By Our Love…

This past week someone made a comment, “why would you open your home to children with so many problems, they come with such trash when your life is already so good?” And “You are ruining your life and it’s your own fault.” These comments were not directed at me, but at someone I know who is fostering and going through an extremely difficult time. I wrote a blog post last week and had all intentions of posting it then, but then this happened, and I needed to really think. Why do we open our homes to these children? Why do we put ourselves through all these hardships when we don’t have to? The answer is simple, LOVE. We do it for love. Jesus has called us to love one another (John 13:34-35), to treat each other how we would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12), to care for the least of these (Matthew 25), this is why we do it. My life was good before we brought the children into our home but having these children with all of their “problems and trash” has made our life rich. I was poor before. Lacking in true love, for my family, husband, friends, co-workers, you name it and I was not as loving before. These children have shown me what it is to truly love. Every part of my whole life was rocked when they came into our lives and it was totally WORTH it!!!! Before we had them, I didn’t know how rich a true relationship with Jesus could be. Through all of their “problems” it brought me to my knees and taught me how to abide in Him. Through all their “trash” God taught me how to love unconditionally. Without “ruining” my life I would be broke as a joke when it comes to love. And this is why we did what we did, and this is why I want everyone to have a taste of what love truly is. Children especially deserve that!

I don’t share too much about our children’s living conditions before we adopted them or before they entered foster care, but I want you to hear one of the realities. You can see pictures of my family and the love they have now, it makes it easy to dismiss the hard reality of some of the children’s lives here in the US. When they were found and taken into care, they were found with zero food in a filthy hotel room. No signs of food whatsoever. My children were ages 3,1, and 1. They were starving. When they first came to their new foster family’s home, anytime she would come out of the kitchen with no food they would start screaming uncontrollably. She once took them to the grocery store, the twins were in the shopping cart screaming, seeing all the food in the store was overwhelming for them. They eventually stopped crying when their foster mom had put a pound of raw ground beef in the cart, they stopped crying because they were ripping into the package of the raw meat about to devour it whole. This is the ugly reality of some of the children living here in the US. Our children are starving, my children were starving. This is not how I would want to be treated. What was I doing when this was going on? Not fostering, I think about this often, what if I was certified to foster when they came into care? What if I was able to be there for them when they came in as starving orphans? The reality is when they entered foster care, we were on the road from West Virginia moving to Oregon. The exact same week they were saved by DHS, we arrived at our new home 4 hours away from them. Think about it, what if your child is sitting in a filthy hotel room starving, they are about to be entered into the system. Wouldn’t you want to be the family that receives that first call?

These are children in the United States of America, the USA. The riches country in the whole dang world. Yet most of our foster children are traveling from house to house with only a trash bag holding their belongings. I don’t know about you, but the only time my clothes are in a trash bag is when they are actually in the trash or on the way to thrift store. I believe its time to RISE up and do something about these children, laws are laws are laws, but there are hundreds of thousands of children available and free for adoption. There are children in foster care living in crap conditions or in group homes. I am not just talking about teens in group homes. I am talking about young children 4 years old’s, 12-year old’s and everything in between. There are babies in the hospital with no one by their side. These children need us. They might only need you for a night, or a week, maybe a month, sometimes a lifetime. Its time to RISE up and be proALLlife. Get these kids in loving, clean homes. If you can’t do foster care or adoption, that’s okay. Be proALLlife by helping families who can. No money to help? That’s okay too, be a servant with a servant’s heart. Clean a foster or adoptive families house, make them a meal, lend your ear for them to cry and to vent to, PRAY FOR THEM, become certified to respite (babysit), any of these will help! These are kids, like my babies, your babies, and it’s time to RISE up and make the difference, a country with no orphans, now that would be a site!

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. “

Until the cow came home…

When I was a little girl, I was wanted a dairy cow. I thought one day I would marry a farmer that would jump at the idea of getting me my cow. As you know I didn’t marry a farmer. Far from it. I married a man from the outskirts of Washington D.C., he knew nothing about farm life and certainly had ZERO plans of acquiring that dairy cow. Not sure how my dreams of marring a farmer turned into marrying a big city boy, but heck! Guess I hadn’t met Trey yet.

