Momma cooked a breakfast with no hog

Quick:  What’s that reference?

The first line of the answer to the reference is “Just waking up in the morning gotta thank God”  IF you know it and are reading this comment on the social media post and / or shoot me an email with the answer.  I don’t have anything to  give you but we would just love to hear from you all!

Anyway, we feel in our family that it’s been two weeks of just that… Thanking God for all that He is doing and has done.    Here’s a list…these things YOU have prayed for.

  • Z’s teeth are 95% fixed.  We have one more cavity filling appointment in July!
  • Preaching at our North Campus was a HUGE success.  Please give the podcast a listen and I pray that the text provides as much of a blessing to you as it did to me studying and preaching through it.
  • I also had the opportunity to preach to our student ministry at one of our campuses.  The ministry has exploded and the Lord has faithfully brought in over 25 students each week!
  • Z’s behavior has totally changed since getting her teeth fixed.  It’s almost as if she has started to trust us!
  • L is peeing all day on the potty.  YES!  Pooping on the potty well that’s another animal entirely.   Funny story:  Every single night, we put L on the potty to poop.  Every night she does not.  Then she goes to bed.  20 minutes later she opens the bedroom door and tells us either “horses poop” or “I peed” and every single night she has pooped in her diaper.  I share that because Amy just walked back into the office from dealing with this situation for the evening.
  • Jojo and Z graduated preschool last Thursday!  We had a great picnic and party afterwards.  Madeline has 4 more school days until summer!
  • THE POOL Opened and our family LOVES it.  ALL OF US!  Even Z and L who had NEVER been to the pool!  Now to get them to learn to swim!
  • Glasses – Z and I (Josh) went to the eye doctor and got Z’s eyes tested.  Glasses should be here in about 3 weeks.
  • The LAST of the evaluations.  Z has an occupational therapy evaluation on Wednesday.  This is the last of the initial evaluations.  10 weeks and we have covered all the necessary bases!  Now to get routine speech therapy and counseling into our family schedule!
  • Baptism!!!  – Our church celebrated baptism Sunday.  We partied as saw 9 people moved forward in their relationship with God to make that decision!  It was awesome to see 2 members of our community group and 4 fellow children’s ministry volunteers take that step!  And for sure there aint no party I have ever been to like a Revo Baptism Party.
  • Garden – The garden is on point these days.  Several jars of strawberry jam.  We have located a hidden blackberry patch.  And we are crushing some sugar snaps.  Also, since  L wont eat veggies, like hides chewed corn in her mouth for hours, we have dehydrated Kale and Spinach picked from the garden, ground it in a spice mortar and pestle.  Our “secret ingredient” is now included in everything from burgers to pizza to spaghetti sauce.  Haha….parenting win! Note: if you want to know “the how” talk to Amy.  
  • Home Improvement – we have made the decision to reclaim my (Josh’s) office as the boy’s bedroom, getting Madeline her own space.  So Amy took the paneling down, sealed the concrete walls, unhooked a light and tore down 1/2 the ceiling and that was all last week.  Now we are looking for contractors (or volunteers) to help with framing the walls and a closet and hanging some dry wall….interested?
  • Z is showing some real keen interest in the mystery and love of the Gospel.  She and Amy had some AMAZING conversations leading up to Baptism this week at church!  God is stirring, softening, and moving her.  Pray we continue to present the Gospel in a way she understands!
  • Financial Support – The Lord has shown His favor in moving in people’s hearts of people and their generosity.  We still have a ways to go to reach our goal, and I am spending some serious time on that this week so continue praying for favor!

I had a boss who loved Ronald Reagan.  When things were going well and he was solving a ton of problems at work, he would say he was “Reaganing” that day.  I don’t want to give the impression that we are “Reaganing” but we are celebrating the good along with all of you!  Thank you for praying.  Continue to do so!  The Lord is on the move and this season we are expecting great things from Him in the life of our family!

Because Baptisms at our church include 3 bounce houses

This dude LOVES BBQ chicken

Z and M are starting to really bond! Two strong willed girls for sure! So fights then coloring. Ya know the usual.

First and last day of preschool. The best blessing this year for him was finding his first best friend!!

First and last day of preschool. How much has he grown!?

Edmonds Family Update: GI Joes

I loved the TV show GI Joe growing up.  Funny thing: I never really played with the toys.  I was much more into wrestling and transformers and He-Man than GI Joes.

But the cartoon….that was gold!

Anyway, at the end of each episode they always had a moment which ended up with the saying “And now you know and knowing is 1/2 the battle.”

