Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Best of Facebook: September 2015

9/1/15: Click here to see photo on FB:

I have been admiring all the cute "back to school" photos on my news feed so when we had the opportunity I had to take our own! Our homeschool co-op started back up today. Yay!!!

Once a week 11 families (46 students) meet up at a church 2 blocks from our home. The kids get to divide up into age groups and enjoy their friends (and practice patience to those who are not yet friends) while the moms each teach a 30 min class in History, Geography, Literature, Science, Latin, Bible, Art and Music. Us home bound mamas also get some socializing in which is one key mommy-sanity-saver in my book :)

The kids kept expressing how much they wanted everyone to meet Brittney at least once so I made the decision to keep her home today to attend our co-op with us and meet all our new and old friends. It was a little overwhelming for her as new places always are so I am sure she will be glad to be back at her school tomorrow in her small class of seven.

As the mama of a little boy that melts my heart and causes it to overflow I have been watching all the racial wars in disgust. What if a white man pulls a gun on my son simply because the color of his skin not knowing that my son doesn't see color and loves both his white sister and brown sister fiercely! My son's life matters! What if a black man pulls a gun on me simply because of the color of my skin not knowing that I don't see color and love both my white kids and my brown kids as if they came from my body! My life matters! Fighting on either side of the race war is fighting with the very same weapons you are trying to fight against! Using hate to fight hate crimes is only going to cause more pain and more hate to spread. Try to fight with the only weapon that will conquer, LOVE, because love never fails!

If a white officer treats a person, who happens to be black, wrongly then go to their police station and serve them, pray for them, pray with them, love them. Next time they see a black person your kindness will be what they see, love will conquer hate. If a black person treats a person, who happens to be a white officer, wrongly then go to their black community and serve them, pray for them, pray with them, love them. Next time they see an officer your kindness will be what they see. Love will conquer hate.

We could also all use a lesson in obedience to authority. Citizens need to obey men and women put in uniform for our protection and justice. And people in uniform need to obey God, who is the ultimate authority and will be their judge. God commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves! Both black and white men and women are our American neighbors so love them and treat them how you would like to be treated!

‪#‎ALLlivesmatter‬ ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ ‪#‎whitelivesmatter‬ ‪#‎policelivesmatter‬‪#‎supportblue‬ ‪#‎backtheblue‬

Let me tell you a story, a story of a simple birthday and how we so simply take them for granted. 

About three months ago Brian and I were out on our weekly

Wednesday date night. We ate at Firehouse and were talking and just plain enjoying each other when we overheard a young man who worked there talking to his co-workers. Some of the details in what he was saying sounded strikingly similar to the lives of our children. My interest was pricked but I wasn't going to mosy up the counter and be like, "Hey, I am a stranger, a stranger really good at eavesdropping, can you tell me your life story?" We continued our dinner until this same young man came to our table to take our trays. I gently nudged, "I couldn't help but overhear you talking, did you say 'when you lived at the group home'?"

This young man, let's call him Swag, he very eagerly sat down at our table with us and told us his whole story. He was so open and not ashamed of his past. He told us about life growing up in a boy's group home then aging out of the fostercare system when he was 18 because he was never adopted. In his group home years he struggled with anger and depression but a very faithful counselor helped bring out his God-given potential and helped him look on the bright side of life, showed him what his life could look like. That counselor also served this young man, with no parents, after aging out occurred. She helped him get his first job, took him shopping and celebrated his birthday with him.

Sadness covered his face as he told us she had moved away this year and he missed her greatly, she was like the family he didn't have. He quickly gained his enthusiasm back and continued sharing about his life with us. God very clearly pricked my heart to give this young man our phone number and told him to call whenever he needed some "family time" like at Christmas or Thanksgiving or even a card on his birthday.

We left the restaurant inspired by all this young man had overcome yet still had joy on his face. I turned to Brian, "I wish I had asked him his birthday." To which my husband, with the memory of an elephant, responded, "Babe, he said it when he told us his age, it is coming up on September 7th." I quickly saved the date in my phone calendar because with the memory of Dory the fish I knew it would slide off my radar by the time we got buckled into the car.

Well, today was Swag's birthday, my handy little smart phone reminded me. Because I don't have my mommy act together most of the time I didn't bake him homemade cupcakes but a cake from Publix with "Happy Birthday Swag" sufficed. A balloon bouquet and a card from the Dollar Tree completed our little, simple birthday surprise. The kids were so excited as he lit up with surprise and hugged us over and over and over!

It is surprising the love Jesus can grow in our hearts for a complete stranger so quickly. As our kids grow up and we age we hope to never retire from loving all of God's children. In our future we hope to become family for many young men and women at risk of aging out, no one should have to face this life alone! We love you Swag and wish you the best of birthdays!

Enjoying a late night swim! We are in Orlando attending the DCF Child Protective Summit Conference. We were so blessed to be offered a free scholarship to stay and attend and boy are these country kids cute walking around the Ritz Carlton with their mouths gaping open, "Gee mom, this is sure fancy!" LOL

And we are super looking forward to this Friday when we stand before a judge and make Brittney ours forever!

<3 Introducing Anna Brittney Carroll!!! <3

Severe medical neglect brought her into fostercare 8 years ago but today ADOPTION changed her future forever!!! Adoption isn't second best. Adoption isn't plan B. Adoption is the very heart of God! We adopt because we were adopted!!!

