Hope for 2018

A New Year always brings hope. Even though we all know we can start new habits, make new plans any day of the year, there is something about January 1 that does it to all of us. Or at least those of us that like to categorize/ organize, there is just something about pulling out that new planner. Which reminds me, I am super excited to try my first Emily Ley planner this year! I’ve been a follower/fan girl for years now. 🙂 2018 just looked like an open year to us…finally. We decided to totally give ourselves space & grace, and focus on security n attachment bonding with our twin boys. I had a some mixed feelings, or like maybe I should feel guilty, but I was mostly relieved and happy knowing we were not taking any new placements for a long time, probably the whole year. We had some other big decisions to make and things to accomplish and I was getting so excited to just.slow.down. My first goal was to utilize and practice the word “simplify”. One of those ways is getting rid of things that hold sentimental value but just clutter up my house. Another was … Continue reading

Looking back at 2017

It’s been a lil too long, my fingers and brain have been itching to write but my heart doesn’t always know where to start. So, we’ll just start.   2017 is over and gone, just memories remain. I’m pretty much okay with putting that year behind me and looking forward to what is ahead. We started out the year as just the 2 of us, not really expecting it to change or adding any foster children anytime too soon, to give us time to heal and process from our twins leaving in December.  But by the end of January we had the twins back, 11months old,  and had said Yes to their 2 sisters, coming in the month of February. A 3 year old, and baby from the hospital. We also started an organization called Blessing Basket, a clothing/items closet for families associated with foster care. We accept & give everything for free, basically just a bridge for the community to help out. Needless to say, with 4 toddlers I was a little overwhelmed and sold my fudge inventory, said goodbye to the business part of my life and tried to learn how to embrace this busy mom life.   … Continue reading

Not your Ordinary Wednesday

I was outside watching the kids play & the baby right inside the door watching me, because it was just a tad too cold outside for her. Buddy was pushing around his dump truck like he does everytime they go outside, filling it with rocks and dumping them out immediately, in his own little world. Big sissy was trying to coax Bubba into running out to the trees with her to no avail, he’d rather stay close to momma. With my suggestion of playing Hide & seek he took off running with her right beside him, hand on his back. Buddy’s attention was interrupted and he goes running after them, not wanting to miss out on the fun. Then it hit me. These days of them being siblings that are living together are coming to a close. In fact, with this weather it may be one of the last days I witness this bonded outdoor innocence. Big sissy will be moving to her respective Gma in less than 2 wks. And I start reliving the reality of a phone call just a few hours previous. “Everything has been approved for lil MiracleBaby to be moved to her Gma, so we … Continue reading

The Perfect Balance

Hard things are hard to do. Culturally we want the easy way out. You guys, being a foster parent is hard. So. so. so. hard. And pretty much all of the time I want to sugar coat it and tell others and myself that it’s just part of life, it’s really not that difficult. I wish I could say we do it because it’s so easy. But. In all reality, we do it because it IS hard. We, as the church, as God’s people need to be willing to do hard things. Sometimes God asks us to do the hard things that we cannot do on our own, so that He receives all the glory! In our weakness, people can see it is only because of HIS strength! Back to admitting that it is hard… From personal experience I can testify that it is key to embrace the fact that this IS hard. It’s something I just really didn’t want to do. But I needed to embrace it for myself. Acknowledge it and be honest with others. As Christians, we can do hard things. It’s ok that it’s hard and ok to admit it. We need to support and encourage each … Continue reading

Expect the Unexpected {life update}

Been pondering what to share this month and I suppose it may be time for a bit of a personal life and family update.. Fittingly so with this being the month marking 1 year ago that we received twin baby boys into our home. Seems a bit surreal and sorry if you already know all the stats, but I wanted to write it down for my own remembrance 🙂  Last July 5th we said good-bye to our first lil boy #MrSunshine and a few days later we welcomed twin 4 1/2 month old boys into our home on July 11th. Because it wasn’t any legal or criminal issues, but merely a lack of proper support, as soon as birth mom was back in shape the boys returned home, no questions asked. I won’t say how many questions and doubts I had, but I chalked them up to me being overly sensitive n attached to the boys in wanting to keep them. In those 5 months we had definitely fallen in love with Bubba & Buddy and were heartbroken telling them good-bye on Dec. 7th. We were not in any rush to take new placements in allowing ourselves proper time to … Continue reading

