23 May 2013

the hair dryer

This motherhood thing is a challenge.  Just when you think you are getting a part figured out, your kids grow and there are new parts.  The learning curve tends to fall heavily on the firstborn.  God bless him.

He's not a fan of me taking his picture, and really dislikes it when I post pictures... although, if I tell him "your grandparents" will want to see this, he usually relents.  But with that look on his face.  I see that look more and more.  I recognize it.  I think I could've won medals for giving that look so frequently and effortlessly.

Last night, I watched Frankie Heck burst into tears at Axel's graduation and I could've jumped right in the screen with her.

It all happens so fast.

I know Wil isn't graduating yet (thank you Jesus!), but he is just growing so much.  And so often this mother heart wonders if I haven't just messed it all up for him.  There's this crazy part that thinks somehow my mistakes will surpass God's grace, you know?

But God is good.  And in His goodness, He gives these little gifts.

The one I am savoring right now involves my hair dryer.  And the boy that wants to grow his hair out.



We've decided its OK for him to grow his hair out.  We would love if he actually cared what it looks like when he leaves the house.  Maybe that will happen one day?  We've threatened to cut it if he doesn't start combing it BEFORE we tell him too.  The loophole here is that he gets it wet, and combs 25% of it.  Its still a mess but obvious that he made an effort... be it a really small effort.  The hair.  [I can't help but wonder if these hair-hassles might be some sort of preparation for a girl to join our ranks.]  Its an ongoing thing.  And fairly annoying.

Maybe it was the night before the baby dedication?  I don't remember for sure.  I decided to blow dry Wil's hair before bed.  All the way.  The next morning, it still looked good.

So for the last week or so, Wil and I have a few moments for me to run my fingers through his hair and wave a hair dryer at his head.  We made a little hand gesture for him to use so I can give him a cool shot if it gets too hot.  We don't talk, I turn him around this way and that.

I marvel at how big he is.  I wonder at how this once tiny head that I cradled in my hands is so full of this hair.
And ideas.
And dreams.

God has given me these moments with him and my hair dryer.  They are treasure.

Oh the things we mothers carry close in our hearts. 

p.s. yes, I did get carried away with picmonkey when editing the photo. ;)  I imagine Wilson will quickly greet this post with that look.  God bless him.

20 May 2013

seven bones

Which is slightly more humorous than seven dollars.  Right?

Which is how much we made at our "garage sale" this weekend. 

And the thing is, I am not really disappointed.  I don't feel like we wasted time.  We did waste a bit of poster board that didn't survive the rain, but other than that we're good.

You may or may not know that we are hoping to buy shoes for our foster care office with the money from our sale.  We are almost completely stocked {at the time of typing; this changes often due to kiddos coming in to care any day of the week}, in regard to clothing. 

When I was in the office last week, the caseworker told me that they had TWO sets of SEVEN kiddos come in to care the Friday prior.  14 kids on the same day.  One child had no shoes whatsoever.  Thankfully, they found a pair of flip-flops that worked.  I knew then that we would use our "garage sale" money for shoes. {There are currently 16 pairs of shoes total - for ALL ages/genders - oh, and 6 pair are women's size 9 or larger.}

We made seven bones.  You can't buy a whole lotta shoes for that... not even kids shoes.

But here's the thing.  Its in God's hands, oh and by the way, He has a ridiculous track record with us + garage sales.

Our first sale in Oklahoma we paid to advertise in the "wrong paper."  I had more baby boy clothes to sell than Babies R Us.  I was 7 months pregnant and desperate, because we had no space for-all-the-bins-of-clothes.  Pretty sure I saved every. single. piece. of clothing Wilson ever wore.  Sure, I was pregnant with baby boy #2 and due in the same season even - but nearly three years of clothing just don't fit as well in a rental house as they do in your parents' basement.  We paid for our ad so after subtracting that we made $4 at that sale.  We had a woman interested in buying our bedding set for $10 so I had set it aside for her... she never came back.  There was some marital tension over that decision.  I looked into selling it on eBay - people did that back then.  Brad took pictures and listed it.  Our five year old bedding set from Target sold for over $180. 

One of our sales here, we had hoped to make enough money to buy Wilson a cub scout uniform.  {Nobody tells you those babies are outrageously expensive when you sign your boy up!}  We didn't sell much at the sale.  We might have had enough for a shirt.  We looked on eBay for used Cub Scout uniforms.  We had a stack of old DVD's leftover from the sale.  Unbelievable that nobody bought them for the hot price of 3/$1.  We figured we could try to sell them on eBay.  Brad sorted them into sets - high-demand sets really - Dora, Bob the Builder, Backyardigans, ScoobyDoo.  The good stuff, people.  I can't remember the dollar amount exactly but we more than quadrupled what we would've made had we sold them at our sale and there was enough scratch for every piece of that uniform.  And money left over for our pockets.


You can't never always sometimes tell.

That's a phrase I am borrowing from The Circle Maker.  {If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?}  Basically, you can't predict what God is going to do.  Ever.

