Today It's Much Ado About You!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I told you I was going to post early today, didn't I?

Surely you didn't think that early meant before noon did you? Sorry. This is early for me. But I am ridiculously excited about today's post for a couple of reasons......

  1. I'm helping out a fellow blogger friend who is also a sister in Christ with an incredible story and my favorite product out there....seriously!  And......
  2. I'm adding to the giveaway today! Yes, you have a chance to win more than just cash! Read on my friends.
Emmy's timing is perfect as it lines up right in the middle of our time challenge. Some of us are on the search for how we really spend our time. It's been a lot of annoying and lame work, but it's also been extremely enlightening and eye opening! 

You know I am a planner and a freak about being intentional with the time we've been given. My favorite favorite tool in helping me "do it all" (besides having lots of help) is my Much Ado About You planner. 

I'm about to show you something scary. Please still be my friend......

This is my Much Ado About You planner as it sits next to me at this moment. Yes, I am this crazy. Now, if we're friends in real life, you may know that I always have my planner in my purse or my car. It hardly ever leaves my side. I sort of have a problem. 

And I long searched for the perfect planner and always came up short. Until Much Ado About You came along. You may remember my comparison of Much Ado About You and another popular planner from last year. I am still as in love with my Much Ado About You planner now as I was then. 

It is a true keeper. Emmy has perfected the look of the weekly feel with ample space for hourly planning by the day. This is honestly the planner that I have kept longer than any other planner, ever! It keeps me sane, people! 

So, here's the problem! Emmy at Much Ado About You may possibly have to close her shop. (Do not this happen! I will be so very lost!) But we can help, and here's how:

Much Ado About You is hosting a Pre-Sale for their new planners. Here is an excerpt from Emmy's blog with details about how everything will work. 


Go to our *NEW* Shop and select the item{s} you would like to pre-order.

The items are listed by DATE RANGE, and then by STYLE {i.e. Day Planner, Appointment Book, etc.}.

The price on each listing is the price for the smallest size available in that style.
There will be a drop down menu at the bottom of each listing that will allow you to choose another size and will adjust the price accordingly.    

If you would like to order more than one of the same item, you can adjust the quantity in the shopping cart.

Our standard Add-Ons are also available during the Pre-Sale, so if you know you want to Add-On a Pen Loop, for example, be sure to order it now if you don't want to have to pay extra shipping later.

When you are ready to checkout, you will be redirected to PayPal, where you can pay by credit or debit card even if you do not have a PayPal account.
When your PayPal transaction is completed you will be redirected back to an order confirmation page in our shop.

All August 2012 - July 2013 Planners will ship in June, with the exception of the Teacher/Student Planners which will ship in May so that you can have them in time for end-of-the-school year gifts.
All January - December 2013 Planners will ship in September. 


If you live locally and you would like to pick-up your order when it is ready, you can use the discount code LOCALSHIP at checkout to eliminate your shipping charges.

Within seven business days you will receive an email {sent to the email address you used in PayPal, so please be sure to use an email that you check often} which will confirm your order and give you detailed instructions about how and when you will get to choose your cover design and tell us your personalization request, and when your order{s} will ship.
Rather than having to come back to our shop when the cover designs are available and make a second purchase with a coupon code to complete your order, we will email you on your selected day {according to the day of the Pre-Sale that you ordered... see below}.  

As before, the sooner you make your purchase, the better, and here's why:
     All customers who purchase on the first day of the Pre-Sale {Feb 29th} will get to select their cover design five days before the line is introduced to the public.
      All customers who purchase on the second day of the Pre-Sale {Mar 1st} will get to select their cover design four days before the line is introduced to the public... and so on. 

Gift Certificates will be available during the Pre-Sale at 15% off!

So...$25 Gift Certificates for $21.25
$50 Gift Certificates for $42.50
$75 Gift Certificates for $63.75
$100 Gift Certificates for $85.00

If you purchase a Gift Certificate during the Pre-Sale, a printable Gift Certificate will be emailed to you along with your order confirmation that will include instructions for the bearer to redeem the certificate after the shop opens in May 2012.

