Mission or Means?

I may fumble over my words here a bit as I try to explain what’s in my mind and thoughts. I do often struggle with keeping things simple, but I’ll attempt to do so in this post.

I have been pondering for many years (literally, years!) the concept of our “mission,” as Christians. More specifically, when you strip away just about everything else, do we (the Church) have one mission as a whole, or do we each have our own unique mission?

If you visit individual churches or peruse the internet for church “mission statements,” are they all generally the same mission or do they vary?

Before going further, to clarify, I’m not saying this is a “thus sayeth the Lord” type post. These are simply my thoughts as I see it right now. I’m continually trying to piece the puzzle together, read Scripture, dig deeper, and see the bigger picture.

On we go …

Though we may find (great or minimal) variations in church mission statements worldwide, I would venture to say the church’s primary mission is universal. In short, this mission as Jesus tells us, is to simply Love God, love people, obey his commands, and tell the world about Him. Sure, there is a bit more to it when you dig deeper, but those words of Jesus sum it up quite perfectly.

The reason I bring this up is because I think we might have confused a couple of things along the way. Specifically, the difference between the mission and the means.

Mission or Means?

One of the online dictionaries defines “means” as …

an action or system by which a result is brought about; a method.

I believe God has made it clear what we are to do, as Believers (as stated earlier with Jesus’ instructions), but we each have unique means in which to carry that mission into the world. The “action or system” by which the mission (result) is brought about, can be vastly different between individuals and churches.

I think it’s easy to have a tendency to focus on the means as the end-all-be-all. But, it would be of great valuable to remember, the means is actually not the focus. The means is simply the process or the method to get to the end result, which is to carry out the mission.

Where are we setting our sites, our eyes, our focus? Is it on the mission, or is it on the means?

I don’t feel like I’m being very clear. So, to help draw a distinction between these two (mission and means), below are a few “means” we see around us today:

  • Caring for orphans
  • Involvement in the political realm
  • Owning a business
  • Providing jobs
  • Discipling teens
  • Investing in friendships
  • Protecting the innocent
  • Making food for people in need
  • Producing movies
  • Fighting sex-trafficking
  • Praying for others
  • Writing songs
  • Teaching children
  • Saving and improving lives through the medical field
  • Serving the community (firefighters, policemen, caseworkers)
  • Visiting shut-ins
  • Making jewelry that brings hope
  • Preaching
  • Supporting life in unwed mothers
  • Being the head of your household
  • Loving your spouse
  • Coaching a sports team
  • Counseling people
  • Brewing coffee for those in the cold
  • Praying and interceding for others
  • Valuing life
  • Giving of your time, possessions, money, and/or talents

As you may have noticed, these are not our actual mission, they are simply the means of fulfilling it.

There are many ways (means) we can love God, love people, obey His commands and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Maybe you are able to identify with a few on the list? Many of them are shared in Scripture (i.e. taking care of the widows and the orphans, giving to the needy, and praying for others), while others are not mentioned at all. For example, producing movies is not specifically stated in the Bible (as movies didn’t exist then). But, it is a very valid and powerful way to share Christ with the world.

There are many and varied means for carrying out the universal mission.

So, what do we do now?

For starters, I encourage you to not neglect what you have been given. In Scripture, we are simply encouraged to use those gifts for God’s glory (1 Peter 4:10, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, and 1 Corinthians 12:28). Whatever gifts and talents they may be, use ’em. Share them with those around you. If it’s hospitality, welcome people in. If it’s encouraging others, do it with all of your heart. If it’s teaching, teach with diligence. If it’s leading, lead with integrity, honor and faithfulness. Be creative, organize, play, work, serve, lead, follow, write, sing, forgive … in whatever means you have been given, do it with everything you’ve got. There is value in what you have to share and give. And, as I said in a recent blog post, “leave it all on the court.

A word of caution, be careful not to focus solely on discovering and carrying out the means. Instead, keep your eyes set on the greater mission: love God, love people, obey Christ, and tell others about Him.

As Christians, we have a part in the Body of Christ (the Church), unified under Him, but each with a unique function and effect. We work together and all have value and purpose. Step back and see the big picture. It’s quite an amazing picture to behold.

One mission, many means.

To God be the Glory, Honor and Praise … forever and ever, Amen.


Fun Fact Friday – February 24, 2017

Fun Fact Friday is here! Aren’t you so excited? haha!

