Monday, February 28, 2011

Foster Parenting Classes

God is so faithful to us!!

Since our Foster Parenting Seminar, Jack and I have been busy filling out the paperwork, which honestly took one evening. We contacted our three references and asked them if we could use them and got their information. We chose Jack's friend Matt, my best friend Ashley and our Pastor. We also had to get my mom's signature and we ended up driving over to her house last night and getting it from her and also using her copier to make copies of our drivers licenses, social security cards, birth certificates and our marriage license.

At our seminar that we went to, someone asked the question how long would it take before we could get a placement and the director said that some people would have the paperwork mailed in by Monday, (the seminar was on a Thursday) and that the Pride classes (the first classes we are required to take to be licensed) would be filled up by the end of the week. And that if we waited, we wouldn't be able to take the first class for several months down the road.

That weighed at the back of my mind as we waited to get our things copied and get together with my mom. Then Jack and I got sick and both of us were out of commission all of last week and because of that, I couldn't even think about calling and scheduling things.

Last night we finished the last of the paperwork that we could and we sealed and addressed the envelope. I woke up this morning and at 8:05am, I called Bethany to schedule the classes. The poor woman didn't even have her computer turned on yet! God is so faithful to us... Our classes start this Thursday!! As in, today is Monday, followed by Tuesday and Wednesday... and then Thursday! I'm so overwhelmed. I feel like He saved our place for us!

By the 21st of April, we will be finished with the first round of Pride classes. After they receive our application in the mail, a few days later we should be receiving a call from a caseworker that we will be assigned to. The last few things that we need to do will be getting our fingerprints, doctors notes and also our local police clearances. Then they will do the homestudy. So it looks like we had better start getting things together!

I feel like I should make a registry to figure out what kinds of things we will need for children. It's so odd to feel like we need to get our house ready for our first children, I feel like we are different from most foster parents in that they have already raised or began to raise children of their own. Where we have literally never had any children, therefore never owned a single piece of equipment necessary. We need cribs, car seats, clothing, high chairs, bottles, bibs, clothing, diapers, everything! And on top of that, we also need things for children all the way up to age 9! So we will need children's books and toys that are age appropriate. We will need twin sized beds. I'm pretty excited and at the same time kind of overwhelmed!! What parents only get 2 or 3 months to prepare! And we have to prepare for a child anywhere from newborn to 9 years old! New parents usually just acquire those things along the way over the course of a decade.

My my my am I so excited that garage sale season is starting up. Pray for us!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Busy weekend. Movies, Church, Work and Florence goes to Heaven

Friday, I was finally feeling better and I went back to work. I was a little wary of getting the girls sick but it looks like things turned around and I'm healthy again. While mostly uneventful, I managed to get through the day. I came home around 3:30pm and was out cold before 8pm.

Saturday I worked 7am to 8pm. Around 7pm, Florence went home to be with Jesus. On January 30th, Florence and I prayed together and she accepted Jesus as her personal savior. (Read about that here.) Amazing that she only had 27 days left on Earth! It was bittersweet for me, that was the first time I was at work when one of the girls passed. Eleanor passed away over the weekend and I wasn't working and found out when I came back to work the next week. This time, I spent the entire day with her family and giving Florence her morphine and respiratory medicines every few hours and watching her take her last breaths. It was an experience. Obviously, working where I do, doing what I do, that is something I will be doing more often than most people, but it was an amazing feeling to know that she knew Jesus before she died and that she went home to be with Him.

This morning we went to church and enjoyed a wonderful and convicting sermon about serving others. (Check back here tomorrow or the next day for the latest sermon!) I encourage you to watch or listen to it when you have a minute. It's probably going to be convicting for most since serving is something God's people struggle with a LOT.

After church, Jack and I headed over to the movie theater to catch the movie The Grace Card. It was a good movie!! I'd highly recommend it. Go check it out!

Now Jack and I are getting all of our paperwork together to go to my mom's and copy our marriage license, birth certificates, social security cards and drivers licenses in order to turn in our application for Foster Parenting. After our service about serving Jack and I had another fire lit under our butts! We have to get this done so we can serve these children as God has called us to do.

Prayer request please: Alicia and her two sons Max and Rob. Alicia's husband Paul passed away on Saturday after about a year's battle with pancreatic cancer. Rob and Max are 14 and 12 years old. Please pray for their family as they go through this difficult time!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fog is clearing!

I am so happy!! I was finally able to take a nap this afternoon after feeling completely run down all day. Around noon, I let the dogs out and walked to the mailbox and then the fire to toss in the junk mail and then back to the house. By the time I got back to the house, I was completely winded and exhausted. I couldn't shake the exhausted and sore feeling. Finally I was able to get in about a 45 minute nap and WOW! I'm a new woman!

I'm still stuffy but not sore and I feel so rested and renewed! I'm so glad! I was getting pretty sick of the chicken soup and orange juice with toast routine! Thank God for feeling better!

I finished 2 of my books today and it's only 5:30pm! Good thing I still have a big pot of chicken soup and I won't have to get up and make dinner for Jack when he gets home from work.




Still sick but getting books read!

One good thing is coming from being sick for this long. I can't go to work because I can't get the girls sick at the nursing home. I have spent the last few days completely just sick in bed. I'm definitely on the mend now, but I have gotten a lot of reading done in the past few days.

I finished one book yesterday and then read a book this morning. I'm about to start the last book in the series.

In other great news, my Brother-in-law and his fiancee set the date for their wedding!! Congratulations to Daren and Kelly :) August 6 will come before you know it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Still sick in our house.

That means don't stop by here unannounced! You do not want what we've got over here. Jack is still not 100%, he's probably at 50% I would guess and he is going in to work late today. He's getting dressed and ready to go.

