Feeling Empty

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

After a day full of emotions yesterday, I simply feel empty today.

Nothing. No tears. No emotions.

Just empty.

I don't know if the Lord is guarding my heart or if I'm holding myself back from getting too involved and getting hurt.

I got to hold him tonight and love on him and just be with him. And I smile writing that. He's a great baby.

But I didn't hold him the way I would have if he were mine. That may sound silly, but I think there's a difference. I was reserved. I didn't fall too head over heels on purpose.

Who knows what will happen?

And even though my emotions are empty, my brain won't turn off.

I have a million thoughts running through my head tonight. Will I be able to love him the way I love my babies? I'm sure I will, but I still wonder. Will it feel right if he does come into our home?

Will I be able to mother him the way he needs to be mothered?

Will we be able to catch up for lost time?

And what will the end result be? Will his birth mother try to fight for him? (She would be crazy not to.) But she screwed up pretty bad. More than I care to know about, but I know. I know what happened, and it kills me.

I don't understand people. I know that no one decides to be a crappy mom. Things just happen. Drugs and alcohol reign over people's lives.

I feel like someone needs to save him. The question is, are we strong enough to do that?

I feel like we are.

And no matter what I think or feel, it's all still up in the air. No matter how bad I want him, I don't get to make that decision.

We're willing, able, ready. But none of that matters. There is a lot of legal crap involved.

And then I wonder how his birth mom feels. Does she even care? She hasn't called once to check on him.  That may say it all.

I don't get it. It makes me mad. But maybe she's numb too. Maybe she feels empty. Sometimes it's easier to feel empty than to feel full.

I hate that I know so much about the situation. I look up the news report. Now her mug shot is stuck in my head. I don't like knowing about it, but it's part of him and who he is, and maybe, just maybe, it was the Lord's way of saving him.

Sorry for the ramblings. There isn't a lot making sense in my mind right now.

I do have so much more peace than I did yesterday. I know God has plans for both this baby and for our family. Whether those plans intersect or not is still to tell. I'm trusting in His perfect plan and knowing that if it's not this baby, there will be another one one day.

Thanks for being ears to hear all the thoughts running through my head. Your listening ears mean more than I can say.

I'm letting these words speak to my soul tonight. May they bless you, too.

From Hillsong's Forever Reign -
You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love 
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light 
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin.

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy 
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life, 
In You death has lost its sting.

Oh, I’m running to Your arms, 
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign.

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go.

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign.
.....day 110 of a year of writing.....

Wrapped Up in a Possibility

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am always the strong one, the encourager, the "you can do it" proclaimer, and honestly, today I just need to be encouraged.

Nothing has even happened yet. There is talk and possibility, but nothing for sure.

Here's what's happened in the past 48 hours that is making me absolutely crazy.

If you're new to the blog, you should first know that we are in the process of becoming foster parents.

Here's the story.

At church on Sunday, I found out that some friends of ours took in a foster baby on Saturday. They too were in the process of becoming foster parents, but they weren't done yet.

The baby came to them through a kinship which is where you have ties to the family somehow, so they were able to take him in before being completely finished with the process.

But the prospect of possibly having this baby for the long haul, possibly forever, was more than she was ready for.

Monday night they called us to see if we would be willing to take him in. Of course we said yes.

I immediately emailed my certification specialist to see what the progress of our application was and briefly told her about the situation with this baby. She informed me that we weren't done yet since our fingerprints hadn't come back yet, and no one had read our home study (even though she's had if for 2+ weeks). That's another story altogether. Ahhhh the frustration!

Then she told me that we wouldn't be able to get this baby since he is in one county and we're in another (which I know is not completely true),

There is a good chance that parental rights will be terminated based on what I know about the charges that were placed on the birth mother. (Which really doesn't matter to us either way.)

Nothing has really happened and yet I feel so incredibly attached and involved at this point.

The unknown and the fact that I have absolutely no control over the situation is about to make me crazy.

Here is what else I know.

I know that we have been called to do this. We have been called to care for a baby who needs love whether it be for a short amount of time or forever.

I know that God has great plans for this baby and his future and for our future as foster or adoptive parents.

I know that.

And I find myself wanting so badly to make the situation work the way I want it to work.

If He wants us to have this baby, He will make it happen, regardless of counties and case workers, and legal crap. If God has planned for this baby to be in our lives, it will happen. I know that.

