Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm Messed Up!

As many of you read the title of this post, I know that you are thinking something like "We already knew this Amy!!" :-) I would definitely agree...there are so many areas which I am totally messed up (and if you don't know what they are I am definitely not going to share it here.) :-) However, there has been something that is totally messing me up lately that I do want to share.

In my last post, I mentioned RECESS which was a summer day camp that we did at our church for kids who live in the Miami Hills Apartment Complex. For those of you not familiar with Miami Hills, it is a low income (actually probably no income in many cases) housing complex and you can find anything there (poverty, addictions, crime, violence, etc.) I would say that RECESS is probably one of the greatest things we have ever done as a church. It was an amazing experience!

So you may be thinking, "That sounds like a great could that be messing you up." Well, here is how. Through RECESS and the free lunch program that we offered in conjunction with RECESS, I discovered that 3 of my former students are now living in Miami Hills (who were my students in 4th, 5th and/or 6th grade). Two of them have children and one of those kids attended RECESS (and this kid was one of my favorite RECESS campers... even before I knew who his mom was who coincidentally was one of my favorite students when she was in 4th grade.) These young moms are either in late teens or early twenties and are living in Miami Hills and trying to raise children in that environment. I know the childhood stories of these young moms and know that they have tragic stories, especially involving their mothers. So as I think about these girls, I wonder what is going to happen to them and their children. They already have so many strikes against in the Miami Hills environment, having an incredibly poor example of motherhood in their own lives, a lack of education and learning disabilities to boot, and who knows what else has happened in their lives since I last saw them in elementary school.

I knew these young moms as young girls and want so much more for them than their current circumstances. As I think about these young moms, I think about the kids who spent 8 weeks at RECESS and know that I definitely don't want to go to Miami Hills in 10-15 years and see the kids who were at RECESS 2010 bringing their kids to RECESS 2025. So here is what is messing me up.... Now that I know that these young moms who were my students are living in Miami Hills, what do I do about it? Do I try to make a connection with them as mom and a friend based upon our past history? Do I offer to take their children on play-dates with Anna? Would they think I was totally crazy if I offered that and ruin any connection I have with them? And...what do we do about all the kids who we spent 8 weeks with this summer? How do you break the cycle of poverty, crime, addictions, etc.? Anyway...that has what has been consuming my thoughts lately and messing me up. I think it is a good messing up...but still messing me up. :-)

The one thing I know that I can do is pray like that is what I am going to do! I think God is especially fond of messed up people and will help this messed up person know how to best reach out to other messed up people.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good-bye Summer

Yes...I know it is only mid-August and some of you may be thinking what am I talking about when I title my blog post GOOD-BYE SUMMER. I mean the temperature is still in 80's, the new TV season has not started and we still have to mow our lawns. It is still summer! Yes, technically it still is summer. However, our summer ended on Monday of this week because that was the day that Mark went back to school. That means we are back into a routine of getting up early, figuring out who will get in the shower first and making sure Anna has everything she needs to go to day-care/preschool for the day (which consists of about 1/4 of the items in our house). :-) It seems like this summer was a fast one, but a good one. Here are some of the highlights of summer on the Osterhout Family:

  • Our Family Vacation. We went to Wisconsin Dells and South Dakota. My favorite part was visiting the Ingalls Homestead in DeSmet, SD. Here we are in front of the Ingalls Home. It made me want to read all the books again.

  • Speaking of reading books, I read about 15 books this summer and that was really great...especially since I now have NOOK e-reader. Mark got it for my birthday and it is the best invention ever. I am becoming a NOOK snob and don't want to read anything that I can't get on my NOOK. :-)

  • Another highlight was Family Fridays. My day off from working at the church is Friday so we made a conscious effort to do something as a family on those days. Sometimes it was simply taking time to go for a walk and other times it was something bigger like going to the Zoo or Healthworks Museum. We even did a road trip to Chicago for the day on one of the Fridays.

  • HARRY POTTER! I only saw 3 movies at the movie theater this summer, but the Harry Potter movie was by far the best. Since I am huge fan of the books, it was great to see the final installment come to life on the big screen.

  • RECESS-For those of you who are not Living Stoners, we had an 8 week day camp for the kids from Miami Hills (a low income apartment complex right behind our church.) It was so fun to have the activity and fun on our church property every day. Mark volunteered one day a week and I was able to be a part of at least the lunches Monday through Thursday. I am SO proud of what the people who volunteered accomplished!!

  • This was also a summer of peace for us. The past two summers have kind of sucked (to put it mildly) for us since my dad was ill and passed away last summer and Mark's brother passed away in the summer of 2009 just 6 weeks after his mom died. We are VERY thankful that this summer did not have anything like that happen.

So...farewell Summer 2011! It was a good one! I am ready for fall and all the things that go with it-football, apple cider, cooler weather and Halloween Candy! :-) Bring it on!!