  1. I have played around with my new podcasting microphone this week. It’s a fun little piece of entertainment!
  2. I have no idea what I would talk about on a podcast, yet part of me just wants to jump right in anyway. Usually I wait for everything to be perfect and ready, but maybe I won’t this time? Time will tell.
  3. I get up every night around 2am to help our foster daughter with some medical needs. It truly is a labor of love as I love her dearly.
  4. We purchased 1/4 of a cow a few months back … and we’re still trying to finish it. We flew through the ground beef portions, but everything else is taking foreeeever to use.
  5. One of our go-to family meals is homemade chicken pot pie. It’s truly comfort food to us (well, except for Sparkle, she loathes peas).
  6. We have 3 different types of chairs around our dining room table. We’ve had quite a few break along the way, so now it’s just a hodge-podge of what is still left and usable.
  7. I do not like the scent of lavender. A few of my kids love lavender oil, so after rubbing it on their chests, I wash my hands thoroughly to get rid of the smell.
  8. I watch football throughout the football season, but I still don’t understand what a “holding” penalty is since everything looks like holding to me! (shrug)
  9. Papa purchased a HUGE Dove Milk Chocolate Bar for me for Valentine’s Day. Ohmygoodness, it’s so yummy. I think I’ll go have a bite right now. 🙂

Have a great weekend!!

Too many ideas, not enough time

I have so many thoughts running through my head every single day. All. Day. Every. Day. Some of them are things I need to do, want to do, dream of doing, or just random ideas about a variety things in our lives. I know I’m not alone in this … but boy … it’s quite a lot to process when I lay it all out there.

For instance, below are 105 actual thoughts, ideas and questions I’ve already had TODAY (and it’s only 12:11pm as I type this!!):

