Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The message I found under the fridge.

 

We have a few random magnets on our refrigerator door, and every toddler that has been in our home loves to play with them! So I was really excited when I happened to find a deal on some unique wooden letter magnets; and even more thrilled that they did not disappoint at home with the little ones. 

We had the magnets a few weeks when one day I noticed a pink plastic "Q" amongst them.  It clearly did not belong and had no obvious origin.  A few days go by and another plastic letter appeared. You would expect these kinds of things to go missing, but they were multiplying!

While doing dishes yesterday I discovered "Z" (our 23 month old foster love) pushing a few magnets under the front of the fridge.  While helping him retrieve the discarded letters I discovered a few things...

A LOT of dust, 

and more plastic letters!!!

We moved into this rent house back in November, {clearly we overlooked under the fridge on cleaning day} and apparently these were left behind from the previous occupants.

In addition to solving the mystery of the stray magnets, I learned a few things! 


These magnets were not unlike the little boy who discovered them.  They had been left behind, abandoned, forgotten.   For months they were non-existent to those walking right by them.  Then a group, a family came along...something that they could be apart of, and then they were finally back in a situation that they could find purpose.  They had to be cleaned up a little bit, some of them nursed back to "health."  Some came around sooner than others, but all were eventually rescued.

Some may have said our alphabet was complete, but it's even a little bigger now; it looks a little different to some...But some of us don't even notice.




How many magnets are under YOUR fridge???

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May is foster care awareness month. Take this month to learn a few things about this growing need, and discover what YOU can do to help! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Who has come between us?...Welcome to the World little man!

Not that I was ever very reliable about meeting you all here, but for those of you who have noticed that I nearly completely disappeared for awhile... I thought I might show you just who it is,  that has come between us!

Meet this handsome little man right here...


For the last 4+ months we have been getting to know the little miracle guy we already loved so much!  We weren't able to have any professional newborn photos done, but I knew I had to have something. I thought I would share with you the little mini session we had on the living room floor with my iPhone!








Welcome to the World Knox!

Kudos to the pros at this!  Newborns make you work at photos!  He was very alert from the beginning, even at the hospital (possibly because he was a week overdue); so open eyes were easy.  

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*Pants & Hat:  Piney Woods Boutique

*Onsie: DIY (Decal from StickersbyStephanie)

*Blanket:  Gift from a friend, from Modern Burlap

Photos taken with iPhone 6s Plus

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*I wasn't paid to say any of this, I'm just sharing the info!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Who deserves our love more?

 

Having one in our home so close in age as Knox, they have a lot of the same needs...at the SAME time.  Yesterday at one particular time of "need," I felt a tinge of guilt.  I wondered if we were robbing Knox of "love" that belonged to him. Instantly, as I looked into the face of the precious baby girl in my lap, I wondered "where was her love?"  Certainly there was a love that belonged to her as well, And somebody had in fact, robbed her of it.

 Before we ever met him, I began praying that Knox would know how much we love him, but most of all, how much God loves and cares for him. It is up to us to show God's love to all His sweet children, and right now we have been given the privilege to also share the love of a parent to many child in our home through foster care.
 While we will take necessary steps along the way to insure the spiritual, emotional, and physical safety of our biological children; I like to think that our journey through foster care is one way they will witness {and ultimately be a part of} our service to God in carrying out Jesus' commandment to love and care for orphans.
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 Do you love the blanket⬆️? Checkout the Little Bee Co 🐝, where your purchase helps provide blankets to children in US foster care.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

They're not My children

When we began the journey of foster care we faced many questions and comments regarding the time when the children leave your home.  Having not yet experienced that heartbreak, the only answer we had was the one revealed to us when God placed this service on our hearts.


All children, no matter who they are born to, belong to Him first.  He is so good to give us the privilege to love and care for His most precious creation, the one made in an image of Him.

In July our home grew from a family of 2 to 4 and soon became 5 with the birth of our son.  In November our first placement moved and a month later we said goodbye again and were left with a very empty home.  Many, many tears have been shed, and being mommy and daddy for 6 months and having to say goodbye is possibly the hardest thing we have ever been through.

I started asking myself...

"Can I really do this?"  

"Will I love the next one less because now I know what goodbye feels like?"

"Is this really what He wants us to do?"

Somehow, I found a comfort in the presence of so many questions.  Isn't this EXACTLY what God calls us to? 

The hard, the ugly, the faith building trials...

When we are in a situation so heart wrenching and God is still there...when His hands are almost visible...we cannot help but know He is good, and see His sovereignty over the situation.

Despite "loss" being still so fresh, I know that all the tears in our eyes and scars on our hearts are a worthy sacrifice for the privilege to care for God's children in such an intimate way by welcoming them into our home.

Grief is heavy on our hearts, but there is still room for a little excitement in the unknown details of the next child whom we will share our home, and most of all our heats with. 


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If you would like to learn the many different ways you can serve through foster care, look up your state's DCFS website.

