She gathered their personal belongings and headed for the door with a quiet, "I'm gonna load these and then its time to go." to which he growled under his breath, "I want Animal Crackers!"

I gently snuggled next to him and reassured him I wanted animal crackers, too. Trying not to cry we gave our last snuggles and were strong as we loaded them in their carseats, gave kisses and I love yous, then waved through sniffles as they pulled away in that white van.


4 days earlier, we'd gotten a call. Matt's been fielding them for a couple weeks now. After our first placement for a child that fell through after days of preparing and lots of tears, our house was "officially" open so the calls came pouring in. Our counting is over run with kids in the foster care system needing placements but for the most part can get them housed. Out of county placements have been the main phone calls we've received. With us being a last resort they're more willing to sign age wavers and such to make sure the kids at least stay in the state and in a home with a family rather than a shelter. The call we received Monday as we drove to meet my in-loves for dinner was for an out-of-county placement. Due to the age of the child we had to turn them away and reminded them the age range we were open for. She offhandedly said, "Well, I might call you back."

Sure enough, around bedtime she called us back. They still had 2 small boys needing placement of the sibling group in need. They wrote us a waver and gave us basic information then told us they would be to our home around midnight. Matt and I scurried around finishing nightly chores, tiding what would be their room,  set up a crib, changed bedding, and tried to breath. We put on a movie in an attempt to stay awake. Midnight came and went. I finally closed my eyes on the couch and Matt woke me around 1:30 am on Tuesday morning to let me know they'd just pulled in the driveway.

I took a deep breath and followed him out into the dark, cold morning air to help scoop the little sleeping guys out of carseats and into our home. I held one boy as I signed papers and Matt  tucked the little brother into his crib before returning to tuck big brother into bed. That was the easiest bedtime of the 4 we would have with little man. We washed their belongings and tried to go to bed ourselves.

They slept off the stress of the day before and stirred around 10:30 Tuesday morning. Our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed crew was chopping at the bit to meet them. Matt and I went in to get them ready for the day with fit-throwing "Pudding" and non-talking "Peanut". It was a jam-packed day with mandatory physicals and shopping at our local CALL Mall for clothes in the right sizes for our new friends and school, naps, dance and gymnastic classes for our girls, and grocery shopping somewhere in the middle of all that. We pulled it off working as a team with lots of flexibility and grace- and not the elegant ballet kind but the unjustly forgiving kind. Screaming commenced as bedtime rolled around and we fought it out for over an hour with "Pudding" but won as "Peanut" slept through the entire thing.

Wednesday was our first [close to] routine day we had. Everyone woke around the same time, we did breakfast, school {with our new friends}, daddy left for  short time to get some work done, and best of all I didn't kill anyone during a 30 minute toddler-showdown that included kicking, screaming, and gnashing of teeth. We ate lunch, conquered protested naps, and then survived yet another new adventure with an afternoon full of movie time, dinner, and our new friends' first valley experience. This day the cutting eyes and icy glares lessened from "Pudding" and he began to become more snugly. "Peanut" fell right into place as if we were running a preK program and we got giggles, smiles, and even a few words {mainly spoken to our children}.

Thursday was hard with more mandatory team work between "Pudding" pulled his temporary cast off {meaning an orthopedic specialist appointment was added to the docket} and me already committed to working a consignment event an hour away. THIS is why DCSF is so insistent on foster families having a support system. You need extra arms and legs to love on children! With the help of my in-loves sitting with babies, Matt and I met up as we passed one another to switch vehicles for the evening. He

That brings us to today. Friday. This is our built-in catch up day for school and pretty much life. We'd completed everyone's school for the week so that means MOVIE DAY! The kids finished their chores, played with their new friends, and popped n a movie. Matt went to pickup our grown-buddy to take him to work and "Pudding ask to go along for the ride. No sooner than Matt has buckled him into the seat, we came back in because he'd gotten anther call. The court decided this morning that a relative was able to take the entire sibling group, including our 2 new little friends. Not only that but they would be here to pick the boys up in less than 2 hours.