  1. I’d like to start exercising on a regular basis.
  2. I can’t really exercise until I get my plantar fasciitis under control (it’s too painful right now!).
  3. I need to do physical therapy for my plantar fasciitis.
  4. I need to fold that basket full of clean laundry.
  5. I’m contemplating if I could/would ever become a midwife or doula in the future. Would I be good? Would people like me? Is it a good source of income? What training and schooling do I need to do?
  6. I have a lesson to finish for my Shakespeare class at our local homeschool co-op.
  7. I can’t forget to give Munchkin her medicine with lunch.
  8. I’d love to journal, if time allows.
  9. What are we going to have for dinner?
  10. I have my old laptop, I’d like to check and see if it still works.
  11. I need to stay close and tend to Bro as he is battling an intense eye pressure headache from his glaucoma.
  12. I want to watch a video on YouTube … but I need to fight that urge so I can stay focused on what needs to get done. Otherwise, I’ll get sucked into the vortex of videos.
  13. I need to update our budget and purchases with the Every Dollar program we use.
  14. My kids are loud. Maybe I should invest in noise-canceling headphones?
  15. We have ants sneaking into the house, I should really address that soon. Maybe I’ll ask Papa to take care of that later? I keep forgetting to mention it to him.
  16. I love that my kids are playing Legos together, but I really need to help them get moving on their schoolwork for the day.
  17. Did the garbage get taken out to the road? The garbage truck is coming today.
  18. I really want to play around with my new microphone for podcasting, but I’ll wait until I get my new headphones so I can hear myself more clearly.
  19. Why do I buy cheap-o Ramen? It’s so junky for our health, but we love it.
  20. How do I get my kids motivated to do their work without sounding like I’m nagging all of the time?
  21. Papa and I should have a little pow-wow of what we are going to commit to doing this year with our kids. More specifically, what will our schedule look like with all of our activities, sports, homeschooling, youth groups, work, commitments, etc.? What should we focus on and what do we need to let go of or simplify?
  22. Taz has a science kit he loves using. I hate science. But, I feel guilty for not sitting down with him to do some experiments.
  23. I wonder what Munchkin’s future is going to be?
  24. Sparkle loves her new boots. Wow. Like, a lot. She hasn’t taken them off all morning from the time she woke up.
  25. How can I teach my kids to be patient and kind with their words, when I struggle with those very same things?
  26. This bowl of peanuts is probably stale by now. I wonder if I should make some peanut butter? Or toss them?
  27. I want a piece of chocolate.
  28. I love Papa.
  29. The kids are getting over their sickness, but are asking for sugary treats. Ugh. No sugar for 2 more days, kids!
  30. I love that Papa fixed our leaking faucet. So thankful.
  31. I don’t miss Facebook.
  32. These empty drawer bins in the garage need to either be put to use, or given away, or sold.
  33. I need to return these shorts to Costco.
  34. I still need to sell that huge lot of Barbie stuff for the girls.
  35. Demo is very organized. I love that about her.
  36. King was so kind to take Munchkin outside to play for a bit.
  37. What do I do with this loaf of Jewish Rye bread our neighbors gave us? I’m not a fan of the flavor.
  38. I love Doritos.
  39. Shall I eat a sandwich, chips and fruit for lunch, or shall I eat veggies, pita chips and hummus?
  40. I want a second cup of coffee, but am limiting it to one cup in the morning. Self-control, Momma. You can do it.
  41. I have great kids.
  42. I need to take these guest pillows and blankets upstairs and put them in one of the kids’ closets. I wonder if there’s room?
  43. I love having a clean kitchen.
  44. Today is a good day so far.
  45. I wonder how long we will serve in the foster care system? (I don’t have an answer, by the way.)
  46. Why do my kids ask a million questions? More specifically, the same questions over and over!
  47. I just want to curl up with a cozy blanket and read my book(s) today.
  48. I need to remember to give my friend these hand-me-down clothes that are just sitting here by the front door.
  49. Time to make grilled cheese and tomato soup for a sick feeling Bro.
  50. Don’t forget to buy a new runner rug from Costco to go in front of the washer and dryer.
  51. Make sure to note all upcoming appointments and commitments for the week in my planner (I use a “Happy Planner” for those who are curious).
  52. Make a new appointment for Demo with the physical therapist for next week.
  53. Call the occupational therapist for Munchkin to get evaluated for getting physical therapy, too.
  54. Remember to read the story one of my Shakespeare students wrote and shared with me. (I love that he did this!)
  55. Oh no! I forgot to meal plan for the week!
  56. Use up the red meat in the freezer.
  57. What in the world am I going to do with this massive frozen pork loin from Costco? It’s huge! It’ll feed us for a week! How do I store it while it’s defrosting? It won’t fit in the fridge. Maybe use the cooler?
  58. How will I use these rice noodles? Stir-fry of some sort, maybe? Why did I even buy them?
  59. Start the day with “morning time” with the kids … even if it’s already later than usual.
  60. Go ahead and take a shower and get dressed. (You’ll all be pleased to know I did do this, yay!)
  61. How can I change my tone to be more positive throughout the day instead of negative?
  62. Smile at the kids.
  63. Postpone a couple of particular blog posts until a better and more proper time.
  64. I really need a haircut. When can I go? I should call my friend so we can set an appointment together and try someone new! (Haircut date with a friend, yay!)
  65. Taz’s adoption day anniversary is coming up! Are we going to do anything special for it? We haven’t yet, but maybe we will this year?
  66. I should do a load of laundry, but lack the gumption to do so today. I’ll do it tomorrow.
  67. Why do my kids keep breaking all of our rulers? Maybe I should invest in metal ones.
  68. I would like to write down a few things I am thankful for in my “thankful” journal. I haven’t done that in a long while.
  69. Order more glaucoma eye drops for Bro this week before he runs out.
  70. Text a friend and ask when hockey season officially begins.
  71. Do I take Munchkin to our homeschool co-op even though she still has a lingering cough? Ask co-op leadership what they think.
  72. Sell the “Echo Dot” we were given to help raise funds for Bro’s missions trip this summer.
  73. Start pulling out the swim club fundraiser info to start preparing now for it.
  74. When is my next Chiropractor appointment?
  75. Is Pay Day this week?
  76. Man, we are flying through our tissues from all of this sickness.
  77. Oops. I forgot to put away our clothes that are still hanging up in the garage.
  78. I love our comfy comforter.
  79. I wonder if Papa started reading the book I left in the bathroom? It’s a great book.
  80. Have the kids completed their math yet?
  81. Where are all of our erasers?
  82. Put a piece of washy tape on my earbuds so they are distinguished from Bro’s earbuds (we have the same pair).
  83. Yuck. We have a lot of dust around the TV in our bedroom.
  84. Put away medical papers into Munchkin’s file.
  85. Make a note on the calendar when to refill Munchkin’s prescriptions.
  86. What dreams did I have as a kid?
  87. I really like writing.
  88. Do podcasts count as social media?
  89. I’d love to bake loaves of bread and take them to the homeless while they are still warm, along with a large bottle of water. Bread and water, the essentials. (The kids got excited about this, too, when I told them about it during our “morning time.”)
  90. I need to stop comparing myself to other moms.
  91. I want to always live and parent from a biblical perspective.
  92. Prioritize, Momma.
  93. Why do we have this rolling office chair? It just gets in the way!
  94. Oh! Let’s take a cute impromptu pic of the kids! Well, except without Bro who is laying down and not feeling well.
  95. Focus, Taz, focus. I’m trying to help you with your math, not frustrate you.
  96. Take a deep breath.
  97. Delegate one of the kids to cover the windows on our front doors with parchment paper. I feel too exposed.
  98. King really likes his hair style. He’s always touching his hair. He also needs a haircut to clean up some of those edges. When in the world am I going to do that? Sparkle is pestering me for a haircut, too. Might as well give everyone haircuts … need a full day to do that! No full days this to accomplish this. Maybe in a couple of weeks?
  99. I should really get new shoes to help my aching feet, but I feel guilty for buying some (they’re usually pretty pricey for the kind I need with my plantar fasciitis issues).
  100. I wonder when I’ll be able to finish filing our stack of paperwork and bills?
  101. I don’t like that plastic chair. I prefer this wood one with a higher backing.
  102. Text or email teachers letting them know we might not make it to co-op this week.
  103. I love date night with Papa. Date night, best night!
  104. I think we have dentist appointments coming up. Yup, 4 dentist appointments and 2 orthodontic appointments next month.
  105. I should write a new blog post about something. But, I’m not sure what to write.

Y’all. It’s true. I had ALL of these thoughts cross my mind at some point this morning … and that’s not even all of them. In fact, many of these, I thought about multiple times.

