Friday, February 5, 2016

The Goldsmiths are standing at the edge of the cliff.....again.  We jumped off 5 years ago and said "yes" to adopting older foster kids at the same time we had two bio baby girls, 6 months and 18 months.  Those baby girls are 5 and 6 now and exactly the same kind of storm, magical and dangerous, as they were before they could walk.  Our adopted kiddos, 11 and 13 are steadily discovering themselves and the meaning of family as they anchor themselves deep in us.  Jim and I have grown to love and respect each other even more as we have held on tight to Christ, our parakleet, bringing us safely to harbor. 

Our family feels whole.  It seems stronger than ever with desperation and chaos no longer defining us.  Except without desperation and chaos, we might dare to depend on ourselves or worse....our own understanding.  Gasp.  So God as drained the bathwater on us again leaving us standing cold and naked begging for a warm towel.  Still in need, albeit a new kind. 

You see, if you asked us our religion, we'd say Christian, but if you didn't ask and only followed us around like an invisible scientist, you'd determine us to be worshipers of comfort.  If worship is a deepening response, you'd find us responding to our couch.  Our air conditioning.   Our cars that always start.  Our 600 thread count sheets.  Our ability to ignore our children and watch T.V. while they play upstairs or outside.....because we've made sure our home as a level of separation and a safe neighborhood to babysit them.  

Sure, we are living a sacrificial life, we adopted kids.....that inherently means sacrifice.  But I think we have smeared a big bloody A for adoption on our foreheads to remind ourselves how good we are, how sacrificial and holy, so we can go about deepening our response to recover all we lost when kids took away our comfort.

So, it's time to stand on the edge of the cliff.  We thought about wandering over to the edge of the cliff and carefully inspecting the most effective transport methods to the bottom, but our loving and jealous God, drove up behind us with a wheel barrow, knocked our legs out from under us, butts into the barrow and pushed us to the edge.  As always, we have the choice to jump, He doesn't dump.

Out of our home we must go.  We will homestead on some raw land given to us to use for 3 years in exchange for the long term ownership of all the improvements we put on the land.  Those improvements will be a 30x30' deck with three cabins ($3600 each) from Sweetwater Bungalows (, a composting toilet system, and solar power. 

Our primary goal is to pay off all debt (law school, car loans, some consumer debt), our secondary goal is to learn how to live off grid and teach our kids a simpler life style.  We are not doomsday preppers, but our day of doom did occur a few days ago when we were notified a lien was being put on Jim's paychecks by a student loan lender.  We did not see this coming.  This very literally means we cannot afford our life.  Good riddance.  God Provides.

We had been planning to make this move over the course of the coming year, now it needs to happen immediately as paychecks will be affected in 2 weeks!   We have estimated it will take 2.5 years to become debt free by using Ramsey's snowball method.

It's a good thing we are adventure loving, outdoorsy types with hyper active kids who have to be lured out of trees and off of hilltops. 

Another comfort idol we are burning in this process is the one where you don't ask anyone for help or money.  Gonna have to let that go.  We need the help of our community to do this and we will give back to the community in a big way when we are done by teaching what we have learned to others. 

How are we gonna live with no running water or electricity or refrigeration?   Good question and we don't have all the answers.  We do have a 65 gallon water tank on the back of Jim's truck.  Can we fill it up at your house sometime?  That's one way you can help.  We will collect solar panels as we can afford them ($135 each), it'll take a few solar panels to run a deep freezer.  The deep freezer will make ice for the coolers (something else we need) that will keep food cold.  We want a mini jersey cow for milk, butter, cheese ($3000) and will share the milk, butter, cheese with anyone who can help us pay for her).  We will raise meat rabbits, chickens and hogs.  Want a share a hog with us?  Our cabins will have little Haier air conditioners run on solar for the hottest parts of Summer and wood burning stoves for heat.  Our propane grill and a picnic table ($150) will be our kitchen and dining room and since I'm a caterer, I can bring home food from the commercial kitchen. 

And what about this catering business, you ask?  Yes, Wild Whisk is doing very well for a 6 month old baby business, but it isn't yet contributing to our bottom line.  It will be soon no doubt.  Another way you can help is to refer Wild Whisk for anyone needing catering, floral, coordination or event planning.

Our first step is to store what we want to keep, get rid of the rest and sub lease our house.  Do you know anyone in need of a 4 bedroom off Borgfeld/Canyon Golf in Comal ISD?  Then we have to get our deck built and put our faithful camping tent on it until we can purchase the bungalows.   Immediate needs would be another tent (10 person or larger), lumber for deck, another water tank, 3000 watt generator and cots for kiddos. 