I quickly reevaluated our picnic at the park plan as I secretly packed all their belongings into the bags they came with. I tried to hold it together while I put their art-work we'd made this week in their medical passports. I decided the park was happening and would be a good end to our fun week knowing it was going to be so hard. I packed a simple snack-lunch and had the kids scurry around cleaning up their toys and putting shoes on. Matt returned home and we all headed to the city park with our picnic in-tow.

It was beautiful weather and the kids got up and down from the the blanket in the shade over and over again. Different kids squabbled here and there about which part of the lunch they didn't like but all seemed to understand that was lunch. lol Towards the end, negotiations started and I compromised with "eat 1/2 of that and you can have more of this." Then it hit. "I don't want to eat [the minuscule piece of] cheese. I just want animal crackers!" Wow. Where did that come from timid, obedient, compliant, no-tears, brave "Peanut"?! The fit grew bigger and bigger as each kids got up from the blanket to play. From across the playground, Matt shrugged with a did-you-already-tell-him look as dude yelled and kicked. He would calm down and listen as I gave him his options, "eat the cheese and get the animal crackers OR don't eat the cheese and just go play with everyone else." Neither one of those sounded okay and the built up emotion inside of his tiny little body just kept overflowing disguised as rage flung in my direction.

I shook my head a Matt as I cleaned up our picnic spot and helped "Peanut" walk toward the playground with his angry face on. He stomped around the playground still confused about the real reason behind his hurt. Strangers had shown up as soon as we sat everyone down for lunch when we planned to tell everyone about the boys leaving so time was thinning as we gathered the kids on the opposite side of the toy to tell them. Arms crossed, lips puckered out, and brown nearly touching said lips, he sat as we tried to tell them that he "got" to go back and live with his relatives. The kids scattered and played for awhile, we gave to complementary 5-minute-warning, and then started to load. "Peanut" began SCREECHING as we walked to the car, stopping and mad.

In the car we laid out the timeout consequence if the temper-tantrum didn't stop. He listened and then started back up with even more passion. At home he went and stat on his bed to hopefully finish his fit. I went in a few minutes later. First I sat next to him as he cried. Then I scooped him into my lap and let him yell and cry on my chest. Then God told my heart to tell him, "You so brave. Monday was hard. Tuesday you woke up to strangers, Wednesday and Thursday you learned a new routine and family. And today all that sadness, fear, and anger came out when you weren't in charge of your lunch and ultimately not in charge of life right now. It's okay to be sad. Cry. and to be angry. I will hold you while your upset. It's not okay to turn those feeling onto other people. I love you. Jesus Loves You! And God has big plans for your life even though its hard right now." He sniffled a bit more and then let me rock him a bit longer. Then Grace.

Grace overlooked the well-earned timeout he was supposed to have and we sat on the couch, snuggling and watching a movie until his eyes caught the white van pull into the driveway. He breathed deep on my chest as he watched her walk to the door through the front window, anticipating the doorbell ringing. He walked with me as we answered the door then pouted as we gathered his new toys he's picked out at the CALL Mall Tuesday. I brought out backpacks and reassured him his cool new shirts and undies were all in there. Matt played with "Pudding" getting newly-found laughter and giant smiles out of him and "Peanut" couldn't decide how he felt about any of this.

She gathered their personal belongings and headed for the door with a quiet, "I'm gonna load these and then its time to go." As we found the remaining pieces of his toy he growled under his breath over and over again, "I want Animal Crackers!" to which I replied, "I want animal crackers, too!"

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Indian Joyn Purse

In my Fair Trade Friday Club trail box, I received the gorgeous purse. The most beautiful part of this item were the 3 names, individually written, specifying who personally did each step of crafting this purse. Skimming my fingers across the ink, I can just imagine the sigh of relief that was breathed as each women pinned her name after her hard work was complete and she knew she was finally able to provide for her family.


Gagan, Samtagoh, and Serita, THANK YOU for your quality work and craftsmanship. This item will be used and treasured for years to come with it's thick fabric, tight piping, and sturdy magnetic snap.

Joyn Purse handmade in India

“We are so thankful for this partnership. Our hear ts align and our missions align. Fair Trade Friday purchases JOYN products - each one made some of the most  marginalized and oppressed people in the world - individuals with leprosy, disability, those who have grown up begging on the streets, former prostitutes, former  addicts and your purchase employs at least 70 of our artisans with every order,"
-Melody, Joyn Founder, India

Interested in joining the Fair Trade Friday Club or Earring of the Month Club? click those highlighted thinks!

note: If there's a waiting list, DO IT anyways. That allows them to plan ahead and increase their boxes for members, product production, and inevitably empowered women working to provide for their families!

