Monday, July 20, 2015

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing

Friday we loaded up our crew and headed South for a few days at the beach. Seven people and a gear-loving Daddy resulted in Clampett-style packing of both of our SUVs. What should have been a 6 hour trek became 7 1/2 courtesy bladders that were not roadtrip ready. Five stops tested my patience. Of course, after a fair bit of ranting and lecturing during the 4th stop, the 5th and final one was due to my own middle aged bladder. I find humility around every turn these days.

Upon arrival we checked into our accommodations, inhaled a pizza and literally dashed down to the beach as sunset was creeping in. Witnessing our foster daughters' first ever experience with the vast ocean and white sandy beach was definitely my favorite moment so far of this 9 1/2 week journey.
"It's just so beautiful," the 7 year old said in a slow awestruck voice.
"I wish every kid who has never been to the beach could see this," her 8 year old sister announced, as if pronouncing an edict.
And then they played and guttural laughs emerged that I had not heard in 2 months of mothering them.

Getting here was not easy. There were days of packing. Scheduling time off for my husband was a hassle. Making boarding arrangements for our pets is costly. Holding mail & missing appointments will mean extra work when we return. It was expensive to rent a place big enough for all of us. And have I mentioned all the frustrating potty stops?

But standing on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico reminded me why.

The mighty ocean with all its simultaneous power and peace simply cannot be explained. It begs to be experienced first hand.
Body surfing, sand castle building, seashell collecting...
The girls had played in sandboxes, swam in salt water pools and seen photos and videos of the ocean...but nothing matched the moment when they felt the sand between their toes, heard the roar of ocean waves and felt the wind and sun across their faces.

There are ways to simulate, but there are no substitutes.

Vitamins supplement but they aren't the same thing as biting into a ripe, luscious piece of fruit.
Blog posts can encourage and inspire but they aren't the same as diving into the Word for ourselves.
Filling our lives with beautiful things can provide a surface level of happiness, but it is not deep and lasting joy.

We are surrounded by substitutes--but it is worth it to pursue "the real thing."

I was reminded of this yesterday when I pulled out my big SLR camera again. For several years this camera was an indispensable part of my days. I took great joy in capturing mundane moments through the lens that caught the most glorious light.

A couple of years ago as the iphone camera became more advanced and Instagram became a thing I slowly slipped away from use of my Nikon. The quality was not the same, but it was fine. And carrying an iphone was far easier than my big bulky camera.

I chose convenience and ease over quality.
At first it was only an occasional compromise, but then it crept into the realm of habit.
My "big camera" found a permanent spot in the cabinet. Each time I considered using it I would decide against it was too much trouble and my phone quality was good enough.
I settled because it was easier.

Saturday I started shooting with my 'real camera' again--and the experience reminded me what I had been missing.
Over time I forgot how good "the real thing" really was.


I thought beyond beach trips and cameras to the countless ways we settle similarly in daily life. It is our human propensity towards the path of least resistance. From dating to our diets...consistent parenting to financial choices...

There are times when it is right and good to choose sacrifice--but laziness and ease is another thing entirely. Shortcuts and status quo can rob us of the life God intended, the light he intended us to see, the perspective He offers.

Doing the right thing can feel cumbersome in the moment. The world tempts us to go with what is convenient or easy over what is good and worth it.
"It'll do" becomes our new normal.
And we forget.


 Lord, I want life the life you have promised.
Help me keep this perspective.
Remind me to pursue "life that is really life."
No cheap shortcuts.
I don't want a life marked by "this will do."
Easy is fine, but it is no substitute for good, real and true.
 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It is Well

This week we celebrate the two month mark of fostering our little girls. I still do not have a neat, tidy answer for how it is going--and am beginning to accept I may never have one. I am truly in love with these girls, but tired mentally, physically & emotionally--but probably not much more than any other Mom of five in the Summer :-)

When the shine wears off and the hospitality phase begins to fade, real family life is what remains.
This means structure. 
Boring rainy afternoons.
Inside jokes. 
Nagging about things like unmade beds, shoes strewn about & table manners.
Squabbles over who sits where in the car and which child gets to use the ipad/bring in the mail/sit next to me at the table.
Disciplinary eyeball to eyeball talks in the aisles of the grocery store.