And if this baby is not in the plans, I know He wanted me to walk through this scenario - the possibility of a real baby in our home. He wanted me to feel attached when I haven't even held him in my arms. He wanted me to feel concerned and wrapped up in all of it.

If this baby is not supposed to come to us, I know God wanted us to walk through this possibility.

He wants me to be patient. He wants me to trust in Him and Him alone.

So until further notice, that's what I'll do. Trust in the plans He has laid out for me knowing that His ways are good. I knew this would be hard, but that won't stop us.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord.
1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries to Him because He cares about you. 
....day 109 of a year of writing.....

Happy Cyber Monday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Well, it's 2:30 p.m. and I am still wearing my jammies. My love seat is covered in folded laundry just waiting to be put away. There is a sink full of dirty dishes waiting for the clean dishes to be taken out of the dishwasher, and I'm hosting Bible study at my house tonight. But the good news......Pandora Radio is playing Christmas music and I'm busy checking off my Christmas list on this Cyber Monday.

There are tons of sites offering 20-30% off your entire order at checkout plus free shipping. I'm trying to do it all right now. That's the goal. Check off the list.

One of my spiritual gifts is giving, so sometimes I have to keep a cap on it. I love to give. This year I'm keeping track of everything I'm spending on each person with the coolest app called The Christmas List. I think I told you about it before. But it's helping me stay on track, and I love it.

Right now, I'm in the middle of filling my carts, and here's what I'm finding and where I'm shopping:

Toys-R-Us has free shipping on orders of $49 or more and tons of great deals throughout the site. I found scooters for both my kids for under $40. Not too shabby.

Carter's has everything 25% off. Just use the code CYBERSAVE at checkout.

Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Piperlime  are taking 30% off of your entire order today when you use the code HUGECYBER at checkout. Plus shipping is always free when you spend $50 or more.

amazon.com  I'm a huge Amazon fan. I always compare prices from other stores to the prices on Amazon, and most of the time, things are cheaper at Amazon (but not always). Plus they have great daily and lightening deals.

Kohl's is also offering 20% off your entire order at checkout with the code CYBER20. Plus, they have free shipping. It's great!

There you have it. Just a little of the shopping craziness that's happening at my house today.

Wishing you lots of savings today! I've got to get back to filling up those cyber carts!

Happy Cyber Monday!

.....day 108 of a year of writing.....

Lord, Prepare My Heart

Sunday, November 27, 2011

With coffee #3 for the day in hand, I sit down to plan my week.

The weekend has been wonderful...family, friends, leisure, and good food. There really isn't more that I could ask for.

But today I saw a glimpse of what my future may hold. A mom holding a baby who wasn't hers. With puffy eyes from an emotional day and night, she tells me to prepare myself.

She said, "My baby isn't my baby anymore. Someone else's baby now has to be my baby. I thought I as ready, but I was not prepared for this. You can't prepare yourself for this."

Aimee picked up a baby boy yesterday and opened her home to a child not her own. Yesterday, Aimee and Richie became foster parents.

Aimee and Richie go to our church, and all along I honestly thought we'd have a baby before them, but God wanted me to see her heart today. He wanted me to see her pain and all the emotion behind this huge decision.

"You can't prepare yourself for this."

And with tears streaming down my checks, all I can ask is that the Lord would prepare my heart for this. Whatever this happens to be.

I'm surprised we don't have a child in our home yet. Our process is done as far as I know. Our home study is complete, and we have done everything we need to do. Now we're just waiting.

Waiting and preparing our hearts.

Lord, please prepare my heart for this. For this which You have so clearly called me to do. Please, prepare my heart and the hearts of my children for the work You are about to do in us.

A day of worship. A day of anxiety. A day of readiness. Are we ready?

I don't think we can be ready. How do you ready yourself for the unknown?

All I know is that this week (whatever it may bring), I am standing on His word and His promises.

As a good friend of mine reminded me today: "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10

So I'll ready what I can in the meantime. My house is pretty much a mess from hosting Thanksgiving here and then being at my mom's for two days. Dishes, laundry, and cleaning up will consume the rest of the day.

I have a long list of things to organize and things to clean out. I feel like I'm nesting. I want to be ready for that which I know I will never be ready for. Oh, pardon my rambling!

My heart is heavy with what's to come. I'm nervous, excited, humbled, and scared. And this is how it comes out.

When you don't know what else to do, it's time to make a plan! You know how I LOVE a plan!

