Friday, February 26, 2010

Training Classes

So, we’ve been going to “parenting classes” as my husband likes to call them. :)  Actually, in order to foster/adopt through DCFS, a couple must attend 27 hours worth of training as part of the preliminary process.  We just finished session 4 of 9  last night.  All the other stuff was basically review of info that we already had or things that we just knew.  Last night was brutal.  It was about loss.  Our instructor, Laura – who I really like – went over the various stages of loss and grief and we talked about what some of the kids that come into our home might feel.  I have an idea of what we’ll be dealing with, but I’ll freely admit, I don’t fully get it.  It’s hard to imagine where these kids come from because I have NEVER been in any kind of situations like these kids come from.  It will just tear your heart right out!

One of the first things she did was she had all of us get three sticky notes and on one we wrote a person we loved.  On another, we wrote our most prized possession.  On the third, we wrote an aspect of our health that we were thankful for.  At first, I thought it was a little silly, but being the rule follower that I am, I did exactly as she said.  Then, she came around to each one of us and began pulling a post-it from the table in front of us.  She took one person’s loved one post-it.  Another one she took was their prized possession.  And so on.  She then asked how that made us feel that she just came and took our stuff.  Of course they were just post-its but still.  Then she came around for the second round and some people had both their other post-its taken and some people just had one.  Some people didn’t have any.  She asked if that was fair.  Was everyone treated the same?  Did everyone end up with the same stuff?  And THEN, she came around and gave us a post-it back, but it was someone else’s post-it.  Not ours.

Some of these kids going into foster care have everything taken away from them in one fell swoop.  They are taken away from their loved ones.  Even if mom and dad have treated them like absolute crap, they are still THEIR mom and dad and the kids still love them.  They may have been taken with just the clothes on their back.  They may have had to leave their favorite stuffed animal or their pet – their most prized possession.  Laura reminded us that as she gave us the sticky notes back, we might have gotten a pet or someone’s PS3 or a loved one….but it wasn’t OUR stuff.  Put yourself in the place of these kids.  They might be coming into our home and having a ton more stuff than what they had back at mom and dad’s, but it’s our stuff – not THEIRS.  It’s not what makes them comfortable.  WE are not mom and dad to them.  We can love them with all that’s in us, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to experience the stages of grief over the loss of what they have left.

Then.  Oh then.  At the end of class, she played a video for us.  All it was was words scrolling across the screen and occasionally we would hear a kid reading these words.  It was taken from a psychiatrists observations from things kids have said and things he’s witnessed kids experience.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I was literally crying.  It was so heartbreaking.  I mean, I had an idea, but some of the things shocked me.  And most of it is bringing me to my knees.  It makes my heart break.  It makes Mike really angry.  HOW can parents treat kids this way?!  HOW?!?!  How can ANYONE treat a kid that way?!

We found out last night that the newest statistic shows that the number one reason a child in NWA is taken out of his/her home and put into foster care is neglect. NEGLECT!!  I would have guessed drugs in a minute.  But no.  It’s neglect.  Drugs was second, but still.  Overpowered by neglect.  I could just shake some people for that.

And to make matters even worse, I watched a DVR’d episode of Oprah today about child molesters.  I hesitated for weeks about watching it, but especially last night after some of the stuff we heard, I knew I needed to watch it.  I was crying by the end of it.  Because there are kids even around here having to deal with stuff like that.  It makes me SICK!!  I’m nearly to tears even now as I write this.  One of the guys on there put it perfectly when he said by what he was doing, he was killing who that little girl could have been.  I just want to bury my head and pretend that stuff doesn’t happen, but I can’t anymore.  And it breaks my heart for those kids.

I just know, more than ever, we have GOT to help some of these kids.  Mike and I are so passionate about this.  Whatever kind of abuse these kids have come from, we may not be totally equipped, but we have willing arms to hold these babies that need someone to love them.  And open hearts, which may be the most important thing of all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heart to Heart Luncheon

Our Bible study group had a luncheon scheduled for yesterday called the Heart To Heart Luncheon.  We were to decide, as our individual groups, what we wanted to do for lunch.  At first, I thought maybe a potluck at my house since I’m close to the church, or maybe we could go out somewhere.  Well, Miss Diane spoke up and invited us to her home for lunch.  I was instantly excited!

