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Friday, June 24, 2016

A Cainan Story

I know it's been forever since I posted in the blog.  I keep wanting to but real life also keeps getting in the way. There's so much I want to say and share but it will have to wait.  However, this couldn't wait.  It deserved so much more than a Facebook post so I had to log into Blogger and say something about my incredible son.

God is so good!  I know Cainan belongs to the Lord and his connection with God has always been an amazing thing to observe.  If you've ever seen him worship...there aren't words.  And he loves reading the Bible and desperately tries to understand.  We have LOTS of challenging discussions about the Bible and it keeps me in the Word, too.  

This week Cainan is attending VBS at First Baptist.  They always put on a huge VBS and the kids love it.  They do a fantastic job.  Wednesday, Cainan came home and told me one of the girls in his class was telling him that her younger brother picks on her and starts fights, and when her parents get involved she "always gets grounded while her brother gets to play outside".  She tells her parents that it's not her fault but they don't believe her.  

Cainan asked if he could loan her his Bible and highlight the story of Joseph.  He wanted her to see how Joseph was
falsely accused by Potiphar's wife and even went to jail when he didn't do anything, but he trusted God and God was faithful to him, even in jail.  In fact, He used the entire horrible incident to bring Joseph to a position of ultimate power that saved his people.  Cainan wanted to tell his friend that even if her parents don't believe her, and even if they falsely accuse her, she should trust God and know that He's in control--even if she still gets grounded.  He also wanted to write some questions for her to read.

Even though I know Cainan is a smart, capable, caring 12 year old--I have to admit that I was pretty blown away that he would make the comparison of this friend's experience to Joseph's experience and want to use God's word in a practical way to help her in her situation.  My heart leaped with joy that God is so good and faithful.

So, at home, we found an extra [kid friendly] Bible (I told him not to loan out his own) and he looked up the passage he wanted her to read.  He sat at the table and wrote a series of questions, then folded them up and put them in the Bible.  I asked if I could read what he was giving her.  He showed me the questions, and once again I was overwhelmed by how God moves, teaches, and uses this young man. 

He asked her to read Genesis 39-42, which details Joseph's experience in Potiphar's house, his unjust sentence to jail, and his redemptive rise to power.  Then he wrote the following questions for her to answer:

Questions from the Story
1. Think back to the time when Joseph got falsely accused by his slave owner Potiphar because his wife lied to him about Joseph.  What lead to the accusation?
2. What did Joseph do to help himself out of that situation?
3. Why was that important for Joseph?

Questions that Help You
1. What should you do when you come to your situation?
2. Why would that help? 

Cainan was very excited to deliver the Bible and questions to her.  He hopes that she will see that Joseph trusted God and waited for God to use the situation for good.  He's hoping this will help her trust God.

I am hoping that Cainan continues to grow and mature in God's love.  He surprises me all the time with his passion, fearlessness, and insight in this area of his life.  Even as we struggle with other aspects of his life, I am so thankful that God has His hand on this boy's heart and life.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Vampires at Christmas Time

I have a problem with vampires.  I love them--that's the problem.  They aren't really nice.  There dark, sensual, powerful, enigmatic, immortal, deadly...lots of adjectives--but not nice.  So it bothers me that I'm so incredibly drawn to them and can't seem to get enough.  It's bothered me for a while and in the last year or so, I've really done some deep thinking about it.  I think I know why vampires are so compelling and it has a lot to do with how we are made, what we crave, and how desperately we want to be loved, pursued, and cherished by someone greater than ourselves. 

A few weeks ago I was sharing with some friends how I was obsessed with vampires at various times in my life and while I should be doing (A LOT) of other things, I was currently marathon watching TrueBlood.  It's not a nice show--it's about vampires.  It has a lot of other stuff in it
that's also not nice.  

Anyway, I shared that I was kind of working on this thesis as to why vampires are so compelling and I shared just a tiny bit.  Then I laughingly said, "but don't worry, it's not like I'm going to share this at the women's brunch, or anything."  It's a coping mechanism; I joke around when I'm uncomfortable.

A few days later, I was trying to have some quiet time with God (and not watch TrueBlood).  I was praying about what I should speak about at the brunch.  "What do you want me to share, God?  What do I have to share with these ladies?  Should I talk about foster care and learning to love when it's hard?  That would be good, right?"  Then the conversation I'd had with friends a few days prior popped into my head.  I actually laughed out loud.  "Lord, you don't want me to talk to the ladies in our church about the Christmas brunch...right, Lord?  Right?"


The answer was: yeah.

It was really hard to come up with this message.  I felt like I was crazy.  It's one thing to share a struggle with some friends and try to joke it's another to confess before a live audience that you really like something so dark and that it's basically a substitute for needing a savior.  And there was my message.

I prayed about it a lot.  I asked God if he was sure he really wanted me to talk about vampires at Christmas.  I wondered if my own fascination with them was just clouding my judgement.  I even did a REALLY rough recording of my message and sent it to a friend--I told her to be brutally honest: was it just too far out there?  She absolutely not into vampires so I knew she would be an unbiased opinion.  She actually said that it touched her and I should definitely go with it.  There was no getting
out of this.

