Friday, October 3, 2014

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...

I'm not sure this post will have a point or make any sense, for that matter.
Today as I was watching my little baby boy make his cute little faces, I realized that I've been on both sides of this life so to speak. I've sat with my mother, literally on her death bed and said good-bye to her within minutes of her death. I've also held two perfect baby boys seconds after they were born.
For some reason the thought of that is hard for me to comprehend.
"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21b

Just let that sink in for a moment.
I don't think most people ever see the last moments of someone before they leave this earth. Most people do experience the birth of a child. I never expected I'd experience both of these things within months of each other.
My year has been a roller coaster of emotions and for whatever reason, this thought occurred to me today.
One of these events was terribly sad. I watched the last moments of life on this earth for the woman who God used to make it possible for me to have life. The woman who loved and cared for me for years.
The other event was one of great joy and that we had waited nearly 3 years for. I realized that all the pain of labor and delivering a baby were completely and totally worth it as I held a little person that I had never met, in my arms, yet love more than my own life.
Life is a crazy journey.
We waited nearly 3 years to have our second baby. In those 3 years, there were months and months of waiting for 2 lines to show up on a stick. There were two babies, I will never meet on this earth.
One day my Mom told me she had cancer. She had some tests done and was told she had 2 weeks to 2 months to live. It's frightening what the end stages of cancer can do in 7 weeks. Four months before I had my baby, we buried my mother.
It's just the cycle of life, but for some reason, it's hard for me to wrap my head around right now.
While still being sad and missing my Mom, we were overjoyed by the birth of that little boy! It's amazing how God made us to be able to process so many emotions all at once.
Well, I'm done rambling for today and like I said, I don't know if this post made any sense or had any kind of point, but this is a glimpse inside my head...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Trying Again

I have a confession.
I haven't been doing a very good job of making sure I get the best deal on the things we need.
For a while I was doing great with the whole couponing thing, but I completely fell off that bandwagon. I don't know if I was burned out or just felt like I didn't  have the time. We had two foster daughters for a year (ages 1 and 4) plus our four year old son. I think that was a good excuse for me to think I couldn't fit in going to look for coupons at our recycling center and clipping them. In all honestly, I could have done it, but it was easier not too.
Well, fast forward to now.
We are no longer doing foster care, we just had our sweet baby boy a month ago and I'm realizing I need to and could be doing better with saving money on groceries especially.
Part of the groceries costing more is out of my hands. Our small town (which is the closest at 25 miles away and think mom and pop, not Wal-Mart type of stores) went from two grocery stores to one. When this happened I was so, so afraid that the prices would take a hike. And while I can't quite notice the hike when walking down the aisles picking up my items, when I get to the checkout and pay $40.00 no matter if I'm buying a weeks worth of groceries or just stocking up on a few sale items, I realized that somewhere the prices must of gone up.
So my plan, which I've said I should do for at least a year now, is to make one big grocery shopping trip a month to the bigger town an hour away.
Here I can go to Wal-Mart, Sam's and Dillon's just to name the main grocery type stores. If I can figure out just what we need to get through a month, with pantry and freezer safe items, then I can go to our smaller town grocery store just for fresh items that won't keep for a month and in the end save a bunch of money.
At Sam's I can't use coupons, but if I pick and choose what I get there, just buying things in bulk can save me a ton! At Wal-Mart and Dillon's I can use coupons and often times, Wal-Mart just has great prices, especially if you get the store brand (coupons can't be used on the store brand, but most of the time, the price is about the same as getting the brand name and using a coupon). It will take a little work to figure out what we need for a whole month and to figure out when to use coupons on the brand name items and when to just buy the store brand, but I think I can figure this out and cut our grocery bill way back!
So I'm telling you all of my plan, so that hopefully I will stick to it and actually do it this time!
Here's to saving money!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cold thoughts on Frozen

