Enjoying My Supporting Roll in God’s Story

Two years ago, a traumatic thing happened in our small town- an F4/5 tornado took out most of the businesses, tons of home including an entire neighborhood, and many lives were lost. This happened just over a year after my husband and I moved our family here to plant The Valley church.

We constantly pray for God to teach us how live missionally: to love the community we live in, show new ways of share His love right where people are at in their lives, and grant us favor so door will be open to lead people to Him. That night in April, God handed us just that, on a filthy, demolished platter perfect for serving the hurt and searching town He sent us here to server.

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The days following the storm, my husband and I were overwhelmed with the support from all the networks we had been apart of, long and short term. I was too much to keep up with. I often felt like I'd been given this huge responsibility and I was failing by not being able to manage all the help He was sending our way. Things have slowed down over the past two years...well, in comparison to those crazy couple months to after the storm.

This year as I scrolled through my archived private messages and "memories" on Facebook, I was overcome with guilt all over again. How I didn't answer some of the lost messages from friends and acquaintances, timeline post I wasn't sure I handed well enough, and most of all the lack of appreciation I didn't show those how fought through the pile off notifications to help us. I had high hopes of sending formal Thank You cards, letters of how prayers were answered, gifts were used, and just how very loved I felt. Even now, satan is making my insides hurt with remorse because I am so VERY thankful to be a minor character in this beautiful thing we are living.

God has taken these two years to reassure me that while we are all just supporting rolls, in God's story, that all points to Jesus, they're all important I have shared before that I often give up on things because I see someone else doing it, and likely way better. BUT God has plans and invites us to join the adventure of going on it with Him.  We aren't called us to compare ourselves to others but rather support one another's part in the story.

Don't become arrogant when God's story starts playing out in front of you.

That's where focus is changed from what's most important or players get pulled.

Don't forget that the sun doesn't revolve around you.

The ONE who created light without that sun is where our focus should remain so we stay in the light.

Keep at the front of your mind, that EVERY story in this world points back to Jesus; whether it's acknowledged or not.

I want to make sure the story I'm in gives all glory where it belongs.

I guarantee you that this high schooler in our town was organizing volunteers sent her direction way better than I was. BUT God sent certain people along my path in life for such a time as this. He ask that I play a part in their story involving my town.

I know many of the women who worked the Play Place with me after the storm could have run it better, shared our story better, and accomplished more. BUT God ask that I run with it amidst my poor relational, communication, and organizational skills.

I promise, there were hundreds of other kids in our town that could have offered input on the new playground. BUT God saw fit to have my daughter and I as part of that planning team.

From schools, trips, camps, ministries, neighborhoods, and places we've passed through in live all showed up when God was ready for things to pan out that He's been writing since before I was born. Do you ever feel like you're not playing the part you want in the story of life? Be encouraged! Every [seemingly] small part in a story is valued.

When God ask you to play a repetitive, type-cast roll, Say Yes! When God invites you to play an unexpected drop-in roll, Say Yes! Because you never know when your story will change and there will be a big BUT GOD right after your YES!

Enjoying My Supporting Roll in God's Story

Thank you, to at least 2 different countries, 14 different states, 37 different US towns, and MORE than 61+ different friends/acquaintances who shared a part in our Vilonia Tornado chapter through asking for prayer from their friends, collecting donations, sending necessities/gift cards/monetary support, delivered items, helped with clean up, and so much more! These are just the names I could find on my Facebook timeline and private message history not including my husbands:

