Entering the Season of Leaving: When Foster Parents say Goodbye

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Our days are numbered as our time with one of our foster teens is nearing the end. She has been in our home for over 6 months and sadly, she will soon be leaving. This is not our first time saying goodbye to a foster kid. It’s actually our sixth time saying goodbye.  But this time may be one of the hardest.

This dear girl came to us with amazing behavior but a lot of baggage. Ironically, I saw her in a dream about 4 months before I ever knew she existed. I still remember the day she got out of the car and I saw her through the window. My heart dropped because that was the same girl I had a dream about. I didn’t know what our relationship would be like but I knew it would be special.

Over the last 6 months, Steven and I have had the chance to show her love, teach her about God and watch her grow. She is not the same girl who came to live with us months ago. She has a happy facade now. Even though she is still struggling in some areas she has learned a lot. She even gave her life to Christ and got Baptized while here. I would like to say we can take credit, but it was a group of people who really showed her what life can be like when you have God.

Fostering is hard, especially when you have to say goodbye to kids who have impacted your life. She has become like a daughter of mine and it’s hard to see her leave. But I also have a peace about it. I feel ready to let her go because as a temporary mom — I feel like she is ready. We have taught her as much as we can while she was here. She has learned how to have God as her foundation — so I am proud to see what she will do as she gets older.

I have many people come up to us and say, “Oh, I couldn’t be a foster parent. I would get too attached. It would break my heart when they had to leave.” It’s funny because when people say that it’s as if they think we some how are NOT impacted by it. That we have a characteristic that allows us to say goodbye with ease. I am here to tell you we don’t. It hurts us all the same. But you know what, I don’t regret showing them love in the small amount of time they were in our home. Our home may be the only place they ever feel that love or are taught what a real family looks like. Why keep that from them? It will forever change their lives. Like our foster daughter — this experience has and will change the outcome of her future. Because we chose to love her and teach her about God.

As parents, we get 18 years with our kids. Yes, that’s a long time but your days are still numbered with them as well. We have a small time to make an impact and prepare them to leave. Yes, God calls every parent to prepare their children to leave their home. To teach them how to handle their own battles they will face as grownups. That’s why it is crucial to take every moment for granted. So really, fostering isn’t much different than parenting your own kids. You just get less time with them.

I am ready to see our girl enter her next journey. She will always have a seat at our table. She knows she is always welcome in our home. Even when she grows up to have a family of her own. I’m so thankful for the time God gave us with her. I pray that we really did make a big impact. That she will always remember us as a good memory in her life. Truth be told, foster kids need that so much. Many have childhoods filled with trauma and they need to see there is hope.

Even though it hurts to see her leave — it also opens ups another opportunity to love another teen girl who needs to hear she is worthy. I will always pray for all the girls we’ve had in our home and the ones yet to come.

I encourage you to open your home to kiddos who could use hope. Don’t be afraid of getting hurt because you have to see them leave so soon. Just love them and teach them as much as you can while they are with you. You never know how much their life may change.

When I Doubt, God Sends a Sweet Reminder

5 Ways to Introduce God to Foster Kids Without Being Pushy

Fostering Teens Who Are Surrounded By Weeds

 

Creating Beauty With Your Hands

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I wanted to share the last 3 ladies who will be a part of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.

Meet, Tiffany! Some of you may know she is my older sister. Tiffany is a wife and mother of two. She is one of the reasons I wanted to partner with women who own their own businesses. This lovely lady started Wortheymade 4 years ago. It started off as a hobby but it grew into a business that has brought an extra income for her family. Here’s how Tiffany decided on her business name.

“My business is named after my mom’s side of my family. I thought it would be a unique name and fun way to incorporate my heritage into my business.”

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Next up is, Debbie. Like many others, her business started because she saw a need in her own family. She wanted healthy and natural products for her family to use. So she decided to make her own. That’s how Grandma Bea’s got started.

“Home remedies personally made on our family farm in rural southeast Missouri. I create the products in small batches using natural ingredients to insure quality and freshness.”

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Last but not least is, Lauren. This lady has amazing talent. When she volunteered to be a part of this giveaway I was blown away buy her product. Once again, I can’t tell you what it is but you’ll know soon enough. Lauren started Creator’s Handiwork to change the work and help hopeless children. Lauren says her business was built on the Ephesians 2:10.

“Prayer is the backbone of Creator’s Handiwork. I’ve had the privilege of seeing God answer so many prayers and I love hearing stories of how God is using my gift to bless others!”

Now you know all the ladies involved in the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway. If you missed some of the other ladies then you can click on the links below.

Remember to mark your calendars for December 4th through December 15th for the giveaway.

 

When You See A Need That’s Bigger Than You

Meet The Women Behind The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Something Creative, Something Tasty and Something Encouraging

10 Ways to Survive a 12+ hour Car Ride With Small Kids

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You’re adding the last bag to the already full trunk. The kids are strapped in, you’ve got snacks and now you’re ready to hit the road. You pull out of the driveway. Head out of the neighborhood. But before you make it on the highway the kids are already getting frustrated in the back seat. You’ve made 5 minutes out of the 12+ hour trip. You begin to wonder if you’ll survive. Here are some ways to help a long road trip with young kiddos.

