Wednesday, October 26, 2011

loving on purpose

This post could very well be a rambling, jumbled mess of what's going through my mind right now. For a few days, I have been wanting to blog but every time I would try to sit down and write, it just didn't come out right. So, I'm apologizing in advance. It's just that there has been a lot of lessons I have been learning lately. And it all boils down to this...what does it really mean to love a child?
Let me tell you how this all started. One thing we were taught in our foster care licensing classes is that, quite truthfully, most parents (no matter how horrible the circumstances) love their children. Love is not really the issue. What they did not tell us is foster care classes is that one of our greatest challenges as a foster parent is not simply to love the children (that comes naturally) but how to love in a way that you teach the children in turn how to love as well. We have had the opportunity to spend some time with the bio parents of our foster children and it is clear to me that, while they certainly love their children, they were never taught the appropriate way to love. They are simply a product of their environment. And, out of courtesy to them, I will leave it at that.
A friend and mentor of mine from church gave me the book "Loving Your Kids on Purpose". The idea for the book came out the author's experiences working with foster parents. As most of you know, we cannot spank by state law. The book gives alternate ways of discipline that all focus around loving your child. Because discipline is a form of love. I have learned that disciplining to make myself feel better (basically out of anger) will not work. But, if Chris and I can discipline with the sole intent of showing the children the love and respect they deserve, it works much better. Love is a tangible thing. It absolutely must be shown and not just spoken of. Love gives respect but also commands respect back from the child. Loving discipline will teach the children integrity and how to handle difficult situations with grace. Love treats the child as a beloved child of God and not as a thing to be controlled. For another blogger's (more articulate) review of this book, take a look here.
The children in our home right now need to learn so much- their colors, numbers, letters, animal sounds, etc. And while those things are important, Chris and I have an opportunity right now to teach the kids what real love looks like. We have the opportunity to model love in our interactions both with each other and the kids. Real, tangible, Christ-like love. Love that never gives up. Love that perseveres. Love that will not leave them no matter where their life circumstances take them. And that real love is Jesus.
Sometimes, when the day has been long and the kids are cranky, we lose our patience. We yell, we snap, or we ignore. What we need to do is remember that this precious time that the kids are with us, may be the only time they see Jesus modeled in their home. That's a heavy task, will you pray for us?

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I'm not a big fan of change. I'm definitely a girl of routine and order. I like to know when, why, where, and how things are happening. With that said, I've gone through my fair share of change in my mere 27 years. I have had a permanent address is 6 different places in 4 different states from Maine to North Carolina. I switched high schools at age 15 after going to school with the same kids from kindegarten to 9th grade. There have been some major changes in my life that frankly were just out of my control. Maybe that's why I try so hard to control the things that I'm actually able to...yes, I'm a bit of a control freak (just ask my husband). I like my house to be clean. I like my clothes folded a certain way and put away in a certain spot. I think I re-arrange the pantry every time I go grocery shopping because it gets too cluttered. I wake up pretty much at the same time, drink my coffee and read my Bible for the same amount of time, and run pretty much the same route every morning. I know I'm probably sounded a bit obsessive compulsive but I warned you, I just like routine.
So, you can imagine how flipped upside down my life was 10 weeks ago when we went from a household of 2 to a household of 4 in mere hours. Literally, we were called about the foster children at noon and they were in our custody by 5pm that evening. Talk about major change. I didn't handle it too well the first few all over the floor, clothes strewn throughout the house, not to mention (the worst of all) the toilet seats being left up all throughout the house! But let me share some important lessons that I have learned about "parenthood".
1. Investing in the boy's lives is way more important than a clean house. I had a hard time with it at first, but now I'd much rather sing a few extra songs at bedtime than have 10 more minutes to clean the bathrooms. The boys aren't going to remember if the house was spotless but they will (I hope) remember the time we took to love on them.
2. We have to pick our battles. Yes, discipline is important but some times just aren't worth it (expecially when any kind of disipline is brand new to them). I found myself, at first, wanting to boys to do things exactly like I wanted it. But now I'm learning that if it isn't going to hurt them physically or morally, it's probably best to just let it slide. For example...the boys got new coats a few weeks ago and they loved them so much that they refused to take them off even inside the house. While I preferred that they took their coats off in the house, it just wasn't worth the battle.
3. Life must go on. Since Chris works on Saturdays I spend a lot of quality time with the boys by myself. However, it makes me a little nervous to take them anywhere because, well frankly, taking 2 small children anywhere is a little daunting. Saturday is the day that I, like most people, run my necessary errands. This morning, I loaded the boys up in the car and we went to Target. I'll be honest, it's the first time in 10 weeks I have attempted to take them by myself anywhere. And guess what, it was a success! It's nice to know that instead of planning my life around the boys, I can just involve them in it.
4. Last but not least, I have learned just how important it is to have a supportive spouse. Chris has been amazing over the past 10 weeks and I am so thankful. He is the best "foster dad" and will definitely be an amazing father to our kids one day!
Not only have my life circumstances changed over the past 10 weeks, but I know that I have also changed. I'm learning to appreciate each day and the blessings that it brings. So, if change is what it takes to become the woman that God wants me to be, then bring on the change!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

13th birthday cake

This weekend I had the pleasure of making a 13th birthday cake. I was requested to include the following: hot pink/black/white, zebra stripes, and polka dots. The cake was 2 tiered with the bottom tier in classic white and the top tier in chocolate sour cream cake. It was decorated in vanilla buttercream and fondant. Here's the finished product!