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The Truth

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Parenting is hard… I mean really HARD. And full time stay at home parents, we have it all times ten!  We happily accept our lives filled with cold, soggy, melted, thrice nuked meals because we were too busy taking care of everyone else to get more than two bites of our own meal in.  Yet we do it each day.

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We sacrifice getting to shower everyday or even every other day, for one every three days. There’s just not enough hours in a day and sometimes we’re just too plain exhausted. We rarely get a full nights sleep…

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  Get time to ourselves,  eat breakfast before 2pm, or sit back to enjoy a movie. We all have a sea of toys covering seemingly every surface in the house, dishes piled in the sink and a “laundry couch”. Regardless of what we do for a living, as a parent, we are all doctors, nurses who fix boo boo’s, chefs, tailors, ATM’s, beauticians, drill sergeants, cops, artists, judges, therapists and teachers. We’re responsible for raising respectful, loving, hard working, responsible individuals who will perhaps eventually use what they learned from mom and dad to teach and raise their own children… No pressure right?
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Our lives are filled with doctors appointments, school events, back-talk, eye-rolling, snot, poopy diapers and puke. And parents, I know at one point or another the infamous poop in the bathtub has made it’s disgusting way into your life… Don’t even lie. Let’s also not forget the accidental injuries one can receive from a child; black eye, bloody lip, bruises, or the really fun impaled foot from stepping on a rogue toy! All things we gladly take on because we love our kids. Sacrifice and hard work is our labor of love.
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I recently started serving foster/ adoptive families through FPNO (Foster Parents Night Out) and it really is incredible to get to know these amazing kids. My friend recently told me, “I think I get more from them than I could ever give back”. So true! I am so blessed by these kids, it just makes my day brighter being with them. That said, after spending real time studying these sweeties, watching behaviors, learning their quirks and personalities, it got me really thinking…

Have you ever thought about what other parents might be going through? They might be just as stressed, tired and totally spread thin as you, or worse. Many adoptive parents and foster parents have all this and so much more on their plates. They care for children who have endured so much trauma in their short lives. Yet these parents, give it their all… everything they have plus some, all while trying to break through the wall and reach the heart of a kiddo who doesn’t want anyone in.

This video is just a glimpse of life through the eyes of a foster/adoptive child.

If you know a foster or adoptive parent or heck, any parent… Tell them thank you for the job they do.

Growing people is hard work, and it can be a thankless job at times. I’ve been at that place… ready to throw in the towel. BUT, it is the BEST job… The most rewarding job.
We hold out for the moments of beauty, the quiet snuggles, little arms wrapped around your neck, a tiny voice saying ” I wub you” in your ear. Those are the moments that we thirst for, and they make all the bad days worth it.
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The most beautiful experience of my life has been raising my children. And yes, I did say “job”, but that’s not really accurate. At a job you get a guaranteed lunch break. You get to go to the bathroom when you need to and without an audience. You get to punch out and be done with it till your next shift. Parenting is NOT a job, it’s a lifetime of being on call 24/7. Not because we have to be, but because they need us just as much as we need them. It’s an honor.

My mind goes to that saying I read somewhere once; “The decision to have a child, is to accept that your heart will forever walk about outside your body”. That quote is very true for most parents, wheather your kiddos share your DNA or not… They are your heart.
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As a last note, if you suspect child abuse our neglect, or anything strikes you as odd about a situation involving a child, DO NOT HESITATE to report it! You can remain anonymous. The least that will happen is they will look into it… The worst thing that could happen is a child continuing to be abused or worse, die at the hands of their abusers because everyone turned a blind eye.

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Today Was a Good Day!

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Since April, my 13 year old son Athen has been trying to raise awareness, trying to make a difference in the lives of disabled kids in Ukraine.  It all came together last Saturday…

Let me rewind.

Athen has always had a tender heart.  I have always tried to be as real as I can be with him.  Even when it is uncomfortable.  I wanted him to see from a very young age that people make mistakes, they are all different, they are all important.  I taught him that if someone is mean to you, you forgive them and understand that they are that way because they are hurting in some way.  I taught him that he should not care what others think and to always be the one guy to lend a helping hand to someone in need. Even if that means people make fun of you.  And as the years have gone by, I have been rewarded for this lesson.  I have seen time and time again, my son being the only kid to go and ask a much younger kid to be his friend, I have seen him ask kids who are mentally and/or physically disabled if they want to play with him.  He has always done this with no regard for his peers and the possible judgment he may face for “befriending the outcast” as other kids might see it.

Athen has never cared about labels.  He has never cared what color someone is.  He has never cared where someone came from, or what your differences may be.  As a mother, this makes me proud.  He is the first kid to stop and pray for someone, again, not caring if others judge.  I love this about him.

So when Athen wanted to know about Heart of the Young and what I blog about, naturally I was eager to share.  However, with it all being so heavy, I was skeptical if he could handle the reality.  I made a call, and decided to share.

 

Naturally his heart broke. But then he stood up and said “Mom, I have to do something to help”.

 

We began to pray.

 

Then, I read a post about our friends at Wide Awake International and how they wanted to take the kids outside but only had enough coats and shoes for seven of them to go.  I told Athen about it and that is when he knew…

Athen had decided to get approval from school to begin fundraising every day at lunch.  He prepared by making bracelets to sell (his Oma and Mom helped too), getting help from his Papa to build a booth, drawing a logo, and making a t-shirt so he could represent well.  He began in April at the school fair, and continued to sell until school got out mid June.  He was so dedicated.

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Then, we decided that we wanted to do more…  We really wanted to bless Kim and Jed Jonhnson, founders of Wide Awake Int. with money to make a real difference.   So we paired up with a dear friend of mine who is currently adopting two kiddos from China and decided to hold a pancake breakfast benefit at our local Applebees.  We all posted fliers, blew up Facebook, shared with local businesses, collected donations for our raffle, and even shared at church.  When I say shared at church I mean, Athen got up and spoke to a few hundred middle and high school students at church about what he was doing and how they could help.  It was epic!  Takes a lot of guts to do that!

So the day came and we got up at the crack of dawn, kids in tow and headed to Applebee’s.  We had not sold our minumum 100 tickets so Applbee’s gave us a special deal and so with 54 tickets sold online, we held it anyway.  Well, all I can say is we are so blessed.  All the people who came to serve, help and just support us, we could not be more happy!   We did not sell many at the door tickets, but all in all we did well.  Athen stood at his booth selling t-shirts and bracelets.  The raffle was a hit too!

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Athen selling his t-shirts!

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My little 3 year old feeling too big for her britches!

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My husband and some amazing helpers!

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More amazing helpers!!!

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Trying…

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My cohort and her little…

 

We are excited to share how much we raised from all efforts, but not quite yet.   Why?   Well…

 

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We are hoping for some more t-shirt orders.  Proceeds go to Wide Awake International to help orphans in need! We are trying to fill orders so that we can get a final tally on the amount that Athen (pictured) raised for them through school fundraising, the pancake breakfast and t-shirt sales. Anyone interested in buying a t-shirt to support Athen’s cause?  For $25 you can choose white or black shirt, men or women’s (women’s are v-neck) All have a solid red logo and the small letters H.O.T.Y. horizontal on the arm (If we can get them to do it for us! Otherwise it will be on the back.). Either way it will look cool! And H.O.T.Y. is a conversation starter! Heart of the Young! Wear your support for kids with disabilities and the message of Heart of the Young!  To order, go here http://mkt.com/heartoftheyoung

 

Stay tuned for the final number which we will be donating to Wide Awake!!!

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