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.

Friday, July 24, 2015


It's been two months since baby girl left.

We miss her.

Some days it's just a slight, dull ache behind most things we do.
I feel her missing presence, but don't voice it.

Other days, I want to wallow in self-pity and sadness. Lock the door and cry until I feel better. Call out to the Comforter of All to take away the missing piece of my heart and fill it up with something better instead.

Yesterday we were having a lunch-playdate with friends. There were a dozen kids running around. The host-mom has a one-year-old, too. As I watched the baby toddle across the floor and hold out those chubby little hands for Momma, my heart was ripped open again with longing and missing my baby girl. I was among friends. I should have been able to talk about what was going through my head and heart. But I didn't want to put voice to my thoughts and feelings. I didn't want to be so raw and vulnerable and depressing. I didn't want to drag someone else down with me.

But you know what? After I got home, I realized: I should have said it. "I miss her."
That wouldn't have been so hard, would it? 

So, next time you see me, ask about baby girl.
It makes me happy that other people remember her and think of her too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


When I went away on a women's retreat in April, I came to a decision:
I realized that God wanted me to join the choir and start singing at church again.

This was something I grew up doing. I love to sing. As a middle-schooler, I was the youngest person on my church's worship team (by far). In college, I made some great friends at chorus class. However, after we got married, and when I had babies and toddlers, it was impossible to go to late-night practices, which were usually at the kids bedtimes. It was also really difficult to find a reliable, affordable babysitter, especially when only for only an hour or two on a weeknight.

The other obstacle was that my MOPS group meets at the same time as choir practices. I knew I couldn't do both. And I wanted to be obedient. So, after some prayer and introspection, in May, I quit MOPS.

Now, my kids are finally at an age where they are fairly independent and self-sufficient, so if I bring them along and make them sit at church with me for an hour, they can handle it.

So I thought...

We'd already been at church for 12 hours yesterday, for an unrelated event. So they were tired. Really tired. Not only that, but we'd gotten up extra-early that morning, and spent the previous day traveling. This combination would make any four-year-old a little out of sorts. So my little guy was really acting up.

However, I got to sing with the worship team. On the stage. With my own microphone! At the beginning of practice, we did an a-capella version of "Amazing Grace", while they checked our mics and fine-tuned the acoustics with the church's new sound system. It sounded great!

The last time I tried to join a worship team, I did an audition with the lead singer, and he told me I couldn't sing with them. He said I wasn't good enough, my voice wasn't strong enough, and I wasn't what he was looking for. I was pretty crushed. This group enthusiastically welcomed me with no reservations. What a huge difference. I also like how in the group, they take turns leading, and they genuinely work together as a team.

When I got home, I was on a spiritual/emotional high. I was doing what God wanted me to do, and I was loving it! It took me awhile to fall asleep last night. I was just so excited, and confident that this is what I should be doing.

This morning I got a message about a possible foster placement. If I have 5 kids with me on Sunday morning, I have NO IDEA how I am going to manage singing on stage with 5 little people running up and down the aisles. But you know what? I'm going to let God take care of it. If He wants me to sing, He will help me find a way to make it happen.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Still in the game

I just want to say that our licensing social worker is awesome. There are only 2LSWs in our county, and they work so hard to make sure each foster parent has all the resources they need, and each child is placed into a loving home.

Today we completed the paperwork to renew our foster care license. (This means we've committed to keep our house open to placements for at least 2 more years.) I had gotten everything signed at the end of April, but was waiting for my CPR and first aid cards to come in the mail.

We had a nice discussion. She joked with the kids and asked about how we were dealing with the loss of baby girl. Im glad that I have counseling resources on hand, and even more glad that we havent needed to use them!

I think our LSW -really- didnt want to go back to her office, because she also spent 20 mins playing in the backyard with the kids. The best part was when she climbed into the treehouse and slid down the slide! I took a picture of her. Wish I could post it. Hilarious.

