we are loved

I stand at the end of her bed, staring at her. Memorizing the way she always sleeps on top of her pile of blankets instead of under them. The way she holds a silky corner of a blanket or hugs her puppy while she sleeps. There are 6 blankets in her bed with her. Overkill? Maybe. But she loves them all, and the first thing she does when I put her in bed is bury her face in them, sit back up and smile at me, then put 2 or 3 of her favorite ones on a pile and cuddle up on top of them with her bottle.

My heart bursts with love for this beautiful child. This baby, who in 4 short months has become an extension of me. Who has picked up some of my habits and traits. Who lights up when I enter the room after coming home from work, and comes as fast as she can for me to pick her up for hugs and kisses. Who is such a natural part of my life that I almost don’t remember what it was like before. What did I do? What were my evenings like then? I’m sure I filled them somehow, but not with joy like this.

She is the best thing about my life right now, no question. The very best. She gives me a reason to get up every morning, and her smiles from the moment she wakes make it impossible to have a bad morning. She is pure sunshine, and I don’t know how to imagine my life without her.

But soon, she will go. It is almost time for her to go live with her family. It is best that way, I know it in my head. When possible- when there is love and someone who can take good care of them- it is always best for babies to be with their families. But my heart. Who will tell my heart that this is what is best? Because when she goes, my heart will walk right out that door with her.

I don’t know what I will do without her.

But I will learn.

And I will trust that this precious girl- the one who stole my heart from day one, the one who just looks at me and giggles for the joy of giggling- I will trust that that baby girl will know. She’ll know that Jesus loves her more than anyone else could possibly love her. That he is holding her all the time. And when I pray for her every day, I will trust that she remembers the songs we sang and the stories we read. The prayers we prayed. That she knows that the stories are true, and that Jesus Loves Me, This I Know. And He will never, ever let her go.

Maybe someday, when she is grown, something will remind her of when she was a wee child and she will remember someone loved her so very much during a time when she needed it so very much.

And she will know that she is loved more than she can even imagine.

And so are you and I.



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Dear Child

Dear Child,

I prayed for you tonight.

I sat in the rocking chair in your bedroom in my home, and I prayed.

I don’t know your name. I don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl, a baby or a toddler. I don’t know the color of your skin or your hair or your eyes. I don’t know when you’ll come to be a part of my family- it could be next week or next month or next year or tomorrow- and I don’t know how long you’ll stay when you come. But I do know this: I already love you.

I know that when you come, you won’t be mine forever. But that won’t change my love for you, or the fact that I already know you’ll be in my heart forever. And no matter how much I know it will hurt to say goodbye to you at the end, that won’t stop me from loving you with all my heart while you’re here.

While you’re with me, I will tell you about Jesus. I’ll tell you how much He loves you and how He will always be with you. I will take care of you and feed you, read you stories and rock you to sleep, and I will be grateful for every day that I get to have with you. I know that those days won’t all be easy, but I will still do my best to be grateful even on the hard days.

I know it will hurt to be away from your family. You’ll be sad because my home isn’t familiar, and your family isn’t here. You don’t deserve any of the things that have happened to you in your tiny life, and I want you to know that I’m sorry. When you’re hurting, I will hold you and listen to you and probably cry with you. I promise to do my very best to be the home that you need while you’re here.

And no matter what has happened to you, I want you to know this:

You are safe here.



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On Running From Problems

I listen to music quite a bit while I’m working. I often have a “moment” with a certain song where I suddenly get the feels, and I’m all, THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE. This song did that today.

The Weight of Lies
by The Avett Brothers

the weight of lies will bring you down
and follow you to every town
cause nothing happens here
that doesn’t happen there
so when you run make sure you run
to something and not away from
cause lies don’t need an aeroplane 
to chase you anywhere

Running away from problems never fixed anything. I need to run toward them and deal with them. Only then will it do any good to move on to something /somewhere else. If I’m running, there had better not be anything behind me that I’m avoiding. Because when I pause, whatever I am running from will still be right there. I won’t have moved away from it at all.

Am I running away from problems or toward solutions?


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On How I Got Here

In February of 2004, I moved to Colorado to take care of a sweet little boy named Christopher. I’ll never forget the day I first saw him, and knew he was my responsibility for the next year. I hardly knew how to feel, and I certainly did not know what would happen to me while I was caring for him. I spent that year pouring my heart into this child. Loving him, feeding him, catching his puke in a bucket, rocking him to sleep, singing, reading stories, breaking up fights, teaching him manners, taking him to visit his momma, going to the park… He stole my heart, that dear boy, and I haven’t been the same since. I never knew someone so small could wrap themselves up into your very being, so that when you have to leave, you feel as though you are being ripped in two. I missed him so much, it was a physical ache. But even in the midst of the pain of leaving, I never regretted this experience for a second. Even knowing how much the goodbyes hurt, I would have done it all over again in an instant. Because I knew I made a difference. I loved and cared for a child who needed it. I did my best to show him Jesus, so that when he grows up he’ll remember. He’ll remember that Jesus loves him more than he can even imagine, and no matter what happens, Jesus will always be there to hold him. (This precious boy has now been adopted by wonderful parents who are friends of mine, and I couldn’t be more grateful.)


