Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Nation's Capitol (we're leaving with a Capital L!)

Tonight, J and I will depart for a 4 day trek to Washington, D. C. to the annual CFA seminar. Each year, CFA honors their operators, employees, and spouses for a 3-4 day conference on leadership and training. In case you don't know WinShape Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A. This year at the seminar WinShape Homes is being featured. . each home has a child that is being featured, and we have a huge booth to work in.

Huh, huh, huh. . do you know what it takes to get us outta here? As I am stealing from one of the other foster moms, "it takes an Act of Congress". Here's the country's decrees:

Now here's mine:

Notice the entire kitchen island is covered with sticker charts for good behavior, checks, envelopes for various babysitters, master lists for the family, a master list for AC (she gets 3 pages alone), envelopes with cash, medical release forms, and insurance cards. . it has taken days!

Here's just an example!

We hope to get in a little sightseeing and hear from some awesome speakers, such as:

And for some awesome leadership training, this guy will be there!
For a fun treat, we heard this guy will be there. . maybe he will make a cake that looks like this?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Makes all Things New!

Over the past 36 hrs, I have been through the ringer. A stomach bug descended upon Ann Claire and myself. . I thought I was going to die. It was really bad there for a bit, I knew I was approaching dehydration and was so weak I couldn't peel myself off of the bathroom floor. Sweet J took the household over in a mighty force and would crack open the bedroom door to push through sprite, a heating pad, and to periodically check on me. Hysterical to see his face covered with his shirt, I knew he really must love me. This week we have faced many other hardships, so to spend a day watching the snow fall, cover the ground with white, see my kids faces light up at the sight of it, and to see their joy in playing in it. . it made all things feel new!

To our surprise when we awoken this morning school had been cancelled due to impending snow. . we would have to wait and see if it would come? Around lunch the snow started and the kids squealed with delight! "It's snowing, it's snowing!" and "It's sticking, it's sticking!" (every good southerner knows, it's not official until it STICKS) Around 2 they headed out with many breaks in between for hot chocolate and a good warm up by the fire inside. They all had a blast, and even Big T and B headed out to make the cutest snowwoman I have ever seen!

Meet Geraldine! (of course her snowwoman accessories are pink and chocolate!)

The rest of the gang thought they would get in on the snow person action!

All in all, it was a day to remember, the final measurement was around 2.5 inches! That's a lot for us!

These are some shots taken this morning at sunrise! Thank you Lord for your beautiful creation! Several from my front porch and kitchen window! What a sight!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Harsh Reality of Foster Care

Ok, I have been quiet long enough, but I must speak out. I have tried to protect the life choice of several of my girls, but I must give my opinion. . well because I am the mom and this is my blog.

About a year ago we begin to face the Harsh reality of parenthood. As Foster parents a different reality sets in when kids you have seen through the brutal years of teenagerhood start to "make their own choices". Yes "make their own choices" is what we will call it, but we all know what it means. Teenagers facing early adulthood have one thing on their mind. . Independence, notice with a capital I. (there are so many spiritual analogies I could apply here, but I will at the end)


I have cried my eyes out, screamed, defended, helped, driven, yelled, begged, pleaded, preached at, talked with, prayed over and prayed for these girls. They are mine! I have earned the stripes to be called mother and J has earned the stripes to be called father, trust me EARNED THEM, not even their biological mothers call to tell them Happy Birthday, write letters, or check on them. To my knowledge they have never even sought them out. I have poured the sweat and tears into seeing them to where they are. . Young Adulthood. Several of our girls came during the most tumultuous years of their lives, PUBERTY. Most of their worldviews on life had been burned into memory due to the circumstances from which they came. Many ADULT topics they were exposed to were set in place. The images were there, had been felt, lived out and witnessed. . there is no turning back the permanency of the effects of what they have seen. (yes it matters if your small child witnesses a fight between mother and father, yes it matters if your small child wants to see a PG-13 movie, but that is another post) Many of the children we have helped through the years come to us with scarring that is not their fault, to add to their pain, there is no one, no one lining up to parent them!

We have tried to "play catch-up" if you will, to pour into and invest all we can into our children that did without for many of the early years of their lives. We have invested in private schools, taken them on vacations, plane trips, church trips, family meals fit for kings, had devotions, prayed together,. . you name it, we wanted them to HAVE it, SEE it, LIVE it. Thanks to our unique and special organization so much has been provided for them. BUT when early adulthood sets in, somehow it isn't enough anymore. They want to do it their way, don't we all. BUT when the price to pay is hurting so many people in your path to GET what YOU WANT. The price is too high, for me! BUT not for them.

In the past week, two of our girls have decided to take life by the reigns and do it all on their own. Are they equipped for the journey? Maybe, maybe not. BUT the problem is the destruction and forest fire left behind has left all of us blindsided, hurt, crushed, disappointed and faced with a harshness that stings. To watch small children left behind cry out that those they have developed relationships with have just walked out on them without saying goodbye is just wrong. It is the harsh reality of what we do. . care for orphans in their distress. But what about when they "don't want you anymore". . you keep loving them, but watch them chose a path that will bring disaster? What then? How do you manage?

Oh how our Lord must mourn for us daily when we take the reigns from Him. Who are we to think that we know better than Him, and when we cry out to Him. . "I don't need you, I'm gonna take this one, you don't know better than me." A parent's frustration and I in my state is only a tiny percentage of what He must feel for us DAILY! To watch all He provides for us, then to turn back to sin constantly.. HIS love and mercy humbles me. I can only offer the same for my children because He has done that for me. That's how I keep going, that's how I face the harshness, and that's how I continue in the daily grind. . because I know I have Hope in a Savior that promises a final chapter of redemption for all of His children, even mine.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A new book you must get!

Beth Moore's new book just came out this week.

So Long Insecurity, You've been a bad friend to us.
Say Amen, Sister. If you are female and breathing you have struggled with insecurity. Even if we don't want to admit it, we all know it's true. . . our insecurity makes us not want to admit we are insecure! Anyway, Emmy and I treked down to the Atlanta area today to get our new books signed! Woo-hoo.

My week has been heavy, I mean heavy. I am tired and needed a quick refreshing day with a good friend. You know the kind of day when you can lay it all out there and they support you. It just feels good. Emmy was that for me today, such an awesome listening ear she has.

We headed south very early in the wind and rain this morning. We arrived and were surprised to find there was not a very long line to see Beth. I love, love my new Insecurity book, I just had to get a few for some friends. I can't wait to dive in and deal with my "issues".

It was a joy to see Beth, meet new friends in line that share a mutual friend with me, eat a cozy lunch with a friend, share my heart, hear a friend's heart, and have a break from the little ones. (thanks J for letting me do that)

Here's a few of our photo ops!

We are secure enough to show off our new books!

I love this woman. I have read her books, listened to her teach, watched her video lessons, and have seen her transparency that God has used. She has a gift to allow to used by God to touch lives daily. What I see in her is the Lord. So thankful she has put herself out there and is willing to be used of the Lord.

Now suck it up, get secure and buy this book! I promise you will love it, chapter one has been awesome!