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Open Hands

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The sight of beautiful things on the horizon! These are the things I’m reviewing as we move towards #ItsJoTime moving in. The Parenting Toolbox includes articles, parenting tips, foster care tips, and notes taken from classes on the road so far.

I was really tempted to name this entry: What To Expect When You’re Kind Of Expecting, but the words to the Laura Story/Mac Powell song, OPEN HANDS, seemed more appropriate a base line.

There are two things that I’ve been expecting for this new year:

  1. Stepping out of my ministry position as Youth Pastor at Westside Church. It’s been a transition in the making for months now. Last Fall, we brought on a great youth assistant who loves our church family and champions the same Orange strategy that I do and have used to help build our kids and youth ministries at Westside. For the past 7 years, I have served as volunteer Youth Pastor of 2Twelve Student Ministries and in the past 4 years, I have served in the paid position of Children’s Director for Westside Kids and Graphic Designer at Westside. As both of these family ministries have grown and are continuing to grow, and with the ever expanding demand for graphic supports, it’s becoming more than I am capable of managing. To continue to promote the growth and focus needed to help each of these areas I am stepping aside as Youth Pastor and bringing in our youth assistant to step into that role from here on. This past Sunday was my last day as Youth Pastor and it was truly bittersweet. I hope those students will continue to know how much they mean to me. I also hope they continue to understand how much potential they have to influence others around them toward brighter and more hopeful futures as they own their faith & embrace responsibility toward each other as human beings. As I take this step away, I will be able to focus even more time, attention and focus to our Westside Kids ministry’s growth and enhancement. In addition, it will free me up for focused time in parenting a teenager of my own!
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    It’s been an honor to love and lead this crew through my past 7 years as Youth Pastor at WestsideChurch. Today was my last day in this role and I’m so glad I got to share it with this beautiful crew! I’m looking forward to being able to continue pouring out that same passion and guidance into our WestsideKids ministry and to continue tackling graphic design projects for the church. It’s definitely bittersweet but I know these amazing 2Twelve students are in good hands (and hearts)!!

     

  2. Becoming a Foster Parent! The #AMOdoption journey continues as I move even closer to walking into the role of becoming the parent of a smart, strong, beautiful, lovable teenage girl! She fits so well in my heart, mind and family and I am looking forward to strengthening our relationship and helping her find her voice, space, and landing spot in my home. I’ve been able to spend some quality moments and begin bonding well with my Kiddo during some respite weekends and over Winter Break. I’ve gotten to meet her siblings and their adoptive parents and feel such great joy in expanding my family with them. At this point, I am a foster parent with the potential of adoption, but adoption is not on the discussion table right now—just foster care. At the end of January, I will be bringing my Kiddo home and our journey together will take another step in a promising direction!

Through this transition I am grateful for the love and support of my friends, family, faith, and work communities! My boss at the 9-to-5 job has offered me time off and lots of practical supports in anticipation of my Kiddo’s arrival. My friends and family have offered me lots of encouragement, prayer support and practical supports. My faith community has embraced me every step of this journey and continues to support me in prayer, practical supports, and provided such great opportunities for meaningful connections that have benefitted my girl in this transition and in the road ahead.

At this point, I am still wrapping my mind around everything—it’s been a whirlwind of meetings, processing forms, preparing for school enrollment the first week in February, and getting the house in order for her arrival. I would ask for anyone reading this to consider joining me in prayer for this matter. Things to pray for include:

  • My Kiddo seeing this move as a positive placement toward permanency and me being able to support her in all the best ways as we both move through our own grieving processes—me with ministry transition and her with losing strong connections developed through her current family placement.
  • That we are able to get all the appropriate State/practical supports needed to make it a successful experience for my Kiddo and I.
  • Once she is placed in my home, I will need to pay my agency another large chunk of change, which I knew and planned for in advance. The great thing is that there are many grants that I can (and have always planned to) apply for. Please pray that I’m able to get some (or all) of those grants that I apply for so that I can have some additional financial provision in this journey.
  • That the transition to a new school will go well and she’ll feel it’s a fresh start and a way to reinvent herself and widen the circle.