Please tell me I’m not alone. 🙂

It looks overwhelming when I read the list in its entirety, but I don’t feel overwhelmed. I am learning to find balance, because I simply have too many ideas, and there’s just not enough time in a day to do it all.

I’m OK with that … well, most days I am …

To God be the Glory!

Leave it all on the court

I have a confession to make: I like being comfortable. I am not one to naturally push myself to a place of being uncomfortable. If it means pain and sacrifice, I find it more difficult to put myself in a position to experience it. I am often satisfied with just getting by, being average, staying simple, and sometimes settling on mediocrity to maintain my comfort.

No pain, no pain. I like the sound of that. 🙂

You see, even when I was growing up, the only time I truly pushed myself out of my comfort zone was when someone else was encouraging, teaching, cheering, or driving me to do so. I often found it difficult to persevere and push my limits all on my own. I did have initiative to get things done, but often just at a level that enables me to check it off of my to-do list.

This was most evident when I played sports.

I grew up playing competitive soccer, basketball and fastpitch softball all year round. Ooooh how I loved it. I loved the challenge and competition of the practices and games. It was a time for me to learn something new (new skills, new plays, etc.) as well as be with my friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed the environment that comes with being on a team.

When I played in a game or at practice, I pushed myself to the limits. I loved exceling in what was asked or required of me, as a player. If my coach wanted us to run an extra set of lines, I forced myself to finish near the front of the pack, despite how exhausted I felt. I wasn’t fast, but I was smart and I worked hard. I also listened well and did what the coaches wanted me to do. I was a good little player. Not the best, but I held my own.

Since I am no longer in that type of environment with someone on the sidelines pushing me to go further and harder, I find I often take the lazy way out. It’s a very real struggle.

This tendency of mine goes beyond the physical realm of exercise. I can be mediocre with many things: homeschooling, cleaning, teaching, prayer, etc. I do just enough to get by in order to feel like I’m doing OK. Quite honestly, people think I do a lot more than I actually do. I mean, I do a lot of various things that fill my time, but I do them with juuuuust enough effort to be sufficient. Jack of all trades, master of none.

It’s hard to admit, but it’s true, my actions often reflect this.

In my heart, mind and intentions, I am not OK with mediocrity at all. I actually don’t like it and I get frustrated with myself when I don’t excel, do more, or complete whatever it is I am doing. Yet, the fruit is not evident in my intentions, the fruit is seen in my actions.

Not to sell myself short, there is definitely fruit in my life. I know I have impacted others’ lives and I continue to grow and mature personally, but I find I just do the basics. The bare minimum. Nothing spectacular. Nothing grand. Just enough to maintain.

I wish I naturally pushed myself to go the extra mile.

Alas, I do not readily have this quality. I need help. I need a nudge. I need to be challenged. I also need encouragement and accountability.


I still remember back when I was a senior in high school, I was the starting point guard on the varsity basketball team. It was to be my year to shine. Unfortunately, I blew out my knee during the opening weekend jamboree. I was crushed. In an instant, my dreams had vanished.

Plan B. The doctor said I could postpone my ACL surgery if I 1) try to strengthen everything around my knee (to compensate for the weakness and injury), 2) wear a custom knee brace, and 3) do two hours of physical therapy every single day. I agreed to this. The hope was to get back to a place where I could play before the season was finished.

After about 6 weeks of intense strength training, I was ready to be evaluated … and hopefully approved to play.

My physical therapist needed to test my overall strength to see if my knee could handle the stress and impact. I distinctly remember a point during the assessment where I had to do as many quad lift repetitions as possible in a specified amount of time (i.e. 2 minutes). With my new custom brace on, I had to move fast and push my knee to its limits. In those final moments of the test, my therapist really got in my space and yelled, cheered, pushed, encouraged, and motivated me to drive even harder. “Go! Go! Go! GO! Push! Push! Push! PUSH!”

I’m not sure how, but I did exactly that.

When I thought I was doing enough to be sufficient and pass, he stepped in and motivated me to dig even deeper. A renewed sense of determination and strength welled up and out of me. It was not easy, nor was it comfortable, but, I exceled.

Ultimately, I was approved to play basketball again. 🙂


I am someone who frequently needs pushing like this. Sure, I can get by with doing the basics, the bare minimum, and maintain mediocrity. But, if I am to excel and truly do my very best and make a big impact, I need some help. I am reminded of  THIS AMAZING CLIP from the movie, “Facing the Giants.” This is the kind of motivation I absolutely love so I can give my very best.

But, it’s not just in having a “coach” at my side, I have found a few other areas that help me excel beyond the bare minimum:

I need a routine.
I need structure.
I need support.
I need vision.


Just as I had it in physical therapy and training: I need the consistency of a daily routine to maintain and strengthen what is weak. Daily diligence. If I become inconsistent (whether it’s exercise, prayer, eating habits, spending habits, etc.), it’s very hard for me to get back on the band wagon. I make excuses and settle for mediocrity. But, when I have a routine and stick with it, I flourish. Good daily habits pave the way for great eternal impact. It’s much easier to keep pressing forward when there is a rhythm and routine to my day and my life, in general. Personally, it helps me be better prepared, and ultimately, I’m stronger.


