Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Highs and Lows

It has been a long year. It's hard to believe the last time I posted on my blog was right before my son's adoption.  So much has happened this year.  And yet not a lot at the same time.  If that's not real life, I don't know what is.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I homeschooled my two oldest kids this year.  We started the year in a charter school which turned into a very bad situation very quickly. Then we gave public school a try and that didn't go well either.  Not to the fault of the school necessarily but to the fault of my son just not being emotionally ready for school.  All of my children were born drug-exposed in utero before we adopted them, and while they have met most growth milestones, we knew education could be where we see some side effects of those drugs.  Our daughter was held back to repeat kindergarten. Not a big deal, she is doing great now. My oldest son, however, seems to be struggling more. We started him in kindergarten this year as a 5 almost 6 year old and he was completely unable to do anything the teachers asked of him and this caused great frustration for him and his behavior became out of control.  After pulling him out in October, we just focused on him learning his letters and numbers this year. He has made a lot of improvement at home.  We also got him some therapy and in home treatment and it did amazing things for his emotional struggles.  He is very excited to go back to school in the Fall and he too, will be doing kindergarten again. He will be the oldest in his class I am sure but I know that he needs to be in a class that he can feel successful in.  Our second oldest son is very smart and advanced for his age but his struggle has been speech.  He will be starting speech therapy preschool in the Fall.  Our baby who is now 18 months isn't really talking yet.  I am working with him and I hope the words will come soon.

Having all four kids home every day has been challenging to say the least.  I wake in the morning with hope for a productive and fun day...and then the kids wake up.  The fighting and arguing and messes and tantrums and crying ensues.  Don't get me wrong, there are many sweet moments. A kiss from my toddler, a cuddle with the baby, the sounds of my kids using their wild imaginations with their toys, an encouraging call from my mom.  There are highs and lows each day.  But overall, it has been a very emotionally draining year.

Next school year we are making some changes.  First off, we just bought a house! Well, technically we are in escrow, but Lord willing, we will be moving in June one town over.  It's going to ease up my husbands commute which will help all of us.  We are hoping to enroll our daughter in a private christian school that we love for her 4th grade year and we are going to enroll my son in our local public school. Due to his special needs, public school is the one place we can really get the support we will need. I am SOOOO excited for us all to get a little break from each other.  I'm excited to be able to go shopping during the week again, with only one or two little ones with me. Shopping with the four is out of the question at this point.  I'm also hoping this will help my youngest two sons bond more since they will be together alone more often.  We are excited to get plugged into a new church, make some new friends, and try out some new activities.  Lastly, I am hopeful to get some time for myself, specifically to try to lose weight and get back in shape. I'm horrible at making myself a priority but in order to be the best mom I can be, I need to be healthy.

I would really love to get back to writing on this blog and seeking out the truth of God's Word and share the things He is teaching me through motherhood.  Hopefully, I will be back soon!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Long Journey

One week from today we are going to be adopting our fourth child.  I still can't believe it.  But let me back up a bit.

In January of 2004 God brought us our first child.  She was the most precious 6 month old girl.  The first time we met her I fell in love at first sight.  I can't explain it, how it felt, it was the best feeling in the world.  She was stinky, caked in baby powder because her foster family hadn't washed her in a while. She had on a pink fleece jacket and pants that was clearly a hand me down of a hand me down. She has on these tiny yellow construction boots.  But she had these big beautiful brown eyes that just were searching and waiting for love and I knew I would love her forever.  Two years later, after a lot of paperwork and visits and court dates, we adopted her.

Over the next couple years we adopted two more boys and as a family of three we were very happy and content.  That was last year, 2014.  We adopted our son that July and when we signed adoption papers they ask if you want to be informed of any future siblings.  This doesn't mean you have to take them or adopt them, but it means you get the first call.  My husband leaned towards saying No, but my heart said Yes.  I didn't think we wanted a fourth child but I rationalized that I just wanted to know if one was born.  Didn't think about it again after that until...

October 2014 brought that phone call.  The full biological brother of our youngest son had been born two days ago and they wanted to know if we were interested in fostering him.  They gave us two hours to decide.  No joke.  I called my husband and he didn't answer. So I texted him 911 and he called me right back.  We agreed to take an hour to ourselves to pray about it and then talk about it.  After a half hour my husband called me and we agreed that our hearts were 100% saying YES!

