Saturday, October 5, 2013

Finding solid ground

Troy and I have talked about adopting from the very beginning of our relationship.  In the beginning it was more on the to-do list of dreams for the future.  “I would love to adopt someday.”  In our minds “someday” was way down the road.  Over the years “someday” got closer and closer.  I had no doubt that adoption was the right choice for us, but I just wasn’t ready yet.  Troy was becoming less patient with each passing year, but I still couldn’t say yes.  For years I prayed for God to instill in me the desire to become a mom.  I wasn’t getting there on my own and I needed his help.  I still felt like we needed more time.  I didn’t know what we needed more time for, because it wasn’t like we were doing anything, or had plans to do anything in the future that would require us to put off becoming parents.  I just knew that I could not say yes, I could not become a parent yet. 

Pressure – so much pressure.  Troy was so patient and understanding, but I could see how much it hurt him every time I told him “not yet”.  Family, friends, complete strangers – all asking when we were going to start our family.  Me, crying myself to sleep over and over again because I wasn’t living up the expectations everyone had for me.  Please God, fill my heart with the need to be a parent. 

I had a huge dream of going on a mission trip someday and I knew if it was going to happen it would need to be before we became parents.  Then my dream came true and I went to Jamaica and loved every minute of it!  I kept praying that this was what I had been waiting for and now I would finally be able to say yes.  I think Troy was secretly praying the same thing.  After I returned we sent off for an adoption packet from the state, but I couldn’t bring myself to fill it out and send it back.  I still couldn’t say yes.  Lord, please, it’s been years….are you going to help me out here?  What are the plans you have for me?  

Last year on my birthday (August) I prayed.  "Lord, where do you need me?  What do you want me to do?  I truly believe that if I was meant to have kids right now you would have given them to me, but you haven't, and that's ok.  But where do you need me?  What are you plans for me?  What do you need me to do?  I'm putting this next year in your hands.  Guide me to where you need me most.  I am lost and need you to show me the way."

I had spent years on shaky ground -  not knowing what to do, or where I belonged.  

This past April some kids who are like family to us were temporarily placed into foster care.  They were safe, living with family, but a light bulb went off and we (ok, me) knew that our time was finally here.  We didn’t know what our future held or if those kids would ever end up in our home, but I knew God was finally telling me it was time.  We called the state to find out what we needed to do so we could adopt kids - any kids.  We had not really discussed being foster parents before, but we prayed about it and decided that we would do whatever God needed us to do for kids in need.  I was nervous, but I was moving forward with faith that I was traveling the path God had laid out for me. 

"When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand on, or you will be taught to fly."

In June we had our first meeting with a social worker and were told that due to some changes happening within the organization we would not be able to start our 9 weeks of mandatory classes until October.  That meant that by the time all the paperwork was done the earliest we would be seeing any kids in our home was January 2014. 

A few weeks later I sat on the couch next to Troy and cried.  I couldn’t do this.  We had just wrapped up a camp where we had spent a significant amount of time working with kids and it went terribly, horribly wrong.  I felt like it was a test and I had failed…miserably.  I was still nervous about the thought of becoming foster parents – how would we ever be able to meet the many needs of those kids?  I sat on the couch, crying and praying, telling God I needed to know what to do next.  I was lost and I wanted to quit.  I asked him to please give me a sign – reassure me that it was ok to quit, or tell me to keep pushing forward.  Right then my phone dinged – I had a new voicemail.  (Why didn’t my phone ever ring?  It didn’t show a missed call.)  I wiped away my tears and punched in the number to check my new messages.   It was from our caseworker.

“Hi, Misty.  I just found an opening for you to take your classes in another county starting in 3 weeks.  Instead of 9 weeks of Tuesday evening classes you will be taking 2 classes a week, back to back on Saturdays, getting done in half the time”

We were mentally prepared to start classes in October.  Now our last class would be August third.  God not only gave me an (immediate) answer – he told me to go and do it now  - right now!  God had a specific plan for us, and he didn’t have time for me to sit around questioning him.

Over the next month I felt like I had a direct line to God.  Every single time I asked for his help he responded immediately. 

“God, are sure this is what you want me to do?”  He responded with a free bed. 

“God, are you sure I’m the right person for this?  Do you have me mixed up with someone else?”  He sent me some more beds -  bunk beds.

“God, I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Are we still doing this?”  Misty, I’m sending you kids and they will need a dresser.  Someone will deliver it later today. 

“God, today is the first day of class and I’m scared.  What if we walk in and realize we’re not like everyone else?  What if it’s obvious we don’t belong?”  We walked into class and saw familiar faces – friends who were also wanting to become foster parents.  We belonged….

 Class day was my favorite day of the week and I was sad when the classes ended.  

