Saturday, December 3, 2011

Merry Christmas
Dear Family and Friends,

2011’s end is already in sight!  They say, “Time flies when you are having fun.” We must be having funJ! God’s blessings have been evident throughout the past year.

Gwyneth is two. Her words and verbal cues are becoming clearer to us each day as her vocabulary rapidly grows. She’s a “ go- getter,” and has a way of exasperating Jace in her forceful and sweet manner. Her feet don’t reach the pedals of our tricycle yet, but Jace made sure she doesn’t miss out on an occasional ride. She already tries to be caregiver for her big brother and it is a blessing to see her personality bloom on a daily basis. 
                                         

Jace consumes any new book he can get his hands on. By that, I mean, he has his parents read the book to him. He’s been riding a bike with training wheels, having fun with his train table, and learning how to express his emotions. Jace has a great ear for music, noted by his ability to sing on key and his concentration on the instrument that is being played in a song. He’s an intelligent little boy who is a joy to watch mature and flourish.

Sarah has recently completed course work for a certification in acupuncture. She knows that the therapeutic results for animals are significant, but human friends and family have reaped benefits as well!  We are so thankful for the way that her job has provided for the family and we are still able to have significant family time each week. The kids erupt with excitement when she is at home, and she still gets tagged to read by both kids over dad when she is home.

John continues to be a stay at home dad. He worked part-time as a waiter for The Fort Grille through six months of the year and was grateful for the hours he was able to work when Sarah was at home. He continues to send resumes and serve at Harvest Church. We pray that in God’s time he will find a place of employment to flourish, grow, and provide. When he interviews he is up against hundreds of others in the same position. He needs your prayers for God to guide him to resources and experiences for his own personal development until the next major transition into full-time employment.

We’ve been blessed with being able to see family throughout the year. Sarah’s sister, Hannah, took pictures of our family after Thanksgiving. Some of the shots you are looking at on this blog are her handiwork. We apologize for the grainy pictures (Hannah didn’t take thoseJ) since our camera was set incorrectly at the time. But, you can see that we enjoyed time with Grandpa (Boo) and Grandma Lee, as well as Grandma Packard.

This update comes to you in hopes that you have a BLESSED Christmas season! Blessings to you!

John, Sarah, Jace,  Gwyneth
(for more pics scroll down)

 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. " Isaiah 9:6 NIV
Grandpa Lee ("Boo") with Gwyneth
Grandma Lee with Jace
Grandma Packard with, you guessed it:).
Gwyneth was dedicated to the Lord in March of this year at our church.
Best buds on a walk at a park near our home.
It was a blessing to take a vacation this past year. This was a pirate cruise that we all enjoyed.
Halloween 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grappling With Being a Stay At Home Dad

Sarah doesn’t love going to work when most mothers have the opportunity to stay home with their children. When asked if she feels bitterness toward me, she says she struggles only when I whine about having to stay at home, when that is something for which she longs. Her efforts to provide aren’t a negative experience for her, except for my derogatory comments about my current lot in life- full-time fatherhood.

Allow me to share a few of my internal struggles:

-          It is difficult for me to separate myself from the traditional understanding of the man of the house being the provider.

-          Since I have a driven and competitive nature, hearing of my friends’ accomplishments in their careers doesn’t always result in rejoicing. I’m happy for them, but I long for impact from my occupational pursuits as well.

-          The wide-scope of my employment history has never resulted in a specialization in one area- which honestly, probably would have bored me to tears. Yet, I long for the seemingly significant contributions of peers who exemplify expertise in a field of service.

-          Dealing with working buddies, who seem so detached from the internal war of feelings, who dismiss my inward groans by saying, “I’d give anything to be a stay at home dad.”

-          Since Sarah’s “part-time” work is meeting our current need, it seems na├»ve of us to move unless I feel the Lord’s finger in my back.

-          Selling our home in this economy may result in a significant loss.

-          It is difficult to not feel that my work skills may diminish as I stay at home with the kids. One finds that just living offers opportunities to grow, not excluding full-time fatherhood. So, I’m hoping I’m growing in my patience and in relating to people through my involvement with my toddlers.

-          Seeking out the next open door is a struggle since I have no idea when God wants me back in the work force and very few opportunities even fit in a situation where a large segment of the population is looking for employment.

-          Trusting that God is guiding every step, and actually resting in that belief, feels like naivety, on my part, in a culture that encourages a person to get out there and make your dreams come true.

-          In Sarah’s and my case, it does not feel like any job will do. We both sense it should provide enough for the kids’ childcare. And, we don’t think it is worth putting them in childcare unless I’m convinced and psyched about joining the cause that provides the paycheck. We are also praying for the caregiver, because if a job comes along, we want that person to be top-knotch.

These are just a few of the issues with which I’m grappling through this long season of unemployment. I continue to lean into promises from the Bible, about how God guides EVERY step of His children. That’s where I want to rest. Believing that HE has great blessings in store for those who trust HIM, is what I choose to believe.