Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Foster Home

My schedule has changed again and yesterday was the start of a new normal. For some time I had been looking forward to having my house all to myself to work at my own pace with no distractions. I am an extrovert with a serious need for control. Often times the only way I feel in control is to force solitude. Once I regain control over my clutter and my to-do list then I get really excited (or maybe desperate) to schedule some serious social interaction.

Yesterday was dreamy in many ways. I had a peaceful spiritual retreat at The Potter's Place. I wandered around Walmart just because I could. I was sure I needed lots of things, but for most of the journey through the store I pushed an empty buggy. I came home with the main objective of cleaning my hard wood floors. I knew it would be a daunting task, so I allowed myself plenty of breaks and enjoyed catching up on several of my with-friends games. It was beautiful...

But I got lonely!!! Several times I caught myself wishing someone was around to ask me what I was thinking about. It was amazing to get lost in thought without kids' requests, distracting television conversations or working around others stuff strewn about my work space. I just had a lot going through my mind and because I am an extrovert who gets recharged by sharing my life with others it was challenging to keep my thoughts pent up inside my head all day. 

I'm pretty sure it was the desire to share my thoughts with someone/anyone that sparked my desire to blog. Why share my thoughts with one or two or three close friends when I could document my thoughts here where I could share with the whole wide world!!! Oh my! What a freeing concept for this extrovert. So here I am world (or handful of friends who actually find this). 

As I shared already, my job for yesterday was to clean the hardwood floors in our new home. They are beautiful and shiny and elegant even beneath my old, worn out, should-have-been-sent-to-the-thrift-store-furniture. I want them to look this beautiful until my children graduate high school. This is going to be my challenge... to care for floors like I never have before. 

Here's the kicker... we don't own the house yet. We want to. We are working at it. We expect that it is the home God has for our children to develop memories that will feed hopes and dreams for the rest of their lives. We plan to invest in our children's character within the security of this home. BUT we don't yet own it. 

It has been challenging to rent a home month-to-month while going through the purchase process. It is emotional and taxing. It is not ideal in many ways and in many ways it hurts our hearts to think that it may not work out, that it may fall through, or that we could have been better off moving into the 2 bedroom apartment during the process. Alas, here we are... learning about the home, living in the home, getting comfortable in the home, caring for the home as if it IS our own and trusting all the while that God has a plan that will come to fruition. There are many things we have done already to improve the home. We have done some cleaning that it seems may not have been done in years. We have planned color palettes and furniture and pinterest projects that will start rolling as soon as the papers are signed. 

However, it dawned on me yesterday while cleaning the beautiful hardwood floors that we essentially are "fostering" this home. We for all intents and purposes were called to love this home and nurture it as if it was our own for as long as we get  to call it ours. Of course, it is more of a "foster to adopt" sort of situation for us. We have every intention of committing to this home forever. But when the dust settles, we have been reminded over and over again, this home does not belong to us. We have been called to care for it while we wait to see if it will be ours to love and nurture for the next 15 years. 

Perhaps its a bit too emotional of a way to think about a home. I am sure we could work together to compile a list of ways this is not even close to a "foster to adopt" situation. I don't doubt that when there is a living, breathing child involved the pains and stress and difficulty in making decisions is exponentially more difficult. For these next few weeks, however, I feel better making emotional comparisons. I feel better being able to understand why the process is so stressful sometimes. I feel better knowing that there is a good reason I have not yet washed the very dirty windows. I feel better knowing that once the papers are signed and this "foster home" is officially ours forever and ever that we will begin celebrating by going hog wild with the changes that will finally make it look like it belongs to us. 

To say I'm ready to celebrate will be an understatment. I am beyond ready. I was ready the day I visited the house for the first time. I was ready when we moved in. I was ready when my children decided on colors and themes for their rooms. I was ready when my mom came to visit. I was ready when we thought we would be closing by December 17th. I was ready when I lovingly buffed the hardwood floors yesterday. I am ready now as I share all these thoughts with you. I will be ready whenever signing day comes. And I will be okay if our "fostering" comes to an end and we have to move on and transform our dreams to another home. Because...