My group is several girls that are close to my age and mostly girls in my season of life – we have young children.  Diane is my mom’s age.  And a southern belle if ever I saw one!  Diane prays before each Bible study term begins to see which group God is calling her to be in and for this term, she chose our group…and what a BLESSING!  I didn’t know really who she was before that first Tuesday meeting, but after about a minute and a half, I knew I would come to love this lady!  And boy, have I!!  Imagine a softer version of Paula Deen that just loves Jesus to pieces, and there you have Diane.  Contagious, people!  Seriously. Love her to pieces.

So when Diane said she would like to have us over to her house for lunch, I was excited.  Then she started talking about what she would serve.  Y’all, I just nearly fell out right there at that table when she was talking.  Now, mind you, it wasn’t anything over the top fancy, but just the way she was describing everything gave me major warm fuzzies.  Diane is a hostess extraordinaire! I’ve seen her pictures on facebook, so I knew it was going to be fun and special!  I didn’t realize just how special until we got there.

I knew what neighborhood Diane lived in, so I figured we were going to a nice house.  Yeah.  That’s the understatement of the century.  Her front porch alone was decorated way cuter than my whole house!  Diane of course greeted us at the door and was so excited we were there.  She took us on a tour of her house, and let me just go ahead and say, I could have looked around in there for another 2 hours at all the detail she has put into her home.  One of my favorite things was when she was showing us pictures in her grandson’s room of her husband and father.  There were only 4 or 5 pictures, but each one was very special and had a story behind it.  THAT is my favorite.  I love pictures with special meaning like that and I love to know the history behind the picture.  We all loved looking around and as we came down her staircase, she had us all stop for a picture.  Aren’t we cute?! :)

Bible Study Luncheon

We came downstairs and Diane showed us to the table, which she had set so beautifully. She had special places for each of us with little heart gifts at each place setting!  Oh my word!!  How precious!  We had goblets for our tea or water, gold silverware that was just gorgeous, round pink placemats, and our plates were already filled with fabulous food!  Let me tell you what was on our plate: chicken salad on a lettuce leaf (precious…and DELICIOUS!!), mini raisin bread sandwiches with a cream cheese filling, a fruit and marshmallow salad with pecans, and chocolate covered strawberries.  Was that not a little tea room menu right there?!  Heaven, I tell you!  H.E.A.V.E.N.  Our dessert was a cake that Aimee made with her daughters that Diane served on these tiny little plates that were just absolutely adorable!!  LOVED THAT!!  We also had a little tray at the top of our plate with three small pastel colored mint candies.  Oh my word.  I mean, really.  Could you get any sweeter?!  It’s like that trip to Brighton I had at Christmas where they wrapped up my small little purchase like it was a glorious special treasure and how special I felt at that store.  That’s the way it was at Diane’s house.  I felt SOOO special!!  I still get goose bumps thinking of it!

The most special part of the whole thing, though, was the sweet conversation we all had.  We had two ladies from our group that couldn’t join us and there was another group that only had two ladies in it that day, so Diane invited them to come and fill the spaces we would have.  It was such a sweet time of conversation and it made me want to get to know those ladies even more!  I just love visiting with godly ladies and enjoying times of sweet fellowship.

Overall, it was one of the coolest lunches I’ve ever attended.  I am still not over how special I felt.  And let me just state that I didn’t feel special because all of the “stuff”, or how nice Diane’s house is, or because of the food, or any of that.  It was because of the time that Diane took to make things special, and her attitude about it.  It was just so very thoughtful.  And the thoughtfulness is what makes all the difference in the world, gold silverware or plastic.  If it’s thoughtful, it’s special!! 

