Monday, September 21, 2009

I LOVE Craigslist!

We moved into our "new" home a few months ago and are slowly replacing the items we sold or gave away before moving to Rio Bend. One large purchase we needed was a washer and dryer. Actually, I did purchase a set right after we moved since those appliances can be catagorized as a "necessity", so I found an older, used set on Craigslist for $150. It wasn't the prettiest to look at, but they seemed to work fine. My biggest problem was that our laundry room is so small there was really no room for a hamper or much else, in order to keep the door closed, so after using them for a few months, I was able to turn around and re-sell them on Craigslist for what I got them for. We were without a washer/dryer for a few weeks while I searched for a stackable gas unit in our price range. Having the washer/dryer out also gave me the opportunity to re-paint the laundry room which was greatly needed. Ironically, the night I was re-painting was the night we received a call to see if we would accept placement of our 2 foster sons, ages 2 and 4. That's another post for another time...

I was determined to find a washer/dryer last weekend if that's all I accomplished, so I checked out Craigslist and a few used appliance stores and other than one non-responsive listing, I found a listing advertising a 2 family garage sale and it listed a stackable washer/dryer. No price, pictures or phone numbers, just an address and I headed out not really sure what to expect. At that point I was willing to take an electric, but was really hoping for gas. I got to the garage sale and there is was, in the corner with a $100 sign on it. I asked if it was gas or electric, and the young man said he wasn't sure, and that it was in the house when they recently purchased it, and since they didn't need it, they were selling it. I quickly paid for it and called Jeff so he can borrow a truck to pick it up later. After a good cleaning I was SOOOO happy to realize this was a like-new GAS unit that retails for about $1300 at Sears!

After finding deals like this, who would pay retail for any large purchases like this? We're trying hard to completely get out of debt and live within our means - we truly believe that debt is a burden and distracts us from doing the things we should be doing. I love listening to Dave Ramsey and we are even attending his live event in January! If you've never listened to Dave Ramsey, find out what time/station his show airs by visiting his website at

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


It's been a while, I know...I just wanted to give details on what's going on in the Cokenour household. We've been living at Rio Bend since July last year, and have come to realize clearly that although God called us to become foster parents, it does not necessarily only have to be at Rio Bend. Without getting into too many details, we are not in agreement with some recent decisions here, so it's time for us to dust off our sandals and move on!

I thought we were in a recession! There are not too many houses available (in our desired areas and price ranges, anyway). We were originally going to rent, but rents are EXHORBENT right now, so we decided to buy. Thanks to Uncle Obama (as my husband calls him) we are eligible for an $8k stimulus if we purchase a home, so that decision became a no-brainer! We actually came across some foreclosures that I was interested in, but you're required to pay cash because no one will lend you any money with the condition they're in.

We have been concentrating on the Sugar Land area since that's what we are familiar with and we love it. Jeff just started a new job at the VA in the medical center area, so it was also important to find something that would give him a better commute.

We currently have an option on a house that is within walking distance to my brother and sister in law - we're excited about being able to spend more time with them.

We will continue to foster, Lord willing... Our current foster daughter may be going back home soon, so if she does, we'll accept another placement - maybe even being open to younger kids this time. Teenagers can wear you out, whether they're your own or not, so we may take a break from adding teens to our household.

I'm excited about the new house so I can finally start doing some projects that I've been wanting to do for a while. My family will not know what to think when I actually start making drapes for OUR OWN HOME.

I will keep this updated once we close and with any fun projects that come up!

Monday, February 9, 2009


Yesterday we had to do one of the hardest things we've ever had to do - admit a child to a psychiatric hospital. We knew he had problems to start with, why else would he be in foster care, right?

It's hard to understand how a child who can be so happy and obedient one moment can lose total control of his ability to reason the next. I can't stop wondering what we could/should have done differently, but the bottom line is some children, in and out of foster care are emotionally and mentally disturbed. We really had no choice when our family's safety (and his) was threatened.

I have alot of things going through my mind, but mostly (1) It was presumptuous of us to believe we could help him in such a short period of time and (2) what hope is there for people like this? During the admission process, there was an older gentleman admitting his 29 year old son as well. He commented that his son was about the same age as our foster son when he was first admitted.

I'm emotionally drained right now and feel defeated. I'm sad for what we had to do and for any scars we added to his heart.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Memory of Grandma Helen

Helen Augusta Gunn was my husband, Jeff's maternal Grandmother. She passed away this past Sunday, February 1st, 2009. She just turned 95 years old in October.

Grandma Helen came to live with us in 1998 (about 11 years ago) after she fell and shattered her ankle and was unable to live on her own. Until that time, Jeff's sister, Helen, and his mom, Karen, who lived nearby in California helped her by checking in on her, taking her shopping, etc... Since she needed so much assistance we decided to move her in with us so we could take care of her, and since we only had two kids at the time and a 4 bedroom home, it was something we needed to do.

Having Grandma live with us was such a good experience for our family. It taught us patience, respect and the kids learned to put other people before themselves. Grandma didn't have much, but she was content with her life. Jeff has many fond memories of her growing up because she was always there, sometimes living with them, but always nearby.

Grandma was able to watch our children grow up - Andrew was born about a year after she moved in with us and in her early stages of dementia, she thought he was her baby. Those were such sweet moments because he deveopled a close bond with her as well. The kids loved to hang out in her room with her to snuggle or just watch cartoons and they could always count on her sneaking them a cookie or two.

We'll miss Grandma Helen and cherish our sweet memories of her!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Patiently Waiting...

It's been a while since I've posted, so I thought I'd give a quick update. Things are busy as usual in our household. Amy is now 16, getting ready to apply for her first job today (as a Book Shelver at the library - perfect for her!), Sarah just turned 13 and Andrew is 9. We currently still have only 1 foster child - a 13 year old girl, she and Sarah are friends (most days, anyway) and I LOVE the way God uses our ENTIRE family to impact her life. I can't imagine doing this any other way!

We got a call last week asking if we would take an 8 year old boy and we accepted immediately. Andrew's been asking for a brother for a very long time (especially when his sisters have lots of friends over). We have not heard back from CPS who will be the ones transporting him to our home, so we wait patiently. You never know how quickly the placement process will work. We once accepted placement of another foster daughter on a Wednesday and she did not come until the following Wednesday. We have a neighbor who said yes to a 6-week old baby and an hour later she came! This poses a little issue with being prepared. You never know what they will come with. Will they have enough clothes? Will they fit? Are they appropriate (both modest and weather)? *****UPDATE: Our foster son will be here tomorrow, 1/22! *****

The biggest issue with being prepared is what will they be like? When Andrew was begging me to please call and ask again for a brother, I reminded him that if he gets one that he may not be exactly what he's hoping for. I asked Andrew to think about a kid in his class who is always getting into trouble, failing his classes and isn't liked by most of the kids because he's a bully and told him that THAT would most likely be what his new brother would be like. I asked him if he still wanted a brother like that, and he said yes! He said that God can use him to be a good example and we agreed that we'd all be angy if we weren't getting the love and care that we needed. I want to encourage all of you to reach out to someone you may not know well, but is a little unlovable. You never know - they may be in desperate need of a friend.

I'd love to share more about our foster kids, but we must respect their privacy. If you would like to be included on prayer requests and updates for our family, please let me know!

'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' Matthew 25:40