Of course a few weeks before that call we had sold ALL of our baby stuff! Crib and all!  The baby was in the NICU for 1 week so that gave us a little time to try to gather all the baby supplies we knew we'd need.  No baby shower.  No fancy new nursery.  We had a bassinette I grabbed for $25 from Target, a couple boxes of diapers and wipes, and some sleepers and bottles.  Our family chipped in and I found some stuff on the facebook exchanges. It was a whirlwind.  On Halloween we got to visit him in the hospital and hold him and take pictures.  It was our first meeting and I will never, ever, ever, forget it.  I felt the exact same way that I felt when I met my first child.  My heart broke open and I promised this little being I would love him forever.  I never imagined as a foster adopt mother that I could love my children so much, as if they are from my own flesh.

So one week from today, our family will be complete.  Our adoption of our fourth angel will be complete and I will never have to fear losing my children again.  Except to the world of course, but that is what prayer is for.  This time we signed the sheet saying we do not want to know if another sibling is born, we just can't.  We do not have the capacity to say no and God knows our hands are full right now.  But we are thankful.  We are blessed.  Thank you God for my infertility, so that I could have the blessing of being these four's mom.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Not My Ways but His

This post has been coming for a while.  We have been going through some big things lately.  It has caused me to look back on my life and see all the ways where God's way were not my ways but they were the best for me.

The verse in Isaiah 55:8 says,
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD."

Here are some of the ways of God's that were different than mine.

After I got married and we started trying to have a baby, my first fear was that I would have a miscarriage.  Three months later I did. (It was a chemical pregnancy).  Seeing the pink line and having that hope and joy that I would have a baby, to just days later see it disappear was devastating. My way= to not endure that pain.  God's way= allow me to have that pain because in hindsight I am thankful to have seen that pink line, if only one time.

As we continued to try to get pregnant, my fears grew that I would never be able to get pregnant. That fear came true.  I have never given birth to a baby, nor have I ever seen another pink line on a pregnancy stick.  My way= a natural pregnancy.  God's way= Adoption of four of the most beautiful and wonderful children in the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus for not giving me my way.

After the adoption of our first daughter, we decided to take on the risk of fostering to adopt. This process is not for the weak.  Nothing has strengthened my faith in God more than trusting Him through an adoption. My biggest fear was falling in love with a child, and then essentially losing him/her to the system or birth family.  When you start the process, you know the risks, but you have to be willing to risk in order to get the reward, an adoption.  Well, my fears were once again realized and our first foster child did return to his birth family after four months.  My way= a seamless adoption process that led to our goal. God's way= for us to love and care for this sweet child who was in transition to the next home God had for him.  I won't lie. It was hard. But we knew that with fostering, all you can do is love the child while you have them, and continue to pray for them if they leave.  

Soon after that little boy left, we got another little boy, 15 months old. We were very hopeful this match would lead to adoption.  However, it was still wrought with challenges.  Our boy was was still having visits with his birth mom and each week would have horrible night terrors on the night after his visit. It would take a few days for him to return to normal. Over time, the visits stopped and we were able to adopt our sweet first son.  My way= a smooth and easy adoption process. God's way= a challenging and stretching process that really stretched us in every way imaginable.  We had to lean on God and trust him more than ever.

With our first adopted son, the challenges continued. He immediately bonded with my husband.  My husband was the first male in his life to show him love and affection and he just soaked it up.  The connection was not as strong with me, his mom.  I understand that I was his third mom. He had a birth mom, and then a foster mom, and then me.  He didn't really understand who I was to him and I think that the word mom lost some of its love from the experiences he had with his first moms.  It took about a year for him to tell me he loved me and almost two years for him to really express that love with hugs and kisses and just that look of love that kids give.  This was extremely challenging for me, as someone who dreamed of having children and wanted that close bond.  I had to give him the time he needed to trust me and know that I was not going to leave.  He is almost six now and he still asks me about once a week if I still love him.  I might have to reassure him forever but I will do whatever I have to do so that he knows I love him and will never leave him.  My way= instant connection and love with my foster/adopted kids.  God's way= a HUGE learning process, a very long lesson in patience, and persistence.  Little did I know God has been preparing me for more challenges with this sweet boy through these early on days to help me be prepared for the current struggles we are facing.

After this, our first son's birth mother had two more babies.  We were blessed to have two newborns over the next four years.  This was such a blessing.  I never even allowed myself to dream that I would have the opportunity to have 1 newborn, much less two!  I also didn't imagine that we would have FOUR children, after everything we went through to try to get pregnant with no success.  God is so good!!  I love  having a big family (is a family of six even considered big anymore?) and although it stretches me to my limits literally every day, I can't imagine it any other way.  My way= Be thankful for your two kids and don't allow yourself to hope for more so you aren't disappointed. Also, I had given up hope of having a newborn, wouldn't even let myself think about it.  God's way= BLESSING upon BLESSING! Two newborns and the big family I always dreamed of!  His ways are so much better than ours and He does hear our heart and wants to bless us.

