Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bug Beds & Bun Head

If you view this picture, you may see a random piece of paper inside an Ivy plant... from all appearances, one would assume I have trash in my plant and should clean it. But, let me tell you that it is not trash.

The other day I found a little bug on my floor. Yes, we have little bugs out here in TX in the Summer. It was one of those clicker bugs...the kind that click when they flop around... He wasn't doing very well and Annah was concerned so I told her we would put him in the Ivy plant and maybe he would get better. This morning she lovingly made the bug a hospital bed. She got a piece of paper, colored it and glued it in a shape she felt sure was the replica of a hospital bed and asked me to put it in the Ivy for the bug.

And, of course, since the camera was already out, Annah had to take this lovely picture of me early this morning with my bun head.

So, today I am going to the college to see if I have enough classes to qualify for any sort of degree. I have taken a zillion college courses but never connected my dots. Well, I have the 2 year core down but, then I just sporadically took any course I wanted to without following an actual degree plan. I took Flash when it first came out and other multimedia courses... and other things I can't recall because it was just random. But, my other goal is to go ahead and go for a Performing Arts degree with an emphasis on Spanish. I probably have the core for it and then I will need an additional 10 Spanish courses which I very much want to have. I have this very deep want to be fluent in the Spanish language. I have been trying to teach myself through Rosetta Stone, Spanish for Gringos and other sources. I am not fluently conversational but, I can understand enough to carry on some conversation... I know tons of words but, not so much as to connect my dots on this either. I think it would be awesome to be an interpreter.

So, off to do life. :) Thank you God for this beautiful Texas day and may I be attentive to You as I go through it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jesus, Man of Joy

"Therefore God, your God has set You above Your companions by anointing You with the oil of Joy." Hebrews 1:9

I absolutely LOVE this passage. It it referring to Christ being anointed with the oil of joy.

I am not sure how many of us ponder on the fact that Jesus was a man of joy. People followed Him around and wanted so much to be near Him that He rarely could get away in private. Why do you suppose? If He was hellfire and brimstone people may of fallen down to be saved but they weren't likely to crave to be in His presence, more likely to crawl away and lick their repentive wounds.

I have this little book that was given to me by a person I never met and long since lost contact with her. But it is a book by Sherwood E. Wirt. He wrote it on the joy of Christ. I also read the follow up books by Bruce Marchiano and a DVD series on the life of Christ... I don't recall the name of it but, I always remember it as a happy Jesus movie... :)

Seriously...if you think about... He had to have charisma, charm, personality, lots of Big happy joy, kindness, love and again..charisma that was and is larger than life for people to follow Him and that the world still, not even meeting Jesus the man, feels His presence in the form of joy, unspeakable joy.

He was anointed with the oil of joy.

I like how Sherwood describes some of his ideas of parables that Jesus told... Where as I have always seen Him stern as he seriously told these parables... like a parent telling a child to be good and adding the warnings... but Sherwood talks about Jesus telling these parables with not only authority but charisma, joy, laughter and one of a very good nature. I like how he describes the time when this one.... I think Gentile (could be another race) woman wanted Jesus to heal her daughter and He tells her that it was not right to feed of the children's bread and she tells him that even the dogs get the crumbs...Sherwood describes Jesus as smiling with a twinkle in His eye and telling her to go as her daughter was healed...

Nehemiah promises us that the joy of the Lord is our strength and Jesus tells us that the things He has spoken to us so that His joy may remain in us and that our joy may be full. Imagine!

And what about Pain? How can we have joy in the midst of pain, trauma, unspeakable tragedy?

I think its a debate that can never be satisfied. Personally, for me, I just simply find it as part of the journey. I never know when tragedy will strike me or my family. I only know that I want to be able to rush under God's wings and to know Him so well that I feel that I can do just that. I don't want to be in the middle of a tragedy and not know that I can run to Him.

For me, in a nutshell... I do not believe God is the author of horror, torture, abuse etc... I don't believe He shakes His head and says 'go right ahead and inflict such cruelty as it is My will.".... I think however that its part of this life and God will turn tragedy into beauty and He ultimately always wins.

Regarding personal pain... Sherwood puts it like this:

"Pain does have this positive value: It will bring to a halt our indulgence in wasteful and useless thoughts, and force us to concentrate on more important matters. It can even galvanize us into action. A young boy growing up in a Christian home in Ohio had left home and was working on a canal boat when he injured his foot while chopping wood. H contracted blood poisoning and soon became an invalid. During the long, painful months in bed he resolved to seek an education upon recovery. He studied for the ministry but then became a teacher, then a school principal. During the Civil War he joined the 42nd Ohio Volunteers, became a hero during the fighting in Shilo and Chickamauga, and rose to major general. After serving in Congress and U.S. Senator, he was elected President of the United States. It was wihle lying in bed in pain that he decided to change the direction of his life. His name was James Abram Garfield.
When in pain we can also call to mind our obligations to those we love and accomplish tasks that we keep putting off. We can offer up prayers long unsaid and read chapters in the Bible long neglected. We can even recall friends in far worse pain than we are suffering and make fresh contacts with them in the Lord. Thus time spent in pain can be used eventually to reorient our lives. Pain has a way of drawing Christians to their knees in prayer.

and so forth...

