Are you a Magnum Opus?

YES you are!!!!

To God you are “His Magnum Opus!”  

mag·num o·pus
noun
1.) a large and important work of art, music, or literature, especially one regarded as the most important work of an artist or writer.
2.) a great workespecially :the greatest achievement of an artist or writer
No doubt a writer or artist has a deep passion for what they do. They have an end goal when they start on their work of art. They work on precisely carrying out their plan so someday they fulfill their end goal. Allowing their work to reach its sole purpose.  It takes time, sometimes years…But they move forward, don’t give up and keep focused.
You can read stories written from the heart of an author and you can see artwork from an artist that reflects their passion, dedication and commitment to their work. They strive for the ultimate Magnum Opus.  Each of them have important and even great works, but they strive for and work diligently towards their “greatest achievement.”
When I was much younger, my mom told me “You are God’s Magnum Opus” “You are one of Gods greatest accomplishments” “His most important work.”  That analogy and profound statement has always stuck with me. 
God himself, not only planned me, but he had a sole purpose for my life when he uniquely designed me. He did the same for you. He started working on that beautiful masterpiece in my mother’s womb and is still carrying it out to completion. He is precisely planning on my behalf and working things for my good. He has created each and every life with the same heart and deep passion. He strives for excellence in us.  But he accepts the mistakes and the do-overs that we may need. He never gives up on us. He works diligently on our behalf, as our lives and his masterpiece, continues to unfold. 
Look at your self today with God’s eyes. In your failures, your self-doubt, your disappointments and trials. Remember through all of it, God does not see them the same as we do.  He sees the beautiful in the midst of your ugly and he already knows the  outcome of what he started in you.  He sees you as one of his greatest joys, a prize possession, a work of art…and one of his greatest masterpieces. Embrace that!
Let others know who created you and how special, miraculous and beautiful all life really is.  And then, let YOUR life reflect the wonderful “Magnum Opus” that you are. 

Adoption Story One -sneak peek

 

Austin disney

Austin Celebrating his adoption at Disney World when it became final.

Austin –

Two years old.

He was our third gift.

He was born into our hearts differently, but perfectly.

The gift of Austin in our lives came eleven years after the birth of our biological daughter and thirteen after the birth of our biological son. He opened our family’s eyes to the tremendous needs that were literally right around us. He grew each of our hearts in an instant. They would never be the same again.

Austin was our first placement call from our local Department of Social Services. The call came on a sunny day in July. My husband Kent and the kids and I were enjoying the outdoors. When I answered the phone, it was immediately different than what I had expected our first placement call to be like. We realized later, it was also very different for the Case Worker on the other end of the phone. This child would not be able to return home. This child was going to be available for adoption. We knew immediately that God was in all of it.

I was just as terrified as I was excited when I hung up the phone. My husband Kent’s reaction complimented my own. We were both ready and agreed to move forward. Neither of us knew exactly what “forward” entailed, but we knew our answer to that call would be yes. We didn’t hesitate, we had already been praying for months. God had given us clarity. We agreed to be obedient to whatever he called us to do. In 5 minutes all of our lives changed forever. We didn’t understand the magnitude of the blessings in that decision. But today, the blessings continue to unfold.

We felt pretty confident about fostering prior to that first placement call. Our confidence was shaken several times in the years to follow.  Austin became the first of many children God placed with us through the Department of Social Services. Our plans initially were to help one child at a time and work towards reunification with their parents. But, Gods plan for us is often different than our own. We now have many stories. With each of them there is a common factor. We trusted God. We knew that he would guide our steps in all of the unknowns we were to face. And he has proven faithful.

My mind was racing even more than my heart on the 5 minute drive to Social Services to meet Austin for the first time. We were casually introduced. He sat on the floor of a quiet room in the Department of Social Services. His only belongings were next to him in a small white bag. He held onto a small McDonalds Happy Meal toy and looked up to see who had entered the room. No matter how I have tried, I cannot find the words to describe when I looked at his sweet, expressionless face and our eyes locked for the first time. I instantly experienced something within me.  It was as if God birthed him deeply into my heart. I longed to hold him close and never let him go. I knew then, without a bit of uncertainty, God was giving us another one of his precious gifts. God has reminded me of that moment many times in the midst of life’s chaos.

This is just a sneak peek of Austins story.

I could have written an entire book about each of our adoptions. Maybe someday i’ll fullfil that dream as well.  Right now, I am just thankful for the opportunity that was given to me to share pieces of our stories in the chapter written for the book being published to help Adopted children.

Stay tuned for other sneak peeks to come…

Read another Sneak Peek here:   Telling our story…sneak peek!

 

Telling our story…sneak peek!

Blessings In The Midst Of Chaos

My husband and I were married sixteen years before we decided to go into Foster Care. We lost our first son when I was 29 weeks pregnant. Three years later, after another complicated pregnancy, I gave birth to our son Wesley.  He was born with a heart defect that required open heart surgery when he was two. Then against the advice of my doctor, I became pregnant again and gave birth to our daughter Amanda. When she was 9 months old I had my first of two major surgeries. We went through some real tough trials in the first five years of our parenting journey. There was undeniable chaos at times. We experienced a great loss and had many fears. Thanks to God, we had the ability to find joy in our hard moments. The blessing throughout our parenting journey has continued to outweigh the chaos.