The next challenge I have faced as a parent is the school decision.  I have been pretty undecided on this and we have tried a few different things.  Thankfully my oldest daughter is very flexible so she is no worse for wear.  She has been in a charter school, public school, private school, and a homeschool environment.  It sounds crazy but each place had a purpose and reason for it.  As a former school teacher myself, education is extremely important to me and I only want the best for my kids.  Each school option has their pros and cons and I think each parent has to weight what is most important to them.  Last year we solely homeschooled and it was a really great year.  It is very self-sacraficing to homeschool and that was my biggest struggle. I longed for a break, some breathing room to read for pleasure, to run errands with less children. But the spiritual and intellectual growth in my daughter last year made it all worth it.  My way= the easy way.  God's way= the hard, yet blessed way.  

This year our first son started kindergarten.  We already knew going in that this was going to be a tough year for him.  Remember how I told you about all the challenges we had with him his first years? Well, they have continued. After being kicked out of two VBS's and 1 preschool we decided to have him assessed. He was 3 at the time.  They couldn't put their finger on what exactly was "wrong" with him, but they did acknowledge that he was emotional and intellectually delayed about a year and a half.  They agreed he needed special help and he was enrolled in a special education preschool for about a year and a half.  Last winter, we pulled him out of that preschool because he started learning more negative than positive behaviors. We keep trying to put him in social situations, hoping that with age, maturity will help him make better decisions.  So far, this is not happening.  The opposite is happening actually.  He has been politely asked not to return to Awanas both last year and again this past week when we gave it another go.  We decided to enroll him and his sister in a Charter School/Homeschool program.  They are schooled at home two days and go to school three days.  We enrolled our daughter too, hoping it would give our son more peace of mind knowing she was there too.  It has basically been a disaster.  Our son's behavior has become out of control and he has absolutely no ability to even finish a task.  Having so many kids in one class is overwhelming his little soul and he is acting out.  I have had meetings with the teacher and many phone calls trying to find a way to help him. It's not working and it's getting worse.  We have come to the conclusion that school is not a good atmosphere for him and next week will be his last week before I start homeschooling him full time.  This may be the most difficult decision I have had to make yet.  However I feel God calling me to this new challenge.  There is a verse that says, "You were created for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14)  I feel like God has been preparing me for this for years.  My teaching experience, the fact that he gave me this specific child with his specific needs, my years of patience and trust building with him.  These are the skills God has given me to raise him, to teach him.  I am scared to death because it is going to be hard.  But I believe God will give me the strength to handle each day.  My way= Never, ever homeschool my most difficult child, let the professionals handle his needs.  God's way= Homeschool my most difficult child because he needs me, he needs to know he is loved even if he can't keep up. He needs to know he can and will succeed when given time.  He needs to know he is made in God's image and that he is not ruined or flawed because his birth mother made horrible decisions when he was growing in her belly.  This is not his fault.  He is going to be okay.  God wants what is best for him, and right now I am what is best for him.  

Let's be clear. God's ways are not easy.  They are not always rainbows, butterflies, and happy endings.  But they are good. And they are good for us.  They challenge us, stretch us, and force us to rely on HIM instead of ourselves.  God's ways help us to grow, to mature, to become the people He created us to be.  It's easy to do the easy thing, but the result is rarely as sweet as when we do the hard thing.  It's in the hard things that God's grace and love shine through, where we get to see Him intervene and guide us along the bumpy trail.  I will thank Him for every bump in the road because I know it's one step closer to seeing Him.  

Are you facing a situation where God's way seems to hard and you want to do things your way?  Take a moment and remember that He will be with you every step of the way.  The risk is always worth the reward when it comes to trusting Him.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Well, it is January 22nd and I am just getting to writing down my Banner Word for the year.  For a few years I have read about people who come up with a word for their year to reflect on what God is doing in their life. This year I have been praying over a word. The one that keeps popping up in the books I'm reading, conversations with friends, the sermons I am hearing, and basically everywhere is the word, DREAM.  It doesn't seem very spiritual to me and so I've questioned if this is really the word God has for me for this year.  But it keeps coming back to me so I have decided to embrace the word and start pursuing the dreams that God has already put in my heart, and the ones He has yet to put in my heart.

