Friday, May 6, 2016

Being Too Hard on Myself

I am my worst critic.

I always have been.  When I ran track in high school, second place wasn't good enough.  A 95 grade wasn't good enough because it wasn't a 100.

Though I feel like I've gotten over a lot of the petty issues where this affects me, I've realized that I haven't completely stopped.

Foster care is hard.  Really hard.  I knew the billions of appointments, bad behaviors and dealing with "the system" would be frustrating, but I didn't realize how invested I would be in the kids' feelings/situation.  Or I suppose I did, but I didn't realize how much I would cry about it.  I'm not able to stand back, pray hard, be empathetic but be okay.  I have let so many issues burden me to the point that I cry every single day.  Admitting that makes me feel vulnerable, as so many people view it as a weakness, but Brene Brown in her book, Daring Greatly, is helping me to realize that it is okay. Being vulnerable is what makes you stronger.

I am not patting myself on the back at all - I have had a pretty compassionate heart for most of my life, though I'm not perfect and I've hurt people before, and if you're one of those people, don't worry, I'm probably still beating myself up about it.

I believe in therapy - finding a good counselor that you trust and that has your best interest in mind and doesn't just tell you what you want to hear.  I've been seeing a counselor for a while and I have to tell you that besides God and my husband, it's been what has helped keep me sane over the past 3 months.

In a recent session, she explained this visual: we all have a little circle around us.  It includes your feelings, emotions, experiences, pains, hurts, everything YOU.  And sometimes we can open up the door to that circle and let others into it a bit - usually your spouse or other family, but even with them, we can't leave it open so wide that we start personally taking on others' burdens to the point that you're on the verge of depression and anxiety about issues that are not your own to take on or solve.  This isn't meant to be heartless, it's about boundaries.  Boundaries that don't exist in my life. Boundaries that could have prevented me from being so hurt by friends and family during my engagement/wedding, boundaries that could have prevented me from depression after a break-up in my 20's, boundaries that could prevent me feeling like I need to fix our kids' issues and be the answer to everything...because I'm not.  I'm not the answer and never will be.

I've been so hard on myself over the past 3 months.  Our kids are in horrible health and we've been working on feeding them healthy food and ensuring that they get physical activity every day.  We've been successful for the most part as all 3 kids have lost weight and now are pretty educated on what bad foods can do to your body as well as what foods are great for your body.  "Superfood" and "vegetables" are now are part of their vocabulary.  Yet the one week that our 12 year old gained 3 of those pounds back, I fell apart and felt like a failure. I can't prevent her from sneaking food at school or at church or lying to us about eating 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches including all kinds of fried food.  I just have to let it go.  I take on too much responsibility when part of it is honestly theirs.  I will do my part as well as I can and know that I've done my best.  And that goes for many areas of raising these kids.

Raising 3 foster kids is not the same as having 3 biological children and I have to remember that.  I didn't get to raise these kids from when they were babies.  I didn't get to hold them in my arms and let them know that they were safe and loved.  I didn't get to teach them how to eat properly or how to use the restroom.  I didn't get to teach them respect and a good work ethic.  I am trying to catch up on what most people got many years to do with their biological kiddos.  These kids have 10, 12 and 16 years of a different parenting method so I'm having to re-teach and replace some things they were taught before.

I need to give myself some slack.  That's hard!  We jumped in hard with both feet and DO NOT regret it.  I'm trying to focus on the positives and how much I see God working here and to not let the set backs get me down and discouraged.

God called us to this.  God has equipped us and will continue to.  He in in control...not me.

fun moment when Kevin took L to a minor league baseball game :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Wow!  It's been over a month since I last posted.  Needless to say, life is crazy.

I keep wanting to post some deep post about foster care and how wonderful it is, but as wonderful as it is, it's also really hard and really time consuming....even being on leave from work!