I feel that knowing and maybe more specifically not knowing brings along uncertainty and worry.  At least that’s how I feel in our lives.  Amy and I have noticed through some times with the girls knowing and not knowing brings unwanted stress, worry, frustration, anger, tears,

It really had me contemplating.  You only know what you know.  So that’s brought some humor, frustrating times, and just times we are left stumped.  We wanted to share a couple of those things:

  • Frustration – There are many times when either me (Josh) or Amy are heading out somewhere (e.g. take kids to school, gym, a run, etc) that Z gets nervous asking when is _____ coming back?  Are we going to be left alone?  Slowly over the last 7 weeks, she has realized that she isn’t left alone and we will always come back but I guess you only know what you know.
  • Stumped – Amy took the girls to the store the other day.  Now we hadn’t gone on this adventure with them yet.  Typically Amy or I were going to the store by ourselves or we were ordering groceries online.  Anyway, Amy and Z and L head to the store and when they return Amy tells me the story.  Apparently Z’s head was darting back and forth, looking up and down.  Amy noticed the behavior and asked “what are you doing” Z’s responded: “Looking for cameras.  Mommy asked me to look for those when we shopped.”  Stumped.  You only know what you know.
  • Humor:  Yesterday there was a court hearing about the case.  Amy was speaking to the social and our Foster Care Supervior.  Z heard “court” and said how much she loved court.  Amy asked her why.  Z mentioned that she loved all the food places, like McDonalds and sometimes they had places to play.  Amy (better than I would have done) held in her laughter and gently redirected Z that she was referencing a food court and that wasn’t the same kind of court Amy was referring to.  You only know what you know.

How are we day in and day out, moment by moment it depends.  Sometimes are frustrated.  Sometimes we are stumped.  Sometimes we are laughing .  Right now more often than not, we wish we knew.

We wish we knew all of the family backstories.  We wish we knew how to best love, serve, and meet needs of Z and L.  We wish we knew what Madeline, Jojo, Elijah really thought about our new family dynamic.  We wish we knew the best way to respond.  We wish we knew the answer to “what’s going to happen with the girls.” We wish we knew what was a made up kid story and what was real when Z tells us something we think may sound crazy.

We wish we knew because if we knew, at least accordingly to GI Joe that’s half the battle.

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • Prayer – Wisdom / Discernment – Update: We are continuing to learn about Z especially.  Her behavior ebbs and flows.  Amy has been doing extensive research and we are scheduling a larger meeting to help us learn more about Z’s brother to see if there is any insight.  Pray for peace.  Pray for wisdom.  Pray that we respond correctly that I (Josh) model Amy’s lead from her wisdom and research to respond in wise manner when Z’s behavior “shuts down”
  • Financial Support – If you all didn’t know, my job doesn’t pay a “full-time” salary such that we can “live on”.  Therefore, Amy and I raise funds from people sponsoring us for ____ / month in order to meet our financial goals and, in this season, for Amy to stay at home.  We are still praying for 10 more families to jump in and commit to financially supporting us for $50/month from June 2017 – July 2018.  If you are interested in learning more about what that means, the return on your investment, what are family budget is, please feel free to contact me at joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com.
  • Prayer – Dental Work  – Update: FIRST REPAIR APPOINTMENT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!!  Yay!  Now we just have 2 more repair appointments to correct additional decay and damage.  Pray for Z to continue to be calm and trusting!
  • Prayer – Preaching – Update: Sermon is polished and I am preaching through it over the next few days.  Pray for me personally, as the weight of communicating God’s Word weighs on me.  Pray specifically for me to FOCUS and for our house to be a place of peace.  This Sunday I would appreciate any FB, IG posts, texts, emails etc just saying y’all are praying for me as I communicate God’s Truth to our church.  If you are local to Winston, I would love to see you at our North Campus in Rural Hall that weekend.  For directions check out our page: Revo Church.
  • Praise – POTTY TRAINING – Praise and Prayer Request.  L is mostly peeing on the potty (awesome!).  She is even doing this on her own, knowing when to go, getting up there, doing her thing, and getting down!  That’s great.  BUT every stinkin (pun intended) night she waits until she goes to bed to poop.  And then comes out of her room to tell us to change her pull up!  We’ll get there!

Friends!  Thank you so much for your continued love and support of our family.  Thank you for your encouragement.  Please continue to reach out to us and encourage us.  Those words of affirmation are like wind in our sails.  Call, text, email.  Thank you for loving us so well!  Life is adventurous.  I guess you only know what you know and knowing is half the battle!

7 people in the house and only 4 different cereals for breakfast.. That’s a win I think.

Life is rarely quiet. It’s always a blessing to catalog these moments.

This is the 155th version of the fort downstairs. At least they all fit in it.

Oh and the name the “LOUD” house. If you know our kids, there is no better name for this fort.