So, here is what I need you to do.....pre-order a planner, pleaseClick here to order now.

I am also going to give one planner away.

Here is how you win:
Post below about whether or not you currently use a planner. If you don't use one, tell us how using a planner would make you more intentional with your time. If you do use one, tell us how it helps you be more intentional with your time.

(P.S. If you are planning on buying one, go ahead and do it! I will refund the cost of the planner if you win. You don't want to wait around. You want to order today!)

Happy Shopping! Shop here....hurry....don't wait! 201 of a year of writing.....

Challenge # 2

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So, how's it going?

Are you hating the fact that I'm making you write down everything you're doing all day long! I am. It's a pain in the butt. But it's also showing me a lot about how I spend my time. I just had to write down that I spent twenty minutes reading blog posts from a few of the blogs I keep up with. Time well spent? I dunno. It's better than being on Facebook, I guess.

Oh, and I just forgot my favorite that I forgot to read, so I had to jump over to Kelle's blog to catch up there, too. There went another five minutes.

And since I wrote that last sentence, I have answered a phone call, sent a couple of emails, and looked up inflatable bouncing things on the internet for an upcoming birthday party. ,how easily we get distracted! Is that just me?! Sometimes I just wish I could do one thing at a time. You know what I mean?

Oh well.

On another note: I dropped the babies off for counseling today (which is basically the two hours they get to see their mom and dad every week) and I got so worked up about it. Not outwardly, but when I handed them over to their mom and met their dad for the first time, my heart was racing. I can't explain it really. I don't know why it was like that. Part of me wants them to like me....I realize that sounds lame, but I do. I want them to like me and not resent me so we'll be able to build a relationship with them.

I feel like there is so much I want to tell her. I really wish I could just hold onto her arms and look in her eyes and scream, "I am for you!" I just want her to know that. I don't know why I don't just tell her. It's kind of complicated.

I really am for her. I want her to get it together. I want her to have her babies if she wants them. I think that's every mother's right. I really wish I could take her under my wing and fix her, but that's not exactly the way it works.

I am doing my best to build rapport with her. We talked about her job today and about getting together for our little girl's second birthday. I hope that happens. I hope we can meet outside that cold and awkward counseling center....out in the real world.

I guess we'll just wait and see.

So back to our time tracking. I am praying that you are being challenged. I know I am.

How is your personal challenge to add something to your schedule everyday for seven days going? I know it's tough. I did not want to get out of bed this morning, but making a commitment is a big deal, and I knew I wanted to follow through. I'm so glad I did.

Now let's talk a little about down time. There is a big difference in down time and wasted time. Do you have those activities in your schedule that just make you annoyed once you realized how long you spent on them? Those are time wasters. They are not necessary and in some instances, they are emotionally draining. For example: Facebook's a time waster, and we all know it. Do you ever feel like a loser after you spent 45 minutes reading the news feed, then checking out someone's pictures, then going back to the newsfeed, and so on and so on? I do! So, I try to stay away.

Now, what about down time? That's different. Down time is necessary and needed to rejuvenate us and keep us motivated and moving forward. You shouldn't ever feel bad about down time.

Down time can be a lot of things to a lot of people. Some of my favorite down time activities include watching a couple of TV shows (not aimlessly browsing the TV), reading, taking a bubble bath, and playing with my kids.

Some of your favorite down time activities may include playing games, watching movies, etc. If games is on your list of down time activities, be careful that you're not letting games become wasted time. There have to be limits.

Are you ready for today's challenge? Did you think I would let you slide by?

From today forward, I want you to keep your commitment to tracking all your activities throughout the day as well as the commitment you made to add something to your schedule, but I also want you to take something away.

What is it that you know you are doing daily that is nothing but a time waster? There is something more than likely. Whatever it is, it's time to give that time wasting activity up for five whole days (just until Sunday!).

If you're still in it to win it, make sure you comment below about what you're going to give up. If you're just joining us and would like to win some cash, make sure you check out Sunday and Monday's posts to catch up.

