4/10/16

Life lately

Lately...

I have been confused and overwhelmed and confused again as to how all of this fostering or adopting or whatever it is that our future with this tiny human who lives in my home is actually going to play out.

I have not been the best housewife. Like seriously. There are low standards, then there is the Gwaltney house.

My kids amaze me with their love even when I am the worst.

I drink so much caffeine, I am sure that if I stopped that I would die.

I have been dreaming of the thought of a house that was project free.

I have been spending way too much time looking at baby girl clothes.



3/8/16

Grace

February 10th it happened.  Stephen was in Greensboro for work, and I was home with the two little ones watching some ridiculous cartoon. Then phone rang, and my heart went crazy. That day a newborn girl was being taken into foster care, and they wanted to know if we were open to that placement. I cannot even explain the excitement, fear, joy, and every other emotion went in and out of my head and heart that moment. Of course, we would take her! OF course!
She would be brought to our home in just a few hours, and that made things real. I called my husband, and just stated the fact that she was coming. There was really no need to discuss it. He knew what I was thinking, feeling, needing in that moment.
There was so much that needed to be done still, though. I needed clothes, a car seat, bottles.... almost everything that a baby needs. But God was in it. An amazing friend came to my house and watched my littles while I ran all over town trying to find newborn clothes and a car seat. She fed my children. She rejoiced with me even in the chaos.
I had Stephen's mother pick up the older boys from school. I wanted to make sure that I was the one at my house when the baby was brought home.
And a meager 5 hours after the phone first rang, I saw baby Grace. Of course, Grace is not her real name. She actually didn't have one at that point. But to me she was Grace, because of the amazing grace God had on me in those moments.
You see, I was open to any child who needed a home coming to live with us, but my heart cried out for a girl. I prayed over and over again, and gave my wants and feelings to God and prayed that His will be done. But if God wanted to know what I thought, I let him know. I told him my heart was for a baby girl, even straight from the hospital. I prayed she would be healthy. I prayed so hard.
And here she was. This tiny, beautiful bundle of God's sweet, amazing grace towards me wrapped in my arms. If I had never felt the love of the father before that moment, I would have felt it then. But because I know his love, I recognized it right away. I have a good, good father.
The next few days were crazy and chaotic and beautiful. I asked in anyone close by had girl things they no longer needed, and within a few days I had more clothes, blankets, and girl things that this sweet child could ever use. God was there, meeting all of our needs.
The only thing that I really lacked was a swing big enough to protect her from the overly grabby two year old. I looked around, and thought about buying a new one, but didn't. Then one day at community group, I casually mentioned that I would love to have a large swing that was safely off of the ground. A new couple that had never been to our group before that day mentioned they had one that they could no longer use. Within a couple days, a swing was in my living room.
Every single detail in this process has the fingerprints of my God all over it and I am in awe.
And now, there is a beautiful, baby girl calling for me with the sweetest cries.

11/2/15

Writing because I need to write

   There is no excuse for just plain ignoring this blog, and yet I went and did just that.  Oh well, I've got a lot going on around me.
2 little boys in school and 2 little boys in part-time preschool who like to make my life really unpredictable.
   And now, we have decided to add even more of the unpredictable to our lives. This fall we started foster care training. A lot of people look at us like we are crazy when we tell them. Some say how great it is, others just shake their heads and laugh. This wasn't our choice. It was all Jesus. I don't really have any other explanation.
    I had been praying and praying over a nagging feeling in my gut about children. There wasn't a specific child, just children that needed to know that they are valued, treasured even, and that they are loved. I told God that if we were going to do anything that he would need to do something big in my husband's heart. We had never really talked about adoption or fostering before this. One night we were on a date, eating ice cream, and out of the blue he asked if I wanted to adopt. I took that as the sign. Immediately we started looking into options. We both agreed that international adoption is not for us. Our hearts are for the needs of those around us. We want to serve those whom God has placed directly in our paths. So fostering with the possibility of adoption is the way we chose.
     Currently, we are almost done with the training classes, and have all of our paperwork turned in so that we can begin home visits and safety checks and all that good stuff. I have never been more nervous to have someone visit my home. It seems silly that with four children of our own, who have never had an emergency because of a safety issue, that our home might be deemed unsafe.... and yet I guess that is a real possibility.
I am just learning to lean on Jesus, I guess.
      I will admit that more than once, my imagination has been busy and I may or may not have envisioned a little girl being added to our crazy mix. But my hope is that Jesus takes such strong control of my heart and soul that those desires are met by the peace of God and that the knowledge that we are in His will are more than enough for me. I am learning to be content no matter the circumstance, and that includes whether or not we end up with a house full of beautiful boys or if He chooses to bless us with a girl to soften our home. I give it to Him.
     I guess I just need to put down my thoughts, feelings, and prayers and hope that through them someone might find the encouragement or motivation they need to take the next step.

My favorite quote ever is by Jim Elliot, "Wherever you are, be all there." Right now I am in a whole lot of crazy, loud and mess, but I'm determined to be present and to find the joy in every bit of it.

