Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Calm Amongst the Chaos??

I played basketball all the way though Jr High and High School, it took years to be semi decent at it. I was always yelled at by coaches to be “more aggressive”, to “be a tiger”, but it was hard for me to do that. Aggressive is not an adjective used to describe me. As I got older and more experienced I got better at basketball and although offense was definitely an easier side for me to play, I did get better with my defense. I got stronger, I learned how to box out and I have an enormous reach making blocks one of the best skills I had. It was fun, I played with my best friends and I have nothing but awesome memories of the sport. I still remember so clearly however one day after a game I was red faced, sweat slicking my hair back and I was talking to a friend who said “I just love watching you play, you are so graceful”. I was like what? Did you see my points? My blocks? I was hustling all over that court and you thought I looked graceful? I still chuckle thinking about it because in my head I was the tiger out there I was trained to be and yet from everyone else's vantage point I was a giraffe leaping around the court.

I am not complaining. It’s not like she compared me to a bull in a china shop. Being accused of being graceful is not an offensible crime. But I didn’t want to be seen graceful. I wanted to be seen tough.

This is still my lot in life.

I have called my blog Calm Amongst the Chaos for many many years because it’s what one person said I was while I was wrangling my kids and I liked it and the name stuck. At the time I was pushing Lily in a wheelchair, probably arguing with Andi Jane and holding a baby Oliver on my hip. This also makes me giggle because in my head there is no calm. And that chaos is mine. She is saying I am bringing with me a whole lot of chaos, my chaos, my kids, my monkeys, my circus and I’m just walking through it calmly. I am so not. I am an anxious person. I have strange neuroses. I am not calm in my brain at all. Yet I seem to give an appearance of calm. Again. I’ll take it! But for the years it has been kind of a silly name for my blog when in all reality I’m lying. I’m not sharing with people how to remain calm amongst life’s chaos. I am just going along with what I look like I am. If you asked me point blank, Kim how do you remain calm amongst the chaos? I’d laugh and say “I don’t”.

I have never been diagnosed with anxiety. I actually only recently have been able to understand what it is. My whole life I have been nervous, scared, driven by fear. I fidget obsessively and I worry and obsess about all the ways things can go bad. I’m an over thinker and can never just take things as they are. I never understood when I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin, or when I can no longer be in a place I was just fine in a few minutes ago that it was anything more than me being me. Yet I also consider myself an extrovert. I laugh, make jokes and smile a lot. I love people and genuinely care about them. I thrive on being social and need to be around others. Unless I get a weekend to myself in a hotel room. Then I’ll take that. But I wonder if my ability to socialize in public with my circus of crazy swirling around me is how I get dubbed cool and calm amongst it all. But I really feel anything but calm.

I think it is all because I am tall with long limbs. I guess giraffe's never get accused of being anxious, but I bet you there is a mama giraffe out there with maybe just a few too many kids that are getting into giraffe naughty business and she is stressed out and tried, but does she look it, no.. she’s a giraffe! She is tall and graceful and munches shoots of trees. She is doing her business all gracefully, but I know in her head she is saying “they can’t go there, they shouldn’t be there, what did Greg eat for breakfast, did Gerald drink any water? Did Gerry poop yet today…”

My point for this post is this… I do not feel calm amongst it all. But I crave it and I want it and I strive for it. And when I want it, by the power and GRACE from God, I can achieve it. But it is not a given. It is not natural for my mind to be at peace at any given time. I have to be intentional in my seeking of it.

April was an intense month for our family. Well the last half especially. We were busy nonstop. We had two out of town volleyball tournaments for Andi, one being in Vegas. With two littles. It was a lot. A LOT. We had a trial and might I add we are STILL waiting for our judge to rule on our case. It was not a month where I was able to be sitting still in my storm just praying for peace as it passed. I was a tasmanian devil running from disaster to disaster making everything more of a mess. I was still for the most part digging in my bible and doing my morning devotions but half the time I forgot what I read just moments before. I am struggling to even get into my book club book this month because my mind is filled with too much stress to focus on the things that bring me peace. Even while trying.

I hate this place I can find myself stuck in. I hate the negativity is spews. April was also fun. I never want to be that mom that can’t find the joy in the moments because I’m too stressed. Yet I find myself there often.