So what am I giving up? Facebook. Yep. No more browsing for me this week. I am allowing myself to get on to check on my groups once a day (but no reading the newsfeed and no checking out my page). I will continue to update each day's blog post there, but that's it. No more news feed for me!

What about you? What are you giving up for the next five days? It should be a time waster. Let's see what a difference being intentional with our time does for our joy.

P.S. Make sure to check out tomorrow's post ASAP. It will be posted in the morning and has a special message from one of my dear friends! It's something that could help you a lot in the area of being more intentional with your time! I can't wait for you to see it! 200 of a year of writing.....

Challenge #1

Monday, February 27, 2012

I thought about it while I was slicing strawberries today. I thought about it while I was driving kiddos to and from school and daycare. I thought about it while I was picking out bananas at the grocery store. I thought about it while I was putting together Scentsy orders and responding to emails. I thought about it all day.

It all matters. Every single thing you do matters.

If you're joining us on the search to find out what we really do with our time, I wonder if you were shocked at how much time you waste, or if you were pleasantly surprised at how efficient you are. I would say I was somewhere right in the middle.

I am very aware of the things I waste time on and am undisciplined about. I found myself not doing things that I would normally do (that are time wasters) just so I didn't have to write them down.

And all day long, I was very aware of what I was doing and how long it was taking, and I don't ever remember a time when I've been that conscious of my time before. It actually felt good. Writing down every little thing I did was a little obnoxious, but it was also very eye opening.

I was listening to a twelve day revival that pastor Steven Furtick held at his church earlier this year while I was getting ready this morning, and he said something that I thought really applies to us seeking to find what we're doing with our time. He said:
"If you want God to touch you in an extraordinary way, maybe you're going to have to do something that's a little inconvenient."  
I don't know about you, but I would love to be moved in an extraordinary way by our God. And I know He is more than wiling to move us and touch us in extraordinary ways, but it seems we're just too busy to stop and receive what He has for us.

Do you feel like that? Do you feel like you're spinning your wheels day in and day out? I often do, but I know that there is so much more to life than trying to catch up all the time.

That's really the purpose of this week of personal time do something that's a little inconvenient so God can move in us and through us in extraordinary ways. If you didn't catch yesterday's post, it's not too late to join us. Our exercise of time tracking is a little inconvenient, but it's extremely eye opening.

What are you doing with your time? Do you really know?

So many of us would very quickly be the first to say that we wish we could do more and be more, but we simply don't have the time. I am betting that we all have the time, if we choose to use our time wisely.

As we go through this week of time tracking, I want to challenge you to add something to your schedule for the next seven days. Commit to it for seven days in a row.

It should be something that you want to do, but that you just don't ever seem to have enough time for. Our goal here is to create a little more discipline in our daily lives than we already have.

My challenge to myself is to start getting up at 6:00 a.m. again (before all the babies) to be in God's Word, to pray, and to seek Him. I used to be very, very good at this, but adding a couple babies to our household put my quiet time on the back burner. I know that I have the time. I just have to learn how to make my time work for me. Yes, it means I have to be a lot more disciplined than I have been in the past couple months, but it's worth it to me.

So what are you going to add to your schedule for the next seven days? Maybe it's daily exercise or time reading a book. It could be spending intentional time reconnecting with old friends and family daily, or maybe it's painting or creating something you found on Pinterest. Maybe it's as simple as reading to or with your children every day. You should immediately know what it is.....something you've been wanting to do, but just never seem to get around to.

Remember, we're keeping track of every single thing we do each day for seven entire days. You have a chance to win $200 cash if you join us! You also have to be a follower of this site and comment on every post from yesterday to Sunday, March 4th.

Today I want to know two things in your comment:

  1. Briefly comment on your experience tracking your activities today. Was there anything you were surprised by? Did you feel content with the way you spend your time? Or did you feel like there may be some things you spend too much time on? 
  2. What one thing are you going to challenge yourself to do for the next seven days and why? 
I can't wait to see where this journey takes us. 

