Monday, March 19, 2018

The Wonder of a Woman (and Blackness of a Panther)


I was quite a few months late to the game, but I finally was able to see Wonder Woman recently.
Settle in, because I have ALL THE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS about it.

Within minutes, I joined the millions of people who absolutely loved it.
The story was unique yet solid, the humor was witty, the themes were inspiring, and the character development had depth and relatability.

I completely enjoyed the love story between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot.
Their characters both had callings that required such strength, and yet they let their guard down for each other. And in an unusual turn for Hollywood, they didn't JUST have physical attraction for each other, but developed a deep respect and admiration for each other's character and integrity, which caused that attraction to turn into love.

I also particularly appreciated the way they represented Wonder Woman's womanhood.
Diana (along with the rest of the amazon women) were not overly-sexualized, in my opinion, which I appreciated.
Women inherently do have a sexual aspect to us, because God created us to be visibly lovely and beautiful. And while we can be tempted to either despise that (because of the way culture has objectified our bodies) or use it to manipulate (because we can easily use our looks and sexuality to control), we should work hard to be thankful for our unique beauty and wield it wisely. And I thought that balance was done well in this film.
I appreciated that they were portrayed as warriors, but not masculine ones.
These women were stunningly fierce and die-hard champions in battle.
And yet, they were not dressed like men! They showed no shame in displaying their physical strength and power, in their uniquely feminine way.
Similarly, I didn't once witness Wonder Woman needing to prove herself by overcompensating into a bullying personality and aggressive conversation with people.
She carried herself with a freedom to be kind and gentle and vulnerable, without feeling like that would somehow weaken her. Grace and class were not her disadvantage, on the contrary, they substantiated her intelligence and power.

But my favorite part of the entire film, and the most impactful scene, in my opinion, was when Woman Wonder storms No Man's Land in the Belgian village.
Watching this woman feel so overcome by her need to help these people, and then shed her cloak and climb out of that trench was monumental.
And as her enemy's confusion turned into fear and her friend's shock turned into inspiration, I had chills running down my spine and tears streaming down my face.

Honestly, it's still hard to articulate how I felt, as a woman, watching it.

Seeing that way that both her allies and her enemies looked at her.
Seeing what was being done by someone who looked like me.

 (I mean that in the sense that she's a woman and I'm a woman, not that I will ever actually get to look like Gal Gadot. *cue hysterical laughter* Pretty sure I'd have to stop eating bread and be willing to exercise for longer than 20 minutes to even dream about that happening for me, which I'm not, so...)

What we saw on their faces was pure, unadulterated AWE.
Not just at her beauty, but her strength. Her bravery. Her capability.
There was so much power in that moment of watching a scene like that, and it can be so easy to take those moments in life for granted.

The power of seeing someone who looks like you being viewed as invaluable.

She had something to bring to the table that was needed, and that no one else could bring, and in that very moment, everyone knew it.
And it is so closely personal and deeply moving to watch that, especially when you've experienced the contrary.

And I can't help but thinking that if I feel so impacted and inspired by that on such a small scale as a middle-class white woman in America, how much more have the black community felt that while watching Black Panther?
Possibly the first blockbuster in movie history that celebrates blackness in it's centrality.
No longer the side-kicks, but the heroes.
No longer the prop there to add the diversity factor, but the heart and soul and life of the story.
Not in a world where their ancestors were bought and sold, but one where their ancestors were royalty.
Not in a society where they are treated like second-class citizens, but one where they are as trusted and esteemed as the next.

Our world is poisoned with both racism and sexism, but they are different beasts.
Let me say right here and now that as a white woman, I won't ever claim to have a have any sort of full understanding of all the implications and feelings under the weight of racism.

But did women and africans share a similar, although very different, moment of overwhelming wonder when they watched the adventures and victory of a hero who looked like them?


Overall, I don't feel treated less than the average man in my day-to-day life.
And I think that's partially because of a lot of the quality men I'm surrounded by, who don't just view me as an adorable decoration or a capable babysitter, but genuinely value what's in my head and my heart (and I'm married to one of those men, which is bonus.) And also partially, because of the certain shelteredness I'm afforded with my current job (of caring for my kids and my home.)
I no longer deal with demeaning words or sexual harassment in the workforce, which obviously I'm thankful for.