I, on the other hand, never got quite as sick as him but instead of the flu, it looks like I got a chest cold. And with a lung transplant patient at the nursing home plus 6 other elderly women, the last thing in the world they need is someone in their face all day with a chest cold. I could wear a mask all day but it's much better to just take one more day and get better than to risk them getting sick at all.

This week we plan to finish filling out all the paperwork for our Foster Care application and getting all of the copies of our documents together and send them in. I hope we can get it in the mail by Friday!

Happy Birthday to my Mommy!!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mom!!

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Man cold.

Jack has been sick since Friday with a man cold. He did have a fever, but as long as we have stayed up on his ibuprofen, that is under control. Unfortunately he's been so under the weather that he has spent the entire weekend in bed. So I have been giving it my best shot to manage Bessie's round the clock care and Jack's. Along with Dixie and also stocking the fire outside.

We got about a foot of snow dumped on us yesterday and last night and normally jack would have plowed at least 3 times so our little tractor could get the job done. I don't know how to use the plow, so we are completely buried!

What's kind of crummy too is that I believe I've caught Jack's cold. Unfortunately for me, Jack is still feeling crummy so now I get to be sick myself and take care of me, Bessie and Jack still. Lol ahh the joys of men.

I'm going to head out in the blizzard to get medicine because Jack's used all of it this weekend. Something doesn't seem quite fair lol...


Jack being pampered 24 hours a day when he's sick, but here I go out to brave the snow to take care of me while Jack snuggles up in bed still. Haha. Men.



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Made it through the night!

Only woke up a few times for meds for my patients. Bessie got her pain pills at 4:30am, poor little lovie woke up at 3:50am and was restless until it was time for her pills. At 5:30 Jack got more of his medicine. What a crazy situation. I'm laying in bed with Bessie in bed between us (which if you know me, that's a HUGE no-no) so that I can keep an eye on her and feel her if she starts to move or scratch. I wouldn't have felt right watching over her from the other room. Bessie of course is loving every second of it. Then I have Jack next to me zonked out on Nyquill and every 6 hours or so I am reaching over to feel him. Happily his fever seems to be well managed by two ibuprofin so that's great.

I'm trying to decide if I'm going to go to church by myself... I kind of want to. 2 weeks ago was my birthday and we didn't go and last week Jack and I were goofing around and lost track of time in the morning and were going to be way late so we didn't go. I miss it and I would really really like to go. Bessie isn't due for her pain meds again until 12:30 and Jack should get his ibuprofin in a little bit and then they would both be fine until after I got home from church.

We have our tax appointment today at 1pm too... which it looks like I might just be going to by myself! Boo! I really want Jack to go so that we can just get our stuff filed as soon as possible!

I also got my new cowboy boots yesterday and I was so looking forward to wearing them !!

So I think I might just go hop in the shower. I think my patients will be fine without me for 2 hours. Jack has had about 12 oz of OJ this morning and about 8 oz of water. So he's probably good for a while... right?

Okay. Then it's settled... I'm going to go to church by myself and I'm going to go get ready soon.

God Bless you all today!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What a day!!

Today has been hectic to say the least...
-worked 7am to 12pm at the nursing home... let's just say that that had it's own set of crazies that probably won't ever be discussed on here.
-Went to my best friend's uncle's funeral/wake for a bit
-bought cowboy boots (!!!!)
-stopped by our friends who live on our way home because they were outside and they invited us to the dog park
-it was a beautiful afternoon so I figured hey that sounds great!
-Jack stayed home because he was feeling really crummy
-Bessie, Dixie and I went to the dog park with these friends and their Newfoundland.
-Newfie was acting kinda funny and his owner thought so (our friend)
-Bessie did her normal run run run run run to every single person she can find until she finds the person who can throw the ball she just stole from some other pup the farthest and then she goes and goes until that person's arm gets sore or she passes out type thing... and one of the times she ran past the newfie, he jumped out and bit her! Bessie yelps and runs to me and cowers. I think it's her knee, check her leg... it looks fine... pet her and say good girl bessie, where's your ball? And she gets all excited again.
-Biting at the dog park sometimes happens, especially when dogs that are calm have an excited dog around them.
-Friends decide they have NO idea what's going on with their dog and they don't feel comfortable with his behavior and they want to take him home.
-I corral my dogs up. Get them both in the truck and head for my sister's.
-Sister and I go back to the dog park, are there about 10 minutes, walking the outside perimeter, not playing fetch, not playing with any other dogs.
-Small child comes up to bessie and begins to throw ball
-I am watching her and notice a mark on her shoulder that wasn't there before
-I get ahold of Bessie (who is completely unaffected.)
-There is THE most terrible wound I have ever seen in person on a dog. Her shoulder is tore open and she has an open wound about the size of 2 quarters next to each other.
-I quickly get collars on both of the dogs and walk them out of the park, call jack and let him know that an emergency vet visit is in the future.
-Jack is sick. Can barely concentrate to talk. Agrees with emergency vet.
-Called around for 10 minutes looking for the closest emergency vet... decided on one that was 20 minutes away, my sister came too.
-Meanwhile, Bessie's just upset we left the dogpark prematurely.
-Get to the E-Vet, Vet techs check out Bessie's wound, confirm that they absolutely need to do stitches, that looks terrible etc etc.
-Vet comes out and tells me what she wants to do wants to do stitches, and do a local anesthetic as well as a general anesthetic.
-Cue me with my jaw hitting the floor.
-I ask why they need to do a general anesthetic, she explains that she doesn't want the dog to react poorly to the stitches or the lidocaine shot (which I know are painful) I say I'm sorry but I don't think Bessie needs that, especially not for $200 extra... so... yeah no.
-She insists.
-I insist against it. I promise them that Bessie is such an angel that they probably wouldn't even need the lidocaine.
-They say we really don't think so. I say okay well if it comes down to it then we do the general anesthesia... if she doesn't need it, which I don't think she will, then swell, I save $200. Super!
-They shrug and almost visibly roll their eyes as if to say oook... right.
-They take Bessie back and say, if we come back in 15 minutes, we'll let you know that she does need the general.
-I smile.
-25 minutes or so later, the vet and the vet tech come out with Bessie and are just beeming about what a wonderful dog she is and how they couldn't even believe it, she barely flinched with the shot and she was just so darn sweet they didn't even know what to do with her.
-I smile. Yup. That's my Bessie.
15 stitches, 2 prescriptions and $350 (OUCH!) later... we head on home.