3 and a half years ago we bought a house on a small piece of land, 5 acres to be exact. It came with a few out buildings, chicken coop, a mini barn that we refer to as the pony barn because it couldn’t fit a full-size horse, and a few other random sheds. I mean this place was dying to be a farm! Its has taken me a few years to make this land a farm but this year has been the ticket! Being home with the boys the last year and half has given me the time to do so. Little by little animals have trickled onto the farm. We already had Admiral, our Golden retriever and Cinnamon our barn cat, then after the kids came, we got Obi, L’s mini Australian Sheppard, Skywalker my new cat, I mean L’s new cat… 10 chickens now 12, 2 goats now 3, and one more large animal! Can you guess??? If you guessed a dairy cow you would be right!!

Well she is only a 6-month-old heifer, so not in milk yet. She will not be technically a cow until she delivers her first calf. Her name is Mia! She is a sweetie. There was quite the learning curve after we brought her home. I thought I would be fine with my knowledge of horses but no, just no. I had no clue what the heck I was doing. I think I gave her bloat, which is one of the deadliest things a calf can get, but then I think I was starving her by not feeding her the correct amount of protein. It was a mess. I was walking her to relive her bloat, waking up at all hours to run out to the barn to check to see if she was still alive and kicking, she was. We made it through, those first few weeks were like having a 250 lb. baby. The good news is I didn’t kill her. I am far from the person you should look to for advice about having a dairy cow, but I am learning and fast. With some help from The Family Cow Forum, I got her on track! She is doing well as you can tell by her Christmas pictures. Next September we will breed her, and Lord willing she will calf in late spring/early summer. She will one day become Mamma Mia!

The things I have learned the last few months are, no matter how much research you do on having a cow it will never prepare you for actually having a cow, or heifer for that matter. And just because you marry a city boy does not mean that one day, he wont buy you a farm and then buy you a dairy cow to go with it. There’s always hope. Now let’s see about some pigs!

Thank you, Jesus!

***You can also check out my latest blog post I wrote for Michelle Madrid-Branch

The Miracle of Motherhood: Adopting from Foster Care & Trusting in the Lord, by Kylie Gray

Amateur chicken enthusiast…

I am sitting inside on these weeks of 90 degree days because the wild fire smoke has finally rolled in, blah! Its the bain of my existence. I still have PTSD from last summer being cooped in with three wild monkeys during all of those fires. Lord willing it will surly leave us soon, pleassssseeee smoke go away! I have wanted chickens since we bought our place in 2015 and it came with a chicken coop, it just never seemed like the right time. I finally got the gall up earlier this year and Trey was like “umm yeah, no”. I have learned with Trey he needs a slight shove when it comes to any animals. (This will be a pattern in the next few posts.) Poor Trey. NO! There is nothin’ poor about him! You see, Trey should have known what he was getting into when he married a country girl of this sort. So not one of you should feel bad for that man and plus i think he secretly likes it! Anywhoozal, I ended up saying “well the boys are in the car and we are going to get 4 chicks, are you coming?” He came… We bought 4 and then I realized it wasn’t so bad and then Trey requested his very own chick. One that looked like a classic yellow one, see I told you he likes it! Okayyy, so I went to town on the hunt for Treys chick and ended up buying 6 more. We now have 10 chickens. They are everything and more we dreamed of… Just kidding, but they are pretty cool. We like to sit out by the coop in the cool of the evenings to watch the chitlens try and capture a few. Those dang birds are still not laying. 4 to 6 months my eye! Well technically its hasn’t been quite 6 months but when someone gives me a range I go for the fastest amount of time. Having these birds has given L such responsibility, I do not do a dang thing for them. Every once in while I help lift a heavy bag of food but even then he has  recruited his little brothers to assist him. Above is the cool before, it was this ugly pinky-tan color. yuck! I wanted red and I tried manyyyy shades, nothin! My mom called and said she just didn’t picture me out there with all my farm animals in a classic red barn, it needed to be teal. If you have known me for any length of time you would know i love teal, I loved teal before teal was cool. How had I not thought of that myself?! Yea, kayla k. I painted my chicken coop teal! No jokes about it! Kayla’s, my oldest childhood best friend and has known me since the obsession began, she makes fun of me. jokes on her, I made her wear a teal bridesmaid dress. She still loves me. Here is some after pictures or should i say during pictures, I feel as if its needs some more white trim, a flower box, and defiantly a new fence! Those things will come soon enough but until then enjoy these during pictures!