Saturday, September 20, 2014

It's worth the risk

We're in that transition phase where I'm getting used to four little people needing me at all hours of the day. Three little people is a lot. Four is even more. So I'm trying to remember what life is like with four kids who always need something. 

It's doable and joy filled, there is just a transition that needs to take place. I have to remember to love my babies the best that I can. I have to give them the best of me, all while loving on this baby who needs love and a good fattening up, all at the same time. 

Foster care brings it challenges, but there is also peace that comes in obedience. Our desire to foster came directly from scripture. There are numerous references to caring for orphans and the fatherless, but my favorite comes from James 1:27:
27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
When the Lord placed foster care on our hearts more than 2 years ago, I took the calling as a challenge. That may or may not have been the best way to go about it, but that's really how I thought of it in my head....Are you challenging me? Sure. I'm game. Let's do this.

I don't necessarily think of foster care as a challenge now. I consider it more of a necessity. The way I was blessed through our first foster care experience is nearly indescribable. I was broken and changed and made new in the best kind of way.

And I selfishly want that again. I want Him to wreck me. I want Him to break my heart. I want to remember what it's like to hurt and to feel.

In a world where we are so easily jaded because everyone is walking a rough battle and everything is hard sometimes, I want to know first hand what it is to yearn for yearn for Heaven.

When I let myself think about Baby A and his young momma and his brother, my heart wants to break into a million pieces. The reality of foster care is crappy. I hate that it has to exist. But it does exist because we are broken people in a broken world who desperately need Christ.

I can't fix anyone or any situation, but what I can do is love. And maybe that's all I can do. But since loving is what we've been called to do, I will love bravely. I won't hold back my heart. I will love my babies and this baby, and I will love his momma and his brother, and my heart might break, yes. But it's worth the risk. It's always worth the risk. He's worth the risk.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I need Jesus, a good run, and a glass of wine (or 2)

It's day 3 of having baby A around. He's still super chill, and we're still loving having him here, but tonight, I'm tired. 

Our house is still in disarray from being out of town for 11 days and coming home to a new foster baby. And the fact that I insisted on setting up our Fall decor this week doesn't help either. 

I'll admit. I bring chaos on myself sometimes. 

We made our own chaos by taking all our small people to the fair this morning....yeah, that's sort of chaos. It was fun, but we always push it to the last minute when everyone falls apart as we make our way to the car and they cry for one more game as we pass every single booth. 

But in the midst of chaos, there are sweet moments like this where Wyatt kisses baby A over and over and over again. It's too sweet. 

Baby A also had a doctor's appointment today. There is an amazing clinic here in Oklahoma City called Fostering Hope that is specifically for foster babies. They have the ability to pull records from all over the state, and they understand the complexities that often come with foster children's health. 

I was very pleased with our doctor. She was thorough and attentive. She truly wanted to know about Baby A. She decided to skip his 4 month shots due to a rash that we're waiting to heal, so those will come in the next couple weeks.

I left the clinic today very grateful for great resources like Fostering Hope and doctors and nurses who truly care about these littles. 

On another note, I have this overwhelming urgency to wake up and spend an hour (or 2) in God's word, clean my office, finish unpacking the box of Fall decorations, make something delicious that needs to simmer on the stove all day, go for a good run, go on a date with my hot husband, and have a glass of wine (or 2). I guess that means I need a live-in-nanny. Ha!

At the moment, none of those things are getting done. And it's okay. That's just the way it's going to be for a minute or two around here. 

And I can't sign off without mentioning how much I love the people in my life. To those of you who brought us clothes and baby bouncy things and dinner {which was delicious!}, thank you. One of my favorite things about foster care is watching the way the church surrounds you and supports you. It's truly beautiful. 

And to those of you who have sent texts and words of encouragement, thank you. Every word you write matters. Don't ever think it doesn't. You are encouraging and uplifting, and I am grateful for you.

So that's where we are....wishing for a little more Jesus, a little more running, and a little more wine. Oh and a few more babies. We love babies around here. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

There's a baby sleeping in my closet

There's a baby sleeping my closet, and I can't find my panties in the dark. {Don't tell my case worker....I'll tell her myself....I swear.} 

But there seriously is a baby sleeping in my closet, and it is inhibiting my ability to find clothes and put away laundry. 

And I will tell my case worker because it's a temporary situation. It's actually a pretty sweet pad in there. He's got a fan (and there's heat and air in there), and it's nice and dark and quiet, and I'm jealous of it. 

It's a temporary fix. Since we have no idea how long Baby A will be here, we haven't decided where he should live.  Once we find out more about bio mom's plan, we'll be able to make a better decision about where Baby A should stay. 

We're loving every second with him. He's a bundle of joy. I don't know how we got such a laid back and easy baby. He might be sleeping in my closet, but he's sneaking into my heart a little more everyday. 

Oh and it's worth mentioning that Wyatt is re-living his baby days by trying out all of Baby A's gear. Stinker.

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 you that 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.