Thursday, September 22, 2011


That's the song I feel like singing every time I look out a window or pull into the place we live now. There are trees and rolling meadowy-type stuff, and 5-6 different playgrounds for the boys to play on. There are horses and cows and goats. There are a couple of ponds and woods with trails to explore. It's amazing. I never knew how much I wanted to live in wide open spaces (key the Dixie Chicks song) until we got here. Now I don't know how I'll ever go back!

We L-O-V-E it here, if you can't tell. And what I mentioned above really isn't the biggest draw. It's the kids. Our four girls are amazing, courageous young women, and we are so blessed to be a family with them now. I have lost track of how many times God has clearly, obviously shown up and sewn our now-large family together. Three of the girls call me mom, and I have had deep, really wonderful conversations with all of them. They are funny, silly, smart, talented girls, and I love being their mama.

Some of the high points of our two weeks with them so far: a mini prank war with the teen boys cottage, which consisted of us depositing a large, headless Santa Claus in their front yard, and on another night, carrying lawn chairs to their backyard to serenade them with our personal rendition of "Kumbaya." (They started it by ringing our doorbell and running last week). Another high point: our family meetings - we have them once a week, and we share about our week, talk about anything that needs to be addressed, and talk about what we're thankful for and what we're stressed about. I provide a yummy dessert - everyone is a fan. We have also sat out on our back deck in our rocking porch chairs all together a couple of different times in the cooler night air and just chatted. One time, one of the guys who works here rode past in a golf cart and said, "If you guys here a gun shot, that's just me shooting at skunks." HA! Dinner is also pretty awesome - we talk and laugh and fellowship, and afterwards we turn on some music, crank it up, and the entire family does chores for about 30 minutes. This past Sunday me and the girls laid around and watched movies (we go to church on Saturday night) in the afternoon while the boys took naps, and that was so restful and fun. A final warm fuzzy for me is watching our boys and our girls interact. They really do love each other already. They play together, and the girls are SO helpful - buckling and unbuckling the boys from the van, chasing them around, taking them outside, building train tracks together, watching them in stores, etc. Like I said, warm fuzzies :).

Every night Michael and I go to our room to talk and catch up about the day, and pretty much every night we talk about how blessed we are to be here, and how amazing this is. God's hand of blessing is on this place. We are privileged to be a part of the work here.

I'm writing about all of the wonderful things. Of course there are hard things, too. There are more emotions to handle, more wisdom to plead for so that God can give me the right words to say, almost NO free time (I think this will get better once we are really, truly settled in and we're no longer doing so many first time things that come with moving in and joining a family together), lots of paperwork, more errands to run, kids to pick up from school (carpooling has been a HUGE help), new schedules, having to be more intentional to spend time with B and J, and knowing that even then, there is only so much of me to go around (I pray for God to give them all that they need, and for Him to fill in the gaps that I may miss while doing this - I know He will), etc. So yes, there are hard things, frustrating things, sad things, etc., but they just don't begin to compare to the beauty of being right where God wants us to be.

Our Open House is this weekend from 9:00am - 2:00pm. Feel free to stop by - the campus and all of the houses are open to whoever, and Spring Creek is catering lunch for everyone! Thank you all for your prayers and love for us! I'll keep updating as much as I am able!


Megan said...

It sounds like your heart is overflowing. I am so thankful that you and Michael are in a place of contentment. Even when the bad days come, you can look at your circumstances and know that you are where God led you. I would LOVE to come visit you at your house. It sounds like such a wonderful place. I had to explain to Ana the other day that I grew up on a farm listening to cows moo and not seeing a house for miles. Her childhood is placed in a busy city of a million people! I always ask God to grant me the wisdom to raise Ana in this foreign mission field because I sure don't come from experience. It sounds like you can echo that same prayer. Your boys are living in a foreign mission field alongside you. I pray for God's wisdom to be upon you guys and your new BIG family. What a blessing you are to those girls.

Brad and Lauren Holmes said...

WOW Jennifer! That sounds incredible and I am so thankful you are bonding with your girls so well!

Brad and Lauren Holmes said...

Also, could you tell me more about what ministry this is?

Vicky said...

I am so happy for you.

The ranch sounds wonderful and I know the boys are having a grand time! I can't wait to visit!

I know from my experiences working with kids how rewarding and wonderful that can be.

I also know how much the sad part breaks your hearts. I will continue to keep you and your enlarging family in my heart and in my prayers.

Kristi Petrak said...

That's wonderful!! I'm so glad that the decision that you and Michael made is working out for you both :)
may God continue to bless you!!