I could go on and on with examples of ways God reassured me and kept nudging me forward.  I started to get real comfortable on the path I was on.  I was excited and I felt like I had found my calling in life.   This is what I was meant to do – I was going to be a foster mom!
Those kids I mentioned earlier? Once again they needed a place to stay, this time for longer, and not as foster kids. My heart was torn because I felt like I needed (and wanted) to be there for those kids, but at the same time God had very much led (drugged, pushed, pulled) me down the path to become a foster parent. These kids were not foster kids. What was I supposed to do? Are these the kids he had in mind for me? He did a lot of work to make sure I became a foster parent – why would he put these kids in front of me? They were not foster kids. This was not the plan I had made with God.

We needed to make a decision pretty quick and I did a lot of praying in that short amount of time. I knew what the right decision was, but I needed God’s reassurance. I needed to know I was not abandoning the plan he had for me.  
 Our home just grew by three!

I know now the reason we ended up taking those classes in a different county, at the double the speed, 3 months ahead of schedule.  The knowledge we gained, the resources we obtained, and the people we met in those classes were all part of our preparation for these kids.  This is where God was leading me.  The kids moved into our house the day after our last class.  We completed our classes Tuesday night and moved the kids in Wednesday morning.  Talk about God's timing!  They have been in our home now for 8 weeks and I don’t know what the future holds, but if they were to leave tomorrow I would still say it was worth it. 

It was worth all the years of telling my husband “not yet”, because I know that God needed us to wait because he needed us in this place at this time. When my birthday came around this year the kids had been living with us for 3 weeks and as I reflected on the past year of my life I knew that it was no accident I was celebrating my birthday with these three. 

And I thanked God - for the many answered prayers, for the guidance, and for the wonderful path he laid out for me.  What an amazing life I am so lucky to be living!  Every day, no matter how hard it has been (or how tired I am), I am thankful that God made us wait so that we could be right here in this moment.  Each day is a gift.  

I don't know what the future holds.  I don't know how long we will be blessed with these kids, or if we will ever have more kids in our home, but I know we're not alone.  God has a plan and he will lead us to where he needs us most.  

Although this is the story of how we became parents for the first time, it is about so much more.  This is about me doing the work God has called me to do and having faith he will see me through.  I am standing on solid ground.  

Jesus, you're my firm foundation
I know I can stand secure.
Jesus you're my firm foundation. 
I put my hope in your holy word, 
I put my hope in your holy word.

I have a living hope.
I have a future.
God has a plan for me.
Of this I"m sure, of this I'm sure.

Jesus, you're my firm foundation.
I know I can I can stand secure.
Jesus, you're my firm foundation.
I put my hope in your holy word, 
I put my hope in your holy word.  

You're word is faithful.
Mighty in power.
God will deliver me.
Of this I'm sure, of this I'm sure.  

Jesus, you're my firm foundation.
I know I can stand secure.
Jesus, you're my firm foundation.
I put my hope in your holy word.
I put my hope in your holy word.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Looking for that pot of gold

Pot of gold coins. isolated on white. Stock Photo - 9834235

Six months ago we went on the Dave Ramsey diet.  At least that's how I look at it. When we started I was hopeful, yet somewhat pessimistic about the whole process.  I wanted it to work, but it didn't seem like something that was realistic for us.  If we were 10 years younger with about 75% less debt then we would have been perfect candidates for the Dave Ramsey plan...or at least that's how it felt.  

One of the first tasks we were given was to get $1000 into savings, and Dave seemed to think we could do this in a month's time.  I believe he even said something to the effect that we probably already had $1000 laying around, we just needed to move some money around or have a yard sale.  What world does he live in that a yard sale brings in that kind of cash? Not in my world, that's for sure.  

I remember standing in the parking lot after that particular class and laughing at Dave because he thought I could come up with $1000.  We currently had $27 in our savings account, and we were honestly proud of ourselves for having something (anything!) in there.  We knew it wasn't much, but if we had $1000 in there we wouldn't be taking the class.  If we had $1000 we would be financially responsible people who didn't need to take a class about how to manage our money.  (feel free to laugh at us for that statement.  Sorry, laugh WITH us.)

I may have been making jokes about the the millionaire in the video who thought I could come up with that kind of money (so much money), but inside I was terrified.  I was worried that this first step was going to be the end of us.  I was scared to death that this program wouldn't work for us and we would be back into our old routine before we knew it.

It took us around 5 months to get that $1000.  Every time we got close enough to see the finish line something happened and we were forced to spend some of that money.  We were torn between being amazed that we had enough money to pay for whatever needed fixed and feeling that we were never going to  finish what was supposed to be accomplished so easily according to Dave.  The amazed feeling won out and we kept pushing ahead. 

Lesson learned: it feels good, really good to have money to pay for something in case of emergency.  $1000 now feels like it's not enough.  It's hard to believe that just 6 months ago having $1000 in savings felt about as likely has finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

You've got mail

I spotted these cute little mailboxes for just 30¢ each on clearance at Target recently.  They were too cute (and too cheap) to pass up!  Currently they reside in our living room, but I imagine they will move around the house as time passes.  