The little guy has been asking me when we will have another little boy come to stay with us. Soon, I hope. I had a message from God, that we will get another long term placement by the end of August. ok, that might sound a little crazy, but thats what I was told.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our first post-placement visit

We got to see Baby Girl this afternoon.

I'd found some toys and clothes around the house that I wanted to pass along to her, and I'd made a scrapbook for her, so I sent a message to her relatives, asking if we could meet-up somewhere. At first I was thinking we'd meet in the same shopping center where we always did drop-off/pick-up visitation exchanges. I'd say hi, give them a bag of stuff, it'd take 2 minutes, and we would all go our separate ways.

But the relatives suggested something even better: They wanted to meet us at a fast-food restaurant, the kind with a small playground attached, so that we could actually visit together for an hour or two.
They have always been very grateful for the way we took care of Baby Girl when she needed to be in foster care. I am pleasantly surprised that they are willing to stay in contact and let us visit once in awhile. The primary caretaker told me "Just let us know when you want to see her. You're welcome to visit anytime."

It will be interesting to see how this relationship progresses. But for now, I am just grateful for this first visit. It's really nice to know that she is happy and being well cared for.

Baby Girl recognized us right away. She had a huge smile on her face. She came running to me, then to Hannah. She looks exactly the same as she did when we said goodbye a month ago (only, her hair was done better than I could've ever styled it. I need more practice!). My kids got to play with her for about an hour on the little playground, and I got to feed her a few bites of french fries and ice cream. She hadn't taken a nap yet, so towards the end of our visit, when she laid her head down on my shoulder and twisted my hair into her hands, I figured she was about done being pleasant and social.

That's when I knew it was time to say goodbye. I had to hand her back. She didn't fuss too much. My kids didn't make a big scene either (probably because they knew we were heading to another social engagement). They each gave her a big hug, and said goodbye. Then we all turned away, and together we walked to our vehicle, holding hands.

Baby Girl probably fell asleep in the car.

It was a good visit.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Judgement Day

Yesterday was judgement day - the day that a judge would make a final ruling about our foster child, and where they will spend the rest of their life.

We waited throughout the morning, but our case wasn't called. I prayed that we wouldn't be the last case of the day. Well, God answered my prayer, and He proved his ironic sense of humor yet again - we were the second to last case. Thanks.

It was really difficult to sit still in the courtroom. We heard some cases with happy endings - children being reunified with parents - and some cases with sad ones - one teenager was removed from their home because of the court's findings. It was also hard to sit still because of those hard wooden benches - think old-fashioned 100-year-old cracked, creaky church pew benches. My foot kept falling asleep, then I'd switch positions and the other foot would fall asleep. I couldn't get comfortable.

Finally, our case was called. The judged read reports and listened to arguments from 3 different lawyers, 2 public defense attorneys, a child advocate (called "GAL" in our state) and a social worker. The biological family sat on one side of a long, hard wooden bench and we (Mike and I) sat on the other. I was pretty certain what the verdict would be, but wasn't sure how it would come about. After about 15 minutes of testimony, the judge declared "I will adopt motion number 3." We didn't know what that meant. Us laypeople were confused. Judge continued with a few more details, giving us, the foster parents, a 2-week notice. That's when I understood it.

The final verdict: guardianship with relatives.
We've got less than 2 weeks until she's out of our house forever.

I am sad for us, because it will be a great loss for our family. However, I know without a doubt that this is what is meant to be for baby girl, to grow up and live with part of her biological family.

I couldn't speak face-to-face with the relatives. I was too emotional in that moment. We walked out of the courtroom and went our separate ways. However, after I got home, I sent a message saying I was happy for them, and that I know they'll raise her well.

I can only trust it to be true.

So now I am left with the task of telling my children, who think of her as their baby sister, that she'll be gone in a few days. How do you prepare for this? What do you do with this kind of grief? It's not quite anything we've had to go through before (unless you count when we said goodbye the first time, last May. But that wasn't so final.). We've known that we won't keep her forever, but the reality of that is much more harsh than the abstract idea. "Forever" is not a concept that my kids easily understand. Right now they can touch, hug, and play with her. Next week, they can't.