There is a lot of excitement about the Disney movie Frozen. I must say that when I saw the previews and saw that adorable little snowman, I was quite excited to see it myself. We rented it and watched it and all I can say is that I was extremely disappointed. There was not one part of the movie that I liked. Sure the 5 seconds of the snowman were cute, but that was about it.
From beginning to end, the whole movie was about magic and sorcery.
I'm not sure how that makes this movie so irresistibly good. By Christian standards, I'm not sure how any Christian would want to see it a second time let alone over and over and also have "Frozen" parties, which I've seen all over Pinterest and various blogs. I just cannot see how people don't see that everything about this movie has evil undertones.
My son saw it once with my husband and I and I'm afraid he's seen it several times at a friend's house. For awhile there, my husband would tell me that he heard Pumpkin singing a song from the movie and I'd just cringe. In his little mind, he just thought it was all fun and games, but little does he know that the movie is a stepping stone to all kinds of evil, nasty things.
Okay, okay, I hear you all out there yelling at your screen going, how is it a stepping stone to evil, nasty things? Isn't that a little harsh for a cute kids movie?
Well, first of all, the Bible tells us to abstain from the appearance of evil and is pretty clear about steering clear of magic and sorcery. Yes, the movie may seem like a cute kids movie and our kids may not even know what all the magic really means. Some parents are even good about telling their kids that it is just make believe, but where do we draw the line? Where is the line between make believe and evil?
Let me leave you with one question.
Can evil be disguised as a cute, harmless little movie?
"Abstain from all appearance of evil."
1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)
"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
 Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

“A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”
Leviticus 20:27 ESV

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A journey's end

If you've been around this blog for a while you may remember that we became licensed foster parents a little over a year ago. We also had two adorable little girls come to live with us a little over a year ago. A year ago in May we were so excited to start this journey and see where it would lead us. I never dreamt this is where we'd be today.
Let me start out by saying that the foster care system is far more of a mess than I ever realized. I have learned that lesson time and time again in the past year. For one, there is barely any sense of organization or plan. Also, and this may not be true of every case, but in ours it seems that there are not any legal grounds for these girls to have been taken away. Now in the past 2 months they were supposed to go home 2 different times and one person who had limited involvement in the case kept them from being able to go home.
The more and more my husband and I have talked about our situation, we have decided that 1)foster care is not for us and 2) in this particular case we wouldn't feel right adopting, even if the girls came up for adoption.
As for number 1, foster care is not for us in the way that, we aren't the type of people that deal well with being told what to do. Most of the regulations and such that you have to follow to be in compliance for your license are not that big of a deal, but it is still a pain in our side. We also are the type of people that like to be able and pick up and go at a moments notice if we so choose. We have also gotten fed up with all the last minute notice of what is going on with the girls and having to literally be a "pain in the butt" to find anything out in a timely manner from the workers.
Now for number 2, we may or may not have all the facts, but from what we do know we doubt the reasons the girls were taken away in the first place and therefore would always have that in the back of our mind if we were to adopt. If I'm going to adopt, I want to know that the children were taken away for good reason or else were given up freely for adoption.
So all of that to say that we are closing our license. At this time my desire to adopt is not strong, I feel that God has led us down this road to show us a little what it is like to raise a child who is not biologically ours. We aren't sure if adoption is for us or not at this point. I also had come to the decision not more than 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant, that I needed to be happy with my ONE child. God has blessed us with a happy, healthy, smart little boy and in December it hit me that there are all kinds of people out there just wishing they had just that and all I could do was wish for more. I believe that started me on the road to not being fully committed to adoption (not right now anyway). Then a couple of weeks later I found out I was pregnant...CRAZY!
So, since we do not feel led to adopt at this time, we see no reason to continue on in our foster care journey. Especially since we don't agree with the way the foster care system works and operates anyway. If we ever feel led to adopt again, I believe we will find another avenue.
There is a need for foster parents, but if you are feeling led to get involved with foster care, I highly recommend you talk to someone who has been there and done that before you jump in. We were required to take special foster parenting classes in order to get our license and they by no means painted a rosy picture of foster care, but they also did not tell us how corrupt the system was. I was completely unprepared for that. (Again, this may be more for our local system than overall, but in the case we've been involved in the only word that comes to mind is corrupt!)