It's frustrating that I can't post photos of the kids, because they are my life right now.  If you want to see some photos and we text, hit me up.  I just can't share publicly.

It's the What's Up Wednesday link-up with Shay, Mel and Sheaffer so let's get to the randomness....

What we're eating this week...

Holy moley, this healthy lasagna was amazing!  Let me tell ya...our 2 younger foster kiddos HATE veggies, but they're on the verge of diabetes so I'm getting creative.  Surprisingly, everyone actually loved this lasagna made with zucchini instead of pasta, including my husband!  And I used ground turkey instead of ground beef!

What I'm reminiscing about...

Ha!  The days that I didn't have to get 3 children to 3 different schools and a billion counseling, doctor, dentist, optometrist, caseworker, attorney, agency appointments.  It's totally worth it though.

What I'm loving...

That my hubby is in such a great job!  He is such an amazing leader and Director of Local Missions.  He's working on an event to educate our children on human trafficking and the tactics that traffickers use, a Bible study in the local prisons and how to serve our foster/adopt parents and children.  Here he is doing the announcements at our church...

What we've been up to...

Kite Day at church!  We flew kites, the kids climbed the rock wall and we ate from the food trucks. Fun stuff.

What I'm dreading...

Going back to work on May 10 :(

What I'm working on...

Being patient.  Ahhh...seriously, my patience levels are getting better.  Even the kids said the other day, "You and Kevin are awesome.  We're really hard to deal with and y'all are really patient with us." Haha!  I'm glad they think that. :)

What I'm excited about...

Getting some girl time this weekend!  See "What I'm doing this weekend" below.

What I'm watching/reading...

Oh new addiction:

Hart of Dixie on Netflix.  I love.  I'm in Season 1.

I'm also reading too many books at once....hence, why I can't finish a book lately...

What I'm listening to...

Since we got the kids, we've been going to the library every other day.  They get books and movies like crazy and the last time we went, I decided to get myself a CD.

What I'm wearing...

Usually just a pair of jeans and a t-shirt lately!

What I'm doing this weekend...

I'm pretty pumped about this!  This weekend is my friend's bachelorette party in west Texas.  It'll be the first weekend I've gotten away so I'm looking forward to no responsibilities.  We're not going to a typical place for the party and I'm super excited.  I'm sure we'll do some hiking, swimming and hanging out.

What I'm looking forward to next month...

On May 7, our church is hosting a human trafficking awareness/training that my husband has worked really hard on.  The intent is to educate kids/teenagers about the ways that traffickers lure kids in and how to recognize when something isn't right.  We have a lot of parents/kids signed up so we're expecting a good turnout!

What else is new...

This last Sunday, we took the kids to a minor league baseball game.  It was a blast!  I wish I could show you the fun photos I took of the kids!

Bonus Question:

What's your favorite mother's day gift to give or receive?

Well, this is my first Mother's Day to actually be a mother so I don't know what it's like to receive a gift.  Ha!  But I like getting my mom something personal.  I'm slacking this year though because I haven't even thought about it yet!

Have a great rest of your week, friends!!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Life Lately


It's been a month since I've posted.

On February 26th, we got 3 kids.

Yep - that's right.  Three foster children came to live with us and to say it's been crazy is an understatement.  I have been stretched to limits that I honestly expected, but man oh man, ones that are wearing me out!  It's been a little bit of every emotion.  We love having them, but it's also been very exhausting.  Imagine bringing home a new baby and dealing with all of the changes and adapting you would have to do - now times that by three, but really like 1,000 because they're ages 10, 11 and 16 and have a history being parented in a way that you would not have parented.  Ha!

It's been everything we expected - even the hard stuff.  We truly feel God's confirmation about it and that brings such a peace.  He has us where He wants us with the kids He wants with us now.

I SO wish that I could post all of my fun photos of the activities we've done, but legally, I can't.  I'll post what I can!

