Monday, February 15, 2016

Walking the Long Road

On our way home from a family weekend away, Ralph and I were talking about the year.  What. a. year.

We talked about hardship and change, our propensity for sameness now that we are *ehm* older.  We talked about ministry and the church, foster care and our own boys and how they are growing.

Last summer, when we had the girls, our time with them was fast but furious.  We were able to live with them through all kinds of growth and milestones, lovely trips and experiences, river play, book reading, and all of the baby-toddler things.  Along with that came a lot of hard stuff: trauma, loss, a tiny raging girl, and adrenaline.  In fact, I've come to the conclusion that I was in a state of heightened-adrenaline fueled parenting the entire time that Sweet Pea was here. I am dealing with secondary trauma  I'm in slow recovery.

In October the girls were moved, and we were hit by the immense loss and hole that is left when someone is no longer in your home & hearts.  


That day the boys spent extra time with the girls, reading books, cuddling, all of the sweet things.  I held them and hoped my heart wouldn't actually explode.  Before nap time Nate sat and read stories, then my dad came and took the boys to ice cream and distraction.  I flew around the house and gathered all of the things.  Bags and bags of clothes, blankets, toys, bottles, diapers....all of it.  I took it out to the driveway so that Sweet Pea wouldn't see them when she woke up.  She didn't know; how could I explain to a 2 year old that she was leaving and going to a new home? 

When she woke up I brought her downstairs for a snack and put on a new princess dress we'd gotten her for Halloween.  Oh, she loves princesses.  When the case worker arrived I brought the girls out to the car.  We loaded it all up and I put them in the car, doing my best to hide any emotion.  The case worker shot me a look at one point, I was going to cry.  Her look said, "don't you dare."  I really didn't want to scare the girls.  I pasted on a smile and mustered my hope.  I handed Sweet Pea her favorite blanket and bedtime story, a cup of milk.  "Are you coming back, mommy?" she asked me as always when I tucked her in a strangers' car for a parent visit.  

"When Mommy Amanda takes care of you, I will always come back.  When Mommy J takes care of you, Mommy J will always come back for you."  

"I'll see you later, " I said.  

Then I ran upstairs to my room, 13 again, slammed my door and wept.  I yelled, maybe I screamed. All of the beauty and the trauma was gone.  


The following week we finished packing up our things from our home of 5 years and hauled it all to our new home.  Thankful for the distraction, I worked furiously for the next weeks to get our new home settled.  When I came to the cribs, boxes of baby clothes and blankets I pushed them all into the room that was meant for the girls.  I closed the door.  

Settling into the house, we had another big change.  We left our church of 5 years.  That change had been coming, over a year we'd planned to move to a different church.  Looking back the timing wasn't awesome.  It has been another huge loss for us.  It grieves me that when you choose a different church relationships are strained or dissolve.  

Since all of these changes our family has been settling.  I have walked through some immensely difficult weeks with the boys and their feelings about the girls going.   Most of the time when I get into the car by myself I'm crying by the time I hit the main road a few blocks away, my tears stored up for a quiet, undistracted moment. The losses of our connections with our church friends weigh most heavily on Ralph as he was involved there daily within the leadership.  We have floundered through. 

Grief is a long, long road.

Lately I've been thinking of how hard I strive to be ok.  How I don't like to be unresolved and for things to be undone.  Clearly, standing back I can see that life is ONLY undone.  I am forever going to be impacted by the girls being gone.  A part of my heart will forever be with them.  Relationships will go unresolved.  I want to learn to rest in God's sovereignty in all of this.  I don't know why things happened the way they did with the girls, it's certainly not what I hoped for.  I have guilt and so much sadness about it all. I don't know how to heal hearts or even move forward with the losses in my life.  But I do know that God is good.  I know His plans for each of us are good.  I know He is Sovereign.  

I have nothing, in my life, in me to rest in.  But God. 

His mercy envelops me, and I am inexpressibly grateful.


