Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Every Hour I Need You

How about a foster care update?  Feeling the need for a little therapeutic writing!  :)

I don't talk about foster care often, mostly because there is so much that I cannot share.  I've also found that taking pictures of and talking about a 17 year-old is different than taking pictures and talking about a 9 year-old.

At seventeen, they are their own person.  I read the following a while back and it made so much sense to me....the reason I share so little about R and less and less about Avery:

And so much of just can't talk about.

Because you suddenly realize that these kids are people.
People with feelings and emotions. And you can't go around blogging about their mean math teacher or their failed attempt at choir auditions. These are things that are too precious, too priceless, too soul-baring, too hard to share. They need you to be their safe place. They need you to keep their secrets. They need you to pick up pimple concealer at CVS and not breathe a word to anyone. They are so easily embarrassed and you must do your part to help them get through it.
And you know what? You will help them get through it. You will give them pep talks and scoldings and reminders and notes.
You will give them confidence, and wings. It just takes awhile.
(Check out the whole post good!)
We have a full house this week.  By many standards, five kids is not a lot, but having a respite or a new placement adds a significant degree of difficulty.  We spend the first several days concerned about basic safety for all involved and then the process of getting to know each other begins.  Routines, rules, likes, dislikes.  

Also, the patience-trying process of building trust.  I have no reason to trust them and they have no reason to trust me, so we start from scratch and make small, almost imperceivable steps towards trust.

You don't realize how fundamental trust is to a quality relationship until you don't have it.  With my own kids, we started building trust from the moment they were born.  When they cried, I fed them.  When I said don't touch, its hot and they touched it anyway, they learned to take me at my word.

And for many of the kids we take, they are starting over again.  Disheartening for them, exhausting for me.

Yesterday morning I went out on the porch alone and just said, God please help me.  And quietly sang

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

God IS my strength.  I marvel all the time that He called us to foster care in spite of me and all my shortcomings, not because I am so special or have a clue what I'm doing.  He took my carefully crafted list of reasons why I should be disqualified and torn it into shreds and reminded me that I can do all things through Him.

In the snippets of time when Shaun and I get to talk and I'm able to share pieces of my struggles, he's started to jokingly say what you need is to find a husband who can help you out with some of this.  :) Yes, looking forward to having my partner-in-crime back from tax season and I'm clinging to Jesus, who is my Source.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Project 365, Week 15

This is a few posts jammed into one, so excuse all the photos (as if I always stick to just seven photos...have I ever done that??).

Happy Palm Sunday!  What an exciting time!!

April 6
I signed R up to run a race with me and then informed him he would love it.  He was skeptical but as the date drew closer he got more excited about it.  

We had a beautiful race day.  He ran the Legends 4-mile and I ran the half marathon.  It was a great first experience for him and it gave the two of us some positive, happy bonding time.  If you parent a teenager, then you probably know that not all the interactions are fun and happy.

I had an ambitious goal that I didnt make, which I blame on the constant hills, the one-mile gravel stretch and my lack of outdoor training.  My pace ended up being an average of 9:30.

 Barefoot...interesting strategy.

 After, we joined the family who were immersed in dress rehearsal.  That boy in the middle front melts my heart.

 April 7
First day of softball practice.  Avery was SO excited!
 April 8
It was a beautiful day so Aiden and I went over to the old house to do yard work.  He couldn't wait to show me where the crocuses were growing and then he picked some for me.
 I dug out my glove from years ago when I used to help with Shaun's softball practices....happy to be putting it to good use again!
 April 9
The first of THREE times I would drive through our capitol city this week.  From the back, Aiden said, Mom, I LOVE this place!  Avery always says that, too.
 We were there for a special foster care training where students were doing skits dealing with real teen issues and I was surprised to see someone from our church productions.  He's Judas this year.
 Alayna and Isaiah came over to play for a bit so we pulled out all the yard toys.
 April 10
I had a rare work meeting and got to put on heels!
 April 11
Sweet Armand Joseph arrived!!
 These two brothers hold the titles for my oldest and youngest nephew/niece, #1 and #17

While I was meeting my nephew, the rest of the family was at church for opening night of Passion of the King.

