Monday, March 30, 2015

Game Changer! Elastic Laces!

Y'all, I love the look of converse, but rarely put them on my little ones because of the laces, and them coming untied, or getting knotted, or mercy, even getting pulled out and then lost! With 4 children 4 and under and 5 older ones to get out the door we always reach for the slip ons. This morning I had a pair with no laces and was temped to just sew them to the middle flap to make them slip ons because the kids were headed camping with my mom and they needed shoes on that I could wash. That is when the heavens opened and it dawned on me that if we had elastic shoe laces that we wouldn't have to tie them. Ahhhhhh!

After quick dig through my elastic bin I found this 1/2" green elastic (it's not FOE just normal elastic), I laced them, tried them on, tightened them up, tied the ends in knots and done! Slip on shoes!!! How did I not think of this before?! I went ahead and did two more pair. I love me a good mom hack! xo, Sam

 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My New Rug Purse

Do y'all remember this?! Ha! I was pregnant with Penny! Well that purse has been my favorite purse of all time, but sadly after 5 years of faithful service it was falling apart! For months I have looked for a replacement but NOTHING has panned out and the ones that I did actually like were hundreds of dollars. I have 9 hungry kids, I can't drop hundreds on a purse. The other night I was sitting there dreaming of a colorful bohemian/gypsy purse that would work for a hippie mama like me when I spotted a rug in my living room! Woot! Woot! That's it!

So before my dentist appointment the next day I bribed my children (with homemade cake) to let me sew while they watched the babies.

I added a favorite scarf gifted from my sweet friend Heidi, and done!! So fast and after months of waiting!

I read a blog post not long ago that said "the bigger the bag, the smaller the waist", hahaha! Well I took it to heart! I need all the help I can get! The moral of the story is this: If you've been looking for the perfect gypsy bag, maybe you just need to look around on the floor in your house?! Or your mama's house...I once begged a tablecloth off of my mom and made a skirt from it. :) xo, Sam

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"I'm Not a Christian Anymore"

I got a couple of chances to talk to my Granny this week, she and I get along better than anyone and she "gets" me. Her and I share a lot of the same personality traits and she has also been mama to damaged children like me (she became my daddy's mama when he was 13 and he credits her for turning his world around). I found myself telling her something that I was afraid would sound shocking, but of course she understood. I said "I'm not a Christian anymore, I'm something else." as she nodded in understanding.

Nobody knows this but I struggled with my salvation well into my twenties. I was a church kid that had done most things right. I had never done any drugs, drank, or had any run-ins with the law, but I often wondered if I was saved. I read my Bible and set aside "quiet times", and I would often see if I could lengthen my "prayer time" by a few minutes, went through periods where I only allowed christian music in my car or home. I was very disciplined in things like that. I was compassionate and loving too but my compassion and love had borders that had code names like "tough love." I guess what I'm trying to say is that I followed all the rules, but friends, I was a Pharisee. My God ruled with an iron fist, He loved and prospered the people who followed His "ways" (that was a fancy word for rules). If someone was gay I said things like "well I love them but I hate their sin". If a girl got pregnant out of wedlock the proper course of action was to first, talk her out of an abortion and then, to drop her like she's hot before baby shower time lest the other girls in church feel that we were encouraging her evil ways. Believe me, something didn't feel right about these things, but I didn't know what else was to be done, that's what Pharisees did. Along comes the age of Facebook where the extent of your "taking a stand for Christ" can be hitting "like" or "Share" or eating at your favorite fast food joint on a specific day.

Now I'll admit that there were times where I thought I could be wrong, but I felt so elevated and if I started to question things it would be so embarrassing, because I'd have to admit to so much wrong. If I admit that the way I had loved others for years was wrong then my perfect track record would be gone! If I admitted that I still questioned my faith at this point then all my credibility was out the window. Then what would I be?! Broken. That's what I would be. A pile of rubble. Broken is what I am now.

Funny thing is, I'm almost positive that I found MY God in a crack house about two years ago. I was hunting someone, she was dear to me, I couldn't give up on this girl no matter how much she had done. I just couldn't. We searched and searched house after house until we found her and we wouldn't let her go back. She took our love and threw it back in our faces over and over but I couldn't stop loving her. I just couldn't. It was like she was my child, my flesh and blood, and I couldn't stop. Friends and family told me that I was being "walked on", they told me that I was becoming an "enabler", they told me that "tough love" was what she needed.