So then I came home to Jack as sick as can be, 102 fever and the fire needing to be stocked... plus there is a skunk running around out there somewhere and the LAST thing I want to deal with on top of all this is a skunked dog!!

Poor dixie went to bed when we got home after she had supper, I just can't protect Bessie from the beast! She's too big to know what she might be doing or stepping on or laying on. Bessie had to be carried up the stairs and I put her in bed with Jack. She's on opioid pain killers every 8 hours for a while and antibiotics plus Jack is on ibuprofin every 6-8 hours to reduce his fever plus I'm getting him ice water every hour or so. Lord help me. It has been a crazy day.

Thank God my Bessie is okay, Thank God for 24 hour emergency vets!

Pray Jack gets better quickly too!

Friday, February 18, 2011

So sore and so tired :)

I'm so sore from yesterday! Whoops! Mayyyybe just maybe I over did it a little. I think by tomorrow I'll be able to give it a go again. I'm so disappointed though, I'd hate to waste such a beautiful day.

I just got home though, and absolutely don't have the energy. Did I ever mention how exhausting it is to work at the nursing home? I go and go and go all day! Laundry, cleaning, showers, breakfast, showers, cleaning, folding clothes, lunch, cleaning, laundry, putting clothes away, cleaning, bathroom runs, cleaning, organizing, cleaning. LoL !

Now it's home and time for some more cleaning and straightening. Jack just called me and let me know that his dad is coming over to pick up this home gym that we have had sitting in our basement since the fall. His dad bought it from the neighbor for $50 or something and we never had time or space or desire to set it up for ourselves. We figured we would just sell it down the road, and now that my brother has moved in, he has literally filled almost every square inch of the 1,000 sq ft basement with his things and tools and stuff... so we just want to get rid of that gym. So thankfully his dad found someone who wants it. Nice.

I guess that means I should get to cleaning around here. I just have minimal straightening to do but after yesterday's run and today at work... I'm BEAT! I just want to go to sleep haha.

But Thank GOD for this beautiful weather in February!! I sure enjoyed it through the windows ;)

I hope everyone else has enjoyed this wonderful blessing of the last 2 days and the beautiful unseasonable weather around here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

First 5k!

Bessie and I finished in 48 minutes. I'm pretty happy with that considering the amount of incredibly steep hills and uneven terrain plus the fact that I haven't ran or worked out in any capacity for months!



This is the muddy terrain we jogged through.
Look at that beautiful brook!



One of the old houses you can see off Joel Rd.






Bessie post run.



My feet and pants leg where Bessie was at my side kicking up mud!




Bessie and I in all of our exhausted muddy glory.

It's one of those boring days...

It's beautiful weather, especially for February. I have the day off and I am bored out of my mind.

I have already spent the morning beginning the next book in the series I'm reading. Then I looked for all of our home paperwork (the closing paperwork from when we bought the house.) And after that I organized all of our tax paperwork and discovered we are missing Jack's w2. I set up our tax preparation appointment for this weekend.

I mapped out my 5k practice track... it's basically around the block by our house. Perfectly, it's exactly 3.1 miles! Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it... it's all very hilly and muddy dirt roads :P I picked a 4 mile run on St. Patrick's day that I want to run! I need to start training! I've always been able to just hop right back in to it, so hopefully this will be no different. And also, I hope I never fall out of this. I'm trying to decide if I should bring my Bessie along for my run. I have a feeling it's going to be a muddy situation :)

I was looking up the tax information for our township too and discovered that during my run, I'm going to pass by the first home that was built in our township in 1837!! So I think I might just take a picture if I can find it!

So no more looking for something to do... time to go enjoy an afternoon jog and get ready for my 4 mile run that is one month from today!! Rain snow or shine, I'm going to be out there practicing every day until my run on March 17th! It should be super fun right? Right??

Book 20/75!

Sunrise by Karen Kingsbury

In preparation for their long-awaited wedding day, Dayne and Katy are determined to keep the ceremony a secret from the paparazzi. Their relationship grows closer and stronger as they plan together, but in the end it takes the help of the Baxter family and many of the CKT kids so that they'll even have a chance at a private wedding. John Baxter is thrilled that his oldest son will be settling down a few miles away, but he isn't sure how any of his kids will handle a situation he can no longer run from—the feelings he is having for his friend Elaine. In the meantime, the Flanigan family is struggling with their young boarder, Cody Coleman, Jim Flanigan's star receiver. After an alcohol overdose, Cody fights for his life. Only God's grace and a miracle can bring him back from the brink of death—physically and spiritually.
(from Amazon)

This book didn't disappoint! I'm ready to start reading the next in the series :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paperwork!

We got some of the paperwork filled out this evening. We pretty much started as Soon as we were both home. It's exciting to have a road to travel in our parenting lives now. We've been doing so much wondering what's going happen with parenting over the last few years, it feels great to start to get that behind us. What a weight lifted off!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Woke up feeling even more excited!

