“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 leaving to go with relatives next week..) Also had court for one of our others that was on trial placement and things are going well there so we said a more definitive goodbye. :'(  –no words…we have our sad days but the peace of Jesus is so sweet in these times!! Otherwise on the agenda we attended a wedding, an adoption conference and participated in a 5k for our local pregnancy center and took our 2nd year CPR training. Oh and SUMMER HIT with full force time-to-hit-the-pool-temperatures!

Ok, so we also went blueberry picking at our local patch and yumm! Soo so much better than ANY store-bought ones! I had really wanted to make a pie this wknd, but completely forgot till too late in the day, but I wanted to whip up something yummy with these blueberries for the wknd. So I decided to use my old n faithful, well-loved recipe. They are a family favorite for years and always a hit wherever I take them. And super easy! Because I strategically use a 1/2 cup for everything I only dirtied 5 dishes; Bowl, spoon, spatula, 1/2 cup, & Tablespoon ring. No mixer needed. Definitely give them a try!

blueberrybutterscotchsquares

Blueberry Butterscotch Squares

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen*)

TOPPING:

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan. Cream together the sugar and butter and mix in eggs. Add flour, salt n soda and mix completely. Fold in the blueberries. (*if frozen, work very quickly as dough will get thick & cold really quickly, which is ok. Just add a lil baking time.)  Spread in pan and flatten out. Sprinkle with chips, pecans and brown sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is lightly brown.

Here are a couple pictures I quickly took to entice you 🙂

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ready for the oven

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doesn’t have to be perfectly in every corner

 

perfect! lightly browned..

perfect! lightly browned..

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yumm. All mine! 🙂

Enjoy and have a wonderful July 4th weekend!

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“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. And next month is #mylilgirlie’s court to see how her trial placement with her bio Dad is going. And with not knowing the outcome we were not willing to fill up our home n not leave a space for her, just in case. So I called our placement lady (in our county) and she said she’s make a few calls. Turns out they’d gladly up our number but we’d have to get another room ready and we can’t do that without getting a storage building or adding a lean-to…(which I have been bugging dear hubby for) cuz I want to help as many as I can! So we sadly had to say no, but I felt complete peace about it. Before I hung up, she said, Oh looks like I’m getting a child into custody right now. I almost squealed, Yay, we’ll take that one! She says, It’s a baby. And I’m pretty sure I squealed for real then. We’d love to have a baby! So I had to wait to hear back, and a few hours later she said they couldn’t find a judge to sign and won’t be able to remove the child till tomorrow, but it’s a 10 month old lil boy.

Waited till mid-afternoon to finally receive the call that he’s in custody and I can come pick him up. I came into the office to hear him giggling the most deep, adorable giggle as he was playing with an FSW’s kids & just loving it. He took to me right away. Needless to say it was evening till I came home, not only a bunch of waiting and signing I had to turn around and go back for more after I was 5 min on my way home. Thanks to Lil Ceasar’s we had a relaxing eve to get him bathed and ready for bed. [Minus going thru the nastiness of a small bag of stinky clothes–needing to get Clorox as they might be contaminated from the drugs.] He did super well, took a 45 min nap and woke up after 7pm, and by 9pm and only a few tears later he was out again! And he slept till 9am!! I was just a lil freaked out and secretly delighted when I woke up during the night and the next morning and the lil champ was still soundly sleeping!

He seems to have a good mix of being a content, happy lil guy with lots of smarts and just a lil bit of temper I think… Smiles super easy and copycats alot, constantly giving me giggle fits and then he tries to laugh with me. He’s been crawling and pulling himself up, so I suppose this will be interesting if he continues to be this active! Wasn’t so keen on the baby food, but I think it was mainly the spoon thing as he loves to eat with his fingers and picks it up and handles it really well. I’m not quite sure what all is normal for a 10 month old, but he doesn’t seem to be behind at all. And is a healthy weight, coming in just a tad on the short side. His happy demeanor has earned him the web name of MrSunbeam. MrSunbeam

So, that brings me back to today. It’s our Anniversary and so far I’ve been to the Health Department and Walmart. It would be fine, but I keep thinking about being in Nashville and it’s just not cutting it! I know we will still go and I’m looking forward to that. I am happy, very happy tho; I know, with the timing of everything that this was meant to be- MrSunbeam here and us at home. So, I can happily be sad. [it’s true]. We’re just gonna get a babysitter tonight and go eat some yummy steaks and see if we can find anything else to do that may seem romantic [NOT grocery-shopping either!]. Mmm now my mouth is watering.