Love the book! Love the image of Jesus smiling... laughing... love, kindness... joy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Closed Chapter

Gosh. This was tough. Moving Tiffany into her apartment.... I had no idea it would be so tough. I had no idea I would cry tears that could fill a jar. I had no idea I would be literally choking back tears. I do not cry easily. But this time I could not stop. The tears flowed down my cheeks and felt like warm rain pouring down.

Tiffany has been gone alot in the past. She has been on mission trips. She lived in Panama for almost 5 months. She recently traveled to France for several weeks with my mom. I never shed a tear.

But, her truck was always in the driveway. Her room always full of her stuff. Now, her truck is gone and her room is empty. The reality of this has hit full force. She has moved on.

She will never return into our home as a daughter to whom lives under our roof and that we have as a child...if she ever returns it will be to visit and as an adult living on her own.

Tiffany also always called when she was on her way home. It didn't even matter if it was noon...she would call to say she was on her way home. Now... I won't know if she is 'home' or on her way home. She is still texting me and telling me things... like she texted to let me know she was going to the movies with her new roommates ( 3 beautiful Christian girls- Thank God!!!! I prayed and prayed and prayed for her to have Christian roommates!) . But soon she will be to busy to do that... maybe...maybe not..but its all new to her too... she is used to coming home and us talking about everything... she has to also adjust to being on her own...its got to be difficult on her too.

I am very grateful for who Tiffany has become. She is beautiful inside and outside. She is sweet yet strong. Funny and intelligent. She loves God and people. I will miss her presence and comings and goings around here tremendously. I know that God will provide a lamp unto her feet and light unto her path. God bless my child as she is now on her own. And God....Watch over her, guard her fiercely and your plans and purpose be fulfilled in her life.

New Apartment to decorate!

Me in the mirror of her new place

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Coloring outside the lines

When we went and picked up Annah from her Sunday school class, the children's paperwork was on a table. There were about 30 pictures of fish and of all them, Annah's was the only one where the picture was colored outside the lines and not an actual colored picture. I didn't know whether to laugh or ponder it. I was thinking "Okay so are all the other children like 5 years old or something???' LOL ... I will probably go and Google if barely 4 year olds are suppose to be coloring inside the lines...

More Photography by Annah:

Dove Eggs

Notice the corn Annah has lined up for the squirrels.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Foster Care Rambling

I am waiting for a 'surprise visit' from CPS. We have to have atleast one unannounced visit yearly and mine is due this week. I suppose I am ready enough but is anyone ever really ready for surprise inspections?
Its been an interesting journey, these past 4 years of being a foster care family.

I brace myself literally with every placement because I do not know what will take place in my heart. I do know that so far, every emotion has been appropriate for every case. With Annah, I felt I would die if I lost her. I have never fainted but I felt faint every time I thought we would lose her and I could not comprehend life without her in it. This was appropriate because God knew she would become our daughter.

My second baby we had from birth to 13 months. She arrived when Annah was 3 months old. To the very end it would of seemed we would be adopting but, a the end of that time, a judge sent her unexpectedly to her dad.
However, from day one I knew in my heart I would not have her and had even told my friends that she would not be staying because I knew deep inside BUT after several months I ignored that thought and crossed over that boundary line of *Knowing* and her and Annah became my babies. They were my girls. When the decision was made by the judge, it was actually rather sudden and unexpected and the caseworker had to drive over to my house and take her from my arms that very day and to top it all off, the following day was Annah's adoption ceremony. The song "God gives and takes away" comes to mind. I never had bitterness nor anger over losing her, just deep heart pain.
I had spent an hour packing up all her stuff as she chattered and played and gave me butterfly kisses. Its an image and moment forever burned in my mind. I still see her stuck in time at 13 months old... toddling around in little Gymboree pink cowgirl footed pajamas and walking around me as I packed up her things and talking on her play phone, oblivious that the the only home and family she ever knew was about to disappear from her life. She is now almost 3 and I still can cry at the drop of a hat over her. I have never seen her again.
I believe with all my heart she needed to go to her dad...that was her destiny from God and she needed to go and He obviously forewarned me. Did it break me, yes it did. It took me months to accept another placement call.

After her, we had several little ones come to our home who actually did become adoptable and whom we participated in the transition of them going to forever families. We opted out of adoption because that is what my emotions and heart and mind felt was right and I believe God had these families for them and we just held them until they could go. Every emotion has been appropriate to the case we had.

