Category Archives: God’s goodness

Homeschool Year 10 – A Day in the Life

I have an app on my phone that causes me to have the competing emotions of happiness and sadness daily. You may have heard of Timehop? After beginning our tenth homeschool year last week, a few pictures from 7 years ago came across my screen. 2011. Foster was in 2nd grade, Katie in 1st grade, Theodore was almost 4, Parker had just turned 2 and I was 7 months pregnant with Jonah.

I think there were about 6 pictures but I found myself analyzing everything. The place we lived at the time, the school books they were working in or toys they were playing with. It was a homeschool day-in-the-life but I wanted more! I wish I’d taken a picture of myself with my ginormous belly. I barely remember those days. I remember them but I can’t transport myself back to feeling the same, when I only had one child who was beginning to read and still had someone in diapers. When I had fatigue and hormones and very little patience. When we were still adjusting to the loss of Chris’s mom and the fact that his dad was about to remarry. When Chris was new to his job at the airport and our purse strings were pulled extremely tight. Scraping by to feed and clothe and house a family of 6 (almost 7).

It’s the looking back that affirms our choices. We can ponder and speculate all day long the “what-if’s” of life and try to feel confident in what the future will hold, but the looking back reassures me that while at the time it felt too difficult to be good, that God did honor our choices and is continuing to care for us and give us an abundant life. If someone had said to that tired, overwhelmed, burned out, struggling momma that she’d be mentally and emotionally strong enough to become a foster mom, I’m sure she would have said you were crazy. Or that she’d have the courage to homeschool her children through high school! At that time I was still trying to figure out how to get someone from reading c.a.t. to reading chapter books. Oh the stress!

Today I stalked my children and took some day-in-the-life photos. In another 7 years, I’ll be able to look back and praise God for what He was doing, what He was teaching all of us on those days.

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Foster Parent Conference 2017

We were able to knock out a ton of training hours this past weekend. Now we have until next June to get one last hour and we can do that online! It’s one less DCS induced stressor that won’t be hanging over my head. (Still need to get the dog’s shot records up-to-date…shh…)

The best thing about the weekend was just getting to be with Chris. He is rarely the only person I need to pay attention to and it’s a luxury when that can happen. We spent 14 hours in training or listening to keynote speakers, so there wasn’t a ton of free time. We did get to hang out with another foster parent couple from our neck of the woods on Saturday night. Sunday we cut out early so we could go visit some family at their church.

I had been holding my breath waiting for September. I needed this trip and I needed for our little foster baby, Pipsqueak, to get some good news about going home to her forever family. Her first birthday is this month. I was wrestling with God trying to push and push and getting frustrated at His lack of compliance. (I’m not sure why the ruler of the universe won’t just do what makes my life easier…but He doesn’t.)

What was making things harder for me, personally, was that every day I was feeling more like I can’t let this human go. If she starts walking, if she starts calling me “mommy”, if she cries when I leave her in the nursery, I’m not going to be able to do it. I felt like I was ready to let her go. And I had accepted her being adopted by her forever family 6 months ago. So she needed to just go NOW. Which is when I like things done.

God is so gracious. Patient with my impatience. He had worked it all out ahead of time and I just needed to trust this is all in His timing. But, man, foster care will take you through the ringer. Two months before we were to leave for the weekend conference, Pipsqueak’s family had planned to come and keep her over the weekend, then hopefully take her home right after her first birthday. Speaking about this and not divulging too much is a fine line. Basically, they live FAR away. They can’t just pop in and get her when they want to, or be here at the drop of a hat for court or visits.

Then just a few days before we were to leave, I get a text from her forever mommy that says that a certain DCS office has still not sent some extremely important paperwork to the licensing office. At that point, I had to just give it to God. I had to accept that His plan was greater than mine. That she would take her first steps with us. That it could be another month or three before they finally got to take her home.

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you wanted something so badly and you are praying and waiting and thinking it’s never going to happen and then you finally let go and it does? That’s what this was like.

Literally 42 hours before we left (I was counting down, don’t judge), I got a text saying that licensing had received the packet and was coming to visit their home 2 hours before they needed to leave their state and head to ours. It was a miracle. THEN the next day, shortly after we arrived at the conference I got a call from Pipsqueak’s caseworker, letting me know that ON HER BIRTHDAY we were going to have her last CFTM (big important meeting) and that she would be placed with her forever family.

You guys, God. I just sit in awe and wonder of His GRACE, MERCY, LOVE.

Because I got that call, I was able to relax and enjoy the time with my husband. And we were able to begin to talk about what it will be like to let our little Pipsqueak go. We were able to start processing together the changes it will make in our family and for the big kids.

God is so good. 21368707_10212821857768999_2279935667135562710_o

Christmas 2013

Cousins!
My sweet girl before the Christmas program at church.

On our way to worship the Sunday morning before Christmas.
Yes, my 2 year old still has his pacifier.





Treats from Papaw and Mrs. Debbie.

One happy boy!

“I can’t believe it!!”

