Friday, February 19, 2010

A long overdue update

Well time has been flying as I realize the last time I updated this blog was in November! WoW!!

So much has changed... where to begin.

I'll start where things left off last time. Dad is doing well- however he is still in the nursing home. His physical health and emotional health grow stronger all the time. We have set a goal of March 11 for him to be able to move back home. None of us are 100% positive it will happen- but it is the one year anniversary of the heart attack. Please pray with us that he will be able to come home then.

Ok, now for the not so easy update-on me! There are a lot of you who know all the details and so this is going to be review... but for many of you all of this news will be a shock to you.

In early October B's (my first foster kid- if that is news, well check out for pictures and more information. That is the best place for all the info) first foster mom (Collene) got a sibling group of 3 who, I guess you could say, stole my heart almost instantly. By mid November I had been seeing them 2-5 times a week and they knew me and ran into my arms any time I came over. (Did I mention that they screamed "MAMA" anytime they saw me?)

By late October it was becoming obvious to everyone in the case that they were going to end up wards of the state because their parents were not around or even able to be found. By mid November Collene made a statment along the lines of "yeah they are going to go up for adoption" and my heart skipped a few beats. Long story short, I tried to ignore, fight, manipulate and run away from what God was whispering in my heart... these are my kids.

I never told Collene, but I talked to the agency about them and let them know that I was interested. Let's be clear- I prayed A LOT about this and talked to a TON of people about it before pursuing it. However, because I was fighting it I was expecting a lot of "Your crazy" or "Don't even think about it" but instead I got "Well, about time you got to it" etc.

In Mid December my foster care license was officially finished and that meant that B could finally be moved to my license and get settled. By this point- if I were honest, I had grown very tired/ weary/ complacent about my position at work. Also, I had been praying for months that God would make it clear when it was time to leave that job. Well, after the meeting to move B to my license, I was back at the office and praying again that God would make it abundantly clear when the time to leave would be. The last thing I wanted to do was to leave in my timing and not God's.

About 2 hours later I was let go from my position. I have never been fired from a position before- so it kinda stung- but really it was a direct answer and as clear as clear was going to get.

The next day Collene called me and told me that she believed that the sibling group should be my kids. I about fell over laughing. Remember, I never told her once what I was praying about. I told her that I had been praying about it already, had made a call to Bethany in regards to them and hadn't heard anything back yet. So, she took it on and started making calls herself. The process officially began.

I started taking them on respite- weekends and such- to try to start the bonding process. It was amazing and these kids and I felt so good together.

The day before New Years and 5 days before the "deadline" the kids parents showed up out of the blue saying they want to get their kids back. My heart broke- but if this is what God wants then so be it. However, it will take an absolute miracle on their behalf for it to happen.

They moved in with me in the middle of January and were officially transfered to my license a little less than a month ago.

So, right now I'm a full time mom of 4 kids! Ages 1, 2, 7 and 15. I'm happier than I can ever remember being... although I have to admit going through a really rough couple of weeks as I was adjusting to being a mom of 4 and more than that a mom of babies and being home all the time.

God gave me a vision about 5 years ago... and here I am living out part of it... The rest is still being prayed over and will hopefully come about soon. :)

I cannot believe how blessed and overjoyed I am! Thank you for praying with me, for me and for praying in the future about what's coming next.

May you be blessed,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Going forward- again

Just wanted to give a quick update on Dad...

The water pill is doing the job they were hoping it would- he's lost 47 pounds in 2 weeks. And because he's not in pain from being so swollen he's going back to being funny, outgoing, hardworking (walking to and from meals, and to and from PT) and sounds like the good new old self :) (I think some of you know what I mean :)

Also, last week they found some of the Cellulitis coming back, they were able to kill it with antibiotic almost immediately- so things are looking good again!