Today was the brunch. I was up from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM this morning stressing about this message.  I had to fit it into 20 minutes and try to convince myself that it was what I was meant to do, even if I did come off as a crazy person--it's not about me, it's about God.  So, I made this concise little message about the danger of substitutions and I presented it at the brunch. It was cut even shorter than I planned because we were running late and because I was so nervous I think I left out a lot of the content--even with all the notes I had in front of me.  

But it didn't come off as totally crazy.  In fact, I saw ladies tearing weirded me out a bit.  And afterward, there were several who came up and appreciated the message.  There were also several who could not make it today because of the crazy weather and wished they could have heard it--I think admitting to them that I was actually going to speak about vampires aroused their curiosity.  So, I actually had the forethought before I began speaking to hit record on my phone and I have the message.  It's just 15 minutes.  Admittedly, I cried when I listed to it afterward because I'm still pretty weirded out by what I had to say. 
But I'm thankful that I could walk in obedience even when it was incredibly risky and terrifying because, for whatever reason, someone needed to hear about vampires at Christmas time today and I guess I was the one who needed to talk about them.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Halloween 2015

I know it's been forever.  I have so much to share but not much time to share it.  I will have to make it a priority one of these days.  But I couldn't stand not taking a moment or two to post Halloween pictures.  We had such a great time and this year's costumes were super fun.  

Cainan was a shoe-in for Jareth, the Goblin King from Labyrinth.  He's tall, slender, fair, and doesn't mind make-up or getting into character.



We've had this gorilla costume for years.  I've been the gorilla several times in the last 10 years.  

This time we decided to change it up by using the gorilla costume to create Asher's "kid in a cage being carried by a gorilla".

 I thought it would be easy (gee, I remember that same mistake when I thought creating a paper mache Yoda mask would be easy, too--when will I learn?).  The concept was easy but it was a bit more work than I anticipated.  

It was so worth it, though.  He looked fantastic!


An amazing $5 Goodwill find helped Repunzel have the 
fantastic long hair she needed to pull of this costume.  Also found the dress second-hand and bought it way back in August because I just knew--just KNEW--it had a certain little girl's name all over it.


I bought this peacock costume for little Miss G but Little Man screamed and cried until I also tried it on him.  

I had a few other costumes that fit him and tried to get him to wear those but he always cried and said, "off". I desperately wanted him to be the lion because he was so cute it hurt!!


 Whenever the peacock costume came out, he demanded to have it on.


Plus, all Miss G was interested in was being something pretty--she especially loves to wear her ballerina tutus.  So, the day of, I relented and let Little Man be the peacock and made Miss G a lovely, lovely, ballerina.  They were both happy and that's what matters.  



They were also both adorable, even if everyone thought Little Man was a little lady--I had to remind people that the male peacock is the one that has all the beautiful colors so it was completely appropriate (like anyone really cared--he's just too stinkin' cute!).

We had a great time at our church's Harvest Fair and Trunk or Treat.  I love that my mom, grandpa, and in-laws colluded to create a great Trunk or Treat car and handed out candy that night.  It was a lot of fun.

Oh, I also made a last minute decision to just go as a dude. 
I had some fake hair and a quick trip to the Halloween store netted me some spirit gum to apply it.  I stopped at Goodwill to find me some man duds that fit me.  The result was that a lot of people were uncomfortable and giggled when they recognized me.  Several people never did recognize me.  I determined that I make a pretty good creepy dude, especially when you know I'm not a dude.  (I also had some nylon sleeves with tattoos printed on them from a previous Halloween costume, so that added to the overall "look").

 Joe is a good sport but Halloween is just totally not his thing.  I quit trying to make him be anything spectacular a while ago--I focus my creative energies on the kiddos who actually enjoy trying my crazy ideas.  Joe would go along with them too, but he's not very enthusiastic about it.  I tried to get him to go in drag to accompany my masculine look but he just wasn't thrilled with the idea and I didn't have the energy to convince him that it would epic.  So, he decided to wear his FedEx gear.  He was probably the most comfortable of all of us and it was still a good costume.  

I'm already thinking about ideas for next year!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We're All Alive and Well!! (Sorry for the disappearing act)

I haven’t done a blog update in months.  So much has happened that I haven’t even known how to start…

I know the last update was discouraging, with no answers on my medical status and the frustration over the continued pain and lack of mobility I was having every day.  Thank you for those who continued to pray and encourage me.  I’m very grateful.  I can tell you, through a total miracle of the Lord, several things happened at the end of 2014.

In November I sensed a serious change in my job and felt a stirring from the Lord that I should quit my job.  I talked to Joe about it and we took some serious time in prayer because I loved my job and we certainly weren’t in a place where we would not miss the income if I just left it.  Through prayer and begging the Lord for some sort of confirmation or sign, I ultimately gave my notice.  It was heartbreaking and definitely the weirdest, hardest way I have ever left a job.  Once they accepted my resignation, there was no communication or acknowledgement from my employer about any of my work for them or my existence, really.  My last day I noticed I had been cut off from all the systems and I received a personal e-mail that my paycheck would be coming---the end.  Although it was painful, it was definitely a confirmation that I had made the right choice.

