My walk in life as an artist, wife, sister, daughter and follower of Christ.

Journey of 2016 part 2

That precious little girl we picked up March 3rd, we fell in love with so quickly. She stole our hearts so unexpectedly. She was perfect.

Nights were pretty normal for a new born, she would wake up about every 3 hours. Slept so soundly and would wake up so happy. She smiled constantly and looked at us with those big blue eyes. Her weight was a bit of a concern at first since she weighed less then 6 pounds but she gulped her bottles down so fast! It didn’t take long for her to start gaining weight.

Our first time we had a parental visit with her parents, both me and Jake were so nervous!! It didn’t help that the DHHS guy that was in charge of the visit seemed concerned as well. All that kept going through our minds was “were they angry at us?”, “What did they know about us?” And “were they dangerous?”. Needless to say Jake and I were on high alert. No idea what to expect as we waited for the visit to be over with. We never did end up seeing the parents that day.. which kind of left us feeling unerved. We kept looking for a car, making sure we weren’t followed home.

The next visit I again didn’t know what to expect, but I hoped to at least meet a parent with a caseworker there. Caseworker was late.. mom walked in, I braced myself. I was met with a smile and hello. She was so sweet and I could tell she loved this baby girl so much. It put my heart at ease. We talked a little. The caseworker came and I left.

These visits came and went every week, I grew to love sharing updates with mom about baby girl. I loved dressing her up for visits. This baby girl was so loved by many! We did photoshoots with baby often so mom had pics of her.

One of the best parts of foster care is being a part of these kids lives even for a short while. This baby girl brought so much joy. Her laugh is seriously the best. Whenever someone said how it was great we were blessing her, we honestly felt weird, because we felt so blessed by her!

Jake and I were so excited about foster care and we couldn’t wait to continue on with it and then we got that next call…

Journey of 2016 Part 1

 

So many times I’ve tried writing something in the past years. I’ve tried to write chapters of fiction or short stories. But none of it inspired me enough to finish or even complete a plot. This time is different though. I can feel it. I’m not dreading writing out the chapters because I know the plot and that everything happened for a reason. Because it’s my story, and I see God in it constantly now.

I won’t start from the beginning of my life, but where I saw the start of God’s plan for my life. You’d think that would mean when I became His, but even then I had no clue what he had in store for me. No this story starts in my church, when I sat in front of a projected screen playing a video of foster kids and kids for adoption. My husband and I had discussed adoption in the past but we really wanted to wait until we knew if we would have our own. However, God had different plans. As I sat there watching this video, it hit me right in my gut, out of nowhere. I just started crying for these children. I don’t even remember this video, all I remember is this feeling of compassion that I was overwhelmed with. Right then was when I knew God had big plans for us.
My husband Jake had no clue. After church I told him what was going on in my heart and what I knew to be true. I just knew God wanted us to either do foster or adoption. So we decided to pray about it and see where He led us.

A couple weeks later, we attended a foster care info class at our church. Again I felt as though God was just confirming what he wanted us to do. Foster to adopt. We set out to start the process. It was as easy as sending out an email, getting a packet and attending orientation. We then took training classes for foster care that we were able to complete within a couple of months, along with my sister and brother in law. Next was the house visit, which I now see, I was way more nervous then I needed to be. They interviewed us and made sure our house was safe, we had about three house visits before everything was up to code. Its a lot of paperwork back and forth.

After less than 6 months of the process, we were official licenced foster parents on March 1st of 2016. On March 3rd we got our first call, a baby girl who was only 2 days old. Talk about craziness, she was still at the hospital about an hour away and was ready to be picked up. Jake and I rushed to gather things together for her, they said she was tiny so we needed a smaller carseat. We rushed to go get one then rushed home to get it all set. Then we were on the road… to go pick up a baby…a BABY! We were beyond excited! We got to the hospital and we got lost. After an hour of searching, floor after floor, we finally found her and we were exhausted.
There she was all bundled in her little hospital bed. The nurse said I could pick her up but I barely heard her and I was too scared to pick up this fragil, itty bitty baby. They had the paperwork all ready for us. We signed it, had help putting baby in her carseat and we were on our way out. One stranger congratulated us in the elevator, I just beamed a smile and thanked him as I peaked once again at her. She was so tiny!!! Then we finally got home and we just sat and stared at her in wonder, at her tiny beautiful face, and then she smiled.

Being Married – A choice everyday

I hate how this world has turned marriage into something so ugly. Its become something to despise. I hate how divorce is seen as an easy way out. No divorce is easy, neither is marriage. Either one you’re still faced with hard decisions every single day.As human beings we can be so selfish, we think we know whats best for us, we think we know what would make us happy. We make choices based off of our feelings. Then we get confused and wonder what went wrong.

I’ve been married just 2 1/2 years, Yes still in the beginning stages I know.  But just in the past year I have seen new marriages and broken ones.  It truly breaks my heart to see something so beautiful to become so torn. I believe by getting married you’re making a sacred vow before God and that to break that vow you will have to live with that decision before God. Ive been faced with so many questions about divorce I honestly still have so many many questions about it. I dont know if I will ever figure it out. I have prayed over it so much, listening for answers. I wish I had all the answers so I would know how to fix a broken heart. But I cant, all I can do is love those who are hurting. No matter how hard I try, only God can fix a heart.

