Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friends

A few years back, I had a really good friend. We started working out together. Our children were friends,we BBQ together. But then there was some distance put between us...I am a loyal friend. I don't intentionally hurt someone. I usually try to think things through before I say something, but lean towards not saying anything, if it will hurt someone....Well, I asked this friend what was up. She said I am pouty, manipulative, and controlling.....WOW, that stung. It stung for quite sometime. I started questioning myself at every turn, everything I did, as a wife, mother, friend to someone else....It was a yucky time in my life. Of course she said she never meant to hurt me, but she never took back the words. I don't know what I was suppose to learn through this, after much searching, I have never received a clear answer....It is still uncomfortable when I see her. Thank goodness our children are friends again.

For a while, I thought, ok God you are not going to give me a close relationship with another woman. I became content with that. After a few struggles in parenting and marriage, Wayne and I became closer than we had ever been. Which was really good for us. I just gave up on finding a close relationship with another woman, who was on the same level with me...I still thought about it, but I was actively searching for it anymore....

I am happy to say, just being content....content in my role as a mother, as a wife, as a servant of God...So many prayers have been answered through contentment, being obedient to God...
I have two wonderful friends that I meet for coffee with once a week at a local coffee joint. They prayer with and for me...for others. One makes us all laugh constantly. One I text and talk with so many times during the day...for little snipets of time. Seems as if we will never run out of things to talk about. We encourage each other. These two women give me what I craved so much, but I am at a better place...God is good.

God has also answered questions as to what I should do with my life. By placing Hope Blooms in my life, I feel like this is the answer to questions that I have had for so long. It is stretching me mentally, but when I sit and dream of the lives that we will touch, I can hardly stand it! I am so excited to get this started. God is going to do amazing things. We even got our first enquiry from a search on our website. Unfortunatly we were unable to do anything about it, as we don't have the space yet. But my gut, from God, is telling me it will happen sooner than we think. I first thought maybe next fall, but God has put it on me to prepare for sooner...So I am plugging away with things that I feel I need to accopmplish. It is such an exciting time...I am so thankful to have God's purpose laid out for me with Hope Blooms. jsut ask me, I will tell you all about it! I love to talk about what God is doing for us right now. I am so thrilled to be His servant, completing this task that He set before me.

Please keep praying. I am trying to keep the prayers page updated a couple times a month, as there are new things to pray for. www.hopebloomsmn.org

Thanks for checking in!
Shan

Tax Exempt status

We have wonderful news. On Monday of this week we got a letter from the IRS. Previously, about two weeks ago, we received a letter from the IRS stating our form 1023 (tax exempt form) was in one of three places. Either needed no more information, and they would process it asap, needed a little more information, and they would let us know what else was needed. Finally it may need a ton of information, and they would contact us about that also. I knew with 90+ hours working on it that it didn't need a ton of info. So we help on tight for the wait. Monday I went out to the mailbox to gather our mail. There was a letter from the IRS. I opened it up expecting to get a list of what was still needed. Let me give you the time frame. The IRS received our forms on Feb. 19th, on March 18th they stamped our paperwork as accepted. That is less than a month for a ton of paperwork. I hear that this is unheard of for this form. Expect up to a year. I poured and poured over this paperwork, making sure everything was correct. It took me from mid august through mid feb to finish it all! So August 15th of 2008 we are officially incorporated and tax exempt........God sure had His hand in this. Now...for the fundraising and grants! Another mountain of paperwork, and time to put in. Huge task...if you know about writing grants, get ahold of me ASAP!!! Ü I would love to work with someone on this.

thanks much for checking in
Shannon

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anointed

I and a couple of friends are going through a Sunday night study called Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. Last Sunday was the first night. We do about a half hour video and then get into smaller groups and discuss a few topics that were presented.

Each of us woman in that study are going through many different paths. From sickness of a spouse, to verbally abusiveness from a spouse, to hearing God's call and being obedient to that call. But we are all getting something out of this study. Isn't God's word amazing that way. All walks of life can get something different out of the same Word!

Our first revelation was Anointed. Did you know you were anointed? Anointing is "a divine empower or a divine en-ablement to accomplish God's purposes for your life" It isn't about me (you), it is about God's power working in me(you).

