This is our's crazy, it's hectic, but most of all it's fun!

Monday, November 7, 2016


Generosity. I look each day at my person and I am so consumed with generosity, but it has only been that way for a short time. In fact, only about two weeks.

It is no secret that my family has a sweet story. A testimony if you will. It will always be something we talk about as long as we are breathing air into our lungs. It may be in the quiet still of the night when our children have long gone to sleep or when we are in our 70s on a fishing trip with our grandchildren still marveling at God's goodness.

His goodness. Oh his goodness.

We had family pictures done recently and I was blown away at Jessyca's talent. She so beautifully captured my family. My gifts. My evidence of God's generosity in my life.

I used to think that because God miraculously healed Ryan he was faithful. That he so loved me and my family, and we were faithful to him that he was faithful to us. It wasn't until I heard about God's generosity that my entire way of thinking was altered.

You see, I know that hard times are ahead of me and Ryan. It may be another illness or even death. It may be overwhelming sorrow and despair for one, or both, of us. It may be tomorrow and it may be 50 years from now, but either way, because of what happened long ago in the garden, it is going to happen again. When it does, I want to be faithful again. To know that His goodness comes so strongly, so fully, that it will be all consuming. See God didn't promise to heal Ryan. He just didn't. If that was the way he worked, He would be healing people left and right. People who love Him deeply and serve Him well. People who so deserve more time here on earth. We must be the faithful ones. We must be the ones to call on Him. To hand it over to Him. To be willing to relinquish whatever it is we are holding on to in order to give Him the glory no matter what happens.

Two years ago, God was generous. He answered big, bold prayers and oh how I am so thankful for it. I look at the pictures, so beautifully depicting who are, and I see a gift. A gift to me. A gift to God's kingdom.

And then I see two more. One boy and one girl who haven't fully grasped the magnitude of how big God is. How good God is. How wonderful, exciting, moving, and freeing life with God is.

To say all that, though, it must also be stated that I am human. That I can so easily say, "Yes God has blessed me and been good to me and I'm okay with whatever stands in my way!"

No, it doesn't work that way for me all the time. Sometimes I am paralyzed. I am sitting waiting for the bad to happen. When I see the pain, the sickness, the destruction swirling all around me and I just find myself waiting for the fall. For my little world I work so hard to craft and keep going to crumble. It causes anxiety, fear, and me wavering back and forth between what I believe and what I know to be the truth. I am overcome with a paralyzing feeling of why. I am clouded by whispers from the enemy telling me this is life. That these feelings are valid.

But I am so wrong.

Yes, my world will crumble at some point, but the only one who is going to fix it will be Jesus. He will be the one I call on day and night, every second, every minute, every hour to rescue me. It will be me calling out for his grace, love, and mercy. I will be able to handle it because I know the richness of God's promise in eternity.

Life is so sweet friends. So sweet. I pray that each of our eyes and hearts are opened to seeing God's preciousness and love towards us in the big and the little. That we sing His praises and give Him the glory each time an opportunity arises.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:16-17

Saturday, July 9, 2016


"And whose baby is this?"


I bypassed the grueling 9 months of growing a baby. I didn't experience that beautiful pregnancy glow or the ever expanding belly bump. I didn't have the time to fully prepare for a little life to be in my hands, nor was I completely confident in speaking about it. I was becoming a mom again, but it was in a way that I had never expected. 

The title "foster mom" makes me cringe and puff up with joy all at the same time. It is a role I never thought I'd be in and it's a role that has completely made me question my ability to parent. 

Our home was officially opened on a Wednesday afternoon. While waiting for our official number, we had already received a call about a baby. I wanted him. It felt right and it was now just a matter of time. Which would come first-the number or his placement somewhere else. 

It was the latter. 

I was upset. I knew that was the baby for us, so I struggled a little knowing he had gone somewhere else. 

Thursday came. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Crickets. And I begin to wonder if we'd ever get a call. All I've heard since starting this entire journey is the need. The need is so great. There are so many children who need a home. You'll probably get placed immediately. You will have a child so quickly and I wasn't. I was feeling a little confused, but also knew that God had something in store for us. And he was whispering just wait. 

Monday came and I had stopped obsessively checking my phone for a missed call. I had relaxed a little and wasn't so consumed with when we would get a baby. And then my phone rang. It was the call about a little baby girl. My heart knew this was our baby and my yes was a big yes. Ryan's yes was as big as mine. 

We were doing this. 

I was told to wait until 3 to call back if I hadn't heard anything. By 2:55, with no word, my anxiety was high. I prayed and asked God to calm my heart and mind. To know that he was faithful and that I knew he was taking care of us. Not a minute later, a number popped up on my phone from the county she was coming from. Thanking God, I answered that call and plans were made for her arrival. 