So I get up each day with hope for new beginnings and knowing that my heart still aches so for those girls.  I get to keep up with them by peeking at the private blog of Mommy J.  I know they are loved and cared for, I know she misses me, too.   I get to love on my boys daily with and homeschool with all of my heart.  Ralph and I are not in a place that we can do foster care now.  Maybe we'll pursue it in the future, maybe not, but we are together in our decisions and we will wander further through life together.   Meanwhile, we'll live, unresolved and learning to rest in God's big goodness.  I'll sing, and I'll keep praying for those sweet girls.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

December Ramblings

A lot has happened since September. I am longing for the simplicity of a daybook but instead I'll do a little update.  

October brought a huge amount of change for our family. The girls that we'd had in our home for months were moved to another foster home. Thats a story in and of itself, I'll simply say that d's needs were far beyond that of the average 2 year old. This was a devaststing decision to make and has been a very, very sad loss for all of us. We are all sad & grieving.

Just following the girls' move, we moved into a new to us home. Our new home is fantastic. We all love it & Ralph & I are thankful to have so much less work & fewer projects ahead of us. It's just 2 miles from our other home, still close to my parents' home, too. 

Ralph and I had our 15th wedding anniversary in October, too. We went away for a long weekend & enjoyed all of the time catching up. Our whole family has been in a lag of emotional recovery. The time was away was really great. This man, he loves me so. 

Today we are enjoying the Christmas break. Grocery shopping, haircuts & laundry. Maybe we'll do cookies tomorrow. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Quiet in the flurries

Watching the coffee drip in the dark kitchen I'm thinking long and hard about where I am today.

About things lost, about how the good things sometimes get pushed out in the face of busy-duties, people and the complications of life.  I'm remembering the days that I could stop and quiet myself at the wind blowing through the trees, quiet myself because that's God showing His grace & beauty right there.

He quiets my heart, my soul can rest because of who He is, how He loves me.

I heard last week that the minute you begin to put your hope in someone, that's the minute they're destined for failure.  Where is my hope?  Where is my mind meditating?  I need rest for my soul, not the demands that people lay on me, that I lay on myself.

This morning I will turn and slow my heart and soul...

'My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him; He alone is my rock and my salvation, He is my fortress I will never be shaken.  -Ps. 62:1

In real time life is a flurry.  Our Sweet little one (I'll call her Delight) has been with us for 95 days. It's remarkable to see the changes that have happened in her in those days.  Things were very, very tough for about two and a half months.  She is confused, she is betrayed, she is lost in this giant world.  I believe that she is beginning to feel more a part of our family, I am so thankful for that.

God's timing has really been amazing in all of this, too.

In October we started the process of our licensing.  This month was a significant month for Delight.
In May we received our license.
In June, Delight needed a place to stay awhile, she came to us.
In June, we had finished school and I had all of my heart, arms and attention ready for Delight. She needed every ounce of that for quite awhile.
Mid August, Delight began to settle.  She wrapped her sweet little arms around my neck and gave me real hugs.  She relished coming "home" and started talking about tiny friends from church and Gospel Community.
In September we will be opening our home to little sister, a teeny I have long anticipated.

Can I interrupt to say that I prayed, specifically, while we waited to be licensed, for two little girls, sisters that would have a sister of their very own?  

School is up and running, and there is so much happening in our little world I need to slow like never before.  While it is quiet, while it is dark, I'm going to tip toe to my quiet room and pray.  Lord, let me find rest in You, alone.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

a new season

Maybe my favorite thing about being 40 is being more & more comfortable with me. I find that often I still think of what I should be doing or what I should choose but I really can't ignore who I am &
What I love so I choose just that. What freedom I have in choosing, too! 