I have so many things that I am so excited about now! I am excited to fill out our applications. I am excited to go full steam ahead into the classes and training. I'm excited to shop for furniture for our bedrooms to make the rooms complete for foster children. I'm excited to meet our future children!!

I can't wait to fill their little closets with clothes and toys and books. I can just picture Jack and I reading to them before bed and waking up in the morning to their precious faces. What an amazing day it will be when we get to Christmas shop for these little kids. I am so excited to fill their hearts with joy every day of the year, I'm so excited to be able to be a part of this. I'm so incredibly blessed for the opportunity to shine the love of Christ through us and be able to show these children what that perfect love feels like!

I can't stop imagining the precious moments that we will get to be a part of. The things we will get to share and teach. The sound of happy children playing with the animals, the vision of Jack giving the kids a ride on the tractor as he mows the lawn. These are all the dreams we've held on to for the last three years, and they can come true!

God has prepared our hearts for this. I'm so humbled by the opportunity to experience parenthood. I'm so grateful to be able to fall in love with my husband all over again as I watch him be a father to these fatherless children, and I can't wait for him to see me as a mother to these children.

I just can't stop thanking God for such an amazing husband to go through this journey with and rejoicing over an opportunity to experience something we had all but stopped dreaming that we might have.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Foster Parenting Seminar Q&A with Jack and Allison

  • Are you glad you went tonight?
Jack - Yes.
Allison - Definitely.
  • Before you went did you feel sure one way or another?
Jack - I would say before we went I was at 90% sure we would do it.
Allison - I think I was probably about the same.
  • After you've gone to the seminar, do you feel sure one way or another? Is it different from what you felt before going to the seminar?
Jack - Yes, I feel sure. The reason I would say I feel slightly different is that I feel like there is more of a support system with the agency than I thought there was going to be. Because of that support system, I feel less like we're on our own and if there is any problems we will have help getting through them.
Allison - The seminar definitely cementedme wanting and feeling like this was what we are supposed to do. It's only different from before because I felt anxious about the seminar because of my strong reaction to the domestic infant adoption seminar we went to and that my reaction to that was so strongly not what I expected... so I was worried I would be blindsided again, but happily, I feel very sure this is what we are called to do. I left there feeling lifted up in that yes, we can do this and on top of that, wow, with this agency we are going to have a LOT more support than I ever imagined.
  • Did you feel like all of your questions were answered sufficiently?
Jack - Yes.
Allison - Yes. And I also feel like if I thought up any more questions that they would be thoroughly answered if I called the agency or emailed any one of the workers there.
  • Were you surprised by anything?
Jack - Yes. A couple things... The percentage rate of kids that don't get reunited with their families... over 50% that are not reunited with their families are adopted either by their foster parents or another family waiting to adopt them. And that Foster Parents are usually chosen as priority over other family members. So if you had a child in your home for 18 months and the parental rights were terminated, the foster family would be given precedence over other family members since the child has bonded and has forged a relationship with the Foster Family.
Allison - A lot of things actually, I was pleasantly surprised that you can absolutely have your foster kids in bunk beds, that you are allowed to take your foster kids up north on vacation whenever you want as long as it doesn't interfere with a parental or family visit or some other type of appointment that was already set up. That they don't care what type or how many animals you have in the home. Another thing that surprised me was some of the asinine questions that other prospective foster parents asked lol... like one woman asked, "After you adopt a child, what are you financially responsible for?" The caseworkers just looked at her like she had three eyes... um... Everything? Duh! I was surprised about the same things as Jack too.
  • Is there anything that you are not looking forward to in the process because of the way they explained it?
Jack - I don't think so.
Allison - I'm kind of not looking forward to driving to Madison Heights for all of the training but that's not even that big of a deal.
  • Do you foresee any issues?
Jack - I can't really see anything bad happening that I know for sure is going to happen. Besides developing a relationship with this kid and having to give it back and being heartbroken.
Allison - I am nervous about family and friends' support. It's really not like we're not used to be treated differently as a couple who struggles with infertility, but I'm worried that the same thing will happen to us with ignorant people making ignorant comments like we're not REAL parents. But then again, situations like this really weed out who is important and worthy of being kept in your life and who isn't. So that's really the only thing I think I'm going to struggle with that I just don't know who or if anyone is going to turn out that way in our lives. Infertility was like that with a lot of our friends. Some were angry by it, some were flat out insensitive and horrible and others just were indifferent where a few were supportive. I'm worried that we are going to lose even more friends over it, but if that's what it comes down to, then so be it I suppose. And of course the normal, just like Jack said, falling in love and letting go.
  • Do you feel like there is adequate support offered by the agency?
Jack - Yeah definitely.
Allison - Yes! I was very happily surprised. The ladies who did the seminar seemed very down to earth and more than willing to help and joke and get through the process as smoothly as possible with them doing as much of the grunt work as they can to make it as easy as possible on us.
  • Are you comfortable with your choice of the agency?
Jack - Yeah. I don't know what any other one is like, but I don't see any reason to even look.
Allison - Yes! I couldn't be happier, especially that the first thing that they started with at the seminar was Bethany's mission statement.

