Monday, September 30, 2013

Paper Butterfly Ornament


I have a sweet coworker. Knowing I like to craft, she gave me some gift wrapping & ribbon that she had been saving. The wrapping was from Asia and she thought it was too pretty to simply throw away. So to encourage her, I took it home and made her a paper ornament. 

I followed the instructions found on the Pepper Design Blog and ended up using the ribbon to make a paper "butterfly" ornament appear to be floating along. I also used some hot glue to attach the body of the butterfly and to create a loop in the ribbon. 

Just a little something cute that I wanted to share. 


 1 Thessalonians 5:11 
"So encourage each other and build each other up..."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DIY - Family Values "We Believe In..."

Here's mine! I'm proud of it and so happy with how vivid and fun it is :)

Plain white canvas with vinyl wall letters.
Underneath is a frame I purchased, fun card stock paper and pretty sticker letters.
Easy and high impact.
I was researching a cute “household rules” chart for my home. Something to have in place so my adopted kid’os don’t think I’m just always making rules/stuff up on the fly. HA. I was looking on Pinterest but couldn't find what I was looking for there. So while on the phone talking to Mom, I realized what I really wanted was more of a list of values which I believe in and desire to have in my home. This idea is forming into:

In this home, we believe in…
·        Jesus’ love
·        Respect
·        Dreaming Big
·        Honesty
·        Forgiveness
·        Teamwork
·        Rest & Play
·        Trying Our Best
·        Being Loving
·        Generosity
·        Creativity
·        Prayer

My thoughts are that I want my children to feel inspired towards these values and I want something to guide the child(ren) in simple terms. For example, I want to stress we have a safe place for honesty. You see even though there is joy with adoption, for the child, adoption is taking place because they are experiencing an extremely hard LOSS. So with the value of Honesty, it is useful not only for not lying but in being truthful about expressing hard emotions like sadness. The value of Respect is something I can share with the kids in times of correction. For example, “We don’t pull Trickle’s tail because that does not show respect and is not loving.” Etc...
Well, to the above, right is the one I completed. Below are some other examples...enjoy!DIY Pallet Family Values Art... - my favorite style so far (using my own personalized wording)...with maybe a bit more color!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sponsorship & Adoption Observation Hours - Update

Compassion International provided me updated photos of Chidodolo. Not seeing his smile made me worried a bit but it seems from his letters that his heart is still beaming. He's bright and kind and is becoming quite the young man! I'm proud of him. Many of my prayers for him is that he will lead his community in powerful ways with love and understanding.

This weekend was full of time spent communicating with young men who have their whole futures before them. This past Saturday I completed my last four hours required for my adoption certification. I was sent to a group home (an actual home with host/foster parents) that had 8 boys ranging from 13-16years old. 

When I arrived half were throwing the football around and the other half were hitting tennis balls back and forth in the drive way. The last group facility was a mix of boys & girls so I was surprised to be spending my afternoon with all boys. They were mildly interested in me and three of the boys wanted me to play games with them. These young men are SO smart! Now, granted, I loathe most board games yet I'm not terrible at playing them...but still these boys ran circles around me at Monopoly, Life, Skip Bo...and some other card game I've never heard of before. They were really respectful of me and treated Mr. C (the man who ran the home) in high regards. 

Right before I left, I spoke more with Mr. C and asked different questions. He said these young men were great. They are just typical growing boys who eat a lot, play a lot, and laugh a lot. Atypical is that one of them hordes food, another one is so sensitive about getting left out that he gets easily frustrated, two different ones are still learning what's appropriate to talk about or find funny (since they were not taught by their bio-folks what might be rude in mix company) and two others are dealing with a lot of heart break due to recent failed adoptions. I shared that I didn't like how the system was set up because there is this huge process to get matched up on paper and only then do we get to meet to decide whether we match in personality. A child goes into the meeting knowing I might adopt about pressure! (on all of us) If after meeting, I decide not to commit to go forward, then what keeps the child from feeling even more rejection?! And I have to be open to not moving forward if I come to see that it's totally not a good match and can't know for sure until you meet. ** Update - what I found to be more true later is that my agency tries to set up a respite visit first so that the child does not have the pressure on them. This happened with both my children and I'm grateful for it!*

Mr. C told me that happens a lot and that, "You need to foster to adopt so you can see if there is a connection early. You have a lot of good-guy experience since you have mentored teens and foster kids that have aged-out but you've never had to be the bad-guy." BUT - What my heart heard was, "You can't do don't know what you are doing and are just fooling yourself with the bit of experience you've had in the past. The way the system's set up for straight match, you are going to end up breaking some kid's heart." 

I went home crying. All I kept thinking about was how much these children have gone through and how much I want to help, not hurt. I spoke to my friend Ivonne and then to my certification case worker about my feelings. Ivonne reminded me to pray and keep trusting in God. I came across this scripture this morning that encouraged me. 

"Cast ALL your anxiety on [God] because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 

So I need to do some major casting of my anxiety and snuggle up to God on this! Talking to my caseworker, she mentioned that in the 20+ years she's been doing adoption placements that the majority of reasons adoptions fail is because the new parents decided not to follow the path the child's been placed on for PTS therapy or medicine. She said, because these children have dealt with so much trauma, a plan is put into place during foster care to help nurture them. But, when the new parents suddenly remove the medication/therapy routine on top off all the new changes the child is going through after adoptions (new home, family, school etc...) the parents often end up seeing a child they think is too much to handle. She also shared that sometimes adoptive parents want to start off fresh and not know anything about the child's background. But as she said, "How can you help someone heal when you don't know their hurt?" Deep. 

