Wednesday, December 09, 2015


Up to this point I have not announced anything publicly so I guess this is the big announcement. We are moving.   And the transition is much harder than I thought it would be.  Ending well is harder than it looks.  So I thought I'd blog and answer some questions about the move.

WHAT you might be saying?

Yup I'm leaving my beloved Bethany and Bart and I and Wilson and Dominyk are moving to the Commonwealth of Virginia.  You aren't as shocked a we are, let me tell you.

I have a new job.

What is the job you ask?

I will be serving as Chief Program Officer for Patrick Henry Family Services.  The Chief Program officer is one of the four chief officers that run the organization.  (CEO, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Advancement Officer plus me).  My position will be overseeing three main programs.  The directors of the following programs will report to me:  A residential boys and girls home, the Hope for Tomorrow Counseling program, and Safe Families.  There is also a gorgeous Camp and Retreat Center that I will be involved with.

How did it happen, you ask?

On September 23rd I told one of my favorite people that it was my plan to never leave Bethany and to retire from my current position.   But on October 1 the CEO of PHFS, a guy my age who spent his childhood in 57 foster homes, sent me an email out of the blue asking me to apply for the position.  He had found my profile on Linked In and thought I would be a perfect candidate.  Sixty percent of the children who live at the boys and girls home come from failed adoptions and the goal is to become a child placing agency so that the can find homes for those children.  He is a dreamer and loves change (makes me look like an amateur) and will be fun to work for.  I prayed a LOT about this and finally, a month after he contacted me, Bart and I flew out for my interview.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Why do you think it’s a good fit for you?

  •  It is a Christian organization and leadership values what I value
  • I have always dreamed of working at a group home to help them do it better than what we saw when a couple of our boys went from one to another when they were teens.
  • There is enough to do to keep me busy for years.
  •  I would not be managing a budget and ALSO fundraising for it.  
  •  I will be a primary decision maker.  Nothing will happen in the organization without my      opinion.  I’m sure nobody is surprised that this appeals to me. 
  • It will allow Bart and I and our youngest son to move far away from some of the drama and hopefully jump start some of our older children to more independence.
  • There are some cool opportunities and possibilities for Bart there.
  • They offered me a lot of money and a company car.  (OK, so this isn’t the primary reason, but it did help me make the decision)
When will you be leaving?

I start my training on December 30th so Dominyk and I will leave with both dogs on December 28th.   I have told Bart several times, "If Dominyk calls you from somewhere in Ohio on December 29th saying that I dropped him off with a cardboard box and a marker, he is NOT lying."    His OCD has been a bit out of control and I think about the 45th time I hear, "mom, mom, mom, mom, how much longer" I might lose it.   But anyway, assuming I don't kill him or drop him off, he will be working on the campus for a few weeks until Bart and Wilson join us.

After Wilson finishes his semester, he and Bart will be driving down preceded by the moving truck (we think).  

What will Bart be doing?

He wishes he knew!  The DS at the United Methodist Church in the Lynchburg area knows that he is hoping for a church.  He has applied for an innkeeper/chef job at the retreat center, and now we are just waiting.  I believe that God has orchestrated this whole move and that He has a plan.... but it would be nice to see a little bit more of it about now.

How can we pray for you?

1)  Pray that Bart gets the perfect job for him.
2)  Pray for our adult children as they move out on their own (miraculous answers to prayer on this one I should tell you about sometime).
3)  Pray that we can sell this house in time for the move/
4)  Pray that we can find the perfect house in our priceline (and if you want to throw in a little extra, I really want a porch and a main floor bedroom).
5)  Pray for the people and jobs we are leaving behind.

Why is this transition so hard?

Dangit, we LOVE these people!   When we moved to the Twin Cities we decided we weren't going to move again.  We settled in.  We developed meaningful and lasting relationships.  I planned to retire from Bethany and I invested everything I had in my branch, my region, and my friends at the national office.   We have 12 kids here and only 2 want to come with us.   We have 5 grandkids here and 2 more coming (identical twin girls being born within the next month!!!)

Everyone we tell is shocked.  Most of the people we tell are sad.  (Some aren't, but they are pretending to be).  When I am at work I kinda feel like I shouldn't be, but I have a lot to do to get things transitioned.   Another really hard thing for me is that one of the best friends I have ever had is going to be having the interim director job and he is walking around being Mr. Charming to everyone when he was NEVER charming around me :-)

At home the kids are anxious -- abandonment issues resurfacing, stress is high, and we are doing a lot of child care for Gabby and the baby.  Gabby is fun, helpful, and very easy.  Carlos is 15 months old.  Need I say more?  He is a very big, very busy boy.   We are trying to pack with him here ... so stress is high at home.

I am thrilled about the next chapter.  I loved the last one.  But this page between the chapters is making me an emotional nightmare.

But there are a few things I have learned over the past several decades.

1)  God is good.  All the time.  And His ways and His plans are good.
2)  If we follow His plan, it all works out in the end.  If it hasn't all worked out, it's not the end.
3)  Whenever you move to a new place old friends don't stop being friends.
4)  Love multiplies.  Wherever you go there are lots of strangers waiting to become your closest friends.  The people that we met during my interview trip were amazing and we can't wait to get to know them.

I keep telling Bart that all of these awesome people that we are having such a hard time saying goodbye to were strangers to us 4 years ago.

So even though this transition is tough -- maybe the toughest I've made since I left BWC in 1992, I know I'll be where God wants me to be.  It's my dream job.  Virginia is beautiful.  Winters will be mild.  Friends, kids, and grandkids will still be able to text, Facebook, and Facetime -- we aren't going to the moon and they do have internet in Brookneal.

AND some of you will be closer to us than ever before and those of you who aren't -- we encourage you to visit the area on your next vacation.  We will be 3 hours from Virginia Beach and 3 hours from DC, 7 from Nashville, 7 from Atlanta, and only 2 from Raleigh/Durham NC....

If you haven't gotten this far, thanks for reading.   Now the secret is out!


Adrian Timmons said...

May God bless you all in this move. God has great things in store. You are amazing people. Thank you for just following God full steam ahead. You both are examples to the rest of us!
Adrian Timmons.

Loronda Schuler said...

How exciting and sad all at the same time. The AC and MN will be loosing a very special couple but God's plans are always exciting. I pray your move goes well. Know you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

nancy said...

Well, my friend...wishing you the best, Claudia and that "invisible Rev". Bart, you are only "invisible" because I hadn't see you in person for quite awhile after we met Claudia. I pray for the perfect job for you, too, Bart.
Can't even begin to tell you what all I would catch up with you on, Claudia. No time now, with all your transitions. I know God has many, many more plans for you and Bart and your family. Best wishes in the Commonwealth.
Oh, and toss in Christmas while you're at it, why don't you? Have a very blessed one with all those you love.
Nancy B

Paul said...

Good Luck, you deserve what God has in store for you. Praise the LORD...