Funny story, my wedding pictures are still not in albums. I was going to scrapbook them so I never put them in an album. Now that just looks overwhelming. So maybe we’ll go get some albums and stick em in for now, beings they’re all printed. We did have such an amazing wedding and I never tire of looking at our beautiful pictures & reliving the fun, giddy feelings. No doubt the biggest piece of amazingness was in the man that I married. I was so in love and hoped like crazy it would only get better. Indeed, I am being truthful, not cliche when I say it has! He spoils me rotten and loves me dearly. I am so thankful that he is an awesome leader and provider for us that I can trust 200%. I love him like crazy and couldn’t ask for more.

Here’s a couple wedding pictures —

 

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I got this last one made into a 16×24 canvas from Canvas On Demand for us. We like to get 1 big thing that benefits both of us for an Anniversary Gift and thought this was perfect 😉

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Why we Foster

whywefoster

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 wanted to do with us and our journey of becoming a family.. Little did we know what we had signed up for.  In those next 2 years, pregnancy didn’t happen like we though it would & we cried out to God for direction. We just really thought maybe this was going to be our ticket to be able to pursue serving kids & moving to Colorado. But nothing seemed to give and we didn’t have peace or clear direction in pursuing it.

I think so many people look at our story and think, Oh they love & are great with kids and are perfect for foster care! Or, that we merely pursued foster care because we weren’t getting pregnant. But here’s the honest truth. We had a heart for kids and felt a calling on our life, but we weren’t willing to take an unabandoned look at it or really listen. And basically it was because in our minds, we “knew what we wanted”.  …… Until our comfort-zone was stripped away. Slowly layers were being peeled away.  Looking back, I think it’s really sad, especially when I hear people say comments referring to the same in their lives..”oh I have such a heart for these kids, but I don’t know if it’ll ever happen“–it’s up to you whether you want to pass off the ‘heart’ that God has placed in you or really listen and be obedient to God’s call.

Ok back to our story; we talked about doing foster care, adopting, etc…. But we were never on the same page at the same time with each other and in peace before God, with pursuing any of those paths. We really struggled to be honest with ourselves and be careful to not make an emotional decision of doing any of these just to fill our home with kids.. [if that’s you, don’t feel bad, I think we just sensed a deeper call on our life.] In the beginning of 2015 we attended a spiritual conference & came home knowing without a shadow of a doubt what we were supposed to do. I really don’t know how to put it in words. BUT God. At the same time, unaware of what the other was hearing, God was asking us to share our rich inheritance -that He blessed us with- with those that don’t have anything. That day He asked us to open our home for His children & we weighed the cost & said Yes. We’re realizing more & more…. He just wants our obedience. That’s it. [“Because no matter how glorious something may ‘appear’ the true blessing is in obedience when not all is glorious.“]  Within a week we were signed up for PATH classes, training to become foster parents {it was really beneficial training & we also learned that the words ‘Resource’ and ‘Foster’ are interchangeable, and I think its especially great to use with older kids where the word foster is like a stigma}. Within 3 months we were fully licensed and 5 days later we welcomed our first child into our home.

And we’ve not been the same since.. We’ve realized a few things. I’ve heard people say that through their miscarriage they gained a huge heart for adoption. For us, we had a heart for foster-care, but through our season of not becoming pregnant, it caused us to tap into our huge heart for kids, which right now is in foster-care and we’re totally open to adoption too. I realize that God gives you something hard to make something beautifulGoing through infertility and now doing foster-care, we are gaining an even huger heart for kids, and I’m really excited at the possibilities of where it may lead us.

