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

Oh The Pain.

I loathe all that is Mac.

Nothing but system errors and messages that seem to mock me; System error, System Timeout, Network Unavailable, Contact someone that loves you- AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I have lost spreadsheets that I have poured my very soul into. Spreadsheets that were formatted perfectly. I had layouts that were pleasing to the eye, a tapestry of color. Gone forever.

I have tried, oh how I’ve tried, to get my Mac to do something as mundane as download music, back up my Blackberry or merely connect to the internet (I’m borrowing a laptop at the moment). It’s no use. Everything the Mac touches it destroys.

The final straw came last night. I had just finished unplugging my Blackberry from the beloved Mac only to see all my contact data was erased. As I gently threw my Blackberry across the living room at the wall, I grabbed my Paul Simon CD and put it in the CD drive in the hopes that old Paul would soothe my soul and stop me from chucking the Mac into the backyard.

Instead, itunes starts ripping the CD and formatting it into some evil Mac language and refuses to play the CD. Desperately I tried to eject the CD but the Mac refused to give it up. My wife got a worried look on her face and quickly walked out of the room saying she thought the baby was crying. She wanted no part of this one. I know now what must be done, I can’t risk another human being being cursed with my Mac, it must be destroyed.

I have spent the last few hours trying to think of a fitting demise for my little Mac. Perhaps I should give it to the boys and let them have their way with it. But if I did that, parts from the Mac would be all over the cottage and serve as nothing more than painful reminders for years to come.

Fire would be a decent way to go, but I’m pretty sure I would go to jail for torching it in my backyard.

Maybe a long drive, a nice quiet field and a box of ammo would be a more fitting end. I’m actually leaning that way because it combines my hatred of Mac with my love of firearms, a win-win situation.

I’m open to any suggestions as to how the Mac will meet it’s end. If anyone would like to donate a PC drop me a line. -Launch 

Mommy And Daddy Brown

In a field where the tour of duty for a House Parent couple is on average only a year and half, you have to take notice when you run across an old timer or two that have been ministering to children in need for longer than some of us have been legally able to vote.You may have that couple at your facility, here they go by Jim and Becky Brown. From what I know about them they have been at our facility for ten years, or forever, I forget which. Needless to say they have seen and experienced a lot of change in those years. They held on through changes in staff, programs and kids. By example they prove that a facility is what you make it.

Jim and Becky are Family Teachers in the toddler cottage on campus. Countless kids have gone through there in the years they have been doing their ministry. Fortunately some of the earliest memories these kids have are of “Daddy and Mommy Brown”.

I had the honor of filling in last summer for a week in their cottage. We were assured that it would be a cake walk. A bunch of toddlers, a playground, early bed- no problem. After all, I am an old grizzled Army Sargent and used to going toe to toe with disrespectful teenagers. I walked in the cottage with the expectation that having to listen to the Tele-Tubbies on the TV would be as hard core as it would get that week.

Upon entering the cottage all the kids verbally assured me I wasn’t Daddy Brown. I reassured them I had the power of making snack time vegetables or pudding pops, it was their choice. They did not seem the least bit intimidated or concerned. I needed to rethink my strategy.

The rest of the day went great, the kids were very well mannered and polite. I had a blast on the playground with them and thought we were bonding well. Then it was bath time.

If your not familiar with young kids, they either hate bath time or can’t get enough of it. My wife went to take care of the girls, I was going to take care of the boys. I told the boys to get ready for a bath and they were all naked in about 5 seconds and fighting over who was getting in the tub. This was a new one for me. I guess I had to be more specific with the instruction.

So one boy got in the tub. I was helping him to get situated and noticed that all of his buddies were still hanging out in the bathroom. One was brushing his teeth the other was taking a dump. No shame at all, they were just taking care of business. The whole situation was system overload for me. I’m the guy that locks the bathroom door just to brush my teeth.

At bed time I had to run laps around the house trying to catch a kid that refused to go to bed. The more I tried to grab him the harder he laughed at my fat butt trying to catch him as I tripped over furniture and toys. I finally got him when I tripped and fell and he collapsed from hysterical laughter.

After that week I had a new found respect for Daddy and Mommy Brown. They are definitely the hardest working couple on campus and have an energy level that most younger staff here would have a hard time keeping up with. This video is just a small representation of the fruits of their ministry and a life well spent.

The Brown’s are a great example of what we are called to do, serve kids.-Launch