It came completely natural for us to do Foster Care. We simply wanted to make a difference in the lives of children in our community. Our entire family was onboard as we began our journey in 2005. We became licensed through the Department of Social Services in 2006. We knew that our lives would be changed by the many children who entered our home and our hearts. What we didn’t know, is God’s plan was much different than our own. We were unaware of the impact that three children would make in our family forever. We trusted God then and we still trust him today.

Parenting is difficult no matter what. There will be many blessings mixed within the chaos of life as you are raising your children. With raising adopted children from the Foster Care system, the chaos you experience will be a whole different kind. It may even leave you at times searching for that blessing. Don’t stop looking. The blessing is there. Look for it in the midst of your fears, through every struggle, and in your darkest hours. And if you need to, pray for your blessing to be revealed, because it could become lost in all of the chaos.      

It is my sincere desire that as you read our adoption stories you receive a renewed sense of hope in your own. Hope is a gift freely given through the grace of our Lord and Savior. There is hope for every one of Gods children. I pray you can cling to that throughout your journey. I believe it is the key to all successful adoptions. You need to believe and trust that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 It is a special calling to adopt. I am pretty confident that you’ll have moments when you will be questioning that calling and or your ability to continue on. But guess what? That’s ok. He doesn’t promise any kind of parenting will be easy. But he does give us encouragement in his word. So, cling to his word often and remind yourself in times of trouble, that he will guide you in parenting your children, if you allow him.

In the midst of every storm, remember why you chose to Adopt. Embrace your journey and let God work. God can bring peace in the hard times and clear any of your doubts. Learn to trust him in all of it. There is no question that your adoption journey will strengthen your walk with the Lord.  I pray you will continue to, or for the first time, seek the Lord for His wisdom, as you parent your precious gift. If God has entrusted you with one of his children through adoption, there is no doubt he wants your journey to be full of love and blessings.

My husband Kent and I have three adoption stories and each of them have their own unique storyline. These children came from three different circumstances and from three different families, yet with each of their placements there were undeniable similarities. In an eleven year period we have been given the sacred privilege to Foster over 25 children. All of the children placed in our home have been through the Department of Social Services and have shared many of the same attributes.

These children all came to us afraid, experiencing separation and loss. They have each exhibited trust issues and have each had some form of specific need. In addition to that, each child has had some type of hurdle (big or small) that they were in the midst of or would be facing in the times ahead. We have learned to embrace the work ahead of us with each child placed in our home. All of them have needed help to heal emotionally. Some children have required us to seek additional resources to parent them adequately. It is certain that they’ve all been in need of a safe and loving home. Together, we prayerfully made the decision to find the blessings a midst the chaos. We have fully trusted God to guide us in meeting their specific needs and parenting them. We have always remembered that there is hope. Hope for us all.

We learned to acknowledge and accept each of our children’s differences and have made a conscious effort to parent all of them (biological, adopted and those we foster) in the same way. We love them all fiercely. We have always tried to communicate openly, remain as consistent as possible and give age appropriate consequences when disciplining. I have often referred to this with others as “My Three C’s” of Parenting. (Communication, Consistency and Consequences.)  

We knew before we became parents that our faith would play a huge roll in the decisions we would make while raising our children. We have solely depended on God. It is he alone that gives us the wisdom and strength to be effective in all we do to honor him. It is just as imperative to honor him with our parenting. It remains our goal to “teach our children in the way they should go, so when they are old they will not depart from it” Proverbs 22; 6.  Prayer has remained our focus in everything, but we have learned to become prayer warriors during the difficult times we have encountered as adoptive parents. When my heart has grown weary, it has been God’s word and his promises that have sustained me. 

If you are thinking of adopting a child through the Department of Social Services, please know that it is possible. There are many success stories. You can make a difference in the eternal outcome of a child right from your local community. You will be blessed beyond measure by choosing to bless the child that God entrusts to you. It doesn’t mean it will be chaos free. But I am certain; if you are obedient to the call to foster/adopt, the Lord will equip you. He will never leave or forsaken you on your adoption journey or ever. Remember to seek him often. He will answer your cries for help and he will comfort you in your pain and or frustrations. He will flood you with blessings and joy in the midst of life’s chaotic moments or extended amounts of time. He will provide just what your family needs to succeed. I am certain that right now in the community that you live, there are children waiting for someone to love them unconditionally, forever.

This is the intro to the three adoption stories that are told in the Co-Authored book i am apart of.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to share our stories in hope to encourage just one family to make a difference in a childs life forever or to find strength in the journey they have already begun. I hope to share other pieces of my chapter with you in my blog as i wait patiently and pray for all involved in the process of the book as it is published. 

God is good and his timing remains perfect to fulfill our hearts desires.

Blessings in the chaos.

my favorite thing about being a foster parent_dumasEvery Single Child deserves someone to love them and to believe in them. They deserve someone to be their advocate and to give them the resources they need to succeed in life. Every child deserves a forever home!

