What These Pictures Represent

We moved into our home a year and a half ago. One of the reasons we bought this particular house was our desire to be foster parents and have plenty of room for kids to live, sleep, and play.

There were some pressing needs with the house, so decorating was hit and miss. We had some pictures we wanted to hang, and they spent the entire time in a pile on our bedroom floor until today.

The pictures represent our family but they also represent the craziness and unexpectedness of life.

When we first moved in, it was us and our dog. A couple of months later, we welcomed our first foster child. A month and a half after that, two more foster children. A month more and we decided it would be a good idea to get a puppy. Then we said goodbye to all three kids on the same day. Still, the pictures sat on the floor.

We spent the summer trying to train the puppy as we waited for our next placement. We got a call asking if we could take a sibling group of five. We said yes, bought some extra beds and secured a crib. Then we were told, “Actually, we’re not moving them yet.” Another month passed and we were asked if we could take the siblings again. This time we bought a car. Only again to have the situation change. So we sold the car. Then the car broke down (sorry, dad). Still, the pictures sat on the floor.

Along the way, we went from two dogs to one dog. We had to say goodbye to our 13-year-old furry friend as age and health caught up to him. Then, September came. We got a call asking if we could take another foster placement, this time a sibling set of two. Absolutely. The children moved in with us. A couple of weeks later, we found out we were expecting. Still, the pictures sat on the floor.

Winter came. Then spring appeared on the horizon. We realized we weren’t able to give our very large puppy the attention he needed between working, caring for two young kids, and being pregnant. We gave him away to a good home. We were sad about that, but he is happy and getting plenty of attention. Still, the pictures sat on the floor.

May arrived. The kids returned home. Being a month away from our baby’s due date, we decided to hold off on accepting any more foster placements, at least until we’re through the summer. The house seemed a lot quieter, but it gave us time to get the baby’s room ready and work on some other things around the house. Still, the pictures sat on the floor.

Today is the day after our baby’s due date. We’re still waiting for him to make his appearance. He seems as stubborn as his daddy. But, we finally brought the pictures down from the bedroom. I grabbed the hammer, nails, and level, and we went to work. For a year and a half the pictures sat on the floor, but now they hang on the wall. My wife says it makes it feel that much more like home.

A year and a half passed. We went from one dog to two dogs back to one dog to no dog. We went from one kid to three kids to no kids to two kids to two kids and expecting to baby almost here.

Life is crazy and unexpected. It has its twist and turns, but that’s part of what makes it fun. Sometimes in the craziness pictures collect dust in a corner for far too long, but eventually they end up on the wall where they belong.

Embrace the chaos and the unexpected.

(Now, maybe, the stairs will get painted that we ripped out and replaced six months ago…)

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I Love to Write

As long as I can remember, I have loved both reading and writing. Creating short stories has long been a hobby. Some elementary teachers even thought one day I’d grow up to be a professional author (that hasn’t happened yet). I have submitted some stories to various contests and shared them with others. Even though my stories have yet to be widely read, I still love to write.

I love to write because it lets my imagination soar. Our imaginations and ability to create art are a gift from God. It only makes sense that God who imagined, created, and tells a story through creation would impart the same to creatures made in his image. Humanity was designed to dream and create. Painting and drawing are not my forte, nor is making music. But I love to write and create worlds and characters through words.

I love to write because it helps me deal with stress. No matter your job, no matter where you live, no matter your family and friends, even with those being good, life is hectic. Certain things have to get done. We face pressure imposed by both self and others. We battle the tyranny of the urgent. Then life occasionally throws unexpected curve balls. We feel the stress. Each of us needs healthy ways of processing and de-stressing. Writing helps with this for me. Even if I begin a story and never finish it, I am able to channel thoughts and emotions in ways that reduces the pressure.

I love to write because it is fun. You might not feel the same way. Video games, jogging, or golf might be your thing. That’s the beauty of hobbies–our personalities, talents, and passions intersect to engage in something we enjoy. I hope the things I write can encourage others and bring them enjoyment. But even if I’m the only person to ever read something, I still love to write because it’s fun.

I love to write. Maybe you love something else. Find your hobby, make the time, and embrace it.

I Feel Old (and young)

You’re only as old as you feel, they say.

I’m a year from forty and most days I feel well past that. I feel it in how much my body aches and how hard it is to lose weight. Things weren’t like this when I was in my twenties.

I feel old but I also feel young.

My wife and I are a few days away from having our first biological child. I’ve been a dad as we have fostered. I’ve ran around the yard and kicked soccer balls. I’ve crawled on the floor and given piggy back rides. And then I went for the medicine cabinet to get the ibuprofen, knowing that I’d be stiff in the morning.

And yet, here we are. I’m 39 and about to hold my newborn child for the first time. I have friends my age who are the parents of teenagers. I sometimes think that’s where I should be. A newborn just might kill me.

I feel old but I’m also about to become a baby boy’s daddy. I dream of holding him, praying over him, reading to him. I dream of helping him learn to roll over, crawl, and then walk. I dream of running around the yard with him, teaching him to ride his bike, and how to throw a football or kick a soccer ball.

I’m old enough to know that it all will fly by too fast, but, Lord willing, there’s a lot of life on this earth left to live.

My body will still ache more than it did in my twenties, but I feel young as I think about being a little boy’s daddy. I’ll just need to remember to stretch extra before giving his first piggy back ride.