Furthermore, I know that when you have God in your life He can turn anything around to something beautiful again. It all begins with a choice. Before I found Jake I had decided I would be ok with not getting married.  I was hit with the truth that in order to be happy I must learn to be happy with Jesus alone. He gave me joy and showed me that getting married was was not just for my happiness but two people choosing to live with one another to build each other up. If I could not achieve joy in my life without a man, then what single man could achieve this happiness for me? Not one human being is capable of such a huge task. Only God can give the fulfillment of joy in ones life.

God has blessed Jake and I’s marriage in so many ways. We both share the same love for Him and He has provided for us over and over again. I am taught that it is not just the “I do” but its choosing every single day to love your spouse. Choosing to forgive and choosing to accept each other for who we are. Every marriage has its up and downs, there comes a time when your unable to agree, but its it moving forward from those battles with Gods help and doing your best to do whats right in His eyes that helps us live our lives together.

I never really understood the whole part of “being one” when through marriage. but after seeing it broken, it all makes sense. It truly is like watching one person get split in half. It hurts everyone around you. I cant Imagine living my life without jake anymore, he is part of me and always will be. He helped me become the person I am today and I love him more than I could have ever imagined possible. I choose to love him, and hopefully be a blessing to him everyday. I pray I wont ever harden my heart towards Jake, but that God would continue to teach us both how to live for Him. Living for Him is what gives us true joy, and all the other stuff is just a bonus.

Journal entry: Child like

I have so many good memories of growing up… Playing in the woods pretending reality was far far away… I have memories of growing closer to God .. Sitting in trees and pretending the wind was Him hugging me, everything seemed ok then. Then came new distractions. I fell in love… I found others who cared. I was wanted, no longer a burden. No longer the weird kid I thought I was. I didn’t have to be alone. I know now I have many unique talents God has given me. I can problem solve and I’m creative in many ways. God also gave me the ability to read people quickly… To understand.
Sometimes I wonder if people saw this in me… Saw it in my eyes and wondered at it. I was mistreated often for speaking different things.. Things I thought were obvious. I was just trying to be honest. Sometimes I was hated by those who only looked at me… And I was so confused.
I found early on that some people weren’t always ready for the truth. So I hid inside myself. I slunk back. I was quiet.
But the more I fell in love with Jesus the more my spirit wanted to break free and speak truth.
This world is hard and cruel. I’ve tried so many times only to be hurt again and again. But God never said it would be easy, no instead He draws you closer and makes you stronger. I have broken free time and time again… But somewhere along the way i find I’ve hidden my self again.
My pride, my selfishness… They are both good at hiding who God wants me to be.
But what’s stopping me now? Why is it so hard to let go of contentment and move towards Him? I’ve lost that child like faith… Their are so many things that torment me. I’m doing my best to let go. To open my heart to Him, even if it gets uncomfortable.
Because in the end it will all be worth it.

New Mural-Gears

Well I had a new opportunity in the last month to do a new mural! It was very exciting since the idea was to have it look like the gears were coming from the inside of the walls and the walls were cracked. I had fun with adding in different angles of shadows and sides. Then i also added in some hidden marbles to throw in some fun for the kids to find, it also draws in the onlooker to look a bit closer when you see something random like a marble from the corner of your eye 😉

Also here is a speed video! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TeftuzN7bY

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Overall it took me 74 hours. i completed it in 13 days.

Homeschooled ….Yep

homeschooling-abcsHomeschooling. Its such a big deal. Such a big decision.  My parents decided to homeschool for our families benefit, to protect their children from the growing bad things in public schools and the world. There really are many bad things in public schools that kids should not be exposed to. But no matter what, at some point your child will see the bad things in the world. Dont get me wrong, I respect my parents for trying so hard. However, sometimes homeschooling just doesn’t work. In many cases, It doesn’t matter how organized you are, even if you’ve got a whole schedule worked out for your child, if their heart isn’t in it, then they aren’t really learning anymore. They are only tolerating. 

There are many pluses to homeschooling, but there are also a whole lot of negatives… Personally, whenever I think of the concept, it gives me a few different feelings. Not so good feelings. Like the feeling of being trapped and the urge to run away. Most of my homeschooling days I felt lost, like I needed to be somewhere else but there really was no where to go. 

Honestly, homeschooling for me started out great, I learned to read quite fast and then even went on to teach my own twin sister how to. I loved reading and writing. I loved cursive and was very proud of being able to write long paragraphs on my own. I jumped at every chance my mom gave writing assignments. I picked up school books that weren’t even assigned to me because I just wanted to learn more…I needed to learn more. But it wasn’t enough. I got tired of giving myself homework. What was the point? In a family of ten there wasn’t much focus on specific subjects. Let alone an aim for a certain degree.  On a good day, all that mattered was that we did our homework. As we got older it just got harder to know exactly what we should be doing. 