After my knee injury, I wore a knee brace when playing ball. The purpose of it was to create a strong structure and framework for supporting the areas of weakness in my knee. An extra measure of reinforcement. Unfortunately, there was a moment during my very first practice back with the team, when the brace slipped out of place (too much lotion on my legs, ugh!) and didn’t do what it was designed to do. In an instant, I had reinjured my knee.

I was physically and emotionally devastated, once again.

Thinking about my daily life, in order to be able to excel and be strong in what I am doing, I, personally, need the structure and a framework to hold it all together. Firm. Stable. Secure. If that structure is removed or not properly in place (like a sliding knee brace), things can get messy and I simply cannot function as effectively. That “structure” can look and be different between people or activities. In my life, I recognize structure consists of having a plan, a schedule, and general order in my environment. Without these, I struggle. I can be a spontaneous person and a go-with-the-flow gal in less organized situations, but it does not come naturally and often throws me for a loop. I have a hard time finding my bearings when things are a bit chaotic and all over the place. However, when structure is in place, I find it easier to push past mediocrity and thrive.


Though I am a fairly independent person, I flourish when I have support around me. This particular support I speak of is regarding support from people. People who get me moving, even when I feel like I can’t go on. “Go! Go! Go! GO!” This support often comes in the form of an individual or a select few who are in my life. I exceed my normal capacity when someone I trust is by my side. I work harder, I play harder, I laugh harder, I serve harder. Hmm, I’m not sure what “serve harder” means, but, you get the idea. I just do better all-around. Even my attitude is better!

You may or may not have noticed, but the three main sports I played were team sports. I am not a solo runner nor a single player. Though I often go-it-alone in my day-to-day, I still love being with others. I enjoy having friends alongside me to “coach” me through, to teach me new skills, to challenge and encourage, and to push me beyond my preconceived limits. Friends to do life with as we sharpen each other, as iron sharpens iron.

Do I get exhausted and uncomfortable at times? Yes. Is it a place of vulnerability? Absolutely. But, when I am supported in the most beautiful ways by trustworthy people who hold me accountable and help me to press on, I make a bigger impact in what I do.


When I hurt my knee, a new vision was birthed. If I wanted to play ball again before I graduated, then I needed to train. If … then. I needed to work hard, be disciplined, and never give up. My sights were set on that goal to play again.

When I am currently fighting mediocrity in my daily life, it is often helpful for me to take a step back and look at the big picture and recast the vision. I need to see beyond what is right in front of me, so I can persevere.

What I am aiming to accomplish?
How can I get there?
What do I need to do to keep pressing forward?
Is God leading us down this path?
No matter how hard it is, does this have a positive impact?
If I continue down this road, where will I/we be in 1 month, 6 months, 3 years, 10 years?
Do I need to change directions?
What is the big picture, the vision, the goal?

Please know, this doesn’t mean it all goes according to plan when a vision is cast. In fact, the only basketball game I played in during my senior year, was the very last game of the season. That was not part of the original vision, but that’s how the cookie crumbled this time. All of my hard work and investment was for one game. One. I relished every single second I was on that court and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

No regrets.

Though my senior year on the basketball team didn’t pan out as I had originally expected or hoped, what I did experience came from having a goal.

It’s hard to aim without seeing a target.

I can have an efficient routine, the strongest structure, and the most effective support system, but without a vision, a goal, a purpose … it will ultimately be all for not. The vision is what empowers and drives everything else. Without vision, I perish.

Ultimately, when the vision is cast, I am able to push forward by creating a daily routine, held together by a strong structure, being fully supported by those near and dear to me to spur me on to see that vision come to fruition.

If I am struggling in any capacity, usually one (or more) of these areas is lacking. I am constantly checking-in and re-evaluating to see what areas need improvement and/or change.


In summary, yes, I naturally default to being comfortable, simple, and admittedly, a bit mediocre. But, I am continually learning I am made for so much more. It may be painful, uncomfortable, vulnerable, and take sacrifice at times, but the impact is so much greater when I don’t settle for “good enough.”

What areas have you recognized help you push harder and dig deeper? Maybe they are similar to mine, or perhaps, they are the exact opposite? haha! Whatever they may be, I encourage you to contemplate how you can improve those areas that need a bit of shoring up and strengthening. I know I had a few revelations myself as I wrote this post. 🙂


It definitely feels backwards and counterintuitive, but when I am truly dying to myself and what I naturally want to do (be lazy!), I live more fully. Oh, how I want to live a full life! And, not more fully for my own gratification, but more fully in Christ and for the Glory of God.

To take it a step further, friends, God has already cast the ultimate vision, HE has shown us how to daily (routinely) follow Him, HE has structured an abundant life securely through His Word (the Bible), and HE has given us each other, as our support and encouragement.

This truly is the most excellent way.

So friends, I implore you to press on … with no regrets …

Leaving it all on the court.

To God be the Glory!