I's time for the Sunday 7. Let's be intentional this week. Won't you join me?

Here's how it works:

  1. You come up with the 7 most important areas of your life. It can be more than 7 if it needs to be. I have a dear friend who has started what she calls The Faithful Eight. You make it work for you. My areas are the things that I value. You'll have to determine what you value the most. 
  2. Once you have your core values listed, you start listing out the most important things that need to happen in the coming week in each of the areas of your life that you value. 
  3. Lastly, you determine when each of those things will happen each week. Put a date and a time to it. 
And off you go! After that, you're on your way to a more balanced and peace filled life. 

So what does your Sunday 7 look like? As always, feel free to post yours below to keep you accountable. 

Here's what mine looks like this week (I added 2 extra categories this week):

1. Faith: Being in God's Word everyday this week. The goal is to start every morning with my Bible open and my heart ready. I've also started a prayer journal that I want to add to this week. 
2. Family: Dinner three nights this week at the table with the family. Peaceful, routine mornings with the kids. Reading time with both kids daily. 
3. Friends: I am beyond grateful for the friendships that I have especially as we go into this new adventure of being Bible study groups, via Facebook.
4. Holiday Prep: Continue to be intentional with my schedule and make sure my priorities are in the right place.  Be present in every moment!  My goal for the week is to stick to my Christmas gift and giving list and do my best to knock out the majority of my shopping online tomorrow on Cyber Monday! 
5. Scentsy (aka work): Re-contact all new directors who promoted in October, and set up a time to chat with them on the phone.  Get caught up on emails. Prep for Director's Christmas party (this Saturday!)
6. Health and Fitness: Start the week by getting up early on Monday morning to go to Barre 3 and run two times this week. Keep up with Weight Watchers' points. 
7. Finances: Set up payroll for our incorporation. Balance both personal and business accounts. Pay bills due this week.
8. Foster Care Prep: Clean out guest bedroom closet. Get a quote for replacing the flooring in the playroom. And clean out my desk in the kitchen to make it more usable for daily work. 
9. Downtime: No computer or phone time three nights this week! Both for me and Brian. Working on just being present in the moment. Sounds like vacation to me! Oh, and order pictures online. I have way too many pictures of my kids that need to be printed that I have never gotten around to! 

May you be blessed with intention and peace this week.

 .....day 107 of a year of writing.....

The Girls' Story

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I know I've told you about a little girl named Ellie Kate before, but I'm crazy about her and her sweet family. Here are pictures of Ellie and her older brother Conner and her younger brother Henry.

Ellie Kate


Now she has a baby sister named Lucy Belle.

Lucy Belle

Brian and I are hosting a silent auction in our home in two weeks with all proceeds going towards Ellie Kate and Lucy Belle's medical bills.

We could absolutely use your help! Yes! You! We are looking for donations of items in our silent auction.

Think themed gift baskets, small electronics, items from direct sales companies, etc. Really, anything you want to donate, we can auction off. We can also provide you or your business with a receipt of your donation which is a tax deduction.

Maybe you can't donate, but someone you know can? Please pass along this story. Our goal is to help the McLaughlins in a big way this Christmas.

Please take a moment to read the girls' story from the words of their sweet momma, Ryan. May your heart melt for this family.

Michael and Ryan McLaughlin are the proud parents of four children – Conner, age 8; Ellie Kate, age 5; Henry age 3; and Lucy, almost two months.  Life for the McLaughlins is anything but normal, as both of their girls suffer from a rare genetic disorder called Non-Ketotic Hyperglycenemia, also known as NKH, or Glycine Encephalopathy. 

NKH is an inherited disorder that is considered terminal.  Most children with this disease do not live to see their first birthdays. There are actually less than 500 world-wide living with NKH.  This disease causes seizures and apnea, which both girls suffer from.  Since it affects their brains, it affects every part of their bodies and eventually causes vision problems, heart problems, GI issues, low immune system, mental retardation, and ultimately death. 

By God’s goodness, Ellie Kate will be six in December!  Ellie Kate no longer eats by mouth, but through a feeding tube.  She does not walk or talk.  Ellie Kate also has heart problems, gastrointestinal issues, and severe vision problems.  Ellie has spent time on the ventilator and has also spent approximately fifteen months in the hospital throughout her short life.  She attends special education classes where she receives physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.  Ellie also receives these therapies in an outpatient setting.   She takes nine separate medications throughout the day. 