So begins the next chapter of our lives.   Join us?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Thanksgiving Table

The Thanksgiving Table is the secretly disguised super hero of Thanksgiving and the turkey is the side kick. Afterall, it's that table that holds everything we need. Table seats the treasured (and almost always clothed) people in our lives. Table rests under shelter lovingly provided by an ability to work, to earn or perhaps it has been gifted. Table is adorned with provision of edible sustenance. Maybe the sustenance came from a can that came from a box donated by some people who bought their side kick fresh for $80 from Whole Foods.

Actually, water should be the side kick, not turkey....the turkey is more like the fat funny guy in the story. The hamster from Bolt. But water? How many people have ever awkwardly taken their turn to say what they're grateful for and pronounced "WATER". I can live long enough on water for a turkey egg to hatch. But most of the time, I'm just annoyed the wine provided for this special occasion isn't a better vintage. The water is not only not appreciated, it's dripping sweat is making an ugly ring on the pretty table cloth. Remove its boring wetness from my table of luxury!

But seriously, I'm becoming more and more convinced that Thanksgiving is the most holy of holidays. No character to worship or special song to sing, just recognition. Taking the focus off of self, and re-cogni-zing. Becoming cognizant (mindful of something) different than your normal thought process. Hence the 're' at the beginning of the word. Another word for remember. Ann Voskamp says when we remember God's glory, gifts and grace, we re-member ourselves to Him.

Tangent alert: Maybe if the people in New Orleans had been more grateful for Water, God wouldn't have had to flood them with it......just sayin. Just read this: "Buchanan discovers in Romans that the heart of wickedness and godlessness is that: a refusal to glorify God. It's the refusal to thank Him." But wickedness doesn't only live in the witchcraft store on Bourbon St. "All the wickedness in the world begins with an act of forgetting."

Messy people with hard lives and hard hearts forget less. Clean and freshly washed people forget easily so they have much to remember in order to re-member themselves as part of His family. When you have nothing else, water, shelter, love, clothing, food and Jesus are remembered with a glad heart.

If my Grandmother has ever been angered, the fuel for her fire is my forgetfulness. Forgetting how much I have, forgetting how little I actually need. Come to think of it, that is the catalyst for my momma-rage too. Those selfish little people forget to count their blessings and be grateful in all circumstances. Lord, forgive me.

If I am resourceful enough, I should be able to use the forgetfulness of my children to remember my excessive and extravagant list of things to give thanks for. Instead of falling into angry sin because they left food wrappers, dirty socks and a half eaten pickle on the couch......perhaps I can smile and give thanks for the fact that my kids can locate, retrieve and unwrap food for themselves. That I am rich enough to afford bags of convenience food which pacify my kids and prevent them yelling "MOMMY, GRIND SOME BARLEY AND BAKE SOME CRISPY BREAD SEASONED WITH EXOTIC SPICES". That the socks are so plentiful and affordable that a pair or eight laying around the house doesn't mean the potential onset of gangrenous disease but only means I might get to use my fancy front-loader......OR....even better....I can make my non-quadriplegic, fully sighted, and only border-line MR kids do it!

Could my blessing be that in showing my kids how to give gratitude for un-brushed teeth because we have the knowledge, tools and fresh water with which to do it, that they might respond (another word for Worship)to God's provision of these wondrous white things? And might that spark the wonder of learning about teeth? And might that turn my pickle-leaver into a dentist who donates services to orphans who never learned to floss?

Can I give thanks for angst? If so, how do I then teach self-discipline? Is the only self-discipline needed, the discipline to be thankful? If they are grateful for the food and the teeth and the socks, will they naturally care for them better?

I have so much to learn. Thank you Lord for the wise teachers in my life.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"A" Day is Approaching

Thursday is Adoption Day. This is the most nervous I have ever been to simply write a blog post. The commitment complications that come with Adoption Day are kin to wedding jitters, birthing and prison sentences.

The court date excites me, when the date materialized....the kids normalized....or seem to. Alas, the exposure of my flip-flop-pancake-deceitful heart to the beady-eyed reading world is scarier than the outcome of the last election. I cower at your correct assumptions of my motives.

State of scaredy-cattedness aside, I long to tell you how we came to be a well flipped golden-browned syrup doused pastry of love. Ha. A few burned edges....maybe. Lumpy too.

It all started when a gaggle of broken beauties descended upon the DFW area to storm troop through garage sales, giggle over crack on a cracker and rub each others feet. The gathering of girlfriends.......sometimes a feline festival of falsehood but this time a holy communion. Noses to the carpet in deep prayer, a much-judged friend paves a path for me. She uses her machete like a jungle tour guide to hack down the difficulties of foster care and adopting kids you barely like. She commits while I offer her an escape route. Now my journey is not as hard....for She-Ra has gone before me.