God played the only role in finding Hope Blooms. I believe that He used many circumstances in my life to prepare me for this journey. From a suicide death of my sister in love, disease diagnosis of my husband, depression for me to follow, to raising children, alcohol abuse in my family....to the years of praying for God's answer in my life as to what I am suppose to do. God prepared me in big and small ways.

A little over a year ago I started working at the local pizza joint in Palmer USA. It was an OK job, but while I was there every day I was so restless. I knew that wasn't where God was going to leave me...I worked for about 3 months in the fall. In Oct I was done. Then in March Wayne was laid off from his job. God provided for us Big time during those next few months. Then we worked our way to July of 2008...God's answer to my prayers...Hope Blooms was born. It has been a wonderful journey so far. I have learned much through this process. I am continuing to learn much. My next journey is writing grants! I need to start on that...that will be a journey in itself! Today is the day. When we hear about our tax exempt status, I am sending off the grants! I pray that this all happens speedy like! There are children that need Hope Blooms homes...parents for forever!

God will provide, when it doesn't seem like He is listening. What are you anointed in today? Is it raising children? Working outside of the Home, supporting other organizations in your area? There is so much out there...where is He calling you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three little words

Below is an article I found about a child in US foster care system.


Three Little Words
In this prize-winning essay, a young woman recalls how a decade of disappointing foster care placements made her doubt the two people who had taken her into their hearts. by Ashley Marie Rhodes-Courter
I never thought three little words would have such an impact on my life, even though they weren’t the words I was supposed to say. Every time I see the videotape, I cringe. It was one of those memorable occasions that families treasure, but this is one “treasure” I would rather bury.
It was July 28, 1998, my adoption day. I had spent almost 10 of my 12 years in foster care; I was now living in my fourteenth placement. Some homes had lasted less than a week; few more than a year. So why would this one be any different? Before this placement, I had been in residential care (the politically correct name for an orphanage). Do you remember in the movie The Cider House Rules, when the orphans try to smile in just the right way so they will be picked by the couple shopping for a child? While it wasn’t supposed to be so obvious at the Children’s Home of Tampa, prospective parents did act as though they were looking at puppies in a pet shop. For more than two-and-a-half years I watched the few lucky dogs pack up their belongings, wave goodbye and exit the gate. I also saw them return— even after being placed with a family—with their tails between their legs. People made promises about “forever families,” but often something went wrong. I don’t know what families expected. Nobody is perfect, and children who have already been rejected by their parents—or at least feel they’ve been—are hoping that someone will love them no matter how they behave. I had been living with my new family for eight months. Everything seemed to be going well, but would that change after the papers were signed? And just because it was “official,” did that mean they would not send me back if I didn’t live up to their expectations?
My parents have two biological kids who are grown; they thought raising a daughter might fill their empty nest. I loved my new waterfront house, with my own room and a bathroom I didn’t have to share. For the first time, I could have friends over, and my all-star softball team came to swim after our games. Overnights are forbidden in foster care, but now I hosted and went to slumber parties. I could use the phone anytime I wanted, and lots of the calls were for me. I had my first pet, a kitten named Catchew that slept on my bed. There were no locks on the refrigerator or scheduled mealtimes. I could help myself to as many boxes of macaroni and cheese, bowls of ramen noodles, or grilled-cheese sandwiches as I wanted.
When I did something wrong, my pre-adoptive parents docked my allowance or cut back on TV or telephone time. In one foster home, I was beaten with a paddle, denied food, forced to stand in awkward positions, swallow hot sauce, and run laps in the blistering sun. Other times, I was removed to a new home with a new set of rules and promises. Nobody really lives happily ever after, do they? So when was this picture-perfect story going to fall apart? Before or after the “finalization”? You can see how terrified I am on the videotape as we enter the courthouse. My eyes seem to be searching for a way out as I am led into Judge Florence Foster’s chambers. On one side of the conference table are the people from my old life; on the other, those who represent my new one. I am placed between Gay and Phil, who are about to become my new parents. Across the way are two representatives from the Children’s Home, both therapists. They are happy for me, but that is their job. Mary Miller is smiling and holding a bouquet. She had been my volunteer guardian ad litem for four years and did the most to help me get a family.