There are 3 things I'd like to ask of you, if you are reading this:
1. Pray for our family, and baby girl, during this time of transition. Give us the right words to say to our children, to help them understand. They will be hurting. They will be sad and grieving. Help us guide them through this difficult time.

2. Pray also for her relatives, who are overjoyed right now. Pray that they will raise her well and rise to the challenge of their new responsibilities.

3. Consider how you can be invested in someone else's life. Everyone goes through hard times at one point or another.  All it takes is one person to make a difference. We cannot all do everything, but everyone is called to do something. Whether that is being a respite provider for foster parents, helping hand-out groceries at a local food pantry, rescuing stray animals, doing yard work for a neighbor, lobbying for stronger laws regarding human trafficking, packing shoeboxes in November through Samaritan's Purse, or going on a mission trip to an orphanage in a third-world country... I don't know what it looks like for you, but you should find out.

(And if you're already doing whatever it is: Thank You. Keep it up.)

If you are able to pray for us during this time, please leave a message below to let me know that you are doing so. I am going to need all the encouragement I can get to make it through the coming days without collapsing into an unrecognizable mess.


Friday, May 1, 2015


When people realize I am a foster parent, there are usually two general reactions:

1. "Oh, I could never do that. I wouldn't be able to give them back."

2. "Bless you. You're such an angel for taking care of those poor little (starved/delinquent/neglected/add your adjective) kids."

1. The first implies that it is easily to "give them back".

But in some cases, it's just the opposite. Who would want to put a child back into a living situation with a person that was previously deemed unsafe? It might be safe now... but people mess up. History repeats itself. The cycle continues.

However, it is amazing to see when a family rises above their circumstances and overcomes obstacles such as domestic violence, substance abuse, chronic homelessness, and/or mental health issues. The success stories are the ones that keep social workers and foster parents in the system, trying to do the most good, trying to help families stay together.

2. The second response is pity, which I am just not fond of. I am no angel. And it almost makes it sound as if the children are to blame for what is happening to them. But what needs to be made clear is that kids go into care through NO FAULT of their own. They didn't ask to be put in foster care. They didn't want their parents to be accused of abuse, to be put in a compromising situation or make poor life choices. They didn't want to witness terrible things or live through such huge loss and tragedy at a young age.  But unfortunately, they do. Then they are put into a flawed, overworked, government-run system that is supposed to take care of their needs... That's where foster parents come into the picture.

On Attachment: We've had a placement with us for over a year. We've all gotten very attached to each other. In foster parent training classes (and in child development classes, if you take those as well), we learn about how attachments help form healthy bonds, realistic expectations, and shape a child's relationships throughout their life. When you live with a child for an extended period of time, you can't help but attach, form bonds, meet expectations, provide consistency and security, make memories together. We love our foster child as if she was our own biological child. But she isn't really ours. And one day, she might leave us. Because that's what foster means: "for a little while."

However, the healthy relationships and strong attachments she has made with us during this formative time in her life will continue to serve her well as she grows and matures. BECAUSE we have given her a safe, stable, loving place to learn, grow, and explore, she will be able to attach in healthy ways, and even thrive, when she moves on to her forever home.

THAT is why we do what we do. For the children. Not for ourselves (because my heart will break when she leaves!), but for them. Because they deserve love. EVERY child deserves a family.

**Sometimes, kids who move around a lot or who don't have consistent people in their lives have attachment disorders. This is a very real and difficult disorder to live with. I don't have personal experience (yet), but I know some parents that do. To learn more, you can watch this video:

Monday, April 20, 2015

sin and death

We were talking about a famous person in history who had died, and my 4year old busted out with "I know why people die, Momy. Its because we all sin."
Whoa, buddy. That is too deep for a Monday morning.