So it’s May now. It’s summer hot here in Arizona and some parts of our world are starting to maybe slow down a little. Maybe. And even if they don’t, my focus is still going to be that calm. That calm I brag about in naming my blog. The calm that everyone sees in me, yet I never see in myself.

I am going to get more intentional with the things that get me there. Focus. Intention. Joy. If I focus on it, pray on it and seek it, I know it will be found.

And most of all Philippians 4:4-8, my most favorite verses in the entire bible, will be on repeat inside this messy head of mine.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wishing and Hoping and Waiting

I love the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding. I am pretty sure I saw it in the theater multiple times and then on loop on VHS. I love the characters, the actors (hello! Julia, Cameron, Dermot and Rupert), the humor, the music, the story line. It’s just chick flick perfection. Of course the Oscars weren’t calling their name to stand up and accept an award in 1997, but all of us young women dreaming of our futures cared and that what mattered.
The very opening (pre Julia) scene is a bride and her bridesmaids singing the classic Wishin’ and Hopin’ in a cutesy 50’s style fashion. The bride is basically saying you won’t get a man just by wishing and hoping, and thinking, and praying, planning and dreaming each night. Oh no, you need hold him, kiss him, love him and show him that you care. And how you show him that you care is by wearing your hair just for him, and doing the things that he likes to do. Then you get the ring and hook, line and sinker. Ha! It’s so cute and silly. And then song gets stuck in your head in a very serious way.
I haven’t thought about the movie or that opening scene in a long time, but lately we are in a huge waiting period of our life and sometimes I will be humming.. Wishing and hoping, thinking and dreaming… and it gets in a loop. I kinda wish someone in a cute dress will sing to me and tell me how to get this wait over. Like maybe if I dress a little nicer. Pray a little harder. Maybe if I stand on my head and wiggle my legs. Just tell me and I will do it.
Yet we wait.
I wanted to wait for a ruling from the judge before I mentioned anymore about this journey, I like to be able to wrap things up in a bow. I always want to share my story after the fact. I want to grapple and wrestle with my life then come and say tada! I survived and here’s how. But my heart is saying write. Share. Spill it. My brain is saying not yet. The story isn’t over. My heart says the story won’t ever be over so share.
And guys as always my brain loses to this ridiculously bossy heart of mine.
We are in a period of waiting. And it SUCKS. For real. Like for real.
I know we are not the only ones in this time of waiting. We all have these moments. These hard moments in life where one phone call, one email, one spoken word can change the course of our entire life. A ruling, a test result, an upcoming appointment. Sometimes life flows and sometimes life rages. It’s raging right now and I honestly hate it.
But I did give it to God. I wrote that piece last month and I truly made confessions and I handed that over to God and let it go. And guys… the peace! The peace I was granted is worth more than any amount of anything anyone can give me. I was able to breath through March. We were able to breathe through 2 days of trial and God held us up the entire time. I saw him work in me in ways I would never ever imagine. He changed my lenses. I saw people I once saw intimidating; human, kind even. I felt a trust in people I questioned previously. I felt peace and heartbreak. I felt compassion that overwhelmed me. I sat in a courtroom wiping my eyes and nose in my sweater because I had, well no tissues, and no control over how my heart ached.
We listened to hard stuff. They spoke about the future of these little lives that don’t deserve to be talked about. Little lives that are so woven in every fiber of our family. Little lives the courts shouldn’t have ever even knew they existed. They deserve so much better. But there we were listening to their history with their future in the balance. We sat helpless, yet filled with peace. Peace I sought after so hard and found it in the only place it could ever be found.
I share that with you all because I know so many of us are seeking that peace. I found it in the hardest easiest place. Surrender. The hardest easy thing you’ll ever do. And I don’t even feel I need to explain what I mean by hardest easy. If you know, you know. Surrendering, laying it down. Once it’s done, it is done. You feel like it’s being slowly pulled from your tight grip, then you let go and you are free. I’m praising God for that experience. I know me. I know my crazy. This was the kindest gift that has ever been given to me.
But we are still waiting for the outcome from those trial days. We have been told what the outcome would be by many professionals that have spent way more days in court than this Dateline addict. But still we wait. Because until I hear it, see it, know it. I know nothing. I need knowing. Not speculation.
So we wait. And even with the peace it still sucks. It’s still a daily practice for me to continually hand it over. Each morning, each and every one. I seek him and I talk, and talk and talk and he is so so good to me I don’t even think he rolls his eyes even a little at all my talk.
But this is what it is. It’s seeking him in this time. It’s never relenting. It’s not letting my crazy sneak in. It’s intentional daily. And maybe that’s why it’s on my heart to share this. Because I know we are not the only ones in waiting. So many of us are wishing and hoping and waiting. We are thinking and dreaming and waiting. We are seeking this time to fly by, yet I don’t think he wants that. We need to push forward, draw near and fill up. Seeking his face purposefully and intentionally.
I am excited to share that story with the bow around it one day. But I am glad to share the story of right now as well. As the bow always looks pretty, but the person wrapping it, especially me with no artistic skills at all is a disaster and watching her tie the bow together is probably quite humorous. And sad. And hilarious. Because amongst the crazy, the frustrating and the sadness I like to dance. And sing. And be all kinds of silly and so that’s what I am looking like right now trying to wrap this bow that one day I’ll look back on and see it’s beauty but not so much in the bow itself but the process that put it so nicely together.
Also friends if you haven't listened on repeat singing your heart out to Reckless Love by Cory Asbury in your car, you should. That and the Greatest Showman. You may want to catch a ride with someone else. It's pretty ridiculous.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

