Things to Remember

Chase, J and I were riding in the car and J had just learned the word darkness so he was trying to use it in sentences.  Chase asked J, “Can you stop talking about the darkness?  It’s creepy.”  J said, “It IS creepy!”

When my nephew was here over the summer were all riding in the car and we were pretty much all really tired and hungry and well, just hangry.  I said, “Would you stop freaking out.” to no one in particular.  Chase said, “I’m not freaking out.” My nephew said, “Who’s freaking out?” And J said, “NO ONE is freaking out!”  😀  And at that point we all pretty much just burst into laughter.

One day it was raining close by and we could hear the thunder.  J walked to the window, looked outside, and said, “It’s raining in the city, over there in America.”

While walking down the street in our neighborhood we saw an extremely large overgrown bush.  J exclaimed, “That’s one of the biggest bushes I ever seen!  If you fall down in there you get allergies!”

A few words J still says incorrectly but he’s super cute at it.

He DOs that. (instead of He does that)
I saw a reedy reedy big spider. (instead of really)
I’ll put it in the fridger. (refrigerator)  I don’t know about you, but that word tripped me up the longest as a kid.
Let’s put even moreder in. (instead of a lot more.  Moreder is more than just regular more)

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Taking care of our children

In February of this year Chase and I decided to look into respite and foster care.  Baby steps are sometimes a good thing when you are trying something new so we decided to get our respite license first.  The process took several months.  We had to wait until March for our mandatory meeting.  Whenever you start respite or foster care you first have to go to meetings.  The meetings are mandatory because they teach you so many things you never thought you would need to know.  How the system works, why it works, what you need to do, what should you not do, how you can help a foster child, how you can help a foster family if you are respite.  There are so many ways to help and encourage the many families and children, it’s amazing!

After the meetings it took several months for all of our background checks, screenings, and our interview before we received our license for respite care.  For those of you who are new to this idea of respite care in the foster system, it basically means providing respite for the foster family.  If you provide respite care, then you are supporting the foster families who pour their lives into children every day.  If you have ever been a parent you know this can be the most exhausting rewarding job in the world.  And sometimes a break makes you realize exactly why you pour your life into these little ones.  And a break is what a respite parent gives a foster parent.  It’s a beautiful thing.  A respite provider can be a parent, a sister, a friend, or a neighbor.  Sometimes it’s someone you may know through others.  But the respite provider has to be approved by the state so it can’t just be your parent unless your parent decides to be licensed for respite.

Respite is so many things.  It is giving a couple a weekend break or a date night.  It is getting to know a beautiful child for one night or one week. It is knowing this child and loving them for who they are.  It is welcoming a child into your family and keeping them safe.  It is knowing how to pray specifically for this child and for the foster family and maybe even the biological family!  It is heart changing because you realize this world does not revolve around you and your family  It is heart breaking because you realize you cannot save every child you meet.  It is heart growing because you realize you can still make a difference by being there, loving this child, and constantly praying for them. What respite is not, is it’s not scary. It is so amazing.

Several people have told me they couldn’t do this.  Yes you can.  All you have to do is be willing to open your heart and your family to one or two little children for a short time.  Respite can be for as short as a half day and up to 14 days.  You know exactly how long you will have the child.  You have the ability to list what ages and gender you have room for.  You have the option to say yes or no when a foster family asks.  You will not be roped into anything you don’t want to do.

We have only had our license for about 6 weeks now, and I have heard so many comments from many people.  One of the main ones is: Why would a foster family need respite?  There are so many varied answers to this.
~Sometimes the foster family planned their vacation before the foster children were placed with them and they can’t change their plans to accommodate.
~Sometimes the foster children can’t go on the vacation for some reason or another and need to stay in the area.
~Sometimes the foster parents just want a date day, date night, or even a date weekend!

I will leave you with a scenario of why respite is so important to a foster care family.

