Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Living by Grace

I can't get words to come tonight. Maybe there are so many words rolling around inside my head that I just can't narrow them down. It's a possibility. I'm not sure.

I know that this morning I felt like a rockstar mom, but by 7:00 tonight, I was eating buttercream icing out of a can with a spoon. But that's okay. I've learned that rockstar moments come and go, and I'm just grateful I had one today. 

I've also learned that stretching is hard. And while comfort is easy, it's also boring, and boring annoys me. So I try not to do boring.

I can assure there is nothing boring happening around here. 

We're all adjusting to life with baby A around. He seems to be easily adjusting. It's the rest of us who need the adjusting. 

Our kids are adjusting well so far. It's sweet to watch the ways each of them love on Baby A in their own way.

Tonight, on a Scentsy online training, my sister-in-law asked me what advice I had for the consultants on our team who are working towards earning a trip. I didn't have specific advice tonight. Just advice on life in general.

I think I said something along the lines of re-assess everyday, start over when necessary, and hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection. It's true in business, and it's true in life. 

And that's where we are today. Forgetting about smack dab in the middle of grace.....with lots and lots of do overs when needed. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Baby A

My phone rang at 9:06 as I was sitting in the dentist's office with an excited 7-year-old and a ticked off 5-year-old. We can't all love the dentist. 

It was my case worker, and I intentionally silenced the phone knowing that I couldn't process whatever she had to tell me, and tend to a screaming little boy at the same time. I knew it was probably about a placement. 

A text came next confirming my thoughts that it was a call about a placement. It was exactly that.

I sent a quick text back explaining that I was dealing with a "situation" at the dentist's office. I told her I would call her when I got finished or that she could call Brian and give him the scoop. 

Then the text from Brian came..."I got a call from L (I'm shortening her name for safety and privacy), she has a potential placement for us. Call me when you can." 

Through a couple more texts, I found out more details. A boy. 5 months old. (And more details that I'll leave out for privacy and safety reasons).

L and I finally talked after Luke was calmed down (thanks to a corn dog from Sonic....and no, I did not let him get a toy from the treasure chest at the dentist because he did not cooperate at all) and the kids were dropped off at school. I voiced my concerns about the placement, and then said, yes. 

We agreed to meet at noon and by 2:00, baby A was in our car headed home. I wish you could see his big grin! He smiled the minute we walked into the room. So far, he's happy and pretty relaxed. We're praying for a night full of sleep for everyone, but we'll see how that goes. 

Right now, could you pray for baby A's health? He needs to fatten up a bit, and we're working hard on that, and he has some healing to do as well from a little infection. Your prayers for those things would be much appreciated. 

I promise to grab a few pictures of his sweet little hands and head and feet tomorrow. I hate that you can't see his face, but that's just how it is. 

Thank you for loving us. We're all settled in. 5 in bed, 1 to go....I'm headed that way.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Expectant in Hope

I spent the day cleaning and re-arranging. I desperately wanted to buy pumpkins at the grocery store, and then I forgot. 

My keyboard doesn't want to work the way it usually does. I have to hit some keys multiple times to make them work. I'm blaming the little guy that lives with us. He really likes to bang on keyboards. 

I want to wear boots and sweaters and go to the pumpkin patch, but as I type that, I remember that I usually wear a tank top to the pumpkin patch and sweat through the whole experience. 

I want to sit and breathe and rest, but I haven't today, until now. 

And here I find myself, letting my brain fall out on a page. Anticipating what's coming. Unsure. Scared. And expectant in hope. 

Tomorrow our home will officially be open again as a foster home. 

That means that we'll probably have a baby in our home in the less than 24 hours. A baby that's not ours, but that we'll love as ours. A baby with baggage and a past and possibly a defining moment that I'll never be able to erase no matter how much I love him or her.

Tomorrow I'll hold a baby that isn't mine but that I'll wonder if it ever could be. Could she be ours? Could he be ours? I won't be able to help it. I'll think it. 

Tomorrow we'll welcome a baby into our home that I will fight for. I will fight for restoration. I will fight because that's what every baby deserves. 

Tomorrow we'll fall in love with a baby that we may never watch grow up......that we may never see once she or he leaves our home. But we'll love anyways. We'll love bravely....without holding anything back. No one deserves guarded love. We all need love that is brave enough to love all of us. Every bit of us. The good, the bad, the beautiful....the things we can't change. 