I'm praising God for quick answers and strong deliveries. I'm also thanking Him for having the ability to continuously baffle the doctors...I think it's my new favorite thing! :)

Oh, and I'm Praising God for another birthday for my dad... today he turns 55. :)

Thank you for praying and many blessings to you all!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Falling backward

Hey everyone,

Well, I should have updated when things were going well and Dad was blowing us all away with improvement. But alas, I didn't and now I must report some bad news.

This morning dad saw the kidney specialist. Wait, I should give more of the in between before jumping to the end... so....

Dad has been doing really well, getting up and out, walking around the hallways, giving attitude to anyone and everyone... he even moved rooms because they didn't need all the heavy equipment anymore for him. He moves around in his wheelchair and acts like he owns the place. I find it all rather funny...

A couple of weeks ago when I went to go see him I noticed that his breathing was really labored and sort of wheezy. I asked him about it and he said he felt fine. I told the nurse and left it alone.

This last week more of the same, but he's been putting on a lot of weight and doing it really fast. Now, if he were fully mobile and eating like he used to, we wouldn't be concerned... but since his diet is so regulated and they keep track, they noticed that he's not eating what an 18month old eats, and still he's putting on all this weight.

So they called in the troups, aka the nephrologist (kidney specialist). This happens to be the same doctor he's been seeing since March. (the original episode) She's seen the good and the bad and the very ugly. She knows all the history and was so proud of all the progress dad had been making.

However, after visiting with dad this morning, she was very concerned. She put him on a massive amount of the water pill and said that he needs to lose a lot of weight and lose it fast. (They are convinced that the weight gain is because the kidneys are not working properly) If he does not lose this weight (1 -3lbs a day) then he will be taken back to the hospital for dialysis... and it more than likely will become a permanent part of his life.

So that's the update... not fun, in fact it's scary again. But please pray that our Abba heals yet again. The Great Physician has flustered so many doctors already when it comes to dad, it would be great if HE did it again.

I want my dad to come home, I want him to be released from all this pain, trouble and be back to the man i remember- one who loved to try and kick my butt at cribbage, yes, i said try :). (He hasn't played like that in a long time)

Thank you for praying and I'll try and keep you updated as we learn more.

Blessings and thanks,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's been a while...


It's been a long time since I last updated you on our family. A lot has happened this Summer and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

First things first. Dad is doing really well and is determined to come home. Which, if you will remember, is a huge improvement over the last time I updated. In fact I believe my last update ended with something about a heavy heart because of dad's complete apathy to life. I can safely say that this is no longer the case.

At the end of June I was preparing to go on vacation to Europe- which was AMAZING- and I got a call at work... "Dad's had a stroke and they are taking him to the hospital." I was prepared to cancel everything if this was it for dad... and considering everything that he has been through this year- I thought it was.

Turns out, it was minor. Be prepared if you talk to him anytime soon that there are some minor changes. Like: 1. His mouth muscles are a little off so his mouth doesn't work like it's supposed to. 2. His speech is off too. He makes sense- when you can get him to speak slow enough to concentrate on how he's saying things.

However, this stroke seemed to wake him up. I know it sounds backwards, but when I left for Europe this man barely cared that he woke up everyday. And when I came back he was the one pushing PT. He bragged about taking 5 steps... we told him walk 20 and we'll have you home for dinner. That very week he walked 25 just to prove a point and said that "I'm coming home, what are we having for dinner?"

The funny thing on this one was, I tried to protest and get out of doing it because of the new changes in my life (which I'll get to in a minute) and he said that it was a lousy excuse and that family had to get together to be healthy. And it was time to have everyone together for dinner again. Basically, what I'm excited to report is that dad is coming back.

Not the dad of just before March, but the dad of 5-6 years or more ago. One with spitfire and humor... and a little demanding. All of which leads me to praise God!
He's pushing hard and telling us he's going to be home by Labor Day. To us it seems a little far fetched as he has so far to go- but we are also not telling him no. If he wants to push for that... then so be it.