Psalm 38:9 says, "You know what I long for Lord; you hear my every sigh."

My longings and my sighs are my dreams, my secret heart desires that only God knows about.  I have been pondering what my dreams are and realized that there a varying degrees of dreams. There are the universal dreams: the dream to be happy, healthy, and prosperous.  Everyone has that dream. Then there are the physical dreams for a nice home, nice things, etc.  I have spiritual dreams, dreams about doing amazing work for God's kingdom, making Him proud of me and how I spend my time.

I have gone through a lot of changes recently.  We discovered that my middle son has a few special needs that needed a full time parent to be present to help him so I had to quit my teaching job to do this.  It was a very hard choice.  I really loved teaching and I really loved the students that God had blessed me with this year.  Walking away from a job I adored, where I felt appreciated and fulfilled was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I had been a stay at home mom for 6 years and I will admit that I was a bit burnt out on it last year, so when I had this dream teaching job placed in my lap, I was very excited for a new challenge, a new adventure! And boy was it!  Managing a classroom and my 3 children was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  But sometimes hard is a good thing, and for me it was.  I loved it.  So when God changed my course, I was confused, frustrated, but open.  Wherever I am, I want to be in the center of His will.

So with this new change to being a stay at home mom again, I think God is calling me to DREAM some new dreams.  Something beyond teaching and also beyond changing dirty diapers.  He is always working in our lives, sometimes in obvious ways and sometimes in not so obvious ways.  My prayer for 2014 is that He will shape my dreams to be His dreams and that those dreams will come true.

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever."

My dreams are small. His are big.  Mine are limited by my own insecurities, fears, and experience.  His are wide open, immeasurable, and bigger than anything I can imagine.  Yep, I want HIS dreams for my life!! I can't wait for Him to reveal them to me this year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Book List for 2014

I have seen a few blogs posting their book lists for 2014 and thought it was a great idea.  I am not big on new years resolutions but I am into reading books and I hope to read more this year than I did last year.  

Here is my list so far:

1. Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph

2. Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst

3. 15 Minutes by Karen Kingsbury

4. Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn

5. Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

6. Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World - Tsh Oxenreider

7. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms - Gloria Furman

8.Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages - Darlene Schacht

9. Million Little Ways, A: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live - Emily P. Freeman

10. The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family - Karyn B. Purvis

11.Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition) - Foster Cline

12. Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose - Candace Cameron Bure

There are probably more I am not thinking of but this is a great list and I am excited to dig in and see what God wants to teach me through these pages.  Happy Reading!!

What are you going to be reading this year??

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stay at Home Mom Teacher

I have been MIA from this blog because I got a full time job as a 5th grade teacher in August. After 6 years of being a stay at home mom, it has been a HUGE adjustment to go back to teaching.  The actual classroom teaching was pretty easy to transition into but the grading, field trips, extracurricular activities, science experiments, class projects, spirit weeks, enrichment activities, and did I mention the grading have been a huge life adjustment.  My house is a mess, I miss my kids every minute of every day, I haven't worked out in 11 weeks, and have eaten more times that I dare to admit.  However, God is still good.  He is still strong.  And he is working through my weakness to some amazing things with my students.

Today I had 14 parent teacher conferences, and although I am always nervous beforehand, I am always blessed at the kindness and encouragement of the parents.  It is exciting to hear how my teaching is making a difference.  Sometimes in the day to day, it is hard to see how God is working through you.  It is so encouraging when you can step back and look at the bigger picture, look past the dirty laundry, look past the piles of paperwork, the stress, the early mornings...and you see the changed hearts.  The students who have a teacher who they trust and know loves them and wants them to succeed.

When I was offered this position, I wasn't ready.  I wanted another year or two home with my babies.  It was such a hard decision.  I love teaching SO much, but I love my family more.  But yet, God opened up this door and kept showing me that this was the path he wanted me on.  Also, I really felt like there was a student or students in this particular class that needed me to be their teacher this year.  That God specifically had me in mind to be there for someone.  I forgot about that until today.  Today, God showed me who that child is and why I am there. This year. Not next year. God's plans are always bigger than our plans and His ways are never our ways.  Isn't that the truth?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Study

Tomorrow I am starting the Good Morning Girls bible study on the book by Jennie Allen called "Anything."  I read this book a year ago and loved it and am excited to read it again, along with pre-planned scripture reading, to get really deep into it.

If you are interested in joining in, here is the link:

I am excited to spend this summer getting deeper into God's word and discovering His plans for my life, for my family's life.