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YOU Can Help KaBoom! Vilonia

Thank you so much for loving us! I know many of you feel we've forgotten about your humble offerings to help but We Have Not! It takes time to pull a community back together after something like this or to even assess needs so  thank you to those still waiting in the wings to jump right in when called upon!

I will remember our CovenantA need has arisen and we need Your Help!

Vilonia Is Getting a PUBLIC PARK/PLAYGROUND on April 18th, 2015!
We're talking "Extreme Park Makeover Show" is going down in our town and you can be a part of it!

This is something I've been passionate about since we moved her and I'm so excited to see how God has chosen to let that happen. The local schools have awesome playgrounds that are open to the public but that's only when the schools themselves aren't using them. Totally understandable but as a homeschool mom with lots of littles, I'd love a place to get my kids out of the house for some great educational outdoor playing, meet friends for a picnic, or just get the wiggles out. And now its happening and I didn't do any footwork. hehe

A group called KaBOOM!​ will be assisting our community in building an amazing playground, funded by Kimberly-Clark, in the same space that last years tornado destroyed the former baseball fields and tiny playground equipment.

Thus far, the professionalism of this group is top notch! Maggie was selected as on of 35 out of 300+ students to be a part of the Design Day and therefore I get to be a part of the adult planning team. eeek!


The night of the Design Day meeting, the kids sat around and dreamed up their ideas for the perfect park. They chatted with news reporters and colored inspirational drawings. Maggie, in preparation for the meeting, drew no fewer than 30 ideas in a notebook to share with the group {she didn't really know how this was going down} so she copied as many of those down onto her giant paper as she could. She ask friends prior to the day what ideas they has so she could share them as well. <3 That child!
After the kids finished up, the parents compiled their ideas, looked through the gazillion options KaBoom! had for equipment and even down to the colors tried to plan a park of our kids dreams.

Design C{just an example of the possibilities}

Right now, we are currently in the 6 weeks of planning between Design Day and BUILD DAY. There are tons of details for our town to work through and figure out. There are many things I'm attempting to help but with but the main ones I'm focusing on right now that I need YOUR help with are:

How YOU Can Help!

  1. We are collecting toilet paper cardboard rolls! You know, the inside thing you throw away or make pretend binoculars out of and then throw away. Yeah, we are collecting those for a fun project since our playground is being funded by the Kimberly-Clark's "Tube-Free" Scott toilet paper campaign. Don't toss'm. Bring them to ME 😀
  2. We need tools! THIS is the list of tools needs and if you have 1 or 5 of those items, we would LOVE to borrow them for 3 days {prep day 1 and 2, and some of them for build day} but better yet, if you have connections with a hardware store that could donate or loan a giant number of them at once, that would be Even better!
  3. We need YOU! There are so many ways we need you but we definitely need committed hands to show up on BUILD DAY, April 18th, from 8am until about 3pm right here in Vilonia {I'll get ya directions 😉 } We need help ranging from helping play with small children, moving mulch, drilling equipment together, serving food, registering the volunteers as they come in, and to I'm sure I missed something else. This would be great for a short mission trip or youth event. Signing up your Group to help would be a guaranteed fun day they'd remember forever. The Valley will use heading up a Serve Here day with our crew!
    Here is the Link to sign up online or you can print this Reigstration Form for Vilonia KaBoom! Park Build Day for large groups and then input them each. 😀

If you have any questions or have another possible way you'd like to help, hit me up! Thanks in advance!!! This is going to be so fun.

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Ministering Outside the Wall of “the church”

If you've been here for any time at all, you have heard me share about both The Church not being a building but the people chasing after Christ as well as The Valley {church} we have been blessed by helping plant here in central AR a little over a year ago.

worship on the slab

The Valley came to this community looking for where God was at working and join Him there. Along with this, we are contentiously choosing to work where others aren't already hard at work. We are here to "build the heard not steel sheep." Because of this, it has been fun finding ways to minister in original and sometimes random ways.