The house is noisier & messier. There are more kids to hug, increased laundry and more sibling rivalry. My family room floor now has errant Barbie shoes and little flip flops mixed in with the wii remotes and Beyblades.

Really normal family stuff.

Taken before our date night a couple of weeks ago...an accurate representation of our new level of crazy :)

After a bumpy couple of weeks of reintegrating my big kids after their time away at camp, we are finding a new rhythm. Now there is bonding...the kind that extends beyond a long term house guest and into something deeper.

One calls us Mom & Dad. The other one does so sporadically but with increased regularity. When it happens in public places, I try to avoid the faces of adults who know us. Some tear up. Some wince. Some look shocked. Others just roll with it as if it were one of my bio kids. Depending on the moment, my heart matches each of those facial expressions.

Thinking about the end of this chapter together is the scariest part of being a foster parent. When will they leave? Where will they go? How much is that going to hurt?

Fear over this chapter is the reason so many people give for not fostering. I get it. I am not a heartless machine. I am not impervious to this fear. I just believe the risk of heartbreak for our family is worth providing for the needs of these children. People invite pets into their lives knowing they will bid them goodbye. The love and bonding and shared life in between carries the certainty of heartbreak, but they decide it is worth it.
 
Bonding is not to be feared-- for kids from broken, difficult and tumultuous, backgrounds, healthy relationships are, in fact, the point.

I am writing all this because in the last 24 hours, I have started to feel some overwhelm over the reality that these children who I feed, clothe, pray for, rock, hold & kiss goodnight, will ultimately leave. I am beginning to get flashes and pangs that foreshadow the emptiness they will leave behind in our home...and I am fighting to push it away.

The end date and circumstances remain unclear. And as a person who begins with the end in mind so often in life, I have learned I simply cannot operate this way with fostering. I must simply live and love TODAY--what do these little heart need NOW-- and let God worry about the rest. 

This means wrapping them up in my arms and showering them in kisses because they are little girls who long to be loved and accepted. It also means as I become more confident they understand the house 'rules,' I must consistently enforce them. I am not just "fostering," I am mother-ing. 

The initial phase of loving, welcoming, bonding and letting things go was more fun...but I am aware that if these girls are going to break the cycle that led them here they need Jesus and a lesson in consequences. So there is a lot more time on my knees at their eye level--reinforcing rules, explaining expectations, and emphasizing both my love for them and my desire to keep them safe. 

This phase of parenting was difficult when my bio kids were younger predominantly because of the pride & fear I had tied up in the outcomes. Of course I wanted to keep K,P & R safe--but I also wanted to be a "good mother." Mindful that (God willing) we are given almost 2 decades with them before they graduate and move on to more independent living I could pace myself.

With the girls I know I won't be the one to complete this process with them. I don't have the privilege of years to build and grow. We pick up pieces of the first 7-8 years of their lives, start from there, invest without knowing how long we have, whether we will ever see any fruit and/or to whom we will pass the baton of stewarding and loving these hearts. It may be weeks or months...but we just don't know. (Serious character work for a person like me!)

As a result, there are a lot of things I must let go in order to emphasize the most important things--life skills that will serve them well wherever they wind up...respectfulness, honesty, safety, education, nutrition. Giggles, adventures, bedtime routines and normal childhood activities sprinkled on top. 

There is no checklist or magic wand. It is just day-by-day seeking wisdom, patience and love from God to pass back into all five of the little hearts in this home...and seeking to stay united in mission with the big one to whom I said "I do."

I am trying to keep my heart marching to this simple beat:
Love.
Trust.
Repeat.

None of us know what tomorrow brings. We must simply do what God has put before us today.

My new favorite song to sing at church is from Bethel Music and has this refrain:

"Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can't see
And this mountain that's in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
It is well with my soul."

May it be so...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On Being a Fool

Late last year I joined a ministry that provides mentoring to Moms whose children have been removed from their custody but are on the road to getting them back. The first few months with my mentee were full of growth and progress. It was fulfilling and meaningful work, but for reasons I found hard to pin down we started to stall as our 'honeymoon phase' wore off. (This is a common theme in my life lately.)

