Friday, November 22, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Where did the last two months go? I think I was immersed in life and today have come up for air. I was asked on Facebook to blog again, and so I am going to do that and try to answer the question, "Where have you been?"

I just read my 50th birthday post and made myself cry. Not because I was impressed with what a brilliant writer I am (though there is that :-) but because I am so incredibly grateful for where I am now and the life God has allowed me to live.

So.... here is where I have been.

1) I've been at church. A LOT. I am convinced that the group of people at Brunswick may just be those who "get church" and are attempting to learn how to "Do church" the way Jesus intended. I am quite invested in it as MY church, not just Bart's. I don't think this has as much to do with the church itself -- becuase we had some incrdible people in Belgrade, Luverne, and Mankato -- but because of my position in life. I can finally focus on something besides parenting -- which obviously I am still doing. But having 12 kids ages almost 15 to 27, is much different than, say, having 9 children between the ages of 5 and 15.

So at church I am playing in the bell choir, singing in the chancel choir, and recently joined "Testify" the praise band to play keyboards. I am thoroughly enjoying being part of a great music ministry. And I am also involved in a Women's Bible Study that meets weekly, a "Circle" that meets monthly, and I do a few other things here and there.

2) I've been at work! A couple weeks ago we had our annual Bethany gala which was so incredibly awesome. So many people were there who are friends of mine, as well as my board and awesome staff. It was a great night... and even a successful fundraiser!

I have developed a new initiative that I am going to blog about separately so that you can see what I'm up to without everyone from Facebook having to read through this drivel when I link the post. But the "Minnesota 500" program is a huge part of my life right now.

I end up working 50-60 hours a week but I love almost every minute of it.

3) I've been trying to keep up with my kids, though half-heartedly. I just don't have the energy to get caught up in the drama any more. So I have a "don't ask" policy. I figure if they want my advice or they need to know something, they will tell me. The exceptions of course are the three who are still in school and I get a little more nosy about them. The rest of them are adults though and supposedly "on their own" so I'm sort of viewing my home as a college residence hall like the one I used to manage back from 85-88. I never worried about the residents, never asked them where they were - it was just my job to be there if they needed me. So far it's working. I'll tell you about each of them in a minute.

4) I've been trying to be a good daughter to my mom. She is an amazingly resilient happy person with a great attitude and a love for God and others that is insurpassable. She inspires me. But her to do list for me is like God's mercies -- new every morning -- and fitting that in amongst everything else is a challenge. She loves living at St. Therese and being part of our church and our family (but she can't hang out with us for a long period of time. She thinks we are exhausting. :-)

So, I suppose those of you who have been reading my blog forever and a day would like to know how the kids are. Here we go:

Kyle is doing great, turned 27 this week. Wow. He and his wife Christy live an hour north of us. Bart and I are "nannies" on Fridays for baby silas who is now 5 months old -- he does it most weeks but I fill in when he can't. He sent me the picture above this morning. Kyle and Chirsty are both teachers and Kyle has started his master's program. They live in a home they had built and they have a puggle puppy who is incredibly annoying.

Rand is in Mankato, still working at Lowe's, still doing great, still invtesting lots of time in Young Life. He visits us often -- and connects regularly with his birth brothers and his birth dad and his family. Some day I have to blog about that whole story. Simply awesome the way life has turned out for him.

The son who doesn't want to be named in the blog is coming to live at our house to live for a while starting today or tomorrow. Finished court ordered rehab a couple weeks early and needs to do aftercare in our area. His son, Aiden, comes up to see us often as Tessa moved up here with her parents and is only about 35 minutes from us. They usually join us for church and lunch on Sundays.

John has been living at our house for the past couple months -- since he got out of court ordered rehab. From what we can tell he is staying sober, and doing well. He seldom leaves the house except to go to work, and doesn't seem to have made any friends which is a really a good thing. Even though he and Courtney aren't together, she brings Isaac up almost every week. He just turned three in October and is a rambunctious crazy talkative loud little boy full of life and fun.

Jimmy had a job from August to October washing dishes, but is currently unemployed and living at home. He helps a lot around the house and doesn't cause too much trouble, but really needs to find a job.

Salinda is living at our house almost full time and has been since March. Gabby lives with us about half the time. Salinda has a full time job as an asst. manager at a fast food place and seems to be happier than she has been for a while. Gabby is learning and growing... precise, quiet, articulate, thoughtful -- everything Isaac is not.

Ricardo is in jail -- we don't know the story, we just see the website. Something about a pistol and assault and his brothers who have been in that jail report that he is heading for prison. We hope not. His story is the one that most breaks our hearts as he did so well while he was living with us.

Mercedes has three nanny jobs and works more than 40 hours a week. She gets paid good money, she is super good with the kids, and the families love her. She also is a big help with her neice and nephews -- her employers let her bring Gabby to work so Salinda doesn't have to pay for day care. Sadie turned 19 last week... hard to believe.

Tony is living with birthfamily. He had a job for a couple weeks, but apparently is currently unemployed. He is planning to come home for a few days at Thanksgiving -- and he was here for my dad's memorial service in October.

Leon is doing his second senior year at a different school and he is doing quite well. He is getting good grades and should graduate at the end of this semester. He has a job as a PCA and is a very willing and helpful chauffeur for his siblings.

Dominyk is having the best school experience ever. He is getting OK grades, loves to go to school, and seems to fit in well at the charter school he attends. He is going to be 18 in April -- hard to fathom -- and he has a girlfriend!!! I know, we were surprised too. He is 6' 3" and is obsessed with getting into the army -- although he still has about 60 pounds to lose. He just got a job at the place where my mom lives at the dining center.

Finally, Wilson is about to turn 15. He spends almost his entire life in front of a screen, but we have let that go. We have discovered that you can't really get addicted to drugs or impregnate someone if you are connecting to the XBox all the time, so we are letting him kind of make those choices on his own. He is getting excellent grades and is wrestling -- rumor has it he will have the varsity spot come January at the high school even though he's still at the middle school and in 8th grade.

Whew. Are you tired yet?

So, that's where I've been. I really wish I could find a way to keep blogging, but somehow it doesn't end up on the priority list....

I don't read blogs any more. I barely look at Facebook. My world is right here in front of me and it is so full it is overflowing.

If you haven't seen this video yet you should watch it right now. It's so incredible. And in it are the words to my current favorite song....

and all of the sudden, I'm unaware of these afflictions eclisped by glory -- and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me....

When you hear this young man sing those words they will give them a way deeper meaning

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