I can't exactly describe the feelings I had when I laid eyes on her. Heartbreak, joy, excitement, devastation. The list goes on. I saw her and those big beautiful round eyes and instantly I felt like momma. I had wondered how I would feel. Would I truly feel like a mom to these children or would I simply be a caretaker. Would I love them? Would I be what they needed? Would God show me their needs?

God has been so faithful to us. He has opened doors in a way that make me say, God did that. 

Our sweet baby girl changed us. We learned how to parent three children.  We learned of the frustration of the foster care system. We received lessons on grace. We watched our kids love someone with so much passion. She reminded us that we have so much love inside of us and that is unbelievably easy to give. 

Our time was precious with her. It was also short. 18 days. 18 days to love and to grow. 

I was blindsided by the call that she was leaving us that day. Ryan was out of town, the kids were with Nana, and in the time frame given, there was no real way for them to make it home for a goodbye. It was solely on me. God did it that way for a reason. It was one of the hardest things of my life preparing for that goodbye. Sitting there playing with her knowing at any minute I would hear a knock at the door was almost paralyzing. But also, God prompted and pushed. He told me to not hold back. To love her fiercely until the end and I did. Strapping her in the car seat, telling her goodbye, and giving her that one last kiss caused a physical pain I didn't expect. Walking back into the house empty handed literally took my breath away. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. There nothing but sobs coming from me. And I was alone.

Lord, thank you for letting me be alone in that moment. I needed Him. I needed His arms wrapped around me. I needed His peace. I needed His comfort. And He delivered. 

While there was a big hole missing in my heart that weekend and unexpected tears at any given time I accepted the fact that I was mourning. I was filled with so much grief that at times I wasn't sure I could open my heart up again. Did I want to do it again? Did I want to put my family through that again? Was it worth it?

But, we began to pray. We asked God to fix our hearts. To pick up the shattered pieces and put it back together. I didn't want my heart to be perfectly sewn back together. I needed those jagged marks as a reminder of that heartbreak that comes along with fostering. 

I picture my heart like an old quilt. All the little sections. All the little pieces of scrap fabric that never seem worthy of something good. But the creator knows. They know the final outcome. When it's all sewn and perfectly put together, the end result is amazing. It's cohesive. It flows. It's beautiful. It's long-lasting. Yes, this is my heart. And after each goodbye, when God starts picking up those pieces and sewing it back together, he adds one extra section. This one just happens to be magenta. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Back around Christmas time I was deep into a TV show. My DVR was filling up and I was finding myself eager to see what happened next in the storyline. Then something happened on the show and it just happened to be a Thursday night when I didn't get the chance to watch it. The next day I received a text asking if I had caught it the night before. I asked no, why and she explained to me what had went down and I begin to see the posts on Facebook. In that moment, I decided to not watch the show any longer and have stuck with that even though my DVR still records it. It was a personal choice. A choice that, for me, aligns closely with what I am ultimately trying to achieve. I want to put good in, so that good comes out.

We started a new show a couple weeks ago and I was really into it. Some things were sketchy and had me raising my eyebrows, but I overlooked it because the storyline was good. Because I enjoyed the characters. But then, last night, as we were watching something happened. It goes against everything I believe in and at the moment I said to Ryan, I don't think I can watch this show any more. And I won't. It doesn't align with what I believe.

Rewind to Monday. In a conversation, I was asked if I had read 50 Shades of Grey. I have. All three. I've even read two others series quite similar to that and I sit here now wondering why. I've watched the first movie of the 50 Shades series and, by admission, have struggled with wanting to see the second movie when it's released. I won't, simply because it doesn't align with what I am trying to achieve, but I have the desire to. Can I put out the disclaimer now? This is about me and my relationship with God. Although, through conversations, I know that it's not just me.

In Romans 5:5-8 it says, "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Cannot please God.


I want to live a life that pleases God because the desire is so deeply rooted in me. Yes, there was a time when it wasn't. When I didn't care. When I was living MY life, by MY rules, by MY clock. God was the one who had given me life, but I wasn't living it for him and his glory.

But what a good, loving, and forgiving father we have. I was a broken vessel, and to this day I still am, but my future is more bright, more clear when I let God take the driver's seat. When I don't let the world, and its promises, get in the way of that.

I don't want my flesh to be impulsive. I don't want to give in and fill my mind and soul with things that aren't pleasing.

Remember WWJD? I wish that "campaign" would make a comeback. Bracelets and all. I need that. I need that reminder of what would Jesus do?