I added a bowl of markers, note cards, and little slips of paper next to the mailboxes.  The goal is to leave notes for each other inside the mailboxes (we each have our own) and raise the flag to let the other person know.  

Troy's love language is "words of affirmation" and because of that he is a natural at saying sweet things to me.  I need help speaking his love language, so the cute mailboxes, markers, and fun striped cards are for me.  I hope he will use them as well, but this bright bowl and those adorable mailboxes sitting in our living room are a constant reminder for me to speak my husbands love language.  

Don't forget to do random acts of kindness for the people you live with!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

RAK Week

Watching a video of kids doing RAK's.  

Today is the first day of Random Acts of Kindness week.  You know I couldn't let that one go by without shouting it from the rooftops.  Random acts of kindness are kind of my thing.  

We kicked the week off a day early with our Sunday school class yesterday.  We talked about RAK's, watched a video of other kids their age performing RAK's, and thought of ways Jesus started the whole RAK movement himself.  And then it was time for them to do their first RAK of the week - pass out candy to the whole congregation!  As I watched those kids pounce on the adult class as soon as that door was opened, search the bathrooms to make sure everyone in there got a piece of candy, and welcome every single person to church that morning with the message "God loves you" I knew this was the beginning of a good week.

Bringing a smile to someone's face is contagious.  Those kids were smiling the whole time they passed out candy.  This week I'm going to create some smiles for myself - for my own face - by giving others a reason to smile.

I have a few things planned for this week - a few not-so-random acts of kindness.  I'm also going to be on the lookout for some truly RANDOM acts I can do.   Will you join me in spreading a little kindness around?

Side note: Troy pointed out every (unintentional) random act of kindness the kids did in class yesterday.  What a great way to start the movement - thank others for being kind to you.  They may not even realize what they've done, but your thank you will stick with them and encourage them to do it again.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday 02-14-13


  • Valentine's week - when it's ok to doodle hearts on everything.  
  • Our amazing Sunday school kids telling me to put on my "sassy pants" before talking to the whole congregation.  
    • How well the kids themselves did during our portion of the service.  
  • New jewelry every day this week thanks to my Paparazzi Accessories party.
  • Reaching a goal that we've been working towards for months.
  • Sleeping until the alarm goes off.  
  • I love when my boss allows me to make the decision on what needs to be ordered (and from where).  It feels good to know that she trusts me and my opinions.  
  • I'm not big on celebrating Valentine's day, but I sure do love all the hearts, pink, red, and lovey-dovey stuff all over the place.  It's all so girly and happy!
  • Early mornings.  I love being out and about while everyone else is still asleep.  I love driving by houses with just one light on and imagining a parent quietly getting ready for work without waking the kids.  I love walking into work with all the lights still off - work is different place first thing in the morning.  I love the quiet, the stillness, and even the smell of early mornings.  

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade valentines

I had a group of awesome ladies over to my house on Sunday and they were kind enough to make these Valentine's cards for a good cause.  The cards will be delivered to the kiddo's at Children's Mercy Hospital.  I love that my life is full of people that are willing to take the time to do such a kind act.  

Here are some sweet ideas to brighten the day of a kiddo in your life:

  • Heart shaped breakfast .... toast (french or regular), pancakes, eggs in a heart shaped basket
  • Help your daughter paint her fingernails pink/red.  Bonus points if there's glitter in the nail polish!
  • Write them a love letter: the top 10 things I love about you
  • Strawberry milk with a crazy straw
  • Help them make homemade valentines to give to someone who they think may be lonely.  
  • Give them a coloring book and crayons with a card that says "you COLOR my world"
  • A new toy car with a note that says "have a WHEELIE good Valentine's day"
  • A single flower in a vase to put on their nightstand.  
  • Heart shaped pizza for dinner
  • Put a "love jar" somewhere in your house and have everyone write down things they love about the other people in the family during the day, and add them to the jar.  Take turns reading them out loud at dinner.
  • Play a game, perhaps Candy Land?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mini fruit pizza bar

This makes me happy.

Make your own mini fruit pizza.  

Sugar cookies, assorted fruit, cream cheese frosting, raspberry m&m's.  We had assorted berries, mandarin oranges, and pineapple for our fruit offerings.  I just used a store bought mix for the sugar cookies.  I did not add the water it called for on the recipe because I wanted the dough to be a little stiff so it would hold the shape better.  I coated my hands with powdered sugar and then rolled the dough into balls, and flattened them out on the cookie sheet.  This worked great since I needed large flat cookies to make the pizza's.  

Put everything into pretty bowls and sit back and watch the creative ways people assemble their personal sized fruit pizza.  

I had these for a party at my house yesterday and they were a big hit.