“Our” side is also represented by Gay’s father, Grampy Weisman; one of my new brothers, Josh, who is home from college and acting as the cameraman; and my new godparents, the Weiners, who have brought their three small daughters. The proceedings are delayed because the Department of Children and Families representative is late. He also held up the adoption by neglecting the paperwork for months. While the others chat, I am biting my lip and biding my time. Finally the representative arrives, and my attorney, Neil Spector, who is also Gay’s cousin, begins the proceedings. I wait for my cue. But what am I supposed to do? Act as if this is the happiest day of my life? How can it be, when I am petrified that everything is a big fat lie?
After some legal jargon, the judge turns to me. “Nothing in life comes easy,” she begins. “If it does, you should be suspicious.” She may be trying to comfort me by saying that she knows I’ve overcome many hardships to get where I am. Instead, she just reinforces my fears that life with my new family is too good to be true. Because of my age, I have to consent to the adoption. After talking to my parents, the judge asks me, “Do you want me to sign the papers and make it official, Ashley?”
On the tape, it looks as if I am trapped center stage in the spotlight. Do I have a choice? I stare straight ahead, shrug my shoulder and mumble, “I guess so.” In three words, it is done.

P.S. Almost five years later, I am still with my family. I didn’t know then what I know now: some people can be trusted.

Ashley Marie Rhodes-Courter is in her senior year at Crystal River High School, Crystal River, FL. This essay was awarded first place by the New York Times in its annual high school writing competition..

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My shoes

MY SHOES
Thank God for my shoes--they fit only me.
I woke up one day and I realized that there were many things about my life I was not satisfied with.
And I said to myself, "Why should anyone envy me and want to be in my shoes." They don't know how far I've come, they don't know what lies ahead of me, and neither do they know how dissatisfied I get with myself from time to time.
People don't know the troubles that you've had or the price you had to pay to get to where you are. All they know is that they wish they were like you.
Why should you wish you were in anybody's shoes when you don't know how they fit?
When you've worn your shoes for a while, they take the shape of your feet and align to the way you walk. If you were to wear my shoes, you will not be comfortable in them.
So I stopped wishing that I am in someone else's shoes because they might not fit. Rather I thank God for my shoes, because they fit!
I have learned to be the best in what I do, and I know no one can replace me anywhere.
I am an original.
God is not in the cloning business. He makes originals.
Make the best of what you do. Besides, you have this beautiful life to live only once.
Live it to the fullest.
-- an anonymous author in Nigeria

I read this just this morning....Reminded me of the children we will be caring for. They have been through a lot. Seems sad to think about. Life changing things that will or have shaped who they are right now. Abuse, neglect, abandonment...how could God want us to care for these children...sometimes when I really think about it, I feel so unworthy of this great request...when I am tired at night, I think "God really? Me? Us?" When I wake up refreshed, in the quiet of the morning, when I pray, God quiets my soul, and says..."My grace is sufficient" I know God will see us through...What a journey it will be.

Shan

The house and Social Services

Yesterday...my mom took a sick day at work, and we went to look at the home we hope to call Hope Blooms some day. She was very impressed, and really understood how we thought it was so perfect of a place....A total God place! It has everything we need to get started.

Then we had to opportunity to meet with Sherburne County Social Services' foster care department. Our meeting was informative on both of our and the workers parts. She didn't understand our concept...so we feel we know how to better get across what we are doing. Hope Blooms is providing a home for married couples to do foster care in...we are not over seeing the foster care so to speak...We also found out that we can go through many organizations to become foster parents..adoptive parents. Like Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities etc...So we will also meet with one of those agencies in the coming weeks. Exciting times....

I also think God is whispering to my heart to contact the local paper..see if they will do an article about Hope Blooms...This is really out of my comfort zone...so I will have to make up my mind and do it!!! I have to keep remembering the mission is for children who do not have a permanent mom and dad! With over 600 of them in Minnesota alone...we have some work ahead of us. I am doing this for the children!

Until later!
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About Me

Minnesota, United States
I am a wife, mother to five children, 2 cats, 3 dogs. Hoping to be a mother to more children someday through adopting waiting children in Minnesota.
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