PATH class #1

Saturday was class #1 for our foster care training, and it was great!

I got really nervous when we first sat down because the trainer said, “Ok, this is the teenager class. If you’re not fostering teenagers, come back in January.” And my brain exploded. Luckily Dave was there to say, “let’s just stay and talk to them afterward.” Smart man, that Dave.

Most of Saturday’s class was looking over paperwork we will need to fill out, answering questions we had about home study things, and explaining more paperwork. I love filling out papers, so I am honestly excited about tackling that stack this week. One of the trainers asked the parents in the class what things they would want to know if their kids were going to stay with strangers for a few months. She let them answer for a few minutes while she made a list of things like, “anger management styles, child’s environment, parenting styles, food choices, criminal background, etc. and then basically said, “now you know why we do all this paperwork.”

After class when people were leaving, Dave asked, “we’re not sure teenagers is something we can handle right now. Should we keep coming to this class? What do you suggest?” Our trainer said, “go home and do some thinking. If you decide it’s not for you, sign up in 2013 for the next little kid class.” She may have seen the disappointment on my face because she quickly added, “or you can finish these classes and then just schedule your home study in January when we’re reviewing new families for little kids again.”

So we have some thinking to do. We can check the teenagers box (along with small children) on our application and take each call into consideration, regardless of age, or we can wait and get our home study completed in January when they’re ready for new families accepting small children only. Lots of thinking and praying to do about that in the next several weeks, but for now we’re on track to finish our PATH classes by October 6th!

 

The Bosom of Christ

We started a new journal in our youth group at church this week that reads through the Bible in a year. Tonight as I set my Bible and journal out to start tonight’s reading (Ephesians 4), I was thinking about a lot of big-deal things. More specifically, I was thinking about foster care (duh) because tomorrow morning our classes begin!, and also about some personal things I’ve been dealing with lately (hey look! I found an area of my life I don’t want to blog about! Miracle!). (Let’s not talk about the ridiculous punctuation in that sentence…) And the thing I wasn’t really thinking a lot about was my Bible study. But then I opened up and the first words of Ephesians 4 are,

“I… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…”

Is there a better prayer for two people about to take off in a terrifying new direction that they’ve been called? I’ve only felt “called” to a couple things in my life as strongly as I feel called to foster care. It’s going to be hard- quite possibly the hardest thing I will ever do. I’m aware of that, but I am not afraid (another miracle, as I am afraid of most everything).

The rest of Ephesians 4 talks about the body of Christ. If you’re not familiar with this term, it’s the idea that all people who are believers in God’s truth are a part of one body. Each piece has a specific role, and we need to work together to function well. One of my all time favorite things my friend Lillian has ever said was when she called me “the bosom of Christ.” Though it was half in jest, it felt like such truth being spoken into my life. That’s my calling. From a small child to me now, it just made sense of me in a world that doesn’t usually allow me to feel like I make sense. Does that make sense?

Know what else is in that passage? Truth about loving each other where we are – giving grace and speaking kind words that build each other up. It’s exactly what I needed tonight like you wouldn’t even believe. I have dubbed this Emotion Week 2012 (if you read my last blog update, you’ll see a fraction of this week’s emotions) and Emotion Week has worn down my heart in ways I am not proud of.

So basically Ephesians 4 is my very favorite thing right now. I read it 4 times through and each time found a new truth that I needed to hear tonight. And I’m going to read it again before I go to sleep because it’s just that good.

I’m so thankful for a God who cares about the details of my life enough to speak his word into me. And I’m thankful for friends I can text at 11:30 and basically say, “sorry I am a butt” to and will love me through it. And I’m so thankful for the excitement of tomorrow and the possibilities ahead of the Hagens. Going to bed renewed, thankful, excited as ever, and enlightened by the truth.

Bad News Cloud

Are there ever times in your life, where you (those of you who believe in such things) think, “everything about this situation is Satan trying to mess with me.” Well Dave and I were under some serious messing over the past week. I’m not sure how to explain the past week without going in a novel about how the music business works, how Dave and I are wired, and what our current goals are. So I’m going to try to give a brief(ish) overview of each piece. Bear with me.

