Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Today has been a good day.
The rain is falling
the baby is crying
and the 4 year old is doing his best to argue with everyone.

I am excited to start a new week,
excited to continue in the starting of this new journey.

For Christmas I got a new laptop.
My first.
Not the MacBook I've dreamed about, but then again my husband knows me well and I'd much rather save the money and have the Dell I am currently typing on.

I am reminded of the birth of Jesus.
Probably not in the month of December and with my recent Jewish culture lessons probably not in the manger setting displayed all around my house.
Either way I think of Jesus.

In a few hours my home will once again be buzzing with people as my daughter-in-laws family will arrive along with my grandmother and we will all sit and feast on my mother's famous hamloaf.
Still full from Steve's annual amazing pancakes I am hoping to have room for lunch.
The afternoon will end with our annual trip to the movies and then an early bedtime around the horn.

I will hopefully get brave enough to download pictures on this fresh computer space and now that I have an actual computer to sit at will go back to blogging a little more regular.

Hope you are all having a blessed Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Struggle of Grace Given

One of the hardest parts of living life out loud on this blog is that others can read it.
When others read your words, they pass judgement.
Good or bad they take a look at small glimpses and come up with an idea of who I am and what happens around here.

I've kept quite because of this fact.
Our current living situation has DCF involved as well as other state agencies; what do I say here, or what do I not say here.

Today I feel like saying a lot.
Today marked a day we stood up as a family living at our address and said "no".
For the most part we have said "yes" to the "outside forces" (as I'll call them), the people involved in this whole thing.
We've said yes to last minute changed times of visits, 
changed places and changed days. 
Yes to late night gas station meetings to pick up clothing and toys.
Yes to phone calls when we've just begun to settle everyone down for the night.

Personally I've really felt that yes is what Christ has called me to say. Putting others interests first is what I'm called to do. 

Until today.

Today was the day that I just felt taken advantage of.
I do supervised visits for one of the outside forces.
Our first meeting spot changed to a second, 
then to a third.
My morning errands would have made the first meeting spot ideal, I had to be in that neighborhood and so it would be nothing to stop by for the set hour visit.
Then the second spot, errr... a bit out of the way but today I had a third party coming,
then a third, I said yes even though it meant due to time I could not run my morning errands.

It was a slap in the face.
Perhaps I'm being selfish but I really just felt as though my day, my plans were not even considered due to the outside forces lack of planning and consideration.

I made a little bit of a fuss today.
Hate it when I do that.
I'm sure it'll all come back to bite me.
I'll be labeled the bad one, I've always been made out to be the bad one in some circles, so it's a role I'm comfortable playing.

As I think about it: I am the bad one. 
My thoughts suck, I find myself becoming more and more upset with the outside forces. 
My heart attitude begins to change, I grow colder. 
I am the bad one. 
Errr... what a mess I am, to the feet of my Savior I go.
It's not about me.
It's not about me.
It's a Kingdom thing.
A Christ agenda.

Reality is still here.
Things run smooth until they are involved.
Ugh, I ask myself: what runs smooth until I am involved?
What do I mess up
See the cycle here.
I have had grace upon grace poured out on me, now I need to pour it out.

So there it is: a rant of sorts, working this whole thing out.
Oh and the thing we said "no" to- well it involves the holidays, visitation and priorities.
Priorities to the ones who have been around for 18 years.
The outside forces will not be happy, but for 2 days we would like peace, calm and love to reign.

So what about you, anyone else struggle with the tug, the struggle of giving grace?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

If I Only Posted Blogs the Day I Wrote Them...

... then this would have been posted on Saturday.

We survived another week.
Yesterday marked week 4 of having a baby in the house and it also marked 36 years of my sweet husband's life.

How blessed I am to be married to my best friend for over 18 years and to have celebrated so many birthdays with him.
His special day happened to fall on date night.
We haven't always been good about it,
but then again we always have.
Date night.
No matter the week,
the day
or the cash in our pocket;
date night remains the most important night of our week.

