This year, I’m not quite single for the holidays. I’ve got the FFK* with me.
But as I mentioned last year, I have learned that I need to be intentional about the holidays so that I don’t end up singing Blue Christmas. As a singlish person living on a tropical island, fall and the holiday season can create a little sadness, loneliness and longing. For home. For more. For a simpler time. And lets be honest…It doesn’t feel like the holidays when the sun is shining and everyone is wearing bathing suits.
So may I present to you this years….
CREATE THINE OWN HOLIDAY TRADITIONS 2016
Decorate for Fall. Start drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Light a fall scented candle.
Head to the Pumpkin Patch with the FFK and a few friends. Wear a sweater. Drink lavender tea at the Lavender Farm. Snuggle up with Finding Father Christmas and a blanket (and the AC cranked).
Begin Operation Random Acts of Kindness. This addition is inspired by my friend Jenna. Something happens in my soul when Christmas starts shining in the distance. All of the sudden I am aware of all the things I want. This year, I want to focus on meeting the needs of others. Hopefully with the FFK in tow, we can get creative and spread a little light and a little joy. Don’t tell her though. It’s a surprise.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Because I travel for Christmas, I have found that decorating early makes all the difference. So bring on the Christmas music and lets deck the halls!!! I am one of those saps who needs at least 6 weeks of Christmas music to feel like I got my moneys worth.
The night before Thanksgiving.
Last year I struck tradition gold. I compiled the best Thanksgiving episodes of all time (in my humble opinion). The FFK and I will while away the evening watching these classics as we cook our Thanksgiving delights. There is a slight chance that the FFK will roll her eyes and mock my television brilliance. If so, we will end up watching The Walking Dead. But here’s hoping.
This year I’m planning on attending Gluten-Free Thanksgiving with the usual suspects. The FFK decided she wants to join us because, “that way I can have two Thanksgivings. One with you. And one with my mom on Saturday.” I’ll be honest. I choked up a little when she was making the plan. This fostering thing is tricky. You have to keep both an open hand and an engaged heart. It’s an interesting balance.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving.
2 words. Gilmore Girls. 3 more words. All day binge. Thankfully the FFK will be feasting with her mom all day.
To be honest. That’s about all I can get my head around at this point. I am a born antcipator but life has gotten a little more full. So the plan for December…will have to wait.
In the meantime…
How do you celebrate fall and the coming holiday season?
I’d love to know!
Love, Love, Love,
The Girl Who Lives in My Head
FFK=Future Foster Kid. It started as a way to refer to whomever I would end up fostering. As in, here is the FFK room. Once she came to live with me, I still call her that in my head at times.
About six years ago I was lying in bed at my new apartment. I was all snuggled up under the covers, the last box unpacked and everything in it’s place. And a thought popped into my head.
If I’m still single in five years…I should look into fostering.
And then I drifted off to sleep.
I met people who told me that the system is horrible. That it is broken and they send kids back to terrible situations. “Don’t do it,” people said. “It will break your heart.”
And I thought, “Ok. Maybe I won’t.”
More time passed. And I was invited to help out with Camp Agape, a weekend camp for kids whose parents are incarcerated. My first year there I was blown away. I was in a cabin with little girls ranging from five to fifteen. And as the weekend progressed and the walls came down, the stories that these little girls shared…broke my heart.
But I realized something.
There was a common thread woven through their stories.
No matter what their parents had done to them, these little girls wanted their parents. The just wanted them whole.
I should really foster.
Now by this time, God had already changed the trajectory of my current life. I was studying for the Praxis and headed back to school to become a teacher.
And in a surprising plot twist, I got hired to teach on the OTHER SIDE of the island. This was not what I had signed up for when I agreed to change jobs. Because when I felt the call to teach, I knew I wanted to be invested in the community. I wanted to see my students outside of school and be able to build relationships with their families. So a job on the Westside, meant moving to the Westside.
I’m already giving up my life at the church. Do I really have to give up my life in Kihei?
I’ll be honest. This whole process has been very baffling to me. Because in a million years, I never imagined I would become a foster person. (I hate using the word parent because these kids have parents. I’m their person. For a season.) It was never on my list of things to do. Ever. But I knew in my heart that the Lord wanted me to keep moving forward with it. One step of obedience at a time.
So I did.
And as I began my first year teaching on the Westside, I realized how much space I had in my life. For another person. I could easily foster a high school girl. The middle school where I teach is right down the road from the high school.
So I made a little petition of the Lord. If you want me to foster, will you find me an affordable two bedroom in Lahaina? The words affordable and Lahaina don’t really go together.
I moved October of last year. And started the training to become a “Resource Care Giver” which is the states new way of saying foster person.
It’s not complicated. It’s just hard. On the heart.
Because the reality is, there are children who are trapped in terrible situations. Because the adults in their lives make selfish choices born out of their own brokenness.
And the foster care system is designed to give those kids a safe place while their parents heal. That is the big vision.
It doesn’t always work that way.
But it can.
So last May I completed the training. And got my certificate.
And in the Lord’s amazing timing, two weeks after my ACL surgery, just when I could start driving again…
I got the call. To become someone’s person. And offer a safe place to a very vibrant and intelligent 13 year old while her mom gets some things figured out.
Next week, it’ll have been three months. And it has been a blast.