June 2009

This past weekend was the annual Christian Women’s Retreat and Trail Ride, here in southern Saskatchewan. I was blessed by the amazing women attending, and the stories they shared. The theme was “Your Story in HIStory”. In other words, Testimony. Although I was facilitating the weekend, I had not written my testimony ahead of time. I thought it would be cool to wait and write mine at the same time the other women were writing their’s. So, as I’m sitting in the cabin and trying to write, with a squirmy Little Man “helping”, my thought was – Okay, this was really dumb! I SO should have written this ahead of time. Anyway, this is the testimony I wrote and shared with the ladies on the weekend.

Fear entered my life when my children were born. I remember being afraid that I would die and then who would take care of my children? I remember getting up to check on them twenty times a night when they were babies. I was fearful that something might happen to them while they were playing outside or at a friend’s house. I worried that my husband might lose his job, or we might have to move, or my children might not “turn out” okay.

But, the thing I was most fearful of was that God would ask me to do a hard thing. And really, that is what all those other fears boiled down to.

Then, I read Stormie O’Martian’s book, The Power of a Praying Parent, and out of that, God changed me in a couple of ways. First, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with fear. And, secondly, I learned to deal with my fears through prayer.

Now, when fear begins to take me over, I can pray and turn my fear over to God. Sometimes, I give God my fear several times a day! And, instead of feeling guilty for being fearful, God gives me peace.

After God helped me learn to deal with my fear, guess what happened? Some really hard things happened. And God has helped me face each situation with a measure of peace and with the knowledge that He is in control.

So now, Praise God!, I am at the point in my life when I can actually choose to do a hard thing. I can choose to bring a child into my home and love him with all of my heart, all the time knowing that the day will come when I will have to tell him goodbye.

My encouragement to you is to trust God to not only help you face the hard things in your life, but to sometimes even choose them.

“We need to think outside the box.”

I hear this expression kicked around a lot these days, and I’ve been thinking about it. The whole “box” thing. What is the box that we are supposed to be thinking outside of? Is it institutionalism? Or, is this just a phrase that encourages us to get out of whatever rut we are in? Is it supposed to inspire creativity? Or, the next great idea about whatever it is we are trying to “market”?

Maybe trying to think outside the box is a good thing. But, I wonder, am I really just building a different box? Or, maybe, just trying to make the box I am in a little more attractive or comfortable or exciting?

I am wondering if Jesus actually called us to LIVE outside the box. And if he did, what does that really mean? What I have discovered is that the box is still there, and while I might be trying to live outside it, and even raise my children outside it, I keep bumping into it!

My youngest son has the hardest time keeping track of his shoes. Mainly, because he takes them off whenever possible. He is a barefoot boy. Actually, I can relate.

The problem is that he is forever losing his shoes. For awhile I was purchasing new ones (cheap knock-off crocks, doncha know), but I decided I was going to stop doing that when I discovered that Carter had only four shoes left – one green shoe, one blue shoe, one orange shoe, and one black spiderman shoe.  So, here I am, laying down the law:

Mom: “Carter, this has got to stop. You MUST take care of your shoes. I am not going to buy you anymore shoes this summer. You will have to wear the ones you have.”

Carter: “Okay.”

Carter is presently wearing one green crock on his left foot, and a black spiderman crock on his right foot. No problem, Mom.

When we were in the park for the Summer Solstice Festival on Saturday, a friend brought his shoes to me, commenting that she recognized them as Carter’s when she saw them on the ground by the concession stand.

I am afraid that the lesson I was trying to teach him has gone over his head and instead the entire town now thinks I am too cheap to buy my kid decent shoes!

Last week, the boys and I camped in Moose Jaw at a little place called River Park Campground. I loved it. Could have stayed there for the rest of the summer!

We went up on Sunday afternoon. Lyndon rode his bike, and I pulled the trailer. It was my first time pulling the trailer, so I was a little nervous. All went well, though. We parked beside Lyndon’s mom and dad, who were also planning on staying for the week. Lyndon had to leave the next day for work, so it was just the boys and I.

Monday, Little Man had a visit with his mom. I did a little shopping in the morning, and spent the afternoon in the lawn chair. Our camp sites were on the bank of the river, where we could watch the kayaks and canoes, and birds. Into this peaceful setting came a bulldozer, so we were also treated to the experience of watching the demolition of a building which my mother-in-law remembers from when she camped in this same park with her family in the 40’s. (Back then, you could swim in the river. There was even a beach.) LM’s mom brought him back after supper, and we made plans to spend an afternoon together at the Crescent Park spray park the next afternoon, which we did, and which we all enjoyed. A friend from Gravelbourg drove up and joined us as well, so Tuesday was a fun, busy day.

The kids spent the rest of the week on their bikes, at the park, by the river … doing boy stuff. Little Man loved his stroller and we walked around the river several times. The lilacs were in full bloom, the baby robins were busy learning robin things, the weather was fabulous. It was really a wonderful week.

Lyndon got back Friday night. Saturday morning, we packed up and the boys and I headed home. Lyndon had to go back to Regina to work.

When the boys and I arrived home, we dropped the trailer off in the yard and headed into town for the annual Gravelbourg Summer Solstice Festival. Unfortunately, we had missed the children’s entertainment in the morning, but it was still a wonderful day. We spread out our blanket and enjoyed the atmosphere. The kids spent most of their time playing with other kids, and I visited friends and listened to some great music. It was almost 10:00 when we finally dragged ourselves away.

By yesterday (Sunday), though, I was starting to fade. We went to church in the morning, and then to Shamrock Park for a karate barbeque wind-up. I admit I was running out of steam by then. We spent the afternoon at the park, then came home and Tyson helped me load the water tank on the back of the truck. I ran for water, then ran back into town with the car for gas because today I need to take Little Man back to Moose Jaw for a visit. This will be his first overnight visit. A social worker will bring him back on Wednesday. So, I am feeling a little melancholy today.

