May

Here’s a little Pinterest-inspired solar system project completed entirely by my 3rd grader all by herself:

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We did end up having to cut the board in half and make it super long so she could put the planets in order in one long row instead of stacked in two rows, but hey – she did what she could in the space that she had. I thought it was awesome.

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The Apple Store Field Trip:

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This was super. Free t-shirts and complete trust of a bunch of kids with this stack of iPads. That same weekend we downloaded the iMovie app and my girls did this all on their own. Equal parts cool and creepy, no?

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Painting at will:

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Enough said.

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And then this:

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We got an 18′ by 48″ high above ground pool. It was probably one of the best decisions we’ve made in a long, long time.

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Happy Summer!!

On preparing to be a foster parent

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fos·ter /ˈfôstər/

  • Verb: Encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good.)
  • Adjective: Denoting someone that has a specified family connection through fostering rather than birth.
  • Synonyms: verb.  raise – cherish – bring up – nurture – nurse – cultivate; adjective.  adopted

Craig and I never ruled out the possibility of adoption “some day,” but it’s so so so easy to put “some day” into that category of “Okay, we’re open, but let’s be real here…NO.”

“Some day” becomes that lofty ideal of some future time when sin ceases to exist in ourselves and our family, when finances no longer cause tension between spouses, when tidiness isn’t simply something we aspire to, but something we live.

In short, “some day” never comes.

Last month, I attended the 8308 Conference here in Oklahoma City. I had a feeling I would walk away knowing something would change for us, but I had no idea how.

Here’s a little bit of the how:

There’s that word again: restored. That’s what we want to be about, but here’s the deal – it sounds so absurd to be about the business of helping restore families, helping restore tiny lives, helping restore people when our own lives seem everything but so much of the time.

That night, after I spent the day with my heart on the outside of my body and meshed with some seemingly random statistic that was quickly becoming less random as the day wore on, Craig and I looked around the house and sighed. Dishes in the sink, on the counter; homework on the couch, on the floor; laundry on the bed, under the bed; a child of our own, in her room for 30 minutes until she could control her attitude.

What were we thinking?

What are we thinking?

And he says, “Does it make sense to bring another child into our completely chaotic lives?” And I say, “No, it doesn’t. But is there any chance that our brand of chaos is a haven compared to the version of chaos they’ve been living in until now?”

And we’re quiet because we know that mis-managed laundry and lazy habits are indeed better.

And we’re quiet because we know that no matter how busy our lives are now, somehow we’re managing the busy on behalf of six and what’s one or two more?

And we’re quiet because we know we’re in the biggest house we’ve ever lived in for the entire 15.5 years we’ve been married so far.

And we wonder. God? What are you doing here?

The 8308 Conference mentioned above was so named because, as of January 1 of this year, there were 8,308 children in Oklahoma state custody. Here’s  a little bit of what I came home with that night from Ben Nockels (111 Project), Josh Bottomly, Nathan Mellor, Guy Feist, Kelly Rosati, Michelle Kelley and others, as taken from my “tweet notes” that day:

  • James 1:27 – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
  • We have a serious problem in Oklahoma. Over 103K abuse allegations and less than 3 million population.
  • Their lives have become invisible to us and we have become numb.
  • The problem isn’t the system; it’s the condition of my heart and yours to allow these kids to become nameless and faceless.
  • The gospels are all about Jesus going into chaos and bringing order.
  • God has given us everything we need for this, and either you believe that or you don’t.
  • Create margin in life so God can do great things in your life. Look for an opportunity for radical obedience.
  • If we’re really about the sanctity of life, we have to do something.
  • There are 7,000 churches in Oklahoma. We should NOT have an orphan crisis here. We need to do more than talk about it. We need to DO it.
  • Wondering if fostering is the right thing for you? It is always right to take care of children.
  • Not everyone is called to BE the foster parent, but everyone IS called to care for orphans in some capacity.