The weekend they came, we got to know them and had to make a few runs to the store.  They came with NOTHING so we had to get them clothes to last at least a couple days.  After that, friends and a local organization helped us out with getting some more outfits.  That was crazy!  They all wear adult sizes so building a wardrobe for 3 adult-sized kids was expensive!

We got the kids enrolled in school which took 5 hours.  We have one in elementary, one in middle school and one in high school.

We went to the rodeo that weekend only to find out that the rodeo part was over, but we got to enjoy the fair.  The kids had a blast!

We've made Oreo balls together...

Played many many board games...

Kevin and I finally got a night alone when my friend offered to come over and babysit.  We went to see the movie, Risen and enjoyed dinner - peacefully.  Then we got pie at the grocery store....haha.

The first week, I was pretty good about getting my Bible study done, but then fell off the wagon.  I'm just always SO TIRED.  Even if I get 8 hours of sleep, it's not quality sleep.  My emotions keep me up!

But these mornings are nice...Bible study/adult coloring, blackberries, tea and essential oils.

I've decided to take a leave from work.  I need some time to transition.  If a mom to a new baby needs it, I DEFINITELY need it.  This past week was my first week, but it was Spring Break so I was busy with the kids each day.  We had many appointments and did some fun stuff too!

We swam in the river, went to my parents' house, watched movies and played games.  We also went hiking...

The 16 year old and I got pedicures...

We made green pancakes on St. Patty's Day...

We went to a preseason Rangers game...

It truly has been awesome!  God is so good and so faithful.  It definitely hasn't been all butterflies and roses.  I've cried A LOT, had to take this break from work and now I'm sick.  My immune system has taken a beating.  I so wish I could talk about more of the details, but you get the drift.  Nothing can prepare you for the emotions that come with foster care, not even having bio kids, but it's worth it.  I always appreciate your prayers and encouragement! 

Hopefully I'll be back to blogging a little bit more now that I'll have some time to breathe.



Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, my friends!

I'm using today's 5 on Friday to catch up a bit on happenings around our house.  Since G left, we've done some random stuff!


We went to Enchanted Rock State Park with my dad and his girlfriend last weekend.  It was beautiful weather!  The perfect day for a hike!


Kevin and I didn't do much for Valentine's Day, but I did make him some brownies in my heart-shaped cake pan!  He loved it!


This week was my sister's and my bro-in-law's birthdays.  We had the family over and grilled pizzas! It was my other sister's great idea!  We set up a bar of pizza toppings and everyone made their own.  Then we grilled each pizza on the grill....perfection!


I've been LOVING the Sacred Holidays Women's Lent Study that I've been doing.  God has been speaking to me through it every morning!  You can still join in by purchasing the digital version.  Let me know if cost is an issue and I'll get you a code!


Since Kevin has Fridays off, he's smoking a brisket for us today!  I can't wait to get home for dinner!  I never realized how much prep goes into it!

I hope you have a great weekend!  XOXO

Linking up with KarliErikaAmanda and April!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Our First Foster Placement  Where do I begin?

Let me start by saying that I apologize for the silence on the blog and for being so behind on my blog reading.  The past two weeks have been so emotionally up and down, but such a testament to God's faithfulness and sovereignty.

I cannot believe that it's only been two weeks since we received our first placement as foster parents - in a way, it went so quickly.  In another way, SO MUCH happened that I feel like it was a year.

I, legally, cannot share details about the case with you or post pictures of his face, but I'll share with you what I can.

On Monday, February 1, an 11-year-old boy came to live with us and many tears were shed.  Remember what I talked about HERE?  This process is not easy, especially for the child.  The second I saw his tears, I started bawling.  I felt dumb in front of the caseworker and our agency consultants, but I could not stop the tears.  My heart was so broken for him.

The next couple days went really well though!  He adjusted quickly and so did we.  We got him enrolled in school and got to know each other.  We played a basketball a lot, played on the playground, went to a Spurs game, colored A LOT, watched superhero movies and introduced him to God.