And Diane, if you’re reading this, I love you, my sweet Southern Belle!!  Thank you soooooo much for having us over, for treating us like royalty, and for being such a genuine godly example to all of us!  I thank God daily that He directed you to our group.  What a BLESSING!!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Today's Goals

We have another snow day here in NWA.  Lovely.  I'm not sure how I'm feeling about these.  I am one that likes to go-and-do.  But I also enjoy a good day at home.  So today, I'm a bit torn.  There's nothing I can do to change the fact that the schools are out today (and will likely be tomorrow as well), so I'm going to make the most of my day at home.

Tomorrow is Rachel's 6th birthday and Saturday is her party.  There is a massive amount of cleaning that needs to be done at this house before we have company this weekend.  So today, I will be beginning that process.  My goals today are as follows:

  • Wash every article of clothing in this house save those on our bodies.  I'm so over laundry.  I feel like it's all I do sometimes.  But when you have 5 people who wear clothes, what's a mother to do?
  • Put up the party decorations.  Since Rachel's birthday is tomorrow, we might as well go ahead and celebrate, right?!
  • Clean most of, if not all of, my house.  I know there are some touch up things that will have to be done last minute, but if I can get the majority done today, that will relieve some of my stress.
  • Clip and organize my coupons from the past couple of weeks and plan out a menu for next week.  I've got my menu done for the rest of this week and it's such a stress reliever to be able to look at my list and know what I'm cooking tonight and not have to wonder or worry.  I want to be able to plan a menu for a month and just get groceries each week, or every other week, for the month.  We'll see if that actually comes to pass...
  • Read for at least 1 hour.  There is a book that I've been trying to read for about the past 2 weeks that I just can't get through.  That's one thing that frustrates the daylights out of me about myself is my lack of speed in reading.  I love to read, but I can't seem to read very fast.  If anyone has any speed-reading tips they'd like to share, I'm all for it.  There are so many books on my list of ones that I'd like to read, but at the rate I'm going, I'll be 80 before I can get to all of them.
Now, if I can get all of that stuff done before Hollywood Week on American Idol tonight at 7pm on FOX... (I'm just a teensy bit excited about that), then I will feel like I've accomplished something for the day.  I've got my first load of laundry folded on my bed ready to be put away and the next load is almost ready to come out of the dryer.  One load at a time.  Wonder how many I'll have today?  My guess is about 7.  Of course, there could be more...

One last blessing of the day - my sweet Copper is finally finished being in heat.  Lord help us all, that was the worst timing of all the world for her to have been in heat for the past couple of weeks!  She and Kramer are now allowed to be in the same area with each other without fear know.  There was one time about a week ago when Rachel let them outside together without thinking.  I didn't see anything, but I suspect know.  I'm praying that they didn't know.... and even if they did that nothing 'took' and we won't have puppies in about 55 more days.  And if we do, I guess it's God's way of telling us we needed an extra couple hundred dollars. :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Our first foster parent training class was scheduled for tonight, but they called this afternoon and cancelled it due to weather scares.  I think it would have been fine, but I'm not the one in charge.  I was going to have to go by myself since Mike is out of town and he would have had to make up the first night of class later, so actually I guess it turned out to be a good thing.  We'll start next Thursday and just go a week later, I suppose. Instead of class tonight, I got to fix my kids dinner, eat my leftover lunch from Mama Tang's (holy cow, that was good stuff!!!), will give the kiddos a bath, put them to bed myself, and then cuddle up under a blanket to enjoy some Grey's and Private Practice while I'm enjoying some hot chai tea that my lovely Secret Sweetie at work gave me today. I might also have a plan for eating a piece of peanut butter pie with that tea.  Maybe... :)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Today has been one of those days where I have just felt so blessed.  I know that EVERY day I am blessed, but some days, don't you just feel it more than others? 