Happy time tracking tomorrow! 199 of a year of writing.....

Every Single Thing You Do

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Have you ever thought about all the things you do each day? I really mean every single little thing you do each day?
As I look over my notes from our weekend at the Women of Faith one day event,  one of the things that stands out to me the most are the words:

Are we even aware of every single thing we do?  I would bet that the majority of us are extremely naive about how we really spend our time.

You know that I'm a planner, and a I'm big on being intentional with the time we spend daily, but I have to admit that I'm pretty sure I've been too laid back lately about how the hours are slipping away each day.

So, today we headed outside. How could you not? It was a beautiful 75 degrees here in Oklahoma, and the sun and near perfect weather was more than a beckoning. It was a command.....come outside! Play!

So we did. And you know what? It mattered.

Just like it always does.

It all matters. Everything we watch, everything we listen to, everything we read.

I believe that there is more that each of us can do and be. How we spend our time and energy is what greatly effects what we do and who we become.

Do you really know how you're spending your time? Do I?

Today we were given a gift of time. A moment as a family with our kids. Our dear friends the Stewarts came over this afternoon to offer us an afternoon/evening with just our kiddos. They stayed here with the babies so we could spend the afternoon with just the four of us.

The weather was too beautiful to do anything except head outside. We made our way to a local park that backs up to a substantial amount of woods. We decided to stray from the park and go on an adventure. Oh, don't you wish you could go on an adventure?!

So, we went to the woods. You may remember how very, very much I love the woods. I spent two weeks there this Christmas break. We hiked through the woods following a trail made by deer. We even found a few deer tracks on the way.

And although many people may say that spending a couple hours in the woods is a waste of time, I would argue that time spent away in the woods is incredibly important. It's vital really.

The time we spend refreshing and renewing intentionally (and I don't mean in front of the TV) is vital to lowering our stress levels and creating happiness that goes deep into our souls.

It's a constant work in my be more intentional with my time. Andy Andrews is the speaker who said those words:

Every single thing we do matters. 

He also said:

Change doesn't have to be a huge event. Change can be made through very small shifts in the way we spend our time. 

Do you know where this one is going? Are you scared yet? Yes, I'm going to ask you to be more intentional with your time. I've done it before. But possibly before we can be more intentional with our time, we need to know how we're spending our time.

Luke was collecting wood for a fire. (No, we did not make a fire, but he sure did collect some wood.) 
So what if we all did this......what if we all wrote down every single thing we did for an entire week. I'm serious. Every single thing. For an entire week. I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but I think we may all be a little shocked to see how we're spending our time.

Have you ever heard this:

It's true. How do we ever expect to get different results if we keep doing the same things over and over again. 

So, are you game? Do you know you need a change? Do you want to be more intentional with your time? Do you believe that every single thing you do matters?

It does! So let's see what it is that we're really doing. I've got a blank notebook that I am going to carry around for the next week to write down every single thing I do. What about you? Do you want to join me? I'll make it worth your while......what about this?  If you decide you want to see how you're spending your time, then join me for the next week by writing down every single thing you do for one week. 

Every day for the next week, I'll have a question for you regarding your time tracking. If you post a comment today and every day for seven days, your name will go into a drawing for $200 cash. Yep, cash. 

It won't be easy. It will be work. But it will be worth it. 

Do you believe that you can do more and be more, but you don't know where to start? Then start here.

Every single thing you do matters. 

Let's spend the next week finding out how we really spend our time. If you're up for the challenge and want the chance to win some cash, comment below. 198 of a year of writing.....

A Prayer

Oh, the fun we've had and the words we've received. Tonight, as we travel home from the one day Women of Faith event in Dallas, I'm so incredibly grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit visible through women. 

I have so so much to tell you, and I can't wait to tell you the stories. But for now, it's 1:30 a.m. and we're still driving home. And did I mention I'm tired? I am. Exhausted actually. 

But I've got stories and stories. Oh, I can't wait! 