Last week during a somewhat painful conversation with my friend/mentee I asked her why things seemed more distant and strained with us. She told me she thought I was too superficial. (I couldn't decide if I was more hurt or shocked by her statement. I usually scare people aware with my intensity.) But I knew there was truth to her words.

My friend's been through more heartbreak and struggle in her 25 years than most of us could imagine in 3 lifetimes. I thought I was loving her by staying on circumstantial topics--and she was begging me to go deep.

I was failing as a mentor because I was avoiding the very thing I started this ministry to do--communicate the life changing hope of the Lord.

Instead of faith, hope, trust I was chatting about finances, dating and her drama at work. All of these issues are real in her life, but she has lots of people she can address those with--she wanted more from me.  But the surface topics were just easier because I could offer practical advice, help her make lists and feel like we were making measurable, tidy progress.

I realized I have been guilty of doing this with friends--and with my children--and in other arenas where I serve.

Ministries and relationships that started with such purpose and meaning, reduced to comfortable boxes I can check and lists I can mark off. 

And suddenly a verse I read somewhat flippantly this Spring began to burn within my heart:

"Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?" Galatians 3:3 NIV 

Oh, foolish pride.

The Contemporary English Version says it even more plainly:  "How can you be so stupid? Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God’s Spirit started in you?" 

Oh, lazy heart that wants to take shortcuts. 

I think those of us who have walked with the Lord for a while can so easily slide into this mode. Clinging, begging God for wisdom and strength when we are starting out, in a pit of despair or have strayed painfully off the path...then slowly but surely replacing our trust in Him with our trust in ourselves. 

I pleaded with God to make me a mother. I spent much time in humble prayer for the hearts of my toddlers...yet 10 years later, how quickly I google an issue with my tweens or snap at them before I pray for guidance with them. I default to earthly rather than eternal wisdom.

How prone I am to forget that God cares about the details of our ministries. 
He wants me to slow down and ask my friends about their hearts.
It is His desire for me to really connect in love with my neighbor. 
He wants me to pray before I spout out my opinion about the latest controversy.
The Author of this life is also the Perfector of it.  
Yet, I am so quick to seek my will over His. 

The Message translation really drives it home: "Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up."

So, if you are looking for me, I think I'll be camped out on Galatians 3:3 for a while.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How Is It Really Going?

"So, how is it going?"

This question is asked with genuine interest and concern at cookouts, in Kroger and poolside this Summer. I want to answer authentically, but the truth is so multi-layered that a headline is impossible. 

Recently it was asked by a newlywed friend and I countered, "We'll get to that, but I want to hear about how marriage is going for you." Within seconds both of our eyes were filled with tears because in that moment we knew though our circumstances were different, our hearts were similarly tenderized. 

The newness & shine is wearing off. The hope-filled beginning is waking up to the unbrushed teeth and hair of reality. The challenges that everyone warned us we would face, but which we couldn't quite believe would actually apply to our love and our call, have started to rear their heads.

A little tired, a bit tender and deeply aware of the commitments we have made, this is the part of life where the rubber meets the road. 

So, how is it going?
Smoother overall than expected.
Sometimes hard.
Often sweet.
Absolutely faith building.
Frequently cringe inducing.
Confusing. 
Challenging.
Rewarding.
Mostly really good. 

My response depends on the minute and which short story or slice of family life my heart is focussing on. I haven't written in two weeks because each time I sit down to record my thoughts I can't settle on which direction to go.

Do I tell about the preciousness of our girls' overwhelming gratitude at getting lunch boxes... "We've asked Santa every year."  Or my feelings of doubt after buying them: Am I setting their forever family up for success or frustration? In my desire to 'treat' am I making things more complicated?  I want to expose them to new and exciting things but not ruin them for the reality in which they live.

Do I chronicle the struggle of choosing a school for them?
How do I explain what an issue food of all things can be...so deeply personal, emotional, frustrating?
The strange twisting of my heart when a child vacillates between calling me Jennifer and Mommy in the same sentence?
How I have truly loved them since the minute they walked up my front sidewalk in the dark that first night? 
How I wonder what role/relationship (if any) our family will have after they leave--or whether that will be in 6 days, 6 months or a year...
Can I be honest about how frustrating it is during such a season of change to not be able to have a child-free date night with my husband?
Is it possible to put into words the bittersweet feeling of watching your bio children learn what real sacrifice feels like? 
Do I attempt to explain the simultaneous desire to rescue them (bio AND foster kids) and the deep knowing that God is absolutely using this experience as a part of their growth and their story--not in spite of the fact that it is hard but because of it.

