Well it’s been two months and things have been as crazy as you might expect around here. With Ben and I adjusting to foster parenthood and K dealing with the second home placement disruption in her short life, we are all leaning on our people harder than ever and the challenge of living open handed to the Lord’s leading has been felt by me especially.
Parenthood, foster or otherwise, has a way of very quickly revealing your weaknesses and I can so clearly see the ways that God is sifting what isn’t of Him right out of me through this experience. Whether it’s the lack of information about what is coming next or the lack of free time between all the appointments and visits, God is teaching me valuable but hard lessons about my own sense of entitlement to comfort. Moms, can I get an amen?
We don’t know anything for sure, but we could potentially ballpark her remaining time with us at a couple more months. However, the thing about foster care is that whenever the previous caretaker finishes working the plan the state has given them, reunification will occur as it is the ultimate goal of foster care. This is a reality that has been hard for us and our families to completely wrap our hearts around as we know our time with K is not forever. Her return home is completely dependent on consistent visitation and how fast her previous caretaker works the plan, so reunification may occur much sooner or much later than we currently anticipate.
One thing I am clinging to in this season is that Ben and I were called into foster care with a heart for the ENTIRE biological family, so our focus over the next few months is to develop a helpful and positive relationship with her bio family so we can remain a resource to the family and a steady influence in K’s life.
While nothing in the foster world can ever be certain, God’s plan for her life is certainly good, and we are relying fully on him to bring about full healing and reconciliation as only our Redeemer can.
We would love your prayers moving forward for our hearts, our devotion to God’s plan for K no matter how difficult, and patience with a system that is broken, but is all we have.
Thank you for partnering with us, rather in prayer, words of encouragement, childcare or otherwise to bring about God’s best for this situation. If God has placed even a little nudge on your heart to consider foster care for your own family, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. God specifically calls us to care for the widows and orphans. This is a great way to do just that.
Thoughts on 26...
As you’re reading this, I’ve just turned 26. Can I tell you something weird about it? I think this is the first birthday since I was ten years old that I haven’t felt angsty about getting another year older.
I have this crystal clear memory from my ten-year-old birthday party. My grandma said, “Wow! Double digits! How does that feel?” And I just remember this rush of sadness that I could never get my single digit days back and this angsty feeling that I hadn’t lived them to the fullest. Now, I don’t know how a nine year old can approach living her life more fully, but I’ve experienced that stress about getting older every year until this one.
So I’ve been thinking about what the shift has been and I think the difference is that this year feels exciting to me. I don’t feel that familiar dread of moving forward too fast because I am just plain looking forward to it. I’m ok with being 26. In fact, I want to savor this moment because I’m learning that getting older means leaving bad behavior, low maturity, ill-advised decisions in the past and since I get to make all the choices now, I get to make my own investments on the lifestyle I want to move toward.
This year of 26 is going to be about throwing my doors open even wider, both to my home and my heart. It’s going to be a year of big parties, low drama, long roadtrips, at least a little peace and quiet, and continuing to cultivate creativity and curiosity. I want to leave behind habitual overwhelm and embrace a slower pace. I want to continue to ask myself hard questions and practice getting comfortable with not always having the answers.
I’m choosing to walk into 26 with anticipation for the future, rejecting melancholy over change because change is a blessing we get handed along with the blessing of living. I’m going to live this year wide open so I won’t ever have to look back and note all the ways fear stole my joy. This year (and every year that follows) I’m going to embrace not just the cake and candles and presents that come with a birthday, but the getting older too - because getting older is a gift not everyone gets and I am grateful to receive it.
I am so excited to tell you that I have been hard at work on this year’s ADVENT DEVOTIONAL! This devotional, called A Spacious Place, will drop into your inbox every morning at 5:00am from December 1st - December 30th.
If you joined us last year, you know we spent advent in pursuit of an Intentional December. This year, we are pressing even deeper into that hope. The Lord does not offer a hurried and crowded life. He can and He will bring us into a spacious place. In this place, we will find ease and light and goodness in our days. Will there be inconveniences and even tragedy along the way? Yes. But we are welcomed into a space that is wide enough for our disappointed dreams not to crush us and deep enough that we can be honest and thorough in dealing with our heartbreak.
Everyday we will spend time with scripture from the Common Book of Prayer, read some of my thoughts on the passage and the topic of the day, and pray together. Then, as an addition this year, I invite you to listen to the song of the day. You’ll see the playlist link and the song I’ve paired with each particular day in every email. During the song, I’ll encourage you to meditate on the one word at the top of the email; its place and meaning in your life.
I am anticipating BIG things this year. I have felt Holy Spirit as I’ve been writing it and I can’t wait to get it into your hands/inboxes.