Make it a great day or not – the choice is yours

Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours

That was a phrase that Amy brought home early in our marriage.  Before we had kids, Amy taught middle school when we were living in and around the Raleigh area.   The announcements at her middle school always ended with “Make it a great day or not the choice is yours.”
Amy thought the phrase was a great thought / idea and brought it home early in our marriage.  When we had a tough day at work – make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.  When I played basketball on Saturday morning and those jumpers weren’t dropping, make it a great day or not the choice was yours.  When I did the laundry and well I didn’t pay attention like I should, Amy had a choice – make it a great day or not the choice is hers.  You get the idea.
It is really is a posture of response.  We have the choice during frustrating or difficult times on how to respond.  We have the choice to let negative events impact our entire day or not.  So very early in our marriage, Amy and I CHOSE to respond in a way that enabled us to move past the frustration of the moment, situation, or day and really have a great day or not the CHOICE WAS OURS.
Amy and I find ourselves repeating that phrase almost daily this week.
A couple of reasons why: Appointments and triggers.
Appointments:
One of the things they told you in our classes before becoming a licensed foster parent was assess impact to your family.  We assessed impact and said “yes.” Man we wouldn’t change anything BUT THE APPOINTMENTS ARE SOMETHING ELSE.
 Check out this list from just this past week:
  • Monday
    • Dentist Appointment for Z
    • 30 day check ups for BOTH Z and L
    • Visitation with mom and grandma for Both Z and L – 2 hours
  • Tuesday
    • rGroup
  • Wednesday
    • Therapy for Z
  • Thursday
    • Visitation with mom for both Z and L
  • Friday
    • Crown appointment for Amy – YUCK!  hard to make it a great day or not when you sit in a dental chair for 2 hours!!

Here’s a complete list of the appointments we have had since the girls arrived in our house at the end of march!

  • Initial Medical Appointments (within 72 hours for both girls)
  • Initial Dental Screening for Z
  • Visitation 2x per week for 2 hours each day in Lexington, NC (about 45 minutes away)
  • Sick appointment for L
  • Dental repair work for Z – FAILED 😦
  • Paternity Testing for both Z and L
  • Initial Dental Evaluation (again) for Z
  • Dental repair for Z x 2
  • 30 day developmental physical for both girls
  • Weekly Therapy for Z
  • Speech Therapy evaluation for Z (3 HOURS!…goodness)
  • Occupational Therapy assessment for Z
  • Monthly home visits with the girl’s social worker
  • Monthly visits with our Foster Care Supervisor
  • Quarterly visit with our Foster Care Licensing specialist
  • Z failed her eye exam during the physical so we have an initial eye exam for her soon.

And I didn’t mention the the preschool schedule, which I have a note on my phone to review every day just so I can intelligently answer the question “who goes to school today?”

  • Z – Tues, Thur, Fri
  • L – Mon, Fri
  • Jojo and Elijah – Mon, Wed, Thur

Thank goodness for my electronic calendar on my phone and all the alarms!

We don’t share this, I don’t write this to say “woe are we”.  We knew (sort of at least) what we were getting in to.  But my goodness, I feel like GI Joe “now we know and knowing is half the battle.”  If we can share this for anyone possibly considering Foster Care then at least it provides a sneak peak into “real-life”.  And it’s a real life that we CHOOSE to make GREAT.

Triggers

Triggers are events, smells, sounds, etc that may elicit an emotional (or even physical) response from the girls due to trauma associated with that trigger.  This past week was a week of triggers.

  • Power Outage – A couple of weeks ago we had a large rainstorm.  About 5 in the morning the power went out.  All of the kids sleep with sound machines, so of course the power outage caused all of them to wake up.  After some glow sticks for night lights and some calm words, Madeline Jojo and Elijah went back to sleep.  I thought Z and L went back to sleep as well but after closer listening I heard whimpering from their room.  They were both crying.  Once they woke up and were into some normal light, Amy and I saw the fear on Z’s face.  She was scared the power would not come on.  After repeated attempts to assure her, it was a storm not the bill, she finally believed (once the power DID come back on….4 hours later, and after a rough time of doing hair without power). WELL THIS PAST WEEK.  It happened AGAIN!  The disappointment on Z’s face was heart-breaking.  It was as if she was looking at us and saying “You told me it wouldn’t happen again”
  • Water Heater – It was a normal Monday.  Well sort of normal, I was actually able to get into the shower in the morning (something that I don’t normally do).  I thought to myself that’s odd the water pressure seems to be a little off.  Amy and I switch off and when she gets into the shower she notices the same thing.  We check a couple of sinks around the house and determine the hot water pressure is way way too low.  Some personal investigation and one visit from the plumber later it’s determined a new hot water heater was in order.  Again we had to do hair in the morning (Monday morning is Z’s hair day).  And we had NO HOT WATER.  It turns out that was a trigger from Trauma because we learned she never had hot water until she started to stay here. Well 4 days later, a new HOT WATER HEATER!! YAY.  I can now shower again!
  • Sounds – Just yesterday we were walking back from the pool open house in our neighborhood and there was a loud BOOM.  It almost sounded if someone dropped a 2×4 or piece of plywood on the ground.  Maybe it was  backfire…nonetheless a loud POP or BOOM.  Z stopped in her tracks.  Froze momentarily.  Who knows what that sound represented / recalled / reminded?

