2017 has flown by for us. In many ways it was a similar year to years past, in some ways very different. We continue to enjoy homeschooling - Sadie is in 5th grade this year, Eli in 3rd, and David in 1st. Mary Jo is home with us too and often does her "schoolwork" while I'm working with one of her siblings. The kids and I all enjoy a weekly bible study and the big three go to homeschool classes on Fridays. We are still very involved in our church and even though we are small we are very blessed by the fellowship and teaching there. Steven continues to preach most every Sunday morning at nearby churches, the kids and I usually travel with him, then we go to our home church every Sunday night. Steven is staying as busy as ever with his work, both his financial business as well as the growing real estate business. We went to Honduras again in March and had our usual summer of camps, conferences, and beach weeks. Our kids love their cousin time - and I am thankful to be involved in all of my niece's and nephew's lives.
Starting our foster care journey was the biggest change for us this year. I'm pretty sure my last blog post was about our first foster baby so I don't want to be redundant....but it has been an exciting journey thus far. We have had 2 placements this year and 2 respite cases. Our first placement was little Z, who was with us for 4 months. He went to live with a family member who is doing a great job with him. We've been able to remain in his life and had him come stay with us three times this fall. Just last weekend we kept him for 2 nights and got to have a little mini Christmas with him. He definitely has a place in our hearts and we are hopeful to stay in his life for as long as we can. Our other placement was in October, a little newborn we had for about a month. He also went to live with a family member but unfortunately we didn't get to meet them and haven't had any contact with baby "A". In August we kept a toddler for about 5 days, a sweetheart, and he has now transitioned back to his Dad. It's great to hear about the cases where the family is able to get their kids back, sadly it doesn't happen often. The last respite case we had was an adorable 18 month old - we kept him for the weekend while his foster parents went on a marriage retreat. He was on a special diet so it kept me on my toes but little "G" would run to us and throw his arms around our necks after just a couple hours. He is still living with his foster family and a newborn sister is expected to join him at his foster home in the next month or so. When I start to wonder about the next phone call, next placement, next little life that might enter our home I've learned to just empty my heart out to the Lord. The unknown future gets to me at times but has challenged me to practically use one of my favorite verses "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26.3. As in most things in life - keeping my mind on the eternal purpose of this calling is absolutely necessary to stay in the game, otherwise the frustration of the "broken system" and this sinful world would discourage me greatly. However these 4 little lives that we've had the privilege to know, even briefly, have blessed us immensely, so I'm excited to see what He has in store for us next.
As one of my friends said in her Christmas letter this year, "a picture is worth a thousand words"....so here are some highlights from this year.
Mary Jo turns 4!
Homeschooling at Krispy Kreme....
Our first real life Rodeo with some sweet friends.
Back to Honduras!
It really is beautiful.
Love the color!
Sweet cousin time!
Florida trip in April
They all 4 tried soccer this Fall...even this one!
Our sweet little church.
Eli turns 8!
Loves being silly.
Thankful for 4 healthy grandparents!
Happy Birthday David! 6 years old.
Sadie turned 10 and learns how to take selfies.
The first of our summer trip - this one with the Harrell clan.
Love the knights!
Sharing milkshakes at Skyland Bible Conference.
A sweet time with my girls and nieces.
Church Branch time.
Bringing Baby "A" home!
Thankful for this sweet great Grandma.
Baseball became a part of our lives this fall.
As did 3 legged races??
Sadie had her first big role in the musical this Christmas - she did great.
I know Christmas is past.... so Happy New Year!