"'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you. plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Love Letters

Today I ran. It was a great opportunity to hit the road just because I wanted to. No paper was telling me to. No training plan was telling me to. Guilt wasn't telling me to get out there.

I completed my first half marathon last weekend. I did it. It was good to work hard and accomplish a huge goal.

Being away from home, traveling through bad weather, sharing accommodations with several couples, lack of sleep, being sick, pushing myself on race day and recovery were hard. Chaos seemed to punch me in the gut over and over while I should have been enjoying victory. Instead I was just hanging on knowing peace would come as my body recovered and my mind rested.

Today as a ran (with no coaching in my earbuds) I prayed for peace. I sought rest and escape from the chaos. I found it with each stride. But it wasn't until I glanced across a lawn to find a church sign that I knew the purpose for today's recovery run.

The sign simply read

What an amazing love letter from my savior. A similar message I give my children when they are in crisis. "Relax. It's ok."

God's message to me in that time was a message of a loving Father. "BE STILL AND KNOW I AM GOD."

NOT... Keep at it and one day you'll figure it out.

NOT... You aren't doing it right.

NOT... What could you have done differently that would have landed you in a better place?

NOT... Wow! What a mess!!!

But a loving message that allowed me to regain perspective and realize that I am not alone. I am not the one this whole world is riding on. He is God. He is sovereign. He has a plan. I can rest in that. I don't need to worry. Because He loves me with a Father's love.

And I am thankful.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Quest for Authenticity

So. If you are reading this, you pry know me. I wonder, though, how much of me you know. All my life I have really struggled with which parts of me to share with whom. For many of my formative years I believed very much that I lived the double-life many people spoke of. Maybe not the double life of a serial killer who lives in a suburban neighborhood whose acquaintances would have never expected they shared a property line with someone so deranged. A little more like... I started swearing as a teen and saw older kids who would use those words in front of and/or directed at their parents and I couldn't imagine showing my parents that side of me. I just wanted so badly to be approved of and found acceptable by those I most respected. It was not worth it to me to show my ugly side to everyone. As it turns out I also chose to keep my most beautiful side hidden from some as well.

In recent years I have neglected to speak too loudly or too boldly in public about my love for Jesus and the hope I find in him. Not in any way because I am ashamed of him. Its more so because I have gotten so sick and tired of seeing people profess to love Jesus and display a life that seems faultless when I know that is impossible. I know I am not perfect. I know my family is not perfect. I know my spiritual mentors are not perfect. And I know you are not perfect.

I have found that the people I feel most connected to in this life are people who are authentic. The people I respect the most are those who are clear that they don't do things the way the most holy do. Those I want to associate with don't claim live by purity standards that the church or their grandmother taught them. The ones I want to know best, the ones I want to glean wisdom from, the mentors I choose and the leaders I follow are people who, perhaps without meaning to, show me that they are imperfect and still love Jesus with all of their hearts and strive to know Him more and love Him more and show others that even though they are sinners there is a reason to strive.

Here's the thing, friends. All those words up there are for this...

I am tired of being a "chameleon personality" as I have often claimed. I am not satisfied staying safe any more. I am ready to step forward and say a few things. I want to clear some stuff up. Not so much with Jesus. He knows me for me. I have been talking this over with him for 20 years or so. But maybe there's some things my family doesn't know. Maybe there's some stuff my friends have never heard my opinion on. Maybe there's something that the holiest of holy friends have never heard me admit. Perhaps there are things that my most Jesus-defying friends have never heard me profess.

I am here, approaching 35 years old, and I am ready to say some things loudly and publicly for all who care to know. I am aware some may worry. I know some may judge. Some may lose respect for me. That's okay. I am alright with that. Mostly because of all the pieces I have recently put together about how I love those who are most authentic. I guess what I am saying is that I am at a point where I am confident it's worth clearing some things up.

So here goes nothing...