Triggers, it seems that every day we may be reminded (sometimes unexpectedly) of what influences, conditions behavior or reminds the girls of trauma.  We pray for awareness, wisdom, and honestly for healing, for triggers to reduce and trauma to not be recalled as quickly.  And we don’t even know if that’s the right prayer!

And speaking of prayer / praises: 

  • Prayer – Wisdom / Discernment – Update: we had a great meeting with our Child/Family team today and got some good insight on how to answer Z when mom can’t make it to visitation and doesn’t call.  I feel like we have some good tools in our belt now we are just praying for a receptive heart and head to hear from us and them.  Continue to pray for discernment / wisdom for us!
  • Prayer – Self-Care – Update:  Still no date night.  I am determined that we will have one this weekend (OUT OF THE HOUSE WITHOUT THE KIDS).  We did enjoy a Cinco de Mayo in typical fashion with tacos from our favorite place and a board game tournament.  Note: Amy won 2 nights to 1!  UGH!
  • Prayer – Financial SupportUpdate: We have had two more join our financial support team! Praise God for them and their families.  I will be following up with several potential financial partners this week.  Please be in prayer for receptive hearts and The Lord’s favor!
  • Prayer – Dental Work  – Update: Z did great at the dentist for the evaluation last week.  Now we have two “repair” appointments coming up over the next couple of weeks.  Be in prayer for mine and Amy’s patience and Z’s anxiety.  We are praying that the dentist does NOT become a traumatic event for her!
  • Prayer – Preaching – Update: I am polishing up the sermon I have the opportunity to share with our church on May 21st.  If you are local to Winston, I would love to see you at our North Campus in Rural Hall that weekend.  For directions check out our page: Revo Church. This week pray for FOCUS and TIME and QUIET so I can finish the polishing process and then work through practice for the next two weeks!
  • Prayer – Madeline: We are having a hard time with Madeline’s emotional regulation, something that she has struggled with in the past.  Right now pray for us as we work with Madeline to identify things that need a big reaction and things that need a little reaction.  Pray for Madeline as we talk to her about looking around the house to find her kind and big words!  Also BIG news in Madeline’s life, she has read one of her Bibles on her own all the way through (actually reading it to the boys at night by herself).  She has moved on now to the “Bigger kid Bible”  Note: If you want to know what Bible’s we use for our kids, please let us know, we are happy to share what’s worked well and hasn’t worked well in our house!
  • Praise – POTTY TRAINING – We have made the step towards Potty Training L.  She is now mostly peeing and pooping on the potty!  YAS!  GO GOD!

Every day, every moment make it a great day or not the choice is yours.  Our prayer is that we always have this posture of positive response even in the events that frustrate and annoy us.  My prayer is that you all CHOOSE to make it a great day or not, each day.  The CHOICE really is yours!

And now a glimpse into our lives from this past week.

Our Tribe! Amy and I are so blessed by their love for each other!

One of the coolest parts of serving our church is getting to encourage kids to memorize scripture. So Instead of the rap lyrics that I had in my head, they can recall actual scripture when times require it later in life.

Batman. He’s smaller than I remember but he is still a mighty protector.

Amy’s garden back in full swing. First harvest of the year: radishes. We recommend roasting them, which turned them into an almost sweet baked potato!

 

Every day a collection of moments

It seems that at the end of every day Amy and I look at each other and recount what’s happening or happened.  It’s almost as if every day is a collection of moments.  The moments may be an hour-long, it may be 2 seconds, or it could be 20 minutes.

The moments may be hard and frustrating.  Perhaps they are tiring and exasperating.  And then there are the moments that are life-giving, encouraging, funny, fun, etc.

Each day….a collection of moments.