Dear Community with a Foster Parent in your Midst

As usual, when there is something brewing in my heart, it comes out eventually. And I’m not really sure how to share all of this because it can be pretty personal, however, I want to try to express it with lots of grace. & as a means of educating people and being a voice for so many foster Mamas that feel misunderstood or alone, or just like people don’t ‘get it’. disclaimer 1. this post may get long. disclaimer 2. This was a compilation of my personal experiences & feedback from other foster mamas. Number 1. WE NEED YOU. We need your support, prayers, hands & feet, encouragement, acceptance, hugs and coffee. But first, let me clarify some things and then I’ll try to explain… Yes, we signed up for this. In a sense we knew what we were signing up for, the unknown, the heartbreak & emotions of reunification, the trauma, the dirty, the sweetness of innocent children[& some not innocent enough] but in another sense we really couldn’t prepare or truly know what it was all going to be like. In reality tho, that didn’t matter, we signed up because of a calling, a nudging we heard from … Continue reading

When you are Living a Life you did not Imagine *NIAW-2017*

This week is NIAW and I have been very quiet over here.. Well, quiet on the blog. I have been really busy and I have been writing, but I always chicken out from posting. I thought I could get more courage this year to share more of my heart. But then we got 4 lil foster kiddoes the beginning of the year and my time to write and even be online has measurably decreased. SO, for now I am learning how to embrace this season and share as the Lord leads. But last night I started doing an Instagram post on this years topic #ListenUp by Resolve. And realized it was going to get lengthy, so thought I would just type up a bit today. Not sure how to share what all I have been thinking about this week. It seems so hard to believe that it has been 4 years already since we blissfully thought we were beginning the next part of our dream-life-come-true. Some days I just really don’t want to think about it, and other days I allow myself to walk down that dream driveway.. What if we would have gotten pregnant and would have a lil … Continue reading

Open Heart, Open Hands, Open Horizon…

Nothing like waking up at 6:30 on the first morning of your vacation. Clearly my mind needs to realize we are on vacation. And the best way to do that is to write it out, and beings its still dark and hubby is sleeping, I grab my computer instead of pen n paper.. Yesterday we said good-bye to the twins we’ve had in our home since July. We knew it was coming for awhile and had been having overnight visits, so the transfer went good and in a way it still doesn’t seem real. Like, we’ll just come home and go get them again, right?  But I knew in my heart it was different when we dropped them off this time. And oh, it hurt. Why do the tears always insist on coming when I just want a composed good-bye, but instead have to rush away? Each one of our lil munchkins situation has been a lil different, but generally my heart has mostly been heavy with, “What will happen to them? I wish they didn’t have to face this traumatic change and good-bye, I’m grieving their losses, their confused lil minds, their tomorrows.”  But this time is different, and … Continue reading

Foto Friday ~ Birthday Boys

I got to hang out with these handsome lil guys awhile back to document their Birthdays. Almost they share a BirthDAY but are 3 years apart. They are so sweet & fun! I was just a lil nervous because we had shade, then bright sun n heat and a 1 year old who wasn’t too impressed with sitting outside in it. But at least he didn’t cry and one can easily see how adorable he is, even without a smile!! 🙂 During the first part we had a lil fun with being a cowboy, for which Cashton is perfect. Celebrating being 1 for Greyson, and then dress-up. These boys always look classy thanks to their mama’s good taste! 🙂  Disclaimer: if these photos are viewed on a PC, I’m sorry they look so grainy. I’m trying out new settings for web exporting and so far I’m not convinced I like it. Please help a girl out if you have a way to get them to look clear and sharp on FB and blog. Seems like people just care what it looks like on their phone these days.. Anhoo, have a lovely day.

Summer is gone.. ..update..

Hello to October and Autumn, it is so nice to see you!! For the first time in my life I am absolutely so happy to see Fall and say good-bye to summer & heat. I think perhaps it is because of hardly doing any swimming this year. But the cool days and changing leaves have me in so many smiles today and I am just delighted at pulling out a jacket! The smell of cool, air-blown laundry in from the line, and burning cinnamon-apple candles, ahh! I saw the neighbors put up Christmas lights and that got me excited, only to be shot down by my hubby saying that we don’t need to rush it! 🙂 July 5 we did say good-bye to #MrSunbeam after having him in our home for a day short of 7 weeks. It seems like it was a short time, but he was the happiest lil fella and we had quickly fallen in love and gotten attached to him, our first lil boy! He went to a wonderful home and they reported he is walking and doing well, so it was definitely a success story with a few tears. We decided to quickly go to Nashville that … Continue reading