One more thing, so many times I get cliche comments and I think all you foster moms out there know what I’m talking about, so I don’t want to mention them all and make those people feel bad. However there is one sentiment that I feel is dangerous that I would like to address; “You were made just for that. God gave you a heart for this. God built you perfect for this work.” I’m sorry, but I wasn’t perfect, or had it all together when I entered this sphere. I realize that God in obvious ways was preparing my heart and I had perfect exposure and fit ‘the criteria’ well, but it concerns me when that is all that people look at. Sometimes people use those as excuses, saying, “Oh I didn’t always have a heart for it. I didn’t grow up with any exposure or experience to it“. (whatever it is that God may be asking of you.) BUT. As you could see earlier, even though we had a heart for kids, what mattered was our obedience. Most of my actual ‘training and life lessons and glorifying God’ weren’t actually happening until I was in the thick of it. There is peace, & God is glorified when you are right where He wants you. If God is asking you to do something, He wants your obedience. He will give you Grace. He will give you a ‘heart for it’. You have Everything you need! I don’t think he waits to qualify you until you are called, unlike that popular saying.   Obviously with Jesus, You are qualified for it if He called you to it’.

This isn’t exactly how I would have pictured our story, it’s not a ‘fairy-tale’, but no matter what it looks like at the time, obedience makes it beautiful in the end! AND I am so happy that it IS our story..    & btw this is #fostercareawarenessmonth –I would love to share any info or answer questions with anyone that would love to make a difference in the life of a child or a foster family. Any questions? Comment below, maybe it’ll give me inspiration for topics to write about this month.. 😉

signature new2If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebook page, not just my personal one. 🙂

 

a timeline of His Scripting

 

timeline of his scripting rose laying

Short Version:

  • became aware of each other’s existence in big green earth; January 2007. Winking smile
  • 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 me just STOP here a bit and say that I absolutely loove being married, it’s so much fun and sometimes I think my heart is nearly gonna burst because of all the love I feel for my Sweetheart, plus trying to soak in all the undying love he has for me. Over and over I’m amazed at the wonderful way that God brought us together and how that marriage truly is so awesome, I don’t have to ‘pretend’ to be happy or in love, I just am and it’s so good! So while we’re being honest and real, a good marriage takes a lot of time and a lot of work. I don’t think that it’s that “hard” but it takes effort. And so yeah, in the joys and fun of being together also comes learning how to keep house and pay the bills. We learned how to trust the other, help each other, understand what the other is feeling without them even saying a word. And yes, quite frequently we’d mess up, and have to stop, say I’m sorry and try again. But we grew, we talked easier, we understood deeper, we shared more, we learned what communication works. I started being lonesome for him when he was away, instead of lonesome for my family. Plus the lil house on the hill became home. But it took time, tears, and dedication. The best gift in all of this was we were also learning so much more about God- who He is, and what He wanted out of us. And in the midst of all this trial and error, fun and tears, we realized the importance of Building a foundation firm and secure together on the solid Rock… And we decided to take a good year focusing on just that.

After a year we were starting to think more and more about a family. We wanted one. The more we prayed about it the more we wanted it. But we also knew that God is in control and we really wanted Him to have His way in it. We talked about it soo often, we knew He could have given us a baby before this, and trust me, we would have been thrilled! But now we felt like were truly ready to throw all caution to the wind. You know, how sometimes when you pray and pray and you just sense, like yea, it’s the right time.

So for a lil personal note here, I remember so distinctly the night we prayed. And we gave it ALL to our dear Heavenly Father God and we trusted Him without a shadow of doubt. We told Him all we that we felt, all that we wanted and all that our hearts desired. We worshiped Him for being our true amazing Heavenly Father. We gave Him permission to take our lives, our plans, our children, and do what He wanted to do with them. We consecrated ourselves, our lives and the lives of our children into His Hands. It was so out of our control, but we knew deep inside that it was truly what we wanted-only His perfect and amazing plan! We asked God to write this story for us; the story of our babies.

As it turns out month one, we weren’t pregnant! Yay, it just tickled us to know that God truly was hearing us and did have His Hand in this and He was so gonna make this happen in His time-zone. I ordered a bunch of “what’s going to happen while you’re pregnant” books, because I was going to need them in a month or so. Little did I have a clue what we were walking into..

Month three, four, five passed with no news.Well ok, this is interesting God, you must really have bigger plans than we did! We devoted most of our time during that time caring for 2 lil children that came into our home for a few months, so we were definitely kept busy! I must say I was beginning to wonder what is going on tho?!