  • Did you have an age range in mind before going to the seminar? Is it different after the seminar?
Jack - Before the seminar, I thought newborn to 9 years old. After the seminar, newborn to 7 ish depending on circumstances.
Allison - Same as Jack. It sort of dawned on us that some children go through puberty at 8 or 9 years old and we are just not prepared to deal with that sort of thing yet, so it would definitely be a case by case situation where we would decide if that was something that we could handle.
  • Was there anything that you thought was one way before going to the seminar and after, you learned you were incorrect?
Jack - Foster parents being at the top of the list when the children get put up for adoption. Also that they are more lenient for rules than I thought they would be, I thought everything would be extremely regulated and there doesn't seem to be as much as I thought there would be.
Allison - I think a lot of what I thought was one way but turned out to be incorrect was actually things that were told to me by people who acted like they could speak with authority on the subject but really they had no idea. Bunk beds being allowed was one thing. Another was the type of pets we have. Another was children of opposite sex being allowed to share a bedroom up until a certain age. Another was children of the same sex sharing a bed as long as it is a full size bed or larger. Really, as with any situation that isn't very common, there is a lot of misinformation and a lot of ignorant people who think they know way more than they do and try to talk with some authority. One more thing was that this woman told me was that in Michigan, the parents have basically unlimited amount of time to get their stuff together before their parental rights are terminated. Which that was one thing that really bothered me, I couldn't imagine living in limbo with a child that you were raising for 10 years and their parents just got time and time and time and time again to get their stuff together, it turns out the real fact is that they have about a year, depending on what the situation that their birth family is in and then after that the agency and the state pushes for a termination of parental rights so that the child has a chance to stay in a stable loving home, instead of spending the rest of its life indefinitely in limbo.
  • Did you learn anything?
Jack - Basically what I learned was all the stuff we've already talked about in these questions. I did learn some things but I didn't leave there feeling like, "wow, I had no idea what this was like!" I feel like I had a pretty good grasp of the situation before we even got there.
Allison - Pretty much, I learned to take what people who have no idea what they're talking about say with a grain of salt. Even if your brother and sister-in-law did foster parenting 5 years ago or 10 or 25, a lot of laws have changed and statues and regulations have changed. Requirements from one agency to the next are different. States are vastly different from one to the next with what they require. Unless you're going through the same agency, doing the exact same type of program, wanting to do the exact same type of kids with the same types of needs... you probably have a very small idea of what you're talking about compared to our situation. It changes that much from situation to situation. Another problem too is that when people pass on misinformation, it makes it so that people who were more than willing to open their homes to children in need, are suddenly put off by this misinformation and never make the leap to see for themselves. So because of spreading misinformation and ignorance, more children are left in need.
  • After going to the seminar, was there anything that you didn't realize you would have to decide that now you are going to have to deal with?
Jack - There's a lot more visits with the birth family than I thought there was, not that it's a bad thing, there's probably twice as much as I thought there was going to be. I guess that's something to deal with. I didn't realize that they would have such a specific discipline system for each problem set in place. That's kind of a good thing, and I say that as someone who believes that any kind of authority needs to stay the heck out of my house. For this situation it's a good thing because these statues and systems are put in place as tried and true ways to successfully discipline children that come from abuse or neglect.
Allison - I think I had a pretty good idea of what children would be like. I know that every situation is different and I am very happy to know that at any time, if there is a situation where we are at our wits end with how to deal with, we can always call the social worker.
  • Are you going to go ahead with foster parenting?
Jack - Until God closes the door.
Allison - Ditto Jack. I definitely left the seminar feeling more sure of our decision and our calling and instead of feeling unsure, I felt like there was even more support out there than I could have ever imagined. I'm ready for the next step in this adventure! I'm so excited and thrilled at the possibility of being parents. I also feel like we are in such a different situation to go forward through this because of our struggle with infertility. It just makes me feel like with how long we have waited to become parents and everything we have gone through and how much our marriage has gone through with the infertility struggle, that God has prepared our hearts for the foster parenting more so than the average family who wants to add more kids later. God made us both with a desire to have a family and to have our lives revolve around our family and when He didn't allow for us to conceive children, it has molded our hearts to not take for granted whatever children He does bring into our lives and also, I think the infertility struggle has changed us in that we will appreciate whatever time He does choose to give us. Where if we had not struggled with infertility, we would in no way have as big of an idea of what a precious gift each minute that we get to be parents is. So for however long God chooses to allow us to be parents and to whomever He chooses to bring into our home, we will be very grateful and we will know that these are the plans He has for us. So we will continue until God closes the doors or closes our hearts.

Direction and guidance

Today, I woke up with a purpose. I woke up immediately thinking about the seminar for Foster Parenting that we are going to this evening. I began to pray for guidance and direction that we might know exactly which path to take.

I picked up my book and my cell phone and brought it downstairs and started a load of laundry. I sat down to catch up on emails and blogs in my Google Reader. One of the messages in my inbox today was from the Daily Word.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011
GUIDANCE
I am conscious of divine direction and follow its guidance.

Many thoughts float across my mind each day. I may have difficulty discerning what is right for me to do in any particular situation. Stepping aside for a moment of silence, I rest my awareness on the wisdom of my soul.

In the silence, the chatter of my thoughts begins to fade. Error thoughts have no power. In the silence there is clarity and I am conscious of divine direction, revealing the next step for me to take.

Whether the path ahead appears easy or challenging, I trust everything needed has been and will be provided. I walk a spiritual path of unfolding good, and in faith, I am guided each step of the way.

When you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."--Isaiah 30:21

Then, I get an email from Family Christian. All coupons and advertisements for books and music and videos about sharing your faith with your kids. I'm really excited to get this seminar this evening. I hope that both Jack and I feel the pull and hear very clearly, "This is the way; walk in it."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines day to my wife

Happy Valentines day to my pretty wife. I love you so much!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Happy Valentines Day

For God so loVed the world.............
.......That He gAve...............................
..............his onLy.................................
.............BegottEn................................
....................SoN..................................
........................That whosoever shall
.......Believeth In Him.........................
...........Should Not perish...................
........But have Everlasting life...........
..................John 3:16............................

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know that Valentine's day is completely a greeting card holiday, but I do think it's important to try to focus on what it means. Supposedly Valentines Day is the holiday to celebrate love, right?

I thought it would be the perfect time to share an email I got from GotQuestions.org.

What does it mean that God is Love?