Right now I am going through many thoughts... I want to be in full time mission ministry. I want to go to South America & join up with YWAM and go into jungles and live it full time. But another side of my heart wants to know if we should just simply adopt 5 more children and get a Toy French Poodle and stay. ???? I dont' know. I am leaning towards YWAM but, I have learned that we just dont' always know what God has planned. And notice I say "I" alot and not "We".... thats because these are my thoughts and do not necessarily reflect my dear husbands. :)

So my caseworker is not here yet...but its only 8:44 and since its a surpirse visit who knows.... so I guess I will go make some breakfast... Life cereal or maybe Nutty Chocolate icecream.... or maybe French Toast with Peanut butter... Annah's favorite and mine too. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adoption days, Puppies & Battleship

Annah and I were blessed today to get to go to an adoption ceremony! This little one who was adopted today just turned two and has been in foster care since she was 6 months old. She now has a forever family! It was so sweet watching her give her forever mommy kisses and hugs. I know her history and it is unimaginable what she went through the first few months of her life. To see her so happy and thriving, dancing, giggling, running around in her long pretty orange dress touched my heart so much. It was truly beautiful! We get to go to another adoption ceremony this Friday for the adoption of a little 9 month old baby girl. Same family! This will be their 3rd little girl they have been SO blessed to be able to adopt in the past 2 years!
This little dog...the one covered in blankets and being smothered by Annah, was found on our road when she was a puppy. She is about 1 and a half now. I gave her away twice but one family the mom didn't want another dog and the other one, their big dog didn't like her... I'm so glad! She is just the best dog ever. Annah paints her nails, dresses her up, puts leashes on her and walks her everywhere, covers her in blankets and makes her stay, feeds her things I probably don't know about like olives or something and this little doggy just takes it all in stride. Every little girl needs a dog like "Izzy".

Proof that I just won this Battleship ONE peg.... one peg. Tiffany had a two boater and I had a three boater and I beat her to that last peg. Tiffany and I are highly, emotionally charged competitive..... I have to remind myself that I am suppose to play nice. I am a Christian mom... I have to lead by example... I can't go throwing things.... I try to suffer in silence and display grace when I lose but Tiffany says my forehead turns all red. :)

And, as always... I must display Annah's photography because I think she is just simply amazing.

Her dollies

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What I want to always remember

I have been explaining to Annah, recently, that she is a gift from God through adoption. Because we foster, she has some understanding that we take care of babies when their mommies can't. I tell her little chunks in simple sentences. One thing we do is pray for her birth mom often because I want her to have love and compassion for her and prayer is one thing that can nurture love for another person. I want Annah to have great empathy & understanding for Regina as opposed to a feeling of rejection or anger which can happen to children who are adopted.

I tell her that she did not grow in my tummy but she grew in my heart. Of course being 4 years old she wants to know all about babies being in the tummy and why she didn't grow in my tummy.

One day out of the blue she came up to me, put her little hand on mine and said "Mommy, I missed you when I was in Regina's tummy".... I choked up... I told her I missed her too when she was in Regina's tummy. It was just one of those moments I want to always remember.

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body. Elizabeth Stone

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Arial Views and Fat Tuesdays

Arial view of our house, buildings, barn...acreage. Tiffany took this when she was parasailing.
My baby is going away to college. I am sending one off to college and getting another ready for pre-school... I homeschool so getting all my materials ready has been a welcome distraction from the reality of Tiffany flying the coop.
Us ladies had a marvelous time celebrating 3 more birthdays at a live concert with Fat Tuesday in Rockwall. ( Home of Jason Castro I might add). The concert is on the lake with lots of coffee and ice cream shops, cafe's and Cinemark at your finger tips.
It was delightful!

Annah has always enjoyed doing this... this sticking of Qtips in her ears. She walks around with them and goes about her daily life. She has been practicing the art of Ear- Qtipping since she was about 2.

Please enjoy more of her photography:

Monday, August 3, 2009

When boundless energy crashes

When boundless energy crashes....this is what it resembles. :)
The earth is the Lords and everything in it. Psalms 24:1

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Cutest Photographer on Earth

This is Annah. She is 4. She was born 3.8 pounds and suffered greatly in the NICU. Today she is an energetic, spirited, delightful, extremely sweet hearted, gentle natured, brilliant little girl. She has a GIANT personality. She amazes me all the time! She is also the most incredible photographer ever. Here is the proof:

This is a chicken egg. It is small because a young hen laid it and their new eggs are always small.
Here is a self portrait picture of her foot. Is this not amazing and isn't her foot adorable!!!!!!
Picture of me feeding one of our foster babies. I have more but for the sake of time that I am running out of.... my dear husband wants to play Battleship so off I go.... I hope I win. I like to win. :)

AND, in case you didn't know and need to know... they no longer make the original Battleship. Nope. We bought the new and improved one at Target because I had lost pieces and ships.... maybe Annah did but not sure... so I went to replace it..but bought the new one since I could not find the classic and the game was just not the same if not HORRIBLE. Just not the same. I returned it and went to EVERY store looking for the original and it is not being made. I finally found the classic, original 1978 Battleship on Ebay at a great price and also bought a big ziplock of extra pieces and ships. So off to go play!!!!