But I do still experience certain tensions, maybe now more than ever, of feeling like I don't always get a seat at the table. A table that my male counterparts do automatically have a seat at.
There have been conversations where I bring a thoughtful, well-articulated argument and it's ignored. (I don't mean disagreed with, that would be completely fine, I mean ignored.)
There are pieces of wisdom that I've offered, and were dismissed right up until a man said THE EXACT SAME THING and then all of the sudden, it was taken into serious consideration and even implemented.

I don't want to see these things or feel like a victim. I hate that so much of modern feminism plays itself out in a way that makes us look like angry martyrs, rather than cherished and valuable members of society who have just as much of a voice as the man next to them.

But at the same time, how can I repeatedly be in these not-so-subtle situations without starting to feel like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense? Like... can you even see me?
And why not?

I have a suspicion that maybe I feel this tension even stronger because of my particular profession.
I work at home.
I teach my kids to read and take them to swim lessons and fold laundry and make grocery lists and bring meals to people in need, so that my family and my home and my community is well cared for.
I have never once been embarrassed about my work, because I know it's value and that it's what God has called me to for this season of life, whether other people approve or not.

But I have to ask myself, is there something about this life and this work that says to a watching world "She's so busy nurturing that she must not have a brain"?

Is that what's happening here?
Is there an assumption that because I've potty-trained three humans, that I don't also educate myself in politics?
Is there an assumption that because I've read Green Eggs and Ham five thousand times, that I don't also read articles on economics or Systematic Theology?
Or even if I didn't have those interests, would I be viewed as "just" a nurturer?
Are maternal instincts and vocations synonymous with stupidity?

Maybe I'm feeling a little naive here because of how surrounded I am by women who would prove those accusations wrong every day. I'm honored to know countless women who are both exquisitely wise and fiercely intelligent, and I would mark our conversations together as such.
I can't know for sure if these biases are real or in my head, but I would probably bet on a little bit of both. But either way, if some of us feel that way, shouldn't we at least consider what messages our natural tendencies are sending?

If you're in my home, are you likely to ask my husband about his thoughts on gun control or immigration reform, but never ask me mine as well? If you're in a church, are you more likely to ask the button-upped white guy about certain doctrines of faith, but not the black man covered in tattoos?
Again, these truly are questions and speculations, not accusations.

But what if we made a genuine effort to ask ourselves and God whether there's truth to some of these?

I'll be the first to tell you that I am guilty of all sorts of conscious and subconscious bias on a constant basis, and God has been so gentle in the way He has humbled me and continues to do so. 
And can't we all make more of a habit of that, myself included?
Of continually asking God to show us the areas of our hearts and our lives where bias and partiality are? And asking Him to change us and forgive us for not loving and valuing ALL of His image-bearers equally? (And honestly, that might mean that you're a woman who thinks all men are idiots and chauvinists, and you make sure that they know it!)
What if we tried harder as individuals and a society (and in christian circles, especially), to look around our metaphorical table and see who maybe doesn't have a seat reserved for them, whether it's a gender or a minority?
And to make intentional efforts to invite those people to the table and conversation?

What if laying down our pride and admitting our mistakes is exactly the thing God uses to bring healing to those spaces?

I know that we will always feel the tensions and brokenness of sin in our world until Jesus returns or takes us home. But I pray that until then, He will keep opening our eyes more and more to see the beauty and glory of the diversity He created.
Whether it be different personality types or genders or skin colors, that we make sure they know that their seat at the table isn't just available for them, but that their presence in that seat is an invaluable part to it.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." -Galatians 3:28

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Current Faves: Hair Edition

Once upon a time...

..there was a young woman named Elise. 
Elise loved playing with hair, so when she grew up, she went to Cosmetology School and became a hairstylist, like her mother and grandmother both were. She learned a lot and enjoyed getting better at playing with hair, but barely survived the 'Mean Girls meets Orange Is The New Black' culture in beauty school. Elise became a VERY GRUMPY PERSON during that time, but fortunately and miraculously survived the whole thing without ending up in prison or a psych ward. 
Shortly thereafter, Elise became a mom and now enjoys cleaning macaroni and cheese out of her kids' hair, doing occasional haircuts for friends in her kitchen, and not dealing with crazy people anymore.
And she lived happily ever after.

The End.

Isn't that a beautiful story I just shared with you? Guess what?
That story is about me! I'M THAT GIRL! 
Crazy, right?