I would also appreciate any help with practical supports as you are able. Practical supports for now include gift cards for grocery stores (Fred Meyer & QFC preferred), clothing stores (Target, Old Navy, and WalMart), gas stations, as well as meals from local friends/eateries to help us eat well amid all of the introductory meetings with school and care team members, medical appointments, and settling into a home rhythm. If you are interested in helping with any of these practical supports, you can comment here and I’ll be in touch!

I am so excited to finally bring my girl home and surround her with love, care, and support for a successful future! You can keep up with our journey on social media via the #ItsJoTime hashtag and I’ll be sure to post updates here along the way of things I’m discovering as I continue to make this a year of SEEK AND FIND with my little love in tow!

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A lifetime of safety, warmth, and connection can be found in my Kiddo’s collection of stuffed animals. It’s an honor to join this same vein of support as I step into her world and point her in a positive, faith-filled, successful direction. I look forward to every opportunity to open my heart and hands to continually prove love over time!

 

 

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Good Together | Seek & Find in 2017

The PROMISES of 2017 helped me get through so much of the mess that came packed into the year. This past year has brought pain, sacrifice, the death of loved ones, job focus shifts, large financial undertakings, medial setbacks and political distress. Despite those things, it has also brought a deeper faith, a wider range of relationships and potential additions to my family. I’ve been able to walk into circumstances of struggle and see God provide time and time again. Being able to believe and see God’s faithfulness show up in my life this past year have helped me to choose this year’s word . . . s. Usually I just pick one, but this year after thinking and praying about it, I got a little bit more to go with.

My focus for this year is:

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A couple of nights ago, I felt a tug on my heart and heard the compelling voice of the Holy Spirit to go to my potential foster daughter’s bedroom and just pray for her while she was away at a youth group sleepover. I tried to reason it away because I was feeling sick and tired, but I couldn’t shake it. So I walked over to her room, knelt beside her bed and prayed that this home would be a refuge for her and that she would find space here to heal, learn, love, grow, and become the incredible young woman she was created to be. I prayed that peace, grace, and love would cover her to remind her that she’s valuable to me and others. As I headed back to bed, I knew that this next year would be one of seeking God for truth and wisdom even more.

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Today’s the big day!! It’s my first #RespiteWeekend ever and I’m so looking forward to it! Even though we only get 48hrs., I hope it’s just what she needs to relax and refresh before heading back to school next week! Prayers for a smooth weekend filled with fun & quality connections are appreciated.

Parenting in and of itself is one of the most demanding roles anyone will ever step into throughout life. Parenting a child from a hard place, while pastoring and holding a part time business position certainly adds its own plot points to the story. Still, I am up for this role of a lifetime and look forward to walking through it knowing I’m not alone on the journey. I realize that everyone will have an opinion on how I should parent or what will be the best thing for me and my Kiddo and I am/will be so grateful for every nugget of wisdom I acquire along the way. But ultimately I will need to rely on what God is revealing to me as I seek Him to build my faith, family, connections, and career. He knows me best, knows Kiddo best, and knows how we should build family life best. In my seeking, I know that if I seek all of those other outlets for truth while skipping or diminishing God in the equation, I will continually be stuck in struggle and disappointment. I don’t want my seeking after Him to be lukewarm or passive, but rather intentional and with expectancy. As I seek, I don’t want to just rely on what’s in my mind already. I want to ask questions and prioritize studying God’s word for truth and wisdom along the way.

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This is my foundational scripture for my year of seeking and finding.

I would love for you to Seek and Find with me as life unfolds in the valleys, mountaintops, and common hours all year long. I will do my best to share the things I find along the way either here on the blog, over coffee dates and phone calls, or on my social media outlets. I am looking forward to taking time to put more time and attention towards God in my everyday life and see where He leads me!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Welcoming the New Year with dear friends and lots of laughs! Bonus move is New Year’s at the Needle!!