A look at the last few weeks

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    This girl brings so much sunshine and smiles into our lives!

    We recently spent a few hours renewing our foster family CPR certification.

    I’ve found a lot of tagged bananas lately, so let’s freeze them and then make green smoothies (frozen bananas, milk, vegetables, and peanut butter). So good!

    She’s such a little mom to Baby D.

    One of my single friends had appendicitis and I found out she was in the hospital all by herself, so I dropped everything to spend the day in the hospital with her when she had her surgery. Single mothers are amazing … and they are often not good at asking for help, but they often feel really alone. If you know a single mother in your life, then how can you show up and tell her she is loved today and not alone?

    I recently wrote that on Instagram: I was sitting next to her at a Christmas brunch a year and a half ago. We laughed at our children and funny motherhood stories. She informed me about her current cancer treatments. I shared where we were on our care trip.

    We said goodbye at the end of brunch … and I had no idea that this would be the last time I would see her on this earth (she died shortly after that brunch).

    I’ve thought a lot about what I would have said had I known it would be my last time talking to her. And it made me change the way I approached life from now on.

    In fact, I often think now, if this was my last conversation with this person, what would I want to make sure I tell them? And then I try to actually say these words on a regular basis to tell them I love them, to tell them how much I value them, to tell them how their life affects mine. It costs zero dollars; but it could completely change someone’s world if we say life and love out loud to them!

    She is so proud of it that she is learning to walk in her new shoes (it took her a few tries and falls, but she finally made it!)

    This is a perfect picture of how many of my evenings are looking right now. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

    I’m in this weird time of year when I have both teenagers and a toddler. (Plus a teenager and a baby!) We still remember how to learn diapering, breastfeeding, teething, napping, baby-guided weaning, and walking and talking while immersing ourselves in the whole new world of a teenager who drives everywhere now around, just got a new job, talking about college prep, ACT prep, college scholarships, and double credits.

    The mail came and it contained a “For Your New Baby” (Baby D) flyer, a copy of The Little Engine That Could (from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library), and other college brochures. I just had to laugh! This is our life – from car seats and poop diapers to applications and late-night conversations about college, friends, guys, and the future.

    It’s exhausting and exciting at the same time. And when I see these two together and the sweet relationship they have despite an age difference of more than 15 years, my heart is so full! ️

    Guess who needs to come to visit ?? Our sweet little champ. Oh how we love this boy! (If you’re new here, we fostered him for 8 months last year and then he reunited with his mom.)

    These two are always so excited to see each other. We got both of them home from the hospital within 4 weeks so they have some kind of twin relationship and it’s the cutest!

    They worked on organizing the kitchen drawers for me. 😉

    “I love having teenagers!” I recently said this to a young mother who told me how discouraged she gets when people tell her, “Just enjoy these years when you are young because it won’t be Fun when they’re teenagers. ”She sighed and said to me,“ I wish people would stop talking so negatively about my children’s future! ”

    I couldn’t “Amen” her statement quickly enough! And I loved sharing with her how much I love having teenagers. Sure, we have tough moments and days. Sure, there are hormones and disagreements. But overall, I just love having teenagers!

    I love our in-depth discussions and our silly inside jokes. I love watching them spread their wings and stretch their necks. I love learning from their perspective and learning from them how to use electronics and play video games (I’m currently working on learning Rocket League and I’m terrible at it, but I have a lot of fun trying to figure it out out!)

    One of the best things about having teenagers is that our home has a constant influx of other teenagers coming over to hang out. I want to claim them all to myself – and I love hearing their boisterous laughter filling our home, can’t get enough of our late night discussions, and my heart is so happy to see friendships develop and deepen as they do also consume a lot of junk food together. (What about all of the teenagers who seem to love Spicy Doritos, Takis, Sour Candy, and Oreos ?? I see the food combinations they’ve laid out and plowed through, and the only thing terrifying me is when I think about how I’d feel having all that combined in my own stomach!)

    Young mothers: don’t let anyone tell you your teenage years are going to be that terrible, terrible time! Yes, you will need Jesus like never before, but instead of being afraid of it, I encourage you to look forward to it! Practice staying up late, getting used to opening your hands and letting go and trusting God, and maybe stocking up on Spicy Doritos … then get ready for a wild and wonderful ride that is you step back and watch your kids grow up! It’s an amazing journey with lots of beauty and laughter along the way when you have eyes to see the gifts and the good that is there!

    I saw my friend Erin (from The Humbled Homemaker) when she and her family were in town last week.

    Things I never thought would be part of my normal everyday life – injecting medication and juice through a feeding tube!

    Kaitlynn loves getting back to hardcore skating! (She currently goes to the rink five days a week and works with three different coaches. It’s so fun to see how she expresses her passion!)

    Have you seen my post on how to make salad for a week salad?

    Baby D is doing so well in therapy! We are so incredibly proud of him and his progress!

    Your smile is contagious!

    I just want it to be real here, so I’ll be honest and say that I’ve had some tough spots over the past week instead of pretending to have it all under control. Yes, there was a lot of extra stretching and I was much more awake than usual with a picky baby and toddler.

    But instead of practicing what I preach, leaning in the Holy Spirit and seeking strength – especially on the busy and overwhelming days – I tried to get through on my own … and that didn’t work out well. In fact, one night last week, I had to apologize to every member of my family for snarling at them or frustrating in front of them.

    I’m putting this out here publicly this Monday as a reminder for myself: I need Jesus. I cannot live the life I was called to live alone. I am insufficient in and of itself. But in Christ I can do anything.

    I don’t have to try to rummage through this life alone; As a Christian, I have God’s Spirit in me! When I’m tired, I can look for energy in him. When I feel overwhelmed, I can ask for peace and clarity. When I’m frustrated, I can shoot a flare prayer for patience.

    “Lord help me remember to rely on you today and to rest in you. In those moments that feel stretchy, may this make me lean against you.Let me rest in your love for me and in the knowledge that you are sufficient when I feel inadequate, that you are enough when I feel like I don’t have what it takes And may I trust your supernatural power with all my heart instead of trying to hold out on my own today. You have everything I need to do everything you called me to do today. I rest in it and look forward to seeing how I will see your loyalty and kindness in the everyday and magical moments of today. “

    Being a casual mom has been one of the greatest blessings and gifts of my life. Loving on behalf of a mom other than my own … it changed me profoundly.

    I don’t know what the future holds for this little boy. But I was given today to love deeply and with devotion. Difficult to attach. To advocate vehemently. Words of life and love speak about him. Pray with all your heart for his future. For cuddling and hugging and rocking and singing and reading and saying “I love you” over and over again.

    If we’re honest, none of us know the future for anyone or anything. But we have today. Let’s not miss the moments to say love and life to the people around us. To say with our actions and our demeanor, “You have value and worth. You are loved. It is worth standing up for you and fighting for it. ”



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