Sometimes we laugh,
other times we watch a movie.
We eat, we always eat.
We get dessert, I try to always get dessert,
we walk on beaches and in parks.
We drink coffee,
go to book stores, we've always gone to bookstores
and we fight.
Yeah sad but true, some date nights we argue over something silly like the window placement in our fictitious vacation home in the mountains of NH or Montana or...

Last night we spent the dinner portion of our evening with friends.
It was nice.
We don't always get the chance to have dinner with friends, out, with no kids.
I think we all would have stayed longer, harassing the waitresses and ordering more food we may just as well send back (inside joke).

But last night marked another successful week gone by in the Span Ranch.
We weren't perfect this week;
we did extend grace.

I saw this on Pinterest and liked it, it fits our home perfect:

In this house...
we do second chances
we do grace
we do real
we do mistakes
we do I'm sorry
we do LOUD really well
we do hugs
we do family
we do love.

Hopefully I'll write a post and post it the same day- and hopefully it'll be this week :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Saturday Here!

So it's been two or maybe three weeks since our home has stretched it's seams.

back to crafting and fun toys
I'm not sleeping much, trying to get a cup of coffee to my lips before lunchtime and I now have Sesame Street as my Internet home page.

My car is back into taxi mode with elementary and pre-school drop-offs and pick-ups as well as weekly activities for 3 kids without a car now.

she does sleep
Add is a fussy baby who likes to be held, doesn't like to be held, wants to be bounced, prefers to be still, oh wait she is sleepy, oh no she's not. 
I, on the other hand find it hard to not sleep in the car on date night; I, on the other hand know that sleep is exactly what I want and I don't really care if I'm bouncy or still :)

But this will pass; a season in this journey a chapter in my book of life.

my default comfy outfit
I think I am done with the majority of the paperwork needed when dealing with the state on child custody issues. I think I've visited every government building in a 20 mile radius. Oh and did I mention I have been sick since BEFORE all this began? Well I have been and I turned to a traditional doctor and am taking antibiotics-- wow, if you know me then you know how far fetched this is from my life health choices, until now tea tree oil has been my main health solution, but a desperate, sleep deprived lady will do whatever she's gotta do. Although over a week on antibiotics and nothing, I'm still sick, now you see why I don't take myself to the doctor.

pretty much the only other thing I wear
Wow that was a rabbit trail.

This morning Steve is with 2 of the "expansion pack" at a 5k while I get some much rest with the baby at home.  The teenagers are sleeping soundly, God bless 'em and I've gotten 2 cups of coffee in me already. 2 cups and I'm headed right now for a third!

We were recently asked if we were "mad and upset with our family members and the fact that while we do the hard stuff on the front lines with their children they continue to live their lives of partying and self-indulgence?"

Here is our response to that: first and foremost we are hoping that these family members are making hard choices in their own lives, taking steps to make the changes they need to make to make this situation "right"; only time will tell.

As for us we are not mad, we are too familiar with a self-indulgent lifestyle to know that it is far more taxing on ones self to live strictly for ones self. A party lifestyle may seem fun at the time but when all is said and done, when the buzz, the high wears off the hard facts of life are still there. No we are not mad, we are blessed to have a lot of love in our home.
I just had to post a picture of my sweet granddaughter

Yes it is challenging. 
The added cost,
the added people,
the noise,
the lack of sleep.

But what is life when it's lived sober for ones self?
How will we, how will my children really learn to share,
to put others first,
to set aside their own needs,
to truly love,
if they are never stretched outside their comfort zone?
If they're never put into the situation to do it?

On a practical note: when children are removed from the home there are issues that come with that.
I use the "methods", if we can call them that, of Dr Kevin Leman. I highly recommend his books. In fact when my children were little I used "How to Make Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours" as my parenting "go to" book. Currently I am reading and implementing "How to Have a New Kid By Friday" so far, so good; I think.
drink of choice

I hear "please" and "may I" instead of "gimme",
I'm beginning to hear "oh, ok" instead of "I know".
There's less whining and more cooperating.

So this journey is fun.
It's tiring.
It's full of laughter,
full of deep breaths,
full of love, grace, mercy and compassion.
It's only just begun.