Eventually my priorities for my own schooling ended, instead I did my homework quickly so that I could spend more time either helping my siblings or just to get outside. My priority became getting out of the house and voiding extra homework at all costs. I really just wanted to live. To stay busy in a way that wasn’t boring to me. For a long time I dreamed of being an acrobat or getting into a sport that I could stay active in. It never happened. It was like a book with a great plot and big ideas in the first chapter but then dragged on to a poorly written end.

As kids that loved to build things, almost every summer we built a new tree fort or dug out ditches for mud/apple wars. Many times, we even skipped homework all together and snuck outside. We all had our own spots in our 3 acre yard, to call our fort or “house”. It was our way of leaving reality behind. The reality that we were stuck. What we had at home was what we got. There was no point in dreaming big, other than moving out and getting married. Every year was the same. No new friends or teachers, it all was quite predictable. Many days dragged by.

Finally, I turned 18 and bought a car, got my permit, took my drivers test and got my licence by 19. In that order. It was such a huge relief to get out of the house and actually be my own person, make new friends, get my first job. I finally learned actual people skills, instead of being the shy girl that didn’t know how to talk to anyone. I rediscovered my own beliefs by making my own choices.

In college I was so very lost at first, didn’t know where I was going or who I was supposed to be. Then I fell in love with Jesus all over again. I learned who He wanted me to be, I finally had direction. Yes, I have great memories with my family growing up, but to this day I don’t feel as though I really lived till I left home. I hadn’t known how to grow up at home, all I did was get through it day by day. Then I was thrown into a world where I had to make hard decision all at once. It was overwhelming and quite scary. I was put into situations I didn’t expect and at first wasn’t quite sure what to do….I wasn’t prepared. Everything had to be learned the hard way. 

My point is, don’t force your kids to homeschool.Talk to them. See what dreams they may have that might only be possible in school. Help them get the opportunities that they wouldn’t have at home. Homeschooling might be great to teach them in their younger years, especially about rights and wrongs. But there comes a point when they need to be able to learn on their own, how to make choices, stick by them and to dream big. No person can just follow their whole life. If you’ve been a good parent chances are they will respect you and stick by what you’ve taught them, they may even help other kids in school make better decisions. You can try all you want to protect them. Just don’t trap them. Know when to call it quits, or you may actually be pushing your child away. 

Journal entry: I Gave Him My Heart

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As of late I have been thinking a lot about how much me and Jake have changed since being married. We were different people when we first met. I was still so very innocent in many ways… it was a time in my life I was just starting to figure out who I wanted to be and who God wanted me to be. Thinking on it, I know my life could have gone in so many different directions, all it would have taken was a simple yes or no. But thankfully, it was also a time in my life that I was so very in love with Jesus.

A long time ago it used to be that my heart ached to have someone. I wanted a relationship so very bad, to be loved and to know I was someone that someone else wanted. I wanted to be adored and love someone else back. I was almost 19 and it seemed unfair that I had yet to be kissed. There were nights that I begged Jesus for someone and I clung to my favorite verse “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4) God Challenged me those nights, and I struggled with wondering if having someone should be my desire of my heart. I started praying instead that He would take my heart and make it His. It got  easier.

Finally, at some point I realized that I didn’t need anyone, and that with Jesus I could be completely happy and for awhile I was very content living my life as a young single girl that had no high expectations, only the love for my Savior, He was my true love.

Then came along Jacob Rogers.

Sometimes I feel I wasnt ready for him, but God knew what he was doing and I was trusting Him to take care of me. I knew that if it wasnt meant to be then nothing would happen. It was quite awkward at first. I didn’t even let him hold my hand his first day at my house at dinner… as the rest of my family clasped hands together. It was weird and I wanted all these awkward and weird feeling to go away…but they didn’t. Jake was the first guy to finally talk with me in person, and not try to start a relationship through texting or facebook. He was the first guy that had the guts to meet my family AND talk to my dad and ask him if he could date me. He was the man I grew to love. I dont know how I didnt scare him off…especially when I first told him that I couldn’t love him more then Jesus.

We waited five months before our first kiss… not by his choice. He tried a couple of times before I was ready in which I ducked away. Poor guy. I am very glad we waited that long, because as we grew closer together it was harder to say goodbye. Kissing only stirred up more of these feelings. We both knew where my line was, which we had talked about early on in our relationship. In other words we both wanted to wait for sex. I’ll be honest and say it was really hard after we started kissing, but we were able to wait until our wedding day. I know some have wondered whether we waited or not but we did. Im not out to convince the world. This was about me and Jake’s relationship, to be able to learn together, grow together and to later teach our kids what right and wrong without having to tell them not to do something that we had.

Life has changed both of us in so many ways. Its only been 4 years since dating and getting married, but now we seem like completely different people. However, we’ve grown together and God has helped both of us change for the better. We might be different people but we’ve only grown more in love. We tell eachother everything. There are no secrets. Jake is my best friend and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t hide a thing. We know eachothers struggles and our strengths. We help each other with what we can, and if we can’t we at least have the comfort and encouragement of each other. God is so good. He knew exactly who I needed. I am so glad I trusted Him to take care of me. I gave Him my heart and He knew who to give it to.