Being the new kids in town, for a year now, we have been fighting to find ways to love on the people her but sometimes shut out because it "wasn't needed". Well, H.E.L.L.O. God is bigger than practicality and also a bigger redeemer than natural disasters.

The most recent storms that hit our town wiped out close to 150 homes and took the lives of at least 9 here in Vtown. We can't believe the doors God is opening through this. Oh, did I mention, God busted out of our "box" via this storm? Yeah, our meeting space was kaboshed giving us an acceptable excuse to love this community in unconventional, non-church-y ways.

Enter childcare and Mom's Night Out stage left:

The Playplace

The morning after the storm, it was evident to me that I wouldn't be able to serve like the rest of the valley church in the way of clean-up or collecting donations and felt useless. THEN another mom suggested maybe we could take turns watching one another children and working in town. YES! I can do that. So the next day I opened my home for childcare to those in our valley families who needed somewhere for their littles to go.

Little did I know that God was birthing this same service opportunity in the heart of an individual at a sister church in Conway. I was contacted about the idea and God birthed it into a huge community blessing. We were allowed to use the local Primary School's "big room" and outdoor playgrounds, restaurants catered for free, and tons of others including Target, Dick's Sporting Goods Store, and out-of-town friends contributed to hundreds of "summer buckets" full of simple toys that were sent home with the children attending the "Playplace".

When school started back the next week and most of our community went back to work, there was no immediate need for this ministry and again I felt helpless as I tried to "get back to normal".

organized school room

Monday I has glanced at my calendar at once coveted plans and realized Mother's Day weekend was coming up and a girl's night where we were all supposed to be going to see the new movie "Mom's Night Out". That seemed to pale in compassion to the current dismal state of Vtown life.

THEN, I realized maybe I could score some tickets for "needy" women from the movie theater. I mean, Target had stepped up and even though this is way outside my comfort zone, I could try.

They could give me 4...

I decided to compose an email to the Allume team contacting a short briefing on who I/the valley was, what had happened to our town, and how I'd learned about the Mom's Night Out movie via their conference back in October.

Tuesday, I sat and cried as I tried to declutter and reorganize our play/school room. All I could think was "we have Too Much Crap!" I wanted to give it away but all those who needed it had no home to put it in. We were created to bring glory to God and sitting sifting through my stuff, I felt like I was doing the furthest thing from glorifying my God.

Taking a break from it all after my poor hubs tried to comfort my inevitable meltdown, I decided to check out during nap by gracing social media and my email. I was never so shocked to find an email from Elizabeth, of Provident Films saying among other things, "Will you please call me at your earliest convenience and we'll discuss next steps." Call? Next Steps!?


I am terrible on the phone {AWEkward} but I snatched up my phone and ran outside. Never had a I been more excited to make a fool of myself if it meant I could be of use to this community in its time of trouble. My world was a world-wind from Wednesday until Saturday night but well worth it!

Mom's Night Out

The night turned out to be a huge success! We ended up having a banquet room in a Chinese restaurant with comped buffet, pre-movie pampering, and a therapy room movie theater FULL of healing women. {That will be a post in itself.} Later, I was told by a guy from the valley that he was bragging on me to someone who expressed her gratitude for the much-needed MNO. I was excited to tell him that,

God had it all planned before me so I just had to find where he was working and connect the dots.

I really do believe it is that easy. Find where He is already at work, grab your pen, and get to work on the pieces that He has already given you the tools to connect to accomplish the ultimate goal. I have been so energized by what God has freed up the valley to do here and am loving watching our lil valley family grow closer together all while reaching out to a hurting world!

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How-to “Take Them a Meal”

Do any of you have friends having babies? Coworkers losing loved ones? Family sick or loosing their jobs? Sometimes the holidays can just be hard. We all know providing a necessity, like a yummy meal, during times like these can be the best ways to help and comfort. We also know that lots of well meaning people can be overwhelming and disorganized when trying to all help and comfort the same people.

How-to Use Take Them A Meal

Today, I'm sharing one of my FAVORITE online FREE find on the Homemakers Challenge! Sneak on over and hear how to use "Take Them a Meal", a free online organization tool that's so easy to use for facilitating such a ministry.

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