Monday, June 16, 2008

poem from a friend

Just four weeks ago, Matt and I received our first phone call for our first foster care placement!

This morning, my poet-friend Allyson, sent this via email.

Thanks Al, for your thoughtfulness and encouragement, and most of all your support and help these past weeks. I think YOU should be a foster parent!
four mondays ago, your telephone rang

and with that one call an adventure began

in that brief moment your calm family day

turned into a frenzied chaotic melee

with nervous excitement you got your new kids

and went to the store for clothes, wipes and bibs

you were off with a bang when that telephone rang

two fortnights ago, could you have guessed

that this decision could make you so stressed?

the changing and feeding and long sleepless nights

were certainly taxing your patience and might

yet through many trials there has also been joy

as you've lovingly cared for this girl and this boy

you have been blessed more than you could have guessed

one month ago was the start of this story

of faith put to action to bring your Lord glory

the challenge of wearing this uncomfortable shoe

is nothing compared to what He's done for you

His grace sustains you each night and each day

He is growing and teaching you as you obey

see His allegory in your family's story?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

dessert for amy

Amy Long is coming for dessert on Sunday night and upon her request (upon my asking), I made something peanut-buttery.

I went searching online for a peanut butter pie recipe and found one that received raving reviews.  And, as usual, I added my own special touches.

T's Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Crumb Crust: (pay a little more, but please, make your own crust - it's easy!)

1 1/2 Cups of Chocolate wafers, crushed into crumbs

1/4 Cup of unsalted butter, melted

Mix the two together and then spread into your pie pan, pressing down on bottom and sides.  Bake for 6 minutes in preheated oven at 325.  Remove and allow to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Filling:

8 ounces of cream cheese

2/3 Cup of Creamy peanut butter

2 Cups of Powdered sugar

1- 8 ounce container of cool whip

Beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter and powdered sugar.  At first it will be clumpy but it will get smooth fairly quickly.  Fold in the cool whip.  Spoon into cooled pie crust and enjoy licking the bowl of the leftover's delicious!


Crumble approximately 5 Nutter Butters and mix with some of the leftover chocolate wafer crumbs (if you have any).  Sprinkle on top.

Put your peanut butter pie in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set.


Monday, June 2, 2008

uncomfortable shoes: part 2

Sorry to end part one at such a pathetic place! The mourning really did only last an evening and after talking to Matt and my little sister Jen, the following morning I was able to sit down and spend some time in God's word and in prayer. My Savior was faithful to meet me right where I was at - down low - and remind me of His grace that is readily available!

So what do uncomfortable shoes have to do with any of this and what are my personal reasons for wanting to be a foster parent?

Let's start with the reasons for doing this. As a Christian, I have a desire and mandate to share the gospel with others. As a homeschool Mom of 2, I find that most of my life takes place within the walls of my home, which I love & which I wouldn't want to change. I was growing discouraged as I was trying to think of ways in which I could share the gospel with others in this season of my life. Most of my neighbors work during the day - the neighborhood kids are in school - and aside from trips to Weis and Target for errands, I'm not really bumping into people too much. Years ago I had wondered about foster care but set it on the back burner of my mind, until I ran into a friend at Target one day. She had a new foster child with her and she was running around getting things - diapers, wipes, clothes...all the necessary stuff. We talked and I believe God used that conversation to put a spark in my heart to reopen the topic with Matt.

The more I read about fostering, the more I talked to other foster parents, and the more I just pondered and dreamed about the possibilities this might have on impacting others with the gospel, the more convinced I was that this was a real possibility for our family. After all, with fostering, you bring a child or children into your home and they become a part of your everyday life. They literally become a part of your family. In addition to caring for the children, I also would have the opportunity to work with social workers and birth parents. In addition to that, as a foster family you become part of a network of foster families (which meet monthly) so there are just many inroads I could see for the gospel to flow. THIS excited me, particularly because it's something we would do as a family.

As I was considering all of these things, talking to Matt and the kids, and as we prayed together as a family, I was also reading through "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper. This was the second time I was reading through this book and it came at just the perfect time. In spite of all the ways that I could see, by the grace of God, that fostering would be an outreach for our family, I began "weaseling" out of the idea. As I began thinking of how my simple and relatively easy life would change, I panicked. I remembering Matt and I both using the phrase, "Why mess with a good thing" which translated: Why complicate our lives? We've got two pretty easy-going children that we love to pieces, a family of 4 is easy to be seated at restaurants and easy to do special trips with - why make it tougher on ourselves? There was too much at risk. Enter chapter 5 of John Piper's book, entitled "Risk is Right - Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste it." Midway through this chapter, I was convinced there was no weaseling! God was in this and I needed to simply trust Him.