PS We can thank Awana Cubbies for instilling this concept into my preschooler. Nevertheless, it did tie in nicely with our family Bible devotional study, which was about Romans chapter 7.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

women's retreat

This weekend was a first for me:
I went away. On a women's retreat. Without any kids.
I'd never been away from the kids for more than one night.
And that was 3 or 4 years ago, so I don't even know if it counts.
Plus they were with Grandma that night, so they didn't really notice if I was gone.

Mike took an extra day off work, and I drove to Asheville with some other ladies from church. (I call them "OWLs": older, wiser ladies.) We stayed in cabins outfitted with rows of bunkbeds, reminding me of all those summers at camp when I was growing up. I didn't remember the mattress being so uncomfortably thin though. The mountain air seemed fresher. The hills didn't bother me at all. I've missed summers at camp. Ever year at the end of May I get a little nostalgic... Maybe when my kids are old enough to go away to summer camp, I can help out for a few days somewhere. I'd really like that.

Anyway, we had a great time, encouraging each other, doing trust activities, devotionals, writing stories, and basketweaving. Yes, I said basketweaving. The lady who taught us was certainly a character I won't soon forget. I also got some quiet time alone to hike around the property. It was nice to get some exercise, have quiet, and relax for a few dayss. I loved having someone else cook all the food. 

And the kids didn't seem to miss me at all. They had fun with their Dad. He does things with them that I don't do, like letting them buy candy in the grocery store check-out aisle. Or feeding them dessert after every meal. Or reading way more bedtime stories than I would have the patience for. I know that they were fed and dressed and happy, and mostly all clean, when I got back. The house wasn't clean, but at least the kids were smiling.

It's good to be home.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Just a feeling...

Happy Foster Anniversary!
Today marks one year since Baby came to stay with us.

We know now that Baby will not be with us forever (as we had originally been told, been planning for, been wishing with all our hearts!). And as we wait for the next court date and the final verdict from the judge, I continue to wonder: What's next?

There have been times in my life when I have been led to action.... Like last year, when I woke up with the words "Pray for a seven year old boy" running through my mind, even before I got the call about him. Or last spring, when I was about to get rid of the diaper bag, but pulled it out of the donation pile and put it into the back of the closet instead. I didn't know why I was prompted to do these things, but I did it anyway. Maybe God was trying to tell me something :)

Today I woke up with that mixture of excited anticipation and wonder of the unknown rolling around in my stomach. Early this afternoon, I made lunch for 10 people (us, plus some friends), and as I was cleaning up, I felt it again: Something is coming. Good news is on the way.

I don't know if we will get a call for a new placement soon, if our newest foster child is being born or being placed into care as I write this, or if Mike will come home from work with some kind of exceptional news... but I know that good days are ahead of us.

I can feel it. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Annual review meeting

This afternoon we had our 12-month post-placement home inspection, with the baby's SW and our licensing SW. They spent a little over an hour at our house, sitting in the living room on comfy chairs and couches, making small-talk and joking with the big kids, then discussing baby's development, daily life, visitation schedule, upcoming court date, concerns, etc.

Because it's been almost 2 years since we received our foster parent license, our licensing worker was required to ask us about changes in household (no, we don't have any new people living here), changes in income (Mike still has the same job), bedrooms and bed arrangements, making sure our stove, fridge and water work, etc. Now we have to update our medical records, background checks, and re-take First Aid and CPR classes, plus complete another fire inspection. It is a pretty decent pile of paperwork, but we've done it all before, and it shouldn't take too much effort to finish everything.

(They seemed very pleasantly surprised that we are willing to re-license again, after all the drama and back-and-forth stuff in the last year. The baby's SW told me "We just don't know what we'd do without you!" I think they are really low on available foster homes/beds right now.)

