Giddy Up!

Be still my heart. Where to start? Recently, we have closed our home to fostering and opened it to respite. (The girls are naturals at loving on kiddos.) Anyhoo, we have been watching a sweet girl while her mother re-ups for foster training. And we heard of something new and glorious last night…a training. Adoption agencies are now teaching foster parents how to partner with bio parents!!!!!!

Every once in a while, something so beautiful and complex and good takes place in this old world – and this is one of them. When it is safe, cause Lordy, sometimes it ain’t, but when it is safe – adoptive parents are being encouraged to reach into the lives of very broken people and offer beauty…and tears…and joy…and love. And changing families. Forever.


Rest for the Weary

This week Phil and I officially closed our home to fostering. I did not expect closing to hurt. Not at all. “The littles” have been gone since August, and we’ve not taken in any other kiddos. So I thought closing would just be a formality. But the tears came as soon as I hit “send” on my email. Phil must have sensed my panic. “Jan, it’s not forever. It’s just for now.”

Anyhoo, because I have a heart for “the cause” = helping foster children heal by placing them in families, I signed up for a babysitting collaborative. And really, I need to do a single post on this beautiful and brilliant opportunity. But this is not that post. This post is about another cause that has become near and dear to my heart = loving on foster families.

You guys! Being on the inside looking out, I had no idea that the struggles Phil and I faced as foster parents were not unique to us! Foster parents are a special type of crazy, which makes supporting these wackos REALLY important.

Some facts I learned today:

  • Most foster families bail within one year due to lack of support. This compounds the trauma that foster children face. If children are moved AGAIN, it slows down their healing.
  • Foster parents are notorious for NOT asking for help. Many reasons for such. Personally, I think one of the main reasons is emotional exhaustion. Receiving rejection, and/or failing to find help just adds heartache to an already tough livelihood.

As you can see – fact 1 plus fact 2 make for a perfect storm. Foster parents need support. Foster parents need someone to jump in and say, “I got this. Go! Go see a movie. Go to Target. Go!” ❤️❤️❤️ There are very few investments that require so little but pay such dividends as babysitting for a foster family. You want to make a HUGE difference in the lives of foster children? Then babysit for their foster parents! ❤️

What My Girls Don’t Know

Grandparents Brunch for the girls at school. I just got the notice, and thought nothing of it.  But driving to school one gloomy morning, I started crying and just couldn’t stop. My mom would have LOVED attending a grandparents brunch. I mean LOVED. Cause that woman…she was fierce with her affections. And I am just so sad she missed the whole grand-parenting gig. I am sad for her. I am sad for me. But not so much for my girls. They don’t know. They don’t know that their grandmother would have made a bazillion ten-hour trips to see them – to be with them – to breathe them in. They don’t know that she would have made sure they had a softball, or basketball, or tennis racket in theirs hands as soon as they could walk. They don’t know that she would have brushed, braided, curled, and styled their hair. They don’t know that she would have played and played and played with them. They don’t know that she would have rocked them endlessly. They don’t know that her laughter might have frightened them because it was so full, robust, and LOUD.  They don’t know that she would have danced and danced and danced with them. They don’t know that she would have hummed them to sleep as she lovely gazed upon their faces. They don’t know that her hugs would have left them breathless. They don’t know that she would have loaded them up in the car and set off on adventure after adventure. They don’t know that she would have fought for them. They don’t know that she would have loved them well…so very well. They don’t know. But they will. One day, I will tell them. And we will laugh. And cry. Because right now…childhood…they are unaware of what they are missing out on. They don’t know.

The Cycle of Christmas Day in our Home

I am sitting alone in my room. Right outside my door I can hear the girls arguing in the aftermath of delight…Christmas morning!!!

It begins in sounds of hushed awe…then the digging for treasure…giggles and shouts of joy!!! So much fun. Phil and I hang back and pass smiles…speaking love to one another.

Once all is open…it is not long before the despair and desperation set in. “But I wanted a PJ Mask coloring book!” And then the “That’s mine! Leave it alone!” This morning, I’m letting the girls linger in this moment of disappointment and dissatisfaction. It’s vitally important to get to the heart of what this day means to us – to me and Phil – and eventually to our girls.

After a few hours of play/delight/dissatisfaction/and despair we’ll sit together and talk about true joy – the kind that never leaves and never disappoints…that points us to hope in a broken world…that fills our hearts to bursting…no matter the situation. THAT, that is the gift of this day. ❤️

Merry Christmas. God is with us.