If you are in Arkansas, look up the next info meeting in your area, through the CALL

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Box for Christmas: Tips for an OCC Packing Party



This week has been absolutely crazy and somewhat heartbreaking (maybe more on that later), but this week also marked one of my favorite events of the year...Operation Christmas Child Collection Week!!!  To get my mind off some not so fun stuff, I want to share a little more about this ministry with y'all!!!

Brett and I are year-round volunteers with Samaritan's Purse and right now we are serving as relay center coordinators, which means we host a drop off location.  Last year, our first year as a drop-off we collected 249 boxes!  This year, our church alone packed about 235 boxes!!! (Final counts to come in tomorrow! Watch for update!!!)

Last year I shared some ideas of items to put into a box and WHY they are good suggestions.  This year I wanted to share some tips on organizing a packing party.

1.  From my post last year you can see how some items can be really important in these boxes, so these items I recommend buying in bulk for your "goal" number of boxes.  School Supplies, Soap, Toothbrushes, & other hygiene items.  Two ways to do that are coupon-ing (all year or a few good trips before packing) and Amazon.com, especially with a Prime membership.  You can even support the ministry further by selecting "Samaritan's Purse" through Amazon Smile! HERE are some Amazon items.

2.  Have multiple people/small groups collect "WOW" items.  This will create a diversity in your items.  Plus you will all get ideas from each other; we had outfits, sports equipment, large toys, musical instruments, tools, large sewing kits...  It really is exciting to see what others come up with!

3. Be organized.  The level or organization necessary will depend on your group... the size, avg age etc.  Our group was large and included all ages.  We created a packing "buffet" of sorts; we started with a box, and went through a line of tables picking items that we sorted out into categories.  The last table was a misc pile of "filler items."

4. Don't forget to make them personal.  One of the main things we have run into when packing multiple boxes is forgetting to ad an individual personal touch on each box.  The filler items are the first way to do this.  When each "packer" gets to the table with multiple random items, it will give them a chance to pray "what will the child receiving this very box want/need?"

 - The second is to include a personal letter and/or even a picture.  Give that child an opportunity to see that a real person is on this side of the box loving and praying for them.  At the end of the packing line have a empty table available to sit and take time to write out a note or at least a few words!  Or even use this fun sheet to give them a little info about yourself!

5. Pray as a group over the boxes.  There is something about circling around the boxes as a group and inviting Jesus to go before them, to prepare the hearts to receive His message when they receive this small simple gift.

Each year I am blessed more and more to be a part of this ministry.  I would love to answer any questions you may have about packing a shoe box.  Click HERE for more information on our involvement with OCC.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Good Father of foster care.


Overnight we became the parents to two sweet girls through foster care.  I would be lying if I said it was everything we were prepared for.  It has been the hardest thing we have done so far, yet I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

On a normal (to us) Thursday we received two separate phone calls that would turn out to be our first two foster placements.  That evening, while eating supper with family, we couldn't help but think about how "normal" and mundane the day/evening was for us, yet our eyes had been opened to the sobering fact that just miles down the road lives were being torn apart and tossed upside down.  In a matter of hours we learned of two separate heartbreaking situations taking place, all while we went along with our everyday lives.  Before the evening was over our household had grown from 2 to 4, when we welcomed a 12 yr old and a 1 yr old into our home.

We are only two months into the "parenting" part of the fostering journey, but one thing, and possible the ONLY thing I know for sure is that God is still always in control.  We have both already shed many tears with and for the young lives in our home, and if it wasn't for the peace and comfort of knowing who holds the future, I honestly don't think I could continue this journey.

Recently the four of us were in the vehicle with KLOVE playing as always.  Chris Tomlin's song "Good Good Father" was on and in that moment when I heard the two little voices in the back seat singing along, I immediately was overwhelmed with emotion.  The depth of that moment, knowing that two young souls, who may possibly have never known a "good father,"  were hearing (and singing) the gospel of the greatest Father we could ever have.

I will never forget that moment.  In the moments when this journey seems impossible to endure, I will forever remember those little voices in the backseat.  My prayer is that they to, wherever their path leads, with always remember He is a Good Good Father.



Friday, August 26, 2016

busy, busy, busy

Wonder where I have been!?

Well the last time we met here I mentioned that we were about to have our final Foster Home walk through...

Then it happened, our phone rang and things forever changed.  We officially began the BUSIEST SUMMER OF OUR LIVES with the addition of two precious kiddos!

The garden fell victim to desertion (and too much rain) shortly after.  So thankful for the abundant harvest early in the year (especially since we grew by two mouths!)  We are still getting okra and peas, but that's about it!

The puppies have grown up! Fast!!!

Brett finished his 3 weeks at church camp and then we squeezed in a week long mission trip, a week at nationals, a week of VBS, a family reunion, watermelon festival fundraiser, 2 camping trips, "back to school" (our first time to experience that on the parental end) and a baby anyday!!!

Bring on fall!!!  & BABY PLEASE!!! (3 days to due date)