So I thought I'd put my Stylist Hat on for a few minutes to share with you a few of my favorite hair products and tools. These aren't so much current faves as always faves considering I've been using all of them for years, so they are tried and true and beloved by me.
This is such a teeny tiny list, considering how many incredible tools and products are out there for all of the different types and styles and trends of hair. But I also have the practical tendencies of an old lady so once I find something I like for myself, I stick with it forever. (Like Sandra Bullock movies. And pizza!)
If it ain't broke, why fix it?
My other old lady tendency is how annoying I find expensive hair products and services to be. I know I'm not supposed to say that, considering as soon as you are inducted into the Beauty Universe, you're supposed to drink the snob kool-aid and sit around and trash people who use Suav shampoo and box color, but I just don't feel like that's real life.

(Side Note: Can you see why I got so grumpy during cosmo school? You'd think a bunch of high school dropouts with tramp stamps and nicotine addictions wouldn't feel so licensed to look down on everyone else, and yet... here we are!)

(Post Side Note Side Note: I don't mean to lump everyone into one big group, I have a lot stylist friends and family who are down-to-earth, kind, and classy gals with ridiculous amounts of talent (and wicked awesome tattoos). Just FYI.)

(Also, Fun Fact: I'm a high school dropout. Did you know that? And look how happy I am!)

Anyway, I just feel like we could tackle things like child poverty and human trafficking and finding a cure for cancer before we have the Hair Police arresting people for not dropping $200 every six weeks on a cut and color, but that's just me.

Okay, I'm done ranting. Here are my all-time favorite hair basics:

1.) Hot Rollers

Hot rollers are the loyal friend that we all need in our life. If you're one of the many under the impression that this beautiful tool set is outdated and something only your grandma would use, think again, sister friend! Hot rollers and velcro rollers are some of the main implements used by professionals who style the hair of celebrities and models. They can be used on thick or thin hair, long or short cuts, to create either full-bodied curls or loose, silky waves.
I. Love. Hot rollers.
Here's why:

1.)They're quick and easy. 
Well, ok, if you've never rolled your hair before it can take a bit to get used to, but once you've got the hang of it, you can throw all of your hair in rollers in less than a minute. Even though my hair is fine, I have A TON of it, so curling my hair with a curling iron literally takes hours and just isn't a practical option for me. 


For big, luscious curls (like Giselle's), you can leave them in to set for 5-15 minutes, or...


..if you just want some natural body and some definition to your layers (like this), just put them all in and take them right out again. 

2.) They give you shine and volume.
The heat smooths the hair shaft, leaving it shinier and silkier than before, without ever risking that frizzy, crispy look that curling irons can sometimes bring.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE me some big hair. 
(I do. I wish we all still had beehives and bouffants. And let me tell you, whenever they decide to make a come-back, I will be READY!)
In the meantime, to achieve normal-sized volume, hot rollers are your girl.

A basic rule in hair (and Physics!) is that Heat forms and cool sets.

That's why when stylists are doing a formal up-do, they often pin up the curls they just made with a curling iron, so that they don't just fall and lose their shape as they cool.
Or how if you put your hair into a ponytail or braids right after blow drying it, that your hair has those crimps in it that stay there.

Same idea applies to using hot rollers. You blow dry your hair, put hot rollers in (or even velcro rollers after using a roll brush for a blow-out), lifting up that root, and then your hair sets that way as it cools down, keeping that gorgeous shape and volume throughout your day.

Run your fingers through the ends after you take the rollers out, and just play with it until you find where it lays right.

Hot Roller Buying Tips:
-In my opinion, DON'T get the sets that include the giant clips to secure them in. The clips often leave kinks in the hair, making it look like a toddler put the rollers in. I prefer the sets that have the old-fashioned pins, or you can use just plain bobby pins in a pinch, which won't leave any marks in your hair as they cool.
-In general I'd recommend the roller sets that are velvet, not the silicone ones, which to me are just going to damage your hair more.

Get them for between $20-$30 at Walmart or Target, or on Amazon HERE.

And here's a couple of short YouTube videos on how to put them in:
-one by It's Judy Time (who uses the pins instead of clips)
- one by Beauty by Mooshi (who shows you how to use a set that has different sized rollers)

2.) Powder Play

If I had to pick only one hair product to use for styling, this would be it. 
And to be picked over hair spray or volumizing root foam is saying A LOT.