“Blueberry Butterscotch Squares”

Whooa…It’s July!  I’m actually kind of excited that this year is seemingly flying by, no specific reason, just a feeling. 🙂 I’ve got a super yummy Blueberry bar recipe for you that you are definitely gonna want to try! But first, just a lil update.. June was a full month and yet we had time for lots of sweet moments.. The main reason for being quiet over here is not for lack of good, good things that God is doing. But because that my computer issues have still not resolved. I have an appointment on July 11 to see if they can restore my data before putting in a new operating system. I do have my old one that I can thankfully run my business with, but only do the basics cuz it’s soo slow. Decided to brave it today and was reminded why I haven’t before, took a loong time to just open Lightroom, much less make minimal edits to my photos. We’ve been busy with all the usual first-month things, mtgs, appts, visits that come with a new foster placement & thoroughly enjoying having #MrSunbeam with us. He is definitely living up to his nickname. (sidenote, he will possibly be … Continue reading

“Life” on our Anniversary

Today is just a lil different than what I had imagined.. But it’s ok. I’m choosing to cherish the moments as this is what our imperfect, perfect life looks like! No, we still don’t have the ‘normal-family-life’ thing downpat, but come’on, I seriously doubt we’d be happy if we lived the American-normal. Most of the time I feel like we fit into a mold too much the way it is. Who defines ‘normal’ anyway?! lol Being without any kids for the past 2 months we decided we’re gonna go spend a few days in Nashville for our 4th Anniversary this year. Who lives just a few hours away and hasn’t spent time touring the famous city of Nashville? Yup, that would be us! So we were getting all excited and planning what we wanted to go see….. But Dan kept holding off on making actual motel reservations, because, as he said, “what if we’d get some kids”?! Sure enough, on Tuesday morning we were discussing that we should get our reservations made that evening and a few hours into the day. We get a phone call asking if we’d take 3 lil boys. Uh-oh. See, we’re just licensed for three. … Continue reading

Why we Foster

So to start way at the beginning… growing up my Mom & I had an in-home daycare and we also were licensed to babysit for a foster mom in our church. Later I taught at a private school, then worked in a deaf school. I’ve always loved working with kids. Met my hubby and while we were dating we volunteered a week at New Horizons Ministries in Colorado and before we left for home we knew we would love to be involved in a mission like that. My hubby also has a huge heart for kids, so we definitely knew we wanted a big family 🙂 We got married in 2012 and we would pray for God to lead us and show us if He would have us go to CO, but really, just to lead us where He wanted us to go. (yeah, honestly it was more of a casual prayer in the beginning, as much as I hate to admit it, but it did keep churning a longing deep within us). About a year in we thought we were ready to start a family. So we opened our hands and prayed and told God to do whatever He … Continue reading

a timeline of His Scripting

  Short Version: became aware of each other’s existence in big green earth; January 2007. boy meets girl; Fall 2008. first date; June 17, 2011 Engaged; February 26, 2012 Got married; May 19, 2012 Started ttc; Spring 2013 Foster Care licensed; April 28, 2015 today; Spring 2016………………. Long Version: We’ve always wanted a family. Knew from the very start, before we ever said ‘I Do’ that it was something we wanted. We dreamed about our children. Us. As a family of more than two. It was something we prayed about frequently, and we prayed for our dear loved children. Our hearts burst with love for them even though we didn’t know them at all. We dreamed about how they would look and what memories we would create with them.But we also felt very strongly that it wasn’t something we wanted to [or should] rush into. Before our wedding. Our wonderful 11 months of courtship consisted of learning what it really is to love each other and going on dates and dreaming together and discussing things that really mattered and understanding who the other was. But marriage was different, yes marriage is all of that, but it’s also so much more. Let … Continue reading

Start Asking {breaking the silence}

So this week is NIAW and Resolve’s theme is #StartAsking…. And I’ve been thinking about that alot this week. I always keep coming back to the thing of why don’t people ask me things? Why don’t they ask me what it’s like? Why don’t they acknowledge that they think about it. Why do they carelessly talk about things in my face pretending like it doesn’t affect me? Why do they not come out and ask or say things instead of ignoring the obvious. Me not having a birth story and kids is just as normal to me, as it is for you to have a birth story and kids. Why is one constantly talked about and the other isn’t dared to be uttered above a whisper? And I realized it’s my own fault. I don’t normalize it. I shy away from being open and honest. I don’t speak about it so they presume to not ask. But the truth is; barrenness is so very much a part of my life and as much as it is not a fun thing, it’s normal for my every day. No matter how very painful it is, it’s not all negative. I don’t want to … Continue reading

In this moment..