Fun Fact Friday – February 17, 2017

I hope you enjoy reading these random “fun facts” about me on this fine Friday …

  1. I absolutely loved writing (the beginning of) our foster care journey. It’s humbling to look back and see how the Lord does amazing things in and through our lives.
  2. We have had 7 foster children in our home in the 5 1/2 years we’ve been doing foster care. We could have easily had more, but we took about a two year break in the middle of that time.
  3. I usually do 1-2 loads of laundry every day. It’s not a good idea to miss a day or it piles up rather quickly.
  4. I have sensitive feet. Walking on rocks is not a wise decision.
  5. I own two 6-quart Instant Pot pressure cookers. I use them both.
  6. If I want some yummy (and sweet) comfort food, I’ll whip up a batch of chocolate cookie dough and eat a spoonful … or three.
  7. I love the rain.
  8. This month of February, I am trying to only buy perishable foods (dairy, fruits, veggies, etc). We already have so many snacks, canned foods, and frozen meats we need to use up first. I also need to defrost our garage freezer. It’s a big ice ball in there with all of the frost build-up. Once it’s cleared of its contents a bit, the defrosting process will be so much easier.
  9. I don’t enjoy change (in general), but I am learning to embrace it more and more these days. It’s OK to shake things up a bit from time-to-time. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

Our foster care journey – part 8

Below is the final segment of telling how we became a foster care family. To be clear, there will be more stories to come of our adventures, but these 8 parts were the beginnings of our fostering journey.

(Here are the links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 … in case you missed or want to reread any of them before the grand finale!)

September 2011

In the back of my mind, I had the movie quote from the Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”  Well, here we were. We had “built” it, prepared ourselves, and were ready … and they were coming.

During the first month after being licensed we received a couple of phone calls from the Department of Human Resources (DHS). We were being asked if we would welcome some children into our home.

The first call was for 3 siblings ages 2, 6 and 7. In general, when we get a placement phone call, DHS is hopeful to get an answer in about 5-10 minutes. We have a very short window of time to decide whether or not to say “yes” to that placement/case. If we say “no,” they need to move along quickly to call the next potential foster family. Children (waiting for a foster family) are often simply sitting in the office until a home is found. Time is of the essence. In these short minutes, we have to rely heavily on the Lord to show us quickly how to respond.

As Papa and I prayed together over the phone regarding that first placement call, we were able to discern this was not the match for us. We couldn’t put our finger on why that was, until we prayed together. Papa was at work and I was huddled in our bedroom closet as we prayed together over the phone. During that prayer, the Lord brought to mind how it would be impossible for me to leave the house with all 7 kids (our 4 + 3 new kiddos). Our van only holds 7 people, total. In order for me to go anywhere, I would have to do it illegally (without all car seats/boosters and with double-buckling) with 8 people in the car. We knew the Lord was showing us in a very practical way it wasn’t the time to say “yes.”  Praise the Lord for His leading … or rather, putting out the stop sign.

Just a week or so later on September 21, we received our second call. The phone call was similar to the first as we processed and prayed what to do, but we knew this was the one for us. A few days later, I was at the DHS office picking up the most adorable little 2 yr old boy and bringing him into our home. It was the very first time in my entire life I had ever seen another person’s child and instantly felt like I was his/her Mom. It was a strange feeling, but my Momma’s heart to love, care, protect, teach, train, and provide for a precious child welled up within me, even if it was to be just for a season.

What we had prayed, prepared, and planned for over the years, was actually coming to fruition. It’s an amazing feeling to know we are walking in obedience and trust. The Lord was (and is) using our gifts, our passions, our hurts, our struggles, our experiences and our faith to help and love children and their families. God had turned our personal pain into a way to be a blessing to others.

He was making beauty from ashes, and we were just getting started.

As I write this, it has been 5 1/2 years since that first placement call, and we are so very happy to share with you the little 2 yr old boy (our first placement) is now 8 years old. He is doing amazingly well. He is full of life and energy, is brilliant and creative, and is incredibly strong and active. He is in a safe, loving and healthy environment, praise the Lord!

The reason I know all of this, I am proud to say, is because he is now our son, Taz. 🙂

The Lord knew it all. Even when we couldn’t see it, He was weaving our story together.

In fact, we later realized how closely our story and timeline intertwined. The exact month and the exact year Papa and I wept with grief over our decision to permanently stop having more children, an amazing little baby boy was being born in another state. We didn’t know it at the time, but even in those early heart wrenching moments, the Lord was preparing us to meet our son, Taz.

I am thrilled to share with you, our hearts grew 5 sizes that day.

The Lord continues to expand our hearts with each precious child who enters our home. It’s true, love does multiply. There are often intense growing pains in the brokenness, but, there is growth and … more. More love, more joy, and more healing awaits around each corner. Sometimes, we simply need to change directions in order see more clearly.

Foster care is not the journey we had originally planned to take, but following the Lord is the most glorious journey of all. We have learned to wholeheartedly embrace how He directs our steps, so, we continue to step.