How do I record the realization that the hard moments my flesh would typically want rescue from are now the times when my Spirit rejoices as the strongest and truest my life has ever felt? 

Or the everyday choices we make to balance the life my family leads versus the one from which these girls have come and will likely return? How I am holding back on some of what I would buy/do/spend for my bio kids because I don't want to set unrealistic expectations for their future home life. (And the fact that this 'sacrifice'/change has been good for all of us!)

The fallacy is that a foster child's previous life was all bad and their new placement is in all ways superior. It is just not that simple. I am becoming a better parent to my own brood because of these girls.

We've had our 'little girls' for over a month. The honeymoon phase is ending. Rather than Summer fun cruise director, I must increasingly assume the role of foster Mom. This means boundaries, rules, structure. It also means sibling quarrels at a rate beyond what we normally experience in our home. 

My children have had 11 years of working out their roles. A unique facet of a home with only multiples is that we've never experienced the integration of a 'new baby.' Now we experience the introduction of new big kids with their own 7-8 years of personality, life experience and role in their family of origin. This brings some (dare I say healthy) struggle. I imagine it is similar to integrating stepchildren into a home, only with the knowledge that this is temporary and without a definitive end date.

Even though it is my heart's inclination, I don't buy the lie the world is selling that my role as Parent is to hover, protect, insulate. I think we often glamourize this protective instinct as good parenting, but the fact of the matter is protective parenting is easier than letting go of the reigns a bit and parenting through the messiness of the world. Despite this belief, I second guess myself and feel like a Bad Mom in the moments when my biological children take the backseat.

Like I said in the beginning of this post...messy, multi-layered, challenging...

I believe in loving fiercely...which means to pray hard, to teach, to coach, then to let my children get some real practice. The sin in this world--the sin in ME-- makes this terrifying. But this is the world we have been called to be in and not of. We must prepare our children to love through it even when, especially when, it is hard and we want to duck our heads in holes and pretend everything is hunky dory. 

God in His providence timed this all just right...each of my bio children have been rotating in and out of our home for 9-12 days at a time for Summer camp. Each 'big kid' is getting a break at camp to soak up individual adventure and fun. Meanwhile, a lighter kid population (and break up of my trio) has helped our little girls find their place...and K, P, R to rediscover theirs. Individual relationships are being built. I am reminded that God manages the details. He cares for all seven of the hearts in this home.

Hard and good coexisting, stretching, growing. This is the stuff of life.  

Monday, June 01, 2015

Love Like Layers on a Canvas

When I started putting the room together our foster children would inhabit, the word refuge settled firmly into my heart. As I stared at the blank ivory walls I couldn't imagine what would effectively fill them.

I wanted it to look nice regardless of gender, to be calming and to match the drapes and rug already there. So I set out to Michael's to buy a large canvas and paint. The trouble is I am NOT artistic AT ALL. Pinterest has never been a trap for me because craftiness is just not my thing.

I really wanted soft blue, grey and tan comfort on those walls, so I tried. My desire and determination far outweighed my abilities. After two hours and multiple layers and blends of paint, the result was flat and plain, but it would do.

I mentioned to my artist friend that painting was much more difficult than it appeared...that I had a new appreciation for the seemingly simple contemporary art. I sent her a pic...talked to her about what I had hoped to accomplish and she asked if I'd like her help. She came by and picked up my canvas and returned a week later with this.
These photos don't begin to convey the beauty of the texture and layers.

On back she had written the verse I had claimed for this space.

He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge.
Psalm 91:4 

It was breathtakingly perfect. I could hardly believe it was even the same canvas.

And it spoke volumes to me...about the selflessness and talent of my friend, of course. But also about what can happen when we let go of prideful control and let other people add to the canvas of our lives.

Years ago a counselor I was seeing taught me a powerful lesson. "You seem to think there are only two extremes in relationship," he observed. "You think people are either independent or codependent and in doing so you have left out this whole wide area of the spectrum in between called interdependence, which is in fact where we were designed to live."