  1. Brittany Thompson- Ervington, AL
  2. Kelsey Harris- Arkadelphia, AR
  3. Danna Magness-  Batesville, AR
  4. Morgan Smith- Batesville, AR
  5. Shadrack and Mellissa Black- Batesville, AR
  6. Amy Howard- Benton, AR
  7. Kathryn Doland- Bethel Heights, AR
  8. Jessica Colley- Centerton, AR
  9. Kim Stiles- Conway, AR
  10. Morgan Williams- Conway, AR
  11. Molly Jones- Conway, AR
  12. Janna Chaffin- Dalton, AR
  13. Cheryl Patterson- El Dorado, AR
  14. Craig Herring- El Dorado, AR
  15. Dana Rumph- El Dorado, AR
  16. Deedra Nash- El Dorado, AR
  17. Wanda Deason- El Dorado, AR
  18. Hannah Henderson- Fayetteville, AR
  19. Kelly Malancon- Fayetteville, AR
  20. Sally Acosta- Fayetteville, AR
  21. Johnathan Stoner- Floral, AR
  22. Brandi Shinn- Greenbrier, AR
  23. Cristin Jensen- Greenbrier, AR
  24. Terri Nicholson- Greenbrier, AR
  25. Amy Whisenhunt- Greenland, AR
  26. Cindy Brantly- Little Rock, AR
  27. Shane Harris- Little Rock, AR
  28. Samantha Grant- Magnolia, AR
  29. April Winn- Marmaduke, AR
  30. Cathey Griffin- Parker's Chapel, AR
  31. Fran Brotherton- Parker's Chapel, AR
  32. Heather Gilmore- Parker's Chapel, AR
  33. Jennifer McNab- Parker's Chapel, AR
  34. Rita Snow- Parker's Chapel, AR
  35. Rob and Amanda Waggoner- Parker's Chapel, AR
  36. Julie Beavers- Pine Bluff, AR
  37. Jessy Cutrell- Star City, AR
  38. Doreen Keim- Siloam Springs, AR
  39. Ashley Hall- Strickler, AR
  40. Anja Spadoni- White Hall, AR
  41. Candace Achorn- White Hall, AR
  42. Shannon Paldino- Orlando, FL
  43. Kate Stoner- Keokuk, IA
  44. Jam'e Brown- Wichita, KS
  45. Katie Archer-, Ruston, LA
  46. Rebecca Dorobis- Rockport, MA
  47. Patrick Sherrill- Alpena, MI
  48. Karen DeBeus- Hope, NJ
  49. Sami Roe- Midwest City, OK
  50. Scott Jenkins- Norman, OK
  51. Edna Cain- Sapulpa, OK
  52. Betty Lin-Fisher- Akron, OH
  53. MaryAnn Waltz- Milford, OH
  54. Kathy Metivier- TX
  55. Christine Hurt- Orem, UT
  56. Abigail Assam- Lynchburg, VA
  57. Heather Rennie- Aberdeen, Scotland
  58. Jenny Sim- Aberdeen Scotland
  59. Rachael Underwood- Insch. United Kingdom
  60. Betty Pennington- ?
  61. Justin and Crystal Murphy- ?

 Thank You for playing your part in God's story!!!

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Foster Family Organization: Meal Time Essentials

One of the organizational systems in our house is this lazy susan on the table.
kitchen table

It helps makes keep essentials on the table so we don't have to locate them every meal time. The items we keep in the center of the table are napkins, hand sanitizer, salt and pepper, hot plates, and occasionally vitamins. I always loved this heavy wooden lazy susan but never bought one. We've used several different plates just sitting on top of the cheap plastic one we already had. It worked okay but the decorative plates I used weren't flat so you couldn't use the entire thing AND if kids turned it too quickly, everything flew off.

lazy susan centerpiece tray

I found this awesome metal tray at Wal-Mart on sale. It was inexpensive, matched the look I liked, and was bigger than the plates I'd been using so it worked great. Well, except the part where it was bigger. That meant if things got off centered on the plastic lazy susan under it, it would tip OR it would slide around on it. Easy fit to make this the perfect decorative center piece and organization system for meal time essentials: hot glue! Permanent but not total permanent if I changed my mind later.

custom lazy susan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Foster Family Organization: Keeping Our Home Ready and Running

I'm a planner for when you couldn't tell. So when we started fostering it was very difficult to keep myself calm when you just never knew how to prepare for the children coming into your home. There are a few things that I've learned that helped us me cope by keep some order and being ready for any age that may come.

2016

It may seem odd but if you know or are a foster family, you understand that each family is unique in what they can handle and who they family will be able to care for. For us, at this time, we are only taking males under Jamin's age. That helps me tons in way of preparation but still leaves a vast area from infant to mature preschoolers. I want to share some things we've learned that can still be pre-planed to keep your sanity in such a transitional life-style. 

Foster Family Organization sanity-saving things to preplan in such a transitional life-style {a peek inside a foster family's home}

Some of the things I've already shared about so you can click the images below to read more about those.

The Great-Wall Transformation

Having a simple way to keep shoes, hats, bags, and coats makes life less cluttered. This mudroom system right in our living room is so easy my 2-year-old knows exactly who's what goes where.


Living OUTSIDE You Home with toys #missionalliving

Having a fun "parking lot" set up for my kids riding toys allows for fast and easy clean up after outside playing.

DIY Dry Erase Monthly Menu

Having our dry erase menu and our "boarding" month planned out takes one more thing off my plate.

master bed boy room girls' room guest room

Having bedrooms set up with some wiggle room allows us to not have to over think when a new call for a placement comes in, no matter how late at night it is. Our room is ready to receive an infant. The guest room is ready to receive an infant through a child. Jamin and Ellie share a room currently but we have a bed ready for her if a child needs to share with Jamin and a trundle ready if it needs to be moved into the guest room.

guest closet diapers and bedding guest closet hanging bar guest closet clothing storage

Our guest closet is socked but at the same time trying to make it still feel like a child's own closet rather than a guest closet. We have diapers of almost every size, blankets, baby toys and gear, air mattress and bedding {for guest not fosters}, and a few pieces of clothing for every size from 0-3 months to size 6.




lazy susan centerpiece tray
medicine cupsmedicine log

My biological kids are all on daily allergy medicine and foster kids often come in with their own set of medications. The only kicker is you can't leave medications out to help you remember to give them because they would then be accessible for littles. Depending on the age of the child, I leave the vitamins out on the custom lazy Susan but otherwise everything goes in the locked cabinet and I leave medication cups out to help me remember. Fosters have to have all medicines recorded so we place a clipboard with the medicine log out in the open with a pen hanging on it so we can quickly record everything.

counter cleanup

Babies come with all kinds of things like bottle, formula, burp clothes, and diaper that need to be readily available. Therefore leaving your house in survival mode. That doesn't mean it has to be unattractive. I decided to wrap a formula can in cute scrapbook paper so leaving it on the counter next to the drying bottles wouldn't be a total eyesoar.