And then 10 days later, he was gone.  I can't talk about details, but we have a peace about it.  When God called us to become foster parents, He didn't say "you will adopt" or "you're always going to be happy" or "this is about you and your feelings."  He did say "I am calling you to this, I will guide you, I will look out for the best interest of My children, I will be glorified in this."

And that's just what happened.  It wasn't easy to see him go, but we had a peace about it.  We believe that God is looking out for his good and loves him SO SO deeply.  He learned about God and the Bible in such a short amount of time.  He got to see a husband and wife that love each other.  He got to feel safe in a time that must have been so scary for him.  I don't know exactly what He learned, but I pray that God used that time for good in his little life.

I was surprised at how attached I got after just 10 days.  I cried for 6 hours straight and then off and on for about 3 days after that, all while having total peace about it.  I miss him.  I believe that God created women to have motherly instincts and part of that is getting attached to children.

But I know that God is good.

Recently, He showed me the story in Mark 4:35-41 (in my Sacred Holidays Lent study) about Jesus calming the storm.  Here is the part that I have always just breezed over in that story:

"...Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let's cross to the other side of the lake.'"

You guys, Jesus had a plan and He told the disciples what it was.  He basically said let's do this together.  And though He knew the path and knew the plan, there was still a storm.  God will call you to something and He's with you, but that doesn't mean that it won't be hard.  There will be storms.  There will be pain.  And just like the disciples did, we tend to get scared and say, "Teacher, don't you care that we're going to drown?!"  And He responds with, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

Gosh, I do this!  I get so scared and start to lose trust when He calls me to Himself and tells me to just trust him.  There will be storms in this foster journey.  It will be hard, but I have to trust Him.  He is the One with the power to calm the storm.  I need only be still and trust.

So we look forward with anticipation to what comes next!  We could get a call any day about our next placement so please keep us in your prayers.  We know it'll be hard, but we're excited to see God's faithfulness and we trust His sovereignty.



Monday, February 1, 2016

The Many Emotions that Come in Anticipation of Foster Parenting

There are many emotions involved as we anticipate becoming foster parents.  Click here to read about the one's most people experience!

Have you ever had so many emotions running through your mind that you really don't know how to answer someone when they ask you "how are you feeling?"

Lately, I truly don't know how to answer that question, because I'm feeling excited, scared, happy, sad, nervous, frustrated, blessed and overwhelmed.  Did you notice how all-over-the-place those emotions are?

So....we're supposed to get our first placement today!  It may or may not happen depending on a judge's signature and we've already had our introduction to the frustrating "system" so who know what'll happen today?!  I'll be able to give you a better answer tonight so if you have my number, please feel free to shoot me a text!  I love to know that people are praying for us and thinking of us.

I'VE BEEN EXCITED.  I'm thrilled to be getting a child in our home!  This is what we've been anticipating and we're really really excited to finally have children here.  We have 7 open beds that are ready for warm bodies!  We're excited to learn more about the kids, love on them and show them the love of Jesus.  We're excited to take them hiking, play board games with them, watch movies with them and even cry with them when times are tough (which will be SO often!).

I'VE BEEN SAD.  Now while we're excited to get a child or children in our home, so much sadness comes along with it.  This is NOT an exciting time for the children.  They were let down by their own parents/family and entered into a broken system.  I don't want to jump for joy when they get here and I also don't want to break into tears (which I'm totally afraid that I'll do).  It's such a weird feeling to be excited to meet them, but hurt for them in this really sucky time in their lives.  People tell us "congrats" and while it's kind of is a "yay" time for us, it's not AT ALL for them.  There is usually no joy in being torn from your own family, even if it was an abusive situation.