We are going to try and sell our wares again on Saturday this week.  I don't know if we'll make a ton of money or if we'll be lucky to make seven dollars again.  The thing is, I am trusting God with it; and I am guessing there's going to be a surprise in it.  I'll keep you posted.

You might not be having a garage sale.  Or maybe you just did and you sold hundreds of dollars worth of your junk.  No matter.  The point is, at some point in your life God has surprised you, I bet.  Its fun to go back and remember how He did.  Especially if you are waiting on something now. 

Take a moment and think of a "you can't never always sometimes tell" memory in your life.  Praying that moment is a special blessing to you today.

10 May 2013

satisfied

I'm still whirling around a bit as I "unpack" from Summit 9. As I look back over my notes & hand-outs, I am flooded over with such a sense of satisfaction. The kind you get from eating just-the-right amount of your very-most-favorite foods - not the satisfaction from seeing a car get pulled-over that recently sped past you on the highway. Filled-up, content, satisfaction. That.

I should back up a little though. There might be a couple of you that aren't really sure what Summit 9 is or why we went.

The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) was started to bring a sense of unity to the adoption/orphan care world - rather than a bunch of churches/organizations doing their own thing their own way, there was a desire to come together toward the common goal.

"The Christian Alliance for Orphans unites more than 100 respected Christian organizations and a national network of churches.  Working together, our joint initiatives inspire, equip and connect Christians to reflect God’s heart in caring for orphans in adoption, foster care and global orphan care initiatives." [from CAFO homepage]

They decided to "leave logos and egos at the door." The first Summit had 39 people in attendance. This year there were over 2500!

You might remember that I wasn't sure if we were the right fit for Summit 9. After all, our church doesn't have an orphan care ministry and we don't work for any orphan care organizations either. Aaand we didn't win a free registration.

But God. He always leads well when you are listening, and we were and He did. Brad and I had a sense that we should go, and we had an honest-to-goodness offer from Barbie to watch all four boys for us. We started looking at breakout sessions and considering which might be most beneficial. We were leaning toward the sessions that helped with starting an orphan care ministry within your church. We weren't sent by our church. We hadn't even discussed it church leadership. It just made sense to us even if it didn't really make sense at all.

You see, through our own adoption journey we learned a lot about the foster care system. While feeling like we were "fighting the system" to get to finalization; the reality is that "the system" is understaffed and overwhelmed. There aren't enough caseworkers for all of the cases and their are never enough foster parent homes. Not only are caseworkers carrying more cases than is desirable - the cases are rarely clear cut and often heavy. Add to that heavy, complicated caseload the pressure to find a local foster home when there are none. This, to us, is a place where the Church can step in and love well. And the time is now.  It will likely be messy.

As you know, we've already collected over 40 bags for our local foster care office's supply closet. The caseworkers can grab a bag for each child that comes in to care and get rid of their trash bags. You know, it's the caseworkers that hate to see children carrying belongings in trash bags? They requested bags for their children. We've also collected more outfits than I can count so there are items for kiddos to wear if they need something when they come in to care. A caseworker won't have to run out to Wal-mart hoping to find a suitable outfit for a child in the midst of crisis. A couple posts on Facebook and these needs are fulfilled. I can only imagine what could happen if our churches were organized to help in this way.

After going to Summit 9, I don't have to imagine as much.   We got a glorious glimpse into all the ways God is working in the adoption/orphan care movement.  It was refreshing just to see the number of people, churches, organizations gathered around this central focus. 


I will probably blog a bit more about some of the individual highlights we experienced.  For now, just know we were reassured over and over again that we were right where we were supposed to be.

05 May 2013

Summit 9 - day one

[The following post was written the first night of Summit 9 in our hotel room.  The wifi in our room was sketchy at best, so I am just now posting this tonight. In its original state.]

Oh my word.

I cannot even begin to process all that I have taken in. I'm the-best-kind-of-worn-out tonight, and thrilled that we get to go do it all over again tomorrow. It is encouraging to hear stories of where God is at work and how the church is jumping in to join His work. My heart is full.

The last session ended with Steven Curtis Chapman encouraging and challenging the audience about This Story we are all a part of. One song called, "When Love Takes You In," had a video with adoptive families and gotcha day clips. As I watched and listened, I remembered.



I remembered that nervous drive across town to their foster home. I remembered how nervous I was to walk up that sidewalk, how my throat felt thick and my heart pounded fast after Brad knocked - and we heard squeals from the other side of that door. My heart - and our family - has never been the same.

When the door opened, we saw those faces. Quite honestly, they looked at us with a little fear and a lot of uncertainty. Brad and I got low on the floor and picked up baby toys, hoping to create some interest. There was no magic, the twins didn't suddenly clamor over one another to get to us, but it was glorious. Their foster momma just rambled on about everything and nothing and we drank it all in. I don't think I've ever been more aware of God's glory in a room than in those moments.

I can close my eyes and I'm there all over again.

And I still can't believe that God chose our family to receive such lavish blessing. How deep the Father's love for us!

I hope to be able to form thoughtful sentences about the information we are gathering here and be able to share it with you soon. For now I'm just reflecting on His goodness.