Oh women of God. Ann Voskamp is so right that we are tied tightly by grace veins. Restricting one another and unclogging blockages to allow free flowing life-blood at the same time. Blessing and cursing. How you sustain me.

This coven of prophetess' was not the only bucket of water thrown on our fire. Our church offered counseling to any expense, our neighbors offered life lines when drowning and a newly licensed foster family offered whatever it would take. We accepted this team support and we are moving forward with both children and are genuinely happy to be doing so. Happy is a silly word, it's a transient as the beggars on 183. Maybe consoled. Our wounds have constant attention by loving nurses and our doubts are prayed away as quickly as they haunt and re-haunt.

Careys, Martins, Bonsers, Hutchins, Spears, Hookstras, Vickerys, HCBRR: The great 8 that allowed us no escape.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Girl is Gone

There was no big eruption, only revelation. I woke up and within minutes had torn into her for being such an effective mirror of myself. But the anger strangely halted. I did not strip her naked and beat her with my words like I usually do.....many times a day. I did not grasp for the wise tools I've been given to rear hurt children only to pick up the hammer and begin the slaughter. I just stopped. I stopped feeling. I stopped taking it personally. I stopped blaming. I stopped the senseless mutilating of myself for not being good enough and just let go.

The storm clouds of mommy that terrify the other children cleared and grey somber skies settled in. We talked. Without rank or retaliation. She and I just sat and laid it on the line.

I will not use this blog as a platform to rant about her ways. Only to own the lesson I struggle to teach.....Accept Responsibility. And to educate anyone willing to learn about the veiled horrors of oppositional defiance disorder and attachment disorder. These sneaky repercussions of a hurting mother who can't love her baby were hard to detect and easily concealed by stretches of good behavior. Hollowness of the heart.

How did this happen? Why? I know you beg these questions and my answers will disappoint. But I can offer this: Foster care and adoption is clearly biblical and no conditions are mentioned. This is not a path only for former nannies and baby whisperers. It's for the church. Those broken ugly people who dress themselves up nicely for Sunday worship.....all of them. At our pinnacle of self righteousness, you know, the point at which you determine you are good enough to rescue hurting children.....This is where the journey begins. A backwards journey into your past, into your sin where revelation takes place and you start over on the mountain you thought you'd conquered. This is a gift. A blessed uncovering that forces you to nestle into your God's armpit for protection....and correction.

This is all I can offer for now. She is in respite care for 10 days with people who looked at me the same way I looked at her failed former foster parents when they dropped her off at my house. Respite care is something we should have taken advantage of much sooner, but that would have required an admission of lack of control that I wasn't strong enough to confess. Talks will be underway to discuss the path that is best for everyone. But because this has more to do with my anger management, it's not likely reconciliation will occur.

Let your judgement of me be your call to Foster Care. And may your journey begin.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I read by Ann Voskamp. It's a blog full of beautiful insight and she is a rather famous author of a very poignant and poetic book that I'm not smart enough to read, but the blog is little chunks of wisdom that I can usually digest. Today she posted a quote by Elisabeth Elliot that said "profanity is failure to see the inner mystery". Huh? Thank goodness Ann explained that inner mystery, in this case, means holiness. So foul language is a failure to recognize holiness. I still didn't get it. I read it at 6am this morning and it's now 1:25pm and I GET IT!

I knew this was speaking directly to me because I have been feeling very convicted about my bad habit of using curse words freely and with no filter. I usually stay away from the F word unless I'm really mad, but I even use profanity in daily talk with my kids when things get tense. Some of you gasp, I know.

So I have been thinking about it all day and it just hit me and I had to start typing before my thoughts escaped or some evil spirit buries them in my laundry pile that I never see the bottom of.

Using bad language....and not just curse words, but wicked-talk via tone or vocabulary means that I am not seeing myself as a vessel of God. I am not seeing my poor subjects, to whom I wickedly speak, as God-breathed beings. When I curse at nobody but the corner of a table for the stubbed toe, I am failing to remember that Christ is with me. That He walked this earth because of Christmas day and it is therefore Holy. It is ALL HOLY. Every moment of repetitive refinement, every purification by child-induced fire or cash poor cross carrying bad is all Holy because He is at work in it. All of life flames with God and I am missing it with my "me" eyes.

So here goes my NO CUSSIN' commitment. If you hear me say it, rebuke me. If I type it, stop reading this blog and spend your time with someone who gets how sacred it all is.