As I type these words, my soul converses with the Lord about what's to come. Protect that baby. Guard it's heart. Cover it in your love. And then bring it to us. And show us what to do.
Lead us. 
Guide us. 
Break our hearts. 
Change us. 
We yearn to be more like you. 
My heart aches over the possibility of love to come. My heart aches over the possibly of heartbreak. And knowing it all, I know that you know so much more than I do. I know you had this all planned out. I may not see it immediately, but you have been doing a good work.....a great work....behind the scenes. Cover us in your grace. Cover our home in your peace. Protect us from the schemes of the devil. We feel him lurking while we feel you fighting for us. 
We trust you. 
Lead us. 
And tell a story so great that only you could get the glory for it. 
We are nothing without you. We love you. 

Is there fear? Absolutely. 

Is there doubt. Of course. 

Do we feel qualified. No. A million times no. 

But we're doing it anyways. Because tomorrow our home will officially be open as a foster care home, and even though we have rather narrow age limits (younger than Wyatt), we will most likely be placed tomorrow because there are babies in my state and in your state and all over America who need a home to sleep in tonight

And if we don't do it, who will? 

The need is great. The reward is greater. Peace. Change. Complete trust in the Lord. Those are the rewards. 

The first time we had foster babies in our home, I got rocked in the most gut-wrenching way. My world was flipped around, and suddenly I was different. I was different because I loved and rocked two babies who weren't mine.

I will never forget the day they showed up on my doorstep, and I will never forget the day they left. And I will never be the same. Ever. 

Broken. Wrecked. Messed up. I was all those things. 

And after 6 months, I was changed. Different. New. 

And tomorrow begins something new.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.  ~Isaiah 43:19 

So tonight, I rest, expectant in hope. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oh How I Love Love Mail

About this time every month, I start running reports and looking at who the top sellers and recruiters on my team were for the previous month. My favorite way to provide recognition for them is by sending a little love mail. There is nothing like a real note in the mail that isn't a bill or an advertisement. Happy mail in a mailbox makes everyone's day feel a little brighter. 

Because I love all things love mail, I love looking for stationary and encouraging notes. I recently stumbled across Tiny Prints personalized stationary. I've ordered invitations from Tiny Prints many times, but I'm now also loving their colorful and high quality notes. 

Since I had 2 girls on my team qualify for a free trip to Cancun, I had to find a fun way to recognize them. These You=Amazing cards were perfect! They loved them so much that they posted their goodies on social media as soon as they received them. 

I also used the same cards to send out thank you notes for my customers too, so it has multi-use!

I love a good card and all that love mail. What's your go-to when it comes to sending cards and love mail? If you're looking for something new, check out Whatever you use, send some love mail this week, and make someone's week.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A business launch and a Pittsburgh Pirates game

Our time in Pittsburgh (though brief) has been wonderful. We were welcomed to the city by the simply breathtaking view of the skyline and the river after coming thru a long tunnel on our way to the hotel. 

I had no idea this city was so beautiful. 

We settled into the Omni hotel last night (very, very late) and ordered room service for dinner. I caught up on some writing and work while Brian caught up on some TV time. 

After dinner, we hit the sack and planned to sleep in until we woke up, and we did. We awoke to a rainy day in Pittsburgh. 

We took our time getting dressed and ready for the day and then headed out to find some food. On the road, we found this mural on a wall featuring Brian's great uncles, the Waner brothers (Paul and Lloyd) who played on the Pirates World Series team from 1927-1942. 

We ended up a little bakery called Food Glorious Food where we indulged in quiche, coffee, and macaroons. It was delightful. 

And then it was time to head to the Launch Party! Ondrea and Leslie had a great turnout! There was great food and great people and several people who are now starting their own Scentsy businesses. It was fantastic. Ondrea even created a Powerpoint presentation to tell the story of how we met at Atlantis on the Leap of Faith slide. I'm so excited for her and Leslie as they start their businesses and build their teams. 

Ondrea treated us with Pirates tickets, so shortly after the party, we headed out to grab a bit to eat and watch the game. We had our first experience with Pierogis (delicious dumplings of some sort), and we had to order fish and chips. 

The Pirates stadium is stunning (if it's even possible for a baseball stadium to be glorious). It overlooks the river, and the cheap seats have the best view in the house, so we trekked all the way to the top to see it for ourselves. 

We had a great time at the game, but had to head back to the hotel to watch as much of the OU game as possible. I'm writing while watching the game and trying to keep Brian awake (it's been a long week). 

I have to admit that I'm anxious to close my eyes so that I can see my babies tomorrow. It's glorious to travel and have time to ourselves, but the best part about it is missing our babies and our life and everything that goes along with it.....the crazy, the mess, the noise, the love. I want all that back, and I can't wait for tomorrow. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

We're Headed to Pittsburgh and our Home Study Was Approved!