I moved back to Indiana in March of 2005, and from then on, all I wanted was to one day care for a child again. I taught school for two years, worked in a candy & scrapbooking store for a year, and then went back to a job I had had twice before- being a secretary at a feed mill. While I really like my job, I always had child care in the back of my mind. One day. One day, I will care for children again. It’s where my heart is. And all along, I thought that being in child care would look like this: I would train my replacement, go to the English Nanny & Governess School to become a certified professional nanny, and then end up with a really sweet nanny job somewhere new! and exciting!. I would get to travel and see new places. Meet new people. This was my dream, and what I was looking forward to. I didn’t know just when it would happen, but it was definitely a part of my five year plan. (If I had a five year plan.)

But God was working on me over the years. For the past several years, as I dreamed about one day being a nanny, something kept coming to mind: foster care. And whenever it came to mind, I would go over all the pros and cons. I had a long list of reasons why I shouldn’t do this… Being a single mom is really hard. An ideal home is a two parent home. It would mean giving up my precious independence that lets me go where I want, when I want. It would mean putting the child in day care while I work full time. Saying goodbye is like a knife straight to the heart. It is stupid hard. (And more reasons that I can’t recall right now.)

So most of the time when it came to mind, I would eventually push it away as a bad idea and move on. But it kept coming back. Again and again.

Finally, I started looking at the other side, and it turns out I found a pro for every con… Yes, being a single mom is hard, but it is not impossible. Yes, an ideal home is a two parent home, but the love of one good foster parent is better than zero good parents for a hurting child. Lots of parents put their children in day care while they work full time, and their kids are just fine. Saying goodbye? No, goodbyes will probably not be any easier than they were before, but this time I’ll have one thing on my side- I’ve done it before. I will know what to expect, and hopefully I could prepare myself a little better for what’s coming.

And that leaves my independence. I’m 30 years old. I live alone. I am used to doing whatever Sarah wants to do, because I can. I don’t go out much, because I love my little home and I like being in it. I also like to travel, so if I want to plan a vacation? I plan it. If I want to head off to Chicago on the train with a friend for a summer Saturday? We get on the train and go. If I want to cook a huge batch of food at the beginning of the week, and eat the same thing all week long? Well, that’s exactly what I do. If I want to stay up late on Friday night and sleep until noon on Saturday? I have the freedom to do that. I love my life. Sure, there might be things I would change here and there, but nothing major. All in all, I have a pretty perfect life right now. I’m happy. Besides, me? A foster mom? Really? And is this really something God wants me to do, or would I be doing it for me?

But. Here’s the thing. I don’t want to be that girl who becomes so selfish that I don’t see the needs of those around me. So busy doing whatever I want to do that I can’t reach out a loving hand to someone who needs help. So blinded by my own agenda that I can’t see the souls who are crying out for love or a listening ear or just for someone to be there, to see them.

“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” -W. Wilberforce

Eventually, going to school to become a nanny just didn’t feel right for me anymore. Do I really need to do all that just to fulfill my dreams of being in child care again? Sure, it would pay well, but money isn’t everything. Why can’t I make a difference in a child’s life here, now? I had also thought of going somewhere into missions as a nanny or foster mom, but you know what? I can do that right here at home as well. There are plenty of opportunities to reach out if I would just look for them. (And maybe someday a time will come when one of those things is right for me, but right now is not that time.)

And every time I pushed away the idea of me being capable of this, a few months later it just came back. Finally, I couldn’t ignore it. This was on my mind so often that I knew it wasn’t just me. So I decided to talk to my brother about it. His opinion means so much to me, and I knew he would be honest about what he thought of the idea. He asked questions, helped me in my thinking it through process, and was so supportive I had no idea why it took me so long to get to this point.

From that moment on, there have been nothing but confirmations that this is my purpose. This is what I need to do. I have only just started the process. I don’t even know if I will be approved. But what I do know is that right here, right now, I am exactly where I need to be.

“You were made for the place where your real passion meets compassion, because there lies your real purpose.” -Ann Voskamp

So far I have filled out my first few forms and gone to be fingerprinted. I have my first home visit next Friday, and my first training day in April. Right now everything looks a little overwhelming. The uncertainty of it all. The finding furniture and other kid stuff and getting the house ready if I’m approved. The training and stacks of paperwork I know are still coming my way. But I am going to take it one step at a time, and you know what?

