Thursday, April 25, 2013


This past Sunday was Youth Sunday at our church, a day when the youth lead all aspects of worship, from the music... communion... preaching...

Our kids did a stellar job bringing a message of joy and hope and we are so proud of them!   But it was with a bit of a heavy heart that we left church that day.  

This was our last Youth Sunday with our kids...

This change has been in the works for a few months and over the last several weeks we have told the folks that we wanted to hear it in person, first our kids, then our church and now everyone else.  We are just full of announcements these days.

On with it, Anna.

Trent has been accepted to Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor and will begin pursuing his Master of Divinity degree this August.   While the specific logistics of this step have only been in the making for a few months, the experiences leading up to this part of Trent's calling as a minister have been in the works for years.  If you told us a few years ago that we would be in this spot right now, with Trent going back to school of his own free will and choosing, we would have probably laughed at you.  And yet, here we are.  We are trusting, seeking and answering.

As part of this big change, something had to give.  Trent already works two part-time jobs that add up to about one and a half full time jobs.  There was no way to add seminary on top of that.  After much prayer and seeking of advise from mentors, we have made the decision for Trent to leave his youth minister position at our church at the end of July.   It was with a heavy heart and tears on both our faces that we told our kids we were leaving, and even now it saddens me as I'm writing this.

For three years, these kids have been our life.  They have caused us joy and caused us worry.  They have made us proud and made us give some advice on how to do things better. They have woken us up with late night text messages and left happy chalkboard notes in the youth room.   They have shone love to others as equals who many people would look down upon.  They have worked so, so hard on mission trips and left a lasting effect on those they helped.  They love each other.  They love us.  Good golly are we going to miss them. But we are sticking with them through July and then after that, we are still going to be in town.  We'll still be able to see them sometimes and check in, maybe catch a baseball game or school play here and there.  We hope we can be an example to them of following God's call for our life, even when part of it is hard.

I also don't want to leave out the fact that we are excited.  Kind of freaked out, but also excited.  This is the start of a new season in our lives, with a lot of unknowns, but life is an adventure, remember?  We are excited to see what lies ahead and we are so, so thankful for the time we have gotten to spend with these wonderful youth.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Foster Care Pause Again, Plus A Heartfelt FYI

Well, as I mentioned in this post, what we thought was our new foster care plan of action is once again on pause.   It's the exact same plan: work directly with DFPS and start with an intro meeting.  We are just delayed another month.

Our intro meeting was supposed to be April 8th and I had made plans to leave work for it, even though by that point I was working 12 hour days heading towards the tax deadline.  I decided to check the website to make sure the meeting was still wasn't.  So I called the DFPS office and the very, very nice lady who leads the meetings told me it had been moved to May 13th.  She said they had gone to holding this intro meeting quarterly, which doesn't really make sense to me since they last had one in January and had scheduled one for April...that seems quarterly to me. I confirmed with her that this intro meeting is the only way to begin, it is the first step.

A small part of me was glad that I suddenly didn't have to leave work for several hours during our busiest time and I could work the whole evening after all.  I was glad I had called to confirm instead of driving downtown and finding nobody.

But the rest of me was very, very frustrated and I couldn't help but get upset.  I texted Trent about the new development and he was frustrated as well.  We knew we were headed for crazy when we decided to pursue this, but we didn't think it would take over eight months just to crack the system and get our foot in the door.  In a system with a huge need for foster parents, we kinda thought it would be easier to get going.  One consolation is that if someone was trying to do this for the wrong reasons or wasn't truly devoted, they would have given up already.

It was last summer when we decided to begin going down this path.  At that time our plan was to simply adopt a child somehow. Foster care wasn't in the picture yet.  Last summer, at ages 25 and 26, we knew we weren't quite ready to be parents but we made the decision to go ahead and begin pursuing adoption then because we knew it could take a long time, even years.  If we waited until we were "ready" to be parents and then began all this, we'd then have to very impatiently wait through the long process to get there and would actually have kids with us long after we were ready for them.  I have been reminding myself of this fact in the last two weeks: we left ourselves lots of time to get all this figured out and taken care of.

I'd like to end with a sort of public service announcement or maybe just an FYI.  I'm trying to figure out how to best say this to shed some light on the subject but not sound like it's a huge deal, because it's not really.  But, amidst these setbacks, there are two reactions or responses that are not helpful:

1. Implying we should give up or that we aren't supposed to do this after all.  We are of course tuned in for clues from God to direct us and if that ends up looking like we are not on the right path, then we will listen.  But we don't believe that is the case at this point.  We did not sign up for easy and we are fully aware of that.  Maybe these setbacks and frustrations are totally on purpose so that we can get a little practice with being flexible and dealing with disappointment while we are still dealing with simple things like meeting dates and not yet dealing with major things like behavioral intervention, birth parent visits and court dates.  We are pressing on. We are trying to build a family.  I know it's in a very different way than most, but we are trying.  If you had a friend confide in you that they were trying to have a baby but a few months had passed with no pregnancy yet, would you tell them to just give up?  That it wasn't God's plan for them?  That they heard wrong?  Or would you encourage, console and pray for them?

