Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Compassion Fatigue and Pinterest

I know...weird title, huh? I promise the two are related.

A month or so ago, I finally asked the Facebook world what this "Pinterest" thing was. A friend of mine filled me in, invited me to join, and into the Pinterest world I entered. Sort of. I thought the premise was really neat, but I wasn't sure how to use it. I kept putting off figuring it out.

This past weekend I was a little under the weather; so while Carter was sleeping and everyone else was at church, I laid in bed and jumped into my Pinterest page. WOW!!! I became hugely addicted. So many ideas! And, my Pinterest boards didn't have to be like anyone elses, so I could organize, create, pin, etc. in my own personal way. I L.O.V.E. that you can pin anything you see on the Internet, but also "steal" anyone else's pins for your own boards. It opened up a whole new world to me.

Pause the Pinterest story.

Part of our experience as houseparents is something called "compassion fatigue." It's a unique type of fatigue that comes from taking on the emotional stresses of our kids and their backgrounds, diagnoses, etc. If not handled well, then compassion fatigue can lead to serious burn out.

To combat compassion fatigue it is important to, of course, take care of yourself - exercise, eat right, get lots of rest, etc. It's important to find and maintain healthy adult relationships. Also-finding a creative outlet will help combat compassion fatigue!

Now to connect the two subjects: Pinterest has become my creative outlet! It is giving me something to think about, to be "outside the box" with, and to distract myself and my emotions with for a period of time. There are also several things I've found that would be fun to do with the kids- being my creative outlet as well as good quality time together. This may possibly even by therapeutic for the kids. It is a blast!!!

I decided to try to do at least 1 project a week. This may vary due to what is on our schedule or how simple/complicated the project is. Plus, some of what I've found is new recipes, so I may try more than one in a week!!

This week I tried two things. I found several printables of different types of weekly to-do lists. The way I have to maintain things around here has been a challenge for my normal type of list-making, so I am trying several different versions to see if something works best.

My second project this week was a fall decor project for our cottage. There may be another one or two more of these in the next couple of weeks, but this is where I started. Here's some pictures of the final product!!

What fall projects do you have planned?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Update and Memory Verse 18

Hi all!!! Another week has gone by since I last posted. Since coming back from relief, Taylor and I feel that things have gone much more smoothly with the kids. I don't know if the kids can tell a difference at all, but we definitely can! It's beginning to feel more like home to us, and a comfortable, family rapport and environment is really taking shape. We are so thankful for that!!! Almost every day we are met with something from these kids or about their lives that is hard to wrap our minds around and deal with. But knowing we have created and are creating an environment that is safe and comfortable helps us see and feel our purpose at the Home. Here's a brief look at regular-life stuff we've done this week:

1. Math homework - last Sunday night while M was at work, Taylor and I divided up between the other two to help with math homework. Taylor worked with V on long division, and I worked with A on geometry. It was a mentally draining night for all of us. :)
2. Grilling lessons - Taylor has grilled out twice this past week and used this as an opportunity to teach V how to grill. What a great man-bonding activity!
3. Youth group activities - Sunday night devo and games and Friday night late night movie. Oh, those were the days!
4. Doctors appointments - We are getting great experience in checking kids out of school, taking them to the doctor, and getting them back to school in a timely manner. Makes for busy days!
5. Chores - what kind of family environment would it be if everyone didn't have daily/weekly chores? Our kids are great with their chores most of the time. They rarely need any reminders, and do a good job of getting them done correctly the first time.
6. Post-chore/homework chill out time with the Wii or Rock Band - of course! (P.S. - I hate rock band. The noise drives me bonkers. Oh well. :) )

Moving on - I'm late on my next Memory Verse. I was supposed to post it on Thursday. Oh well...better late than never. I am starting a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) study this week. The verse I chose for the next two weeks is listed on the BSF website. I thought it was very appropriate and a great way to start off this next several months of study! Here it is:

Romans 15:4 NLT

"Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled."

And just because I think he's cute:

Have a great week everyone!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sweet Relief

In 4 hours, our foster children will once again enter our home and the craziness will begin again. That's not a bad thing at all. We are ready to see them, to catch up on how their weeks were, and to continue to love them as Jesus does. However, we have learned in the world of foster care, "relief" is called that for a reason! About once a month we get a week off. The kids move next door to the relief houseparents home, and we get a week of "relief." Considering this is a 24/7 job that also comes with huge amounts of compassion fatigue due to the different struggles/backgrounds of the kids, a week off a month is VERY necessary. Relief allows us to recharge, refocus, rest, spend some quality Belt family time, and engage in extra stress-relieving activities. Today marks the end of our first week of relief. Here's a snapshot of what our week looked like.

* We spent a couple nights at my parents house just to get off campus and away. It was nice to let mom cook and take a break from cooking for a little bit. I spent some time on Sunday morning reading my Bible and journaling on their back porch in beautiful weather looking at the mountains (ACCH is down in the valley by the river, and we actually can't see the mountains from where we are).
* Last Friday after we moved the kids next door, we went some friends' house for dinner. It was so nice to do something like that and have some adult time. It was a very uplifting evening for us.
* Sunday night, Taylor had planned for us to get away for a night as a belated mother's day and birthday gift for me. We left Carter with my parents and spend 24 glorious hours away-just the two of us! We went out to dinner at Standard Diner (featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!) and stayed at the Hotel Andaluz in downtown ABQ. We slept in, had breakfast in bed, then did a little shopping before heading back to mom and dads'. We were so ready to see Carter when we got back, but we had a wonderful time! Carter did great on his first night without us. He was a little extra cuddly after we got back, but he wasn't upset while we were gone!
*We watched a few movies. Two old timers (Shenandoah and Friendly Persuasion) and a new one (Inception)! Inception blew our minds away. We loved it though.
*I spent a lot of time reading. I'm working my way through One Thousand Gifts right now. I really like, but have to take it slow cause it's so thought provoking. I'm beginning to be tired of it though, and ready to move on to something else. I also read through a few Real Simple magazines from my mom's stash. I'm quickly falling in love with this publication!!! I think I'm going to put a subscription to it on my Christmas list!
* Taylor and I were able to sit down and visit about what is working in our house and what isn't working. We talked about this in light of our foster kids, as Carter's parents, in our marriage, etc. Just really analyzed how this change in our life is affecting everything. It was SO nice to have time to talk through that and to know what is going really well and what we need to work on - individually and as a couple.
* We had Carter's 3 month portraits taken at JCPenney! He did SO great! They are just precious!!! I'll see if I can get some up on the Internet sometime soon.
* We went for a couple walks enjoying this amazing ABQ weather and trying to make an effort to get back into shape. We are hoping to start making a habit out of heading to the park to walk right after we have put everyone on the school bus.
* I was able to use birthday money to update my wardrobe which was wonderful!!! I felt like I was wearing the same 3 things over and over again cause that's all I had that either fit or flattered my post-baby figure. Now I feel like I have many more options.
* Oh, and of course, we slept in and took naps!

And, that's a quick glance at our week. It was a great week. We are ready to get our kids back and resume foster parenting. We did have one disappointing thing happen while we were gone. One of our kids (our 9 year old) decided to go back home. We weren't even able to say bye. We can now simply pray for him and that, Lord willing, we planted some seeds in his life. Because of this, the dynamics in our home will change slightly. We will see what it will be like.

As always, I'm so thankful to any and all of you that are praying for us. To say this job is hard is an understatement, but we know without a doubt that this is where we are supposed to be. Please continue to pray for us and our children. We really can feel your support and prayers!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday-3 months old

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Memory Verse 17

Hebrews 4:16 from the New Living Translation

"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."