God's Plan

Dear God,

Thank you, please, please, please, please….
please , please, please, please..
In your holy precious name,
MY will be done.

Oops I mean your will. Your will be done.

But God, can you please, please, please match yours to mine?

I don’t actually really trust your will. Your will scares the s*#t out of me. I’ve seen your will. I’ve seen it go seemly really bad. I think if you just see this from my perspective you will see that MY will be done is a whole lot better than yours. I mean, just this time. Ok. Please.

Living in fear in Arizona

Hi… I am Kim and as much as I love Jesus I have realized I don’t trust him very well.

This revelation has come to me, thankfully, steered by a good friend who isn’t all about chicken soup and snuggly blankets. We had a recent conversation and it went a little like this.
“Kim, what do you know”, “I know God is good. He loves me. He is protective of me. I am cherished. These children are his and loved and cherished and protected.” “Ok Kim, so why don’t you trust a God that you know all that about” “because trusting him doesn’t mean things will end how I want them, I mean look at what we’ve gone through with Lily” “So knowing all you know about God you think your will is better than his” ….. “Uh…” And it went on from there. From a place of love and a place of a different perspective we continued to talk.
Tears pooled my eyes as I began to understand my distrust with my God. MY God. Whom I love. Whom I crave his closeness and grace. Whom I hate missing a morning coffee with. I don’t trust him. Because he had done me wrong.

I spent years begging at his feet for a different outcome for our baby girl. His will was different than mine.
15 years later my prayers have changed for her and of course our acceptance of her is clear as a bright sunny Arizona day, but my heart will always be scarred because of her. Because her life is hard and I hate that. Because her life was not how I envisioned it being.

My will for her was not met.

But God’s will was/is. And it is good.

But if we had this talk 15 years ago I’d punch you in the face. I would have at least really wanted to. Because I was supposed to trust a will that leaves our daughter unable to speak, walk, feed herself, and be reliant on us for everything she needs. That she would have to undergo awful procedures and surgeries and diets and take disgusting meds for her entire life and that is a good will of God. That doesn’t sound good. Or fair. Not cool, at all, in the least. But it’s his and it is good.

And as the years have gone by and we watch Lily’s growth and know her and love her and we see the lives she has touched and changed, ahem most assuredly the ones closest to her, i.e. me, we see a goodness that shines through her. We know we weren’t punished and Lily had to suffer. Not at all, we are able to shine God’s love through a girl who is clearly blameless in all ways. We have come to love and honor that we get to serve her. Care for her. Silence our own selfishness for her. Because she is worthy of it all. She didn’t become who we planned. She became eons more. She is a gift and we are the lucky ones.

God’s will was done and it is good.