Imagine you are painting your whole house and you have been working on it all day.  It’s just you and your spouse working to get the whole house painted and you are exhausted.  Would you ever think to go across the street to a neighbor at the end of the day and ask them for help?  Honestly, I wouldn’t.  It’s my job, I started it, I’m going to do it.
This is how a foster family sees their job as a foster parent.
But what if your neighbor came up to your door around 5pm and said to you, “Hey! I noticed you were painting!  I am actually really good at painting trim and I would love to help you out while you guys take a break to eat.”  Would you say no?  I wouldn’t!  I would be so relieved.  I might even feel like painting again once I ate because I knew I had help.
And this is how the respite provider helps the foster parent.  We help shoulder the amazing task of loving all these kids.  We are there to ask, “do you need a break? I can do this, grab something to eat.”  It’s amazing what we can all do if we work together.

There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the US. Yet there are only about 184,000 families who are licensed in foster care.  Look at those numbers again. There are just not enough families to love all these kids.  Around 1/4 of the children in foster care are adoptable.  That is about 100,000 children in our country that need families.  We need to be concerned for the children that are living right here, right in your own city and in your own county.  And there are so many ways you can help.  If you don’t feel the call to foster, there are so many ways we can support foster families in our community so they don’t have to shoulder this responsibility all on their own.  You can donate items like children’s clothes and toys or money to places that support foster families, your church can host foster family date nights, fun nights, or events that support foster families, you could provide respite care for foster families in your community, and you could pray for the families who open not only their homes to children but their hearts, and pray for the children to find a loving stable family to call their own.


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Posted by on September 15, 2015 in Uncategorized



So many of my friends are close to hitting their 10 year anniversary or have already hit that milestone.  Other friends of mine have been married many more years than that and some are just beginning their lives together.  All of it is beautiful.  I was reminded by my neighbor on Saturday, that every anniversary is a milestone.  It is one more year that you and your spouse have gotten to spend together.  When J and I visit some of the older people, we often hear about how they were married for 50, 55, 60 years.  The tears glistening in their eyes tell a story so deep that you know you won’t even touch the surface of it on a one hour visit.  So many years, so many memories, so much good and so much bad.  Think about how much can happen in the span of one year, a birth, deaths, job losses, job offers, moving homes, moving states, making new friends, saying good-bye to people you love, and more.  Multiply that by 50 or 60 years.

The thing that people forget once they are married, is the beautiful part of being married.  You decide, at possibly a very young age, to promise to spend your life with someone.  You promise to experience all of life’s high and low points with this ONE person.  This is HUGE.  When you become a parent, you promise to take care of this baby you made, but one day, the baby grows up into an adult and leaves (most likely).  You are not forever living with this person and sharing every part of your life with your child.  Some people forget this.  You get to spend all those awesome moments, awful moments, and all of those in between with the one person you promised.  You made a vow.  It’s a beautiful vow.  Let us not forget that.  Let us not forget that in our daily rut of alarm going off in the morning, rushing to get the kids to school, rushing to work, using up all your energy, and then rushing home to see the kids.  Let us not forget the one person we made the vow to 10 years ago, 1 year ago, 30 years ago.  The vow of “I want to do this with you, all of this. We are a team.”  Don’t let routine, life ruts, quarter life, mid-life crises, etc, get in the way of remembering why you are living with this person to begin with.

If you get a chance, talk to someone who is 90 years old, and celebrated their 70th anniversary the same year they said good-bye to their partner they had for life.  The look on their face says it all.  So much love and so many memories.  The thing is, not one of us is perfect.  We all falter, fail, and fall in life.  Having your spouse by your side who says “it’s okay, I’m here.  I know you will get my back when I fall.” is what every one of us wants.  And listening and watching someone’s face while they talk about having that for 50, 60, 70 years is beautiful.

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Posted by on August 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


Things to Remember

Here are some things J has said recently:

In response to J yawning a lot:
Me: “I think you are tired! Do you need a nap?”
J: “No, I’m not tired! Sometimes I yawn all day, but that doesn’t mean I’m tired!”

Me: “What is that black spot on your nose?”
J: “I don’t know?  Maybe Jesus did it.  He can make noses black, white, red, and yellow!”

Chase changed J’s shirt, and he mentioned it was a T-Shirt.
J: “I am going to wear this to the tea party! Momma when is the tea party?”

In the car talking about signing up for respite care:

J: “I am a big brother to all the babies.  When a baby cries, I will give it a bottle, but you will need to help put the milk in it.  Remember, don’t go to sleep if the baby is awake!”

Driving home from church after a baptism:

J: “Remember when I watched that guy get sanitized?”

