God Does Speak

It’s been 1 year of me being a dog owner! The way that happened is not ordinary.

God still speaks and it doesn’t sound like a grouchy boss. He is speaking for our good and sees the long term plan. I know some of you all think I’m crazy because you don’t believe that God speaks. But Luna coming into our lives is from the Lord telling me to get a dog.

If you know me well, you know this had to be an act of God. I’ve never wanted a dog, I’ve never really liked dogs. I mean of course I think puppies are cute and I’m not mad at dogs I just never wanted to have to take care of one.

My second born son has been desperate for a dog all his life. His nickname is even been E puppy. Every persuasive essay that he wrote from the third grade on was about why a dog is the best pet and why you should get one. Of course I felt like a cold hearted mother every time I read those essays. The thought of getting a dog made me feel like I was being pushed off a 400 foot cliff with sharp rocks below me. I had no idea how to take care of a dog or how much work it would be to clean up after it from a long day of destroying my yard. Would it make my house smell like a dog? Just way too many unanswered questions.

The Lord started telling me to get a dog and reminded me that one of my prayers is to help me not regret anything. I want to look back at the end of my life satisfied that I have done everything he’s asked me to do and I have experienced everything there was for me to experience. So I started casually looking for a hypoallergenic non-shedding dog. We all know the most popular one is Labrodoodle. I wanted a medium size one which was totally out of my price range. But the thought of it still would make fear literally rushed through my entire body and I would feel overwhelmed with the thought. I went to my dear friends and had a powerful prayer session and was delivered from so many things. The craziest thing that I got delivered from was this overwhelming fear that having a dog would somehow break me. The next day I checked craigslist for puppies and found a picture of Luna. She was a Wharton terroir, which I had just seen on the top 10 list of non-shedding hypoallergenic dogs for families. When I saw the picture I just knew that that was my dog. I slept on it and didn’t say anything to Matt. We went to church the next morning came home took Sunday naps and after that I told them that I thought I had found our dog. He was absolutely shocked and was like okay.

I had been saving money for installing windows in my family room that I had wanted for nine years. When I inquired about the amount of the dog, it was the exact same amount that I had saved. We put the kids in the car went to the ATM and pull the money out without telling them where we were going. We literally didn’t even have a dog bowl and I had no idea how to take care of a puppy. I just knew that we needed to get this dog it was important for my sons and I could feel the father’s heart and all of it as I traded my window money for a dog I didn’t want. When we told the kids I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my body with excitement for them to experience this new adventure. There’s so much more to the story including somebody telling me that they wanted to pay to put my windows in for me and professionally install them. But that’s another testimony.

When we went to pick her up the moon was absolutely huge and orange so we named her Luna. Of course we thought that name was super unique and everybody and their brothers dog or cat is named Luna but that’s all right it’s perfect for her. She’s added so much joy to my kids lives and I’m so very glad that I obeyed the gentle whisper even when everything inside me wasn’t ready.

The whole story reminds me so much of how much the Lord loves to give us our hearts desire. My heart was so full as we drove home with my kids so excited for what the future held for them. I knew a taste of what he was feeling and what he had planned when he gave me the windows that I had wanted. Both of these things are not serious matters that you think that the Lord would have a hand in but that’s just how crazy he is. He is in the bag and he’s in the small he’s in the frivolous sometimes and he is in the most deep moment as well. He literally created everything as big as the universe and as small as the nucleus of an atom. It majorly trips me out and I’m constantly in awe of him. If you have never heard God and you want to please message me. He’s so faithful And sometimes you just might not hear him because you’re not used to his voice yet.

Sometimes it’s hard

Sometimes the sacrifice seems like too much: all the crying, driving to appointments, my plans getting hijacked daily with visits and calls. Attention taken away from the boys, from my work, my husband, my new independence, the ups and downs. The kids that come in are sweet but their aren’t mine and they probably won’t stay with me. That’s ok, but it can get hard. If they can get to a great family member that’s always best. If those parents can get them back, that’s even better! But these little ones get in our heart and they don’t come out.