Our collection from this past week

  • Sad – There have been some sad moments this week.  Phone calls that didn’t happen.  Visits that were cancelled.  Just a lot of sadness.
  • Victory – L POOPED ON THE POTTY.  MORE THAN ONCE!!!.  She immediately followed that up by running to her room and pooping in her pull-up.  But ya know you take the good and take the bad!
  • Encouraged – Friends and family have stopped in (THANK YOU!!).  Whether it’s dad showing up on Saturday, a good friend coming over to see Amy on Monday when doing Z’s hair, or bible study on Tuesday, THANK YOU!  Everyone is ALWAYS welcome at our house.  Please stop in, consider this your invitation. Our door is always open!
  • Unexpected – Over two days, Winston – Salem received ~5″ of rain.  Well that led to trees falling on some power-lines somewhere around our grid and as a result the power going out at our house (for 4 hours).   In a moment of preparedness, we got everyone glow sticks.  But there was still some sadness from Z.  In a moment of learning, we realized she had lost power several times in her life due to other circumstances and she was scared.
  • Victorious AGAIN – On Monday’s everyone is in school but Z.  So every 2 weeks Monday’s are hair days for Z.  Amy successfully did Z’s hair (with no power at the house I might add)
  • Adventurous –  I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life but I had never, ever been to Pilot Mountain.  I also had never visited Mt. Airy.   There was one failed attempt to get to Pilot Mountain with Amy and the kids that resulted in getting lost (don’t ask) but this past Friday all of that changed.  Some staff from church went out to hike around the top of Pilot Mountain and at a Snappy’s … apparently a staple from the Andy Griffith show.  It was great time with great dudes!
  • Blessed – A blessed moment when a friend has Madeline go home with her daughter, feeds Madeline dinner and transports her to girl scouts.  Giving Madeline some great attention and special time was just what she needed!
  • Culture – We LOVE our Elementary School.  I know we have shared before.  To recap: Almost all of the teachers are from a different country.  Friday night, the school hosted an international night where they had booths for over 85 countries INCLUDING FOOD!  It was a great family adventure!  and L ate her weight in international food, including a Jamaican pattie that was a little too spicy!
  • Frustrating – Z needs dental work done to take care of some poor dental hygiene and eating habits previously.  We had the initial consultation and Wednesday was the day!  Well it didn’t happen.  The dentist said “this will be a little pinch” and that was that.  Z shut her mouth and sat directly up and after 40 minutes of Amy trying to convince her to trust us, she was all done.  A frustrating moment because her teeth hurt her but we need to try a different pediatric dentist to help get the work done!
  • Normalcy – We are starting to get a rhythm to our family and our house.  Appointments are always thrown in here and thrown in there but we feel we are getting the hang out it.  In a moment of normalcy from this past weekend, Amy and I binge-watched Netflix (13 Reasons Why) and played board games!  We are two wild and crazy kids!!

Life to us right now is a collection of moments.  And each moment, whether frustrating or funny, whether life-sucking or life-giving, each of these moments is our life that God has given us.  We turn to Him and celebrate and praise every moment! We love our life full of little moments!  We pray that you all see and cherish all the moments as well!

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • PrayerWisdom / Discernment – We are dealing with disappointment and conflicted feelings.  Will mom be at visitation?  The answer is we don’t know.  Why wasn’t she there?  The answer is we don’t know.  “I don’t want to go and live with mom.  I want her to come and live here.”  When will I talk to mom again”  Pray for Amy and I as we navigate all of these crazy emotions, hard questions, and difficult conversations.  We KNOW we don’t have the answers and the ability.  Pray the Lord fills us!
  • Prayer – Self-Care: Amy and I are still struggling to find margin in our lives and specifically time for just us, individually and together.  Pray for wisdom, some great baby-sitters, and the discipline to get out.  Pray that the update next week, we are celebrating a date night AWAY from the house without the kids!  UPDATE: Still no date night away from the kids but we did have the Friday Night fun night.  Continue to pray for a date night away from the house.
  • Prayer – Financial SupportUpdate – We have had some supporters jump in, A few at $100/month, some at $25, and a couple at $15/month!  Right now we are still looking to meet our goal of $1200/month in new financial partners.  IF you are interested in partnering with us financially, please email Amy (edmonds.amy@gmail.com) or myself (joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com) and we can get you what you need to know!  If you need more information on our living expenses, budget, where the financial support would go, please let us know we are happy to share our current budget!
  • Prayer – Dental Work – Pray for us as we navigate getting Z the necessary work done!  Pray that she trusts that we want the best for her!
  • Praise – Preaching – I had the opportunity to speak last night at our student ministries as I shared my life verse.  Thank you for praying!  We had a great time and I believe the Holy Spirit moved through me as I shared God’s Word!
  • Prayer – Preaching – I have the opportunity to preach in big church 🙂 in May.  We just started a series “I just want to be happy.”  It’s based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  I am so excited to share with our church in May.  Pray for me as I work to finish preparing the message and polish practice and preach one weekend next month!

And now a look into our moments from the past week!

The famous fried pork chop sandwich from Snappys! It was worth every calorie!