I hope this glimpse into our home was fun, helpful, or just interesting. I know I like snooping in other's homes with great detail and thinking through things with them about why they do certain things. Any questions?

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Don’t Work for the Weekend

For a girl who likes routine, consistency, and predictability, learning to breath, take breaks, enjoy the moment, and contentment is surprisingly hard for me.

I would think if I thrive on routine then I would prefer mundane seasons. If consistency and predictability are my thing then why can't I just breath enjoying to moments of rest with contentment. I am learning to find joy in the now. Being a  planner, I fight myself rushing to check the next box in my over-planned life. Some days, I need a good cry to keep me in a position of stillness.

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I guess I'm longing for a permanence. Thinking if I check off a list, which ever aspect of life that might be, I'll get one step closer to never having to change again. All the while being unsettled with the rhythm of now. Trusting God's timing is an issue for most of us.

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As a mom, I routine our days to death trying to trudge through meal, nap, school, bath, bed times. I don't want to miss the bright-eyed childhood full of squabbles, selfishness, and big blunders.

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As a church planters wife I want to rush to throw up walls in our new building to move on to the bigger and better things He has in mind to use us for through that resource. I don't want to miss building relationships in this process.

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As a foster parent hoping to be someone's forever family, I miss opportunities in the now to love every part of the journey, each child's milestone, every family's success. I don't want to miss important lessons that will be invaluable for our future family no matter what that portrait might look like someday. 

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I don't want to live the expression "work for the weekend". I want to fully live the now.

I know God has lessons in the journey. That's the point right?! Why else would we be stuck here after choosing to trust and follow Him with our lives rather than being swept away to spend eternity in His face-to-face presence?

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Proverbs 16:99 says, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." Life is a dance. We can try to plan what style dance that might be but God knows the steps to orchestrate the perfect routine. Only in humbly seeking God's will for our lives can we find comfort in the unknown ahead and thrive in the now.

Anyone else struggling to breath in the sweet aroma of the now?

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Spring Break Plans 2016

This week is spring break for a lot of families. Even though we homeschool, we try to do most holidays and breaks that the local school does since that's who we want to minister to ans well as do-life with.

as Jules is Spring Breaking

We'd fallen a bit behind compared to where I wanted to be in our school work so last week I bribed my big girls and trudged through a lot of work to get caught up, allowing us to take this week off from school paper work. Now we can focus on what I'd rather be doing: playing with friends OUTSIDE, enjoying our last days with our #spidie before he possibly heads to provisional care, spring cleaning purging, recovering after a traumatic baby injury, and doing a special unit about EASTER! That's just the stuff we plan to do at home, not including the valley stuff like working on interior construction, cleaning, partying at the building with friends, cleaning out storage units, preping for our Easter service, and normal weekly responsibilities.

El's ER visit

maybe someday I'll be able to talk about this...but not now

If I write all this down, maybe several things will happen, I'll have a better picture of what I want to accomplish and maybe I'll actually do the things on the list! #accountability

I was planning to publish a post last week about minimizing toys in your home BUT then I realized that toys had taken over again. They were everywhere. Requiring way too much of our time during our day to clean up. Having fosters who have been overly *blessed* with stuff as well as 3 birthdays and Christmas in resent months, I had not been diligent about keeping them out of the house.

Playroom Purge

new playroom shelves last year vs this year

The purge plan includes sorting items into #spidies toys to go with him, toys to be donated to the valley, toys to sell at Duck Duck Goose, and then a few toys to keep. The toys that are being kept will be open-ended toys that require imagination, are manipulative for school, and or are educational all by themselves.  

community easter egg hunt

Our Easter plans include the resurrection garden we made Friday night, helping prep for and attending the community Easter egg hunt, the holy week calendar that I'm already behind on, sinning rocks that we usually don't do until good Friday, and teachable Easter baskets that I'm doing similar this year but rather than 4-5 baskets, I'm doing one large "family basket". My hubs and I already had a date night and purchased all the things for it but they're currently in the trunk of our car in the baby pool because...where do you hide that? hehe

We also already have the stuff we plan to use to make our spring baskets for our neighbors. Now we just have to figure out how to get those items out to make the baskets for them without my kids seeing the other stuff. 

I like planning to just stay home. Its nice to be able to plan flexible trips with my family while others are in school. PLUS, lots of our neighbor friends don't have big plans either so we can play lots more with them. What are your plans for spring break?! 

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