  • I have been extremely skeptical about Church/Christians for the last ten years or so. I just don't want to be associated with something that isn't relevant and that isn't changing lives & offering people hope. You know sometimes Church & Christians destroy hope. Its true. And very sad. It happened to me. I was once sold out & planning a career in ministry, had more faith than I knew what to do with. Then Church/Christians (or maybe Satan) led me to question many of the things I thought were so clear. Turns out they are clear, but the fall of man changed some things.
  • There are still times that I use profane language and enjoy it even though I choose my company wisely. I try not to be rebellious using offensive language around those I respect. What I mean by this is, out of respect for you, I will pry not start cussing like a sailor if I know you disapprove of those words no matter how angry or disgusted I am. I am well versed in the English language and can typically find several words to explain my stance or emotions on any given subject. There was a time when I would judge people who claimed to be Christians and couldn't reign in their tongues. Now I understand that sometimes certain words communicate more clearly, more quickly and from time to time I choose to use them.
  • I love people. I really love the people I am closely related to by blood or by law. Perhaps I love them most. Its hard to say really. But the truth of the matter is I am not really good at them. I pride myself on interpersonal relationships, but I often fail my family by the world's (and sometimes by said family's) standards. I have chosen to do some things differently than people I am close to. I am aware that this causes stress in relationships and I am by nature a peacemaker so I struggle big time with this. Even still, I stand firm in my principles and often fight for what I believe to be true or right even if I can't explain it. I hate to let people down, but it happens. Often.
  • I laugh at things that are funny. You may not think they are funny. That's cool. But I sometimes think random, inappropriate things are funny. I spent several years fighting against it, but fight no more. There are things that are inappropriate and funny to me. I attempt to keep the inappropriateness from affecting my theology. I am pry unsuccessful. I'm going to let Jesus keep working on that where there are areas for improvement and attempt to keep my spirit teachable.
  • I am firmly rooted in my belief that we, as humans, are responsible for our actions and our responses to life. I am convinced that we choose our behaviors and because of our choices we end up with consequences that we must deal with. Sometimes we deal gracefully and sometimes we create bigger messes. I have made some decisions that have put me in over my head in many stages in life. Most of them I have been able to figure out how to deal and survive, sometimes even to thrive. I have survived difficult (sometimes abusive by some standards) relationships and feel stronger because of the experiences. I have often chosen roads that I knew were not the best roads and traveled down them just because I wanted to with no regard to standards or principles just because I could. There were plenty of times that I dealt with consequences that I didn't enjoy, but most of my life's choices I would not ever regret. I have enjoyed even the most difficult of times. Maybe because of the underlying belief that there were "footprints in the sand" or maybe just because I am a rebel. But here's the thing. I also believe that there are somethings that we can't deal with on our own. I believe firmly in the power of prayer and God's amazing ability to miraculously change any situation. However, I believe that there are some circumstances that we are unable to survive merely using spiritual techniques. There has been no amount of prayer that balanced the chemicals in my brain that allowed me to be a somewhat sane mother. It was a scary, scary decision to admit that I was not capable of handling my chosen circumstances on my own. I swallowed my pride and asked for the help of a doctor to ensure that I had the stability to mother my children in the safest way I know. Believe me. I didn't want to do it. But I also didn't like the thoughts that raced through my mind when I was overwhelmed and wanted to quit. Parents are evil sometimes. Blame it on what you want. But it's true. I was told over and over before I brought my first child home from the hospital and continually afterwords as my family grew... All parents get overwhelmed. It doesn't mean we don't love our children or that they don't add amazing things to our lives. But, seriously. What separates me from what lunatic moms have done before me? Only that I haven't taken it so far as to hurt my children. I hope never to. But I don't know for sure that I won't if I don't have help. So I accept help when it is offered. Sometimes that is the help that my amazing parents or in-laws offer, sometimes it is the help that my husband offers, sometimes it is from a miraculous break that God ordained somehow beyond my understanding and for sure every day it comes from a small pill that my doctor provides. Its not a pretty picture of an amazing mother. Its the truth of a desperate individual who wants her kids to have the life they deserve and to be treated well.
  • Sub-point to the above topic... Fruity adult beverages are nice to have after a long day or during a responsibility-free evening. There. I said it. I have been really careful with this topic as alcoholism has been issue for others I know and love. I don't want an alcohol problem. I doubt anyone does. However, as I mentioned above, I am almost 35. I have reached the age of accountability and I am aware of the dangers of excess. I avoided alcohol for many years out of fear of addiction, fear of inability to make good choices, and fear of "causing my 'brother' to stumble." As an adult, I am no longer afraid of those things.
  • I love Jesus with all my heart and I want nothing more to live up to my potential in Christ. I know God has a plan for me. I have known it from a very early age. Since way before I ever understood what it was to "know" God. I know that He changed me and designed me with unique gifts and talents, shortfalls and sinful nature. I want nothing more to trust him and know without a shadow of a doubt that I am allowing Him to mold me into what HE wants me to be. I know that I feel the most righteous when I am being the most honest with him. I know that I am most like him when I am as authentic as I know how to be.
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.'" Jeremiah 29:11-13