As I have been in this waiting period and spending time in deep reflection on our life with Lily I have had two out of the blue moments with her. I got a facebook message the other day from someone who taught her Sunday School in the 5th grade. They moved away and she said she always has Lily on her mind. How Lily was such a blessing to be a part of their class and she just wanted to know how she was doing. She’s great, I wrote, and thank you for reaching out and reminding me once again how she is a life changer.

And yesterday, at Oliver's skate competition, Lily was being pushed by Grandpa Steve and a homeless man wearing a suit with slippers and looked like an arty professor, clean and kind, and carrying all his belongings in a cart on his bike came over to Lily and Grandpa Steve with tears pouring down his face he said “God bless you and her”. He said his son was killed in Afghanistan and he used to serve in the Navy and he wanted Lily to have his Navy key chain he’s been carrying around for many years. Guys! Grandpa Steve said his tears were just pouring out of him. We gladly put that key chain on her backpack and will always think of him and his son and again be reminded that Lily is seen, her presence is known and God’s will is good.

Will it take me until eternity to fully grasp his will for her? Yes. There are days I want to just talk to her and I can’t, and that will always hurt. Reminders like, for instance, that she should be getting her drivers permit this month, sucks. Always. So even on my best days I am working with, and will always be, a scarred heart.

God’s will is a hard pill to swallow when we have seen it at work and not appreciated it fully. And might not until we are no longer on this earth. There is only so much we can see from our perspective. I look forward to that day I can see it from his.

People still get cancer, people so very close to me get cancer, so many children are in foster care, babies sometimes die even after we all pray with intensity that his will does not take this precious baby from my sweet friend.

So much on this life we will never fully understand or comprehend until we are face to face with him. The king of all kings. The alpha and the omega. I picture his big, gentle hands on my face and explaining to me my life. The ways my road went, some sweet, some too hard, and see it was all good. His will was good.

But until that moment I still have to live and love and flourish on this earth, I want to slay these years, not merely survive them. So how do we surrender our will to his. Even knowing it’s good. But also knowing it may not be ours? That’s the struggle.

I never used to have a problem going to the dentist until one day he put that novocaine needle right into my nerve and I almost flew out of my seat. I thought I heard and saw the color red (yes that is what I said) and I would never be the same. Do you think after that I can sit in a dentist chair and get that shot without my heart palpitating? Heck no. I’m like a panicked goat. Please don’t hit my nerve, please don’t hit my nerve, I beg. Out loud. Like a panicked goat. One panicked goat that can speak. Did my tooth go numb and he fix my tooth? Yep. Do I hate going to the dentist now? Abso-freaking-lutely. Once bitten twice shy, right? I do not trust anyone with a needle in my mouth. I don’t. It’s created an anxiety in me that’s hard to go to the dentist now. But the Dentist ain’t God.

God is not the dentist. God gives us promises that are true and we can cling to, like for instance in Romans 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He promises us good if we trust in him. And so we try to trust him. And everyone says, trust God. So I try. But I am so often left unsure of what that truly looks like. How do I hand him this heavy burden and walk away from it? Like it’s easy to say thanks, here you go, but then a few minutes later say Umm… I’ll take that back. You really aren’t able to control the situation like I am in my head. Like a raving lunatic. That’s working better than trusting you on this. Actually God I choose my crazy over your peace.

What? Why?

And that is what I am practicing right now. Dropping that load off and walking the eff away. Sorry. I just need to walk away and throwing a little good girl with a rebel spirit “eff” in there feels better.

My friend Bob encouraged me to confess my rebel spirit.. And I have to be honest, I liked that I have a rebel spirit. I like that I stand firm and I have a lot of strength and it takes a lot to get me down. I am thankful for that rebel spirit I was given, but I also have learned it is a weakness in my relationship with God. I can’t rebel against him and his will and still say I trust him. I have to be all in or not. So while I will keep this rebel spirit, thank you very much, I will also continue to learn to where it is best used. Fighting wills with my God is not where it is best used. So I, as I was also encouraged, spent some time cuddled into God’s lap and confessed all this to him. I told him about how I don’t really care much for his will sometimes. Even when I KNOW he’s good. That I struggle with trusting his will and that I choose to trust him anyway. I am sorry for my disbelief. I am sorry for my inability to give it to him and leave it with him. And he listened. And I was finally able to take in this enormous peace that I have been begging for and unable to receive lately.