Ha! Speaking of being low on beds, our licensing worker asked if we have an extra bed (we do), and mentioned another possible placement. She didn't give us many details, because all the kids were listening, and we try not to tell them too many adult details, if you know what I mean. So all she really said was that there was a 4yo boy in foster care... Didn't even tell us his name or anything else about him, only that he existed.

However, Hannah heard this part of the conversation, and told me later "Mom, I really don't want that boy to come here. We already have ONE four year old boy, we do NOT need another one! I'd rather have a bigger kid come to live with us... Like S." You know, the kid we all really, really wanted to make ours, but someone else is going to adopt instead. It was like a stab in the heart.

Anyway, the SW said this mystery 4yo would be a "permanent placement", as in, the plan for him is adoption. Well, we've heard that a few times before! :P We can't make a decision to move forward without having more information about the case... so, in the meantime, I'm trying to be patient and not get my hopes up.

That was our afternoon.

We will see what the future holds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 18th

March 18, 2015:

I’ve had some major disappointments this week.

It would be easy to curl up in bed and cry. It would be easy to say “no” to everything. It would be easy to give up on being happy or moving forward. It would be easy to take out my frustrations on others. However, I am rarely ever called to take the EASY road. No, that would just be too.... easy. I have the sneaking suspicion that this is not one of those “easy” times. I might feel shaken up, beaten down, depressed or disappointed, I might not be joyful or thankful about certain things… BUT…

But Jesus is on my side. And He continues to show me that my life is not based only on the circumstances that surround me. I do not need to put away joy just because some things happening around me are painful, or hard to swallow, or just plain sad and unfair.

 Psalms tells us that “Joy comes in the morning.” 
That means THIS morning, and EVERY morning, should be joyful.

I might not be good at being thankful in all circumstances, but I think I can take it one day, or one hour, or just one minute at a time. Maybe. 

Maybe I can do this. 

Here’s to joy.

PS: No, God, I did not ask for patience. I am just plain tired of being patient!

Maybe if I quit asking for it, then I won’t have to wait so long?

Wishful thinking, I know. But it’s worth a try.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This was a very sobering statistic for me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Every life matters

There is a 15 year old girl in who desperately needs to be adopted, so that she can get on a heart transplant list and vastly improve her quality of life.
To learn more, visit

If you are not feeling led to adopt, please pray, send happy thoughts her way, and tell your friends about her.
Let them know that every life matters. Every life is precious. Every child is important.
The need is great, but only one family needs to step forward for this young girl.
I hope her family finds her soon.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Twenty Less

Oh my.

Somehow I have just stumbled across
This is powerful stuff. The pictures, stories and testimonies there could break your heart.

There are so many children in the world who need forever families.... Too many of them, if you ask me.
This particular website seems to focus on children in China... but there are so many others out there in different parts of the world, waiting to belong.

Some of them have siblings, some don't.
Some have different abilities, some don't.
Some of them may need surgery or special services. Some don't.
Some of them remember what it is like to be loved and cared for... and some don't.

When Mike and I started on our foster parent/adoption journey, we felt compelled to work with children in our local area. In our state. In our own town, maybe, or at least as locally as possible. That's why we signed up with our county's DSS office to become foster parents. Families in crisis may not have an extended network of relatives to care for their children.Through no fault of their own, adult choices and situations might force those children to be cared for elsewhere. We want to stand in that gap and care for kids at a critical time, when they need it most.

No everyone is called to be a foster parent or to adopt; however, as Helen Keller said, "everyone can do something."
I don't know what "something" looks like for you and your family, but maybe some of these links will help you start thinking about where you might fit in.

Who can foster and/or adopt? This site has requirements for each state in the US.
To find children in the US who are waiting to be adopted, please visit
You can search photolistings by state, age, gender, and number of siblings.
If you are interested in kids with special needs, go to They specialize in helping children of different abilities or situations find forever homes. They often have sizable grants available, to make it easier to afford a costly international adoption, and to more quickly facilitate adoption, especailly for those who have special medical or health needs.