Discussing arm hair:

J showed me his arm and said, “Look! I have hair on my arm. It means I’m growing up!” I showed him my arm and he said, “You have hair on your arms too! Are you going to be a grandma?”

After telling J I wasn’t happy with him not listening to me (in my “mean mommy voice”) he looked at me and said, “I’ve been thinking about something. I really like you. And I really love people. Let’s have all the people over and we will be happy.”

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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


If you can’t take the heat…

Today I took Sonic up on their offer of a 79 cent medium slushy.  At the drive thru the lady told me to have a great day and said to be careful in the heat.  Heat? It’s 86 degrees with a heat index of 92.  Oh yeah, it is hot, but I guess I haven’t completely acclimated yet since I am still waiting for the unbearable 100 degree temps or heat indexes to come.  And that’s when I remember, this IS that kind of hot here, and I get a big smile on my face.

For six years we lived in Central Arkansas.  There are some wonderful things about living there.  Climbing Pinnacle Mountain, the Big Dam Bridge, the Two Rivers Bridge, so many nature trails, fun happenings in Little Rock, and the best part was all the friends we made. So many cool things about Little Rock, and yet it was always just so HOT.  I have never lived anywhere as hot in my life.  Granted, that is also as far south as I have ever lived.  My genes, my DNA, my body, was not made to handle 100+ degree weather all summer long. And to be honest, there were plenty of days it only got into the 90s, but the heat index was usually pretty high.  I also don’t really remember much Spring or Fall weather.  I guess in the south you mostly have summer and a short cold spell called winter.

Living a little further north has put me back in the climate similar to where I grew up.  3-4 months of Winter, 2 months of Spring, 3-4 months of Summer, and 3 months of Fall.  I LOVE the super cold mornings in the Spring and Fall, where it is so cold you bundle up, but by afternoon it’s in the 70s and you have to shed everything.  I LOVE summers where the super hot days are in the 90s and when and if you see a 100+ day everyone hides indoors.  I LOVE all the snow in the winter, because it’s the best part of the season!  If it’s going to be cold, it should snow!

So today I hope you enjoy the weather where you are and if not, well, you could always move…or drive by Sonic for a 79 cent slushy.  😉

(And no, I did not move because of the weather. 😀  It just so happens the move worked for me in that department!)

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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


Visiting Arnold

Last Friday we visited a man at an assisted living place.  He was one of the sweetest men I have met.  As soon as we walked through the door his eyes were on J.  I’m actually pretty sure he heard us coming down the hall, because J is pretty loud, and he opened his door before we had a chance to knock.

His daughter was there to visit him and J instantly knew this.was.a GRANDMA!  “Let’s play!” he said.  At first I was resistant because I wanted him to give his attention to the man we were there to visit.  But I should know by now, that these visits always work out awesome, and I have absolutely nothing to do with how great they turn out.  Arnold enjoyed watching J.  While we watched J play with this man’s daughter, he told me a few things about his life.  My favorite treat of visiting.  He told me his daughter was 62 and that he had lost another daughter long ago.  There were paintings hung up on the walls in his apartment that were absolutely beautiful.  I quickly learned that he painted almost all of them, after he retired!  He had never painted before retirement.  His wife painted some too.  Some of the paintings were of his childhood home and school and he painted those from memory!  They were extraordinary.

Arnold was a watch maker and one day his wife said she wanted to be one too, so he sent to her to the trade school where he learned and they both were watch makers, and once they retired they became painters and lived long lives.  He also preached at different churches for 40 years!!  I told him I loved hearing him talk and I was sure he was wise.  He coughed and politely told me he wasn’t sure what wise was, but he was sure he wasn’t it.

Halfway through our hour of visiting he leaned over and asked me if I knew how old he was.  I wasn’t sure what to say!  I knew his daughter was 62 so I guessed he was in his 80s.  Nope, 97 years old.  97!  And his wife just passed away last year.  They were married for 75 years.  When I told him my husband and I have been married 11 years, he patted the space on the couch between us and leaned in and said, “oh, you’re just starting out”  with a tone of voice that made me think he was thinking back to his first 10 years of marriage.  He then said that he and his wife loved being married and they never fought once.  I kind of chuckled to myself.  Amazing.