You know how when your hair is soft and fine and way too healthy (You know exactly what I mean by too healthy), and you just can't do anything with it?
Unless you have a cut and style that calls for straight, sleek hair, it's just such an annoyance for those of us who need body and shape and volume.

This stuff is like MAGIC.
It's a powder that you dust around the roots of your hair for an almost dirtying feel (in the best way possible) that helps hold in shape and volume.
I assume it's made from crushed unicorn horn and angel tears.

Whether you have straight, curly, or wavy hair, if you feel like it's way too healthy and slippery to let style it the way you want (whether you're putting it up or leaving it down), you need this in your life.

BedHead and Schwartzkopf both make versions of it, but I've always just used Big Sexy Hair's and I love it. Get it for around $10 on Amazon HERE.

3.) Redken EXTREME Shampoo and Conditioner

This has been my favorite shampoo and conditioner combo ever since I was in cosmo school, which happened to be a Redken institute, and immediately gave me a deep and holy reverence for their shampoo and conditioner lines in general (unlike their styling products, which are pure, steaming poo. Don't use them.)
Their Extreme line is my favorite because:
1.) It's protein-packed and particularly made for strengthening damaged hair, be it chemical or mechanical damage. 
I don't have extremely damaged hair, but I use it anyway to keep my hair strong.
2.) The conditioner is super moisturizing.
Which you would think would be a consistent quality in HAIR CONDITIONER, and yet, haven't we all used conditioners before that felt like they barely did anything? This one is exactly the way it should be, extremely moisturizing and hydrating for your hair, without being greasy either.
3.) The shampoo lathers well. 
I realize that's also kind of a DUH thing to say about shampoo, but again, I have used some that make me wonder if they can even be considered a cleaning agent. 
4.) It smells amazing.
Close your eyes, take a whiff, and you will suddenly feel like you're on a caribbean beach sipping a Pina Colada. Isn't that quality alone worth it?

Get the regular sized bottles at your local Ulta (which might be a little more pricey) or for around $25 bucks (for the combo) on Amazon HERE.

OR be like me and get the giant 1 liter bottles, along with the pumps, for between $40-$50, and it'll last you a year or more. Get those on Amazon HERE.

4.) Argan Oil

Argan Oil is amazing for hair, skin, and nails and is often referred to as 'liquid gold'.

And can I just use this time to confess something to you that is extremely unpopular and might make you sad?

I think Coconut Oil is overrated.

I said it.
Honestly, I just feel like coconut oil is just the temp guy who comes in to work when the main, better guy can't show up. He's a second-rate fill-in. He's plan B. But he's just more popular than Plan A.

"Don't put butter on your popcorn! Use Coconut oil!"
"Don't put cream in your coffee! Use Coconut Oil!"
"Don't use diaper cream or antibiotic ointment that would actually heal a rash or wound! Use Coconut Oil!"
"Why are you using normal sex lube when you could just go to your kitchen pantry and get Coconut Oil?!"

Enough already. It's just gone too far. 
And by george, an enemy of butter is an enemy of mine!

 And while I'm confessing offensive opinions, I think the movie Grease is stupid and has a horrible message!

Alright, to get back on track, here's my point: you all know that when you put any more than a molecule of coconut oil in your hair, it looks like you've been locked in your mom's basement for the past month, playing video games. 

(See what I did there?)

Argan Oil, on the other hand (which we can start calling 'Butter for Hair' if you want), isn't greasy. You can use up to a dime-sized amount on your hands (which is great for your nails too), and run it through your hair whether it's wet or dry, giving strength and hydration to the hair shaft and brittle ends, and shine throughout your hair.
(Good shine. Not it looks like you're sweating and about to have a heart attack shine.)
(You know I'm right.)

Just try making the switch for me and see what you think. You will not regret it.
And it's also a great beard oil for any of you with lumberjack-looking husbands.

There are a ton of brands and you can find them at salons, beauty supply houses, natural food or vitamin stores, etc. At Trader Joe's it's only $6.99 or you can order another brand on Amazon HERE.

Well, I'll wrap it up with that. 
I'm glad we had this chat and I'm sorry for saying some hurtful things about coconut oil, but I'm a woman of conviction and there's only so much of a lid I can keep on that.
But I hope one or more of these recommendations will make up for it by changing your hair life for the better.