I have been asking for peace and answers and have spent a great amount of time in prayer these past few months. I even fasted for a day to try to clear my head. But I was so overwhelmed by my fears of his will that I heard nothing but the tasmanian devil running rampant in my head. Of course I couldn’t hear him amongst my chaos. I couldn't hear my own kids yelling for me to look at them. How could I hear a tender whisper from God?

So I went seeking for guidance in this waiting period of our life. A huge waiting period that at the end will determine so much. It’s not a small thing. This is a big thing. And that guidance took me on a wild adventure in my own head and heart and relationship with God that I thought I had and that I thought was good. I am learning to trust God is not just a thing people say and you just do. It’s a practice. A practice I am allotting myself a lot of grace through, it is saying here is this burden and letting him have it and repeatedly throughout the day when I start to take it back from him I say NO and often out loud, I am sure I am all kinds of crazy, but I say NO! I say thank you for this time. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for these sweet chubby hands we are responsible for right now. Thank you for the food we have to feed them. The diapers we have to change them. Thank you for all the funny things they say and do that give our whole family joy. We laugh so much in this house. Thank you for that.

And repeat.

And as my friend Bob says, “turn your worry into worship” and I am. I am each and every day. Many times a day and it is working. God has filled me with a beautiful peace. He’s also reminding me that his will for Lily is good. He knows me. He knows that is my achilles heel and he is so tender with me and these reminders are like honey from the sky. Minus the bees.

If you are struggling with a big waiting period right now I deeply encourage you to also hand it to our big God for real. Like hand it the eff over. And practice over and over again leaving it with him. He’s capable and wanting and just waiting for you to do so. Fear can so easily drive us straight into a wall and we crash and burn. Over and over again. Fear gets us nowhere. And hurts. Peace from him gets us everywhere. And it's peaceful. Precious God given peace. I'm choosing peace.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Baby A

So my last post was in anticipation to a huge life change and somehow that change has come. Actually 6 weeks ago.
I outta post more often.
So before we were even licensed to foster I got an email asking if we'd take in a 9 month old baby boy. I said, (with my heart beating out of my chest thinking it's too soon) "sure, but we aren't licensed" they said they knew and we're working on it. That was a Thursday, the following Monday I had our licensing worker inspecting our home and meeting us, Tuesday we had our license and Wednesday we had baby A. in our homes stealing our hearts at first smile.
He wasn't an abused baby, he didn't come with lice or ringworm, he was actually Gerber baby squishy delicious and has a heart breaking smile that I know will tear us all apart.
What are we doing? How can I not ask myself that question every day as I rock him, feed him and stare into his almond shaped eyes. Every day that he throws a fit and demands the only cure is me holding him. Every moment he yells his sweet baby yell just because for 2 seconds our household isn't totally focused on him.
What are we doing?
Multiple times a day I am told by others "I could never do that, I would get too attached".
Funny thing is, we're attached. We are doing this and we are attached. Probably too attached. Like so many fear. We were attached the moment the doorbell rang and I opened the door and my heart and we were all goners.
We are all attached and he is attached to us.
In the past 6 weeks he has grown and learned so much.
In the past 6 weeks we have grown and learned so much.
I've learned about his parents. I have learned about a broken system. I have learned, even more so (?) just how important it is to advocate for children who have no voice.
I watch a lot of reality TV. My favorite is the Bachelor and Bachelorette. I've watched since Alex. If you know who that is fist bump.
As I watch that show I listen to them whine about how they hate to open up, how they don't want to get hurt and so many are sent packing because they didn't open up during a group date with 8 other girls vying for one dudes attention (ok maybe not the best example of where I am going) but the point is people sign up for this then refuse to give into the process because they are so scared to get hurt.
I don't like to get hurt. I am the most cautious person on the planet. I like fun as long as it's safe. But I can't refuse to do the things I am asked to do because I am afraid of the heart break I will experience. I can however refuse to jump out of a plane because I like my body in one piece.
Would we keep baby A if it came down to it? 100% without a shadow of a doubt! But his case plan is reunification and we respect that. We understand if his parents can show they want their child back and will take care of him the way he deserves then we will support that. That is what we signed up to do.
We are to be a safe harbor for the child while their parents get safe.
But our safe harbor has lots of feels though. It's not a place of robotic mechanics. It's full of hugs and kisses and giggles and snuggles. And unfortunately in living that way we are setting ourselves up to be hurt. We know our hearts will be broken. Does it make it easier? Maybe. Maybe if those contestants on the Bachelor went in saying I want to have fun, let my guard down and be prepared for the hard landing, maybe they wouldn't be in the limo sobbing that they will never love again because it hurts too much. (And PS they will try to love again when they are asked to be the next bachelorette OR get to be on Bachelor in Paradise and when those don't pan out they will go back to their old college flame, get married and have a few kids). So being prepared may help? I don't know.
I don't know anything. I just know for now we have baby A. in our home and in our lives and it has made our home a happier than it already was home.
I know that I pray and sometimes I have to remind myself to pray for the best outcome for him. Not for us. I pray for his parents. I want them to be safe and healthy. I also pray that if they can't be, let him stay with us. It's hard to remind myself to stay out of the lane of my own selfishness. Remind myself that we want the best for baby A. We want his life to be fulfilled with happiness and most importantly safety.
I constantly pray, "God you know us. You know our hearts. Protect us and guide us". It's all I can do when I find us in the middle of a big ocean and the waves are rocking us side to side. God placed us in this boat. He will hold our hands while we rock. He will comfort our fears so that we can enjoy the ride for as long as it takes.
I have no idea how this story will end so all I can say is to be continued....