I’ve Been Here Before

I’ve been here before. This space between loss and healing. And for all the glories I sing of grief…its beauty…its worth…its refining gifts…I HATE this part. This space of waiting. I sit, avoiding the pain that will restore, refresh, recreate.

I’ve been here before. Somewhere along the way…after months of following God’s call…things get hard and I take my eyes off of Him…all the while, doing “His” work…but on my terms. I hit survival mode…digging in and pushing. Hard. Gumption. Determination. Unflinching…because I’ve stopped feeling. I just want to finish my assignment, not realizing that the finish line is not God’s goal nor plan for me. The plan is the struggle…feeling…failing…weakness and all the beauty therein.

I’ve been here before. Rants before God, who I blame for all my misery…because it is easier to be mad than vulnerable.

  • “God, YOUR way sucks.”
  • “God, I refuse, refuse, REFUSE to let this stand.”
  • “God? What gives? My plans are good. I mean REALLY good. And yours? They…are lacking.”
  • “Okay, God. I’m not interested in your next assignment. Not. Cause this hurts. And if I dig in, grieve, and let you heal me, you are going to give me another ridiculous assignment.”
  • Putting my hands over my ears, “I’m not listening, God. I’m not listening.”

I’ve been here before…having grieved the person…but not the dreams. To look full into the face of my hope for my life…and say goodbye. 

I’ve been here before. Ready to break. Ready to feel. Just holding out a little bit longer…before I surrender.

I’ve been here before. 


So. I’m in that unbearable state of between. I’m 46. And for the last 6 years, I have been building…something…not sure what. But it involves people. Little people. Building. And at pretty neck-break speeds. Building. And now, construction has stopped…and we’ve been reduced in size…painfully so. And I feel lost. Utterly lost. And though I know it’s not true, I feel I should be steadier. That there is something wrong with me…because I’m an adult and all. I am actually responsible for raising little people into grown people. And apparently, I have a belief in a faithful God who has up and carried me at times. Yet I’m floundering. Falling. I feel as if I’ve slipped through His fingers. And I’m more than a bit mad at God…cause good grief…really…this hard? When He could just lift it? Really? So…mad at Him. Mad at me. For being so human. So fragile. So. Lost. 

And purpose? I’m grappling. So, I’m binge watching This Is Us on Amazon Prime. (Thank you, Jesus. I’ve waited a YEAR to watch this show.) But sooner or later, I must engage my family again. (Yes, yes my door IS locked and I’m sitting in the dark…living vicariously through the Pearsons.) And maybe God. Maybe I’ll engage Him again. Maybe. But til then, I’m moving forward through my days. Without a clear purpose…other than not messing up my kids…too much. For today, I’m gonna let this ride. Maybe for a few days. Til I run out of episodes. Or til my feet find steadier ground. I’m gonna be gentle with me…this time. I am between. For today, I am between. 

OH! The Irony.

We are homeschooling this year. And I can tell you one thing for sure…I am option #2. Me, teaching Eden, option 2…no doubt. Option #1 leaves me a bit weepy, as I drop Denver off at option #1 a couple of days a week for preschool. (Why yes, yes we did get a scholarship for a couple of days a week to the school of my dreams, thank you very much.), Anyhoo, we are figuring out this whole homeschooling thing. And it definitely has its perks…#1 being pace. (Whew…do I like a slow stroll.) But I digress…again.

Here’s the deal…I love elementary school. I mean LOVE it. I remember sitting at a round table in kindergarten, in one of those impossibly tiny chairs…hands behind my head…looking up at the ceiling…thinking, Wow! I’m really here. I’m in school. I love this place! 

And now, we have an elementary school at the end of our street…a mere quarter mile from our front door. Annually, I take the kiddos and we walk with the throngs, up our street…scurrying to class for the first day of school…cause…YEA! First day of school! Right? I’m not about to miss the excitement. And this year would have been our first time to actually ENTER the school as…a bonafide student! But…well, we veered a bit from the traditional path.

And wouldn’t you know it, something even COOLER has taken the place of our attending the school at the end of our street. And the irony is making me giggle.

Phil rides the bus to work…daily. And his bus stop is right in front of the school. And his but leaves at 7:33…about 10 minutes prior to the elementary school’s first bell of the day. And yes…Eden, Denver, and I join the throngs of students walking to school (Eden on a scooter and Denver on a big wheel). We wait for the crossing guard. We chat with the kids. We wave to friends as they enter the school building. And we join Phil (who gets there much quicker via bike). And we wait for the bus…right there…in front of the school. By the time we get Phil loaded (lots and lots of hugs and kisses later), the school bell rings. And we “walk” home. Happily. Giddily. With me chuckling to myself the whole way. Life sure is funny.