Until then, here is a beautiful word that I got today that I believe will touch you too. 

1. This poem was found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:
         People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
            If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
            Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
            In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway. 197 of a year of writing.....

Allison Dalke
Scentsy SuperStar Director 

Sent from my iPhone 

Women of Faith

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It took us 5 1/2 hours to get from Oklahoma City to Dallas, but it was fun. Lots of girl talk.

There are four of us on a road trip to attend tomorrow's Women of Faith event, and we are pumped!

Tomorrow we'll be hanging out with one of my favorite writers, Angie Smith. She wrote the book, What Women Fear, which you can find here.

She also wrote the book I will Carry You which you can find here. This book completely rocked me, and I loved every second of it.

Anyway, sorry this is short and sweet tonight. I'm excited to hear what God has to say to us tomorrow through some awesome speakers and worship. I'm hoping to have some great stories for you! I can't wait to chat with you tomorrow.  

Check out more about Women of Faith here 196 of a year of writing.....

Truth Tonight

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Well, I wish I were beginning this post with a wonderful plan about what I'd like to write tonight, but that is not the case. Get excited people! That means you're probably going to get the truth that's laying on my heart.....whatever that may be.

Ughhhh...I can feel what's coming and I hope it's not too we go.

So, I'm wondering if it's incredibly selfish of me to want to be pregnant and have "my own baby" after having someone else's babies in my house for almost three weeks now. Tomorrow will make three weeks since our first set of foster babies came to live with us.

Is my insane desire to wrap my life up in a perfect little box becoming an overwhelming theme here? So sorry if it is.

Part of me wishes that my heart would want to sweep up theses babies and love them forever and save them from whatever else they may experience in this life. But I don't feel like that.

I want to keep them safe and happy and healthy, but just for now. Not forever. Is that awful?

I don't know if it's because I really believe they will go back to their biological mom or not. I wonder if I'd feel different if I knew they could stay?

I do feel like we're in a pretty decent situation overall when it comes to biological parents. Mom really seems to love them and want them. There are still a million things she has to do to get them back, but we're willing to wait it out and fight for these babies in the meantime.

I'm also still really struggling with their future in general. They have already experienced more than any child ever should have to experience. They started with their mom and then went to their aunts house. Then it was great grandma and then to the shelter for almost a full week before they landed at our house. That part of it all just makes me sick to my stomach. I hate that it even has to ever come to that.

I know people screw up, but how do we keep babies from being shuffled around? (I don't have the answer, by the way.  That's something for you to ponder.)

At this point, I know that anything is possible. Mom could get it together; we could build a relationship and be able to continue to see the babies and even possibly be a mentor to mom when it's all said and done. Mom could also continue to make small mistakes and never really pull it together. She could give up rights, and then what? Then they'd be adoptable. Would we take them? I feel awful for even considering the question. Shouldn't my answer be YES! I just don't know if we would. And maybe it's because I am doing my very very best to be on their mom's side, if that makes sense.

For lack of better words, we are on her side. We want her to get it all together for her babies. We want her to prove that she can be everything they need.

I could compare the life they would have with us versus the life they would have with her based on the situation now, but what good would that do? They will always have to live with the knowledge that this happened. They were moved, they were shuffled, and hopefully, we'll be able to say that they were fought for by their momma.

Oh, how I wish it were simpler. Sometimes I wish we had never gotten ourselves into this mess (only for those very small fleeting moments though!). I know they are supposed to be here with us. I don't really know why though. We're just trusting that the Lord has His hand in all of it.

I really should stop over thinking all of it and just let it play out. I know He has a plan. He has a plan for us and for these babies. Maybe I should stop worrying so much about what I think and let it play out.

I should also note that (and remind you) that we are doing great at the Dalke house. Brian and I are both loving this crazy little thing we call life. We laugh a little more, take ourselves a little less seriously, and we have to depend on each other. All is well. I promise. I think some of you have been concerned that maybe we really can't handle this. Please remember that you are getting my thoughts and feelings and the outpourings of my heart on a daily basis after a long day with four babies. You are getting the real thoughts in my head that sometimes just need to come out on paper. Remember? I've said it's like writing to you here is my therapy.