Happy Hot Rolling!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Car Accidents and Goodbyes.

The last couple of weeks have been very... interesting.
A bizarre mixture of busy and stressful and fun and special and chaotic.

Mostly because..

1.) We got into a car accident.

A little over two weeks ago, we were headed to our homeschool co-op on monday morning and it happened to be very snowy and icy that day. We were about a half hour into our drive, and almost at our exit, when I started slowly changing lanes and suddenly spun around on ice and shot down into the ditch. It was only a few seconds from listening to music and chatting to then swirling and bumping and THUD THUD THUD and hearing screaming and glass shattering and then finally stopped.
I whipped around to watch my kiddos scream in fear in a way I've only see them do THAT ONE OTHER TIME.
They were covered in glass and hysterical.
We had crashed into a road sign, half of our car's windows were shattered and there were poles imprinted on the passenger side doors.
I crawled in back to comfort them and called 911 to tell them to come help us.

While I was on the phone and telling the operator where we were, a man had pulled off onto the side of the road and was trudging through the snow down into the ditch to come help us. I handed him my phone through the broken window and told him to tell the operator where to send the ambulance and tow truck, since it was hard to talk around all of the crying in the car.
No one was visibly injured, other than mine and August's hands being a little bloodied from glass cuts, but I still wanted them checked out just in case.
The man's wife came down into the ditch and helped me pull the kids out and put them in their warm car while I called my husband and talked to State Patrol.

Side Note: Thank you Good Samaritans! Seriously, this man and woman hugged my babies and told them it was going to be okay and were late for work because they helped us, and I thanked these people with teary eyes without even knowing their names. I don't think we can ever rightly become fully hardened about the state of the world when we are really looking at all of the kindness and support that we see and experience from strangers on a constant basis. 
Bless you, Random Couple driving on highway 694. In a totally Whitney Houston way, I will always love you.

Luke had left work and was on his way to us, but we needed to get off the side of the road.
Or so the very curt police woman told me at the time. Apparently three cop cars, an ambulance, and a Good Samaritan's hatchback were making things a little crowded on the interstate.

The ambulance gave us a ride to the next exit and dropped us off at a Subway to wait for Luke. 

(Boaz has since been telling everyone that he "had his FIRST ambulance ride!")

(Umm...what do you mean 'first'? Can't we call it 'last'? JUST A NERVOUS MOTHER'S CONCERN OVER HERE.)

The paramedics were so sweet and gracious with me and the kids. 
They quickly teamed up with me to be SUPER POSITIVE AND HAPPY for my scared and in shock kiddos.

Luke eventually came and we called a friend to see if they could come get us in their van that was already stocked with carseats (since we no longer had any and were stranded 40 minutes from home.)
Thankfully it was a bank holiday, so our friend had off work and was able to come save us. We got back home, safe and sound and carless. 
Luke had to leave right away to go get our suburban back from the towing company (at the tune of FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. What a racket.) and I settled the kids in for some time of chilling out  in front of a movie. 

Eventually the adrenaline of the crash and the need to stay strong for the kids wore off, and all of those suppressed emotions from stress and trauma and fear hit me like a ton of bricks.
I felt like a walking nerve-ending. I went into my room, called my mom, and broke down crying.
She comforted me, they way I had been with my own kids (reminding me of how beautiful the circle of life really is.)
And she told me about how the day before, she was out running errands when all of the sudden she felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to pray over us and our vehicle!
(Which is totally not the normal way she would pray for us, considering she's a busy gal who thinks highly of my driving skills.)

And then of course I cried more, because how amazing and loving is God to urge my mom to pray for our safety A WHOLE DAY BEFORE our car crashed into a sign?
It gave me an anchor of truth to hold onto while my emotional roller coaster was pulling me all over the place.

He loves us. He knew this was going to happen. And He protected us.

That night I snuggled up in bed with an ice pack on my neck, a glass of wine and, like, five or six brownies (I'm not sorry.) and wept until aaaaaallll the feelings were out.
My babies could have died. (AGAIN!) 

But they didn't.

It was going to be okay.