Piece 1: The Music Business

The entire music business is a roller-coaster of crap and awesome. I’d say half and half, but I think that’d be optimistic. It’s probably more like 80% crap and 20% awesome. Dave has been working in Nashville in the industry for 5 years and has a lot to show for it, compared to most, but it’s not all fun and games. He worked for years on less than minimum wage, gets mean comments sometimes, gets overlooked when he deserves better, gets treated poorly, and he gets worked to exhaustion. He’s just one guy in a shrinking industry that keeps pumping out new people to work in it. But there are weeks (like the past couple) when he’s given incredible opportunities, tons of compliments and accolades, has immense joy in his work, and makes great money (to our standards). Riding the high of the past month is easy, but Dave tries to see the industry for what it is and he knows it’s fickle. It’s like Project Runway in Nashville recording: One week you’re in, and the next, you’re out. He doesn’t trust that he’s in. Ever. There’s no Ms. Klum here handing out immunity.

Piece 2: Dave

Dave is wired to be very proud of his work. Doing a poor job on a task is impossible for him. I joke a lot that “Dave is good at everything,” and that’s because Dave won’t allow himself to not be good at something. He just can’t do it. That sense of pride is even crazier when it’s work he cares deeply about, like recording. He puts pressure on himself that worries me and annoys me sometimes, but he puts out quality music, and that’s a big deal. Dave, I think, would admit that he has a problem with letting things out of his control. He wants to do it himself because he’s a perfectionist, and he can’t rely on someone else to do something to the degree of perfectionism he would use. His hard work ethic matched with perfectionism and desire to control projects means Dave always does what is asked of him without saying a word about how much it could potentially interfere with something else.

Music Business Guy: “Dave, will you work 10 years straight on a stupid project that no one cares about except for you, even though it means you have to skip all the birthdays and holidays and anniversaries?” Dave: “That sounds great. Let me tell my wife I’ll never see her again.”*

*slight exaggeration

Piece 3: Steph

Dave hasn’t had a day off in several weeks. Not a single day. (Thank the Lord I am not a military wife… I couldn’t do it. Hats off you to you strong women). The number of fits I have thrown about not getting free time with Dave is frankly embarrassing. My two biggest love languages are quality time and words of affirmation. Do you know what doesn’t happen when your husband works 7 days a week, 12+ hours a day? EITHER OF THOSE LOVE LANGUAGES. So, being the mature adult I am, I begged him over and over to take a day off, whined at him when he couldn’t leave work on time, and (surprise) threw fits all-day-every-day-forever-infinity. I knew going into our foster-care class schedule that it would be quite a commitment for Dave to have Saturday mornings off for 6 weeks in a row. I wanted to start the classes as soon as possible, but knew weekdays were out of the question for him, so we waited for a Saturday session to begin, and registered. I WAS PUMPED. When I get excited about something, I am out-of-control full of joy. If something messes with that excitement, I am devastated. So heart-broken.

Piece 4: Foster Care Classes

I have been focused on foster care over the past few months. You may have noticed? I had put all my time and energy into getting ready for our classes. Once classes start, we’re locked in for the next 6 weeks; foster parents cannot miss even one course without having to start over. August 25th was the day our classes were to begin, and I was so thankful to find a Saturday morning class available so soon. If we had missed the start date for the Saturday classes, we would have had to wait about a year for the next round. A year is a VERY long time when you’re wired like I am wired. A year is NOT a very long time when you’re wired like Dave is wired. See the disconnect?

Piece 5, 6, and 7: Satan, Pride, and Fit-Throwing Hormones

Dave got offered an engineering gig that’s wonderful. So, so wonderful. It’s a several day session, he gets paid for it (!), it’s working with two engineers that he respects, and it was for a project he’d love to be a part of. So Dave’s excited about his upcoming project, all the pieces are working together to feed into his desires: pride in his work, financial stability, and affirmation from industry folk. And I’m so excited about our foster care classes because they’re feeding into my desires: getting to nurture, throwing myself into something I’m passionate about, and excitement over a new adventure.

The recording session got booked for August 25th. The date of our first class. So now it’s Dave’s desires vs. my desires. When was the last time that worked out well? Never. That’s when. I kept telling myself that it was Satan just messing with us. I had been praying for unity and nothing disrupts unity like competing desires. I have never nagged so hard as I did in the past week. I cried and threw fits, I said things I normally wouldn’t say, and I let my anger and disappointment take over me. Dave knew that saying he couldn’t be there for a few hours on the first day most likely meant that the project would be given to someone else and he stuck his feet in the mud and didn’t want to turn down this opportunity. He thought, “we’ll wait for the next class. It will be fine.” I thought, “I cannot wait another year. It will not be fine.” And there we sat for several days.

A dark, miserable cloud of bad news sunk deep into my being and would not get itself out of there. I tried to be rational and explain to Dave that it would break my heart to wait another year. It came out as mean. I tried to be calm and think of ways around it; I sulked. I was not at my best. I was maybe at my very worst of our entire 7 years of marriage. All the things I had wanted were so close! A week away! We were almost there! And disappointment hit me like a train. I was crushed. My insides actually hurt, I was so sad.