So, don't you worry about us. We believe we are living right smack in the middle of God's will for our life, and we're wrapped up in His peace. There are just a million emotions and thoughts that happen when you're dealing with foster babies.

Thanks for traveling this journey with us. We appreciate your understanding and love. 195 of a year of writing.....

Those Small Moments

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

There are moments when I feel like I am incredibly good at I can handle these four babies and conquer the world at the same time.

And then there are moments that attempt to crash the entire system to the ground....moments where I doubt every bit of getting involved in foster care. These are the moments that sear in my mind. The moments when I feel like I can't handle it are the moments that I return to over and over again.

Even though there have been days (multiple days!) where I have felt like we are good at this, it's the "moments" of fear and frustration and anger that stick with me and threaten to crumble it all.

Fear is a funny thing. First of all, it's a big fat lie that the devil begins to seep into our minds with one small doubt after another. But it's those little doubts day after day that are born into huge lies that we start to believe about who we are and who we're supposed to be.

I know that focusing on those small moments of doubt and fear instead of on the days and days of triumph happen in all parts of my my business, in my relationships, in my marriage, and even in my faith. We so often get caught up in those small moments of frustration, fear, or anxiety that we forget about the triumph we've already experienced.

Just when I think I have it all together, one of those small moments takes over my mind, and before I know it, snowballs into an even bigger mess. Can anyone relate? Or is that just me?

I am learning through all of this that I need the Lord's presence near me all the time. He just keeps reminding me that I need Him through every step of this process. Every moment of every day I have to have Him. If I didn't, I am almost positive that I would be a complete basket case. Nuts. I would be crazy for sure.

It's sometimes in those small moments of fear, frustration, anger, or even doubt that He gently nudges me, reminding me that He is here and He has asked us to walk this path with Him.

When I find myself angry at the babies (yes, it happens occasionally...but that's an entirely different post) because of things completely out of their control, He gives me that them like I love you.

Man, that's a challenge! I'm telling you. I love these babies, but there are times when I feel like my frustration or anger towards their parents gets undeservedly directed at them. And the second those feelings enter my head, I know they are lies. It's like the Holy Spirit won't get off my back (thank God!), and He just keeps returning me to where my mind should be.....that would be unconditional and unrestricted love, in case you were wondering.

I guess tonight I'm simply wondering if those small moments of defeat are truly defeating you, or are you letting the Holy Spirit lead you instead? Are you letting Him remind you that you need Him, and that He is bigger and more powerful than any fear, doubt, or unnecessary emotion you may have?

Are those small moments defining who you are? Or are you letting the days of triumph define who you are?

Me? I'm not letting those moments change anything about the path we're on. My God is bigger than fear, doubt, anger, frustration, confusion, and uncertainty. He's got my back, and He's constantly reminding me that He is good even when there is nothing good in me. And that is all the good I need to do - His good work. 194 of a year of writing.....

Bragging On My Man

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How do I begin to describe him? How do I even start to explain to you what he is to me? He is so incredibly different than I am. We're really from two different worlds....two worlds that would become one.

I didn't know how he would change. I didn't know that the Lord would use him to lead me, comfort me, support me, and love me.

I don't know how I ended up with him. I sure didn't deserve him. Yes, he drives me crazy (as I equally drive him crazy I'm sure), but oh, how I love him.

I consider myself nothing more than blessed to have the kind of relationship that I do with my husband. We don't always agree, and anyone who lived with us when we were first married (three of our sisters) would probably undoubtedly tell you that they didn't think we would make it.

We are both incredibly stubborn, strong-willed, and head strong. Are those all the same things? I think so, but it's what we are for sure. And somehow it works.

He is my rock, my supporter, my leader, my sounding board.....he's my man.

I've been thinking lately about how much he puts up with. He goes with just about any idea I throw at him. This entire foster care thing was an idea I threw his way, and he never once told me I was crazy. He just went with it. We prayed about it and believed God would lead us in the right direction.