She finished by saying that informed parents do not have failed adoptions and for me to keep asking a ton of questions! So today, she sent my paperwork to CPS and said that they will probably call me in a week or so to set up the home-study. My heart skipped a beat for the first time in months...such progress...I'm so close to certification...the excitement builds!  

**quick update - as I was writing this the other day, they called! My home-study will be in only one week. ahhhhhhhh...** :) 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Built to BRAG


Sometimes you just come across a message out of the blue that is rock'n. This is one of those. I am totally convicted to the point where I feel the need to fast and pray for open eyes to see all the ways my speech tries to rob God of His glory.  Below are some key moments that stuck with me but click the link here to listen/read the message.

"Proud Speech & the Glory of God"

My notes:

  • Kids are like mirrors. They have pretty much all of the same problems we have, but they just don’t know how to hide them yet like we do.
  • "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed." (1 Samuel 2:3)
  • Your words may acknowledge God, but what about your heart? Other people may not be able to tell the difference, but Hannah reminds us that the Lord is a God who knows.
  • Proud speech is an overestimation of self that comes from an underestimation of God. In the story of Hannah & Peninnah, Peninnah was mistaken because she overestimated herself by putting herself on the Sovereign throne, as if she had opened her own womb. She wasn’t just pointing out the fact that she had children. She wasn’t just trying to remind Hannah of the facts. She was taunting her, boasting over her, tormenting her.
  • We're often guilty of the same. We think we’re the ones who should get credit for that promotion, or those well-behaved children, or our financial situation. Yes, God will reward our hard work, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. God’s will is the real deciding factor in every situation. What matters finally is not our strength, our wisdom, or even our faithfulness.
  • The proud heart rejoices in itself. But the humble heart rejoices in God. Look at the first words of Hannah’s prayer in verse 1: “My heart rejoices in the Lord.” Hannah shows us the proper response to the Lord’s blessing. Not just rejoicing in what the Lord has given, but in the Giver Himself. Our response could be proud, but instead it should produce humility in us, because we are receiving a gift from God

Listen to Trip Lee's song: "Brag on my Lord "

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quick Rainy Day Project - Christmas tree skirt

**Sorry for the early Christmas post but I can't afford all of Christmas on just one month's salary so I've always got to get an early start. HA. **

Over Labor Day, we had a nice rainy day so I took the opportunity to do some crafting. I have been looking for over three years for a Christmas tree skirt but either they were ugly or just too expensive! I found one I really liked on Etsy but, even though it's reversible, it was still $85 before shipping. :(

So before I'd spend that kind of money, I had to at least try to make one first. I'm pretty satisfied with the one I made and eventually I can make it reversible as well. Mine had to be cat friendly...and of course, presents sit on top of it most of the time so it didn't need to be too elaborate. Here it is!

Just took a clean white towel - the cut didn't need to be perfect

Cut burlap ribbon into strips, hot-glued one side of strip to towel then folded other side over and hot-glued.

All the way around...*tip: used an old medicine bottle to press fabric down so my fingers didn't get in the hot glue

Cut up an old scarf and did the same thing as with the burlap

Running low on burlap ribbon so I hot-glued strips flat

Finished off with remainder of scarf
Looks perfect around my little tree!
Here's another idea of patterns I was experimenting with that day:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wisdom Nuggets

In one of my favorite Disney movies, "The Kid," Bruce Willis plays the character of Russ Duritz, an cold image consultant who suddenly meets a young, adventurous little boy - who just happens to be "Rusty" his 8-year old younger self!

As the movie progresses, the pair try to figure out why and how his younger self suddenly appear so many years in the future. There are many moments as the two of them get "reacquainted" when young Rusty reminds his adult self of some life dreams he once carried. And likewise, there are moments when Bruce Willis' character imparts his wisdom as an adult to the 8-year old "Rusty" about his future.

I enjoy this movie and it's jewels of lessons (and laughs). We often take for granted all the encouragement children need. This is one of the reasons I diligently write to my Compassion International kids! They need encouragement. So think about it...what nuggets of wisdom would you share with your 8-yr old self? Here are some of mine:

Dear little 8-yr old me,

You can do it!! What is it, you ask? Anything you set your mind to do. I know you hear this often but you can't ever hear it enough. You are special and talented. Also, I know you get insecure when the other girls talk about how "fat" they are in your class. And since you do weigh a bit more than the number they are sharing it's easy to get insecure but you are a lot taller than any of them. You will look back on photos someday and think - wow, I was so skinny...why did I fret so much! :) So don't worry over your jean size or the like...there's more to life than that. And Baby, take your time & don't settle on silly boys. You have big adventures ahead of you and big things to accomplish. Honestly, settling will drag you down and you are too exquisite to settle!

Most of the bible for yourself. Don't take others word for it. Read it, treasure God, get to know Him. He loves you, is your friend, watches out for you, and wants you under His wing. You can only have a real and deep relationship with Him through digging in and getting to know Him for yourself through your own personal times. Find out about Jesus, he's awesome! Connect with him - you will be saved so much heartache both here on earth and in heaven if you walk with him. Well, gotta go now...but lastly, I just want to say thanks for hanging in there so far, especially when times have been rough. There are great times ahead - some challenges too - but baby, you'll be just fine. 

I love you, God loves you more!
39-yr old me

So okay, you can't really go back and encourage your younger self BUT you can make a difference in the life of another child. Check out these Compassion Kids...they need the wisdom nuggets you carry!

Interested? Click the link below. :)
Take me to the Compassion website!