I am literally writing (and posting) from over 10,000 feet aboard a Southwest airplane headed from Boise, Idaho to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

It was been a very long and amazing week in Boise, and now we're making our way to Pittsburgh to do a business launch party for a few new girls joining our Scentsy family. We are so excited to have them, and we're really excited to be heading their way to help them get started. 

I told Brian that we should pretend this is a little weekend getaway, so we're sipping vodka tonics on the plane while I catch up on writing and he watches free TV on his phone. It's a happy place for both of us. 

Yesterday's post was so long that I didn't get to tell you about my favorite night of SuperStar Director Summit. Our free nights are always my favorite. We take over the hotel lobby and do nothing but catch-up, share, and laugh a lot

Last night was no different. We didn't have as many free nights this year, so we had to do our best to make up for that by making our last night together truly epic. 

If I had to narrow last night down to one emotion, it would be joy. We enjoy each other so very much. We come from all walks of life, numerous religions, and from all across the U.S. and Canada, and when we're together, we're simply family. 

I love these people so much! Have you gathered that yet? I think I've said it a million times over. 

On another exciting one.....our home study was approved today. Which means, we could get a foster baby any day now. 

For about two seconds, I was overwhelmed, but I'm not anymore. Traveling today has reminded me that this year was (and is) about trust and being brave. I trust the Lord's timing. I know He has a child picked out for us. And it has not escaped my mind that our foster care processes happened in the middle of our BRCA diagnosis. I don't know what that means, and I am not assuming at all. But I trust that the Lord has a baby that will fit into our lifestyle and mesh with who we are. We will work towards reunification as long as that is the goal, but we also won't be close minded about other possibilities. 

At this point, we're simply trusting. Trusting the Lord's timing and understanding. I can't wait to see where this adventure takes us. 

One adventure down. Another one to come. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Scentsy Superstar Director Summit Re-Cap

This week was both magical and exhausting. Childlike wonder surrounded us, and we were inspired and renewed.

If you haven't been following along, we've been in Boise, Idaho for a week now. We spent 2 days at Velata's 1st convention, a couple days hanging out with our friends in the camper, and 3 full days with Scentsy's top leaders at this year's SuperStar Director Summit.

You can read about our 1st day here

Wednesday (day 2) was a fun filled day that included traveling all over the Scentsy campus. We had the opportunity to pour our own bricks in the manufacturing building, make welcome calls at consultant support, pack and ship orders in shipping, shop in the Scentsy Success store, and have a field day competition with our peers. 

After lunch, we spent time roaming thru some creation stations where we were able to see the way other people made certain things for their business like samples and possibility packets and newsletters. 

After a full day of activities, we headed back to the hotel to rest and eat dinner before heading back to the Scentsy campus for Grace Adele shopping and a Movie night. We finished out day 2 with our annual Heart to Heart silent auction where we raised over $7,500 for 7 families in need. 

Thursday morning sure did come quickly! At this point, we had done very little sleeping, but lots and lots of networking and catching up. 

Thursday's activities consisted of a morning full of dreaming. We were honored to see a sneak peek into the future of Scentsy. All I can say is that it's bright and beautiful and exciting. We had a working closed-door lunch with Orville and Heidi (the owner's of Scentsy) where we were able to ask questions, discuss concerns, and offer suggestions for the future. 

By Thursday afternoon, we were all feeling the effects of 3 full days of meetings, but we were excited about our last evening out at the lake. 

When we arrived at the lake, we were greeted with a whimsical sight. A 4,000 square foot tent filled with lights and tables decorated to perfection. 

Rolled up blankets sat near the fire overlooking a crystal clear lake. It was truly magical. 

After a delicious dinner of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and salad, Orville and Heidi auctioned off one of the centerpieces from the tables. {It went for over $1,000!} 

We were each given a sweet reminder of our time together......a reminder to be a light to our teams and the world. 

And after an emotional round of fireside "Ah-Ha moments," there was one more surprise. 

We each took a paper lantern down to the beach, lit it, and watched it rise into the air. 

Watching those lights float up into the sky was a beautiful reminder of how we all need to be held up for a little while sometimes (we had to hold up the lanterns after they were lit until the inside filled with hot air). 

It was a beautiful reminder that not everyone flies. (Some of our lanterns caught on fire before they made it into the sky...oppps.) 

And while some people will choose to soar, others may simply float along, but it takes all types of lanterns to make a night sky look like this. 

Photo credit: Lyndsee Bates
Oh how I love these people and this place and this family. They truly are my family.