I'll have to share the most frustrating part of it in another post: dealing with the parents- talk about having to view people through the eyes of Christ and with a heart of God; but seriously, that's another post.

Until then we are seriously looking at starting a fund to collect funds to enclose our back porch for an additional room. We're wondering if after this chapter ends if another chapter full of last minute kid pick-ups and temporary shelter hearings may be in our future? Who knows? Afterall I never thought I'd have 9 people living under my roof, or that I'd live in Florida.

In the meantime, extend some love to the person you would rather punch square in the face.

Trust me, your heart will begin to change for them and if you don't know Jesus as your Savior, today would be a good time for that too, e-mail me.

Loving for His Kingdom,

Friday, November 25, 2011

Update on Us

OK so here is the run down at our home:
On Nov 14th we went to court to step in as Temporary Shelter Caregivers for our 3 day old niece, due to some health concerns she remained in the NICU until her 1 week birthday when she came home to live with us.

Then 4 days after bringing Little One home from the hospital we got another call from DCF, another sibling of ours was having their children removed from the home and so again we found ourselves faced with stepping in as Temporary Shelter Caregivers.

The day before Thanksgiving I sat again in Family Court, this time going home with a 4 and 9-year-old.

Our home a year ago consisted of 5 of us- today we have leveled out at 9.

We have a lot of love to give and we certainly love our nieces and nephews.

It is so interesting how God has changed hearts and minds around here in the past few years to land us right where we are.

We're learning to love more each day.
Learning to love beyond what's comfortable.

We're embracing life closer to home once again and looking seriously at adding on the addition we've talked about for years.

I am blessed and thankful for this season of life,
I've learned to embrace each turn in the journey with a smile on my face and eyes focused on Christ.

Hoping to sleep through the night one day soon,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chapters in a Book

What a busy 6 days it's been.
Little One came home on Friday, her 1 week of life day!!
Our current title in her life is "Shelter Caregivers", only the future will tell what lies ahead for her and for us.

A whole new chapter of our life was opened up today, just like when Illana Belle flips the pages of a book, this page was flipped fast and hard; as much as I want to share about this I just can't. Too many people involved who live outside our home, privacy is important on this pages of this chapter.

So just think of us in your prayers as the headcount in our home grows and the love we have is multiplied.

I also hope to update you all on the latest Vintage Sheet creativeness happening- I really thank my friend Amanda for her consistency in showing up to sew, she keeps my creative juices flowing.

Happy day to all,
hold your loved ones close,
live for something bigger than yourself.

Peace, love, Jesus,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baby Update

Little One is doing good.
She successfully made it through day 4 on Tuesday and as of 5 pm yesterday she was morphine free.

Basically every few hours she gets scored. Her behaviors are recorded:
sleep, eat, muscle tone, sneezes, etc. 
Each behavior has a point value, the lower the score the better she is.

A combined score of 16 or higher would flag her withdrawals as "too much" for her little body and therefore morphine would be considered/given.     

Again so far, no morphine!

Since you've been asking, here are some of the details regarding Little One:
she was born on 11-11-11 @ 9:33am
she was full-term and weighted 5# 14oz and was 19.5 inches long.
She has a decent amount of hair and it is dark.
Her feet are long and skinny, like Steve's and Justin's :)
And she already has the cutest birthmark.
I've also gotten questions regarding her development and it's actually been very interesting learning the info about drug positive babies.

First of all once Little One makes it through this detox she will be like any other baby, her little quirks related to detoxing will be gone and it will be as if she was born with a clean bill of health.

Her organs and internal body is normal and functioning just fine, there was a concern about her kidney when she was in utero but the Healer has healed her.

Developmentally in the future: only time will tell. The doctors and nurses mentioned that the drug use isn't as damaging as any alcohol use mom may have misused. Interesting huh? The legal drug of alcohol is far more dangerous than her legal prescription meds or illegal opiate use. From the info we have on mom, it seems she was far more interested in opiates over alcohol, so believe it or not that is good news.