At 10:30, on my way home from the hospital, I picked up S, who will be staying with us for at least this week of school vacation.  I pulled into the church parking lot as Shaun and the kids were coming out.  Shaun and I waved and exchanged a look that said, hi, a) I would love to sit and talk with you and b) yup...this is our life and c) no one I'd rather do it with.  When you've been married almost 20 years you can speak like that with just a look.  True story.
 April 12
First day of T-Ball.  Way too much coach/coordinator talking, not enough action.
 It was such a gorgeous day, so I put the grounds crew to work.  Interest and dedication varied.
 And Amanda successfully went to her first softball practice, with smiles at the end!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pinky Promise

In February our town held baseball signups.

When we offered the opportunity to the kids, Aiden and Avery jumped right on it.  Amanda declined.  I double-checked, triple-checked their decisions, not wanting to waste the time or money, or have regrets later, as in Amanda's case.

Well, Day #1 of girls softball came this week.  Shaun ducked out of work for a bit so he could take Avery shopping for a glove.  She came home proudly displaying pink, shiny equipment and couldn't wait for practice.

She is one of seven girls on the team of 7 & 8 year-olds, alongside Amanda's best friend from school.

Well, her sister, after seeing the new shiny equipment and Avery's enthusiasm, decided maybe softball would be a fun thing to try.


No.  If you take the tags off that not cheap glove, you will play.

So she hemmed and hawed and hawed and hemmed, as Amanda does so well.  She wanted to make sure it wasn't just her wants that she was considering, but also wanted to make sure it was the path God wanted her to be on.  :)

Given her history with group participation "things", I made her repeat after me:

I, Amanda H. C., do promise to go to ALL practices and games without whining or tears.  I commit to playing for the entire season, and loving softball until this glove doesn't fit anymore.

And then I made her pinky promise.  But before she did, she paused, took a deep breath and looked deep into my eyes with much sincerity; then gave a slight nod and wrapped her pinky around mine.

I love this girl and her mysterious ways.  :)

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the firstcovenant.
Hebrews 9:15

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Project 365, Week 14

I was anxious to pull up my pictures to see what I did this felt like it was over before it began!  April is one of our busier months of the year, filled with mostly really good stuff, but just lots of on-the-go.

March 30
I covered the weekend services for baby dedications at one service there were 17! children being dedicated...I think it might have been a record.  In between, I went to the toddler room to take pictures for a project they are doing and someone wanted to turn the camera on me while I was reading to my little friend.
 Shaun and the kids joined me later for Passion of the King rehearsal.  Shaun caught glimpses of UCONN playing in the Elite Eight on his little phone screen.
R had his last cake decorating class and this was his final project.
 March 31
I feel very safe and protected everyday since there is always a superhero or mighty warrior around.

Aiden painted Blaise Wilde, for anyone who knows Lost in Vegas.  :)
 April 1
Tough to pull these guys in when its time for bed...they are loving being outside!

April 2
Digging trenches and hunting for diamonds....

April 3
The weather and timing was perfect to do birthday photos of my two nieces...2 & 13!

 Avery took it upon herself to do some yard work.
 April 4
Second grade was doing April's Mass.
 Amanda read a prayer for people in purgatory. :)
 Pop and Kiki were having a blast on an adventure.

And I shot my first wedding of the season.  I was so nervous since my last wedding was in July, but I quickly settled into my groove and was loving it.

I held this girl was she was an infant and now she's a beautiful bride.  And clearly a daddy's girl.  I cry 80% of the time during the father/daughter dance, mostly because I know that in the blink of an eye I'm going to be standing on the side watching my husband and daughter dance together.

All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by.

Precious butterfly. Spread your wings and fly.

I couldn't ask God for more, man this is what love is.
I know I gotta let her go, but I'll always remember
Every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses...

 April 5
The kids spent the night at Pop and Kiki's.  They went for a hike in the morning, braving the brisk temperatures.

 My boys, dressed and ready for church.
 Hope your week is great! (You can make it great, you know. ;)  As I tell my kids often, You win or lose by the way you choose.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 4, 2014

March Recap

We waited in hopeful anticipation for the weather to turn warmer and the snow to melt.  Finally both things happened and it is a marvelous thing!

Here's a few of our March that didn't make it in anywhere else.  Life is good.