So all this to say that we have come to the end of a journey and right now we are just a little family of 3, anxiously awaiting our journey down the road of being a family of four!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Getting back on track

Earlier this year my life changed forever. My Mom told me she was sick, she thought it was cancer, but had not had it checked out yet. Then a little over 2 months ago, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and it had already spread throughout her body. For 7 1/2 weeks she fought the fight, but her body couldn't take it any more and she has now passed on to a better place.
During this time we had 2 foster daughters who we thought were going to go home. They didn't go home the first time, they didn't go home the second time and now we are currently waiting for the third try to come around. 
I'm also pregnant, a wife and a mother to an energetic 4 year old.
Life has been crazy!
I used to have everything under control. I knew when all appointments were and when we need to have things done by. My paperwork was caught up and things were in order.
I've never really known the meaning of just surviving, but these past few months feel like I've only just been surviving. So it is time to start trying to get back on track. I need to get my paperwork caught back up to THIS month. I need to get back into my weekly cleaning routine. I need to get back into cooking good home cooked meals. I think your getting the picture here.
Surviving, is not a good place to be. I'm still on the fringes of it and it sucks, but in life we all go through times where its necessary to simply get through and do only the things that need to be done to get through. If you are in a time like this or are just coming out of one, let me encourage you to get back on track. I feel seriously overwhelmed trying to do so, but I can see with every small step I take to getting back on track that I feel better, feel somewhat normal again. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

And the whirlwind continues...

Well, I wish I could say that life has settled down. God has other plans. We buried my Mom a week ago yesterday. The girls are back again. They were supposed to go home two different times in the past month, but now will be in foster care for another month.
If I said I had it all under control and had it all together, I'd be a complete liar.
I'm pregnant, so I don't know if that making me more likely to just want to have a "normal" life again or what. I'm ready to be done with foster care and I don't feel like God is calling us to adoption right now like I felt a year ago.
My life will never be "normal" again without my Mom and we will be having a baby which will make life different also. Either way, I'm ready to not have to live by regulations of foster care, to welcome are baby into this world and work through the motions of not having my Mom there to meet her grandson.
 In foster care, you really live under the systems thumb so to speak.
First of all you, live under their time schedule. You are told that the kids will be picked up at such a time and then inevitably they are not picked up until an hour or two later because they have trouble with drivers.
You also have to live with all their silly little regulations. Not that their big changes to life, but locking up your medicines and having to dig out the key and unlock the container every time you need medicine isn't fun. We can't have a trampoline for our son because their prohibited by the foster care system. Do you know how annoying the outlet safety things are?! I didn't until I had to have one in every. single. outlet. We can't burn our wood burning stove in the winter because it could burn the foster children. We can't discipline in any way we see fit. At the end of the day, you just have to ask if it is all worth it. Trust me these girls are sweet and two of the greatest little girls I've known, but the system is jacking around with their situation and no one has any concern for what is best for THEM. That is the most annoying thing to me about the system. Everyone involved should have one concern and that is what is best for the children and what is the quickest way to get them in a stable environment. (In this case it would be letting them go home.) 

Friday, April 11, 2014

When the whirlwind of life keeps on....

Lately, life has been a whirlwind!
The week before Christmas we found out I was pregnant again!! What a rush of emotions...excitement, worry, joy, apprehension, and everything in between.
I am now almost 21 weeks along with a little boy! (big brother is SOO excited, as are mommy and daddy ;) !!)
Then about a month and a half ago my mom told us she was seriously sick, at the time we didn't know exactly what was going on. A couple weeks later we finally got a diagnosis, stage 4 breast cancer. It's spread throughout her body and is very aggressive. Ever since life has been a day to day roller coaster of emotional stress.
Also about 3 weeks ago I talked to the girls worker and she said that their court hearing is the middle of April and things are looking good for them to go home. They go for a visit on Monday and we are supposed to send all their things with them. If things go as planned they won't be back.
Everyone asks me how I feel about the girls going home. Honestly that is a very tough question to answer. I don't feel like they will be going into the best environment, but they are still their parents' children and as long as the parents are doing what they need to do, they need to go home. Like the worker said, if they can't move ahead with termination since we are basically at a year into this; they need to do something and the parents are doing well enough that the right thing is for them to go home. I also feel like with everything with my mom that God is just kind of letting me know it's time for them to be with their family and it's time for me to have more time to care for mine.
I'm once again at a point in my life where God is simply the only One that gets me through the days. I wake up and take every day one day at a time. He's the only One that knows what is to come and He is still in control even though I'm physically exhausted from all the emotional stress and day to day worry and concern for my mom and the unknown for these two little girls.