Tag Archive: kids

What is Mercy?

I remember a time many years ago when my family was introduced to a kids show that had a lot of silly vegetables talking to one another. Before long it became one of my favorite and most clever shows.  I’m sure most folks have seen it in one form or another…VeggieTales.  

Here on the ranch, we have been in the role of alternate house parent.  In short, that means we relieve the primary house parents during their days off.  We spend generally 3 days at a time in a home and move to another.  Sometimes covering homes could mean a different house everyday.  

There are lots of success stories we could tell along the way where we have had breakthroughs ans happy moments.  However, along with that comes the trials and growth that lead to the success.  A large majority of the homes we have served have been teenager homes with either all guys or all girls…up to 12 per home.  

We defintely love what we do, but we can honestly say that we have become pretty tired.  It has been a difficult ride, especially for our immediate family in the last few months.

That being said, we needed some sort of adjustment to help with the stress level.  So what was the adjustment?  The little girls home. Pig tails, Barbie, and VeggieTales.

This morning we had difficulty with our normal music player at the girls home.  This was frustrating since turning on music is a huge part of their routine.  So we improvised.  I had an cd player and still have a lot of old discs still around.  Among the mix were two VeggieTales cds.  

One of the ladies reminded me of myself as a child.  She quickly sorted through all of the music and scooped up the silly sing a long.  The player began blaring the theme song to the show.  She happily sung along.  I thought at first this bliss would end after a few moments, but as I watched and observed, she melted into her own world and soaked up every word.  One of the songs is called “Stop!  And Go With Mercy”.  As she was bebopping along to the song, she suddenly paused…tilted her head to the side with a puzzled face.  She turned to me and asked “Mr. O.  What is mercy?”  These are golden moments that God lays before us and exclaims “Go get ’em!  Teach what I have taught you.”  As the song says, I explained to her that mercy was getting a second chance even when maybe we or others don’t necessarily deserve it.

She smiled with a learned understanding and went back to her world of music, dancing with water buffaloes and searching for her hairbrush.


I didn’t look at the date. I just saw the number. 109 days since the last post. When was that? Oh, I remember…just before the holidays. The busiest time of year for a children’s home. The donation center lights up with end of year activity. Generous people from all over help make certain our kids have gifts for Christmas. And then there are the unexpected surprises of the changing weather…water leaks that must be attended to…at least this time it was not in the middle of the night.

We saw 2014 come to a close seeing a lot of emotions run through our house both good and not so good. But this is the reason we are here…to help kids sort through their trauma and learn new skills to rise above and be awesome adults in this world. We show them Christ. We show them love…how to handle stress…how not to eat with their mouth open…how to speak positive rather than negative. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

January came and the world settled a bit. The colder weather showed itself in frigid fashion and school resumed for the new year. Basketball started its second half, and the old men who scrimmaged the team are victorious. Of course they are all nursing their muscle aches…aches…a reminder of a low point for our house…saying goodbye early to a house daughter. The family wanted her home. She had made progress and still had a ways to go. We wished her well then and pray favor and wisdom to her as she continues life’s adventure today. She is missed and will forever be a part of the Oswalds. She was the first of many goodbyes that are to come.

Which brings us to February. We have a few adventures planned and hope that doing so will create great memories and provide opportunities for growth.

Please pray for health in our home, for an increase in “ah-ha” moments as the kids learn to appropriately navigate life, and most importantly, a hunger and desire for each family member to know Christ more.

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!