Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You know you've been a houseparent at Gateway Woods when...

In honor of our last week as Lead Houseparents at the Cypress House, I've compiled a list of things that I have thought over the years "if you've been a houseparent..."  The list is not exhaustive and I know there are many others that could be added, but here is what I've come up with:

You can park a 15 passenger van with no sweat.

All your hygiene products have a yellow COSMTCHA sticker on them.

You dread Fridays and look forward to Mondays.

You get excited about grass that needs mowed and weeds in the flower beds.

You realize at 9PM that you need milk and eggs for breakfast in the morning - no big deal, take a stroll to the food room (as long as it isn't Monday)

You know the Nutrition Video by heart.

You find yourself dating and labeling all your food with masking tape and a Sharpie.

Organic beet juice?  Chocolate Skittles?  In mass quantities?  Why not.

Your stomach drops when you hear this go off at 3AM.

But you have a nice greenish-glow nightlight to sleep by!

You are thrilled to find something dirty: van, garage, barn, etc.  knowing it makes for good consequence work or paid jobs

While at church you can never look someone in the eye, you are constantly looking around and counting heads.

You feel like you are singing some sort of Christmas song when climbing in the van: 7 residents, 3 Suvar kids, 2 houseparents, and a wonderful much needed Assistant!

You are among the few who know how to read this:

Cabin Fever goes to a whole new level.

You look forward to August and get that sinking feeling when you think about the end of May.

You've reassured a 16-year-old inner city teen that the Amish are not out to get him and that the cows in the barn will not eat him.

You find it difficult to make a meal for less than 12 people.

And you find, despite the hurt, the exhaustion, and the tears, you can turn right around and welcome another hurting child into your home (only by the grace of God!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cling to the good

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 
Romans 12:9b

It's a little crazy in this place these days.

Having our house finally handed back to us, we have been making daily runs of boxes over to our new home.

Pack a box.  Take box to new house. Unload box.  Take box back to Cypress House.


I guess it's one way to move your belongings.

At the same time we are trying to tie up about a hundred loose ends, keep being houseparents, keep being parents, maybe even a decent spouse.  Moving day is looming ever closer and it seems there are way more things to do than time to do them in.

Like I said, it's a little crazy around here.

In the midst of this, in the back of my mind, I have the thought floating that I have yet to type anything this month for my Romans 12 series.  I've read the verse over and over but just wasn't sure how to expound anymore upon it.  

It's pretty straight forward:  hate evil, love good.  I saw it as" turn from sin, look to God."

But, as with any verse in the Bible, I knew there was more.

Today I was sitting on my bed, taking a quite minute (literally it was just a minute..sigh) and the verse came back to me.

Hate what is evil.  What is evil?  Sin.  What is sin?  Impatience.  Selfishness.  Pride. Anxiety.

Cling to what is good.  What is good?  Patience.  Selflessness.  Humility.  Trust.

In my haste to make sure I get everything done when it needs done, how often do I let go of good, and turn to evil?

Ugh.  I think we all know the answer to that.

But we are called to hate evil.  Not dislike it.  Not ignore it.  Hate it.

And instead cling to that which is good.  Not hold it lightly in our hand, keep it in our back pocket, think of it every once in awhile.  But cling to it.  

To cling means to hold on to, clutch, grip, grasp, attach oneself to, hang on to.  You cling to something that you don't want to let go.

May we seek our Savior, the True Good, and cling to Him.  I believe that the more we cling to Him, the more we will hate evil as God hates evil.  And we will all the more want to grasp that which is good.

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Because although things may be crazy around here, there is so much Good that can be grasped.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lifesong Mission Moment

14-05 MM email

 "If our effort to love only affects ONE person...it is worth it!" -Ivan Zhykhariev, Ukraine Graduate

Child Sponsorship. It's easy to underestimate the impact sponsorship has on a child. Not only are basic needs (such as food, clothing, shelter) met, but also a sense of belonging is given that money can't buy. Sponsorship speaks "YOU MATTER TO ME." to a child who is longing for love from a family, security and hope for a future.