Santa is so neat and orderly…

Let the chaos begin…

Blessed little boys and girl! 🙂
 
Katie realizing Grandad and Grammy had snuck in on Christmas Eve night!

“Thanks Uncle Anthony!”

“Could someone please open this?!? It’s so HEAVY!”

Ready for battle…well after I put on some pants…

Davy…Davy Crockett…King of the wild frontier…

Happy with her new gardening set!
 
“Look Mommy! I’m a real knight!”

Sharing a snack with Uncle Anthony.

“Ready to ride!”

“Ouch.”

“I’m taking my bike and going home!”
 

“Having Daddy home for Christmas? Two thumbs up!”
 

promises

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.
4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah
7 Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
9 Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a]
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.
 
 
Sometimes weariness hits me like a ton of bricks. Not just my mind and body, but my spirit. All I can do is hit my knees and then search for His promises. No one I know, close or distant, can comfort me like my Savior.

cracker barrel and God

It’s getting down to crunch time here.  We are spending as much time as we can together.  For the most part, since we’ve been battling fevers and snot, we’re staying at home.  The kids have been asking literally for months to go to Cracker Barrel.  I’m not really sure why they like that place. It’s probably the gift shop, or maybe all the cool stuff hanging on the walls and from the ceiling, most likely it’s the fact that they can order pancakes anytime of the day. Chris and I on the other hand, groaned to each other as we pulled into the parking lot at 6 pm and saw that everyone else had a hankerin’ for pancakes.  I told Chris we could just go somewhere else, the kids would get over it (I know I’m cold-hearted like that).  Seeing how he’s a wonderful daddy and only has this short time left, he said we needed to stay (no matter how gruesome it was for us).

The wait wasn’t that long to get a table, maybe 10 minutes and they called us right before one of the kids almost broke something.  They obviously had the heat cranked up because of the cold outside and it was HOT in there.  Chris had come straight from the airbase and was wearing his uniform so he was twice as uncomfortable. As they got us to our table, we were assigning seats and strapping Jonah into a high chair and giving each other our exasperated parent glares that read “who’s grand idea was this after all?”  All of a sudden this man is patting Chris on the back and saying “thank you for your service” and reaching out to shake his hand and hands Chris FIFTY dollars and says “here use it for your family.” 

Wow.  Now we were giving each other the “wow, God is awesome” look.  Then we had the “God always knows where we are and what we need” discussion.  Don’t you feel like a fool when you’ve been acting like a brat and then {BAM!} God’s goodness smacks you in the face?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29: 11-13

 

how about we decide what’s best for us?

I recently wrote this post.  When I wrote it we were house hunting and hoping to buy a house.  Well, it turns out God has opened another door for us. We received a generous offer from a relative to rent a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house for less than someone could rent a studio apartment. 

After giving it much prayer and consideration and weighing the pros and cons, we have decided to take them up on the offer! So now we are in the process of cleaning at the “new” house so we can pack up and move.

On the surface, some might say that this move is not a good one. Because we aren’t buying, we are not investing money into a home but are continuing to “throw money away” on rent. Because it is smaller, we’ll have to get rid of some STUFF. Because the whole point is to save money, we will be as frugal as possible with updating and decorating.

I guess I’m just weird. I am so thankful that we will be paying less rent.  That it will help us as Chris goes back to school. As we feed all these littles and provide an education for them.

I grew up in a very comfortable home, in a super comfortable neighborhood (it had it’s own pool).

But, I had several relatives who did not live as comfortably as I did. They didn’t have nice, basement ranchers and living rooms that were filled with furniture that no one ever sat on.

I have not been on international mission trips, I’ve never even left the country. What I have seen and what I do know is that my cousin would rummage through the dumpster at her trailer park for new treasures.

I know that the girls who came to live at Blount County Children’s Home often came with their belongings in a black trash bag. That their parents couldn’t pay the gas money to come pick them up for visitation.

I know there are children and families within a mile from me RIGHT NOW who will go to bed hungry tonight.

I know there are children and families across the world from me RIGHT NOW who will sleep in the dirt, who will not have clean water to drink or bathe in, who will be lucky if they get ONE meal today.

So am I thankful that my family gets to live in an outdated, smaller house? Ummm, yeah.

And am I so proud that I have a husband who would rather do things God’s way than try and kill himself and us to achieve the AMERICAN DREAM? Ummm, yeah. I am.

We could be drowning in debt. We could both be working 60 hour weeks. We could be paying car payments and $200 cable bills.

But, INSTEAD I think we’ll play board games with our kids. And I think we’ll keep paying our tithe first. And then we’ll keep seeing how God blesses us when we serve Him and do things His way.

Thanks.

3 beautiful things

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Nana’s Roses

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True Love

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Final moments

 

These are in my heart.

As we remember the loss of Nana this week.

As we think of the loss of Gigi.

As we prepare to say goodbye to Pop.

As we imagine a beautiful reunion time.

More beautiful than a rosebush in full splendor, spilling over with delicate red blooms.