But the reality is God’s love is so wild that He’d leave the 99 for me. The reality is that His love was risky. His love took Him out of comfort. His love was reckless. His love is the reason we do this. We get to love a little one in a tough time. I get to bless her parents. I get to be His hands, feet, arms, shoulders. I get to everything that another mom wishes she could. I get the first steps, snuggles, kisses, and laughs. We’re different than we were. We’re better. We’ve experienced loss and we’ve made it through. We will again and again until the Lord says we’re done.




We have love, so we will give love. We will soldier on. All for love. All for Him.



#fostercare #curlysweetness #fosterlove #thisisfostercare #fostertoadopt #fostermom #fosterlife #fosterfamily #keepmyeyesonJesus

Life is a gift

One of my favorite pictures EVER. The moment after my 4th son was born.

Life is such a gift. I gave birth to my 4th healthy son just 6 months after my sister lost her son. In the same hospital and with the same doctor.

As I drove to the hospital with my husband at 3:00am, I cried all the way there. I stopped crying long enough to walk into the hospital and ride up the elevator take a picture in front of the L & D sign. When I walked out the doors the waterworks began again. I tried to keep it together but I couldn’t as I asked the front desk lady to not put me on a certain side of the hospital. She looked shell shocked as I explained that my sister had lost her son and we almost lost her. She promised we would not be over there. The idea that my family, and most importantly my brother in law, would have to walk down the hallway where everything had just happened six months prior had me grieving and stressing. She promised me everything would be Ok and we would not be over there. I felt like I was walking into the past but we weren’t. We were literally walking into the future.

Grief mixed with joy is the weirdest feeling. On one hand I could not wait to meet my son and I was in active labor, on the other hand I was still traumatized from almost losing my best friend and holding my still nephew. The brothers and cousins’ prayers leading up to the birth were that we would get to take the baby home. In one way I felt like they had been cheated of the innocence of the joy of pregnancy and new life and in the other hand I realized just how special it really was to have a healthy baby. And at their young age the value for the miracle a baby is was not lost on those young kids. A baby, any baby is a gift to be cherished and honored as one.

He turned six today and I can’t help but feeling filled with emotion as I think back to what an amazing and difficult time it was. The survivors guilt of giving birth so close to a loss. The pain of watching my sister suffer physically and emotionally and yet I was given the gift of life again. Tears still flow freely as I go back to this moment. Although the pain is not as fresh, it’s still there. But what lingers more it’s the overwhelming gratefulness that the Lord knew just what we needed after such a difficult time. The Lord’s plan to bring into our world at just the right moment, at just the right time astounds me.

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” Acts‬ ‭17:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My sisters and my mom were in the labor room with us that morning as new life came screaming into the world. But, in that moment, all I could hear was laughter. I laughed as he was born and the room joined in. Holy Spirit’s presence filled the room with a much needed peace. Happy years replaced our sorrow, if even for the moment, and hope filled our hearts as praised the Lord for this gift. Joy that had been lost returned to bring healing. Judah meaning “praise” and it couldn’t fit him more. He was the beginning of so much more. Even death is not the end.

In the past six years we have experienced more pain, grief, and loss (some of that in our foster journey) but as I think about Judah’s birth and everything that wrapped around it, my faith is built. The struggles of life will happen again, that I know for sure. But as trust is tested again and again, my God is found faithful- the Living God, the Creator, Healer, Savior and Friend.

The Lord is my rock, my strong tower and my salvation. He is trustworthy and I chose to put my hope in the only thing that can’t be shaken! Happy Birthday to my little man. We continue to praise the Lord for you and will evermore.

Christmas Spirit

Pretty fun craft night at the boys school tonight. To be honest my little kids were so disobedient this afternoon that I wasn’t sure that they should even go. When we were on our way to drop off the big boys for youth night, I was kind of talking out loud wondering what I was missing in my parenting… I asked the question out loud, “What am I missing?

Silence filled the van and then my seven-year-old said… “Christmas spirit.” ❄️ The older boys and I started busting up and it instantly changed the entire atmosphere in the van. Yes, buddy I was missing spirit right then, the Holy Spirit and the unconditional love that brought Jesus down here to be among us.

I’m really glad that we went and I got to spend quality time with my little guys- with my five-year-old on my lap creating together. Thank you to the 10-year-old took the family picture and all the Pta moms who put this non-glitter and frosting night on. It was super simple and fun.

#shrinkydinks #christmasspirit = #holyspirit #jesus

Love Rush

This face! Sometimes I look at my kids and I get a love rush. I think Banning Leibscher coined that but whoever did it explains that overwhelming feeling of my heart bursting sometimes. This was the moment I captured on “film.” This guy gives me a run for my money but equally melts my heart. He was was shooting me with straw ammo and was delighting in it. Moments later he said, “Mama, I love you.” I guarantee anyone else standing around also became a big puddle of love. I looks of joy and pride.

❤️

At that moment I recognize exactly how the Heavenly Father feels about us. Love rushes all day long- despite our disobedience, stubbornness, or tuned out ears at times. His heart is bursting 24/7 like our hearts burst from time to time when we realize the blessings that are all around us. Do get this Love Rushes? What sets you off?

FREE TO LOVE | September 2018

📸 cred: https://harleyjayphotography.com

I wrote this for an Instagram post for a ministry called Freedom Movement September 2018. It was interesting having only a certain number of letters allowed to fit in the post. I could’ve written many more words but this is how it turned out.

FREE TO LOVE | My husband and I watched Antwone Fisher in ‘02 and decided that we had to do something with foster care. Then life happened…I started teaching, he got his doctorate and we had our first son. Ministry at church was busy as we added to our family and then we opened our own PT clinic. Foster care seemed like it may become a reality after our 3rd son was born. We tentatively decided that would be the plan. Then my only surprise pregnancy happened… my 4th boy arrived and our life seemed chaotic and full. It seemed like that door was closed. We couldn’t handle one more thing although my heart still felt a pull to jump in.🍃

In 2015 the Lord spoke to my husband and we began the process to be a certified foster family. We couldn’t help 56,000 in CA but we could love 1. All the thoughts of inadequacies and my already limited capacity spoke to me as we got closer to certification. Can I love these kids coming the way they need to be loved? Can I support them as they try to reunify with their bio parents? Can I let them go when they need to go? Can my boys handle it? Can I balance my already full life? Can I handle the issues that arise if they stayed forever? 🍃

2.5 years into our foster story and 4 foster kids later- I can tell you no. No, I can’t handle it. I have reached my own limits time after time but at the end is exactly where my Jesus picks it up. When I’m anxious about the future or dealing with behaviors- He is there. When my schedule seems nuts or my heart feels like it can’t be repaired- He is with me. He is there when I have to learn to trust that He’s with each child and bio parent. What I can’t do on my own strength, I can do because of Him. After my longest placement left- I thought I may need to guard my heart going forward. I didn’t know if I had more to give. I didn’t know how I’d recover. Sometimes loving is scary. But the thing is, I know true love. By knowing that, I have a freedom to love because there is always more. I have a freedom to trust Him because I am His girl. So, we will look to the future and we will love. He doesn’t give us what we can handle, He gives us more so He can show up and get the glory. It’s all His anyway. So let Him love you and He can use you in amazing ways when you know that. “…but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:13

B O Y S

B O Y S

Sometimes being a mom to 4 sons is a challenge. They are constantly loud, wrestling, smelly, pushing, and competing. Being a woman who grew up with only sisters probably makes it even more interesting. It’s not just the volume level or the anti mess vision they have but that we sometimes just don’t get each other. I’ve been recently beginning to understand (in a deeper way) the gift that we can be to each other. I get to watch this whole boy life unfold and walk with them through it. Then since there are all boys, I get to be the female that intentionally teaches them how to relate to women. Not to say I don’t have save me moments…

Letter board
One of my boys did this for my birthday. ❤️

But seeing them all grow up into strong, loving, smart, God loving young men like their dad helps me push through the tough days. They constantly amaze me with random acts of understanding, love, and insight. It amazes me because in the same hour they can make each other cry and cause a ruckus. It’s all normal but to be real, it’s hard! All of this is part of my story and theirs and I’m a different person because I’m their mom.

Thank you Susan for capturing this moment!