For those who aren't in a position to foster or adopt right now, what can you do to help others? Can you donate to an adoption fundraiser? Could you start a clothes closet ministry for people in your area who are in need? Could you donate your time to tutor at-risk kids at the library after school, or become a mentor at a Boys and Girls Club, or Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or another community organization?

There are so many creative, meaningful ways that you could donate your time, talents and resources to make a difference in the life of a child.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Outside / Inside

Outside, it is a beautiful day.
Sun shines. Birds sing.
Children play in the mud.

Inside, my heart is hurting.

I am grieved.

I am grieved for all the kids out there, especially the smallest ones, who don't have a safe home or loving parent/s to help them learn and grow and blossom through their young lives. My heart hurts for them, and all the terrible things they have been through, are going through, and will be facing.

I am grieved over broken promises, biases, prejudices, and lost opportunities. There are so many lost moments, things that should have been said or done, but weren't, lost moments in time that will never be returned or recovered. In our society, we are masters of wasting time.

Sometimes, my heart is heavy, and I just need a good cry.

I am so glad that a new day comes in the morning.
Another chance to start again.

We can't undo what's already been done.
However, we CAN learn from past mistakes (ours as well as others),
strive not to repeat them, and help make life a little better and brighter for each other.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Friends and jealousy

Friends and jealousy. Can you truly be friends with someone when you are jealous of them? At our MOPS group this month, we have been discussing how too often, we compare ourselves to others, especially other moms/parents. It’s so hard to break that habit, to try to measure up to someone or something else. We live in this media-saturated, facebook-filled world where everyone tries to present themselves with their best face, wearing rose-colored glasses. We always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. We are a culture that is rarely satisfied with what we have, constantly wanting the next best thing.

So… what do you do when someone you care about gets something you don’t have, but would like very much? How do you handle it?

Two verses, recited to me tonight by a kid in my Awana group, helped me gain perspective: (Prov 17:17) “a friend loves at all times” and “abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.”

Selfishness is not a virtue, NOT something we should be striving for or cultivating. 
My own selfish ambition and vain conceit should never be allowed to trump someone else’s happiness, accomplishments, or good news. So tonight I found myself pasting on a happy smile, opening my arms, and saying “Congratulations!” The friend doesn’t need to know that I might not mean it in my heart quite yet. 

But one day soon, hopefully I will. 

Today, I thank God for you

Today is the day that I THANK GOD for my second daughter.
Six years ago, she was a one-month-old baby fighting for her life.
Exactly six years ago at this time, she stopped breathing in her daddy's arms, in the middle of an ER triage room. Six years ago she was hospitalized with a near-fatal case of RSV. For seven days she fought as hard as she could.... ripping out IV lines and monitor leads, crying silent screams through her air vent, sucking up nutrients through a tiny... until the infection cleared up and left her little body. We spent 3 additional days in a step-down care unit, and ten days later, we got to come home. Finally!
They were the ten absolute worst days of my life. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it, all of the stress and monitors and sleeping in a hospital chair for a week, sitting in the corner, pumping ever 3 hours...  Initially, it took them about 36 hours to get back test results and figure out what exactly was wrong, why she was so sick. So they immediately pumped her full of (completely unnecessary, ineffective) antibiotics. For the first 3 or 4 days, there were a lot of ups and downs, and we simply weren't sure if she would pull through. And I had never been away from Hannah for more than one night, let alone a week and a half. It was torture for all of us.
It could have been fatal. There could have been quite few other ways that the story ended. By the time we left the hospital, I was 6 weeks post-partum, and feeling more emotional than I had been in the first place! I could have focused on the what-ifs, could have second-guessed our decisions with the medical teams, could have wondered and worried about what would have happened if we had driven to the hospital just a few minutes or an hour later. But I had to put the doubts out of my mind, and we chose not to focus on all of those things - because they didn't really happen. She was ok. She survived.

Today she is a lively, silly, stubborn, healthy six year old,
and she has never had any lasting effects from the RSV.

