It Is What You Make It…

Frustration is a part of life. If your a House Parent- it’s a major part of life. There are many many things about our choice of lifestyle that brings us angst. Bills, kids, behaviors, Social Workers, dysfunctional members of the community, scheduling conflicts and meetings are just a few of the things that makes me want scream everyday.

Lately I’ve been in discussion with a few people about being frustrated over several aspects of this ministry. Like everything else, being a HP has it’s ups and downs and it usually happens minute to minute. We “Surf” the emotional roller coaster of a Bi-Polar environment. Calm and laid back one minute, chaos and drama the next.

It’s really no different in any other job or ministry. I remember sitting in the cab of a truck somewhere in Nebraska praying that God would deliver me from being a Long Haul trucker. I also had that same conversation with God a few years earlier sitting on a beach in Hawaii praying he would deliver me from a tiny, sunny island in the South Pacific (I know- I’m an idiot).

Bottom line- It is what you make it. The place your at now may be your “Hawaii” your asking to be delivered from. Maybe it’s time to move on or maybe you just need a breather. No matter what you do in this life, we all get to a point where we ask ourselves if this is really what we should be doing.

God calls us all to different areas. Some find their niche in a steel mill in Pennsylvania, some it’s eating sand and blowing stuff up in the Mid-East, for others it’s cleaning pee off the bathroom floor and taking care of kids that have a love-hate relationship (at best) with you. At some point if your following Gods will, peace can be found. Maybe not consistently, but there will be a sense of peace at times.

As much as I absolutely love what I do, there are still days that I would LOVE to slap a staff member that I think is out of their mind. I sometimes have to walk outside or get a cup of coffee at the gas station just to keep from saying or doing something to a kid that is trying to get me riled up. I probably make others feel the same at times. We are all only human after all. The best we can hope for is to learn to control our responses better and to embrace the concept of forgiveness.

It is what you make it. But your only going to make it if you reach out and connect to others that will help build you up and empower you to do what you’ve been called to do, serve others. -Launch

Happy Anniversary

As I sit here working on this blog I am looking across the living room at my wife. Actually I have had to look at her non stop for the last few years. Every blasted waking moment (Just joking darling).

Being House Parents we work, eat, sleep, play and watch tv together. Does it get old? Yes. But that is where the bike helps me to escape for a few hours every week, pretend I am a bad boy living on the edge, and come back home to a hot dinner and a quiet evening to snuggle on the couch.

It has been an adjustment. Not many couples spend as much time with their spouses as we do. I am willing to bet that in the last two years we have spent more time together than the average couple that has been married for ten years. I think she is the only woman on the face of the planet that can put up with me also.

We discovered soon after becoming HP’s that our varied backgrounds helped to balance each other and work for the benefit of the kids. For example, my wife was raised in a great family, always had her parents around and made choices based on her very deep walk with Christ. I on the other hand grew up on the flip side. I was chain smoking by the time I was thirteen and made my choices based on how much available cash was on hand. To say my wife is the better half is a huge understatement.

This all relates to when we are working with the boys. My wife is all heart and believes everything they say. She is a mom all the way through. I look at every statement the kids say as a possible hustle. I have to check and verify everything, probably because I’ve tried pulling some of the same stunts they try on us. Needless to say I am usually the one that holds them accountable for most stuff.

We have had an odd relationship for sure. Both of us met as singles working in a children’s home in Maryland. It was a wild place that was very physical. I guess it was love from the first restraint with her. Our lives revolved around the group home and was just a part of the relationship. Most of our dates were done with 8 kids and a beat up 15 passenger van. We even got married on duty, with our kids decorating the church (with black balloons and streamers) and helping to put together our reception. Several months later when we found out we were going to have a baby, the kids were the first ones we told. When all is said and done, this is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Not many people could do what we did, and I don’t know of any that would have enjoyed the experience as much as we did.

Since those days she has followed me a long ways. She has stood by through every “Get Rich Quick” idea I’ve had, bumping my toe and screaming obscenities in a church parking lot, embarrassing blogs, my motorcycle, late nights sitting on the computer messing with the HP Network and my obsession with gadgets. She is one in a million and I thank God everyday he made this woman loopy enough to be my partner.

Most of the time when I’m acting crazy or embarking on some hobby that could kill me, she just smiles and shakes her head. I use to think it was really supportive of her, but last month I found a $250,000 life insurance policy with my name on it. Oh well, if I’m gonna be stupid she may as well be debt free.

Amy, you have been the love of my life and my co-worker in one of the most important ministries on earth. I can’t wait to continue the adventure with you (After I sign the life insurance policy). Happy anniversary babe. -Launch

#$%^^&%!!!

Have you ever had a week that wasn’t horrible but not exactly pleasant either? This past week was a little frustrating for me.We started off by implementing a new point system for the elementary kids on campus. I have to admit (now) that most aspects of it are better than the old system we used, but after working the old system for the past year, change is hard.

I worked on a mountain of paper work, talked nice-like to some of the kids families that should be in a mental institution, taught a Sunday school class to a bunch of Senior High kids that think they want to be Wiccans, conducted a “Mandatory Fun” day with some visiting college students on Saturday, worked on a proposal for (Hopefully) a new group home and on Sunday, I stepped (barefoot) into a big old puddle of pee in one of the boys rooms. Nothing makes my day like warm pee squishing between my toes.

I know I’m whining and some of you out there probably got stabbed or poked in the eye by a kid this week, but having a bad day is all perspective anyway. And this is my perspective.

So-

It is now time for respite. Time to make up Valentines day and our Wedding Anniversary to my wife (just aint the same while your on duty) and try to sneak out and lay a few miles down on the bike. I’m thinking a day trip to Atlanta, GA or Charleston, SC may be in order.

I’m blessed to be making a living doing what I love, with kids I love even more. But man, it is time to cut loose.

Adios Amigos -Launch