Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big Changes!!!

I am typically not someone who likes change. I typically order the same 2 or 3 items at a restaurant, the furniture in my house will stay in the same formation for years, etc. Basically, when I find something that works, I like to stick with it. :-)

So for someone who does not like change, our family has experienced several major changes in the past 18 months. Some have been great and some have been tragic.
  • The Birth of Anna (the best change) :-)
  • The Death of Mark's Mother
  • The Death of Mark's Brother
  • The Death of My Dad
  • The Re-marriage of Mark's dad (to a really wonderful lady)

I think just about anyone would agree that is a lot in a really short amount of time. However, when you have that many major changes, in the grand scheme of things what is one more? :-) That being said, I have requested a leave of absence from teaching in the South Bend Schools for a year (I am waiting to hear from the administration whether it has been approved.) My reasons for taking this leave are two-fold. First of all, it will allow me time to take a break from the stresses of teaching and give me the flexibility to be able to focus on my family and their needs given all that has occurred in the past 18 months. Secondly, I get the opportunity to serve as the Children's Minister at Living Stones Church for the next year. I am excited to be able to use my skills and talents and educational knowledge base to serve the kids on the South Side of South Bend.

So, the Osterhouts have had 6 major changes in 18 months. I think that is enough...unless we come were to come into a large sum of money or something like that!! If that is the case, I would happily accept another major change! :-)

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I know every parent thinks that their child is the cutest thing ever, but in my case it happens to be true. :-) Seriously, Anna just turned 18 months and she is SO much fun right now. There are some things that she does right now that I think are so cute and I just had to blog about them. In the grand scheme of life, they probably are not that important but because it is my blog I get to write about them. :-)

She learned to say "cheese" while we were on our trip to Pennsylvania. This is a very important word for two reasons. First of all, cheese is the food that makes everything better. Secondly, when you are the only child of older parents, the camera is always in your face so it is a helpful skill to have. :-)
Right now, her favorite word is NO. While there are times when this is not very cute, it has come in very handy. She has answered no to some very important questions including:
  • Do you ever want to date?
  • Do you want a car when you are 16?
  • Are you going to give your mommy and daddy any problems when you are a teenager?

I am going to make a video of her answering NO to these questions so that I can play them back to her when the time comes and she tries to break the deal. :-)

Anna loves to sing. She is constantly singing her own made up little songs, but you can begin to tell what some of the songs she is singing and it is so cute to hear that. My favorite song to sing with her is "Jesus Loves Me." The minute that Mark or I begin to sing the song her face lights up and she starts smiling. When we get to the chorus where it says, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" she always points to herself on the ME part. SO ADORABLE!!! It is my prayer and hope for her that she will always know how much Jesus Loves Her!!

Now there are a million more cute things about her, but these are my favorites right now.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Since my dad passed away, I have felt the need to blog about all that has happened but I have not been able to organize or narrow down my thoughts into what might make a clear and concise blog post. I have decided that I will probably never get to that place so I am just going to throw my random thoughts out there. So here it goes!!!

First of all, I have to say that cancer sucks! Now that is not a word (sucks) that I really want Anna to use for a very long time (maybe when she is 40 it would be OK.) :-) However, I am tempted to teach her that word right now to describe cancer. It is just so difficult to watch what it does to people. My dad had always been a big, strong and independent guy so to watch him get weaker and weaker to the point where he could do very little without assistance was very difficult. That being said, I am very thankful that my dad went relatively quickly. I know many people struggle and suffer for quite a long time.

I learned a lot about the depth of my dad's faith. I knew he loved God and was committed to following Jesus, but he was kind of quiet when it came to speaking in words about his faith (his actions were another story.) However, when he decided that he was going to leave the hospital under hospice care, he shared with my mom and aunt that he was not at all scared of dying because he was confident he would be spending eternity with Jesus. He did indicate that he was sad for my mom, my sister and I, but he was most sad for his friends who did not know God. On a humorous note, my mom told him that he had better be there to meet him when she got to heaven and my dad replied, "Just don't come when I am playing golf." :-)

I have a wonderful final memory of my dad. On the day that he passed away, Mark and I had to leave in the morning to come to South Bend to meet his dad and fiance who were coming into town for a visit. As we were leaving the hospice center, I told my dad that we were leaving and said I love you. He had not really been able to speak much or been very coherent for a while, but he was able to tell me that he loved me. He passed away about 10 hours later.

Hospice is an amazing organization. I do not have words to describe how wonderful they are. I hope that anyone who reads this never has to deal with them. However, if you do, know that you are dealing with a first class organization.
A lot of people have asked me how I am doing with all of this and my answer is "OK" and I really think I am. I am glad that my dad is not suffering and I am confident that where he is now is so much better than the best thing we can imagine on Earth (including Disney World.) :-) I am most sad for Anna because she will not get a chance to know him. This is probably the thing that has been the hardest for me in dealing with the losses of Mark's mom, Mark's brother and now my dad. However, I know that they are all a part of her because they have shaped who Mark and I are. Because of this, Anna will know all of them, just not in the traditional sense.
As a side note, the picture at the top of the page is one of my favorites of my dad and was taken just this spring and published in the local paper. Just thought I'd share it along with my random thoughts. :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Middle School Camp

I know it has been a while since I have blogged, but life has been a little crazy lately. Two weeks ago, our entire family spent the week at Michiana Christian Service Camp to serve on faculty for a week of camp designed for middle school kids (7th, 8th and 9th graders). I know that most people who hear this immediately may think that we are absolutely crazy. I mean not only are we choosing to spend an ENTIRE WEEK with Junior High kids, but we also brought a 17 month old with us. We actually probably are a little crazy, but it was a GREAT week!

18 kids from our Living Stones Church Middle School Youth Group went. They were amazing!!! We had 6 of our kids nominated for camper of the week and one that was actually awarded that honor!! It was so great to see our kids worshipping, enjoying their time together and deepening their relationship with God. I think I can honestly say that Living Stones has some of the best kids!