As I've been assembling the colors for this new ripple blanket I've been thinking just that. How lovely it is to create something that I really love. To choose all that I really love.  P

Over the last week I have taken school lightly. Nate, Eli & I wrapped up CC classes about a month ago. I have been using that month to find our new rhythms & schedule. Joey wrapped up his courses & finals this last week so we took much of the week off to rest & play.
In the yard there is much to be done this time of year, of course. Ralph & I moved the chicken yard to expand their space. As I am determined not to have an ugly little chicken yard,  I did the research & put in some plants that will not be an issue for theme. I planted three white butterfly bushes and vet much look forward to seeing them come to life.  

The boys spent time outside too. They pulled out paint & began painting the treehouse, with small brushes & little paint this is a slow & detailed job. 

So a new week will take us into May. We'll plod on with some new vision for the finish of the school year & hope of the foster care license to come this month or next. We have dotted all the t's, as we can best know how, so we wait patiently. 

Have a lovely week, I hope to check in again soon! It's good for my heart! 💛

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The sun is struggling through the grey skies this morning.  Our February has been unseasonably warm and bright. I am thankful for the sunshine, always.

School is pushing forward, we are nearly done with our Classical Conversations year, Nate, Eli and I have class until the end of March and Joey's goes into April.  I do love our community, it is such a nice reprieve & encouragement mid-week but I am looking forward to being freed up for Spring.  I'm certain that the Moms that set the CC schedule were all thinking of tossing the lesson planning (for CC) and grabbing their seeds and trowels come April.

This Spring we anticipate getting our license for foster/adopt.  We started the process last fall, and are hoping that in 2 or 3 months things will be wrapped up.  There have been hours of classes to take, certifications to acquire, baby proofing to do all over our home, that is a monumental task!  While I don't at all feel that my heart and hands are out of practice (I may be surprised yet) our home has slowly morphed into the home of pre-teen and teenage boys.  We still have work to do around here, but it's coming along.

Our friends and family have been so generous in supplying us with so much we anticipate needing.  We plan to be certified for babies: birth to 2.  We have a crib, toddler bed, sheets, blankets, gates, diapers, car seat, shoes, clothes, (mostly for boys) bottles, pacifiers, and so much more.  There are still gaps to fill but we are picking things up as we wait.  It's a hopeful process, but not one that goes without heartache.

Sometimes I linger in the nursery.  The light is calm in there, the walls are a lovely grey, the white curtains are heavy and soften the light from the windows.  As I stand there, wondering and praying for the little one(s) that will soon be here my heart breaks a little.  I know that these little ones will be coming to us with broken lives.  So young, but already wounded.  I am torn over knowing that we can have a huge role in the lives of these families, we may be able to encourage the bio parents as they work to get their lives in order so that they can have their babies at home.  There will also be times that these babies go home to parents that do not have their babies' best in mind.  I am torn because I want the best for these babies.  Sometimes the best would be that they would be with their bio parents. Sometimes adoption would be the best thing, and  while adoption is a wonderful, God-designed plan, a child that is adopted has also been rejected.  Every adopted child I have known seems to deal with this in different ways, but God knows what it means to be "given up" on.  I am torn because we would love to adopt, and that may or may not happen.

There is one good way to prepare our hearts for this journey, and that is prayer.  I know that this journey will impact all of us, the boys especially.  I pray and pray that God will prepare us and walk with us through of this, I know He'll be faithful to help us, this whole thing is His idea and we know He gives us what we need.

                     His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life
                     and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to 
                     his own glory and excellence by which he has granted to us his
                     precious and very great promises, so that through them you
                    may become great partakers of the diving nature, having
                    escaped from the corruption.      2 Peter 1:3

The house has been quiet but I hear stirring upstairs, time for me to get up and get going with my day. Until next time...

Monday, September 15, 2014

My heart will sing

For 8 months our family has been waiting for this trip. We finally did it, and it was a perfect icing on the cake of our summer. We gathered & borrowed backpacking gear for a hike up Quartz Mountain to a lookout tower we had reserved for the weekend.
We were all in good spirits as we set out for our hike. Out friend, Heather had loaned us a map which turned out to be invaluable as the trails were plentiful & poorly marked. 
Nate & I

When we arrived we were not disappointed with the 360' view. The tower stands 10-15 feet off the peak of the mountain, it was a perfect place to sleep under the stars!
Quarts was everywhere. A highlight for three of us who love, love rock.

