Friday, February 25, 2011

Home Improvements

Sorry for the delay in blog posts recently. We just returned form a trip to visit my husband's sister and brother-in-law in Seattle. Plus, after the whole dog fiasco, I haven't quite known what to write. The jury is still out on the dog situation. Keep praying, please.

On a lighter note, however, I wanted to update everyone on the state of affairs upstairs while getting ready to get our nursery together. In order to convert the current guest room into a nursery, we needed to convert our current junk room into a guest room. My husband's sister had the genius idea of painting both rooms the same color. That way, in the future, these rooms can be interchangeable as needed...nursery to a guest room...guest room to a child's room...guest room to a nursery...etc. Here is a before shot of what is now the guest room:

Obviously, we had some things to get rid of. Most of it went to the attic. The drums, we sold on Craigslist. Then, it was time to pick a paint color. We bought 2 samples from Sherwin Williams and were less that impressed with either of them. For the sake of being cheap, we decided to start combining paint and creating our own color. These were the many different shades we went through. Keep in mind that none of these colors look quite right in these photos.

Finally, we decided to go with the color in the middle of this picture, so we painted a stir stick, went down to Sherwin Williams, and had them match the color.

There were actually several days between the previous step and the next, but the need-to-know information is that we painted all of the trim with 2 coats of primer and a coat of trim paint, painted the ceiling, installed a ceiling fan, and painted our color creation that we named "Serene Green" on the walls.

We absolutely love it and can't wait to get started on the nursery next!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Counting the Cost

"When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” - Luke 18:22

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple." -Luke 14:26

The Cost of Following Jesus - Matthew 8:18-22
 18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
 21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
 22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”


Last night was one of the worst nights I can remember, and this morning is not much better. If you're not a dog lover, this may not make much sense, but if you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. About a year and a half ago, after years of waiting, we bought our first dog, Peanut. We searched long and hard but instantly fell in love with her. We wanted her to be a therapy dog, so we immediately enrolled her in obedience school, worked with her daily, and trained her to be a very obedient dog. I adore this dog.

Then, last night, we got horrible news that Peanut had bitten a neighborhood kid in my parents' neighborhood. She is staying with my parents right now, because we're going out of town later this week. We don't know the whole story. There is a lot of speculation, but the fact of the matter is that she bit a child, and the child had to go to the emergency room for stitches. My parents seem to be more concerned than the child's parents, so that has been a blessing. The other kids who were there seemed to think that Peanut was just playing. However, the ramifications of this episode are say the least.

Before we ever dove into this foster care adventure, we studied the book, "Radical." If you haven't read it, you should...or maybe you shouldn't if you don't want your life to be flipped upside down. The premise of the book is that as Christians, we have watered down Christianity, settling for a life of comfort when, in reality, we need to be willing to sacrifice everything we have in order to follow Christ. He may not ask us to sell our homes, give away all of our money, or move away from our families, but...he may, and we need to be prepared and willing to do so.

Reading that book, my husband and I felt challenged, but after diving into Scripture, we realized the Truth of that message, and since then we've been dealing with it in our own lives. Are we willing to sacrifice everything to follow Him? Have we placed any idols before the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we willing to pray difficult prayers, surrendering every facet of our lives to Him.

The answer is a resounding yes...take my car, Lord, if you need it...take our home...take all of our money! But wait...I never imagined that I might come up against this scenario...potentially having to give away my dog? I'm tearing up just typing those words. I guess I'm realizing that that was one thing we had certainly not surrendered. That was something we were holding onto tightly - off limits for God.

We don't know how this scenario is going to play out. We're still reeling from the news, and the next few weeks of decision-making will be a roller-coaster, I'm sure. After about 24 hours of tears and anger, the answer is yes...we will certainly surrender Peanut if she holds us back from following the Lord's leading to be foster parents. The question now we really have to? Every minute I have a different answer.

Pray for us as we face more and more spiritual warfare. I'm pretty sure there's no other word for all of this. Satan is hitting us right where we hurt the most...over and over again. But, as the words of the song that just came on Pandora state, "Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God You are higher than any other, Our God is Healer, awesome in power, Our God, Our God...And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us...And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How quickly things change!

After a night filled with discussions, phone calls, and prayers both excited about the possibilities and terrified about the worst-case-scenarios, my husband and I decided we had no good reason not to move forward with this placement. I took note this morning as I was preparing to make the phone call to the agency that on our list of pros and cons, all of our cons were really rooted in fear.

We were afraid of our inadequacy, but let's face it...we're going to be inadequate no matter what child comes our way, just leaning on the Lord every second of every day.

I was afraid of what people might say after leaving my job only to stay at home while this sweet boy was in pre-K all day.

We were afraid of our lack of preparation. We have a crib, changing table, and car seat. We don't have anything for a five-year-old (except some great books in my children's book collection).

I was afraid of what an entire summer would look like with no pre-K.

I have been chuckling for a while now about a wall quote I saw recently and considered putting in our future kids' room. It said:

Boy: n. a noise with dirt on it.

So true...what on earth would I do with a five-year-old boy every day...all day? It had to be a boy...

Anyway, all kidding aside, these were thoughts that we discussed all night, but in the end our overwhelming thought was...why not?

We went to bed praying for this sweet boy, for his precious mom, for his current foster family, and for God's protection over us as we muddled through this decision-making process. We prayed diligently that God would place obstacles in our path if we started to go down a path that He did not intend.

Then, this morning, I made the call and started to get excited. Without even realizing it, I started to settle into the idea that this boy was going to come live with us, and I could hardly wait. I started to work up in my mind how great it was going to be to possibly work part time and phase out of my job a bit more slowly. I pondered how nice it would be to have the daytime to try to dive into the group fitness world. I started to pay closer attention as parents brought their small children by my office. It was really exciting to think about.

However, the end of the day brought another surprise. Our agency called to say that it was looking more and more like this little boy would be moving in with his grandparents instead of with another foster family. How quickly the gears change! If nothing else, I learned today how very much I have to guard my heart and take captive my thoughts during this process. I have really got to make sure that I don't get so swept up in my own ideas and dreams that I end up disillusioned or disappointed when things change. Fortunately, this was not a difficult gear to shift, but I mark it up as a lesson learned.

Could this be one of those obstacles that we prayed for God to use? Who knows! The doors are still not closed on this one, but we will wait and pray for His plan to unfold in His time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Prayers needed...

We got an unexpected phone call today from the foster care agency. The message I received said, "Hi Mrs. __________. I was calling to present a placement to you. Please give me a call when you get this."

My husband and I and I laughed again, because this is not the first time they have mentioned a placement before our previously set date. However, to be polite, I returned the call this evening and was surprised to hear the details of the placement.

The child they have in mind is a five-year-old caucasian boy who has been in foster care since August. He is apparantly very intelligent, loves to read, and is a "delight" to his current foster parents. They, however, have a family member who needs to move in with them, so they are searching for a new home for this child. He's in pre-K during the day, and they won't need a permanent placement until the end of February/beginning of March. They anticipate that the placement will be short and that he will likely return home before August.

As you can imagine, my husband and I have a million thoughts to filter through. We're supposed to give an answer tomorrow morning. Please pray for clarity in this decision-making process. I love God's sense of humor...taking us right outside of our comfort zone so that we have no choice but to turn to Him. No clear-cut scenarios...oh no...that would be too easy :)