Today he took the babies to their supervised visit with their biological mom and dad. It was the first time for him to meet the dad. I am almost glad I wasn't there. Actually, I'm really glad I wasn't there.

The babies wanted to stay with Brian. They didn't want their mom or dad at first. I guess we should have known that would happen and will probably only get worse. He said it was awkward and that he felt bad. These are their babies that are choosing him over their momma and daddy.

Brian wants to build a relationship with the dad (and the mom of course). As do I. It's hard though. How do we say, "Hey, we want to be mentors to you and show you what it looks like to be good parents?" I mean that conversation does not bode well with anyone. We both know this is going to be a process. I'm blessed and honored to walk this crazy road with a man who I know only wants what's best for everyone.

He wants these babies to have the best future that they possibly can. I couldn't ask for a better man.

Just a little bragging on my man today. 193 of a year of writing.....

A Couch Filled With Peace

Monday, February 20, 2012

For the first time since the babies moved in, I'm feeling like I've got this down.

Since we went from a family of four to a family of six, our world has sort of been flipped upside down. I don't even know what to compare it to honestly. It's been somewhat of a roller coaster on all accounts: physically, emotionally, even spiritually.

But today everything seems to be piecing together. I know it's just one day, but hey, it's one day! The laundry is done, dinner has been made everyday for the past week and we're all pretty happy.

Things are far from that "white picket fence" kind of perfect, but hey, I'm not expecting that. Peace is what we're going for, not perfection.

We're getting into our routines. It may sound crazy, but having four babies is not as hard as I once thought. It has made two seem easy, that's for sure. We're into system mode around here. Everything is scheduled and has to be. And it works somehow.

I am happy to report that I have actually made it to church with four babies, all fed, dressed, and with shoes ON TIME for two weeks in a row. I was actually early this week! I was never even on time when it was just two kids.

I know that even telling you that things are going well is probably a like a welcome sign for me to have a rough day tomorrow. But it's interesting how important perspective is. I'm not really sure how you can be happy without finding the glass half full.

Now, let's be clear...there are tons of things I need to catch up on. I am about a week behind on work, and now we have physical therapy sessions for the baby and weekly family counseling session/visits for both babies that we don't have to be at but we're choosing to be a part of. I'm definitely not in the fast lane to catch up anytime soon, but I'm okay with where I am. It'll all happen eventually.

We're probably not getting enough sleep....okay, we're definitely not getting enough sleep, and we're all a little under the weather unfortunately.

But overall, where we are is good. It's full of routine and diapers and lots of driving around, but it's good. It's life and love and fun and it's all working out nicely.

Thank you, thank you for your prayers. I know I've told you this before, but we can literally feel them. It's a very cool thing.

Saying goodnight from a couch filled with peace tonight...... 192 of a year of writing.....

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Oh, how I wish life would fit into a neat little box (possibly covered with brown paper packaging and tied up with string).  Where toys would get picked up without a fight and bedtime was a breeze. Where I'd be able to cook dinner every night while the children played nicely together. Where our house was always clean and flowers were on the table and the laundry was always neatly folded and put away.

Oh, don't we all.

That's the picture of life that I imagined growing up. I thought that's what life would look like when I grew up and had a husband and children of my own.

I'm not sure why I thought that. My family wasn't perfect, and I didn't know of any perfect families, but for some reason, I thought that my life would be picture perfect.

It turns out that nothing fits neatly in a box the way we want it to. Usually things don't turn out the way we expect them too, either.

Our foster care journey is definitely not something that I can say has fit into a neat little box.

I've kind of been beating myself up about how I feel like a crappy foster parent because I don't love these babies as much as I love my own. It's like surely there are no other foster parents who aren't just head over heels for their foster kids.

I was fortunate enough to meet a woman at our church today who also has two foster babies (eight months old and eighteen months old). She's been reading my blog and feels the same way about her babies as I do about mine. But during our conversation, she mentioned that the other moms in her foster group love their foster babies like they love their own.