That's all. Thanks for your support.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Taking a U-turn

Here is a short list of what has been turning in the last 2 months:

Georgia turned one and started walking and turned her babble into words.
I turned to prayer for healing and have a new heart for my kids.
Caton can turn a somersault.
Max turns a mean round-off and is excelling in gymnastics.
What to do about their terrible school is turning into a daily conversation.
Ridgley has turned her habit of lying into a realization that truth really is easier.
The babies are learning to take turns and it's precious to watch them wait patiently.
Caton is turning in her pull-ups for big girl panties.
Jesus is turning Ridgley's tired old heart in for a shiny new one.
And we are all waiting for our turn to make the adoption of Max and Ridgley final.
The year will turn from 2011 to 2012 before that happens.

The word "turn" makes me think of the best description I have heard so far for what it means to repent. A u-turn. To turn and go in the other direction at the realization that what you're doing is in opposition to God's character.

I haven't considered a venture into foster care and state adoption as repenting until now, but isn't that what I did? I turned from a completely self serving life in which I nodded to God occasionally to a path of obedience (at least in this one area). I was traveling down the easy road where children are naturally loved and I turned around. Leaving behind everything safe and known. Now I am on an adventurous road with God. Scary and dark. Where He is the light unto my path and without Him I cannot see 2 inches in front of me and so I sometimes stub my toe and scream bloody curse words. Then I turn on the God-light and I can see, but only enough to feel safe about the very next step. The majority of the path ahead is completely unknown.

Is this what I was called to? I honestly don't know if I was 'called' to this by God or if I just talked myself into it for self serving reasons. But it was a u-turn. My old path was fine. Nobody would call it a sinful path necessarily, but indeed it was in opposition to God's character because it only served me and ignored the command to care for widows and orphans. The new path is toward God's character. There are still so many more turns in the road. New ways of obedience I have not yet considered much less adopted into my life and character.

And the truly jaw-dropping realization lately has been that God has not asked me to pursue orphans because I'm gifted at it. He hasn't even asked me to be good at it. And I'm not. His command is to care for widows and orphans in their distress. As a matter of fact, I think on days when they are not particularly distressed, I hardly provide care for them at all. Half kidding here.

He hasn't asked me to love them exactly the same as I do my biological kids but just to care for them. We are commanded also to love one another. But I have never pressured myself to love my neighbor the way I have pressured myself to love these kids. I have beat myself up over not feeling a more equal love for them. But if He is the source of love, then shouldn't I simply be giving HIM to my neighbors, my kids, my friends and family? Is the love he is asking us to have for one another the deep overwhelming feeling kind of love? Or is it to love them as I do myself? And if do I love myself? Not with a gushy-mushy-stare-at-myself-till-I'm-blue kind of baby-love? Not at all. The way I love myself is by protecting my interest, growing myself, learning to be more Holy, feeding my body and preserving my heart. I can do this for my neighbors and orphans and widows and even people I dislike by encouraging them, putting the needs of others ahead of my own, giving sacrificially and proclaiming the gospel. And if I'm walking in the Spirit, I can maybe do even better than this!

The love I am going to give my kids isn't going to be enough anyway. It isn't going to save their souls. My love isn't enough for Caton and Georgia either. All it will ultimately do is show how perfect a parent God is when they finally realize I am an imperfect-human-mommy-sinner who loves a perfect Father. The purpose of my faulty love is to show His Perfect Glory.

I hereby free myself of the pressure to gush every time "they" walk in the room. But I will embrace them, encourage them and teach Jesus by living sacrificially. I will fail at all of this from time to time and then I will teach them how failure shows us a need for God.

And lately I have found myself leaping for them. Little heart-jumps that remind me God can do ANYTHING...even with my hard heart. I just have to be willing. Not an expert. Not even really capable. Just willing to turn.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Their past visits them

Turbulent but forward we are making progress and life is becoming as normal as yours. However normal that is or isn't. Us too. Nightmares have subsided, sleep-walking has been less frequent and our authority has been established, challenged and is holding strong under fire.

And then a ghost from their forgotten past reminds them where they came from and how easily chaos can enter their fortress.

Until the adoption is final, the details are best left undisclosed, but their little hearts are tender again. Memories, new information about their biological mom and fear keep them skittish, fit-full and agitated.

Therapist to the rescue tomorrow. He says this can ultimately be a good thing, unearthing some deep wounds that need fresh air for healing.

My rescue therapy has been a humble little blog called Little Pieces of Ordinary by Ashley Haupt. I found her last week and have a blog crush....blush? I've read several posts now and her gentle words are like aloe vera on a sunburn. Today she reminded me that control is only a facade and loss of control is the beginning of freedom.

This information will take awhile for me to unpack. In what areas have you given up control and found freedom?