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Cat's Out of the Bag

About a year ago, long story short, we rescued some kittens. Little, dirty, angry kittens.
My sister and I split them up, she took two and named them Jack and Jill. We took two and named them Cinco and Mayo. Give you a hint what their "gotcha" day is ;)

Rescue mission

I love cats, I do. I can watch cat videos on YouTube all day long. We always had them growing up. My dad would say things like "I'm allergic", or "they cause my asthma to get worse" all those little excuses for us not to have them, but they never worked. We always had cats. 
But myself as the mom of my family we had gone many years without a cat. I had become OK with the no cats thing, no litter boxes to clean out. No cat food to buy. I kinda have a lot already in my life with 3 kids, a husband and 2 dogs so yeah I was really OK with the whole no cat thing and totally honesty here, I wasn't "all in" when I brought these guys home. I wasn't super excited we had kittens, I felt dread that I had 2 more responsibilities to add to my plethora of responsibilities. 
Why did you bring them home then Kim? Well because my heart is often way bigger than my brain. It's a thing.
But nevertheless I brought them home. I bought the litter box, I kept them in our closet because they were so used to a tiny space they didn't walk right. They cowered with each step. They hissed at me all the time and I thought I was going to surely die when I tried to bathe them. They weren't very nice. The kids couldn't get too close to them and they thought this whole kitten thing was a bust. They were so cute, but man.. not nice. But we trudged on. Mayo slowly started to warm up to us, enjoyed playing and eventually snuggling. Then there is Cinco. 
Cinco is probably a cat that Satin had to let go.
A week into these little animals in our home I got them to the vet. 
Vet mentions some patches of missing hair and says something about ringworm but has to check a hair sample. Will take a week or so. I think oh like worms. Cat will need a de-worming medication. That's normal with strays I'm sure. Note this was all internal dialogue. Had I said out loud my thoughts the vet would have said "Oh no.. ringworm is a fungal infection that will eat you and your family of of your home... YOU DO NOT WANT RINGWORM"
A couple days later my very good friend and neighbor calls me, she was just leaving the pediatrician with her daughter who was just diagnosed with ..... ringworm! Her Pediatrician asked my friend if her daughter had contact with any feral cats and what do you know.. yup she had Mayo all up on her with snuggles. Sweet little P had ringworm on her face, hands and neck and WAS DUE TO BE A FLOWER GIRL IN A FEW WEEKS. After that call I went straight to Google to see what the heck is ringworm and what do I see? It's not a worm! It's probably worse, it's a fungal infection that won't go away. Now knowing what I was looking for I noticed Andi had spots on her hands and I then I saw a spot ON MY NECK! I want to add my friend was so super cool about the whole thing and if it could happen to any of my friends kids, I am so glad it was hers. BUT still mortifying to say the least. And now we all had it. As a few days later Oliver woke up covered in spots.
As fast as you can say worm I was on the phone with our vet to say no need to wait for the test, we all have freaking ringworm. The vets office said I needed to bring them in weekly for sulfur dip baths for 6 weeks! It was $80 a visit! I went online to try to remedy it myself but realized I would be giving them baths every couple days and there is no way I would survive bathing these crazy cats so I sucked it up and took them in for 6 weeks to get these sulfur dips. 
They came home so stinky. 
One time I threw a towel they were on in the carrier in the wash with other towels and all the towels reeked like sulfur. It took so many washes to finally get the smell to go away. So we all had ringworm on our bodies. The dogs even got it. I had to throw things away, I had TO WASH EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF CLOTHING I HAD IN MY CLOSET THAT THE CATS TOUCHED... EVERY SINGLE PIECE. I have a lot of clothes. I vacuumed like never before and daily. I bleached what I could bleach and used apple cider vinegar on what I couldn't bleach. And we had towels that smelled of sulfur. 
And not to mention we were on furlough from our friends. No one wanted to come over. It was like our home had the plague. Our home did have the plague.
It was awful. So seriously awful and I am not kidding, it took month, MONTHS to finally feel free of the ringworm. 
And all this for cats we really didn't want, we certainly didn't need, and one of them I am pretty sure is devising a plan for my death. 
But here we are nearly a year later and our family, EVEN Andrew, LOVES Mayo. He snuggles, he follows us around, he loves to be held and pet. He likes to go inside and out, but never goes far. He is the sweetest cat and we are all in love with him.