I definitely knew the Lord wanted me to wait and not seek further employment.  Joe and I knew we were approaching the end of our training and certification to become foster parents and I felt like God was just preparing me for that journey.  I wasn’t sure it would be possible to work with additional kids in the house, especially if there were infants.

Crossing my legs for the first time in over a year!
Over the first few weeks of January, my mobility suddenly began to return.  Within about 3-4 weeks, I could move my leg again and my pain was greatly diminished.  While I began to adhere to an essential oil protocol more rigidly and I started using some AMAZING vitamin supplements, I credit the healing totally to God (if He used the oils, the vitamins, the year of PT, whatever…I don’t care…He healed me and I am grateful!!!).  

On February 18th we signed off on the final paperwork to become foster parents.  Before that was even officially done we received a call from DHS asking if we could take three kiddos once we signed our home study and were officially foster parents.  There were actually two groups of three siblings they were trying to place.  We got down on our knees.  We texted our small group and asked that they lift up the decision in prayer.  We talked with our boys.  It wasn’t long before we called DHS and agreed we would take one of the sibling groups.  The first had already been placed and we accepted three siblings, (5 years, 2 ½ years, and 10 months). 

There’s so much I want to say about our experience so far but that will be for another blog post.  This was very, very overdue and I wanted to give everyone an update.  I promise to post again soon about our journey and how God is using us to help littles while growing us immensely in the process.  Thank you for all those who have been praying for us and encouraging us.  We need it!!  

Also, we are trying to obtain a larger van so we are able to haul our brood around easier, plus help out when we get those desperate calls from DHS asking for us to take an emergency placement.  Right now, we cannot help out because we don’t have the transportation.  We’ve started a GoFundMe campaign, and even if you do not feel led to donate (it feels weird even asking anyone to!!), please consider sharing, as someone else may feel led to.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Medical Update - Still Waiting for an Answer

I know many of you have been waiting for an update since I had my MRI.  I was waiting anxiously, myself, to find out what the cause is of all this mess.  I had the MRI last Thursday and was told my doctor would receive the report that afternoon or first thing in the morning.  I should expect to hear from her on Friday or Monday at the latest.  

I waited with bated breath, wondering what the answer would be.  Scar tissue?  Torn ligaments?  Arthritis in the joint?  Something worse?

Late Friday evening, just before 8:00, my doctor called with the news.  Or should I say, lack thereof.  The MRI showed nothing.  Nothing.

The radiologist indicated it was a normal pelvic MRI.  Well, actually, he stated normal pelvic ultrasound.  She thinks that was a typo and planned to contact him on Monday to confirm that he actually read my MRI and not the ultrasound I had last month.  She was also hoping to get a copy of the actual MRI, since she knows something about reading them herself.  She is also going to consult with another internist and the surgeon who did my hernia surgery.  

She’s at a loss.  We all are.  Thankfully, she’s not giving up on looking for an answer but in the meantime, I’m back to waiting.  I still can’t move my right leg.  I’m still in constant pain, though, thankfully the severity of that pain varies considerably.  And there is no apparent reason why my leg won’t move or why I’m in pain.  I truly don’t understand that.

I’m back in physical therapy, which is a mixed blessing.  I think it does help to some degree but it also gets things hurting on a pretty consistent basis.  Both my doctor and my PT are leaning toward that awful prolotherapy as a solution.  I’ve looked into it some more and it sounds even worse than what my doctor first explained.  It involves multiple rounds of glucose shots into the problem ligament where it attaches to the muscle or bone.  The shots are very painful and the resulting inflammation is also very painful.  Also, you can’t take anti-inflammatories for relief because the inflammation is supposed to happen in order for it to heal correctly.  You repeat the therapy until the ligament is healed and doing its job correctly.  Oh, also it’s expensive and not typically covered by insurance.  I am absolutely not sold on this idea.

I’m exploring some other options while my doctor also looks into her side of things.  I plan to go back on a modified anti-inflammatory diet, work with my PT on exercises, as well as rules I should follow to prevent injury (and I will follow them to a T), and an essential oil protocol that is supposed to help regenerate damaged ligaments.  

I wish I had some news—I would have taken good or bad.  At least, I would have had a game plan and goal to work toward to get better.  This not knowing and thus, not knowing how to fix it, is the pits!  Not to fall into a pity party but I’m pretty tired of hurting all the time, not being able to move and do simple tasks (like getting dressed or putting on shoes without contortions).  I won’t go into the amount of weight I’ve gained this year being totally inactive.

Ok, I’m done with the pity party.

Mostly, I wanted to update you all, since you’ve all been so caring in messaging me, texting me, and asking me how my test went and what the results were.  I wish I had a good answer to give you.  Thank you for your continued prayers and love.  It is all so very appreciated. 

God is good!