By month six, October 2013, we were to the point where we thought ok, maybe we need to buckle down and be more serious about this? But turns out I was really struggling that month with other personal things and I knew that that was one thing that I can just release and let God so I chose not to worry about knowing what my body is doing everyday and just go with the flow. That was a beautiful decision for both me and my hubby! Also in that time 3 people told me they dreamed that I was pregnant or had symptoms that they knew I was pregnant. And we had someone come pray over us and the future of our family. (All of these without us sharing what really was going on inside.) So somehow I knew, even if I wasn’t ‘getting pregnant’ God was doing a work. Truly even deeper and more significant than I could even imagine. And while we weren’t getting pregnant with a baby, we were definitely birthing [birth definition: the coming into existence of something] some deep truths. One thing that we both felt pretty strongly during this time is that God is in control of this and we are supposed to wait on Him. We knew there were options out there to ‘dig into’, but even though sometimes we questioned, should we? Our journey so far hasn’t been about that. We weren’t being led in that direction n most certainly every time we knocked on that door, God simply said, No, I got it, just trust me.

During the next few months were probably some of our lowest times and then our high and most joyful times. It really seemed like every time we would hit a low we would get a song, a word, a promise, a peace… something. And it grew our roots even deeper into understanding our Heavenly Father. The pain sometimes was so real, so raw, there was no way to even try to cope with it….but to simply give it to our Jesus. The questions, oh yea, they burned and spun over and around in our minds. What to do when there are no answers, you hear nothing but simply, Trust. Trust is really such a beautiful thing! Why would we even worry about one tiny oober little thing, or why would we concern ourselves with: ‘just how is this (something we are going through) going to turn out’?? When we serve such an amazing God. The One who created us. The One who knows all things. The One who is in control. The One who can take even the most awful things in life and make them beautiful. The One who scripts our Story so perfectly if only we allow Him. It is us that should bow in adoration that He chose us for such a divine purpose.

We were starting to feel verry alone. Which, never opening up and letting others in, is something that can happen very quickly. But, just the thought of going public and sharing our story was frightening, so we decided 1 step at a time. We shared our hearts with some of our close family and our small group at church. NOT for pity or sympathy; rather for empathy and encouragement. Man, is it ever hard to open up and share! But I learned some valuable things during that time; it’s ok if everyone knows, this IS part of our journey and hiding it doesn’t change it, I don’t need to protect myself, or be able to trust others with our information- I just need to be obedient and if God asks me to be vulnerable He is more than able to take care of and hold me. And, maybe, just maybe, sharing our story will be able to help someone else.

And of course that 9 month “month” was a difficult one for me.. I couldn’t help but imagine how different this month was compared to what I had ‘planned’. I mean, I thought we would be painting a nursery, setting up a crib and trying to prepare for the birth of our baby……. Instead we went on a few trips and came home with a young girl that lived with us for 12 weeks..

Just like that a year had come and gone…. So I dug into my training as a volunteer at a local crisis pregnancy center and was able to see my own clients. Without disclosing personal info, let’s just say that God divinely appointed my time there and put me face to face with miracle conceptions more than once. #amazing Also in the spring of 2014 I found out I was going to need surgery on my knee as I had definitely tore my ACL snow-skiing in Gatlinburg. So…. there was therapy and surgery and tons more therapy. From accident till therapy was complete, was a whopping 8 months! Even though this all took up a lot of our time, it was also during these times when it hit the hardest. Why don’t we have our own children? We had to give to over to God again and again. As it sure seemed like we would have chosen different than what we were experiencing!

I did a lot of baking in the summer/fall of 2014, and just wholeheartedly threw my heart into my work and enjoying life with my hubby. Meanwhile we were coming back to our prayer, over and over. God you are in control. God, we trust you. God, fulfill your plan. It truly is an humbling feeling, knowing that His plans are so much bigger and better than ours. I mean ours look pretty amazing, fun and good. But how can His be better and yet so painful at times? We were begging God, is there something more we aren’t understanding? What do you want out of us? Is there something wrong? Are we not supposed to have our own children? Is there medically something amiss? There were a lot of questions, believe me! My husband, the dear wonderful steady love of my life, kept me stable. His faith in what God was doing was like a pillar of hope for me that I could cling to. It was what kept me believing in something greater in the midst of all of the questions. He just knew without a shadow of doubt that God is going to give us children yet. And so really, we leaned heavily on each other and both even more on God. It was a beautiful time and we relaxed and enjoyed just being the two of us. One, maybe two, hard days at a time, but the rest of the time we really were having a lot of fun and experiencing a sweet kind of joy walking blindly, yet by faith. It might sound confusing, but there is so much joy, even in pain, when you have God. And the questions, we didn’t know the answers. But we could give them to Someone who did.