We welcome you to join us in the journey. Walk with us on the mountain tops, in the valleys, during the fruitful and dry seasons, and amidst the wonderful and difficult moments in our foster care adventures.

We do not know if or when our story will change directions, but we are in it as long as the Lord is leading us through it.

To God be the Glory!!

Our foster care journey – part 7

(Below is Part 7 of our foster care journey. Catch up on any you missed by clicking on the links here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.)

June 6, 2011

We ended up talking to the gentleman (Confirmation #2) and found out a new Foster Care Training session was just about to begin! Perfect timing.  ?

In 19 short days, our hearts transformed from fear to faith, and we went from not knowing the next step, to actually taking our first step! We were beginning our training to become a Foster family. Eeek!

Though it all happened so very quickly, we were not anxious or fearful. The Lord was teaching us we could truly trust HIM and that in time, we would indeed be ready to welcome children into our family!!

August 2011

After 3 months of training, paperwork, home studies, interviews, fingerprinting, background checks, financial reports, conversations and many many questions (primarily asked by me, Momma) … we were LICENSED!!!

We were now an official foster care family, ready and willing to nurture, love, teach, protect and keep children safe!!

The Lord said we would be ready … and He was right.

We were ready.

(Stay Tuned for the final segment …)

Our foster care journey – part 6

(Below is Part 6 of our foster care journey. You can catch up on the journey by using these links to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.)

Confirm and confirm again, Lord!!!

Just as our Pastor prayed (in an email response to my May 19th email), I also prayed for the Lord to “confirm and confirm again” exactly what we were to do … and for us to “not to be anxious about anything” in the process.

Praise the Lord … HE answers and confirms!

Confirmation #1

May 22, 2011

During church, a gal shared about gathering in the flock. How we are to be bold and courageous and welcome in those who may be lost, wandering, or need help. I immediately thought about the “lost” children of the world. Those with no homes. Those without a healthy Mom or Dad. Those without a loving home. Those without a safe place to reside. Those who ultimately are without Christ.

My heart broke.

I cried out to the Lord that morning and said, “Lord, I’m not ready to care for other children!!” His (not audible, but very real) response, “No, you’re not ready, but you WILL be.” I cannot describe the peace that came upon me in that very moment. It was as if He had given me permission not to have it all together. What a relief. I could be where I was in that exact moment … but also know that in time, I had the hope I would indeed be ready. We would be ready.

Confirmation #2

May 23, 2011

It was a Monday. We had just been encouraged by the Lord the previous day during church (confirmation #1), so we began looking at this possible, yet unknown journey. We were trusting the Lord in His saying we would indeed be ready!

Being the studious person that I am (haha!), I went searching online for information. I wanted to find a local fostering/adoption company. It didn’t take long before I found a great resource. I called them and they directed me to a particular local gentleman. So, I called him and left a message.

That same day, I called a friend from church who had also looked into fostering/adopting previously and she gave me the name of a local gentleman. Turns out, it was the same gentleman the other company had directed me to call. I felt this was indeed confirmation. We were being led to the same person/place through 2 different avenues. 🙂

Confirmation #3

A random message came through Facebook from a friend we hadn’t seen for 9 or 10 years, encouraging us in our parenting. It came out of nowhere, but it was impeccable timing. God is good. When I began to doubt our ability to care for children from hard places, the Lord brought someone to encourage us in that exact area we needed encouragement. What amazing confirmation!

Confirmation #4

An unexpected $100 check came from someone to encourage us on our journey to becoming a foster family.  ?

Praise the Lord, He was answering our prayers!

The Lord was confirming and confirming again … emotionally, spiritually, practically and financially … we could indeed walk this fostering journey. He was preparing the way.

Fears, anxiety and worry were very quickly fading away while excitement was gaining momentum as we were about to take our first real steps.

(Stay Tuned for Part 7…)

Our foster care journey – part 5

(Below is Part 5 of our foster care journey. Here are the links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 … in the event you missed any of them.)

May 2011

My preoccupation with being pregnant increased even more during the month of May.

I found out a college friend of mine became pregnant after 7 years of not having any babies! This renewed my hope that it really COULD happen! Though they did not have a vasectomy like we did, I was hopeful that we could be pregnant again, too.

My obsession only burned hotter and brighter.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I later noticed May 2011 marked the 5 year anniversary from when Papa had his vasectomy. Five years. Though I knew we had worked through our regret for having the vasectomy, I still couldn’t shake the greatness of this loss.

I felt like I should DO something.

May 19, 2011

As my desire to be pregnant continued to consume every part of me, I realized I wanted to do something. I don’t like waiting. But, we had learned from our past experiences and were ready to wait and hear the LORD’s direction for us. We didn’t want to do just anything, we wanted to do what the Lord was leading us to do.

I remember my Uncle describing years and years ago that “true repentance” is “being willing to do whatever it takes to make it right again.” Wow. Whatever it takes.

As we saw them, our options included:

#1-vasectomy reversal.


#3-foster care.