That man had my number...it is my tendency. I celebrate independence and fear codependence--and if I am not careful I miss the glorious beauty of community.

This journey of fostering is tearing down those old walls in the most freeing way! These are not "my" children or "my" responsibility...they belong to our community. This acknowledgement has led to blessing upon blessing to these girls' lives and to the hands, feet and hearts who have embraced them during this placement.

Six weeks ago as we were waiting on our final approval, a teacher from our school stood on my doorstep in tears with a jumbo sized box of frozen Eggo waffles and a lasagna for my freezer.
"I was at Sam's Club anyway. Thought it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and stock your freezer."

We both cried over the little people we hadn't even met who would one day have their bellies filled by this offering.

It was just the beginning.

She volunteered to be certified and approved as a babysitter.

She sends encouraging notes.

When she gave birthday gifts for my children, she included a little something for our two new girls as well.

She stopped by with a bike her daughters had outgrown.

She bought tutus.

She brought hair products.

She rounded up toys.

She stopped by around 6pm that first night, Ryland was working late and I was getting a handle on the new routine of dinner for 5 children. She helped me wrangle everyone through the process of washing hands, getting drinks, finding their seats and getting the food on the table.

She periodically emails me Bible verses about faith and trust.

She showed up with two shopping bags of clothes my girls' size.

She invited my new little ones to her daughter's birthday party.

She checks in on my heart and asks how she can specifically pray.

She offered her daughter as a mother's helper.

She gives my bio kids an extra long hug and prays specifically for them in this process.

She brought me a scrapbook so we can always remember the time we've had with these girls.

SHE is not a super woman.  No one woman has done all of this, but instead "she" represents a dozen different women have loved on us and in doing so, joined the cause of supporting families in crisis and needy children one seemingly small act at a time.

SHE is my community. These various women have been the feathers God has used to cover all seven of the souls in my home through their loving acts and words.

These first three weeks of fostering have been defined in many ways by knowing we are not in this alone. It is a collaborative effort for the blessing and benefit of a family in crisis.  As each of these "Shes" has loved on us, God has used them to teach me one of the most valuable lessons of this process. WE must serve together--out of our own unique gifts.

If it is providing a home for a child...get those beds ready!
But if it is not, there are still countless ways to serve.
If it is encouragement...encourage!
If it is cooking...cook!
If it is showing up...show up!
If it is babysitting so parents can have a date night...get approved!
Pray! Text! Bring tutus.

Don't make the mistake of believing love is always a big, huge decision...no, those moments are rare. Love is usually the small decisions to take one step out of your comfort and routine and do what you can, with what you have, right where you are to meet needs in front of you. The fields are ripe for harvest...you CAN make a difference.

I could have hung that plain canvas up with only my strokes...but the masterpiece came from the contribution of another. I had to let go and allow other people to give.

TOGETHER we can provide layers and layers of love and community that means far more in the long term than just one tired family ever could. And instead of feeling almost forgotten, our foster daughters have felt celebrated and cared for by many.

This is not just a lesson about foster care. It holds true for any community need/ministry. It is true of the development of my bio kids' hearts too. God did not intend for us to parent in a vacuum. Human hearts are meant for texture and layers. We are wired for relationship. God compares community to parts of a body--tied to and made better by the contributions of others whose strengths are different from ours.

So give love and allow others to do the same for you...and in the process of all those layers a unique masterpiece will undoubtedly emerge.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Peace & Pigtails

School's out and Summer is in. As if someone flipped a switch, backpacks and tennis shoes vanished to be replaced with flip flops and damp towels. Grateful for the break, no one is yet crying boredom. My days are filled with sunscreen, swimming lessons, bicycle helmets and ice cream.

Eleven days into being a Mama of five and I am not just OK, I am truly peaceful. This feeling is inexplicable apart from the Lord. I am less stressed with five than I felt with three--largely because I know I can't handle this without Him. I am letting go a bit of my need to manage and embracing laughter, chaos and laundry.

For the next month I will be dropping off and picking up my "big kids" at their respective Summer camps, while enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood Summer with the little girls who have dived right into the mostly happy chaos of my home. I have no choice but to simply tackle one day at a time.