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Motivation out of Nowhere

I have NO idea what is going on with me. I'm acting like a Sarah from ten years ago, but I keep looking around and I am definitely the Sarah from twenty-eleven.

Ten years ago I would have a day with nothing but housework planned and I would feel free. There was no one else in the house to distract me so I would distract myself. I would play classic country music loudly and reminisce about summertime cleaning with my Mom. I would start the way she taught me... begin in one end of the house and work toward the other end. Of course, I would have hours to myself so I would do just like Mom and allow myself side projects during the day. No matter what little bits I started the day with I would stretch the imaginary to-do list further and further as the hours went by. By the time L.C. pulled into the driveway there was no telling what could be found. Perhaps a closet would be empty and the contents moved to other hiding places throughout the house so that I could have my own scrapbook closet. Maybe the bed would be broken because I rammed the frame with all my might in order to rearrange the furniture just the way I wanted it. A couple times he even returned to see the paint colors had changed with little to no warning.

I was in my own little creative world back then. I allowed myself to get lost in projects whenever my heartstrings pulled them. The consistency of just two of us in the home allowed me with plenty of opportunities to mix things up on a regular basis. I liked it that way.

For the last handful of years things have been pretty different. The major factors of life were changing what seemed like constantly. Many moves, back to back pregnancies, completely dependent children with persistence and dedication to their ways left me in a very different place. I found myself unable to handle some of the minor details in daily living with much grace. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't label myself as graceful at all in the last several years. I definitely lived as a product of tremendous grace. I struggled with all my might to get through any minor task that lay before me and clung to the advice of other's who said it would get easier if I would just survive the first 6 months/1 year/18 months/2 years of having two babies 13 months apart.

Sure enough, I am the Mom of preschoolers who enjoy discovering things as Lewis & Clark did in days gone by. Except my kids explore my freshly tidied home rather than the vast expanse of new lands. Now-a-days I certainly invest much of my energy in replacing items the kids play with throughout the day. I love the adventure that our life is. But I would be flat out lying if I insinuated that it has been an adventure I would gladly re-enter from the beginning. Its been harder than I ever imagined.


Something interesting has happened.

This week I not only accomplished Laundry Monday complete with all bedding washed, but I also aced House Cleaning Tuesday with flying colors! My house is clean folks! Granted there are toys scattered about that L.C. will pry help the kids clean up before bed. The children are in the bedrooms now doing who-knows-what. But the floors are clean. The throw pillows got washed. And last, but certainly not least...

L.C. gets to come home to a surprise! The living room is rearranged!

I hope I'm not speaking too soon, but I may just see the light at the end of the stay-at-home-mom-of-preschoolers tunnel. And. I. Love. It.

Monday, September 20, 2010


If I were to blog again I wonder what I would blog about. I have friends who have great topical blogs that I am really impressed with, but I am not much of a stick-to-it-type girl. I have good ideas and little follow through. Do people really read the ramblings of tired moms? Cuz really.... that's about all I got folks! ;o)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Baby Poll

I have created an online baby poll for family and friends to guess when our baby will come. Look to the left of my blog for the link to the poll. Let's see who can get the closest. Just to update you... I have been having contractions for weeks, and am already dialated to 2 and 50% effaced. I am scheduled to be induced at 39 weeks which will be Feb 18th. And... we still don't know what we are having! ;o) I am sooooo excited!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Belly Pic

Many people have been expecting belly pictures from this pregnancy again since I was so good at getting pictures when I was pregnant with Trey. Well... here is your photo! My friend Melissa took this during our shoot a few weeks ago. You can find information on her photography business here.