I'VE BEEN SCARED.  There is always that fear of failure.  Have you mamas felt like that right before you had a baby?  "What if I mess up?" "What if I'm a bad mom?" "What if the child hates me?" The truth is, I will mess up.  All parents do.  But with the help of the Lord, I'll get back up and learn from my mistakes.  Only He can give me the strength to parent in the way that He wants.  I know parenting is hard, but parenting through the foster system has it's own complications added to it.  There will be some things that some moms just don't understand and there will be some where they can help me.
I'VE BEEN HOPEFUL.  Since God called us to this mission, He will get us through it.  I have to rely on His strength and not my own, especially when it really sucks.  Let me say this - we know that we don't know how hard it's going to be, but that doesn't stop us from being hopeful.  God hasn't called us to live a comfortable life.  Sometimes, living to glorify Him is uncomfortable - it's hard, but worth it.

I'VE BEEN FRUSTRATED.  I don't want to offend anyone here.  So please bear with me.  It's hard when you don't feel understood.  We're different.  Most people aren't going to understand why we're fostering so we don't have their support - even family members.  We've been surprised, because there are some people that we thought would support us, that haven't.  If I were having a baby, they'd be all about the baby showers and asking questions about gender and nursery and names.  But because I'm not, some didn't come to our "new parent shower" and when we've updated them, they just say "congrats" or "it'll be interesting" or nothing.  We can tell who genuinely cares by the questions that people ask us.  On another note, the system is frustrating.  It's just so broken and sometimes you wonder who really has the best interest of the children in mind.

I'VE FELT BLESSED.  I know that God is calling us to a big thing.  I feel so humbled that He's chosen to use us.  I will probably look back and think "oh my goodness I had NO clue as to what was in store for us," but I do know one thing - we're following what God has told us and that's all that matters.  We'll get through it no matter what the journey ends up looking like.  I just pray that He was glorified through it all.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Hump Day, my friends! My week is going pretty well and I hope that yours is too!  Foster Update: we're still waiting to receive kiddos.  I jump every time my phone rings!  The anticipation is killing me!

But just because these kinds of posts are fun...

What we're eating this week...

So far I've made Jambalaya and I'm planning on making this chicken enchilada casserole tomorrow!  Looks delicious!

What I'm reminiscing about...

That time I was little and caught a big, nasty fish.

What I'm loving...

The beautiful weather we've had lately in the Texas Hill Country!  I've been hiking two weekends in a row!

What we've been up to...

Hiking (see above), getting the house totally ready for children, working and playing with our cute pups.

What I'm dreading...

I really can't think of anything that I'm dreading right now.  Does stepping on the scale next, count?!

What I'm working on...

A necklace holder to go above my vanity!  I started with an old cork board, painted the edges white and am looking for fabric to cover it with.  Then I'm going to paint my little pushpins a better color and hang my necklaces on them!

Similar-ish to this...

What I'm excited about...

My new vanity!!  Things are going to change a little once I make my necklace holder, but here it is for now.

What I'm watching/reading...

I'm reading The Connected Child by Karen Purvis which is probably the most highly recommended book for foster/adopt parents.   I'm loving it!

What I'm listening to...

OBSESSED with I Am They!  It really pumps me up in the morning on my way to work!  I might be driving with my hands in the air at times while listening to it.  Love praising Jesus through this music!

What I'm wearing...

My new magenta Kendra Scott Alex earrings...A LOT.

What I'm doing this weekend...

I haven't been making plans lately in hopes of us getting kiddos any day!  BUT, if we don't (or maybe even if we do), we may go hiking at Enchanted Rock this Saturday.

What I'm looking forward to next month..

Getting some foster kids!  I hope that when I'm typing this time next month, we have kids in the house!

What else is new...

God is good!  Ok, that's not new because He is good all the time...but just sayin'.


What's your favorite Valentine's Day treat?

Well, I don't know about what I've had in the past, but this year, I want some little heart cookies with this super cute frosting using Lisa's Valentine's Day frosting tutorial!  Aren't they cute?!

Linking up with Shay, Mel and Sheaffer!