Sunset on top of the world
Orange light woke me at Sunrise. I was up long enough to take a pic, then hunkered back down for more sleep. 

The moss was decorated by quartz, everywhere.
Eli & his Dad

and there was more exploring, there were more hills to conquer.

Elijah's balancing trick


Quartz, Indian Paintbrush, & Mica! What a treat to find Mica!

The boys built an incredible fort. 
We played games,
We explored more trails. 
We lined up our treasures.
We got all of our faces in one pic just before we headed out.
One thousand gifts on a weekend from God, one thousand wonderful memories, one thousand more reasons for my heart to sing. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Peace & Quiet. Who needs it?

Like it was yesterday, I remember the moment clearly.  Nestled on the couch with a nursing baby, a toddler who couldn't get close enough to on-my-lap and another noisy little boys romping around the room, I juggled my Bible and prayed for a little peace and quiet.  Peace and quiet was exactly what I needed to dive into the depths of what God had for me that day.  It was just what I needed to hear God's voice, whispering what I needed to know for that day.

I heard Him tell me then, "Peace is not always quiet."

That has proved to be an understatement.  The years since that day have proven that statement again and again in so many ways.  But when it came to simply reading, praying, seeking the Lord each day that has been especially true.  I can sit down with my Bible, noisy, tumbling boys and a cup of tea and still hear God's voice, still read what He has for me.  God has even prompted me to read aloud to the boys, after all, they're a perfect audience!

Now my boys are 8, 10 & 12 and I face whole new issues.  (Perhaps the opposite could be true...that quiet is not always peaceful?  But that's another topic)  The truth that God spoke to me that day remains.  As I seek Him each morning life is still noisy.  My mind shouts, louder even than my kids some days.  But I will seek God before it's too late.  I only have today and He has so much mercy, grace and wisdom for me today.

Here is a great article about the importance of time with God while mothering.

"But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might here it."  2 Timothy 4:17

Sunday, March 30, 2014

a break in Spring

Every year I look forward to this season, we have wrapped up our year of Classical Conversations community days and we are left to our own selves to finish up the school year.

We love our Classical Conversations group!  It's so fun to meet with these friends each week and the academics are fabulous.  I have been able to tutor the Essentials class this year, which has called for a lot of English Grammar study!  Did you know that verbs have moods?  Tenses?  Even gender? Anyhow, as much as we love CC I'm relieved to have a shift in schedule and some time to beef up on Challenge A things for Joey's class next year.

But inevitably we reach the last week of CC and I flounder.  The simple transition really throws me for a loop. Every time.

This week is Spring break too, and I finally realized that my mind is screaming at me, "Hurry up!  It's Spring break!  You've been waiting for this time to paint Nate's room, to Spring clean the kitchen, to rest, to play!!"  All of that, and really what I would love to do is rest.

It reminded me of a recent getaway Ralph and I took.  My folks were sweet enough to watch the boys while we drove into the sunset for a weekend.  We hadn't done that for nearly 4 years and I had been so looking forward to the break!  When we arrived & unpacked I couldn't shake the idea that I really needed to hurry up and rest.

I spent some time the next morning in the Word and in prayer, and God whispered to me the truth that I know but struggle to trust: My only Rest is in the Lord.  It's not a physical position, it's a heart position.  Resting, trusting in the Lord.  

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  Psalm 62:1

          Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28


So here it is Sunday, looking ahead to the week of Spring break and needing to remember from whom my rest comes.  I'm learning to live, to work, to teach from a state of rest.  But I'm slow to learn, quick to forget.  I need to go work on my heart position, again.  My soul finds rest in God alone.