Would he sit around filling his mind with garbage? Or would he be filling his mind with the things that can benefit me, my family, and those around me. It has been a personal choice to rid my life of the "junk." When I have my music on shuffle and I'm in the middle of a run and my "old college jams" come on I smile with pleasure because that was a fun time in my life, but it was also so sad. Have y'all listened to the lyrics. All I think is my precious babies hearing that stuff and heavens no. Just no. We were recently at an event and we happend to be around a lot of teenage kids. (I'm 30 and they are now considered kids and not my peers anymore. That's a hard realization.) My heart hurt. I must have had a judgey look on my face, but I didn't mean to because it was not me passing judgement. It was me 100% reflecting on my past. That was me. I was the girl right in the middle of it, helping my friends build the Beeramid. Seeing how tall we could get it with all the drinks we had consumed. I was the girl living life UP in college. That is absolutely not who I am today, and for that I can only thank God. Thank God for his grace, for his mercy, and for loving me when I was so unlovable.

I know that my junk and your junk looks completely different. I struggle daily trying to find the balance of what things in my life are "okay" by all definitions. I struggle with the fact that I love live music. That I love to dance. That I can do each of those things without a single drink of alcohol, but where is live music and dancing held? In a bar. So do I go and enjoy the band or miss out on something that I love? It's a true struggle to live in this time when the world around us tells us that these things, this  "junk", is okay. But is it? I pray, I ask myself WWJD, and I ultimately do what I feel is most pleasing to God because in the bigger picture I want to be like Jesus.

Please tell me some of you are this way too? That it's not just me?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three year old cool-Claire


I think when it's your baby the numbers on a candle sting a little more. It's not until later that seeing the videos of her blowing out those candles that the pain is more evident


No longer a "baby" by any accounts. If I want a true glimpse of the baby in her, we have to pretend she's a baby. Complete with rocking, feeding, and burping. And yes, I try that often. 

She is independent, opinionated, and fierce when it comes to love. She knows her likes and dislikes and isn't afraid to tell you.

She is incredibly cool and looks to entertain and make you laugh. 

She oh so subtly gives me a glimpse of who I am. The stubborn, quick tempered know it all. Together, we are working on that. 

She is the girly-girl that isn't afraid of dirt and mud. We are in a competition for who can eat the most sweets in a day. She loves music, dancing, and singing.

Princess attire is her thing, followed closely by coloring and stamping. 

While turning 3 is hard for me to believe, it also fills me with so much joy. She is the sweetest little gift that God has given our family. Though I sometimes look at her in those hard moments and my eyebrows shoot up in I don't know what it is...fear? Ha! I know that God has her perfectly poised to do something great. I look forward to three with her. May she continue to be her perfect mixture of salty and sweet! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A lesson on joy

Today, Ryan had his first experience teaching a 2-3 year old class at church.

By technicality, I should say we had our first experience. "We" because this is the first time we actually did it at church.

I actually get to teach 2-3 year olds 3 days a week at a Mother's Day Out.

These are my people. They are cool. They are sassy. They are moody. They are hilarious. They are innocent. They make me love what I do. They make me question what I do.

Overall though? I love what I do.

I didn't hesitate to sign up at church to teach this age group when the sign up sheet came by. I don't think Ryan expected me to sign him up, but he is a good husband and very go with the flow.
Read: He likes to make momma happy.

It was a fun experience even though I think Ryan's head was spinning after hanging with 10 of them. I would have fallen out of my seat but I was safely strapped in when Ryan said I did a really good job this morning.

Again, I just love that age group! But if we are being honest, I was a little sad.

I love Sunday mornings. I love being filled with the word and learning a new lesson each morning. I was so eager to ask my parents what they learned in church once we were leaving.

I asked. They answered: Joy.

I was a little jealous because I  wanted to hear about joy. I wanted to be filled with something that I seek daily, but no. Not today.

Then, it hit me. I quickly remembered that while I didn't get a lesson on joy today, I hope that my kids did.

That they saw me as a fresh face, eager to teach them about Jesus. That God had placed it in my heart to serve in my church by building a foundation to little people.

I want to be filled with joy in everything I do. I want others to see joy in me and know that it comes from the Lord.

The days at home with my own two children I need to be reminded that happiness is fleeting. On the days I am teaching a dozen 3 years the same song and going over the ABCs for the 15th time that I need to find the joy in it. On those couple days a month that it's my turn to teach the littles the word that joy radiates from me.

While my notebook today was filled with only 6 words, I feel like I left with so much more.

And that? Well, that's a win for me.
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