Mom is doing pretty good, not as tired as she has been. In fact this week we refinished a dresser together... that was a lot of fun. We turned a piece of junk into a beautiful piece of furniture! But it's evidence that she is working through the fatigue and other stuff going on.

Matthew and Ashley have the ability to write their own updates on here, but I'll just fill in the smallest detail- they are both going to be working and going to school this fall. I think that they are trying to be impossible to catch on the phone :) But I am incredibly proud of them and the fact that they are working so hard to become the people that God wants them to be.

Marissa (can also update on here) is kind of like me... so much going on that it's hard to speak on her behalf... so I won't other than to mention that she needs prayer for the decisions she has to make and the fact that she is still working to go full time at Camp Beechpoint and needs only to raise 25% more of her salary in order to do so (this won't bring her to 100% but it will be enough to be working according to camp policy). Please pray that as she follows God's heart that she won't become discouraged but encouraged to see God filling in that gap.

As for me... well life is nuts. I'm sure if you've looked on my facebook account recently you've seen me comment on being tired, stressed, worn out, etc. But the thing is- while all that is true- I'm also very happy. I feel more at peace than I have in years. And it makes absolutely no sense.

This summer has been the definition of crazy busy, but in truth the craziness started in Spring. As I was praying through the vision that God gave me many years ago, I finally felt God giving me permission to proceed with the next step in it. That step was to become a foster mom. So, I took the classes (30 hours of training) in May.

Then Summer started...

It started off with me going to a 3 day concert in northern Michigan with some friends, and it was a fabulous time! Earlier that week though, I got a call from Bethany Christian Services (BCS). Now, for those of you who don't know, the foster care licensing can take up to 9 months here in Michigan- depending. But that week they called me and asked if I'd be willing to take a child that they couldn't place, I could meet him that next Monday and then see. Even though my license wasn't complete- they had ways of making it work.

I have to tell you- this was way ahead of any schedule I had in my head. I thought the earliest I would have a kid in my home would be September. But they were talking of me taking him (we'll call him B) as soon as I got back from vacation. This was slightly overwhelming.

Then I went on a 2+ week vacation to Europe. I have to say that this was a trip like non other I have ever taken. It was relaxing, fun, powerful, life changing (in the way that meeting new friends and seeing incredible things is life changing) and did I mention fantastic?!

As soon as I got back I called BCS and found out that they had someone that could take B for part of the time until my license was complete. Which is good... but would I be willing to take him for the rest of the time? So I said yes.

Something else that was immediate upon my return- a promotion at work. I am now the Marketing Director for my company. And I really like it- but it so far has been a lot more hours than my old position. So, it's proving to be interesting- work crazy long hours during the week and have B on the weekends (at least during the summer- when school starts it looks like I'll have him through the week- until license is complete- then full time)

Now for the icing. I am moving Labor Day Weekend. I will be moving to a 3 bedroom house in Grand Rapids, just like I've been praying for, for years! I'm so excited- nervous and waiting in anticipation.

Life is very crazy- but God is GOOD! These things are all things that I've been praying for and wanting for YEARS and now it seems that God is granting me the desires of my heart. I just find it humorous that He's doing it all at once!

The Smith family has tons going on... we may not all mention it at the same time- but we know that God is working like crazy in our family and we are excited and waiting for more. (I know that this might seem lacking for a closing- but I have to go to my last softball game of the season and I'm excited, if we win- we take 3rd in the league!)

Like I said... life is nuts!

Blessings to you all and may you feel God's presence in your life today!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dad's Recovery

Hey Everyone,
It's been a while since I put anything up on here. And I wanted to give an update on how dad is doing.

When I went to go visit him the other day, I left with a heavy heart. It's heavy because I still don't see the man that I know as my father. I see a man that has given up on life, a heart that just doesn't care and a body that is literally wasting away. He's lost (and not that it's all a bad thing) over 120 plus pounds since being taken to the hospital in March.