Elijah at International Night

Lunch dates with Madeline are special moments for me!

Getting Inked up

I’ve always wanted a tattoo.  Three real barriers with that desire:

  1. Amy does not like tattoos
  2. I am hairy like a gorilla and anywhere that I legitimately thought about getting a tattoo I  have to ask myself how would it show through the hair.
  3. I can’t decide on what to get.

Now the first two barriers are hard to get around, but the third barrier there’s something that can be done about that!

At one point in my life (freshman year of college at NC State…Go Pack), I thought about getting this on my arm.

First tattoo Idea

Well let’s take a moment and praise God that wisdom prevailed or truthfully celebrate that I would rather have spent the $50 my freshman year on Gumby’s Pizza Pokey Sticks instead of Wolfie on my arm.

As time passed maturity set in, I settled on two scripture references one on each wrist.  I already had one picked out.  I have always loved the posture of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3 as the Lord calls him.  He eventually responds in the last part of 1 Samuel 3:10 “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”  So first wrist tattoo: 1 Samuel 3:10.

For the next one, I waffle back and forth, not really landing on one reference that I would desire to have forever on my arm.  I couldn’t really decide on ONE and here’s the deal with a Scripture reference as a tattoo, you better KNOW that Scripture BY HEART!  And I wasn’t going to commit to the full sleeve of scripture memorization.

Enter the girls, Z and L, into our house.  Amy and I were talking about the last 3 weeks (yes it’s only been 3 weeks) and how “both / and” it’s been.  It’s not been an either / or time; it’s been, it is a both / end time.  It’s BOTH wonderful AND hard.  It’s BOTH frustrating AND rewarding.  It’s BOTH tiring AND life-giving.  It’s BOTH confusing AND secure.  This process, this time with our new daughters is a BOTH / AND time.

Amy and I looked at each other and both said “we are called to this.  we will be obedient but it doesn’t mean that it will be easy.”

This along with the Easter season and messages got me thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mother.  After visiting with the Angel of the Lord (which had to be TERRIFYING), Mary’s response as a teenager pregnant with The Lord is powerful

 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[f] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” – Luke 1:38

I imagine for Mary it wasn’t easy.

  • It wasn’t easy when she told her husband Joseph about the pregnancy.
  • And from what I observed about pregnancy with Amy, I KNOW it wasn’t easy being pregnant in a hot part of the world.
  • It wasn’t easy giving birth IN A STABLE (without an epidural or modern medicine).
  • I am sure it wasn’t easy with the pressure of parenting the Savior of the World.
  • It wasn’t easy when people said terrible things about her son.
  • It wasn’t easy when her son traveled for 3 years and did ministry.
  • And of course it wasn’t easy as she watched her son beaten tortured and crucified.

I imagine Mary responding each time when it wasn’t easy and reminding herself that she is The Lord’s servant.  And as Scripture mentions at times when it was good (people worshiping Jesus when he was young, the visit of the shepherds and wise men) that Mary stored up all these things in her heart to reflect upon.  Because here’s what I know in our lives right now, obedience to the call or will of God does not equal the easy road.

The past week with Z and L have been full of ups and downs for everyone.

  • We’ve had a lot of hitting.
  • We’ve had biting.
  • Madeline’s had tears crying at night that she wants to love Z but it’s so hard because she’s mean sometimes.
  • We’ve had yelling, pouting, crying, screaming.
  • We’ve had arguments over food.
  • We’ve even had the “I hate it here, I’m being bad so you will send me away” talks.

In all things, Amy and I have responded that we are obedient.  “We are The Lord’s servant, may it be according to His Word.”

And when we step back and realize that obedience doesn’t equal easy, we can see and cherish the good times, storing them in our heart.  Things like…

  • The laughter
  • Z learning how to ride a bike, 1st with training wheels and now without
  • Z learning her letters
  • Having both girls say “mommy and daddy” to us.
  • Having the opportunity to present the Gospel to Z and her hearing it for the first time ever!
  • The snuggles in the morning and at night
  • And the opportunities to extend grace and leading our kids in the example of giving God’s grace even when we don’t want to and it’s hard.

And Josh and Amy stored and treasured these things in their heart.

We are The Lord’s servant may it be according to His Word, His Will and His plan.  And ya know I think I might just be one step closer to getting inked up…. now only if I can convince Amy to like tattoos.