12/19/14

things i have learned in 29 years

   I would like to think that in the past nine years I have learned a little bit about being a grown up. I got married at 20, had my first child at 22 and have been popping them out since then. These are a few things I have learned:

1. Buy quality not quantity. I know that this is something we've all heard over and over, but there is a reason. Good shoes, makeup and a well made purse will make you look like you have a clue and won't fall apart 6 months later. It doesn't hurt that your feet won't be killing you in the first 20 minutes either.

2. Find a good stylist and don't let them go. Hair is important. A crappy cut will always look bad, and crappy color is even worse. Leave the boxed color alone and cough up the money to get good color and you absolutely will not regret it.... unlike that terrible attempt to go blonde in the bathroom a few years ago.

3. Make love not war. Kids, husbands and strangers all respond much better to a gentle tone and a smile. Fact.

4. Ignore the nonsense. Gossip and drama are never classy. Be classy. Keep your mouth shut and your reputation good.

5. Learn to cook something. I will never be a great cook, but I have definitely learned that Hamburger Helper is always a bad choice and that having 4 or 5 things that I know that recipe for by heart can save the day. Find something, anything you can make well. You'll thank me later when you actually want to have people over for dinner.

6. Take a sewing class. Or at least find a friend who can sew and make them teach you the basics. You'll save a fortune on tailors and not having to replace shirts because they have lost a button.

7. Be a good friend. Don't be the needy friend that always needs to unload on others. Listen well, and texting does not equal conversation.

6/12/14

And....

Once in a while, an event happens that desperately needs documentation, or else it will be lost forever. These moments remind me that I need to laugh at the present, not hate or dread where I am currently. It will not be like this forever.

  Last night, all four little boys were sleeping in their correct beds (a feat in and of itself), and I was happily sleeping. Note: The hope of getting at least 8 hours is always present, but at this point I am really happy with the measly 6 or so that I am actually sleeping well.  At around 2:30 the power went off due to a huge storm. Generally, not having power in the middle of the night is no big deal. It was hot, so the husband got up and opened windows. About the time I was drifting back to sleep, there was an obnoxious "beep" closely followed by another coming from some other nearby source. Ugh. The battery of the smoke alarm was crying out in a near death state. NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!! You see, the smoke alarm in our room is at the very top of a vaulted ceiling. Like 15 feet off the ground. I guess that the alarms near our room are linked, because every minute or so, one would give off its annoying death moan, followed quickly by the other. After the initial state of denial- you know "maybe if we just leave it alone it will eventually stop"... nope- we got up to figure out (in the complete dark) if we had any batteries for the stupid thing.
Nope again. Middle of the night, no power, no batteries, really high smoke alarm- Jesus, you really think I am stronger than I am.
   So, the loving, amazing, patient man I wisely married, got dressed and made the rainy trip to the gas station to get batteries. The alarm continued to inform me of it's near death state, and the baby decided he didn't care if I was exhausted or not. He wanted to he held, RIGHT NOW! (sweet child, don't you like sleep like everyone else???!!!)
     Wonderful husband returned 30 minutes later, right after I had convinced the kid to get over his little episode and cling to his blanket as tight as he could, and brought in the giant outside ladder from under the house. Up the ladder, battery changed, down the ladder, other battery changed... We waited.... BEEP. For all that is good and holy in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After and hour and a half of the mess, ain't nobody got time for that.
He just took them both down and put them by the bed to be dealt with in the morning.
5 minutes later we are comfy, cozy, and happy to finally be ready for the little bit of sleep we'll get before the natives get restless and want to be fed.
BEEP. Seriously? I wanted to die a little bit.

The end result was taking the tiny little demon possessed pieces of equipment that continued to mock our sleep deprived minds to the garage. Yay. Sleep... at 4:30. Needless to say the baby, once again, really needed me to be there for him, like a kid going through a bad breakup, at 6:00 on the dot (precisely 2 minutes after the power came back on).


12/6/12

reunited

Well...
I had my break, and it was nice. But now to reintroduce you all to our lives
-We had an ultrasound the week of Thanksgiving and #4 is going to fit in just fine around here being the youngest of 4 boys. Yup... I am made to raise some little men.
- We have bought, moved into, and started making our new home our own. It's amazing what extra space and real feeling of home does for the spirit. I will take some pictures and give you a "tour" soon.
- I have 3 amazing little boys with amazing personalities. I really should start writing down what these kids say.


8/27/12

Surprise

Well... I thought I was too old for surprises. Incorrect.

I am currently 7 weeks pregnant with baby #4.
God really has an amazing sense of humor.
I swore I was done.

I am having a bit of a hard time in general right now.
Between mental, emotional, physical and spiritual states all being blown away by this latest development, and a having 3 little boys who still depend on me 100%, I am barely surviving.
I think it's time for a real, spoken break here. I know I have been far from consistent, but for now, I will not be here at all.