Tough love, that has a new definition to me. Lately, tough love means loving without end. Like He loves me. Love now means loving someone the way that God loved my stupid self all those years that I walked around with my head too big to walk through doorways. All those times that I turned the broken away and slapped the label "tough love" on it, I was throwing it all back in His face. I thought that I was earning celebrity status in His kingdom with all my long prayer times, expensive devotional books, and Facebook shares. What an idiot. What a silly broken mess of a girl I really am. You can't do enough in this LIFETIME to earn Him!

So what did I do?! What happened to change me into someone who knows that they will go to heaven?! I took off my "Royal Cloak" and admitted to being broken beyond repair. When I was finally broken I looked around and was suddenly not above ANYONE. We were all on a level playing field. The gay people and Samantha Caffee are the same amount of broken. The crack heads and Sam Caffee are the same amount of broken. The mothers that have lost their children to the system by making horrible choices and Sam Caffee are the same amount of broken. When I saw how He could love such a broken mess like me, that He was capable of such AMAZING love and Grace, my ability to love grew 1000%.

Who does get celebrity status in His kingdom then, if it's not reserved for saints like I once was?! It's simple. He tells us in Matthew 19:30 "But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." And Who does He say is the last on earth? "The least of these." (Matthew 25:31-46) These children that I foster and their precious mama are royalty in His kingdom.

These days I'm in constant motion. I may wake up after three hours of sleep to a little one needing me immediately, my "quiet time" may be a few minutes in the bathroom (if I'm lucky), my prayer time is an almost constant flow of quiet petitions for grace, healing, discernment, rest, or gratefulness. My God now is a lover of souls, He is patient with me and others, He is kind when I don't deserve it, He is gentle with me when my words are too sharp, He is where the broken are, He always has hope when I feel like something is hopeless, He is my protector, and He is not easily angered by me. He doesn't care what I look like, how I smell, or what I'm dressed in, and friends, He is MINE!

I guess you could say that I found My God when I was face to face with a broken soul, just like mine, in that crack house. That's where I continue to learn more about Him, is in all the things/people that the world calls "too far gone". The more I get to know Him the more He breaks my heart for the things that break His, and friends now I can honestly say that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light, and one day soon I will be with Him! I KNOW THAT. And it feels good.

As always I pray that something in my words can encourage you today. I pray that you can see a glimpse of my sweet Jesus and Invite Him to be yours. I pray that if you are a Pharisee like I was that you can find the better/broken version of yourself and know God in a way you never though possible. xoxo, Sam

PS. So what am I if I'm not a "Christian"? I am a child of the ONE TRUE KING!!!! That's what I am!!

EDITED TO ADD: To clarify, I am most definitely still a Christian, but because of the associations that myself and others have with that title, I've decided to call myself something different. I'm a child of the One True King!!!

 

Monday, February 9, 2015

How About You?

 

Something to think about...Let's pretend for just a minute that churches are like hospitals for "sinners". So let's say we have this super cool new hospital, with a great aesthetic, state of the art technology, all of these great programs in place, a great staff, but they spread the word in hushed tones around the community that they really only want people to come in if you are just a little sick. You know, the run of the mill stuff like a headache, cold, hay fever. Now let's pretend that our city happens to have several of these hospitals! How convenient right? It's great! You get a cold or something dignified like that and you stop in, no lines, no waiting, and they fix you right up! You go home supercharged! But then one day you are being an idiot and texting while driving (totally undignified) and you hit a tree head on. You are dying, barely breathing, you can feel your life slipping from you, but no hospitals will take you. They don't take hard cases like yours. They would have to get extra staff, get better educated on trauma, it would be messy, and hard, and people may feel bad about having to see someone that way.....they think you are just too broken. I don't want to be that church, I don't even want to be that kind of home. I want a sign on MY door that says "The Broken are Welcome Here". How about you?

 

 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Little Testimony

In life when I stumble across something negative or ugly that was said about me or my family behind my back, I normally immediately text, call or message the person and offer encouragement or help with whatever they are busy with. I pray that my children learn to do the same. So much that is wrong with this world is because people are so eagerly offended! What someone says about me can't change my heart, the way Ben or my children see me, or my relationship with God, really it says more about them and their heart than it does mine, so my best bet is to show love and kindness. Over the years the task has become increasingly easier! Today I came across something and felt excited! I'll get to encourage them today! If you purpose in your heart to truly show the love of Christ the trajectory of your life changes, it seems small at first but years down the road you will find that something that should feel offensive will actually make you feel excited for a chance to minister to someone and nurture a meaningful relationship. What a blessing?! What a beautiful blessing to be called to love as Christ does!! Nothing shows satan who is boss quite like turning something that was meant for evil into something good! I pray that this encourages someone!

