Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter and Happy Birthday, Hannah!



This year Hannah gets to share her birthday with my favorite holiday. Hannah actually celebrated her birthday 3 different times before this actual day that i don't really think she realized today was the actual day. However, i didn't want the day to go by with acknowledging the celebration of her birth. Hannah is boundless energy - she is constantly hopping. She is affectionate - she tells us many times a day "i love my mommy/daddy/Owen/Mads" And although she can drive us mad with her whining (we're still working on that) she makes us smile and laugh many times a day. Hannah, we love you and are so glad you are a part of our family!

And to not overlook the whole reason we are able to celebrate - Thank you Jesus that you were willing to come to this earth, die on the cross, and rise from the dead to conquer sin and hell and death so that we can celebrate birthdays and look forward to heaven someday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The next big challenge

Well, we have become content with our crazy life as it is: raising three children under the age of 4, packing every few days to go live on campus at Gateway, working with delinquent teens (sometime as much as 7 at a time), getting Paul through college to get his Master's, doing our best to glorify God in our day to day lives. Ah, but I have found that although God calls us to contentment, once we find that place, He often calls us beyond it to stretch us some more. And so, Paul and I are taking on the challenge of fulltime houseparenting at Gateway. How does that differ from what we are doing now? Well, right now we live in a little house a few miles off campus and support the fulltime houseparents (Jarod and Molly Steffen) by running the house while they take their 9 days a month off, running doctor appointments, helping with treatment plan decisions, keeping the food room stocked, doing general maintenance around Cypress House and on campus, and completing other various things that come up that aren't on our job description but we do it anyway (no union here!). When we move into the fulltime role we will be living in the house 24/7 with the residents. We have 9 days off a month when our own alternates will come in and relieve us. (NOTE: this is a current job opening, if you or someone you know feels even the teeniest bit led to pursue it - PLEASE PURSUE. It will change your life...for the better. and I'm not just saying that so we can get the job filled!) Anyways, we will be living on campus at the Cypress House, running the house and living with (up to) seven teenagers plus our own three munchkins. I have described it to some as foster care on steroids :) During the school year the residents will be in school from 8 until 3:15 - this 7 hour time frame is the time we can use to have quality time with our own children, and handle all the meetings, phone calls, and issues that arise when working with delinquent teens. When the residents come home from school they are in the house with us the rest of the day. That time is spent doing homework, working out issues, eating dinner, and sometimes getting some kind of recreation in to burn off energy.
Paul and I look forward to the challenge, although we will miss out little house back in Grabill and the evenings we got to spend as just our little family. We have experienced much spiritual growth over the past 2 years that we have spent working at Gateway, and no doubt this next challenge will only lead to more. So keep praying that God would keeping changing lives - both in the hearts of the residents...and the houseparents as well.