Praises / Prayer Requests:

  • Praise – Easter: We had a GREAT Easter service at Church!  Lots of new families!  But Guess What?!? Jesus is still Risen this Sunday!  Pray for our church staff and volunteers that we serve with the same energy this week as last week!
  • Praise – ZOO: This past week was Spring Break, so we took ALL the kids to the Zoo.  It was so exciting to see Z and L see these animals for (what we think) was the first time!
  • Prayer – Self-Care: Amy and I are still struggling to find margin in our lives and specifically time for just us, individually and together.  Pray for wisdom, some great baby-sitters, and the discipline to get out.  Pray that the update next week, we are celebrating a date night AWAY from the house without the kids!
  • Praise – Hair Care  – Amy successfully did BOTH Z and L’s hair and THEY LOVED IT.  Unfortunately when Amy combed out L’s hair and didn’t braid it she went outside and fell into a HUGE pile of tree pollen.  And if you didn’t know L’s hair is apparently magnetic to tree pollen, so Amy had to re-comb it out!
  • Praise – Veggies – The girls haven’t eaten very many veggies in their lives.  This week we have gotten Z to eat cucumber, sweet potato, and last night she had TWO HELPINGS of salad.
  • Prayer – Financial Support – We have had some supporters jump in, A few at $100/month, some at $25, and a couple at $15/month!  Right now we are still looking to meet our goal of $1200/month in new financial partners.  IF you are interested in partnering with us financially, please email Amy (edmonds.amy@gmail.com) or myself (joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com) and we can get you what you need to know!
  • Prayer – The Gospel – Pray that the Gospel and God’s grace would penetrate every heart in our house, flood every conversation, that times when we are frustrated that we would turn FIRST to God’s Wisdom and rely on His strength instead of our own!

Pizza is a favorite night in the house. Praise God for Amy and her ability to do most things from Scratch

9 baskets (including miscellaneous socks and linens) of laundry. An every 2 day routine in our house!

Elijah being Elijah at a park

Every Sunday I take one of the kids early to church to help set up the children’s ministry. This past Sunday it was daddy / daughter time!

It’s a bird….it’s a plane

Faster than a speeding bullet.

More powerful than a locomotive

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

It’s a bird….

It’s a plane…

It’s….SUPER WOMAN!

Well it’s Amy.  And I can’t say “just Amy” because this past week, she finally proved that she was super woman!

A week ago last Sunday I woke up and had a slight headache and was feeling relatively crummy.  Well Monday I woke up and I felt more than crummy, but (like an idiot) I stayed up and watched the basketball game.  That led to a night of the shakes.  Tuesday was a little worse only we had a small group party that night and Amy needed me to power through.  Wednesday was worse than that and by Thursday (Madeline’s birthday), I was almost certain I was hallucinating.  A quick trip to the doc and sure enough Flu = positive.

Meanwhile Amy during the week…did the following.

  1. Got the girls to one visit with their mom
  2. Planned, prepared and executed a small group cookout / party for around 30 people
  3. Didn’t kill me
  4. Made Madeline a special birthday dinner
  5. Planned and executed Madeline’s birthday party for 19 girls (a spa party at that!)
  6. Learned how and successfully did Z’s hair this week since her mom wasn’t able to.

I am sure I am missing something (like the 1000 loads of laundry that is our house each week).  Oh and planted the summer garden (15 or so tomato plants and pepper plants).  She really is super woman!!!

I’m happy to report that I survived the flu and that as a public service announcement to all…please go get your flu shot in the future!  I will ALWAYS get a flu shot from now on…UGH.

Foster Care Update

We are almost 2 weeks in to Z (5 yrs old) and L (2 yrs old) in our house.  We had GREAT strides this past couple of weeks!!

  1. We got both girls to the doctor and had to catch up L’s shots (she needed several)
  2. Z went to the dentist to have an assessment and plan of action for some relatively extensive dental needs
  3. Both girls were enrolled through God’s grace and the grace and kindness of the preschool director into Jojo and Elijah’s preschool for the rest of the school year.
  4. Enrolling L in preschool for the next school year and getting the information about enrolling Z in school for next year.
  5. Successfully taking the girls for a visit with their mom
  6. Washing and doing Z’s hair (although this is a constant source of tension, pain and prayer in our house currently)
  7. Teaching healthy eating times – We assume that the girls were allowed to roam without structure at eating times.  Therefore, Z desires for snacks ALL the time, every. single. minute.  We have been able for the last several days to structure eating around 3 meal times and 2 snack times a day.
  8. Girls are sleeping in their own beds – When the girls came to our house, we learned that they had never NOT co-slept.  For those who know us, you all may recall our bed is a NO KID ZONE.  So that was a tough lesson.  The girls were sleeping in one bed in their room.  We had one single bed and one crib.  Well Amy thought maybe L was scared of the crib and took it out of the room in exchange for Madeline’s twin bed.  Madeline graciously decided to sleep on the floor on a mattress – don’t worry we ordered her a new bed.  Now both girls are sleeping in their own beds!
  9. Paci – L came with a paci (it seemed) glued to her mouth.  She had it in all the time.  Well Amy and I decided we LOVED her smile and her joy and wanted to make sure that paci didn’t hide it.  So for the past 4 days we have only had the paci at sleep times!