"In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:5-6

This morning a neighbor, who I didn't remember meeting, stopped by and dropped off a bag of sheets and a card signed by several members of our tiny community. The giftcard was overwhelmingly thoughtful and such a blessing of provision for us! They said it was "a thank you for what we bring to the neighborhood" but our neighbors bless us far more than we could ever return! Thank you ladies!

A special treat for six of our kiddos (our Britt is at her school) because this morning they all sat quietly and contentedly by themselves in a busy waiting room while I accompanied Brian during his doctor's appt.

Three weeks ago we found a mass that was very concerning. After two weeks of monitoring by our doctor he wanted to rule out the possibility of cancer so he referred Brian to a specialist. Even though the possibility of cancer has been buzzing in our heads God had given us a sweet peace during that two week wait. Only last night did my anxiety break through causing me to worry what would I do if I lost my rock of a husband. God answered, "you'd have to continue to trust and rely on your rock of a Savior."

Well, the specialist today gave us the news we had been praying to desperately for, the mass is absolutely nothing to worry about! Praise God! This experience has made us all think of our time together much more dear, reminded us to cherish every moment of our short time here and renewed us to live and serve Christ to the fullest with all our being!

Today was National #TalkLikeAPirateDay so yesterday we spent about 4 hours whipping up some piratey costumes for my seven scallywags, I even made a parrot from old socks, felt and glue. We picked up Pirate Nanny and looted Krispy Kreme of their donut booty. Then we made a few stops and shared the wealth with some heros in our community, the fire department, the police department and, the unsung hero of this family, daddy!

In the never ending drama saga that is our life we recently had a mama cat and three kitties dropped off on our farm. Today we brought them all to our vet for their spay/neuter surgeries before we find them homes or they live out their lives on our 7 acre homestead. Since the big kids are at band class and Britt is at school it was just me and my little helpers picking them up. Maggie and Ty were so excited to not be overshadowed by the big kids, they have their opportunity to show off what big helpers they could be. "Can we carry Cheddar, please mom?" I gave in, went over the importance of walking slow and not dropping the kitty then stepped back to put some trust in my little ones.

We made it halfway through the vet office before an older customer grabbed the cat carrier out of their hands, "I'll help you to the car! At this rate it will take you forever and you don't want them to drop it." I looked down at two defeated little faces. "Yes, you are right, if I allow them to help it will take longer than if I did it myself and there is a small chance that they will drop it." I backed up and grabbed two lollipops off the jar at the front counter, "But my little ones here are such great helpers and they want to show me how big they are! I don't mind it taking longer, we aren't in a rush and they will do a great job, thank you for your offer, but I trust my little helpers to carry the kitty out to the car." Confused she put t he carrier back down and we slowly but surely made it safely out to the car. Two very proud smiles happily ate lollipops on the car ride home.

As I watch these babies grow into big kids before my eyes I have learned I must not keep them from an opportunity to succeed and be praised due to a risk of failure. Time and time again they are ready and able to do far more than what I think they are capable of. They are growing up way too fast! :'(

A memory from one year ago today! "We love our adopted kids best when we choose to love their parents!"

Today we attended a wedding. We sought counsel and over and over were advised not to attend. We were told it wasn't safe. People believed that it would be confusing. Brian and I prayed, as we usually do, that we would be open to God's direction even if it went against all human wisdom (there was a time we received the same negative counsel by well meaning Christians about accepting a 4th, 5th and 6th child into our family).

After seeing the tears stream down her face and the joy she expressed at the sight of the blond 3 year old she gave birth to, God confirmed we had listened well. I am so thankful God grabbed ahold of my heart and led me courageously to attend Maggie's birthmom's wedding. I wasn't condoning her life choices but choosing to show her love and grace regardless of her behavior. God gave an overwhelming peace to my heart that no fear of man could shake. He had also orchestrated perfectly that in Maggie's "too big clothes bin" sat a beautiful flower girl dress that had been given to us when she was only an infant. It was too pretty to pass along before she could use it and when we dug it out it fit perfectly as if it was waiting there just for this moment!

Adoption is a unique journey and at times confusing. This little girl that I have raised and adore was not grown in my body. I will forever share her with another mother. While that thought could consume some with sadness it reminds me that it isn't love being shared as in separated but shared as in combined. My baby girl is loved twice! And when I adopted this little girl, I was not just given a daughter to love, but her mother to love also! We love our adopted kids best when we choose to love their parents!

The mooing outside my window was unrelenting. The cow would not be quiet. Although I have strep and am on quarantine and bedrest I snuck outside, "What Buttercream?" I asked as I pet the top of her head. "MOO!" She bellowed. I went into to fence and began massaging her head, neck and back. I had missed being outside at all yesterday due to my sickness and somebody wasn't happy about a missed massage. Then a nudge came from behind where three beautiful ponies were letting me know they were there and waiting for their turn. As I continued massaging each pony our herd of goats, Dolly the donkey, our two Pyrenees, 3 cats, our pigs and Bruce the goose were at my feet pushing ahead in line for their turn to be held, pet and loved on.

It was beginning to rain as I finished up loving on each animal. "Mom, get inside you are going to get more sick!" Since I now smelled worse than a wet goat and my pajamas were covered dirt I took a long hot shower. Now I am snuggled up with an awesome book and some hot tea. As for the Buttercream, she is content and quiet.

Thankful for a hubby that can take over when I am sick, but the cow says farmers don't get a day off. ;)

Posted by Shannon