Bible study today was awesome!  One of the other leaders graciously shared with me her guide that she uses for her class and I think I'm going to continue that trend.  We didn't get through everything (what's new), but it was focused, I felt, and very good.  I love, love, love the ladies that are at my table.  I have mad love for them.  We missed a couple girls today and I hate it when we're all not there, but hopefully we can meet all together next week.  Today in the video we watched of Beth Moore, that chick was FIRED UP!!  I just love it!  I mean, the last couple weeks, I have just wanted to jump up and yell "HALLELUJAH!!" a couple of times during the program.  Of course, we are among a bunch of Baptist women and I might get a few crazy looks - but really, who cares?!  It might free one or two of them up to do the same thing! :)

While we're on the topic of jumping up and yelling "HALLELUJAH!!", I literally did that in my kitchen today when I received an oh-so-special email!!  One that I'd been waiting to see for weeks!  I can't wait until I can share more about it, but oh my GOSH!!!  If you could have seen me when I read that email, you would have died laughing at me!  I'm totally not kidding when I say I was jumping up and down in my kitchen and screaming "Thank you JESUS!!!"  I'm really surprised I didn't wake Porter from his nap, I was yelling that loud!  ***UPDATE - THIS JUST IN!! It's not on the DL anymore!!  Go HERE to ready about why I'm so excited!  I'll let their post speak for itself...

That email made me think of a song that the choir did Sunday called, "When I Think About The Lord" and I couldn't get that out of my mind, so I got online and listened to it and had a bit of church by myself at my desk.  The chorus of it says:
"It makes me wanna shout!
Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!
Lord, you're worthy of all the glory,
and all the honor, and all the praise."
Oh my granny, did I ever have church.  There is just something about songs like that sung by a choir that just take me to the presence of God in a hurry.  Can you even imagine what heaven will be like?!  There are times when I sing that my eyes are closed, I'm thinking about the words to that song, making them my own, and I seriously think if I opened my eyes I would see Jesus sitting right there with me.  Today was like that.  I'm listening to it again as I write this and I'm about to have church again right NOW!!!  Woohoo!!

Then I got a sweet email from my husband.  The Lord is doing an amazing work in his life and I just love watching it!  Things that you get a word from God about may not happen right when you get that word, but to see God work in the mean time and to see HIS perfect timing is just so sweet.

And then I got an email that I get to sing on the praise team again this Sunday.  To say that I love doing that is such an understatement that it just doesn't even come close to doing it justice.  I know that I'm nowhere near as talented as some of the other ladies that sing in our choir, but then I realize it's not about me.  It's not about my talent (or lack of talent).  It's about my obedience to praise.  And by being obedient, God let's me get a little blessing out of it by doing something that I looooove!  And to the powers that be, I say it again, thank you for allowing me that blessing in my week!!

I've also been texting my friend April about some decor for my bedroom.  I just wish I had all the money in the world to let her "go to town" on my room (my whole house for that matter) and decorate it exactly how she would do her house because I love her taste.  But sadly, we don't have a money tree, so I'm limited.  But she was telling me about some cute things that she found at Hobby Lobby today that would look good in my room.  I don't think I can adequately convey how much that just blesses me to death when someone helps me decorate or cleans my house.  I mean, it's beyond joy.  Warm fuzzies to the uttermost.   Last year, I had some friends that I bartered with to come in and do a little 'redesign' in my house.  They didn't buy anything new, really, but just sort of arranged my own stuff for me.  I knew they were at my house one day while I was away and I was a giddy little fool all day because I was so excited someone else was doing something like that for me!  I couldn't wait to get home to see what they'd done!  A couple years ago, Mike asked what I wanted for Mother's Day and I said I wanted to hire someone to clean my house.  I did and a lady came in while I was at work one day and cleaned my house.  Oh. My. Gosh.  That was one of the best days of my life!  It's not that I can't clean my own house or that I even have a messy house, because it's usually pretty clean.  But the fact that someone else was coming in to do something that is SOOOO in my love language just almost was more than I could take - I was so blessed. GIDDY!  There have been a couple times we've had girls come in to babysit for us and when I've gotten home, I've seen the dishes have been washed and put in the dish drainer.  I'm almost getting verklempt just thinking of it!  I mean, am I even coming close to getting my point across of how much that sort of stuff is just so special to me?!  So when April was telling me that while she was out doing HER stuff, she was thinking of MY stuff and what would look good for my room....oh bestill my heart!  It just makes me happy.

So, over all, it has been such a good day of God's blessings.... one right after the other.  I don't know how in the world a wretch like me can deserve His goodness, but I say "Keep the blessings comin', Lord Jesus.  Keep 'em comin'!"