Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Color Run 2016

 




Carrie asked me to join her in the color run, without actually running. She knows me well, haha. So I couldn't resist since I had so much fun doing it last year (and walked it then as well).  Our husbands joked that we shouldn't call it the color "run" but rather the color "walk". 

To prepare for this "run", we decided to make our very own tutus. And for a whopping $6 in tutu materials at Hobby Lobby, it couldn't have turned out any better. The tutus made us look ridiculously cute. ;)  (Although they were time consuming!)

We actually ended up RUNNING (literally!) more than we ever planned and actually finished the race in 45 minutes! So I like to think that's pretty good :) Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. LOL. And we might just sign up for the next years race, and actually run the whole thing.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Truly Blessed


What do you think you'll be doing with your life in 10 years from now? As I approach getting another year older, if you would have asked me almost 10 years ago about my life today, I would have never imagined that this life of mine is actually mine.

Yesterday, I was able to: *Please note: I don't do all of these things every day*
*Did Pilates - I wouldn't have even known what this is, yet alone would have probably laughed and not taken seriously.
*Ran a mile after working out - Run?!! Yah right!!!
*Pulled weeds - Got my finger nails dirty?! Uhhh no.
*Finished reading a truly inspirational book {Rachel's Tears} - Read?! And on top of that read a book about the love of God?!
*Wrote on my blog - I would have never kept a blog about my life, but I would have thought this would have been pretty cool.
*Checked on our baby birds in the nest - Bird watch?! What? And put feeders up all around the house to attract them to come to our house?
*Waited to hear about our fostering license - In a million years would I have ever thought I would be doing this.
*Did loads of laundry of clothes that have been donated to us for fostering - To know that friends and complete strangers in our community support us doing this by giving us items that we might need.
*Cleaned our house from hosting Bible Study this past weekend - Bible Study? This so doesn't sound like me.
*The neighbor kids asked if they could come over to visit with us - Neighbors kids even want to hang out with us?
*Grilled salmon on our grill {we had salmon and salad for dinner} - Salmon AND salad??! Yuck.
*Trav pointed out that flowers I planted started to pop up - I wouldn't plant things or even care about planting things
*Planned a dinner I'm going to bring to friends this week  - I don't cook, especially anything than a frozen pizza!
*Watched baseball with my husband - Sports??! Please.
*Rubbed my husband's feet - Feet completely gross me out
*Prayed before going to bed  - Maybe, but this doesn't really sound like me.
*Listened to the roaring thunder - I would have been annoyed before trying to go to sleep
*Fell asleep to the man that God put me with & I couldn't have asked for anyone better - God knows who you should be with.

The only thing that I would have ever guessed that I would be doing in my life this current moment would be:
*Eating cookie dough

"The heart of man plans his way, but they Lord establishes his steps" Proverbs 16:9

God has way better plans than my life that I would EVER of had (or even imagined).  I am in complete awe of how my life has my life is completely different than I would have ever of thought when I was 19. I am truly blessed beyond words. 

I can't wait to see what the Lord will do with my life within the next ten years.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Rachel's Tears

One thing I have realized that when I grow more spiritually is that I don't really care about reading books that have no meaning. My role models are not famous people anymore either, rather they are people like Katie Davis and Rachel Scott. They are people that go against the odds to carry out their faith.


Rachel's Tears has excerpts from her private journals to God. Her mother, Beth Nimmo, and her father, Darrell Scott with Steve Rabey do a remarkable job of telling about Rachel's life. 

This book inspired me in so many ways, that I recommend it as a must read.  I hope one day to live my life like Rachel's, full of faith, and teach our children the same things.

Quotes from the book:

-Everyone wrestles with questions about good and evil, asking how God can permit bad things to happen in the world. We continue to wrestle with these same issues, and we certainly don't have all the answers. But in some ways, the losses we have endured have helped us experience a deeper level of trust in God and a more accepting faith that He knows exactly what He is doing.
-During the final hours before she and others were shot, Rachel drew a prophetic picture in her journal showing her eyes crying thirteen tears that were watering a rose.
-Forgiveness is not just for the offender. It is also for the one who is offended. If we do not forgive, we end up in perpetual anger and bitterness and eventually offend others with our words or actions. If we forgive, we experience a "letting go" or cleansing process that frees us from the offender... Unforgiveness blocks God's ability to flow through us to help others... God wants us to overcome evil with good.
-Even more surprising was the way she sought not to escape problems, but asked God to use them to teach her things... she knew weakness is where God's strength is made perfect in all of us.
-I think Rachel understood that being a Christian and taking up the cross meant that we lay down our need for control, giving the control up to God. She saw that Christianity meant submitting. She knew that God's grace touches us most deeply when we are weak, not when we are strong.
-"You lost. You passed up the chance to gain something. You just let a wonderful flame go past you and into the hands of another. Let his be known, child, when you do not follow through with the boldness and knowledge I have given you, more than one person is affected by it. You are as well as they."
-Security comes from understanding what it means to be in Christ, and significance comes from understanding that the Christian walk is not me being somebody. It's not me being famous. It's not me being great. It's Jesus being Himself in me.
-"At Columbine, she didn't preach to people; she just was Jesus to people. She defined what a lot of churches say is the right way to evangelize people."
-Often church people seem to put all kinds of barriers in people's way before we will reach out to them. Sometimes we expect unchurched people to behave nicely, use pleasant language, and live sinless lives. But Jesus never put those kind of barriers in people's way. He reached out to them, no matter where they were.