2. Implying that we should just get pregnant and have a baby, because that would be a lot easier, faster and more predictable.   We are fully aware of this and I will be the first to tell you that since heading down this path, I have thought many times "Having a baby seems like a piece of cake compared to this."  I have also recently realized that, instead of announcing last fall that we were pursuing adoption, we had announced that we were pregnant, we would have a child next month...  It's with a little sadness that I realize that, but as I said above, we did not sign up for easy and we did not sign up for predictable or quick.  Jesus did not tell us "Pick up your easy life plan with a complete and unwavering itinerary and follow me."

So there's a little heart dump from me to the general populace.  Whew.  Once again, just a heartfelt FYI.


And now it's time for Bible study. Toodaloo.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Greetings From Tax Season Aftermath


I'm back from tax season and it was a doozy this year.  Set a new personal record for hours worked in the second to last week and then also the last crunch week.   Noticed actual dark circles under my eyes but by that time had given up on make up so who cares.   Wore high heels today for the first time in a few weeks and it felt good.  Turns out 13 hour days plus 3-4 inch heels don't mix well.  Who knew?

Anyway, it's been a while since I have blogged and I feel strangely awkward about it, like we need to get reacquainted again.  So in the interest of catching up on my typical ramblings that have been missing for almost three weeks, I hereby commence rambling...

1. Our foster care plans were supposed to start back up again with an intro meeting with DFPS on April 8th but it was moved to May 13th.  We are on pause yet again and I cried real tears at work after I got off the phone with the very nice lady at DFPS who informed me of the change.  I'll write more about this later, promise.

2. I took up church van duty on Sunday mornings to pick up and drop off some of our kids that don't have rides otherwise and I. love. it. so. much.   I feel like mama bear gathering her cubs into the big van. And since I named the van Whitey Bear a long time ago, that fits quite well in this analogy.  Van duty pushes my wake up time earlier, our lunch time later and nixes my previous Sunday Solitude habit, but I don't care.  I belong in that driver seat.

3. Also related to church vans...driving a 15 passenger van during Rush Minute traffic is way different than deserted streets on Sunday morning.  Eesh.  Slow and steady wins the race...and doesn't roll the church van.

4. Contrary to my belief, which was all I had to go on since I don't own a scale, I did not gain weight this tax season...not sure how I pulled that one off.  But I weighed at Jazzercise yesterday and it's true.

5.  Our yards decided to grow grass green stuff this spring after just sporting mostly dirt since the scorcher of 2011.  We are so pleased to have a green yard with stuff to mow, even if it isn't all actually grass.

6. When word started going around the office on Monday about the Boston Marathon explosions, I was sickened by the inhumane tragedy.  Then, only a few days later, the sick feeling hit way, way, way closer to home.  Only about 20 miles from home.  Trent and I were hollering at teenagers to regroup in the youth room to close out youth group at 7:50 pm Wednesday when the fertilizer plant in our little neighbor city of West exploded.  We had no idea.  Said our normal prayer, kicked the kids out the door to their parents' cars, made a van run for those who needed rides home, then came home and checked facebook...   For a while we scrolled through status updates, fielded texts from concerned loved ones who had seen the news and heard "near Waco", fielded texts from youth who wanted to round up the group and go up there to help, but knew that at that moment the best thing we could do was leave the area clear for ambulances to get people out of there and...pray.  These few days since have provided lots and lots of ways to help and have shown how much this area cares.   You can donate to relief funds here, here, here, here.  I've never had a tragedy hit this close to home.  I've got coworkers, former coworkers and clients in West.   Thankfully they are all accounted for and are ok.  For some of them, their houses are destroyed.  The only school that wasn't damaged (or leveled) is the elementary school.  I played hookie from work this afternoon (sorry employer) and joined Trent and our pastor, Brian, out there to move stuff around and help them try to make room.  I'm personally praying for calm and creativity when the city resumes school Monday with all grades in one school building which, by the way, still doesn't have running water...  [Update 4/20/13: Primary school is ok and highschoolers will meet there.  Middle school will merge with a nearby district for the rest of the school year and K-6th will meet at the elementary school.]  My heart breaks for this little town, but I saw first hand this afternoon that it is a resilient little town and there is a LOT of care and support headed its way.

7. Trent and I have some big changes coming up in a few months, and not foster care related.  More on that later...

It's good to be back.