World Problems....

I have had some major first world problems over here the last few days and if you are honest with yourself, I bet you would agree.  Because, I have no problem busting myself out....let me illustrate what I mean.

Getting to the grocery store Sunday before the madness hit and still getting what you enjoy eating.  For example, we had to get the wrong kind of yogurt because it was all they had left.  Ugh....didn't they have the lower sugar, Greek yogurt?  I mean, I choked it down this am with my organic oatmeal, but still (sarcasm).  #firstworldproblems

We are now a society that competes on Facebook on snow days.  Stick with me....moms have always been good at doing the working mom shame, or the stay at home mom shame, but now we do it on snow days.  I will be honest....snow days make me bipolar.  One minute, I am skipping around the house playing tag with the kids and the next I am hiding in the corner crying.  Not that extreme, but you get the picture.  However, we now have shaming on both ends.  You either have to love it or hate it.  What happened to all of us laughing together over the hits and misses of snow days??  Over here...the reality is....I wanted to paint yesterday morning and I was cranky life had not gone how I wanted.  I couldn't leave, I was irritated, the kids were begging to go out and sled at 7:00am and I was tired.  How hard is it to have a few uninterrupted hours with Pandora playing and painting.  #firstworldproblems

Yesterday Sonic messed up my flavored water.  #firstworldproblems

I haven't been able to run outside and my gym membership is on hold.  #firstworldproblems

I needed some meat yesterday and Whole Foods was out of what I wanted so we will eat out tonight. #firstworldproblems.

Okay, enough sharing all my flaws.  My point is this.....yesterday my attitude stunk (and is still kinda there today) and by stunk I mean, I was a big ol baby at times.  Of course, I love my kids!  2 of them are home #alldayereday anyway!  But, I do A LOT of work from home and it's not happening right now....wah, wah, wah...right??

However, God has a way (when we allow Him) of putting it all in perspective.  This morning, as I was sitting with Addison on the computer my phone rang.  Here are the #realworldproblems....

9 month old and 2 year old just spent the night at DHS office. #realworldproblems

More than 8 kids came into care last night and most were still at DHS office. #realworldproblems

Caseworker that showed up at a foster parents house this am, was still in same clothes from yesterday, and was trying to get all the new children entering foster care into the doctor before weather in their part of town got bad.  #realworldproblems

Friend just took another placement because a 1 year old was still at DHS office.  1 year old people.  When our babies were one we were still lysoling the air at play dates.  This baby has been at DHS for who knows how long, waiting on somewhere to go.  #realworldproblems

So many more, but you hopefully get the point.  These are not #thirdworldproblems.  They are #pulaskicountyproblems.  These are OUR kids.  Ouch.

Friday, February 6, 2015

One stair at a time....

Grace is a laid back, mellow kid but there are certain things she does (like any child) that absolutely drive me crazy.  One of them in particular is that she stands at the bottom, or top, of the stairs and screams until we either grab her hand or carry her down.  She won't walk on her own because we can go so much faster than her.  She screams bloody murder until someone has pity and goes and gets her.  And it drives me nuts.  Why??  Because I'm human and value my sanity.  It's also not a matter of not being able to walk down, but she just doesn't want to be left at the top or bottom alone.  Patience may or may not be her strong suit.  Just sayin'.

The other day, I had my hands full and Annalise and Grace both needed to come down the stairs.  Annalise is always fine to walk down by herself UNLESS someone might grab Grace.  Then she wants the same attention.  Since, this wasn't a day that I could grab both of them, I sat down and thought we could all scoot down together.  Annalise loved that idea and made it down in record time.  Grace, not so much.  She was not buying what I was trying to sell.  She sat down at the top and proceeded to scream her injustices until someone got her hand or picked her up.  So, I did what any good mother would do.  I scooted on down and put all the stuff I was carrying up and figured by this time she would be down.  No such luck.  She was poised at the top and ready to battle it out.  Now, in all honesty.....this could've gone 2 ways.  Knowing she could see us and was safe, I may have decided to continue to work at the bottom of the stairs and wait for her to scoot on down, or I could decide to go up and help her down.  This day, I was overflowing with grace, love and mercy (ha!) so I went back up to coax her down.

I sat down beside her and waited on her to realize I was back to help, and then I got her hand and talked to her the whole way down.  We usually sing the ABC's coming down the stairs or count (and only in Spanish for some odd reason....Annalise started that tradition) but today I just kept saying...."almost there, one more step, you can do it..." and so forth.  When we made it to the bottom, I praised her and we parted ways.  Her to play, and me to cook dinner.