So, even though it's hard work, and our family looks a little different, and the laundry has doubled (I don't get this) and I'm housebound because someone is always napping, and it takes way too long to get in and out of the van, I am at peace. The circumstances haven't changed, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what God has asked us to do with our lives for this season.

What do uncomfortable shoes have to do with tall of this? Well I have likened fostering to being a bridesmaid in a wedding and being asked to wear shoes by the bride that happen to be painfully uncomfortable.

My Savior, who has died on the cross for my every sin....

My Savior, who has called me to be His child and to trust in Him....

My Savior, who has asked me to walk in faith and to obey Him...

He has asked me to "wear" these "uncomfortable shoes" for His sake - for His glory - for His Kingdom purposes, that His Name might be praised from the lips of infants and from all peoples. These shoes are not comfortable at all - they have caused some pain when I walk, they burn when I stand still, and at times I want to kick them off and put on my nice comfy flip-flops. But they do fit. And I've been asked by my Master to wear them for now. And obeying Him in this has brought me a measure of joy that is very new to my Christian experience.

At the risk of being misunderstood, I will share a truth about myself: I am not a "kid" person. In a general sense I care and love children, but I am not a "kid-magnet" like others I know. In other words, loving and caring for children that are not my own does not come naturally. It takes work and it takes a faith and trust in the Lord each step of the way. I am amazed at how faithful He has been to me in this arena and specifically with these first two children. These foster children are not mine, but I can say with integrity of heart, that I love and care for them like they are mine - and that is God's grace at work.

uncomfortable shoes: part 1

Have you ever been a bridesmaid in a wedding? If yes, did the bride request that you wear a certain pair of shoes that match the dress?

Back in 1994, on a beautiful sunny day in April, I was a bride. I was a bride that asked my faithful little bridesmaids to purchase and wear specific heels that would match their coral dresses perfectly. I admit that they were not comfortable. In fact, Becky Fox, one of my bridesmaids, likes to remind me that they were painfully uncomfortable. The rest of the bridesmaids must have felt the same way because as soon as the ceremony concluded, the girls all kicked their heels off, almost in a celebratory unison.

We joke about it now, but looking back, I don't remember anyone complaining about having to buy the uncomfortable shoes and I don't remember till after the fact, anyone sharing how horribly painful they were. These are the sacrifices you make for your friend; for the bride. It brings you joy to do so because it's their special day and it's important to them.

As many of you know, our family has become a "fostering family." After 9 weeks of training, lots of paperwork and homework, doctors appointments and most importantly, lots of prayer and communication as a family - we were approved as foster parents. On Monday, May 19th, we got a phone call with news of our first placement: A 3-day old baby girl and a 14 month old boy. We excitedly accepted and that day became a flurry of running errands, getting clothes and diapers, calling people with babies to ask them questions, and just lots of raw emotion.

Since that day, 2 weeks ago, we have gotten into a schedule and after an initial week of chaos (2 more kids and Matt leaving for New Attitude added to the craziness), we have sunk into a groove made up of nap times, feeding times, homeschool, grocery shopping, trying to get rest, and did I mention feeding times? It has not been easy for me at all.

In light of the fact that so many people have asked me why we decided to do foster care, I decided it would be good to write up a post answering that question. It's strange how I knew the answer to this question prior to getting custody of these kids. I had no doubt about it. Then, on the Tuesday Matt arrived back from Na, I found myself sitting at the counter, feeding Diamonte (the 14 month old boy) in tears. Looking around my house, all I could see was a pile of toys, scrunched up kleenex from wiping snot from D's nose all day, dishes in the sink, stained burp cloths everywhere, piles of diapers around the living room, a sink full of dirty dishes, and homeschool books on the dining room table - opened with unfinished work. I was losing it and I broke down emotionally and began asking myself why I decided to do this (fostering). Stephen and Abbie heard my crying and Stephen simply hugged me. I shared with my 10 and 7 year old why I was upset and Abbie sweetly said, "we can help you more Mom."

I spoke to a friend through tears and she sought to remind me of the faithfulness of God. I quickly hung up the phone as Matt arrived home. The kids ran to the door greeting him with hugs and kisses and as he made his way through the living room mess, he found his desperate and seemingly hopeless wife sitting at the kitchen counter - eyes puffy and face reddened with tears.

So why did we choose to be foster parents? What do uncomfortable bridesmaid shoes have to do with that?

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2. The story does get better!