I am so thankful for you today, my daughter.

We thank God for you.

A friend gave this to me while A. was hospitalized.
I came across it a few weeks ago. It still means a lot to me. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This week, I am in a sad place. I spend the hours trying not to cry, holding it in, feeling numb, watching the clock move slowly, slowly, towards bedtime and quietness again. Then the quietness is deafening and lonely, Still, I relish the selfish chance I get during the night hours to be still; I revel in the moments when I have to care for no one but myself. Until the morning comes again, and my little human alarm clocks start the day for me all over.

Lately, I have been feeling like I'm living in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes: "Meaningless! Everything under the sun is useless." Is anything I do WORTH something to anyone else around here? Does it have eternal value, or a fleeting value? I've had quite a few disappointments this week. Sometimes it feels like I should have a nice pity party for myself. But I can't! I don't have the chance to take a shower, or eat food while it's still hot, or sit on the couch without being mobbed, much less process and grieve my losses.

I am in this sad place, but I know that my circumstances are not the end. My circumstances change daily or hourly or weekly. I know that we need to praise in the good times and the bad, not just when we feel like it. So I press on, and I cling to the hope of what is good and pure and right, and I continue to try to do the next thing that God has put before me.

Check back next time for a lesson on Ecclesiastes 5:4-5.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A series of unfortunate events...

Ok, so I'm being slightly dramatic, but at our house tonight, there was a series of unfortunate events. First, 1 out of 5 kids didn't want to finish eating their dinner. Then, when the other kids wanted dessert after completing their dinner, aforementioned kid threw a fit. It wasn't pretty. Then the kids argued about what movie they would watch, what flavor popcorn they wanted with the movie, and continued to argue over seating arrangements. It was actually quite pathetic. But all in good fun.

And talk about fun... When kids went upstairs to brush their teeth and get ready for bed, someone (not that anyone's confessing!) was a little too enthusiastic about using the toilet paper, or maybe they flushed too many times.... I don't know, they're not saying... but the toilet overflowed. Just at the right moment, as I was putting the baby in bed, there were horrific screams coming from upstairs... "Mom! MOM! HELP! COME QUICK! Oh no, it's going to overflow! IT'S OVERFLOWING! Ahhh...!" and so on.

Five minutes, four towels and 1 plunger later: problem solved.

But the fun didn't stop there! As I was helping with bedtime and cleaning up a few last things... a needle, that had somehow been lost and embedded into the carpet, punctured my thumb. It went hard and deep. It hurt. A lot. And it bled. A lot. (But for the record, I didn't cry!) So we talked about first aid while I cleaned up the blood. Someone got me a band-aid, another brought me ice. They were sweet.

All of the above events put together meant that I am getting virtually no down-time tonight. Usually, I crave my regular ME time at the end of every day. I need a little bit of peace and quiet to wind down and process our day, and begin to relax before I am ready to fall asleep. I like to watch a Netflix show, read a book, or spend some time crocheting before bed. But tonight, that isn't going to happen, because my eyelids are about to close, and 4 out of 5 kids are still awake, and they are taking turns coming in and out of my room at random, and it is now 10:30pm.

And you know what? Some days it would really bother me, to not get that alone-time. But today, I don't mind it. I cherish the time I have with the kids (my kids, as well as other people's kids). More and more, I am realizing that my own selfish desires are just that: petty and selfish. Just because *I* want to do something doesn't mean that it's the best thing for me to spend my time doing. Even little things, things that aren't necessarily bad, like playing a game, or finishing that book on my nightstand, are not worth upsetting my kids or losing sleep about. I need to be a good example for these little people.

A friend of mine posted a picture this afternoon that looked something like this: 
Three Stupid Things KDP Select Critics Need To Stop Saying
She make a joke about it, trying to make light of it. 
Then she said something that hit me: "It's not worth yelling about $3."