May God bless all of you that go above and beyond and are involved in Foster Care. You will win some and unfortunately loose many battles. You will rock lonely children to sleep, comfort and reassure those who are afraid, and speak life into young ones lives who have lost hope in themselves.

For all the appointments, meetings, trainings and court hearings…and for every sacrifice and or missed family event or function…I say, Thank you for your love and dedication to the child placed with you!

For every time you’ve questioned what you were doing, or wondered if you were really making a difference, please know…that you are!

For every time you are hurt and for every struggle you persevere through, may you feel Gods comfort and strength to continue on.

In a Foster Care system that is broken in many ways, remember there is a God who can take the broken pieces and make all things whole.

If you feel as if you are alone, know that you are not. There is an army of people who have similar hearts as yours. They get your worries and they can relate to the many frustrations that can come alongside of working with Social Services. So many other people understand the magnitude of the blessings you receive, even in the midst of your chaos.

Thank you! Thank you from the bottom of MY heart❤️

Keep doing what you do! You are making a difference! One child, one family, one situation at a time…You are changing the world!

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Whats your kind of Resolution?

I’m not really a “resolution kind of girl.” Maybe it’s because in years past I didn’t end up keeping them. They were either too farfetched, I changed them mid-year, or I never really meant them to begin with.

I don’t really know when I changed. But I did. And it works for me. I stopped setting a “New Year’s resolution.” Well, i no longer put full effort into accomplishing ONE particular thing before the years end. To me, “my kind of resolution” is bigger and last much longer.

Making this personal change has proven to work for me. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Nor do I frown upon any “New Year” positive resolution that’s made. But I challenge you to try it differently. Reaching daily goals and learning to live in each moment has been beneficial to me and my family in so many ways. I accomplish more, and do better on a “short term” (daily) basis, as opposed to setting my goals on a “year’s term”. 

I make goals often. Some of them may seem trivial or even silly to others. God’s word offers me a great source for “self-pep talks” on my way to achieving them. His word encourages me to remain steadfast and determined.

I want to live a life of Joy, Grace and of complete fulfillment in Him. And I want it on a daily and momentarily basis.

Life’s way too short and can change too suddenly. My plans become altered. My goals often shift. Life can have set backs and come at us with many twists and turns. We have all experienced failed attempts and less than great moments, as we strive to achieve our goals or just doing life.

But…Just as suddenly, life can bring great triumphs, unexpected victories, and positive results from our perseverance, and eternal rewards from our experiences and encounters.

So, I face each moment, each day, each test, trial, triumph, and New Year…the same way.

With One focus.

And One goal.

To be better than I was yesterday. To be kinder, wiser, more compassionate, more selfless, more giving. To be a better wife, a better mom and a better person. My “lifetime resolution” is to be more like Christ. Every moment is a lesson I can learn from. Every connection made is a gift to practice being more like Him. Every opportunity given, is an opportunity that I never want to miss…sharing His love. Every breath I take…is a gift.

So, maybe I am a “resolution kind of girl” after all. It’s just that my resolution doesn’t come forth only at the New Year.  I want to live with a resolution (with intention, a plan, a conscious decision, with aim, a commitment, and a promise) Every. Single. Day.

When I fail…and I do. I get back up, I refocus, I stay close to His word and cling to His promises. I choose Joy in the hard times, and claim His strengths in my weaknesses. I thank Him often and praise Him for each day that He’s given. I choose to move forward, when life at times, can seem at a standstill.

No matter your struggle, or your current situation, you can do the saimg_7629-1me. Make a resolution. Maybe, make it differently…

Choose one focus.

Choose one goal.

Choose to live a life as a reflection of Him.

Do it daily!

With this kind of resolution, I have experienced the most success as I have grown in Him.

And I will continue with this kind of intent, as long as I have breath.

I Have Been Inspired

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I have been inspired and therefore, I want to live as an inspiration to others.

I don’t want to fear life’s challenges, I want them to build me up and make me stronger.

I’m over trying to be perfect, it means much more for others to see how I deal with my imperfections.

I don’t want to live my life ordinarily, I seek God daily to use me extraordinarily.

I know the things I hold in my hands are temporary and what I hold in my heart is forever.

I’m thankful to be filled with Gods peace and joy, I want others to trust God and have hope as I do.

I embrace my story, because I know it’s been written for me to share with others.

Life is better when I am happy, but it’s the greatest when those around me are even happier.

Some of the smallest steps I’ve taken in the right direction, have been my life’s biggest moments.

The absolute hardest times in my life have strengthened my relationship with the Lord, they did not break me.

My greatest challenges were those out of my comfort zone, where I’ve had to fully rely on Him.

I will forever be grateful for Gods amazing gift of mercy and grace, for I have been saved by them both.

I know today will never come again, so I choose to be of encouragement to others, a friend and a blessing.

I struggle with insecurities, but I’m thankful to personally know who holds me securely.

I want to live my life today to change someone else’s tomorrow.

I have been inspired and therefore, I want to live as an inspiration to others.