  1. Pack a lot of snacks. My 19-month-old daughter is all about snacks. When we go on trips we have to double up on stuff for her to eat. Otherwise she’ll be screaming in the backseat. The best thing to do is pack healthy snacks for your kids. I don’t like feeding my daughter while we’re going down the road, but sometimes I make an exception.
  2. Play music. My daughter loves music. Thankfully she doesn’t have to listen to kid style music. We put on some worship music or Christmas music to calm her down. We even play Disney songs. (Mostly for me and my husband so we can duet).
  3. Toys and activities. This is hard when you have a young one. Toddlers can only do so much in the backseat by themselves. So making sure they have a favorite toy helps. I also let her watch a movie on my cell phone. I put my phone on a selfie stick and then wedge between the seat and the car seat to where she can watch it hands-free. Of course, this is something I don’t like to do everyday, but sometimes road trips prompt you to do things out of the ordinary.
  4. Sit in the backseat. My daughter hates being in the back alone. It’s okay when we’re riding in town, but on trips sometimes we have to sit back there to keep her happy. This is a great time to read out-loud or maybe color together. Even work on words, letters and colors.
  5. Be prepared to stop every few hours. My husband and I are the type who get in the car and go. We don’t make a lot of stops. That is until we had our daughter. We’ve made several long road trips with her and have pretty much realized we need to stop every 2-3 hours. Depending on how she is doing. Every time we stop we change her diaper, give her a snack and massage her back and shoulders. This will help keep the little ones relaxed. You can only imagine what it’s like to be stuck in a car seat in one position. I would go insane too. When you stop make sure you and your spouse take care of gas and bathroom time as well.
  6. Dress the kiddos in comfy clothes. If you plan to be in the car for several hours then I would suggest to put them in pajamas or something comfortable. Also, make sure it’s easy for you to remove for diaper changes. If it’s cold outside make sure to put their coats, hats and shoes somewhere close if you take them into a gas station. Just remember to NEVER leave their coats or bulky clothes on when putting them back in the car seat. Instead bring a warm blanket.
  7. Be prepared for the unexpected. Each time we travel with Aurora it’s different. The first time she was 9 months old and slept almost 12 hours. The next time she stayed awake the full 12 hours needing LOTS of attention. So be prepared for changes. It’s never easy to go on road trips with kids but it’s possible. You know your kids the best. If you know they need lots of snacks then pack them. If you know they can’t be alone in the backseat then be prepared to switch out with your spouse. Just be patient and don’t get frustrated. Find ways to have fun.
  8. Pack the car for easy access. This is a big one. Before, I mentioned keeping coats and hats where you can grab them quickly. Make sure to do that with diapers, an extra change of clothes and whatever else the kids may need. The last thing you want to do is unload the car when it’s 30 degrees outside. The best way is to put those things in one specific bag. Maybe in the backseat.
  9. Prepare meals ahead of time. This has helped so much. If we know we’re eating dinner on the road we pack them in containers. For Aurora I make her meals like a sandwich, fruit, a cheese stick and crackers. I put all of that in a plastic container. So when it’s time to stop and eat dinner it’s ready to go. This will cut down on time spent off the road. We usually take her out of the car seat and let her eat with us holding her in our laps. We don’t like stopping at rest stops because they can be dangerous. Especially when it’s dark. We usually just pull in at a gas station. That way my husband and I can go to the bathroom and fill up on gas.
  10. Plan ahead. You can’t always be prepared for what a long road trip will bring with kiddos. But planning ahead and being organized is key. If you can do that then the trip won’t be as bad. Remember to be patient with your kids. It’s not easy for anyone to sit still in a car for hours. If the trip is taking longer…don’t worry. Enjoy the time with your family. Always look for ways to turn those frustrations into a fun time.

What’s the longest you’ve traveled with your kiddos?

Any tips on how to survive a long trip with young ones?

Meet The Women Behind The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

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Why I Don’t Have a Perfect Marriage After 3 Years

7 Ways to Tackle Your Long To-Do List

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My sink is full of dirty dishes. My living room has baby toys everywhere. I have piles of clean laundry needing to be folded. Why does it seem like nothing ever gets done?

Do you ever feel like you need a weekend to recover from a weekend? That has been my struggle for weeks. My job recently gave me Saturdays and Sundays off. Something I’ve been waiting on for years. I’m so thankful for more time with my husband and daughter, but weekends seem just as stressful as weekdays.

For the last 2 months, I’ve made To-Do lists for the weekend. Things I wanted to clean, accomplish, or repair that I didn’t have a chance to do during the week. My husband and I work opposite schedules throughout the week, so I thought weekends we can do double the work in little time.  At least that’s what I thought.

With countless home projects, cleaning lists, and trying to get out of the house; weekends were becoming overwhelming. It seemed like I never got a single thing done. On Monday mornings I would wake up to an unfinished list. How did we have two days but not get one of these items complete? I finally figured out why.