We are really trusting God that all will be well with Little One and these first days of her life will be a chapter closed with no future reference physically in her book of life.

While we want to be angry at mom:
we are not, 
disturbed and confused, yes; but she is a hurting young lady in desperate need of the freedom that can only come through Jesus Christ.

Also in the baby supplies department- where do I begin?
So far I have:
-a pack-n-play/bassinet,
-turned my dresser top into a changing table (just need a changing pad)
-have about a dozen newborn clothes from Sarah and my granddaughter
-pulled out some of my old receiving blankets- fresh from the 70's
-have a car seat thanks to Illana Belle being a growing almost 1 year old

Prayer Requests:
- wisdom on the work front, I've never worked and had a baby, do I continue to do so? do I cut back a day? who watches Little One while I do work?

- Continued strength for Little One as her body adjusts to a drug-free life

So that's the update for today, thank you all for your texts and loving comments, boy isn't life just one adventure after another?

Love and peace,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't Get Me Started on Legal Drugs

Today is the crucial day in our baby’s life.
I will not use her real name because I am not sure legally what I can say here because we are only temporary parents. So I'll call her Little One.

Little one's mom struggled with the misuse of prescription pain medication while pregnant. Since mom was incarcerated for 3 days before giving birth Little One was not born with the meds in her system; however her system only knew life with medication, life with no physical pain.

On Sunday she began to show signs of withdrawal and was moved into the NICU.
Excessive sucking, sneezing and yawning, muscle tightness to name a few.

The "old school" way of dealing with this situation was to medicate baby with morphine at the level mom was using and then slowly wean baby off, this took weeks, even months; we were fortunate enough to have the leading doctor on the Eastern Seaboard in this area of research and study visit Little One and use a new form of treatment. 

Little One has been allowed to begin detox right from birth and will only be given morphine if her symptoms are severe enough to need it.

So far, no morphine.

Today is day 4, today is hump day, the doctor feels as though if she can make it past today with no morphine she should be fine to detox all her own. Although he said it would really only push her chances right past 50/50. So today is the day, and tomorrow and the next day.... 

When will she come home?
We just don't know?

Once Little One makes it through her detox and realizes that people and love can sooth rather that medication she will be like any other baby born "sober".

Now I'm off to register at Target because it was recently brought to my attention that I'm gonna need some baby stuff.

Sarah has hooked me up with several baby clothes and items but if memory serves me right babies need and go through more clothes and diapers than anyone else in the household; of course if we were all wearing diapers we'd have a whole other issue going on here.

Prayer Requests:
Please be praying with us that she does not need the morphine at all.

Pray for no lasting effects of the drugs on Little One

Pray for the NICU doctors and nurses caring for her, that they'd see Jesus in us and that we would be able to speak Him to them.

Pray that this life transition would be smooth for all 5 of us.

Thank you all, this journey is never dull is it?
I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rock the Boat

"to look after orphans" from James 1:27

I'm not really sure where to begin this post? so I guess I'll start at the beginning.
Where is the beginning?
The beginning could go back years, months, or for this matter a week.
For time's sake today, for this post it goes back to Friday.

November, 11th, 2011

Lots of weddings happened last Friday,
I know because I sold about 10 brides their wedding dress for that day.

But that is not what I am posting about.

It all started with a message at work for me: I had a phone call.
The person on the other end said something like this:
"a young lady who is incarcerated has given birth and wants to know if you want the baby."

me: "Um, can I call you back?"

I know.
Welcome to my life.

After my shift ended I made my way to the hospital and through the Lord's working I got to hold this precious little girl.

Saturday was a whirlwind day, as all Saturdays are when you work in a bridal shop, and then Sunday morning brought us into court.

Yeah I know Sunday morning court doesn't seem to make sense but it happens and we were there.
Before I knew it DCF was inspecting my house, asking questions and it looks as though we are on the road to having temporary custody of a little bundle of joy.

See years ago I dreamed of another baby, years ago I thought foster care would be a good idea, months ago a baby was conceived and a week ago my husband, with no prompting from me, spoke the words I longed to hear coming into agreement with my heart on caring for the orphans around us.

