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,


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