When Ryan was fourteen weeks pregnant, the family found out that baby Lucy was affected by NKH as well.  Ryan underwent CVS testing so that the family could prepare for early treatment and intervention.  God has been so good and Lucy is doing much better than the doctors anticipated.  She spent the first three weeks of her life in the NICU and is now home on an apnea monitor.  At this point, Lucy is only on four daily medications, but that will increase as she grows. 

God has forever changed the hearts of Mike and Ryan, as well as those of their family.  Their precious girls have opened their eyes to the world of special needs and the Lord has called them to reach families like their own, who are so easily forgotten. With His leading, the McLaughlins started the Hope Link Support Group, along with their dear friends Scott and Amy Haas.  Last year the OKC Hope Link Foundation was put into place as well.  Hope Link’s goal is to reach out to families whose children suffer from serious, rare or undiagnosed disorders.

Mike and Ryan have one request in the sufferings of their daughters – that the Lord Jesus would be glorified.  As Job so honestly states, “Though He slay me, I will trust in Him.”  Although raising two terminally ill children is daunting financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, Mike and Ryan know without a doubt that God will fulfill His promise to cause ALL things to work together for good and for His glory.
If you are able to donate to this incredible family through a donation for the auction or with a monetary donation, please shoot me an email at allisondalke@gmail.com.

.....day 106 of a year of writing.....

photos courtesy of Legacy 49 Photography

Being Present This Christmas

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sometimes the holidays overtake us. We're consumed with sales, wrapping, baking, parties, and that's just the first week in December!

Looking at my December calendar almost makes me cringe. It's full beyond measure.

A party for our Scentsy directors
Service projects for both of my Bible study groups
A Scentsy craft night
A benefit concert and auction at our house
Filming for a New Director Training program we're implementing
The Nutcracker with my mom and Addy
A Bible study Christmas party (complete with lunch and dirty Santa)
A filming of our monthly live Scentsy training: Online Steps to Success
A networking lunch
Lunch with friends
Addy's Christmas program
A family vacation to the Gaylord Texan in Dallas
A Christmas party at our house for the youth leaders at our church
Then it's my birthday
And then the Christmas shuffle begins.

I didn't even mention Christmas shopping or the fact that we might have a foster baby in the middle of all of this.

But, there really isn't anything I want to step away from. And don't worry. I am capable of stepping away from things. I know it doesn't look like it from reading the list above, but I can say no, and I have recently. Saying no is hard for me because I'm such a people pleaser, but I can officially do it.....that's a story for another day.

This year, I have every intention of being Present in the moment throughout the Christmas season.

I mean really Present. Not hurried. Not running late. Not too busy.

I want to be Present.

I want the words from Silent Night to overcome my soul when I hear them.

I want my children to have no question about what Christmas is really all about.

I want them to know that Christmas marks the day our Savior was born. That Christmas in our house is about giving to others and doing for others. I don't want it to be all about us.

I want it to be about Him. And I want to be Present throughout the next month in every gathering and every celebration to remember and honor and celebrate Him.

I don't want to be concerned with what's next. Where we're going or who we're buying for or what we should wear.

I just want to be Present.

I think it has to be a conscious decision. A commitment......do things early...plan...be intentional....and celebrate and remember Christmas for what it is.

Will you join me in being Present this year?

Make an intentional commitment to be in the moment this Christmas. Let's be Present together.

.....day 105 of a year of writing.....


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A Day of Thanks

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey, stuffing, pie, and no gravy.

Yep. You heard me right. No gravy.

I forgot to assign it to someone, so we had a gravyless Thanksgiving. It's not the first time I've screwed up, and it won't be the last.  Luckily, my family is pretty laid back. No one really cared, except maybe my husband, but I think he'll survive.

We did come up with a new rule: "If you want something at Thanksgiving, you make it and bring it." I think that's only fair.

I probably forgot to make gravy because I'm not a huge fan. I never use it. That explains it.

Even though Thanksgiving at our house is always quite the experience, I wouldn't have it any other way. There is always a disagreement; there is always a misunderstanding; there is always a lot of noise. And we just keep getting noisier. It seems like almost every year there is a new baby around. What a joyous blessing those sweet babies are!

I'm beyond thankful today for our normal, happy, crazy family. I wouldn't trade them for the world. Here's a little re-cap of the Dalke family Thanksgiving in pictures. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

.....day 104 of a year of writing....

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