So you probably should congratulate me on having a baby and fitting into my regular jeans the same day.

Today is another day in court and hopefully some baby holding time.

As of today little baby girl is in the NICU getting the love she needs from the amazing doctors and nurses there;
unsure of when we'll bring her home, we have prepared a place for her here in our home.
I will hopefully keep you all posted on this space.

I'd appreciated your prayers and any diapers you may have hanging around your place- lol, can't believe we may be headed back to "reset" in the kid department-- #excited, #nervous, #scared.

Our boat is really getting rocked around here, new baby and then there is the matter of our friend moving into our shed-apartment, but that's another post. 

Just when I think life is headed in one direction it surely takes a turn in the other. I am not sure what tomorrow holds but this one thing I know for sure "Thus Far, the Lord has helped us".

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Mark Your Calendars

I am excited to announce that on Saturday, December 10, 2011 my Vintage Sheet sewing label will have a booth at the Christmas Under the Palms craft show.

I'm not sure if I'm more excited about the fact that ALL the money made will go to putting in a well through Charity Water
the fact that the items sold will be made by high school students.

So locals-- mark your calendars and those of you not local I hope to make our items available through some sort of online platform, stay tuned.

I have incredible people I know who, regularly feed the hungry, adopt babies, live in 3rd world countries to aid the people there, others I know love the hurting in inner city Detroit, hug those in nursing homes- but for me, 
right now, 
this Charity Water thing seems to be how I can do my part.

Our goal is to raise $5,000 to put in a well. We originally thought $1,000, until a 14-year-old freshman in high school said, "I think we can raise $5,000". She's 14- dream big baby!!

We can do this.

As for you? after you read this post go check out the Charity Water website.
Watch this video.
and make sure you watch this video too (it is set to a Beck song so you can jam as out you cry- or at least that's what I did)

Go there.
Read about it,
get involved,
there is so much more to life than us.
Than me.

please, after you read about this amazing organization please come back here and leave a little note about how it affected your heart. Do this so others can see and read and hear from more than just me.

Then check back here for more news on how you can help us as we raise money to help do our part in changing the world.

Thanks and I love you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Birthday

I turned 37 this last week.
I'm not a big party person or one to ask for expensive gifts or trips, well OK I lied, I'd ask for an expensive trip.

Steve and I had plans to go to Busch Gardens for my special day, but since a storm was suppose to head that way we decided to stay home. Of course Florida weather men have been known to steer us wrong and the storm stayed south of us, and Tampa, and no rain fell.

Instead Steve and I decided to visit my favorite local botanical gardens and then we just drove around. 

I love to drive.

We rolled the windows down, put some music on and just let the open road lead the way. 
We ran across and old Florida boarding house on the river that is up for auction and had a blast exploring the grounds.
It was such a beautiful day and I am so blessed to have a wonderful man to share days like that with.

Now if only every day could be like that, wind in my hair not a care in the world- but something tells me day after day of that would not be as fun and special as it was on my 37th birthday! 

If you get the opportunity I suggest you do the same: grab the one you love, roll down the windows and just drive!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So a few weeks back my friend Amanda texted to say she wanted to make a Christmas present for a family member and she thought she needed my help. What thet really means is "I need a place to drag my sewing machine to make me sew".

My brain went into overtime and next thing you know I had texted the girls from last year, you may remember the ones who I cooked with each week?

Anyway today was our first day of meeting, we decided to craft together.

hot glue,
whatever we wanted.

I made a cute little felty Christmas tree to hang on the tree this year.

Not everyone crafted, Gabrielle and Sarah sat with the babies, but hopefully will craft next time ;)

Aleatha worked on her son's Halloween costume while Amanda double dutied as sewer and mommy to a 1-year-old.
Baby Luc is so precious, can't believe we've been hanging with him and his momma for almost a year now!

Faith looking thrilled to be here, or at least thrilled that I am taking her picture.

When home schoolers are involved there has got to be something for the little ones--- Wii!!