Piece 8: God

Dave, being the kind and loving man he is, finally talked to the producer he will be working with and it was seriously like the least big deal ever. Mr. Producer was like, “yeah man, let’s just start on Monday instead of Saturday.” So Dave told me the good news and I cried happy tears of joy and relief (and possibly shame for not believing that God would work things out). I Facebooked about it and now here I am, blogging the whole thing. It was messy. A real picture of the worst of us- me being spoiled, Dave being stubborn, and us ignoring the fact that God has orchestrated this whole thing to begin with. This whole process has been nothing but joy and peace (except for the past week); why did I trust the disruption so easily? I had been stuck in my anger, unable to see that things would be fine without me getting my way. Dave had been stuck in his perfectionism, unable to see that things could be fine if he asked for lenience. God, in his infinite grace, saved us from ourselves and allowed our class and Dave’s session to happen, allowed both of our desires to be met, and didn’t say, “Seriously guys? You’re freaking out already?” Which we totally would have deserved.

So mark your calendars for August 25th, because the Hagens are going to their first foster care class. It might be obvious that we’re still in need of prayers for this whole situation. UNITY, for crying out loud, protection, and wisdom are the three things I’ve been praying over our adventure into foster care. Unity, protection, wisdom. Unity, protection, wisdom. And I’m not only asking for prayer for us, I’m asking you to celebrate with us too! Because we’re honestly SUPER excited about this opportunity to grow in God’s plan for our lives and be a part of something really amazing. You know I’ll be having a dance party the whole way there and Dave will smile and wonder how he got so lucky to have a wife as awesome as me.**

**or start thinking about the session that starts Monday

Laptop Dies, List Gets Made

My laptop is forever dead, according to the Genius Bar. So I’m blogging from my phone, which explains the non-blogging thing. I have a couple posts saved up, but for now, you get another random list.

-I have the hiccups more than anyone else I know.
-I LOVE fireworks.
-People mixing up words in their sentences makes me laugh incredibly hard. Like, “it’s so here in hot.” Instead of, “it’s so hot in here.” Every time. Hilarious.
-I have a song stuck in my head 98% of the time. And I will sing it over and over and over. Even if it’s interrupting something.
-Sometimes I really want to spend a whole day doing super cute, quirky things (skipping rocks, wearing silly masks, having a funny dance party and a bonfire, taking photobooth pictures, etc) with Dave and have someone follow us around with a super 8 so we can make a sweet montage. Because I always love that part in movies. Who doesn’t want to live in a montage? It’s the best part.
-Most of the things I ever wanted to “be when I grow up” come together in foster care: be a mom, run a bed and breakfast, teacher, counselor, personal assistant, errand runner. Marine biologist, not so much.
-Drunk people freak me out a lot – like people who sleep walk. Similar fear, I think. I just don’t trust them. (Side note: Until sometime a few years ago, I was personally anti-alcohol. I’m not anymore after trusting what the Bible says about it. I sometimes partake in an alcoholic beverage now and then. Preferably drinks that don’t taste like nail polish remover. If you knew me before that shift, that side note may surprise you).
-When I smell something weird, the strangest descriptions pop into my head so fast. I’ve been known to say: “it smells like cabbage patch dolls in here,” “this smells like balloons full of soup,” “oh man. you smell like baby skunks,” and “this hallway smells like bandaids and fruit loops.”
-I have panic attacks sometimes. It’s happened 3 times ever. They’re super not fun. The first time it happened is actually a really funny, mildly inappropriate/embarrassing story. Ask me about it someday.
-I’m big in real life (in size, not personality). Most of my friends and family are taller than me, so I forget it, but I am tall for a girl. I’m 5’8″ – so prepare yourselves for that if you ever meet me.
-Online I’m an extrovert. In person, introvert. Try taking a personality test with a mind like that. Impossible.

Seven Years

Seven years ago, this happened.

 

Getting married as a barely-19 year old, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t understand compassion and sacrifice like I do now. I’d do anything for this guy. I’ve cooked dinner for him at 11pm when he’s on his way home from a long day of work. I’ve prayed a million prayers for him. I’m bringing him a MOTORCYCLE HELMET from Missouri, even though the thought of him on a motorcycle scares me half to death. And I know he’d do anything for me. He carried me up seven flights of stairs on his back when I broke my ankle. He is strength when I am a puddle. He is smart and kind. He makes me laugh like no one else. He’s my very best friend. He is sanity when I lose my mind.

Dave, I am so thankful for you in my life. Happy anniversary!