We have had some adjustment bumps, but thankfully they have been minor and expected. My bio kids are discovering the joys and challenges of younger siblings. My foster kids are experiencing simple things for the first time. Last week they had their inaugural Chic-fil-A meal and finally asked "why do you keep putting dishes in and out of that oven?" Dishwashers and drivethrus...I am giving them such a cultural experience! Ha.

I keep questioning how smoothly this is going. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We had a call about a placement before this one. It was only one child but it was complex. We knew him and had a sense of the challenge involved. After prayer, counsel and gut checks we felt led to decline...and I felt like a failure.

My pride wanted to take him, but wisdom told me we were not qualified/equipped to meet his needs. My impatience with being on the bench wanting to serve needy children grew as two weeks of quiet passed with empty beds despite our willing hearts. Or could I even call us "willing" after saying no? During that time, I wondered if we had made a mistake.

Then we got these girls--and it has felt like God's plan. Peace is the only word I can use.
As they learn to ride bikes and swim, I am experiencing the refreshing reminder that obedience is not always hard.

Letting go of my agenda? That was difficult.
Entering into the unknown with thoughts swirling of all the 'bad' things that might happen? Challenging!
Choosing faith even when I was fearful? Gulp-inducing.

But, right now, I feel "peace that passes understanding." I am writing this down to remember...when we wait on the Lord instead of trying to write our own story and pull our own strings, there is peace. It is worth the wait.

Four decades of life have taught me that the comfortable place is not permanent...to drink it in while I can. There will be bumps on the road ahead, no doubt.

I already LOVE these girls. I am pushing away thoughts of telling them goodbye eventually. But I KNOW God brought us here and I KNOW He is trustworthy for all the chapters that come after this.

Yesterday afternoon as the sun was setting and we were walking home from the pool I heard laughter and looked over to see well-dressed people sipping wine on the country club porch on a glorious Summer evening. It was picturesque--right out of a lifestyle magazine.

I was sweaty and rumpled, carrying a soaking wet eight year old I could hardly hold (at her request). I glanced at the beautiful people on the porch and had a flash of resignation...that's not my life now. This choice has me on a divergent path.

And what of the spontaneity of roadtrips and adventures that classically mark our Summers? I can't cross state lines without permission...and I have 5 kids now!

I started to self-examine: Will I miss that life? Am I OK with the trade-in? And then I glimpsed the braided pigtails of one of my little charges, exhaled and allowed a soft smile to take over my face. This is my portion and my cup for this season...and it really is good.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Party of Seven

In 1986 when my class at Ladonia Elementary School took the Presidential Fitness Test I measured 49 lbs and 49 inches. As a 6th grader, that was very small. Predictably, I spent a lot of time on the bench in sports endeavors and waiting to be picked for playground games. I can still envision the dusty pavement I would stare down at as I waited for my name to be called...always among the last two.

For the last couple of weeks we have been waiting for a different kind of selection--a match of our family/home with a foster child in crisis. Ironically I was back on dusty ground at a baseball game Wednesday when we got the call--as I stared down at the gravel the caller informed me that we'd been matched with two little girls who needed a place of refuge-- and we've spent the last 5 days adjusting to being a family of 7.

As challenging as our first placement was, this one has been precious. My home has been infiltrated by lots of braids, baby dolls, Elsa, Anna, balloons, stickers, painted toenails
and a love of dresses!

The spare room where we prayed now has sweet heads in its rumpled beds (and salvaged party balloons tied to it.)

We are finding a new rhythm and morning routine. Our family dynamic is shifting to include a couple of new personalities. Our Suburban and our dinner table are full. I can't really discuss my laundry situation...Yikes!

There are far more questions than answers at this point:

How long will they be here? (It may be several months.)
Will the shine wear off? (So far they've been precious additions.)
How will the start of family visits impact their feelings about us? (We are pulling for their family to heal and be put back together.)
How will we all impact each other's hearts?
What will Summer look like with FIVE kids!?!

All of that will come in time...and it is a great lesson for this planner girl. THIS is the day the Lord has made. I must live, love, obey, serve right HERE. Tomorrow will come and the Lord will be there.

Until then, I'm brushing up on little girl life, holding pudgy hands and learning a lot about Frozen :-)