 

 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Our Family Tree

Some of the big kids and I started keeping an art Journal this year. It's a fun and creative outlet, it allows for bonding time when we sit to draw together and talk about life. Sometimes things get complicated, the conversation takes an unexpected turn, feelings start getting involved, and I find myself saying something like this while holding a confused child ...."It's simple my angel...love is what makes us a family." then I realize that this will be something that they will need to hear often, another hole in this broken road called foster care that needs mending. I left the tree how it was, just a sketchy messy thing that will stay in the background, the words became my focus, love is what makes us a family. Love is all that matters.

 

 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My crazy beautiful life

 

In the course of our morning routine which normally includes changing diapers, feeding the masses, getting the littles settled in the nursery, and the bigs started on school, we were blessed with a few variations. Don't be fooled by that statement, most mornings we are blessed with plenty of variations, however this morning told the tale of our patched together family perfectly. All three of the babies woke up with dirty diapers that also messed up their pajamas. I just add that to the growing pile of poop laundry in the laundry room. After that I had conversation with my almost 4 year old about which kids came out of my belly and which ones didn't, and can they all STILL be her brothers and sisters please because she really loves them all. "Yes love, they will always be your brothers and sisters even until you are as old as mama!" Finally everyone was settled but then a big kid came downstairs to say that there was a fight going down in the schoolroom. While getting to the bottom of this argument I find underlying feelings of "I just need to be good and play the part so that they will love me" in one of my boys. Every time I see this it hurts like a knife to the heart. We talked, he opened up and seemed better and I sent him back to school. Cries came from the nursery, I go in to find that Lyric has smashed her finger in the toy box and it's bleeding, I fix her up but she just wants to be held and cried again while I ran to comfort Lottie who had just face planted while pulling up on the toy kitchen. Both of these babies are still crying when the phone rings and I answer "Hello?" I can't hear what they are saying. I run to the other side of the house as I say "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you".... I hear "Yes mam, I'm the new social worker that has just been assigned to your case..." Seriously?! Another social worker?! These boys have had NO LESS THAN 8 different workers since they came into care! I answer kindly "Yes, hello!" And then he says what I KNEW he was about to say "Can I come out today?" To which I answer "Sure! But I'm not going to put on a show for you! Haha! If you are going to drop in you will see a lived in house!" He seemed to like my honesty and said he will be out soon. I run back to the other side of the house and scoop up the still crying babies, one in each arm, and hold and kiss them. Another big kid needs help with a math problem, we work through it. I sit down and take a drink of my now cold coffee, but I don't care, I learned to like cold coffee at least three kids ago. I start thinking again about how I can encourage my boy to be him and not who he thinks we want him to be, my heart feels sick in moments like this. Why can't he just be free to be a little boy?! My eyes begin to fill up as I send up a petition to my father, and I hear another kid coming down the stairs.....I quick get my game face on and turn to find another broken little boy, this one eleven years old, one that did not come from my belly, holding a note that says "I love you mom". Okay Lord, I'll press forward! YOUR Grace is sufficient! This life that I have been chosen for will never be easy, but those moments when you have earned the love and trust of His "least of these" will always make it worth it!


 

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Stuff!

My kids have been waiting for two weeks for their belongings to be shipped from their last foster home. They came with clothes and school supplies, that's all. Today was the day! A huge Fed Ex truck pulled up and a big, tough looking guy came to the door "ma'am I need you to sign, I've got five big boxes for you." As I signed his tablet I yelled "Guys y'all come help! The boxes are here!" Nine kids (some being carried) came swarming out of the house and met him at the door of the truck as he walked back. I could see the look in his eye, I was bracing for a few possible questions (questions NEVER offend me by the way, but I do send up a petition for God to give me gentle answers so that we can be a witness) he looked back and forth at them all confused...about that time he handed out the first box and the kids enthusiastically passed it to the porch assembly line style. He seemed surprised and gave me a confused/questioning glance. I answered his look with a smile and "Their things finally came from their other foster home!" As he passed the next box his face was bright, smiling, and I caught him brushing away a tear. That's the stuff. He saw them before he saw their label, he simply saw happy, excited, playful children, not what the world says you will see. Those precious ones ministered to him today, as they do me everyday. This is the STUFF!!! What life is really about! I am one blessed mama! And Praise God my cup is overflowing!!!!


 

 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

We've Grown!

After a 17 month long paper trail Lyric's brothers are finally with us as foster children!!!! We picked them up from the airport on Wednesday and we are so happy to have them here! They are AMAZING kids! Please pray for us through this transition. xoxo, Sam

 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Let me be...

Trying to focus on this today!!! I pray this encourages other mamas in the trenches of motherhood as it did me. xo, Sam