January 2015 we got a super clear leading in the direction of one of our prayers and we excitedly began the process of getting licensed for foster care.. Finally got it accomplished and received our first baby girl in May..

Before we knew it 2 years had passed… The following year was like another level for us, it wasn’t easier, but we have become more educated, more open and we are still very much full of hope. We have tried a lot of things, and we’re not opposed to trying more… {I’ll spare you the details}. But we know that we will never pursue medical intervention, ivf, iui, etc. It’s just not for us. Trying to read into every body sign and taking pregnancy tests gets very tiresome and took its toll on us. We realize that because we live in a sinful world our bodies don’t always perform right, so we have not reached this decision in a naïve manner, but simply being obedient and trusting in our Father & Healer. To be clear here… while we are being obedient in waiting on God right now & seeking His direction, we have chosen to not make ourselves go crazy with every lil thing that we could be doing different and trying to make it happen. We feel at complete peace that we have searched our hearts and they are open and clean before Him and that we are in His time-zone where miracles happen and each conception is a miracle. He has a plan. We both know that God has a way bigger purpose in this than what we can see. I know without a shadow of a doubt that just like God looked at faithful women in the Bible that were barren, answered their prayers and they conceived; He is still the same God and can do the same for me! [I hope to share their stories with you in future posts Smile ] I can’t wait to see God’d completed tapestry, I know it’s going to be beautiful in the end.

So here I am 3 years later, sharing our journey with all who care to hear. Here is a lil tidbit into how I got to the place of 100% peace in sharing our story…  If you have read everything so far, you may remember me saying that it looked way too frightening to share with the world what we were going though. So you may be wondering, Why am I writing about it now? Good question. For me to digest, to learn, to come to a conclusion, even to find healing. I write. Many months in I had started to become numb to what really is going on. Not taking any time to write. I started hearing God saying, you should start writing about your journey. And at first I got defensive, Write about it, that would be a discouraging thing to read! Why should I write about it?! What would people think? It’s none of their business! ……I can just see God smiling. But He kept nudging. Just share your heart. True, but if they judge, I will protect you, all I’m asking is for you to be obedient and I’ll take care of the rest. I want you to learn how to glorify Me in this. I want you to show HOPE to others. Timidly I began saying, ok….but then it was, how God? what should I write, how do I say it? And I began specifically praying that if I was to write our story, I needed God to show me how to write it and what to name it. And out of the blue one day, I vividly got some words that perfectly summed up our journey-and I was like wow. Then I heard this whisper-There, use that basis n blog. It’s not about me or us or our kids, it’s about God and the story He is writing… I wrote it, but I’m not gonna lie, it’s taken a long time for me to actually be able to post it. Come along and join in if you want to hear how the story unfolds. It is so not scripted the way I would write a novel, however it is truly perfect because we gave God the pen and He is writing the most beautiful story..

signature new2 If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebookpage, not just my personal one 🙂

Start Asking {breaking the silence}

breaking the silenceSo 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?

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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 talk about it every day, but it is part of my life and having people pretending it doesn’t exist hurts so much. I want to speak about it and be open so you don’t need to be scared to #StartAsking.

  • I want to #StartAsking what I can do FOR YOU,  to support you in this journey of barrenness.
  • I want to encourage you to #StartAsking for support.
  • I want to #StartAsking you to #StartAsking me……..
  • I want to #StartAsking you to support us in this journey..pray for us, acknowledge that you care, ask how something affects me if you really want the truth, for empathy-not pity.