Lastly I made these:

So stinkin' yummy. I got the idea from Pinterest and here is the link. I did not make her sugar cookies but instead made my own go-to sugar cookie recipe.

If you want to see what we made, you'll have to click over to the Vintage Sheet site for that one.
Happy day to you all!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Matthew 22:39 "And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." 

These words are all over the Word of God.

Last Friday my small group of 9th grade girls came over to walk this faith thing out.

They brought the ingredients,
the recipes,
they took time on their day off from school, 
to cook,
to bake;
to deliver meals to a teacher they all love.
A teacher who puts 110% into their classwork
and even more into the students that come that teacher's way.

The cut raw chicken and almost puked,
they did dishes,
one even learned that it takes a lot of sugar to make a good cookie.

These girls MOVEd.
Thanks for the challenge Edgewater Alliance Student Ministries.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Angeles National Forest

Because if I don't write about it the trip will be years behind me and I'll do my best to recall it.
After getting Dani somewhat settled in to college we decided to explore the mountains behind her new home.
The tall palm trees were grand for palm trees and led the way to the entrance of the Angeles National Forest.

When you live in Florida, or any other flat state, for any amount of time mountains of any size are beautiful. I really don't have much to say about the drive through the mountains besides it was really pretty. On the way "in" we drove at the base of the mountains in the canyon, past damns and reservoirs; then on the way"out" we rode high on the mountains sides, climbing until we reached the ridge road.

The winding road in the canyon is the road we took "in" with the reservoirs on either side of the picture.

Here was our ride for the trip- a Dodge Charger- we LOVED it!!!

So that is the first taste of the outdoors we got in Southern California.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Cents Behind Our Summer Vacations

When you travel as much as we I did over this last summer your friends start looking at you as if you've won some lottery,or they stop following you on Facebook cause they're disgusted with all your adventures.

Honestly, as I sit her today broke as a joke trusting God will provide our mortgage money by Thursday and I too feel like I was lavished by the summer of 2011 and it's travels.

I'm certainly no Dave Ramsey but there are a few tips I have for people who want to take some sort of vacation.

So here are my tips:
Pay cash! Take the money you save on these items and put it aside for your vacation fund- in an account or better yet at a friends house where you can't touch it! It had been 5 years since we'd been on a family vacation.

1. start making your coffee at home- then take the money you would have spent and save it- $5 a week adds up
2. stop eating out, this was the hardest for me, but $10+ a week adds up
3. set in your mind to not purchase anything new for your home or your body, I haven't bought new clothes in years, we even use hand me down towels and finally got a new microwave after 18 years
4. go on free date nights, then put aside the $20 you would have spent, we read a lot in the bookstore and we walk, walk, walk for dates- also geocaching and disc golf are free after a small initial investment
5. rent movies from library, or even redbox for $1
6. do any work that comes your way, clean a house, mow a lawn, pet sit... this will add up the most, work for your extra money the reward tied to this is amazing!
7. sell stuff you own, blankets, rarely used appliances, furniture you can do without. I am a big craigslist fan! I also take anything free being given out and sell it on craigslist, well sometimes it sits around collecting dust  :/
8. having a family member buy you a plane ticket fro Christmas helps too!

and when it comes to actual trip...

8. stay with friends and family
9. research, research, research (we stay in inexpensive, clean places- I love for this)
10. plan and pay for you trip in sections
      - set your dates 6 months to a year ahead
      - pay for and book your plane tickets first
      - then and it may be a few months later, book your hotel or campsite (and yes we pack sleeping bags)
      - next pay for any rental car or extra activity, for example buy theme park tickets one ticket at a time
11. make your own food, we travel with a cooler, and yes you can check a cooler on an airplane, use your normal  grocery budget money and eat healthier too!

So that's a large part of how we managed to send me to Alaska and Detroit, take the family to Bush Gardens and for Steve and I to spend a week in California. Hard work, sacrifice and a God who allowed it all to take place.

I also love, love, love to plan vacations on the cheap so feel free to contact me if you want help- the time away on a vacation can be healing for the soul!

Where would your dream vacation be to?


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