Giving FAMILY to Evelyn {HONDURAS}

Testimonies like Evelyn's reminds us of the work God is doing to change lives in Honduras. Children who lose their earthly father, learn about their heavenly Father. Children who lose their family can say they have a new family. Children with little hope are taught that they can change their nation!

Currently, Evelyn has not been chosen by a sponsor to help support her Christian education and hopeful future. By sponsoring a child like Evelyn, you can be a part of changing a life, letting a child know they matter by bringing joy and purpose to their lives.

Will you help us find Evelyn a sponsor?
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 9.07.05 AM

 Learn more about Child Sponsorship at www.lifesongchildsponsorship.org.

Testimony: More than Money {LIBERIA}

Listen in as Carla Cornell, Liberia Child Sponsor shares on sponsorship...
Cornell Sponsorship"Meeting Thomas, Sharine and Prince was something we had been picturing for months and to finally feel those arms around us was a priceless, God-given moment. It was then we realized that sponsoring a child can be so much more than just sending money.

It can be an opportunity to open our hearts and share the love we so often take for granted with a child who needs it desperately. A child who may never have the same blessings and opportunities that most of us enjoy but with our help, they can have hope and they can know Jesus loves them and has not forgotten them. And we can be blessed beyond measure to be a tiny part of God's plan for them."


31 in 31 badgeThis month, Help us find 31 sponsors in 31 days! Each day, we feature a child that does not yet have a sponsor. Will you join us in advocating on their behalf?

Meet a few of our kids waiting for sponsorship....

See all featured kids for the #31kids31days Campaign at lifesongfororphans.org/31kids31days 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Feeling Nostalgic

The time is winding down and I'm getting nostalgic as it is getting closer.

There are so many things about this life we have lived for the last 5.5 years that I will miss.

There have been many difficult, stretching, growing times.  Things I have vaguely written about here on this blog.

But there are also things about this place that I have loved and enjoyed and am sad to be leaving:

This track, being right outside my door, I can take runs at 10:00 at night feeling completely safe.

 This fireplace, where many conversations have taken place.

This kitchen, where several messes can be going on at one time.

The view from our back patio, a small break in the day, a breath of fresh air.

This apartment.  A small private (the only part) haven in our world.

The food room.  Just a short walk and I can have milk (as long as it's not a Monday in the summer!).

Our neighbors.  Our children have countless other little kids to play with.  Now with the weather being a bit warmer, they are all coming out to play.

Our front door.  I love being able to just look out and see the campus and seeing the seasons change through it.

We are in our final weeks.  June 13th is our final day as Houseparents at Gateway Woods.  And as much as I am excited about our next stage, I am sad for some things we are leaving behind. 

As I've said before, we've given a little bit of our hearts to every child who has walked through our door.  All 50+ of them.  And a lot of memories have been made in this Cypress House over the last half decade.

Good and Bad.

But I'm so glad we made the decision to come.  We've been changed as much (if not more!) than some of those kids who have walked through that door.

To every thing there is a season, 
and a time to every purpose under the heaven
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Monday, May 5, 2014

April Lookback

April seemed to go by fast.  It started off with some Spring Break, followed close by Palm Sunday, Easter on it's heels.  And suddenly we were looking at May Day. 

April was a month of lessons on trust (again?!).  Despite the future being unclear, we stepped out in faith, announcing the end of our tenure as houseparents here at Gateway Woods.  We still have another 4 weeks yet, and we're plugging away, still in it. 

April saw some completion of our "new" house.  Floors were installed, the little details completed.  Now we just need a new front window and out contractors can finally be done with us!

 April saw a couple of us another year older.  And we're both OK with that.

 I got some niece time.

And some sister time.

 And family time.

We escaped from the packing of boxes and reconstruction of houses to take in some soccer.

Thankfully the change in weather brought some increase to the temperatures (a little bit). Enough that I could pack away the snow boot finally.  Unfortunately, these will not be going into storage.  These boots made it through all 3 kiddos.  The toes are now completely blown out the top.  Paul and I had a little ceremony as we put them in the trash.... sweet memories.

And finally, Owen had a dress up day at school due to his class making a fund raising goal.  He came up with this whole outfit on his own (Paul supplied the "whip")  Can you guess who he is?