So you can tell it’s been and eventful time.  Just like our prayer on our last update we don’t have it all together.  Not at all!!!  But we are taking each day as an adventure and celebrating each and every victory!

Praises / Prayer Requests

  • Madeline TURNED 7!  Pray for her as she adjusts to not being the only bossy girl in the house.  She is our fiercest care giver and is doing a great job showing the girls the ropes.
  • Hair Care – The girl’s mom is a hairdresser.  Typically she does hair on visits but she wasn’t able to do hair for Z this past week.  Amy successfully got her hair down, conditioned (washed) and then tried to get it up but a lot of tears have been had by both.  Pray that mom is able to get Z’s hair done this week and/or we are able to get her scheduled at a place!
  • School – We successfully enrolled L in school for next year and both girls for the rest of this year!  That is a HUGE MIRACLE and answer to Prayer!
  • Easter – we are gearing up for a great Easter at our church!  Pray for MANY new families to come with soft hearts ready to hear the Gospel!  Pray for smooth ministry logistics for all of our systems!
  • Self-Care – Amy and I are adjusting to this new normal.  Pray we find margin in our life and specifically enough to do some self-care (working out, gardening, etc)
  • Financial Support – Amy and I are on the support trail again.  We are praying for $1200/month in new financial support.  That breaks down to
    • 12 supporters at $100 / month
    • 24 supporters at $50/month
    • 48 supporters at $25/month
  • If you are interested in supporting us financially, please email us back at joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com, and we will get you all the appropriate information.

We appreciate you guys partnering with us along in this adventure of life!  We love hearing from you so write back often!  Until next week….get out and enjoy the spring weather, where ever you are!

A few pics from Madeline’s party

It’s finally getting to be Eno weather!

Spa party = lots of nail painting

 

Family of 7 – Foster Care Update

Last week to yesterday….it’s been a wild ride!

Let me bring you up to speed.

  1. Monday (last week) At the beginning of last week, we were waiting to hear from the previous Friday about a family group of 3 kids (7, 5, 6 months).  Yes 3 kids.  Yes we are insane.  Amy measured and the car seats fit so we said yes.  Decision: it was decided that for that family group our house would not be best.  We trusted the decision and we waited.
  2. Monday (last week) We received a call for 1 and 2 year old boys.  Decision: we deferred.
  3. Monday (last week) We received a call for 2 girls.  A decision was to be made on Wednesday of that week.  Decision: Ultimately it was decided for them to stay in their same county.
  4. Monday (this week) – we got a call about two boys (2 years old and 4 years old).  We said yes.  Decision: The county was deciding on Friday (a couple of days from now).
  5.  Tuesday (this week) – We get a call about two girls (2 years old and 5 years old).  We said yes.  Decision: We are now a family of 7.  They are here!  AHHHH.

Every time we got a call.  Amy would run into the bedroom, change out those clothes to the appropriate size, update the bed spreads and we would wait.  This time, yesterday, we got a call in the morning and we just paused.  I came home after getting Madeline from school and did a little more work and went on a 45 minute run.  We still hadn’t heard anything.  I was swinging by the house on my run, getting ready to do another lap when Amy was standing in the driveway waving me down.  THE GIRLS ARE COMING!

Enter some frantic cleaning, prepping and then waiting!  A Chick-fil-a run for our family (which is so complicated that I have to write it down on my phone!), and we waited for them to come!

And now we are a family of SEVEN!  You read that right a family of 7!  Life seemed to be a blur and go in slow motion all at the same time last night.  And now it’s moment by moment, patience persistence, and love.

Our prayer is simple: Lord, We don’t have it all figured out.  We don’t know much.  We are going to mess up a lot. But God we trust you!  Walk with us.  Give us more of you.  More of your love.  Have us be gentle and kindhearted.  Lord extra.  Let’s go God.  You called us back to Winston for something.  You put that sign in front of the Children’s Home on our way to church EACH SUNDAY.  You guided us to this and here we are.  In everything else, we trust you Lord so we are trusting you now.  Step by step, moment by moment.  Amen.

Will you join us in praying this prayer?  Thanks for journeying with us!  It’s been, is, and will be a wild ride.  But that’s what adventures are for!

Bella and Christopher with a team yesterday in Belize. We thought it was appropriate to share a pic of them our first “Foster children”

Jojo and Elijah had their Festival of Praise last week. Elijah was less than thrilled.

Jojo on the other hand. Brought the house down!

Every day napping with Jojo

Madeline is having a spa party for her birthday. We were family practicing nails the other night.