No time for melancholiness, though, as I have the Christian Women’s Trail Ride this weekend, and Vacation Bible School in three weeks. I’m not ready yet for either of these events. So it will be a busy few weeks.

I kinda wish I was still camping!

We have been blessed with the presence of Little Man for about a month and a half, now. Keeping in mind that this is my first experience with the whole “foster mom” thing, I wanted to share some of the things that have been memorable, or interesting, so far.

Right off the bat, just know that I am totally and completely in love with this kid. If they would let me keep him, I would. But he is not mine. He has a mom. He is going to leave our family at some point and return to his real home. While it is a bizarre thing, to love someone as if he was mine while knowing he is not, it is the only way I can do this job. I have had lots of people say to me something along the lines of I could never take someone in as part of my family and then let him go. It would be too hard. Yes, it will be very hard. But who ever said doing the thing that you feel God wants you to do would be easy?

Fostering has not been without it’s challenges, though. It has been an adjustment for all of us. Carter, especially, has needed lots of reassurance that he has not been replaced by a cute baby. Carter, being Carter, has shown his feelings in lots of ways, but mainly by wanting more of my attention. More hugs, more snuggles, more assurances that he is loved. He has also figured out that if he is hugging me, Little Man will cry to be hugged. Yeah, the sibling rivalry thing exists between foster brothers, too. But so does brotherly love, and these two youngest boys spend hours each day playing together. In most ways, Carter loves being a Big Brother. He pulls Little Man around in his wagon, pushes him on the swing … it is great.

Once a week I take Little Man to visit his mom. The first few time were horrible. The procedure was to wait with Little Man in the back parking lot. Eventually, a social worker would come down and take him, screaming, from me. Then, four hours later, the back door would open and a social worker would hand him, screaming, back to me. I hated it and asked from the beginning if I could meet LM’s mom and hopefully have an easier exchange.

I have met her. Now, I just bring Little Man into the office waiting room. There is no trauma. Mom and I have a little visit. Each time I drop Little Man off, she seems more comfortable and shares a bit more about herself. Once, I drove her and Little Man to her house, and she invited me in for a minute to see Little Man’s room. Once, we saw them at the Mall, so Carter and I had lunch with them at the Food Court. Before long, I will probably just drop Little Man off at Mom’s house for visits.

I have to work at not being judgemental. And, truthfully, I like her. Above all, I pray she will be a good mommy for our Little Man. Because the day will come, sooner rather than later, when the first thing I do in the morning will NOT be to cut up an apple for a baby’s breakfast, when I will be able to type on the computer and NOT have a squirmy boy in my lap, when I will NOT need to change a diaper, and when I will NOT feel the arms of a Little Man around my neck.


I’ll reflect more later.

I am *writing* with a squirmy toddler on my lap. He is trying to drive a toy truck over my face.  It has been crazy days around here lately.

We finally took the plunge and bought a trailer. We have been looking for the last few years. We couldn’t decide on the kind of unit that would best suit our family… pull trailer, 5th wheel, truck camper. Each offers something different, and none offer everything we would like. So, we kept postponing the decision. Just before the May long weekend, however, I got busy and started looking online for something. I checked Kijiji, and the first RV listed was a trailer, with bunk beds, from Gravelbourg. I called the guy and looked at the trailer on Wednesday night. Lyndon got home Thursday night, looked at and bought the trailer on Friday morning, and we were licensed, packed, and on the road by noon!

It was definitely a crazy morning as we needed to be in Moose Jaw by 1:00 to pick up a little boy that we had agreed to take care of for the weekend. We were just a few minutes late. Grabbed some lunch, stopped by Superstore to stock up for the weekend, and we were on our way. We were settled at the campsite at Buffalo Pound, just north of Moose Jaw, by mid afternoon. Whew!

I loved camping with the trailer. The two older boys wanted to set up their tent, so it was just Lyndon, Carter, the two foster boys, and I in the trailer. It was a chilly weekend but we were warm and cozy. I loved being able to cook a pizza or a lasagna, shower the little kids, pee inside in the night. We ended up staying a couple of extra days, so we were there almost a week. I can’t wait to go again.

The following weekend, Lyndon had to work in Yorkton, so we got home from camping, did laundry, and packed everyone up again to go with him for the weekend. It was fun to be in the hotel for a few days. The Little Man loved the hot tub, but he wasn’t crazy about the pool. The other boys waterslided nonstop, with a few Discovery channel breaks. They got hooked on a show that compared different weapons or warriors throughout history to try to determine which would have been victorious.

There was a Jon and Kate marathon all weekend. I watched a couple of episodes since everyone was talking about them and their troubles. Whatever. The boys’ show was more interesting.

So… we have been gone a lot lately. It’s been fun, but has made life a little disjointed. I think I have made peace with the fact that this is just the way life will be for us, with Lyndon working out of town. The Little Man has been great. He is very adaptable and a good traveller.

Now, we are trying to settle into the last month of official school. I am also working on a presentation I am giving in a few weeks at the Christian Women’s Trail Ride, as well as preparing for our Vacation Bible School coming up in July. And, you know, all of the daily challenges that keep life interesting.

Sorry for the rather boring, catch up post today. I’ll try to be more prompt, and more interesting, next time! Here’s a story to share that shows how my kids keep me humble…

While browsing the “How To Raise Godly Kids” section at the Bible book store recently, I overheard Carter telling Colton to “Give that back, you big Butt Crack!” Yeah, just in case you thought we were perfect. Not.