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The story of the first

It was the 4th of June. A normal day at Cookson for most lpeople. But that day was different for us. We welcomed the first placed child into our home. We look forward to giving highlights from her stay with us in blogs to come…as well as the others that follow.

Each child comes here with a story. Most with some sort of family trauma and circumstances beyond their control. Others may come because they have issues with regulating emotions. We don’t share details of their struggles publicly because that is not the focus. We want to focus on getting them the help they need, through the hope only Christ can bring, so that they can experience healing.

So with that, with tons of excitement, please welcome 9 year old Kilee. She is a spoonful of smiling energy. Her laugh is contagious and her ability to work puzzles is fantastic! We have learned that pink and purple are a few of her favorite colors and she likes Monster High.

Please pray for Kilee as she begins her journey here. While you are praying, we have two more who will be joining our family in the next several weeks. We are excited to add kids to the clan and are looking forward to seeing God work in their hearts. Until the next story, be blessed!

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Writing calendars in pencil or on a chalkboard are a great idea at Cookson Hills. Why? Because schedules modify and change like the swift rivers here after a storm. Kind of like this past Friday when we received a call from our social worker. The plan had totally been flipped on its head. Our schedule was pretty full of respite assignments along with a countdown to our first full-time child in the home. Suddenly, they were all cancelled…we somehow found ourselves in a wormhole. What was scheduled for 3 weeks away now became 4 days away…our first child! Wednesday is now that day. A young girl will be added to our home. We are excited and nervous at the same time.

Please pray for our family as it grows by one this week. Pray for this little girl…that God will heal her heart.

Speaking of new stuff, Mike added a family member. A hamster. He will be fully responsible for its care after learning the ropes. He decided to name him Weelly. Yes. Spelled that way. And I’ll bet you can’t guess the reason for the name…

Having one foot in a city and another foot in a town can make it a bit difficult to stay steady on a houseparent income. We are blessed beyond measure here, but still having the house back on Nashville street has stretched our dollar and added a few extra responsibilities. With this realization, we put Nashville St on the market. After being on the market about 10 days, I’m happy to announce answer to prayer. A contract! Today I made the brief trip into town to ensure the utility guys got everything turned on. Now we pray the inspections clear. Without any hitches, the closing will be June 30.

We are looking forward to the sale being completed so we can turn our eyes toward the first Oswald family kids to join our home on a regular basis!

Thanks for your prayer and support of this great mission to kids in our own backyard!

So Amber loves to cook and bake. She has been blessed with the outstanding ability to combine ingredients, sometimes without measuring tools, and create masterpieces worth eating over and over again. I, on the other hand, am not so great at making food. Don’t get me wrong. I could follow instructions and make something. The trouble is, I don’t have the skill set at this time to modify and correct on the fly to make a food item that is good become great. But never fear! Where there is a cook/baker, there is a taste tester. That’s where I do extremely well.

Which brings me to my first ADD moment of this post.

There is another famous baker that we are all familiar with. Little Debbie. She makes little cakes of magical goodness that melt in your mouth. They come all packaged in different shapes and sizes depending on the season. And on top of that, she loves to donate her goodies to Cookson Hills…a lot of them. She is such a tremendous blessing!…but I have a problem. I love taste testing! When it’s a different shape, I try it. When it’s a different color, I try it. And you know what drives me crazy? (Prepare for ADD moment number 2)…The packaging. Little Debbie, to be a great baker, has to try out all of her food. If that is true, then how does she keep that figure? You know, the one on all the boxes of treats? C’mon now. I thought maybe she would have the great appearance of Aunt Jemima, like she enjoys testing her goodies. I guess that means Little Debbie must have a husband who tests everything.

Anyway, prepare for ADD moment number 3.

I say all this to say thank you to the donors who give us Little Debbie snacks. (I sincerely mean that, by the way) As of this week, I finally got back into a cycle of workouts, starting with hiking up a few hillsides to crawl through caves. One of the tunnels should be renamed Ozzie Squeeze because well, because of my consumption of Little Debbie snacks, I barely fit through it. I’ll be looking forward to going back to that cave and to make it through that passage much easier when I’ve dropped some weight.

Prayer for the day…help Brian to consume food in moderation and to stay motivated to exercise. But on a more serious note…Most of all, pray for the kids that are very soon to a part of our family. That they will meet the Savior of the Universe and receive the healing they need directly from Him…if a Little Debbie is what it takes, so be it.

Oh, boy!?

Little known fact of the Oswald family blog…there are actually two of us who can write our posts, but one of us has never been brave enough to do so until now. : )

It’s been crazy busy around here until today. Today started our first official set of “days off”. It’s weird. I’ve gotten so used to having noise and plenty to do that I wasn’t sure how to handle an almost empty house and no extra kids. What do you do when you’re so accustomed to always doing something? Don’t get me wrong. I can always clean the house…again. And it’s not like there aren’t still some items to be put away from our move that have not yet found a home (i.e. paperwork and binders galore from training, plus mail and the like, and pictures that still need hung somewhere). I guess what I really mean is what do I do when nothing is expected of me for 4 full days? I have no outside responsibilities for a few days in a row. What I will do for sure is enjoy the break that allows for our core family bonding time.