Were will truly willing to do “whatever it takes?”

May 19, 2011 marks the day I sent out an email to close friends, family and also to our pastors to seek prayer and wisdom regarding the “next step.”

Below are a few excerpts from that email:

Today, I find myself always thinking about this loss. Not that we have physically lost children since that decision [to get a vasectomy], but we’ve lost the possibility of more wonderful children in our family. I think about it daily. <tears are streaming down my face>

BUT. BUT … I know that we serve a God who can do the impossible. He has parted waters of the sea, calmed storms, healed the blind, raised the dead, made the lame walk, defeated giants, protected from lions, multiplied food, sent fire from heaven, caused time to stand still … made it possible for Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth to be pregnant … I know HE is able!! I mean not this to sound cliche’ … but mean it with my whole heart and agree with His Word when it says … With God, ALL things are possible!!!

With this hope, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that something will happen and that our family will grow again. Somehow, someway, our family will grow.

We have prayed for God to do the impossible and to make it so we are able to have more children. We have opened our minds and hearts up to the possibility of adopting or fostering. We are open.  Both Papa and I feel like our family is “not done” yet. What that looks like, I do not know. Even in saying, “our family isn’t done yet”, I am not sure why or how I can explain that feeling. I recently asked Papa WHY we feel we’re not done yet. Is it because the Lord is preparing us to have more children? Is it because He wants us to prepare our home and family for a future adoption/foster child? I am reminded of this clip from “Facing the Giants” in “preparing” to receive. Or, perhaps we feel this way because we want the Lord to bring “life” where there was “death”? Redemption? Healing? I don’t know that I know the answer to this question. Why. Why do we feel we are not done?

In response to our email, a friend of mine asked about the possibility of a reversal. I let her know what it would take to have it done (financially, physically, time, etc.). I also mentioned that “I’m scared to death to foster or adopt … but am open to it.”

She then asks me, “Why are you scared to foster or adopt?”

My response,

Scared to adopt/foster?  Lots of reasons … scared what “issues” will come with them:

  • scared how they’ll mesh with the family
  • scared how our extended family will welcome them into our family
  • scared what issues they’d teach our kids (lots and lots of anger and abuse issues in every realm here)
  • scared it’ll just be too much and I can’t handle it
  • scared we won’t love them as much as our biological
    scared our other kids will feel neglected
  • scared … for more reasons … but those are a good start.

Lots to think about. Not sure I can handle it … or that I want to handle it.

She simply replies, “I want to pray for you about your fears concerning adoption, I REALLY think it is such a wonderful thing … but I totally get the concerns but I want you to experience more freedom and less fear about it.”

More freedom. Less fear.

Those words jumped off of my laptop screen as I read them. More freedom, less fear. I quickly realized I had allowed myself to be in bondage over the idea of fostering or adopting. Most certainly, I had fed my fears concerning it.

Was I truly prepared to do “whatever it takes,” no matter where it leads or what it looks like?

Was I genuinely willing to open my heart and our home in a capacity that was far greater than I had ever thought or imagined?

Was this how God would eventually grow our family?

In recognizing the multitude of my fears for what they were (hindrances), my heart began to soften and change. A shift was taking place. Fostering and/or adopting children didn’t seem too far fetched as we looked down this unexpected turn in the road.

(Stay tuned for Part 6 …)

Fun Fact Friday – February 10, 2017

Taking a quick break from telling our foster care journey (which will continue next Monday), here’s a little list of some Fun Facts about myself …

  1. I am a sucker for containers and organizers. I love them. I use them. I figure out ways to accumulate them.
  2. In general, I prefer the look of raw wood over painted wood. Oh, and the smell of wood. aaahh. Home Depot and Lowe’s lumber departments … they smell so good!
  3. Speaking of stores and smells, I really like the smell of shoe stores. I went into Payless Shoe Source the other day and absolutely loved the smell of the store. I breathed it in, literally. I’m not sure if it’s the leather, the rubber soles, the canvas shoes, or a combination of it all? Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoy it. Side note – I bought Bro some new shoes while there … size 15! Wowza.
  4. My favorite numbers are 2 and 22. But, not 222 or 2,222. Keep it simple. 2 and 22.
  5. I dream of doing a nation wide road trip with Papa after the kids move out. It sounds too stressful to do it with kids in such a small of space for long stretches of time. Yes, after they move out sounds like a lovely time to do an RV/trailer road trip.
  6. I eat peanut butter almost every single day. It’s pretty rare if I go a day without eating it (whether on toast, in a sandwich, or by the spoonful).
  7. I feel fancy when I wear fingernail polish. I don’t wear it often as it always chips or gets messed up on the very first day. But, I do enjoy it while it lasts.
  8. I use a “Happy Planner” for my every day to-do list. It has taken me some time to find my groove with it, but I’ve finally found it and it’s amazing. Super simple. No fluff. No stickers. No fancy colored pens or designs. Just my good ol’ mechanical pencil, some check-off boxes, and my planner. Makes my life so much easier to manage!