She is totally right. I do my fair share of yelling most days. I have been trying to think of ways to curb it and stop it. As a family, the kids and I are memorizing an encouraging Bible verse every week. (This week it was 1 Thess. 5:11) We also listen to only uplifting songs and stories while we're in the car. Most of the time that helps to give us a wider perspective.

So, the series of unfortunate events that occurred at my house tonight... weren't necessarily fun; however, I didn't get too bent out of shape, I didn't yell at anyone (although I did say "OWWW!" when my thumb was sliced open), and I didn't have a little pity-party when I couldn't finish whatever it was that I wanted to do all by myself tonight.

Slowly but surely, I am making progress.

I hope you are too.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Saying "goodbye" is so hard

This week, I have been an emotional wreck. We were told that the baby won't be staying with us after all. The judge ordered baby to be reunified with family members. We have to give the baby back. It's going to be one of the hardest things I ever have to do. It was hard enough at 4 months old.... But to stay with us another 8-10 months, then do it all over again? It is going to be heartbreaking. It is going to crush the spirit of my oldest child. It might very well put us in counseling. I will question my role as a foster parent. What good have I done? What is the purpose of all this heartache and broken-ness?

Because we don't have an exact timeline, because the transition is supposed to be "gradual", this means it's probably going to be a drawn-out, confusing, emotionally draining process. Not just for me or my family, that goes for everyone involved. The other family will probably be an emotional mess too. Maybe in a good way. Maybe they will feel overwhelmed by their new responsibilities. Maybe they will be overwhelmed with love, and have a little bit of empathy for me, now that the tables are turned. Whenever and however this case ends, it will definitely mean a lot of waiting and wondering and uncertainty in the meantime.

As much as I don't want to say goodbye to this little person that is part of our family, I realize that it is best for the baby to be with relatives, if that is possible. I understand that they need to have a chance at raising the baby, that it is their right to do so. I know they love this baby a whole lot.

Even though I know these things to be true, it is still a crushing blow for our family. Is it fair? Is it really in the best interest of the child to take her away from the only stable home she's ever known?! Who was there for all the sleepless nights? Who was there for all the milestones, first roll over, first foods, first crawl, first word, first birthday, first steps? ME! But who will the baby remember? Not me!! Not us! And that kills me inside. I know that it is our job as foster parent to let them grow and then let them go. I keep telling my kids that fostering means "for a little while". And even if you are lead to believe adoption is the end goal, it doesn't mean that's how it really ends.

However, there is hope. God has promised that his plans are better than ours (think Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 16:9, and Isaiah 55:8). If there's one thing I've learned in my life, it would be that the dreams and plans I have for myself aren't necessarily what God has in mind for me and my life. And sadness aside, I know that there is some good news on the horizon... I'm just not authorized to share it with you quite yet.

In the meantime, if you call or email or leave me a message and I don't answer, it's not because I don't want to talk to you. It's because I can't talk for very long without getting tears in my eyes. Right now it's hard to visualize what our daily lives will be like in a few weeks or a few months. I have to learn how to un-attach myself from this little person who is, for all intents and purposes, my baby! I'm trying to hold it together, moment by moment, and get through the day with all of my children, without upsetting them too much. (Of course the children don't know all the plans, logistics and legal details, and they shouldn't.)

So for now, I am trying to enjoy these days as much as I can, not clutter them too much with commitments, and I am not sharing them very often with others. I hope that makes sense. Maybe next month or next year, my friends will understand and forgive me :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Prayer

Prayer for the New Year:
There are so many hopes and dreams laid on this one day, Lord – so many people relying on its passing to bring a clean slate. And then in two days when all resolutions are already dashed, disappointment rears. God, You said that You provide a new beginning all the time, with new mercies every morning. Thank you for that. As we enter a new year, I ask You to stay at the forefront of our days, that we may claim those new beginnings and mercies, and that this would be a blessed year. We know it will be because You are already there. Thank You, Lord. Amen. (by Anna Rendell)