You can sign up at the link right below, or if you’re reading this on the blog, by clicking the “sign-up” tab at the top of the page.
Also, little favor to ask, if this devotional has impacted you in the past and you know anyone who would like to follow along, PLEASE share it with them. It would mean the world to me.
Finally! I just want to provide you with a mini version of the newsletter since this email is already so full. Here are my TOP FIVE favorites from the last month. Enjoy! I’ll talk you all again on December 1st for our first day of Advent!
To Read: I finished the book The War that Saved My Life the other day. I cried twice and read it in like, two sittings. Just gorgeous.
To Cook: I made these with one of my besties and got asked for the recipe at least 10 times. Your people will gobble them up. Also a great way to use up all the apples from your orchard photo shoot haha.
To Watch: IF YOU’VE NEVER LISTENED TO BE ABOUT ANYTHING BEFORE LISTEN TO THIS NOW! You must watch the Mr. Roger’s Documentary called “Won’t you Be my Neighbor” on HBO Go or wherever you rent movies. I’m not exaggerating, I had a spiritual experience and bawled like a baby at the end of this, but in the BEST way.
To Listen: I’ve been using the Overdrive app to listen to audiobooks for free and I have been binging my way through the Three Pines mysteries by Louise Penney. These are sweet and cozy and incredibly well written. If you’re looking for some immersive fall reading, this would be a perfect listen or read!
To Buy: I’ve been trying to be more creative lately so I’m challenging myself to try lots of new things. I bought this beginners kit to teach myself embroidery and I had the best time! It’s cheap enough that if you don’t like it, who cares! But if you do, let me know because I think this might be my new thing and we can talk!
Well Happy Fall everyone!! I have traditionally been accused of celebrating holidays too early and that is probably pretty valid, so I have to say, now that everyone is coming on board with it OFFICIALLY being fall, I am thriving. I also always feel like there is an abundance of incredible new content that comes at us in early fall, so this newsletter is full of all the new music, recipes, books, tv, and more that I just think you shouldn’t miss this season. This one is chockfull of links so click away and feel free to let me know if there is anything you’re loving that I missed. Happy Fall y’all!! (I couldn’t resist)
Also, if you haven't yet signed up for the newsletters, do so on the right of this post!
Well don’t look now, but (at least for teachers and school kids) the summer is officially over and we are right back in the swing of things. Summer is a dream for getting out of our daily routines and being a little more flexible, but if you’re anything like me, you thrive in solid routine and getting back on the school schedule is the perfect time to recommit to some of the practices that make life flow just a little more seamlessly.
Last year, one of my big wins was finally getting in a meal planning routine that was not only helping us eat cheaper, but better and more consistently. I’ve written so much here before about how much I love cooking and baking, but like any creative outlet, you don’t get time to pursue it without some intentional pre-planning. So now that we are rolling into week three of our school year, I’m also in my third week of my new meal planning strategy and I’m loving it so much, that I have to share. Here’s what this week’s meal plan looks like:
Lunch Meal Prep: Whole30 Chipotle Bowls (not on the whole30 right now but always try to keep my lunches low cal)
Monday: Chicken Shawarma and Sweet Potato Fry Bowls
Tuesday: Eating Out for Date Night
Wednesday: One Pot Chicken and Dirty Rice
Thursday: Mushroom Tortellini Soup with No Knead Bread
Friday: Out for Football Game
Saturday: Tomato and Egg Shakshuka (no recipe but made with a Traders Joe’s Shakshuka starter and 2 eggs)
I do a meal swap with my girlfriends every week that allows me to take care of all my lunches. If you’re curious about the details, we all prep a big batch of one meal on Sunday, divide it into lunch portions and then swap on Monday. This gives us the ease of preparing just one meal but after sharing, we get the diversity of a new lunch everyday. If you have a girls group, at the office, church, bible study, whatever, I REALLY recommend this as a way to knock out all your lunches for the week on a Sunday afternoon.
DInners are all planned out like you see above and you can find ALL of the tried and true recipes I listed in this week’s plan in my ever growing online recipe index. I’m sharing this in the hopes of making a regular meal plan habit feel doable, because all of the recipes in the index have been made and loved in my kitchen and by my people several times over.
If you have some meal planning hacks or even just some great recipes to add to the index, comment below! The greatest thing about the internet is that we all get to work together here. Thanks for being part of my people and best of luck in the start of a brand new routine.
Welcome! I'm a wife, foster mom, fourth year music teacher, and Jesus follower, and am chronically curious about just about everything. Join me as I explore the calling God has for my family's story.
"I am the Vine, you are the Branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."