So. Here we are, some 3.5 weeks after this snapshot in time and still moving forward. Craig and I attended an orientation meeting with one local group, but it didn’t seem like the right fit for us. Although we did connect with one Atlanta parent with a similar outlook as us, it wasn’t enough for us and we found another. I attended their orientation last night, sans Craig, who is in Ohio with Michael Card and the Biblical Imagination Conference, but with all the girls.

And today I’m filling out paperwork. Preparing for fingerprinting. Remembering life with diapers and car seats and strollers and bottles and realizing just what a major game changer this whole thing actually is.

And scary? Yes.

Even still, it’s right. And we know it.

Me and Doris Day

With two weeks of school left, there’s a little bit of pressure in place right now thanks to cummulative finals and such. Katie has been struggling lately with the history chronology tests and while we’ve been doing our best to help her with memorizing everything and practicing various testing strategies, at the end of the day, I’m mostly trying to drive home in her that it doesn’t matter to me what score comes back on her test. We love her anyway and know she’s tried her best.

We went through another round of this last night and after I kissed her good-night, broke out into song of the Doris Day variety. Now then, if only I sounded like Doris Day. And looked like her…

Philippians 4:6 has something similar, and more importantly, better to say about this: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

It’s true. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Thankfully it’s in the hands of God, who understands our hearts even better than we do.

And knows how badly this family is in need of a good, relaxing summer break.

Um, Yikes?

Filed in the category of: No words the mom wants to hear when the dad is out of town

Chloe, sitting on the piano bench: “Mom? Can you come here?”

Me: “What’s up?”

Chloe, now squatting on the floor near Craig’s desk: “I can’t decide if this is a really long worm or a really small snake.”

Me: *silent*

Chloe: “Also, not sure if it is dead or alive.”

The Sweetery Eatery in Oklahoma City

Sweetery Eatery
In my desperate attempt to figure out something to do for Teacher Appreciation Week on Monday for our North Campus teachers, I suddenly remembered that I’d been meaning to check out The Sweetery Eatery which is all of a mile from my house.

It’s a pretty new local establishment and I’m happy they are close by!

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Happier still that only 6 of the cupcakes got eaten at the school (it’s a small staff) and that Craig brought the rest home for the 6 of us after dinner. *grin*

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Congrats to you, Sweetery Eatery! I wish you great success as you continue to grow your business here in NW OKC.

Home Stretch

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We’re quickly approaching the one-year mark since we moved from St. Louis to Oklahoma City. I kind of expected us to be panting toward the finish here, with three weeks left, but it seems as though maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally found our groove.

It’s been a crazy year, to be sure. Lots of transition and new everything. Our girls, while missing life and those who live it back in St. Louis, have embraced life here in OKC pretty well. We never expected them to meet their new BFFs during our first year here, but they’ve all made pretty good friends and for that, we’re grateful.

It’s been eleven months and I’m finally starting to show signs of settling – you know, things like deciding on a doctor and actually getting records transferred and all that. The girls all have well-checks scheduled in the next two weeks and all our paperwork from STL is in the new doctor’s hands. Whew! I still don’t have curtains on 95% of our windows, but I’d say 75% of the house has been repainted. I’ve moved my sewing station about 5 times since we’ve been here and think I’ve *finally* landed on where it will be from here on out. It’s little, that kind of stuff, but oh so big.

We’re in the process of gearing up for another blazer of a summer and I’m doing my best to convince Craig we need to sell off a third of our house in order to pay for a swimming pool. *grin*

Last summer was all about moving, unpacking, doing math (LOTS of math), being lonely, being hot, and just, well, being. This summer will take on it’s own kind of crazy and I think I’m about ready to experience that.

Chloe isn’t wanting school to end and when I questioned her on it she said it wasn’t really even about the friends. She wants to keep learning over the summer.

I told her I could help her with that.

So we have some plans brewing. Plans involving some travel, some learning, more blazing hot, and hopefully more friends.

It’s going to go quickly, but we’re ready for it.