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fostering FAQ


We have gotten so many questions since we shared that we wanted to foster, that I thought I would answer some of your questions. I will add more questions as questions are asked & update answers when we get some more experience :)

Personal

Q. What made you want to foster? 
I was dead set on adoption, and had no intention on fostering. Travis actually brought it up after church one day {God must have been trying to reach him, although Travis doesn't remember this}, and at first my mind couldn't even imagine it. We've fostered dogs, but we got to choose which house that they went to afterwards. If we fostered kids, we have no picking whatsoever and that would be hard to know that the kids we may take care of may end up going back to a neglectful/abusive home and my mind couldn't wrap around it. Fostering would be a tough thing, but after Travis mentioned it, I kept getting nudges and my mind kept wandering about fostering. I don't know the exact day that we decided we would open up our hearts and home to kiddos, but we prayed about it A LOT. If it were meant to be, God would make it possible. We just needed to trust in Him that He would provide the guidance and the strength that we would need.

Q. Aren't you scared you're going to get attached?
Our hearts are already in this, so yes, we know we will get attached and that our hearts will grieve once they leave our home. But our biggest worry is what if no one shows that child love? Although these kiddos may leave our home, they will always be in our hearts, and we will think about them and pray for them for the rest of our lives.

Q. What type of kids did you agree to take in? What kind of fostering are you going to do?
Our list is newborn - 5 years old, either gender. We said we would take in drug addicted, abused, neglected, ADHD kiddos in. We were planning on starting off with emergency fostering with for one child. With emergency, they may need to stay with us for a night and can stay with us up until 2 weeks. However, with our first placement, we knew we wanted to do it for longer term. Eventually, I think we will be able to take more than one in a time as well, but we first need to see how it goes with one placement at a time. 

Q. Why don't you just try having your own kids?
We feel like there is something bigger in life and that we want to help others in life. What would be better than to open our hearts and our homes? God has been answering our prayers about fostering and providing a path for us. We hope that God will bless us with our own, but if not, we are okay with that. We haven't started trying for our own yet.

Q. What happens if you have kids of your own, will you still foster?
This is where Travis and I disagree. We're not really sure yet. I believe if that time comes, we will face it. 

Fostering Process

Q. When did you start the process?

The first thing we did as a couple was to pray about wanting to fostering and to see if it was something that God wanted us to do. Our personal fostering process timeline is here.

Q. How challenges did you face during the process?

During the licensing process, we first had to get our house ready. We just moved into the house, and the first step that our agency wanted to do was a home visit. So there were some things that we needed to have fixed. Everything seemed to be a long drawn out process - even something as simple as getting our drivers license or getting a physical scheduled. When we finally thought we would be done, something else would happen to prolong the process. The background checks were one of the last things that were looked at (even though it probably should have been one of the first things to be checked on), but it took a month and a half for Indiana's background check to be completed. We also had licensors change during the process, which I think if we just stuck with one, the process would have been completed a lot faster. I wish there was a checklist that would tell you what to do step-by-step, but there isn't. And honestly, every time I felt like we were so close, there always seemed to be a delay of some sort.

Q. Can you pick the kind of children you want?

You can pick out the gender, their ages, how many kids you want to take at once, etc. We were able to also pick out which kind of situations we wanted to take in. In different states it varies, but in our state, we can choose if we want to do emergency, short or long term fostering. There is even a fostering-to-adopt option as well. 

Q. I might want to foster too! Where do I start?
This is so, SO wonderful! The first thing I would recommend is to check out some foster websites and blogs. {This website website is a good place to start}. Pray about it, and see if it is something that keeps tugging at your heart. In our state, we were lucky to have a foster care navigator who helped us find an agency and checked in with us every 2 weeks to see how the process was going. (this is optional, and I don't know if every state has these wonderful people}. Do research on agency's, and check into them. Once you find an agency, set up an orientation. Fill out an application. This will lead to tons of paperwork and home visits. You share your whole life with these people. You will need criminal background checks for every state you have lived in, a physical for every family member, etc. Also, there is different training for every state. If you decide to do this, I would love to hear your journey!







Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fostering Timeline


8.4.15 - Contacted with a foster coordinator {they help you find local agency's}
8.5.11 - Left a message with an agency
8.11.15 - Asked God what he wanted with my life, because wasn't sure why the agency wasn't calling back and maybe I was supposed to do something else. Later that day, I got the call back about fostering.
8.15.15 - Actually spoke to someone about being interested in fostering
9.24.15 - Went to the first orientation
10.9.15 - First home visit
{in between: finished up house, training, scheduled Dr. apts, and lots and lots of paperwork}
10.31.15 - Fingerprints
11.24.15 - New licensor assigned
1.20.16 - Second home visit {Licensor took all of our paperwork & started the paperwork process}
3.11.16 - Paperwork turned into supervisor to look over as a rough draft, however, still waiting on a background check
3.29.16 - All background checks complete {took Indiana a month and a half for their background check to come back}
4.11.16 - Licensor dropped off last thing to sign before sending off to state
4.12.16 - Paperwork sent to state!!!!!!!!!!!!
4.15.16 - Asked if we would be interested in a long time placement after we get approved; turned it down since we weren't looking for a long term placement at the time.
5.2.16 - Heard back from state, needed some house information, information sent back to state
5.11.16 - Licensor called to say status officially changed to OPEN!!!! Was asked about another possible placement, but the child ended up going to another agency.
5.17.16 - Our FIRST placement!!! :) :) :) :)  Knew the next day that we wanted to be our placements long term foster home.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Next Step!


Although we are still in the licensing portion of fostering kiddos, our paperwork has been sent to the state!! Woo hoo!!!! 

Our licensor told us that it has been taking 2-3 weeks to get approved!!! Ahh!! I can't believe we might have kiddos soon!! :) :) :)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Teethers Cleaned

Tatum and Trig went to get their teethers cleaned and it was so weird to come home without having them to greet us. The house was so oddly quiet. The entire day, we kept thinking about them because anytime they are put under anesthesia we worry. Trig had more work done than Tatum, but Tatum was so confused and not himself for the rest of the day.


Trav spoiled him by putting a bed in front of the fire and wrapping him in a blanket. Even the fur babies were worried about him. Trig gave him lots of kisses, and even Jax cuddled next to him. Later, they were all laying next to each other.


Trig had to have a tooth removed that was fractured all the way to the root. A nerve was connected to his eye, which could explain his eye problems we have noticed for a while now. But now the two brothers have the same missing tooth. Could they get any cuter?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Updates

Spring has arrived, and the weather around here is NUTS

Trav got home in time to borrow the neighbor's aerator that he rented, so as soon as he jumped on, it started to rain.
Then it POURED. Thankfully, Trav put his waders to good use!

As soon as he was all done, the sun came out. Imagine that.

Some days, it has been nice. 
{Trav is training for a half marathon in May. While he was running, 
I was riding my bike being his cheerleader and his water girl ;) }

Then on April 2nd, it looked like this:
And apparently, this is in our forecast for this weekend. And every other day has been rain.

But all I really want to do is start a garden and make our yard look "purdy":
  
 
 

Especially because Spring is officially here since we have this sweet little surprise: 

So come on nice weather, I'm waiting for you <3





Friday, April 1, 2016

The Waiting Game


A suspicious death of a little girl.
My heart breaks as I read the headline.

In the comments section of the headline, people comment on how the system failed her.  I think the system tries to do it's best with what resources it has, but, the resources have to be few. {In the state of Texas, there is such a need for foster families, that children are sleeping in CPS offices}. There are not many resources here. There is a need for foster families, and many criticize, but many of these people are not willing to become foster families or somehow get involved with things to help these children.

Although we are not even licensed yet, I can already see where the system has failed. To become a foster parent, there are SO many rules and regulations. People may not be patient enough to go through the training, yet filling out the paperwork. And those who do (like us), have to wait up till a year to get approved because everything takes so long. So many things can happen while waiting for the fostering approval, that by the time they may get approved, that they may have things going on in their life, where they may not want to do the fostering anymore.

With almost every other month, we thought we were done with the process. We thought we would have kids by the end of one month, then another month, but after hoping for one month after another, I'm thinking it's going to be another couple of months, and if that doesn't happen, I wouldn't be surprised. Another friend who is going through the process has been waiting for a year (literally). She had to contact someone because if you don't get licensed within a year, then you have to refill out the paperwork (and that's the last thing you want to do).

I'm sure, all those who are already foster parents, have a burn out or are going to. When we went to our orientation, we were told that many people don't sign up to be emergency fostering (which they need as well), and that we would get a call every day.

Every single day.

That is how much need there is, but yet, it can take up to a year to become licensed. That doesn't make ANY sense. It just makes me sad, because we have our hearts and homes ready, and yet, we are still waiting. And I wonder about the kids we could have gotten if we had already been approved by now.

What if we gotten this little girl? We would have kept her safe. She would have felt loved.

There are so many other kids that need to feel safe and loved. This is what we want to do, yet we can't take a single step forward.

The thing that frustrates me the most is I know that God wants us to do this, but the process keeps getting delayed. I know it's in His timing, but don't understand that since we have our hearts and our home open, then why aren't we in the next step yet? God must be trying to prepare us in some sort of way, because once we get involved, there will be no looking back.

I'm just no good at this waiting game.