When it was time to leave, J gave Arnold and his daughter hugs, high fives, and kisses on the cheek.  When J turned to Arnold to give him a kiss, I saw Arnold tear up. It took me a minute to realize what was happening.  This is why we go.  The impact a 4 year old can make is amazingly huge.  And the impact these wise grandparents have on me is huge.

I can’t wait to see what next month holds!

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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


“I love this place! Everyone loves me here!”

Today we visited a lady in a retirement community.  She had polio as a teenager and is suffering the effects of it to this day.  Though she is not a woman to be pitied.  She is an amazing woman with so much spunk and life left and lots of opinions!

J and I started visiting people in retirement communities in November.  My main reason was to foster the love between J and the elderly. He LOVES chatting with older people, giving them attention, and getting the attention back from them.  It is a win-win all around.  I remember as a child being kind of scared of nursing homes because the older people would stare at me and want me to be around them, they would try to hug me and I didn’t know any of them!  SO WHAT.  So what if a stranger wants a hug.  So what if they want to stare at you.  But it bothered me because I was seven or eight years old and I didn’t understand.  I want J to understand, and not only understand, but to love these people.  That’s all they want is our love.  It doesn’t matter if they know who you are.  Isn’t that really what we all inherently want in this life?  To be loved.

So we started visiting people and J loves it.  To be honest, each time I make the phone call to the person we are going to visit, I get a bit hesitant, I start procrastinating and the longer I wait, the more nervous I become.  What if they don’t like almost 4-year-old little boys (yeah right…), what if they don’t want us to come visit (I should already know the answer to this one), what if they don’t like to chat (HA!), what if they aren’t all “right up there” (but really, who of us really is?), and on and on my thoughts grow until I become disgusted with myself and pick up the phone. I am reminded instantly that all of these questions are just stupid and silly (as my parenthesis after each one suggests!). 🙂
The thing is, this is just as much for me as it is for J or for these people who are lonely and want visitors.  I am learning each time we do this.  I learn about me, and I learn about life.  Each visit, I have heard amazing stories dating back to WWII.  Stories of their husbands going to war or meeting their to-be husband right after they returned.  People putting themselves through school, putting their husbands through school, scraping by with hardly anything and at the same time living rich in love.  Each of these people is waiting for their turn to meet their spouse in Heaven.  50, 60, 70 year marriages.  So many grandchildren and great-grandchildren that sometimes they lose count.  Stories of moving from one state to another to make ends meet.  Stories of losing brothers, sisters, children, spouses, and parents.  Birth stories, graduation stories and baptism stories!

Each time we meet with someone J is like a beacon of light.  Not only does the person we are meeting love him, but anyone we pass by or come in contact with at the residence stops to chat.  We are spreading love everywhere in a 2 hour period, and you can feel it.

Today, we had lunch with the lady we visited, because it was so wonderful I didn’t want to leave and she wanted me to stay!  When we entered the dining area pretty much all eyes were fixed on J.  He didn’t even notice.  He was SO excited to be eating at a “restaurant.” Not only did the residents all want to meet J, but the staff in the area all came by to say hello too!  And if you know my J, he loves to talk to everyone.  We were there for a while.
One resident came up to our table to stop and say hi to J. J immediately looked down and exclaimed, “I LOVE your shoes!!” in the most excited voice.  I had to check this out, so I peeked around and saw white orthopedic shoes.  In my head I’m thinking, “really?” and then I look up and see tears of joy in this woman’s eyes.  She responded, “Oh, THANK you!” and looked as if she could leave her walker and skip away.  But she didn’t, and she told J she wanted to take him home with her and hold him tight and never let him go.  (This would be where my seven-year old self would have freaked!) I watched J to see his reaction and he looked to the side thinking really hard, and then he said, “No, I have to go home with momma.” lol  She chuckled and blew him a kiss.  J blew a kiss back to her and she grasped her chest with her hands and said, “Oh! I love him so much!” and then they continued to blow kisses back and forth a few times.  Then she turned to me and said, “Your little boy has just made my day, week, month, year!  My whole year is going to be good now.  Thank you so much!”

A few minutes later one of the staff members came by and asked if J liked being there.  He responded, “I LOVE this place!  Everyone LOVES me here!”  Yes, J, and thanks to you all those same people feel the love right back.

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized