Weekend CALL Training Recap

call logo

Where do I begin?

This weekend, Tim and I spent 14.5 hours in a classroom going through the first leg of the PRIDE training which is one step in the process which allows people to adopt and foster children. We are absolutely exhausted. We can’t turn our necks a certain way, and we kind of wish we had another couple of days added to the weekend….but it was worth every single minute. Even if I weren’t adopting, I would still get so much out of the training, because it opens your eyes to what too many children go through every single day in our backyards. I won’t lie…there were parts that were difficult, incredibly difficult. I have a headache from furrowing my brow from sadness throughout parts of the training, but there’s something amazing about it too. Once your eyes are opened, it calls you to action. It’s so easy to sit back and do nothing when you don’t really know the problem. Even when I was teaching and saw children who needed to be in foster care, I never imagined the magnitude of what they went through every day. This training actually takes you through what the children are feeling, what the birth parents are feeling, and what you as the foster/adoptive parent are feeling. Wow. If you’ve ever had even a hint of interest in fostering/adopting, go through this training. It will open your eyes. It will call you to some type of action, even if you decide fostering/adopting isn’t for you. You’ll never be the same.

One of the things that struck me so heavily this weekend was the group of people that we went through the training with. You know, so many times we are so quick to think about all the bad in the world. But it’s weekends like these when I am reminded…there are a whole lot of Jesus-followers in the world. We are going through the training with 7 other singles/couples, and it’s amazing how you can feel the room heave a collective sigh during the sad parts. You can feel the heaviness after a difficult video clip. You can see their hearts when they talk about their concerns and why they are doing this. I think that a fellow trainee put into words quite well this weekend why we are doing this. He said,

“We aren’t doing this because we’re amazing parents,

We’re doing this as an act of obedience to God.”

Yes-exactly, and that has been such a blessing …being with a lot of people who get us. Really get our motivation for this, understand the why….because they are in the same boat.

Have you ever stepped back and looked at God’s leading you through a situation? I’m sure you have, and a lot of the time, it’s through lots of little, simple things. Well, for the last year and a half, it’s been just that. A lot of little, simple things gently (and sometimes more forcefully) guiding us to this point. It started with a home school book about George Mueller. Isn’t it amazing the things God uses to speak to us? I was amazed when we walked into training and just so happened to be in the same class as the Overstreets. Then, there was a sweet couple who was related to a couple we attend church with. Then, there was a home school family who has three kids, two girls and a boy-just like us. I mean, you can’t just throw those things together haphazardly. No way…that is the hand of God at work in the lives of His children. That is His attention to detail. That is His extreme care and involvement in our lives.

The trainers….oh their heart! Such sweet people who love the Lord. Each one of them had a personal connection to fostering/adoption whether it be that they were personally adopted or part of a foster family, and their love for these children poured out with their words. They don’t get paid, they volunteer their weekend hours to train families. They are passionate. Wow. When God calls and equips people and they are obedient, it is such a good thing.

I could easily keep going about what God showed me this week through that 14.5 hours of training. But I won’t. I need to get started on our paperwork. I figure if I get started this morning, I should be able to finish up by our next session in two weeks. Ha! Yes, there is A LOT of paperwork!
I want to encourage you….if you have even a hint of wanting to do something to help the children in Arkansas, go check out these websites. Even if you aren’t called to open your home, there are lots of other things to do from providing food for trainings like these to donating clothing to being a foster grandparent, it takes LOTS of God’s people working together to make a dent.

The CALL  http://thecallinarkansas.org/the-call-in-conway-and-faulkner-counties/

Project Zero  http://www.projectzero.org


Messy Valley #2


We’ve gone through a bit of a difficult phase around our house lately.  We tend to do this sometimes.  We’ve just had some back talk and some bad attitudes and general sibling meanness around here.  And I don’t like it.

I was actually feeling pretty down about it last week, and I am a fixer by nature, so I kept trying to think of ways to fix it.  More Bible time, more prayer time, more break time in our day.  All good things.  But finally, I decided to do what I should have done from the beginning…take it to the Lord.

So I began praying about this difficult time we were having.  For several days, I took it to God each morning.  Father, change them, help them to do better today.  Unfortunately, each day produced no new results.  And each day proved just as difficult as the one before.  I kept praying about it, and finally I realized something.

I was expecting something out of my children that I don’t expect even from myself.

I was expecting perfection.

Why do I do this sometimes?  Why do I expect my 8 year old boy to jump for joy when I pull out a cursive writing page?

I’m in no way giving my kids a free pass to talk back or gripe and complain, but I must realize that they will mess up…a lot.  It’s my job, my calling, my honor, to show them grace and forgiveness when they mess up and to gently restore them to obedience.  So why do I sometimes get frustrated when they misbehave?  Because I’m on my own agenda, my own schedule.  Not God’s.

The other thing that I must realize is that my children are a mirror of me.  They spend the most time with me. I have no friends at school to blame poor behavior on.  Nope.  When they have a bad attitude, many times, it’s me who needs the attitude adjustment first.  So I then have to repent, and I have to honestly evaluate myself.

Am I being joyful in everything I do, including the mundane tasks (equivalent to cursive writing pages for me)?

Am I being patient, kind and slow to anger?

Am I showing them Christ in every response?

So this week, I’ll be praying a different prayer….that God change me and work in my heart.  I think that this prayer will produce different results.  When we finally get bold enough to ask God to work on our hearts, that’s when we can see Him moving in every area of our lives right?

Happy Birthday Lydia!


She is my baby.

And she’s growing up….

Today she turns three….going on twenty-five.  At least that’s how it feels.

Time flies.

She’s my fun-loving one,

The one who loves to let go and soar….

The fearless one.

The one who brightens everyone’s day on a trip to the grocery store.

The one who says the Lord’s Prayer mixed with the Pledge of Allegiance.


She’s a free spirit…

As she grows, I think she’ll be a Mary…

She’ll be perfectly happy to sit at the feet of Jesus and worship.

Because I just see that in her.

I love that about her.


Lydia in the Bible was a seller of purple…

We had no idea she’d be obsessed with the color though.

Oh how we pray that she will know the Lord as her Savior early….

That she never turns her back on Him,

That His grace will be irresistible to her,

That she will seek to glorify Him all her days.


We love you Lydi-Bug.

More than you know.

And Jesus loves you even more than that.

You are well-loved.

What a gift.


Happy Birthday

To our fun-loving little firecracker.



Spend, Save, Give


I’ve always believed in teaching my children how to handle money correctly, so as soon as Isaac was old enough to begin to understand, I began to read all about teaching children to be good stewards.

I stumbled upon this spend, save, give method and I knew that it fit our personal beliefs on stewardship as well, so it was a natural fit.  Of course, the website I read was trying to sell me a super cute bank with separate spend, save, give sections.  Let me tell you a little bit about the system.

Our kids have chores every day.  We don’t pay for all chores.  We believe that there are some things that should be done simply because we are a family and we work together as a team, so our children have daily chores such as making their beds, cleaning their rooms, etc that they do not get paid for.  That’s just part of their morning routine.  However, some bigger jobs that need to be done such as mowing the lawn, cleaning out the car, and major yard work we do offer pay.  Of course, pay comes in varying degrees according to age and ability.  Isaac now can mow the lawn by himself, so we usually give him $5 or so.  Hannah can pick up sticks to make the mowing easier, so we give her $.25.  To her, it’s a fortune!

Once they complete the job and it meets our expectations, the child is paid.  When the child is paid, 10% goes to the “Give” bag, 10% goes to the “Save bag, and the rest goes in the “Spend” bag.  On Sundays, we empty out the “Give” bag and the kids take their offering to church.  It really means so much to them to be able to put their money that they earned in the offering plate.  They are now helping take care of the church and of God’s people.  What a great feeling!

“God loves a cheerful giver.”  -2 Corinthians 9:7

Over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of methods for keeping this stewardship system going.  Of course, I’m too cheap to buy the super cute bank that they sell, so I’ve tried mason jars (which worked, but seemed to get lost an awful lot), and we’ve tried keeping it in a paper register similar to a checkbook (but there’s just something about actually seeing your money).  Finally, this year, I think I’ve found what really works.  I bought these pencil pouches at Wal-Mart this year for $0.47, three for each child, and I taped a label on each one.  Our kids are all color coded.  Hannah is pink, Lydia is purple, and Isaac is blue.  They hang up on our mail center above my desk where they are handy and can be easily seen by eager-to-earn kids.

When the kids have enough “Spend” money to buy something they’ve been wanting, we will take them to the store with us to purchase it.  It’s a great learning experience to talk about sales tax and rounding up too.  And, we’ve had a couple of instances where one of the kids spent their money a little foolishly.  When they realized it, it made for a good conversation about how not every cool toy is a quality purchase.

There’s no exact right or wrong way to do this.  Even though we don’t do this, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving your child a couple of dollars each week as an allowance to teach them how to handle money.  The big idea here is that somehow we provide them experiences with money early so that they can see financial success and financial failure on a smaller scale while they still have time before they are required to make important financial decisions that lead to big successes and big failures.

How does your family handle teaching stewardship?



Weekly Goals

goal setting


I have been bad lately. I haven’t set goals for about 3 weeks, and I can tell. My house is a mess, my eating has been less than stellar, and my exercise is non-existent. Have I ever said that I am very goal-oriented? I need my goals! So, I’m looking forward to getting back at it this week.  Here’s my goal list for the week:

Spiritual Goals:

  1. Daily Bible Reading & Prayer
  2. Spend time in prayer for each child and their specific needs, as well as for our country, leaders, and for revival

Family Goals:

  1. Family Time x 3
  2. Prepare Adoption Paperwork
  3. Schedule Physicals for each Family Member
  4. Play with my Kids daily-Emphasis on Physical Education
  5. Lydia-Dr Appt at Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Home Goals:

  1. Deep Cleaning
  2. One Load Laundry Every Day
  3. Install Additional Smoke Alarms & Take Care of Safety Issues in the Kitchen

Church Goals:

  1. Write cards to Sunday School Class.
  2. Prepare Roots Materials
  3. Order Curriculum

Physical Goals:

  1. Track eating on Loseit.com App
  2. Drink only water, coffee in the morning
  3. Walk one mile per day (Leslie Sansone is my favorite exercise DVD series)

Social Goals:

  1. Touch base with friends by text message.
  2. Reschedule dinner w/family that we had to cancel last week.

Financial Goals:

  1. $30 Incidental Limit
  2. Purchase Grill

Legacy Goals:

  1. Journal Entry for Lydia’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Lydia!
  2. Blog Posts x 3

Mental Goals:

  1. Finish reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst and continue reading Glorious Ruin
  2. Begin working on handmade baby gifts.
  3. Personal time x 1 + Daily Porch Time (It’s FALL y’all!)


For some reason, having my goals written down, and posting them on my blog makes them very real to me, so I’m looking forward to getting back to some more discipline in my life this week. Are you goal-oriented? How do you do your goals? What are your goals for this week?


Do Not Fear


I used to have a serious problem with fear. I’ve always struggled with fear…to the point that as a child, I actually was so paralyzed by it that I had to go to counseling for a season. That counseling did a lot of good, but it didn’t by any means cure me from the disease that plagued me every day, and as the days went by, the sickness grew in my mind and my heart. I call it a sickness because it’s what it felt like. I woke every day worried or scared of something. And 90% of the time, it was something that was entirely out of my control. Looking back over my life, I can see where God has used this struggle to shape me and to bring Him glory, and I wanted to share my story today for that reason. I want to show what God did in my life with the fear that crippled me for years and years.

When I was a child, I feared everything. If my mother wasn’t sitting in the pick-up line waiting for me when I got out of school, I panicked. In my mind, she had been in a terrible car accident, had been med-flighted to a hospital in Little Rock and was on life support. In the chaos of it all, everyone had forgotten about me, and I would be left all alone at the school, left to wonder what had happened. Now, I know how ridiculous this sounds. And every time I had a panic attack just to see my mom drive around the corner, I thought how ridiculous it was for me to think such thoughts. I mean, seriously who makes up such elaborate stories in their minds? Believe it or not, more people than you may think. So many people struggle with crippling fear every day. I see it now with children more than ever before, and it breaks my heart. I know what it was like living in the prison of fear as a child and as an adult. It’s no fun. Not only that, but we live in a different world today than we used to. Our kids today have much more to add to their imaginations than I did. I can only imagine what I could have come up with in my mind if I had known about terrorism and September 11th.

I remember one evening not long after Tim and I had married, we were driving back from his parents’ house in Bee Branch, and we drove by a camper sales place, and Tim commented that we should start saving up to buy a camper so we can go camping on Mt. Nebo. I casually agreed, but in my heart, I was busy imagining the worst possible situation. In my mind, we had set up camp at Mt. Nebo and didn’t set the block behind the tire properly and our camper was on its way down the side of the mountain with us inside. Now, I had come up with these scenarios my entire life. But this night, something happened, and I realized that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I hated not being able to truly enjoy things. So I did something that I had never done before. I asked Tim to pull the truck over, and I shared with him my entire thought process and I told him that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I figured that he probably would wonder what kind of crazy lady he had married, but he was so good and he prayed with me, and we talked about a course of action that I needed to take to retrain my mind.

And over the next few days, I began to do just that. With the help of God, I retrained my mind. I wanted to share with you some of what I did in hopes that it might be helpful to someone else.

  1. I began to memorize scripture. If you know me, you probably know that I’m big on memorizing scripture. This is where it began. Memorizing scripture was so important in this stage of my life, that I made it a life-discipline and it has been so good for me. The day after my camper fiasco, I went home and searched my Bible for scriptures that talk about fear. A couple of my favorites are 2 Timothy 1:7 and Psalm 4:8. I wrote them down on index cards and began to commit them to memory. I said them over and over and over and over to myself. Those scriptures were the first thing I thought about when I woke up and the last thing I thought about when I went to bed.
  2. I learned to stop imagining things. An imagination is one of the greatest things a person can have….until it begins to work against you like mine did. I had to learn to recognize the thoughts that did not line up with God’s word and I had to learn to stop those thoughts before they festered into full blown fears. This took a while and a lot of mental effort, but each time I had a thought that seemed irrational, I would tell myself to stop, and I would replace that thought with scripture. I thought about this scripture often during this training period:

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity

Every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

-2 Corinthians 10:5

  1. Pray, pray, pray. I prayed a lot. And, I prayed specifically that God would deliver me from fear. I prayed that he would give me specific things that I could do to retrain my mind. I prayed that He would teach me to trust Him completely.
  2. Be open. Talk about it. Tim was a great partner for me during this. Even though he could not relate (I don’t think Tim fears anything!), he was a great coach. I used that often. Sometimes, when I was really struggling, I would share that with him and he would help me to see the irrationality of something in a really kind, thoughtful way, and he would bring me back to a more sound way of thinking. I think it’s great for people who struggle with fear to have people in their lives who are a voice of reason.
  3. Guard your heart.  The eyes and ears are the door to the heart.  And that is serious stuff.  There are several places in the Bible that talk about guarding your heart.  My favorite is, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  -Proverbs 4:23  Above all else.  For me, fear is a real, daily struggle.  Even now, ten years later, though I consider myself free from the life of fear, I can still easily fall back into it.  A crime show, even a particularly violent commercial can plant thoughts in my mind that will fester and grow until they are full blown.  So, I have to constantly stay on guard.  Because of this, I’m very selective about what I watch on television and what I read.  I don’t read mystery fiction.  There are just things that I don’t do in order to protect my fragile heart.  I think it’s important for us to identify those things that we should guard against.  And what may be a stumbling block for me is not necessarily for someone else.  If you struggle with fear, I would encourage you to take time to identify the things that can cause you to stumble and begin to take steps to guard your heart against those things. 

If you have a child who struggles with fear, I believe that these same steps will most definitely help. They certainly won’t hurt. Being that voice of reason for your child without making them feel like they are silly is important. Talking them through rational thoughts is a good thing too. I would also suggest, for children who struggle with fear especially, that you shut off the television either completely or be extremely selective about what you watch. At our house, we rarely watch the news. Tim and I read our news. Sometimes, we aren’t always up to date, but we try, and we’ve noticed a huge change in our kids since we stopped watching the news. Also, for a fearful child, even commercials are disturbing. To this day, I still have to be careful what I watch. It’s just a stumbling block for me-an open door to let fear back into my heart.  See point 5 above.  🙂 So, Tim and I have an understanding that crime shows and heavy violence just have no place in our home.

I’m so thankful that today, about 10 years later, I can say that by the Lord’s help, He has brought me a really long way. I still have some irrational fears. But, I can’t imagine being a mother and living with the multiple, irrational fears that I used to have. At the same time, I am so thankful for that time and for that struggle, because I’ve learned so much from it. I am sure of the fact that God does not want us to live in fear. He wants us to live to glorify Him in every way.


What I’m Into



I tend to get on kicks, so I thought that it would be interesting to do post every once in a while about what I’m into. So here’s what I am loving right now:


Dannon Greek Light Yogurt w/Granola-this stuff is the best yogurt. Take some Special K granola to add some crunch and you’ve got yourself a tasty and nutritious dessert.



Flatbread-I love flatbread for everything. From a Subway breakfast bacon, egg white and cheese flatbread with honey mustard to a lunch time ham flatbread to a flatbread pizza…flatbread is definitely my thing right now.

 glorious ruin

Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian–I can’t even begin to pronounce his name, but he’s Billy Graham’s grandson, and I’ve been reading a lot about the topic of Christian suffering lately because I think that we view this incorrectly a lot of the time. This book is part of my quest to find out how a Christian really and truly should view suffering, and so far, I’ve been really pleased with it. It’s not an easy read by any means, and it’s taking me a while to get through it, because I have to stop and think and talk over what I’ve read with Tim. So it’s slow going, but I’m really enjoying it….well, as much as one can enjoy the topic of suffering.

the best yes


The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst-This has been a great book for me. It’s an easy read with lots of great nuggets of truth and practical advice. I’m almost finished with this, and I’m so excited because I’m planning a special post for a book review with a little surprise for you! Yay!


Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee with Dunkin’ Donuts Creamer-Yum! This has made my porch time even better…and it’s no easy task to improve on something that’s already so good!



Money Saving Mom.com-It’s my favorite blog. I love her advice and all her practical suggestions and recipes.

 jadon lavik roots run deeper

Jadon Lavik-A Christian singer who takes old hymns and puts a new spin on them. I could listen to his Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing all day long. My two favorite albums are Roots Run Deep and Roots Run Deeper. I also love artists like this because my kids actually like to listen to them. So, they are learning to love and appreciate hymns and the truth in them all to a cool, updated sound. It’s a win-win.

discover bible


New International Reader’s Version Bible-I LOVE this Bible. This is part of our Sonlight curriculum, but of course, it’s available at any bookstore or online. It’s a great translation for younger kiddos. Isaac uses this for his personal daily reading time and the kids and I have also been reading through Romans this year, and this version has been so helpful for us. We’ve had some really great conversation come from our reading, and I think that this translation has really put it in a way that is very understandable to my kids. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our Bible time!


seeds family worship


And as always, Seeds Family Worship!  We are ALWAYS into this!  Love this ministry, love their music.  Go check them out!


So that’s what I’m into this month.  What are you into?