Let’s look at how the Bible describes love, and then we will see a few ways in which God is the essence of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). This is God's description of love, and because God is love (1 John 4:8), this is what He is like.

Love (God) does not force Himself on anyone. Those who come to Him do so in response to His love. Love (God) shows kindness to all. Love (Jesus) went about doing good to everyone without partiality. Love (Jesus) did not covet what others had, living a humble life without complaining. Love (Jesus) did not brag about who He was in the flesh, although He could have overpowered anyone He ever came in contact with. Love (God) does not demand obedience. God did not demand obedience from His Son, but rather, Jesus willingly obeyed His Father in heaven. “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). Love (Jesus) was/is always looking out for the interests of others.

The greatest expression of God's love is communicated to us in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8 proclaims the same message: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can see from these verses that it is God's greatest desire that we join Him in His eternal home, heaven. He has made the way possible by paying the price for our sins. He loves us because He chose to as an act of His will. Love forgives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

So, what does it mean that God is love? Love is an attribute of God. Love is a core aspect of God’s character, His Person. God’s love is in no sense in conflict with His holiness, righteousness, justice, or even His wrath. All of God’s attributes are in perfect harmony. Everything God does is loving, just as everything He does is just and right. God is the perfect example of true love. Amazingly, God has given those who receive His Son Jesus as their personal Savior the ability to love as He does, through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1, 23-24).


So I hope you spend the day living and loving in the way God intended. God is love and to know God is to know true, unconditional, unwavering, perfect love.

I love you Jackie Lee :)

Lots of reading... books 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19/75

I'm making some headway with my reading that's for sure. I finished another series this weekend.

The Firstborn Series by Karen Kingsbury... was recommended by a friend. It was great, I couldn't put it down.

Fame by Karen Kingsbury
Fame is the first book in the soul-stirring new Firstborn series from Karen Kingsbury. As Dayne Matthews returns to Hollywood after his shocking discovery in Karen's best-selling novel Reunion, he faces the dangerous world of fame and paparazzi. Meanwhile, Katy Hart receives the offer of a lifetime--starring opposite Dayne in a Hollywood film. Dayne and Katy's choices will change their hearts and lives forever.

Forgiven by Karen Kingsbury
A-list Hollywood actor Dayne Matthews wrestles with the shocking information he learned about his past in Karen's bestselling novel Reunion. Now Dayne must come to terms with the reality of his situation and find both forgiveness and family along the way.

Found by Karen Kingsbury
John Baxter hires a private invstigator to fulfill his wife's dying wish--that they find their firstborn son and make him part of the Baxter family. Meanwhile top Hollywood actor Dayne Matthews undergoes a personal search for truth despite great loss, and Christian Kids Theater director Katy Hart makes a decision that could take her from the simple life she has grown to love.

Family by Karen Kingsbury
In the wake of finding his firstborn son, John Baxter looks for a way to tell his other children the truth about a secret he's kept from them all their lives. At the same time, a sensational Hollywood trial brings Dayne Matthews and Katy Hart together again, this time in a very public way. Just when love might have the chance to win, doubts and presumed scandals place them farther apart than ever. In the midst of this crisis, the truth is clear for all of them: never has family been more important.

Forever by Karen Kingsbury
Katy Hart is thrilled about her future with Hollywood's Dayne Matthews. But as she plans a wedding and looks for a house on the shores of Lake Monroe, she receives tragic news. Now she and the members of the Baxter family must travel to Los Angeles and sort through their options. While paparazzi open fire on the Baxter family, Luke Baxter must wrestle with feelings that have troubled him for nearly a year. Ultimately, the Baxter family must pull together one last time in an act of service and love to help Katy and Dayne find what they've always been looking for—a chance at forever.


I really did love this series. I didn't want to stop reading and each time I finished a book, I went into the other room to pick up the next in the series. This one did not disappoint. I'm a little over 25% of the way to my goal.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Finished bedroom pictures

All the walls are painted and the temporary furniture is back in place. We need to finish the closet with a garment hanging rod and the closet needs to be painted.







(I was pretty amazed at how the afghan that I made years ago matched perfectly.)

Right now, there is a queen sized bed and a rocking chair with an ottoman in front of it.

Eventually, the plan is to have a twin sized bed and a crib with a dresser and place to change diapers, along with the rocker and ottoman and possibly a small dresser too. The closet is pretty big, so that should hold quite a bit!

I also plan to put curtains up and recover the rocking chair.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bedroom progress pictures

























Today, I plan to do a second coat before I head off to work. I'm hoping I have enough paint left to do it. I might just have to make a home depot run to buy a quart or something just to finish the job!

Jack and I really love the color! I can't wait to see what it looks like with furniture! Cross one more item off my resolutions list!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy birthday to my wife

I wanted to tell my beautiful wife, Mrs. Irons, that loved spending the whole busy day with her, yesterday, on her birthday.

Now that you've closed the chapter of 25 years of life, I pray that all of our life chapters we spend together are spent serving God together, growing closer to God together, and opening our home up for as long as God wants us to. You are a huge blessing to me, and I love you very much. I can't even describe how much God has blessed me by giving you to me as my wife.

P.S. I can't wait to see your pretty hair when I get home!

Happy Birthday to me!


I'm 25 years old... My birthday was yesterday! It's hard to believe...

Jack and I woke up early and went shopping at Target. They had a lot of great deals on bulk food and we also got me a few shirts from the clearance rack.

After Target we went to a coney for breakfast. I got biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs and coffee. Jack got a meat lovers omelette with hashbrowns.

Then we went home and picked up the dogs and went to the dog park for a few hours. We were surprised how many people were there! I would guess there was between 75-100 dogs. It was a little cold but the dogs had a blast.