Cinco, well he's OK. He and our little dog Teddy love each other, so he does have some feelings. I guess.

Lily and Mayo (after ringwormgate, for the record Lily never got ringworm)
A year ago I went really unsure into something that completely turned our life around for awhile. I was worried I just had more responsibilities by adding two cats, but I added huge expenses I wasn't planning, super annoying itchy spots that seemed to never leave, embarrassment for feeling dirty. Andrew said when he was a kid he wasn't allowed to play with a kid with ringworm and now we had kids with ringworm. It really was an awful experience. An awful experience we can kind of look back and chuckle about, because I mean if it were a dog we did all that for he would be all thank you. I love you. You are my world. But we did all this for cats. Cats that are like yeah.. so what. Feed me. Pick up my feces. Open the door. Pet me. No don't pet me. Pet me. 
So why share this story? I mean who looks like the dummy here? Me, of course. Me who takes home kittens I don't even want and then get caught up infecting our whole home with ringworm and then spending our hard earned money on getting rid of the ringworm. It sounds insane. I thought I was going to go insane. But I kept taking them to their appointments. I got them neutered. I got them immunized. Why. Because they have beating hearts. Because without us they are helpless. Because they became OURS. 
I can't help but look back at all this and wonder if our God has a really odd sense of humor. A strange way of opening our hearts and worlds to things we never expected. 
I wonder if all that happened so we can take a new step into a whole new direction that is so frightening. 
Andrew and I are half way through foster care classes. If all goes well and on track we could be licensed and fostering by this July. 
Why? Because the numbers of kids in care is astounding. Because we own a house bigger than we need and have an empty room just sitting there waiting to be filled. Do we have a lot of responsibilities with Lily and Andi Jane and Oliver? Yep. Do we still add more to our plate so a child can not sleep in a shelter? Yep. Do we have any idea what we are opening ourselves up for? Nope. Do we let fear make that decision for us? Nope. 
Am I scared? Holy crap yes. I am in tears as I write this. Because I like that our youngest is 7. I like that we have passed the baby and toddler years and as hard as it is having a tween right now emotionally, I remember how hard it is physically to have a baby/toddler. Actually I don't really. I think I blocked it all out. I like how neat our house stays now. I don't really care to be anymore inconvenienced than I already am in my life. I honestly don't really have baby fever either, this isn't for us. This is for a child who wasn't lucky enough to be born into this world by an organic only eating mom who plays by the rules and does everything to keep her child safe. These classes are teaching us stuff I never have to see or even think about in our safe Gilbert, Arizona bubble. The statistics are awful. Heart breaking. Stomach aching. Our goal is to keep a child safe in our home while their parents do what they have to do to make their home safe. Is that how it will go? I have no clue. Could the road lead to adoption? Maybe? Do I want that? Not necessarily. We don't know.
Sometimes God says take this step and you do it. It's scary. I keep feeling like if I take my eyes off him for one second in this I am like Peter sinking into the water. I can think of all the reasons to say no. I have a lot. I say them to myself all the time. But what if we just keep saying yes anyway? 
Jesus said take care of the widows and orphans. That's what he said. He said to love others as ourselves and even if that means bringing in ringworm, or lice, or numerous sicknesses and kids in care are under extreme stress are often filled with sickness... even then? Especially then.
I am sharing this because we want support from friends and family. I realize people will say but you guys work, have Lily, etc, is this really the right thing? Best thing? Do you know what can happen?? Yes. No. Maybe so.
One step at a time with open hearts we say yes. 