My heart cries with the acknowledgement that it is a hard journey for him to be on, yet it is also one that he needs to be willing to fight. And he's not.

I'm asking that you would pray with us some more, as we know that God saved his life for a purpose, but at this point... I can't even see dad leaving the nursing home. Dad is acting like he doesn't want to leave. Besides financial issues, the need for him to be home is great... we as a family miss his smile, stern look and funny and corny jokes at the table. Not to mention his hugs on a bad day.

Specifically pray for:
1. That God would continue to heal and finish the work began a few months ago. Spiritually, physically and emotionally.
2. That Dad would wake up. My real father has been sleeping for months and I want him back.
3. That our family would not give up in praying for him either... I think all of us are more weary than even we know.
4. That God would be glorified and His NAME magnified by the results.

Thank you for supporting us and loving us... please don't stop.

I am blessed and broken,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Frustration abounds

I know that not everything can be perfect... in fact little in life is ever perfect. But the frustration I'm feeling right now is anything but perfect.

Dad is having problems. He says he's trying hard to work his body, but at this point, he still can't get out of bed himself, walk or otherwise. Problem is that although Dad really wants to get out, they (the rehab place) don't seem to care how long the recovery takes.

It's not that we want dad dancing, we just need him to be able to leave before 60 days is up. That's the Medicaid cutoff. Doesn't seem like much- but after 60 days the nursing home is capable to go after the disability money- and that leaves no money for bills etc. for mom.

Please be praying- the truth is we're running out of time... money and apparently dad is still out of strength. He cannot do this on his own, and even though the staff is nice, the rehab is too slow. Please pray that God helps us figure this out.

Mom is meeting with Dad and the case manager on Thursday at 12:30PM please pray that things get taken care of.

With a frustrated, broken heart,

Friday, April 17, 2009


Hey everyone,

Things are different with dad in rehab. Different like: I don't get to see him everyday, and it is more difficult to assess his progress. So I haven't updated in a while because- well I'm not sure what to say.

He's talking more clearly and I think he understands the need to work hard to be able to leave the nursing home. In fact yesterday he worked so hard at Physical Therapy (from here on to be called PT) that he collapsed and was really weak the rest of the day. He did however stand up for the first time on Wednesday! And then on Friday he was very proud to announce that he stood up 3 times!!

Progress is being made, they moved him from the nursing home side to the rehab side and he seems to be thriving there. He's calling me out of the blue- just to say hi. He's making promises of trying hard, and understands the goals to be able to go home.

Tomorrow (4/22) marks 6 weeks that he's been in the hospital/ recovering. We are all weary of the journey. But you know, after all that we've been through, the tears, the fear, and the agony of waiting through it all- I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I've learned a few things, and I hope the lessons stick. What did I learn? Well, I've learned that the only thing worth holding onto is Jesus. You would think that an elementary lesson, but after this- the things of this world are stupid and family and Jesus are so much more important. I've learned that feeling emotions through tragedy is important. Again, elementary- but let's just say I'm behind on a few things. I've also learned that prayer is more foundational than anything I could ever express.

God's been teaching me that last one for a couple of years- but this was so powerful at times I was literally pushed to my knees in prayer and in awe at what God has/ and is doing for my family. Prayer is not just a trite part of a relationship with God, a checklist item, but a moving and powerful experience. To be welcomed into the throne room of the Most High God and falling at his feet in worship and to be allowed to have a conversation with Him- and He listens to you... this is cause for the world to stop and take notice! Power, peace, joy, hope and healing are found there and to think about it is overwhelming. I am so blessed to be allowed to participate in something so wonderful!

Yes, this is and has been a real time of trial, but a time of so much more than that too.

Rehab is harder to identify and much harder for updates, but I am grateful for it. I'm grateful to say that my dad is doing better, that he's trying to recover and hopefully this leg of the journey will be over soon.

Many blessings to you all,