I am not afraid.


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Portabella Mushroom Pizza: Redux

A while ago I wrote about some delicious portabella mushroom pizzas I had made. I loved them, but hadn’t made any again in quite a while. Mostly because I just hadn’t bought any mushrooms recently. Also, I haven’t had any Vegenaise or honey mustard or any other potential pizza sauces in my refrigerator in months.

Last Sunday evening I was cooking all kinds of things so that I would have lunches for work all week, and I had 2 mushrooms in the fridge. Hey, I said. Let’s make pizzas, I said. So I did. With 1 amazing change. 

I had read a post on Gluten Free Traveller about using mashed sweet potatoes as pizza sauce. I tried it the same day I read about it, and it was great! So I had the brilliant idea to try this on my mushrooms. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo of these amazing morsels, so I’ll have to just tell you what I did, and hope to get a photo next time.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Punch a few holes in 2 or 3 large sweet potatoes with a fork or knife. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, place the sweet potatoes on the foil (don’t wrap them), and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until soft. Another options is to peel and cut the potatoes into chunks and boil them until soft. Which is a lot faster, but I find they don’t get as watery if I bake them instead. I found plenty of other things to do while I waited for them to bake. Like washing dishes, cooking pasta, frying some ground turkey, chopping onions and mushrooms, using most of said onions and mushrooms to make a batch of cream of mushroom soup to put in the pasta and on the spaghetti squash I was baking at the same time, washing the flour & milk mixture I was mixing in my gravy shaker off of the walls and cupboards and general sink area when it exploded after two shakes (I knew warm milk was a bad idea, but I did it anyway. I like to live on the edge like that.), lying on the kitchen floor weeping (not really)… you can always find something to fill your time if you look hard enough.
3. Turn oven down to 350.
4. Cut potatoes open and scoop out the insides. Add a little almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you use) and beat with your electric hand mixer. Well, that’s how I mashed them. If you have another way you like to mash your potatoes, by all means, do whatever works for you.
5. Scoop the gills out of your mushrooms and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. The mushrooms, not the gills. Gross. Put those things in the trash.
6. Spread a nice layer of your mashed sweet potatoes on the mushrooms, then add whatever pizza toppings make your heart sing. (Was that too much? I feel like singing hearts might have been too much for pizza toppings.) I added ground turkey, onions, a few canned mushrooms because I had them out for the soup, and some shredded soy cheese. If I had had spinach in the fridge, I would have chopped some up and added that, too. I tend to just pile on whatever I have on hand.
7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
8. Eat.
9. Die happy. (I mean… not immediately. Just whenever it’s your time, I guess.)

Hopefully I can make them again soon, and then I’ll add a photo of this deliciousness.


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Hi. This feels like it might be a little disjointed. At the moment, it’s just sort of a jumble of thoughts pouring forth. Maybe by the end I’ll find some order in them. And here’s the thing: I love writing about nonsense. I’m pretty good at it. But hitting the publish button on a serious topic? That takes a lot more courage, and it makes my stomach hurt a little. It’s so much easier to put funny stuff out there for people to read. The serious is scary because it’s letting you see a little piece of what’s below the surface. So just know that this is a little scary for me from the get-go. 🙂 But here goes…

I have had forgiveness on my mind a lot lately. The how. The why. The who. When I have something on my mind and cannot reconcile it with reality, it helps to write out my thoughts. So I got a pen and started writing. I ended up with more questions than answers, but the one answer I got then, and still know is this: When someone has wronged me- whether it’s by my perception or a literal wrongdoing, intentional or unintentional- forgiveness? It has to be done.

Here is most of what I wrote several weeks ago…

I forgive you.
What is forgiveness?
Letting go?
How many times?
How often do I need to forgive and let go of the same thing?
How do I forgive and let go?
Can I forget?

When I remember, I need to forgive again.
Are there special “forgiveness words”?

Do I just say, “I forgive you” 1,000 times until I feel it?
Won’t the words eventually lose meaning if I do that?
I need help.
I can’t let go on my own.
Let go. Forgive. Be free.
If I have to forgive again, did I really forgive the first time? How do I know if it “took”?
“In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” –
Anne Lamotte, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (I haven’t read this book; I had written down a similar quote, and just looked it up online to find the source and the correct quote.)
Do I need to say it aloud?
I don’t want to be angry and bitter. Not anymore. I don’t want to pretend.
Do I need to make a list of things I’m forgiving? And burn them?
I forgive you. But do I? Yes. I have to. I have no other choice.
(Also, I need to forgive ME.)

I reached the end with more questions than answers, but with absolute knowledge that I didn’t have a choice but to forgive. I then left it at that and went on my way.