Please be in prayer with us. We want you to be on this journey with us. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Today is the one year anniversary of the scariest day/weeks of our lives. On this day, April 7th, last year Lily had her spinal fusion surgery. It was an awful day that turned into an awful 2 weeks. Well maybe an awful 6 months. Things happened we never expected. Our fears caught us off guard as they were rational fears. Believe me, I am used to irrational fears, but these were rational. She was a sick girl and it was hell to witness.
But I can honestly say we are thankful for today. We are thankful for a healthy girl. A happy girl. A brave girl, well frankly, a brave woman. It's been a year a many changes and those changes were hard. They were so hard. There were more hospitalizations, ER visits and Dr. appointments than we have had in her entire life this past year. Things that were never a concern had become a concern. But today. Today things are good. Lily survived the flu without any respiratory distress, at all. She has been able to wean off some seizures meds (she still has seizures it appears with or without the meds) and is much more alert and happy. She has been more communicative with her devise and despite all the wishing the day would never come, Lily has become a woman and it wasn't the end of the world. Not at all actually. Tough on us emotionally, yes, but not tough on her and that is what matters.
So guys I am so happy to say this April 7th we have a beautiful, brave, healthy 13 year old daughter. One who has made enormous strides this year and one whose been nothing short of a miracle.
I know this special needs journey is a roller coaster. I know some days will hurt more than others. But I have a perfect sense of acceptance with Lily and her being exactly who she is. 
I know it takes a long time to get here and even tougher time staying here, but when we face what we could lose, it changes what really matters. And what matters is we are who we are and we are exactly where and who we are meant to be.
Can I get an Amen?
Her brutiful scar one year later

Friday, April 1, 2016

Andi Jane turns 11

So somehow it's been a year since I wrote this Andi Stuck in the Middle post. 
One year. Like 365 days. Actually since it is April 1st it's been more like 380 days or something. I'm not doing the math. There is no need. You do it. OK so I did the math.. 378 days. 
But my point is somehow after all that marveling at the fact our middle girl was 10, well now she's 11. What the heck.
Why do they keep getting older, it's so unnerving. 
So Andi Jane is now 11. Dude. 11.
She is still full of fire and crackers. She is light in the dark and can be a million shades of blue when she isn't feeling what we are feeling.
She is getting better each season at volleyball and basketball. She loves to learn ways to take care of her skin and hair and bake all kinds of treats. She makes about 80 billion Musicallys a day and she really likes Instagram. She has amazing best friends that I prayed she would have and pray they continue their relationships.
She fights for injustice at her young age. Sticks up for kids who don't stick up for themselves. She stands beautifully tall at 5'7" and continues to grow what seems daily. 
She has recently started babysitting and has become CPR certified as well as completed a days course of babysitting class. 
She loves babies and is the best little mama I know.
She is smart, she is funny, she is sassy and full of spirit. Her compassion surmounts anyone I know and I know it stems from loving Lily unconditionally from the day she met her. But also know it comes from her being her.
When she was a little I used to wonder if we would ever both make it out alive, I always knew she would move mountains when she could figure out how to focus her energy and she is getting there. 
I pray she continues to learn on her own about things that light her fire. I continue to pray she walks with Jesus and learns to know him in her own way, not her parents way. I pray she just continues being who she is, because no one does Andi Jane better than Andi Jane!
May you always be comfortable in your own beautiful skin. May you always proudly stand a head above the rest (literally and figuratively). May you always just be you. There can never be a more beautiful you! 

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