I was making a list of 20 things and expecting EVERY single item to be completed by Sunday night. My husband and I would kind of clean throughout the week. Making sure dishes weren’t overflowing our sink or keeping up with Aurora’s cloth diapers. But nothing major was getting done. That’s when I decided to change my expectations a little.

My husband and I recently sat down and talked about how chaotic the weekend seemed. He always wanted to get out of the house while I wanted to stay to FINALLY complete my to-do list. That’s when I decided to make a list of everything I wanted done. It may still be as long, but we give ourselves more days to finish.

Instead of working on the list just on weekends, my husband and I tackled things throughout the week. Each day,  we try to finish one item on the list. Maybe more depending on what it is. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt by the weekend. Yes, I still wanted to get a few things done. However, the list was way shorter. Weekends are finally becoming a time for family togetherness and relaxation. I’m no longer going into the beginning of the week stressed from not finishing my list.

I think as moms we try to do so much at once and then feel awful because our perfect vision was not completed. For me, I was putting so much pressure on myself that I had little time to enjoy life. Now,  I even have time on weekends for just me. My husband gives me a few hours just to unwind, write, or do something that allows me to relieve stress.

If this sounds like you, here are some ideas that could help you enjoy weekends a little more.

  1. Make a list of what you want done. Don’t expect to complete everything in ONE day!
  2. Prioritize your list. For example: dishes, laundry, doctors appointment and sweeping. Try to pick a few of them that day and work on completing them.
  3. Split the chores with your spouse. If you’re a stay at home mom, you can do a few things and give the rest to your husband when he comes home. Maybe you even have older children who can clean. Give them things to do. Don’t stress over HOW they’re cleaning. Just let them get the job done. Delegating is key.
  4. Don’t be hard on yourself if you DON’T finish in a day. Give yourself a break. You’re human.
  5. Find time for you. It could be going for a walk, drinking coffee while reading a book, or trying out a new recipe. Find something you can do for you. Try doing this while your little ones are taking a nap. If they don’t nap well, then wait until your spouse gets home. If you have older children, set a rule for quiet time each day.
  6. Ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse for help. Don’t throw them the list or kids when they walk in the door. But talk to your spouse about what you need. If you set realistic expectations for one another then you’ll find yourselves becoming less stressed.
  7. Most importantly… Take time with your family.  Checking off items on your to-do list may feel great. However, try not to let that be everything you do.  Even if that means the dishes sit in the sink a little longer. No matter how dirty your house may be, investing in your family is the most important.

Other moms, have you found a great way to balance your daily tasks and family life? I would love to hear your thoughts. You can even add a few more tips or ideas. You never know who it could help. Feel free to share in the comment area below. Also, if there is a mom struggling with her to-do list, don’t be afraid to share this blog.

Until next time,

Heather

 

Who Am I?

Who am I? Such a hard question to respond to when putting it on paper. Or should I say blog? Anyway, onto the question at hand.

My name is Heather. I’m starting this blog in hopes to encourage other mothers like myself, women or anyone really along the journey of life. Not just any journey. A healthy one. If you could see me now you would immediately click the back arrow on your browser and find something better to read. I’m not the best healthy version of myself. I’m overweight, getting little exercise and I still show evidence of having a baby. Maybe to some I still look pregnant. But that’s why I wanted to create this blog.

This will be a way to keep myself accountable when it comes to my spiritual, mental and physical overall health. I’m not writing about these things because I’m an expert. I’m writing because one day there is going to be someone searching the web to find another individual that is going through the same thing.

My blog somewhat targets moms, but not limited to them. I plan to write about my fitness journey along with my spiritual journey. I plan to post healthy food recipes along with workouts that I’m finding most beneficial. Before I begin blogging about life, here is a quick summary of me.

I’m currently working as a reporter in Indiana for a local news station. I have been in the business over five years. Believe it or not, I’ve wanted to do this job since I was about three years old. Even though it took me a while in college to remember my childhood dream.

10959546_10203808196347160_1516369543980492504_n  I’m married to one of the sweetest, kindest, God loving men I know. Long story short–I prayed for my husband Steven since I was 16 years old. The years I prayed most for my future husband were 2011 through 2014. I had just gotten out of a four year relationship so I decided single life was the best way to prepare myself as a wife. Three years I stayed single until I knew Steven was the man God had for me. We started dating in March of 2014. Got engaged August of the same year and were married on November 1, 2014. Then, there was Aurora.

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Aurora July 4th

We were nine months into our marriage when we found out we were expecting our first child. It was the same week we packed up all of our belongings and were moving from Mississippi to Indiana for my job. Our little girl greeted us on April 17, 2016. Now, she is three months old and I’m writing a blog.

13537774_10206982464541881_7554895730247734061_nI’m nowhere near the person I want to be. I look at every part of my life and see places I want to improve. I want to be healthier and fit. I want to be mentally rested. I want to have unfailing faith. I want people to KNOW I serve God with my whole heart. Most of all, I want to encourage others to do the same. Whatever your journey may be I hope my posts will find a way to help you with whatever goals you’re trying to accomplish.

Until next time,

Heather