Then I started to think that there must be something wrong with the two of us. That maybe we are awful people. I started to think that maybe I'm being selfish.

Then I started thinking that maybe I’m not good enough at being a foster parent to really do this and to be fair to these babies.

Needless to say, the inner battle in my head started.

This afternoon my sister and soon to be brother-in-law came over for a couple hours so I could go grocery shopping. I knew I was in need of some alone time....some time to think and process without little hands reaching up for me.

A few months ago when we started the process of becoming foster parents, I had downloaded a few fostering podcasts. As I walked into Target with a heavy heart and a long list of groceries to fetch, I decided that today might be a good day to listen to what others had to say about fostering. 

This podcast (for those of you who might be interested) was called: Foster Parenting Podcast Episode 100: Doubts, Questions, and Hurdles. 

There was a lot of great information about fostering in general, but there was a very short portion that almost had me headed for the Kleenex aisle. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

The host (a foster parent herself) talked about how so many foster parents "hold their hearts back" from their foster children because of the fear of getting hurt. And then she read this poem:

"To Risk"

by William Arthur Ward

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.

To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.

He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.

Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.

Only a person who risks is free.

The pessimist complains about the wind;

The optimist expects it to change;

And the realist adjusts the sails.

And right in the middle of Target with a basket overflowing with groceries, it hit me like a ton of bricks.....they are not going to hold their hearts from me, why on earth would I hold my heart from them? Maybe it's time to "adjust the sail."

I know I'm doing it. I have no doubt about it. There is a wall that I've placed between us. I don't want them to pass the picket white fence of our so called "put together life" and make it messy. I don't want them to shake me. I don't want the mess. I want the picture perfect life I thought I was going to have complete with brown paper packages. 

But that's not real. Never has been. Never will be. 

There will always be crumbs on the floor, and smashed up goldfish in the car. There will always be noses to wipe and tears to dry. There will always be hands to hold and fears to crush. 

What I didn't realize until today was that it's not their fears I need to crush.....not the babies (they love us...they light up when we enter the room).....and not my kids (they love these babies), but my fears. My fears of pain and loss and regret. 

Many people have compared letting a foster child go (either back into the biological family's life or into an adoptive situation) to dealing with a death. Are you kidding me? Who in their right mind would walk into the agony of that kind of loss? 

The better question is, who is such a fool that they wouldn't be willing to risk it all to love like that? Because what else is there? There is nothing more important than the love that I can give them while they're here. Why not swing for the fence? Go big or go home? They deserve it. I know I have it in me. I just have to be willing to break the barriers I've placed around my heart down for two tiny little white haired babies who need the love that only a momma can give. 

I may not be their momma and I probably never will be, but I'm thinking I'm going to love them like I am until they have their momma back. 191 of a year of writing.....


Saturday, February 18, 2012

All right!  So, if you're on Facebook, I'm assuming you've heard that on February 24th, all our profiles will be switched to what they're calling Timeline.

At first I was skeptical, but I've been playing around with it, and I think it's kind of fun. You can go back very easily to different time periods since you've been on Facebook and look up just about anything. It's really interesting, to say the least.

I just spent time reminiscing and looking back through the years that I've been on Facebook. I joined in August of 2005. The coolest part of it, I can see how different I am now as a person. You can almost visually watch the change over the years. It's kind of neat.

So far, looking back, my favorite parts are in 2006 when I graduated college and then was pregnant with our first baby by the end of the summer.

There are tons of pictures of Addison growing up on my timeline. It's so much easier to look at pictures via timeline than through photo albums.

What a precious baby girl!

Before we knew it, I was pregnant again....this time with a precious baby boy.

My baby bump was just tiny then, but got much, much bigger!

There's my sweet baby boy moments after he was born.

Before I knew it, he was helping me with my Scentsy business. : )

Those are just a few highlights from the past I noticed while scanning through my timeline.

So I'm curious.....have you checked out your timeline? What do you think about it? Do you like it or do you wish it would stay the same? 190 of a year of writing.....

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