I keep a huge widget of my calendar on my phone so I can see the next few days at a glance, because normally I have so many appointments, plans, schedules to remember that I’d explode trying to remember it all without a resource reminding me of them. But. Not this month. This next week simply looks like this.  This past month has been full of the above. {aka not much}  I’ve taken the time to grieve (& still do),  I’ve redone our bedroom (pretty much done), I’ve wiped down my cupboards, I’ve washed less than a drainerful of daily dishes, I’ve babysat for others, I’ve sat at the coffee shop, I’ve done tons of lazy window shopping, I’ve gone running/walking basically everyday, I’ve listened to podcasts, worshiped in music, finished my Gilmore Girls show, I’ve been writing & praying & reading God’s Word, hubby & I have gone on numerous last minute fun dates & a vacation, I’ve been alot quiet and I’ve begged to move on-to get another #fosterbaby, I’ve slept full nights, I’ve written letters, I’ve adult-colored, we’ve done taxes and archived 2015, I’ve planted flowers and garden and gotten to mow the lawn, gone through drawers and closets, … Continue reading

Foto Friday ~ Yoder Family

Last fall I offered to take some family photos for our little church group to use for the calendars I was making… I just loved it! It gave me the opportunity to branch out and practice without feeling pressured to get a perfect shot. And I was pleasantly pleased with the outcomes. Plus we had a beautiful huge yard/field with lots of trees in amazing fall colors, adorned with an old barn right beside a nice pond….Ahh 🙂 picture perfect. First we had Jesse & Sarah Yoder –I am so blessed to know this sweet family. Sarah is such a wonderful mother and is also blessed with an amazing creativity and shares some of that on her blog. I’ve especially enjoyed getting to know her more in the past year and sharing in our growing walks with the Lord. Their dedication to their kids and doing special things with them sure shows in each of their happy faces. Kendrick always seems to have a lively tail to entertain once the stories get started and it doesn’t take much to get to see his big smile and it’s awesome to pay him a compliment to literally watch his confidence grow. Megan has such … Continue reading

Foto Friday ~ Shania

I have tons and tons of pictures..one of my goals is to get most of them onto my blog. For my records and for you to see 🙂 So I decided to take a plunge and try to post something “foto-wise” on Fridays… We shall see how it goes. Leave me your feedback, tips, and criticisms. Instead of going back into my gallery today, I actually took my niece out into the field across the road of my house. I get so tormented every spring with this amaaazing yellow fields—anyone else want to go play?  It was a pretty cloudy today, so didn’t get quite get the results I wanted, but the best part? When we were done, Shania says, “That was FUN!” Shania Brooke Hostetler; 2 1/2 years old just this week!  

Out with the Dead, in with LIFE

We recently had the opportunity of hosting some ‘new friends’ and we were really blessed in sharing time with each other, along with parts of our stories, and praying together. As they were preparing to leave, I gave them a print of the above photo along with our contact info. A lil bit later she comes back to me and says that as she was looking at this photo she saw something she felt like she was supposed to share. She sensed that like as in the picture, the background looks dead and brown with old buildings, and the foreground is just lightly turning green and showing life. That it is where we are at in our life right now; even though behind us we have had hard times where things seemed kinda dead, old and brown…that they are starting to change. And we will be beginning a new kind of life-that is “full of life”. I was so blessed by it and felt like it was from God..I just wanted to document it 🙂 Be blessed, God is always so faithful!  

The Pathway and the Finger Sketching it..

It’s dreary and 45 degrees today.. My spirit is heavy. I know God has such an immense plan for us. The journey we are on is so beautiful and yet the process can be so painful. Why does pain need to be involved? And yet I welcome it. I welcome God to use it. Knowing that it is refining me – getting rid of junk. And to uncover a jewel lots of refining, purging, sanding away needs to take place. There is incredible beauty from pain. Dear God, use this pain as part of your purifying process. Teach me your way. I know You are sovereign. You are so mighty. I know you are in control. I know this because you are my King and I submit my life to You. I gave You my desire for a family. I placed it in Your Hands and continued serving you. Sometimes I have been very confused as to what You are doing and other times I smile and dance just knowing that Your Almighty Hand is smoothing the pathway. With your own fingers you are drawing the route on our life-map. The unknown [not being able to see around the next … Continue reading