We left the dog park and headed to Jack's parents house. They had some mail for us at their house we have been needing to pick up. We visited for a little while and had a good little visit. Jack's mom gave me a bunch of quilting magazines that her cousin sent her.

Then we headed home, the dogs were exhausted and we were exhausted. We got home and watched While You Were Sleeping, a cute Sandra Bullock romantic comedy. My mom came over and made chicken fajitas and brought me a homemade cheesecake for my birthday cake.

When my mom left, my little brother had stopped by and Jack helped him unload his truck. Then my girlfriend Jocelyn (the girl who owns and runs the nursing home where I work) says they got a new puppy and asks if I want to come meet her.

We throw on our coats and run out the door to go hold the most adorable little white fluff ball. The last I heard, they are thinking about naming her Mona.











She is so cute! I'm so glad that every day at work I can get my cuddly puppy fill, but then I don't have to go through the stress and fun of puppy training again. LoL!

Now today, I'm getting my hair done at 9am and then bringing Bessie over to Jocelyn's to meet the girls. And then I'll head over to Home Depot and pick up a gallon of paint for the other bedroom. I might just get that completely painted today! I do need to spackle it today too. I am very excited that Jack and I finally picked a color for that too.
That was a hard decision.




Indecision at its finest. I'll post a picture later on today or tomorrow as a before and after reveal!


Friday, February 4, 2011

My birthday weekend!

It's Friday, I'm off work, and it's my birthday weekend!! What's a birthday weekend you ask? Instead of one day being my very special day where I can do whatever I want, I have a weekend. And if my birthday is a Wednesday... an entire week!

I don't know exactly what my plans are for this weekend yet... Usually I have them planned out weeks in advance, but for some reason I've been very indecisive.

Tell me if I'm a total old lady for this... (By the way, I'm turning 25 on Sunday.)

Tonight is Friday night, and I want nothing more than as soon as my husband gets home, to go to Home Depot, buy some grout cleaner and some green scrubbing pads and scrub my tile floor in my kitchen, dining room and hallway and front entryway. We have a LOT of tile! And, a lot of dirty grout! Then I'm going to run my new birthday present around the whole house... (My Dyson Animal Vacuum!)

Then tomorrow I think we are going to head back out into the woods and maybe fell some trees or try to find more already fell trees and cut up the wood to add to our wood pile. Jack and I have a lot of fun doing that. (Especially since we bought my carhartt overalls! Picture of that to come.) Tomorrow night might involve dinner, possibly a movie... not sure yet.

Sunday we have Sunday school before church. Our church has a growth series that they are starting up. I'm pretty excited about it! And then church, and then after church, I think we might go to lunch or something else fun. Maybe the dog park!

And Monday, I'm getting my hair done.

It's going to be a great weekend :)


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tagged!

Thanks to Heather, whose blog I stalk read! I love surveys! I think they're super fun and I'd love to play along.


1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or are they members of your family?
We have 3 furry children. Kitty - born August 19, 2006. Bessie - born December 25, 2007. Dixie - born April 4, 2010. Since I know all of their birth dates, even the kitty's... It's pretty obvious that they're family members right? Mother-In-Law, Father-In-Law and my mom all refer to them as grandkitty and granddogs. (Well okay, maybe father-in-law doesn't say it out loud but he thinks it in his heart, I know it.)

2. If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be?
Never have trouble conceiving children for the rest of our lives.

3. what is the one thing most hated by you?
Sounds that come from the mouth. Breathing, chewing, smacking, swallowing... all of that... drives me up a wall!

4. what would you do with a billion dollars?
Tithe. Pay off our house. Go on a long vacation. Save a LOT. Buy the dogs new dog beds ;)

5. what helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
That's a toughie... Ask Jack, he'll tell you... when I'm in a bad mood, I pretty much have to go to bed and hope tomorrow I don't wake up still grumpy.


6. which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
Being loved I think... but they are pretty close.

7. what is your bedtime routine?
Jack lets the dogs out, I brush my teeth, check my email, read my bible app on my phone, play a game on my phone, giggle and talk with Jack and mess with his pillow while he's getting ready for bed and eventually tire out and go to sleep.

8. if you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?
Happily married. Headed towards our 4th wedding anniversary! Met my husband through my sister.

9. if you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?
Ummmm I'm not sure. I would love to watch Sherry from Young House Love shop at her favorite stores for sure. I love home decor and I never can pick up just the right piece to make the room look complete. I would also love to watch an artist paint a picture. I would love to listen to a musician write a song. I pretty much love all creativity :)

10. what kinds of books do you read?
I LOVE to read. I love Amish fiction, Christian fiction of any kind, regency novels, historical fiction, novels about quilters. And I love the Bible. Check out my book list on the side for what I have recently read. One of my 2011 Resolutions was to read 75 books this year. While working 2 jobs and around 45-50 hours a week, I have still read 14 books! Love it!

11. how would you see yourself in ten years time?
Way more in love with Jack, Lots of kids, house almost all the way paid off (if not all the way!), loving the soccer mom life.

12. what’s your fear?
Losing Jack.

13. would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to visit outer space?
I have no desire to go to outer space. I'll see all that when I go to Heaven. But I suppose there are some things on this Earth I might give up junk food forever for... like... to get pregnant, heck yeah.

14. would you rather be single and rich or married, but poor?
married.

15. what’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Try to talk myself out of whatever I have planned that morning that is making me get up.

16. if you could change one thing about your spouse/partner what would it be?
He's God's work in progress, not mine!

17. if you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?
I already got a new name when we got married :) But I love my name.