My motive for writing; breaking the silence, is to help bring awareness, but most of all to be vulnerable enough to help others going though it. So today I open myself to anyone out there that is facing barrenness, no matter where you are in it. I want you to be able to talk about it. I want to be there for you. I am not scared to openly talk about it. Or if you don’t want everyone in your life to know about it, I get it. I’ve been there and that’s perfectly fine, I can keep a secret. I just want you to know you are not alone and it’s perfectly ok for you to want to be able to talk with someone who gets it. As much as it is scary to be open, I know that for me, it’s time to break the silence. I am not embarrassed about our story or too timid to share it and talk about it with anyone. I just really do not think that it should be a shamed thing to talk about. God chose us for this journey and we’re not ashamed of it! It’s time to throw away the cloak and realize barrenness is real and it’s ok to talk about it.startasking-for-support

I’ve really come to realize that people talk about what they have in common with each other. So while I realize that you may not be comfortable talking about barrenness with me if it’s not something we have in common; that’s ok, I understand. If you have questions, please, #STARTASKING. If not, that’s ok, let’s just find our common ground. And if you do have that in common with me, come on, I’ll buy the coffee 😉 Either way, it’s part of my life and I don’t want it to be an awkward conversation anymore. I’m an open book. I’m not scared to talk about, it’s part of my existence and it’s just as real to me as your kids are to you.

If you know someone struggling please don’t take this post as a sign for you to go talk with them and presume they want to talk about it. Everyone comes to that place in their own time. But please be aware and respectful, we don’t want to be the cause for awkward silences to come over the room as soon as we enter, but there are ways you can show emotional support if you don’t know what to say or how to understand what she is going through. PLEASE please, I beg of you to read this post. [click here] There is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn’t your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Educate yourself and read the entire post.

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If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebook page, not just my personal one 🙂 p.s. I’ll be posting our timeline-journey later this week. 

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. Screenshot_2016-04-14-13-21-26

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, and so many odd jobs… Basically I just have a pile of things to be done at the sewing machine once I get the courage to lug it out of the top shelf in the closet and once I decide what iron I want to buy, beings I dropped mine the other week and broke it 🙁

This probably sounds like a “haven” to so many…..and I’m not gonna lie, it sounds amazing. But. It seems so lacking in fulfillment. It’s lonely. Busy tends to wear out every mom and she just yearns for a break. Just a day of quiet. Maybe even a week. But a month?! A month, and I bet every one of you would be crying to have your babies, busy schedule and messy dishes back. When #my2ndlilgirlie left back on January 11 it was a lot rougher than we thought it was gonna be. We knew she wasn’t meant to be ours and so we really didn’t fully know how much we had loved her until she left.  Alot because we almost felt guilty for the feeling of knowing that we would never adopt her. And it was nothing against her or her background, it was just that ‘in-your-heart-knowledge’ that you should never feel guilty for! But ugh, we loved her soo much and missed her!! However, amid tears, I enjoyed the next 2 months, it was easy and so lil work to keep after just one 2 year old and so much more snuggle time. But then on March 11, when we said good-bye to #mylilgirlie, it was heart-wrenching. We had felt like she was meant to be with us forever. Nothing in our being wanted to let go.. And just typing that makes me cry, so we’ll maybe get more on that later…      But because of all I’ve been through I can’t sit here and just mourn. As much as I would want her back, JUST sitting here and crying and becoming bitter at God is so not the purpose for this. And as much as I want to enjoy this season of a ‘break and no pressing schedule’ it’s hard! It hurts. How in the world do you enjoy a time of nothing when you so badly want to hold your baby? How in the world can you sit here and become angry when you feel a peace that God most definitely is in control? And while I can’t wait for the next lil one, I know that the only way to use this season is to not live in anticipation of what is to come. I must choose to find joy in TODAY. Whether that is in me being overwhelmed in the busy or in the quiet.  I have realized that God doesn’t want me to make myself a crazy schedule just to move on. Neither does He want me to sit here and just be ‘vegging out‘ .. So, I’m choosing to be ok with this rest and listening to His comfort and His voice…    ((and tucking it away as a life lesson for when I am in the moment when I don’t know which way to turn, He is IN them all)).

In this moment, today, I trust you God and I know you have a purpose in this.

And while it may be easy for you to look at my life and say those cliche words with a hint of jealousy, “Oh just enjoy these moments” –I want to challenge you to look at your own life and enjoy what you have in your moments today. I could say those words right back at you in your busy, kid-filled life, with 100% sincerity.