We eventually got through our week of intense cabin fever 
(Thanks to not having a car.... with four children in the house... during winter. Cue *NERVOUS HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER*)
 Thankfully, Luke was able to fix our car pretty quickly, replacing all of the shattered windows and mirrors and broken doors, and we were able to go about our daily routines once more.

A week later, I was able to go to the chiropractor, where I unsurprisingly (after a very stiff and sore week) learned that my neck was sprained where my seatbelt was in the crash. 
Thankfully, after basically seeing my doctor enough to be OFFICIALLY DATING, my neck and back is starting to feel better and I'm on the mend.
(Now I just need to go back to yoga class and take a nap do lots of stretching.)

But those appointments have just added to the fact that...

2.) We've had a foster child.

This sweet little girl was in our home for two weeks to the day, and we loved every minute of it.

That first night, she came into our home reeking of the meth house she had been living in.

We fed her, bathed her, put her in clean pajamas, and I ended up just holding her through that entire first night, because she wasn't used to sleeping in an actual bed.
(I took that picture above sometime around 2am.)
(Which is why the lighting is a little off and my face is too tired to smile even though I sort of tried.)

Unfortunately, she was in the car with us when we crashed, but fortunately (!!!) she wasn't hurt. It added a little bit to the stress of the week, having to fill out extra paperwork for the county because she was our foster child, but thankfully all of the social workers involved were super understanding that it was a no-fault accident and appreciative that I tried to keep them in the loop during it all.

Other than that aspect, it was a delight.
She was a happy, busy, little two-year-old who loved being here as much as we loved having her.
Our kids are super social and hospitable, so they tend to love the foster care experience in general.
August had a bit of a hard time not being the baby of the family during that time, which on one hand, I can sympathize with, but on the other hand... Dude, learn to share your toys. You'll survive.
At the other end of that pendulum was Vienna, who completely LOVED being an older sister to a little girl, especially being able to share a room with her, and absolutely thrives in those 'Big Helper' roles. 
We loved being able to show this little honey lots of love while she was with us. We loved loving on her with lots of physical affection that was healthy and safe. We loved loving on her by giving her normal bedtimes (in an actual crib), and regular nap times, and consistent meals with healthy amounts of proteins and fruits and vegetables.
We loved having her join our Family Worship time before bed, and letting her watch us sing praises to God and lay hands on her and pray over her.

And then, after she had been a part of our rhythm for what felt like forever, but was only a short amount of time... she left.

She was transferred to a relative's house this past week, and after we dropped her off and got back in our car, Vienna was sad to see her go.
We sat in our car in the parking garage of the county courthouse, and we prayed.
That God would be with this little girl always, and that He would maybe even bring a little girl (or boy) to be apart of our forever family someday. Someone who we would never have to drop off and say goodbye to.

Will you join me in praying for our family and for this little girl?

That as she grows from a precious, innocent toddler to a young woman exposed to a lot of worldly darkness, that God would protect her?
That He would keep her body safe and her heart pure? That He would continually surround her with authentic christians in her life, who would shower her with godly love and truth and support and encouragement?
That He would use this precious daughter of His to break her family's cycle of addiction and dysfunction?

I have no idea if we'll ever see her again.
I don't know if we'll get called in a couple weeks or months to take her back, or if we might run into her at a grocery store when she's an adult when she doesn't even recognize us.
But I do believe in the power of prayer.
And even though you don't know her, and Luke and I don't even know all of her life's details, that God knows and that He cares. 
That He has been there with her during those moments of darkness and abuse and neglect and that He will never give up pursuing her.

And for our family, that if we are to add another child to our unit, that He would do it in His timing, from His location, and that we would be listeners of His voice and obeyers of His calling to us.

God's mercies have been big and constant during these past couple weeks:
~I am so thankful that the accident wasn't worse. I didn't have to see any of my precious babies hooked up to a machine in a hospital or on a slab in a morgue. 
God is such a good father to me and my kids.
~He used random strangers and state patrol officers and paramedics to show us so much love and kindness during a traumatic situation.
~I am so thankful for christian community. Friends who brought us dinner after we crashed, and watched my kids when I had appointments but didn't have a car, and who were just willing to be especially sensitive and empathetic during my particularly sensitive time of processing.
(Thank you so much Becky, Carrie, and Johanna. You mean a lot to me.)
~That He loves me enough to remind me of how in control He is and how out of control I am. 

Whether with accidents or foster children, He has a plan.

And that it is good.