Sunday, December 18, 2016

"See you later"

This baby girl is affectionate, silly, playful and stubborn.

When she came to us five months ago, she did not walk or talk, or eat solid food. We got to be there for a whole lot of firsts: first steps, first words, first ice cream cone, first trip to the beach, and many more. My kids openly and transparently welcomed her without hesitation. They have loved her just as much as if she had been born to us.

But she was not born into our family. Her family has seen struggles and hardship. However, there will be a happy ending to her story. This week, she will be reunited with her family. Just in time for Christmas. She'll get to celebrate this joyous holiday with her sister, who she hasn't seen in months, and other relatives who love her and will continue to love and nuture her as she grows.

So as we prepare for her to leave our house, there will be tears. There will be frustration, acting out, and even some anger. There will be sadness and grieving for the lost of a foster daughter, a sister, and playmate. But we know that
she will be safe and loved. She will continue to grow and thrive because of the healthy attachments and connections that she has made during her time with us.

This isn't goodbye. We'll see you later, baby girl.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What is the purpose of the church?

We went to an area-wide church meeting (known as "the association" around these parts) tonight.  I always thought these meetings were exclusively for church leaders, like pastors, youth directors and Sunday School teachers, so I never bothered to go. However, today they had a huge church picnic, with inflatables and BBQ chicken and carnival games and, because we live in the south, sweet tea, and lots of dessert. So, we showed up. The kids had a blast, and I got to listen to a great guest speaker named Dr. Alvin Reid, who is a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Here are some of his talking points, most of them paraphrased in my own words.
The Biblical context is taken primarily from Acts chapter 2.

"What is the purpose of the church?"
Following are 6 main goals: 

**(Keep in mind, here "church" is referring to all Christian churches in general, not one specific church in particular.)**

1.  The church forms a gospel community.
The original church was comprised primarily of people who did not know Jesus. When was the last time you talked to someone who doesn't know Jesus? When was the last time you talked about Jesus with others, period? We need to talk about Him more, talk with Him more, and learn more about Him, if we are ever going to point people to Him.
Acts is full of descriptive words such as "wonder", "awe". "astonishment", etc. How will we ever entice people to come to our churches if we are just blase and ho-hum about the gospel?

2. The church forms a Biblical community. (See the "great commission" in Matthew 28)
Acts 2:42 says the people of the early church were "devoted to doctrine." Do we get excited about reading our Bibles, or do we take it for granted? Are we devoted to doctrine? No. We often try to pick and choose what pieces of doctrine we will follow.
Keep in mind, information is not the same as transformation.
In other words, you can have head knowledge, but not life-changing, heartfelt belief. 

"The greatness of your impact is measured by the individuals that you pour your life into, daily."
Whether that looks like your own children, someone else's children, neighbors, friends, co-workers... whatever it looks like for you, be invested in the lives of others.  

Mentoring and small groups are important ways for church members to stay connected. 

3. The church forms a praying community.
Acts 2:43: "Seek God." Remember, prayer is powerful. The Holy Spirit is living and active.
Dr Alvin said "Don't let your experience, or lack of experience, affect your theology."
Good advice there.

4.  The church forms a ministry community. In Acts 2:44-45, it states they shared "as they had need". Do we give to those in need, or do we expect someone else to do it? Do we truly care for those less fortunate than ourselves?

Also, keep in mind than often 10% of the people are doing 90% of the work. Don't get burned out. "Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD do it." Be discerning about which ministries you join, and why.

5. The church is a giving community.
Give generously. Are you a cheerful giver? Are you teaching your children how to give?
 China is the largest unreached country in the world USA is number 4.
Your LIFE is a mission trip! Live it out!

6. The church is a worshiping community. Acts 2:46-47
"every day" or "day by day", they were "praising God" (v.47).
Do you worship every day?

Our abilities and limitations are all for His glory, and for our good.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fingerless Gloves crochet pattern

I made up this little crochet pattern because I couldn't find anything similarly simple on
However, it is entirely possibly that there is a pattern just like this floating around somewhere on the internet; if so, I haven't found it yet. Anyway, here is my version.

Yarn: worsted weight (I used Red Heart Super Saver in lilac)
Hook: H / 5 mm
Size: child large/adult small.

To begin: chain 28.
Row 1: HDC in 3rd ch from hook, HDC in each stitch across. Ch 2, turn. (stitch count: 26)
Rows 2-15: Repeat row 1.

Now you will fold up the sides of your rectangle, matching the stitches on each side, and stitch them together. (You are basically creating a rectangle, then sewing the sides together, to make a tube. You will leave a space for the thumb, and voila! You've got gloves.)

Row for thumb opening: Sc 8 into both sides together, sc 5 into ONE SIDE ONLY, turn, HDC into 5sts on opposite side, sc 5 into ONE SIDE ONLY, sc into both sides together until the end of the row. F/O.

Check the fit on you/your model's hands to made sure it doesn't need adjustments.
You can easily adjust the beginning chain or number of rows to create a custom fit.

I also made another (larger) pair using DC rather than HDC.
It goes something like this:
Using 5mm hook and ww yarn, chain 33.
Row 1: DC in 4th ch from hook, DC in ea. st. across. Ch 3, turn. (stitch count: 30)
Row 2-18: Rep. row 1.

Row for thumb opening: Fold rectangle in half. Match up stitches together.
Working with both sides together: sc 8. sc 7 into ONE SIDE ONLY, turn, HDC into next 7sts. on opposite side, sc 7 into ONE SIDE ONLY, sc 15, to end of row. F/O.

These make great last-minute gifts, for birthdays, socking stuffers, teacher presents, etc.

Happy Crocheting! :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

All different places

Now that our big girl is at school Monday through Friday, and we don't have any foster placements, I only have 2 kids learning at home with me. It is a very different pace than last year, or even 4 months ago. It has slowed down so much since last fall, when we carted an infant around with us all the time, everywhere.

Yes, I have one child in a public school. But I am still a SAHM, I am still homeschooling the younger ones, and I still teach group homeschool classes on Tuesdays. I feel like I have a toe in many different pools. but that I am not truly connected with any one party or specific group.

I've always kind of been like that, I guess. Social butterfly, friend to all.

I want to say that I thought I would feel guilt or pressure when I chose to put my child into a public school. I had a few other people, mostly other homeschooling families, question this choice, and I was a little apprehensive about how the transition would go for my child. However, none of my fears became reality. Now that the responsibility for her education is on others, and I am not her primary teacher every day, I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. And because she loves school, and genuinely enjoys learning, there is no mommy guilt (though I really thought there would be). Win-win!

As for being in all different places: it's true. I've driven over 10,000 miles in my van since we got it in April. Oops. (That mileage doesn't include the days we've used one of my husband's vehicles to get around.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First day of school

Our big girl is starting middle school!
Today is her first day at a year-round charter school.

She "won the lottery" and got a place in the school at the last minute, but that means she didnt have time to be nervous - only excited!

This is goign to be quite an adjustment for us all. The younger kids will really miss her when she is at school. Up until now, she's been with them pretty much every day of their lives! But I know that this is the best decision for us right now. I am glad that she will be able to grow, mature, make new friends, and become more responsible and independent. I am confident that with God's help, it will all work out just fine. We even have a friend to help out with carpooling! Now I'm off to look at some lunchbox ideas for Ms. Picky Eater.