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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 a sweet mothering heart–reminds me so much of how I imagine I was as a girl. Alyssa is seriously the most angelic little lady I have ever met, and warms my heart when she comes up and says, Could you hold me Julia? Or, about 2 months past her birthday she randomly tells me that she was sad I didn’t make it to her birthday party. How sweet. Jayden is so full of life, I just love when I can catch him off guard or alone and get to hear him chatter non-stop, cuz when he has the chance he loves to hide behind his mama’s skirt! OH and Jesse…hmm, I’m sure he rounds out their family quite well.. lol. (Let’s just say that he would have some kind of smart remark to give back to me should I read this aloud to him!:) )    And they just announced they are pregnant! I’m so excited for them! Best wishes to your family..

And here they are 🙂

October 2014 447Jesses2014 October 2014 430Jesses2014 October 2014 455Jesses2014 October 2014 546Jesses2014 October 2014 534Jesses2014 October 2014 553Jesses2014 October 2014 549Jesses2014 October 2014 561Jesses2014 October 2014 563Jesses2014 October 2014 559Jesses2014 October 2014 492Jesses2014 October 2014 479Jesses2014 October 2014 466Jesses2014 October 2014 469Jesses2014 October 2014 476Jesses2014 October 2014 471Jesses2014 October 2014 518Jesses2014 October 2014 498Jesses2014 October 2014 449Jesses2014 October 2014 456Jesses2014 October 2014 528Jesses2014 October 2014 543Jesses2014 October 2014 529Jesses2014 October 2014 491Jesses2014 October 2014 517Jesses2014 October 2014 510Jesses2014 October 2014 475Jesses2014 October 2014 464Jesses2014 October 2014 477Jesses2014

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!

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Out with the Dead, in with LIFE

DSC_0081Dan&Julia editedWe 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!

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The Pathway and the Finger Sketching it..

It’s dreary and 45 degrees today..

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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 bend- or why we went down this hill, up that mountain, thru that desert..] that unknown is at times really hard to accept. But I know you are protecting me. You see the road ahead and you allow me to see all that I need to, to be safe. And the rest; you protect me from it. I hear you say, “Just trust Me”.

Oh Father, I have been trusting. I will continue to trust. My faith has been shaken. But you know what, I think I’m finally getting the picture! Everytime that I stop, everytime my faith feels shaken, everytime that I don’t want to keep walking on this specific pathway you have smoothened for me, everytime that I  want to run back to the intersection where I had the choice of following the pathway You designed or the one where I could choose my own way that with the human eye looks good and filled with ‘comfort and ease’. And in all those when my flesh wants to quit, to drag me down that other road- whispering in my ear, ‘it’s not sin, it’s just easier, it’s what you want’. But I stop. I cry. I ask for You. Your help. And everytime I choose to believe again, to give it ALL to you, to passionately follow and trust in You. My faith is grounded another level deeper. It’s like another measure stronger and I know that it went through the fire, it became strengthened, concreted enough for whatever is next. Because the next boulder that falls in my pathway may be just a bit larger, a bit tougher than before. But I am not going to turn around or quit, so it is going to have to be moved. In those questioning times I am gaining enough strength and faith to be able to OVERCOME and move that boulder away. In faith I am going to conquer in Your Name. I will keep on the pathway You are scripting. I will choose to believe.

I know ultimately I only want what YOU have planned-no matter how hard it is. I want to stay on the road that you are writing just for me, because it’s all for your glory. I know that someday I will understand. Someday all this won’t seem cruel at all. Instead I will fall at your feet and worship you, being able to see what all you protected me from. What all you prepared me for. … 

and at this point I hear God gently whispering, “I want you to fall at My feet and worship me today. Without seeing the whole picture. Without understanding. I want you to worship me in faith. Because I AM good all the time.”

Faith is believing without seeing. Faith is what makes it possible to worship without feeling like everything is good in our life. So today, I once again grab that faith and cling for dear life. And I will worship because I know that my God is good and is doing good things in my life, whether my human eye can see it or not.

How do you get through difficult times?

[Edit: this was written last week, just getting around to posting it today..]

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