As I started dinner, I couldn't stop thinking about what had just happened.  I have told you guys before that I am a very simple person.  God uses my kids and basic life lessons to teach me All. The. Time.  I started thinking on how I was encouraging Grace to take her time and focus on one step at a time and how badly I needed to listen to that message myself.  I worry a lot about things that are out of my control.  I still try to plan for things down the road that I really and truly have no control over.  How often am I the toddler standing at the top throwing a temper tantrum because all I see is a huge obstacle in front of me?  The day Grace stood up there, she missed a pretty fun scooting race between me and Annalise.  Annalise whooped me and I may have even fallen a bit.  We laughed and Annalise was so proud.  Grace missed all of that because she was too focused on the fact that I hadn't done for her exactly like she thought I should.  She was so focused on the trees that she couldn't see the forest waiting at the bottom.  How many times do we miss a blessing, or get so sidetracked because all we can see are the trees?  When will we learn to trust that God has so much more waiting for us on the other side.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Me and Gideon....

I haven't blogged in awhile.  I have several posts that I have started but finishing seems to be the problem!  However, after church yesterday morning I just couldn't get the thought out of my head that I am Gideon.  We did a study a couple of years ago on Gideon by Priscilla Shirer and it was great.  If you haven't done that one before, I would highly recommend it.  Gideon is not one of the people from the Bible I knew too much about.  However, the way God used him is amazing.

A quick overview of Gideon is this:  An angel spoke to Gideon while he was under a wine press threshing wheat.  Now, when people would thresh wheat, they would typically do it on a hill or somewhere where the wind could help separate the good stuff from the bad stuff (chaff) but Gideon did it somewhere where he wouldn't be seen.  For that reason, he seems pretty timid or afraid because he was hiding.  Then, fast forward a bit, and God used Gideon, who we first found cowering under a wine press, to win the battle and defeat a huge army with only 300 men.  There is a LOT more to the story, but that's the long and the short of it.  You can freshen up on the story in Judges.

So back to me being Gideon.  I have always heard and understood that God can use very normal people in big ways.  I have also always understood that God can turn our weakness into His strength. Like with Gideon.....Gideon wasn't a brave solider.  He wasn't even brave.  He was an average guy who hid to do his work!  He would have probably been last on the list to pick for a battle, let alone the pick to lead the battle.  One of the reasons God kept whittling down his army was because God wanted it to be so obvious that He was the one who won the battle and it couldn't have been due to mans strength at all.

And that's when I realized.  I am a lot like Gideon.  Only mine has to do with children.  If you know me well, you know that I am not a huge kid person.  Now, stick with me.  I am not one of those people who sees a baby and needs to hold them.  Or gets baby fever every time I see someone have a new baby.  After we had Trey, we decided that because he was such a good baby we could probably handle one more.  We tossed around him being the only child but since he was so cute and smart we decided that just wasn't fair to the world....kidding....kinda.  Then we had Addison and she was cute and smart too.  And then she turned 2 and 3 and oh my goodness.  I was for sure done with the baby and toddler stage but was so happy for other people who were entering that stage.  I would take them food and go home happy.  Life was good.  I didn't judge when other people told me they wanted 4 or 5 kids but I made big plans around our house because we had our kids young and would be able to enjoy it later.  And so forth and so forth.  I valued my freedom, the fact that we had it planned financially, and Addison was at the age where we could get pedicures together on Saturdays.  Bliss.

Then God started slowly whittling away my comforts.  I became restless, uneasy and had no peace at all.  I sensed Him working in our hearts and leading us in a different direction.  I went to work full time in my running and did all I could, because what He was calling us to was not something I was interested in.  Don't get me wrong.....even back then I would've given a child the coat off my back and I did my due diligence with donations and contributing to causes financially, but God wanted more.  He actually wanted me to take in more kids.  He wanted my afternoons, and my nights and my occasional pedicures on Saturday (thankfully Addison and I haven't been asked to give those up entirely yet), He wanted my army.  And thankfully, I said yes.

I have said before that it's hard for me to hear how great we are and one reason it makes me so uncomfortable is because WE AREN'T!!  I have 4 kids and I still don't need to hold your baby.  I have 4 kids and I cry when school is out for snow.  Does that make me terrible?  I hope not.  What I hope it makes me is someone who can shout from the rooftop and mean it when I say.....God will use our weakness for His strength but we have to let Him.  I wouldn't go back to life pre-Anna and Grace for anything.  Why?  Well, for one thing I couldn't imagine life without them in it, but for another thing I can say life is better when God controls it.  There are still days I am so stressed and I think I need my security back but then I remember.....Faith pleases God.  Not my bank account.  Not my clean house.  Not my comfort.  Faith.

Gideon was scared and took down a huge army with 300 men.  I was the poster mom for 1-2 kids and God has called us to open our doors and be a voice for hundreds.  What is your weakness?  What are you afraid of?  God is waiting to make it your strength.