18. would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special
someone has done?
I know that I am called to do that and commanded to do that, but I do struggle with forgiveness. And I don't believe the Bible tells us to forget. We have to be wise. Our Pastor gave us a wonderful example of this principal one time we were struggling with forgive and forget. We just could NOT forget what happened and because we couldn't forget, we acted differently and we thought there was something wrong with that. He kindly explained to us that there was nothing wrong with that! He said, If I came over to your house for dinner and we all had a great time and then I went home and you noticed that your wallet was missing out of your purse. And You call me up and say, Hey Pastor Jim, have you seen my wallet? And I answer ya, "Yeah, I took it. And I spent all your money too." What are you supposed to do? Well you are supposed to forgive me. So next time when you have me over for dinner, do you leave your wallet out? NO. You need to be smart.

19. if you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
I could never eat just one thing for 6 months... I would get so sick of it!



The people who I know who normally blog haven't been keeping them up lately, so anyone who wants to play along go for it!!

Luke 1:37

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

For Valentine's Day this year, Jack and I are heading to Bethany Christian Services to attend a Foster Care seminar. I can't wait for this incredible experience to begin! I'm terrified for these children who are in this situation and I'm scared to death how much this is going to break my heart over and over again. I'm anxious to do what God is calling us to do and I know He will be faithful and He will carry us through this whole experience. I can't stop thinking about how soon we may just hear the pitter patter of little feet running through our house... or maybe the cry of a newborn throughout the night. Or maybe we will need to help a first grader learn to read and help them with their homework... just maybe!

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Ephesians 1:5.

Each and every child He brings into our home was appointed by Jesus himself, and I can't wait to see what he has in store for us!

Book 14/75 Completed!

Divine by Karen Kingsbury

Mary Madison was a child of unspeakable horrors, a young woman society wanted to forget. Now a divine power has set Mary free to bring life-changing hope and love to battered and abused women living in the shadow of the nation's capital.

Mary is educated and redeemed, a powerful voice in Washington, D.C.—both to the politically elite and to other women like her. But she also has a past that shamed polite society. Her experiences created in her paralyzing fear, faithlessness, addiction, and promiscuity. At the crossroads of her life, only one power set Mary free and gave her a lifetime of love and hope. A power that could only be divine.

(From back cover.)

This was an amazing book. I cried almost the whole way through it. Divine is about the bondage of sin and this world and the only way to be set free, the saving grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. This book talks about child abuse so obscene and terrifying, you can't help but put the book down and take a few minutes to re-group. Divine also talks about drug abuse. Although there is nothing graphically described, you can certainly understand what happens. Check out this story about a modern day Mary Magdalene who is set free from bondage and how God uses her to make a difference in the world.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book 13/75 Finished Today

Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

In between a checkered past and a fairytale future, a decision awaits. Brad Cutler, twenty-eight, is a rising star at his New York ad agency, about to marry the girl of his dreams. Anyone would agree he has it all---a great career, a beautiful and loving fiancee, and a fairy tale life ahead of him ... when memories of a high school girlfriend begin to torment him. Lost innocence and one very difficult choice flood his conscience, and he is no longer sure what the future will bring except for this: He must go back to the shores of Holden Beach in search of his first love, and a forgiveness neither of them has ever known. Three people must work through the repercussions of a decision made long ago before any of them can look toward a new future.
(From back cover.)

This book really struck me hard. I have never read a book so intimate about the decisions surrounding and consequences following an abortion. Shades of Blue covers how deeply the woman is affected by her decision through the whole process, the actions and behaviors inside a clinic where the abortion was performed, the declaration that she wasn't pregnant with a baby, just "a mass of cells" as we have far too many times heard pregnancy described. Then this book details the rest of these people's lives spent regretting their decision and always wondering, What if? It was a heartbreaking journey as Karen Kingsbury described how much pain is involved in such a massive decision to choose to end a life.

Furthermore, this book really spoke to me about judging other people. Luke 37:41-42 says, And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. It really spoke to me today about the quickness we are to judge another's situation, but we are not without sin ourselves. We have no room to judge another. How can we look at another as though we have never been tempted or been in a situation where we have done something unfavorable, or that we are not proud of? Not one of us on this Earth is that way. All of us have done something or another that we regret, and only true forgiveness can set us free from that bondage.

But ultimately, the greatest and strongest chord that struck me more than the rest of the pain and suffering of these two teenagers who made the choice they regretted for the rest of their lives, was the simple and unconditional forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The way He and only He can cover such an act, any act, with His LOVE and GRACE and His unending and unwavering forgiveness. Never can you make up for the wrongs that you've done in your life, but, whatever they are, God will always forgive you. He forgives before you even did whatever you believe to be unforgivable. Meet Him at the Cross. Where God gave His only Son for you and for everything you've done or you will do.

Snow day!

My idea of a perfect snow day! Curled up on the couch with a book!


It looks like we got about 9" of snow. It's hard to tell with how windy it is.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another resolution!

#25 - Take a Vacation!

Jack and I have signed up for 2 different couple's events with our church. One of them is around Valentine's Day, it's called Date Night where we all go to Frankenmuth for dinner and hopefully hear a speaker or something. I'm not at all sure how these events work... so I am excited to do that with Jack. Plus Frankenmuth is great :)

I am not sure that a date night counts as a vacation, but it sure feels like it will!

We also signed up for a couple's retreat late in the spring at a ranch where we will be staying in a log cabin! At this retreat, we signed up for a trail ride also. I'm pretty pumped about that!! I think Jack and I are going to have a great time just focusing on each other with no distractions of every day life.

Book 12/75 Finished Today!

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his. But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything--his reputation, his inheritance, his very home. He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something. Moving, mysterious, and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.
(From the back of the book.)

I really liked this book. I love the Regency genre of books. This book had a little mystery in it and had me at the edge of my seat for a little while! I definitely give Julie Klassen two thumbs up. Wholesome yet wonderfully written. Great combo!