Today, this subject was heavy on my mind again. I was mulling it over all afternoon, and tonight I decided to see exactly what Jesus had to say about forgiveness. (All references are from the Amplified Bible.)

Psalm 86:5 For you, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You.

If God is so ready to forgive all of my sins and let them go forever, who am I to hold onto other people’s sins against me, as though they owe me more than I owe God? Who on earth do I think I am?

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

Matthew 18:35 So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.

Mark 11:25-26 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.

Guys? This leaves NO ROOM for unforgiveness anywhere. Ever. If I get to judgement day and find myself standing beside an unrepentant Timothy McVeigh or Adam Lanza with even a little bit of unforgiveness in my heart, I am no closer to getting into heaven than they are. It’s not going to happen. Jesus is very clear about this: If I do not freely forgive someone, from my heart, letting go of the resentment that I love to hang onto, God will not forgive me.  But it feels so good to hang on! I can’t let go of ALL of it- I need something to come back to, to get out and polish a little now and then so I can remember how someone wronged me. Why would I want to remember these hurts anyway?  Does it make me feel like I’m better than they are? And these verses do not say, “If the person who wronged you comes back and begs for your forgiveness on bended knee, go ahead and forgive them.” It says if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop. Whether they asked for it or not.

I’m not saying it will be easy. I know all too well, from numerous (possibly not wholehearted) attempts at forgiveness, that it is ridiculously hard sometimes. Even admitting that I’ve been hurt can sometimes be one of the hardest things to do. It feels weak, and I don’t want to acknowledge that I am capable of being hurt by someone’s words or actions. (Sticks and stones…) And as humans, I don’t think we can just forget and expect that it will be gone forever. I may need to forgive someone for the same thing again and again. Is that okay? Does that mean I didn’t do it right the first time? I think maybe even if we let it drop once, we just may need to let it go again and again. Maybe every day for a while. I need to want to let it go first, and eventually it could be every other day. And then once a week. And then one day in the future, I may forget it all together.

Luke 17:4 And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).

Every day. Seven times a day. (But who’s counting?)

1 Peter 4:8 Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offences of others].

And there’s the rub: intense and unfailing love for one another. If I don’t love my fellow man, how will I begin to forgive them? But if I do have an intense and unfailing love for everyone, forgiveness shouldn’t be far behind. Because it’s hard to carry a grudge against someone I really love.

I can’t do this alone. I can’t just wake up and decide that my human self can let go of any resentment I carry. I’m going to need help. And I know where to find it:

1 John 1:9 If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

Jesus, cleanse me from anything that is not in conformity to Your will in purpose, thought, and action. Help me love everyone with Your love, and to pass on Your forgiveness to them so that You can forgive me for the oh-so-many things for which I need it.


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The Juice Diaries: Day 3

The final day!

I went to work at 7:00, and was famished until I had my first juice at 8:00. I did not feel sleepy, and my head was clearer than it has been in a while! I would talk about being more focused, but I’m writing a blog post instead of working right now, so that point may be moot. I was hungry all day, but not so much that I couldn’t survive… The bigger problem was just wanting to EAT SOMETHING. It all started when my coworkers starting microwaving their lunches in the break room next to my office. Their food smelled dee.lish.ous. (I know that’s not how you spell delicious. Just work with me here, okay?) From then on, I had some major food cravings. But I stayed strong! (Sort of.) Well, I didn’t eat anything anyway. I knew I had some organic chicken broth at home, and I thought if I could just have some watered down broth when I got there, I would be okay until Tuesday… But Jade convinced me of how proud of myself I would be if I stuck it out. And so I did! My last juice was at 6:00, and that took away a lot of cravings. And then I went to bed pretty early to avoid any more temptations to eat.

As far as the juices go, I genuinely liked them by day 3. Except for #4, because the cayenne hurt my throat. But otherwise I enjoyed them!

Now today, the day after, I feel great! I slept so well last night, and I woke up feeling alert and ready for my day! I was not craving all kinds of junk or sugar or anything. I feel lighter, healthier, and I feel so good about myself. I lost 4 pounds, and a lot of my belly pooch. I started my day with some organic broth, and a couple hours later had a banana. Then for lunch I had a salad with spinach, green peppers, onions, cucumber, avocado, and olive oil. And a few gluten free pretzels. Trying to ease my way back into the eating thing.

All told, looking back? I would definitely do this cleanse again! And I probably will eventually. Next time it will be even easier, since I’ll know what to expect and how to prepare myself for it. And I would definitely recommend the Ritual Cleanse Reset; the juices give you all the nutrients you need, and give you enough energy to go about your regular activities. I’m happy I did the three days- especially for the first time- but I know even a one day cleanse would be helpful for me in the future if I just need a boost and want to give my body a little rest.

Juice cleanse #1: Success! (And I’m kind of proud of myself, too.) 🙂


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