W O R D S

My boy is shooting the camera with a “gun” and if you like my Life Adventurously, Raise Boys shirt buy it from Brave Mama, Co W A V E Y 🌊

Been rocking my God given waves these days. I grew up with a mom with gorgeous, long straight hair and a younger sister with bone straight hair. I never liked my waves (except when I got one perm🤣) and frizz. I’d try to blow dry it but that didn’t really match my athletic, low maintenance life style. When I met the hair straightener I fell in love.

When I got to college one of my (still) bff’s told me that she liked my hair in its natural state. Thank you, you know who you are. That began a new journey of me looking at myself in a different way. Just one 19 year old to another.

I was actually super surprised. Nobody ever said that before without me fishing for a complement from my mom or something trying to feel ok. Isn’t it amazing what power words have?! Here I am years later and I’m still a work in progress. I like the way that my hair looks really in person but don’t care for it in pictures. Interesting. I’m trying to psychoanalyze myself but it’s not working. I give myself a break now- I’m ok with variety.

All this randomness is in a blog form to say: Hey awesome, your words have power!

Use your words for good.

Use them often to encourage and build up the people around you.

Be honest and complement often.

Those kind words that play in your head… say them.

You’ll be surprised at how good it feels and you know it feels amazing to be around someone is is building others up. We have an amazing ability to love as humans- own that and make your world better.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Aloha

Today my grandma said her final Aloha and took her last breath. I can’t seem to grasp that it’s real. I mean all my life, she’s been there. It’s a very sad thing but she had a very full, long life.My Poppa & Grandma

I have so much in me from her but here are a few loves: Hawaii, sun bathing, blackout curtains, coffee, lox/bagels, staying up late, prepping a table for my guests, and trying different culture’s foods. I got her dark hair, long eyelashes, and olive skin (sadly Jew chin hairs too). I was obsessed with looking at pictures of her from when she was younger and was so happy if anyone said I looked like her when she was young… she was gorgeous.

I’m determined to have a stocked candy jar when I’m a Grandma- I’ll make sure it looks fancy- like something out of a castle. She wrapped a gift so tight it became coined “Rapport Wrapping” in our family. It was worth all the hard work to open it though because you knew it was gonna be something that you really wanted inside.She always swatted us all on the bums and made sure to kiss us each time we greeted hello and goodbye. She was so funny and had a great laugh. She was stubborn and sassy. She’s let us make a huge mess in her closet dressing up in her clothes & heels, using her makeup, nail polish and of course her big powder puff after the bath. To think of all she’s seen in the last 98.5 years?! From terrible wars to the iPhone. She was a first generation American to two Russian Jews. They both crossed the Atlantic ocean as kids on boats, came through Ellis Island, and met in New York. She met my cute Poppa in the Bronx and they got married. Her mom passed away when she was young but that didn’t stop her from learning how to be Mom to four, Grandma to ten, and GGMay to eighteen. She was a mom till the end- huge heart. She loved every one of her kids- including all the foster girls in and out. She even stayed up all night stressing while my cousin’s wife was delivering their twins at the beginning of this month. She literally had a dream she was delivering them just to help out my cousin’s wife. She was laughing when she told us about it. She could be heard bragging at all times about any of her family members, ready to put up a fight if needed. You could count on her to be thinking about the in’s and out’s of all her kids lives. Her mind was so clear for a 98 year old, a little crazy at times, but remembering things from long ago. Just a blessed life.She spent her last days surrounded by her beloved family and caretakers. She was sung over and reminded about who she is to us. Such a special slice of the image of God was in this one. She passed so peacefully with her special caretaker (and new “cousin” to us) Mona, her only daughter and our Poppa’s original sweet girl, and my parents by her side.

We’ll miss you so Gma May Rosa. Thanks for being you.

And the there were 6…

Party of 8 for 2 weeks. Wow, it’s been a crazy ride. Feels like a lot longer than it actually was. Not sure if 6 kids is a good long term plan for us but if there ever was two kids that could convince us otherwise it was these two sweeties we passed off today. The transition went well to their relatives and they are totally going to the right place. They came sick and sad and left healthy and happy. They have sweet new clothes, diapers, formula, and bottles. We feel sad to see them go but it’s the right thing.

Bye happy girls. It was an honor to serve you.

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