Brian wrote about our first group of kids that stayed with us. We had our second group leave on Saturday night. It was another group of girls, smaller this time with only 3. We got to enjoy Spiritual Emphasis Week with them, which I found to be quite refreshing and enjoyable. It was neat to watch how they responded to what God had to say to them during this time. One of the girls loves to cook so it was fun to watch her enjoy the kitchen while she was here. One thing I know for sure after our first two groups of girls have come to stay with us. Girls can eat way more than I expected! Future note to self: Keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand when having girls in the home.

On a final note, we had the great opportunity this past week to learn about the first child we may have come into our home. Should nothing change between now and mid-June, we will have a new little boy to welcome into our family. Michael is super excited about the idea of no longer being the only boy in the house. Michele is anticipating the idea of having her “own” bathroom for a little while until more kids come to live with us, as she will be the only girl in the girls’ hallway briefly and no longer sharing with her brother once the little boy moves in. Brian and I are looking forward to becoming one of the full houses on campus.

Actually, one more final thought. Prayer requests to be exact. We put our old house on the market at the end of last week. Please be in prayer agreement with us that it sells quickly, rather ASAP kind of quickly. Please be in prayer for our family as we get ready to welcome our newest member. Also keep praying for us as we continue our respite duties for a few more weeks.

I know I’m not as entertaining a writer as Brian, but I do enjoy sharing my thoughts when possible. Thanks for keeping up with our family as we continue to live out God’s great adventure!

Well, we finally made it. Kids in my house that are not my own. 7 to be exact. Plus our own 2. A baseball team. All but my son…girls. I just removed dark blue, pink, and red finger nail polish from my fingers. The glitter is still there. Not a single major mishap. It has been a good first assignment for taking care of somebody else’s kids for 4 days. They will go back home tonight and we will get a new set on Wednesday and do it all over again. Here is a quick overview.

One of the girls had PT to attend. I drove her there with Mike in tow. I’ve heard that girls talk an average of 45000 words a day. I’m pretty sure she hits 60000 a day.

So far, Frozen, Inception, Thor 2 and a few other short films by Pixar have aired on the DVD player. While we are on entertainment, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, both movie and book, are a hit. Whowouldathunk?

Still a lot to learn to make sure all of these great kids get the help they need to be successful in life. Now we have some OTJ experience to adjust our house expectations so that the next group is even more smooth.

Well, we won’t have kids until May 2, but that doesn’t stop us from having adventures. The next door neighbors have the opportunity to take their “kids” on a family vacation. They leave tomorrow. Some of the kids have approved pets that they are fully responsible for…including finding pet sitters while they are away. Well, as new houseparents we have bonded well with the house next door, and who would the kids ask to help with their pet? Us. We now have a blue beta fish and a turtle named Pinkerton hanging out in their tanks at the end of our long dining room table. I learned an interesting fact today about turtles. They can be overweight. Who knew? Apparently, they fed this guy a bit too much at first and the jelly rolls piled on his body. He has been on a diet and seems to be in good shape now though. We might take him on a walk in a few days just to make sure his cholesterol stays in check.

Pinkerton and the un-named blue fish pet sitting job day 1 is in the books. Over and out.

Ponder This

Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King

Day 25

I haven’t really been paying close attention to time and realized today that we have passed a major milestone in our adventure.  The habit timeframe of 21 days.  To be exact, we have now been here 25 days.  Training is still underway with just over a week to go.  Our bio kids know the routine for school.  Amber and I almost know when the mail runs.  Mealtime is a hoot at the dining hall (I’ll post about that another day).  I attempted to weed eat on a hillside yesterday.  My legs are telling me about it today.  Relationships are being built and our first relief assignment is scheduled.  The schedule is always flexible, but we are on another milestone countdown…the day we first receive kids into our home.  T-minus 16 days and counting. 😉

It’s been a while since the last post.  Not because of the lack of story, but because of the lack of internet.  You see, we are now located around Kansas, OK, in the foothills of the Ozarks…better known as Cookson Hills.  We are here on a mission as a family.  To help kids and families in crisis.  Amber and I accepted jobs at a children’s home as houseparents where we will create an environment that is safe and strive to provide help, hope and healing to families in crisis.  We have been training and getting our on-site home ready for children for about 3 weeks now.  We expect to start receiving kids in the next few weeks, so we are really excited to get to work.  In the meantime, we are connecting with the families in our community and building relationships with kids that have been here a while.  I’ll post more now that the internet is working, so stay tuned for new adventures!