As of today, we have 8 people living in our house: two parent students, one paraeducator, one student-photographer, one social worker and one pastor. And two little babies loving life. It's busy but I can't really imagine life any other way at this point. Really, I can't.
So here they are:
|The Bowkers Three: Kelley, Megan and Wee Wittle Wiam|
Megan and Kelley serve on our core staff of leaders at church. So yes, we not only work with them, we also live with them. And we still like each other. Incredible, I know.
|The fabulously squishy and charming, Liam Kohen Bowker. What a doll baby.|
|Emma (L) and Christy (R) are apparently about to get eaten by a snake at Hobby Lobby, of all places.|
Our beloved photographer and pal, Emma, has been with us for the month while her hubby's been away for military training. We love Emma and an excuse to live with her is easy to make up. We're so glad she's been here this month and we will miss her when she leaves, even though she'll be 10 minutes away.
Christy has been with us since last year, September I think, and her short stay turned into weeks and then we all broke down and decided that she was going to be our roommate...again. :) (She lived with us right before John was born too.) She's working with some adorable littles at a local school, finding her calling involves some form of intense advocacy for women and kids - it's all taking shape before our eyes.
|And of course, us. The Siders, Josh, John and the little Bear/Monkey/Puppy/Baby. Depends on the day.|
Thing I've been obsessing over lately:
History and future of Manhattan
Babies and Mommies
The connections of all these - there are many!
I've been so fortunate to meet some amazing women in Manhattan, to feel for the first time in years that I am living alongside some incredible peers who love me, support me and can read my mind too, as an extra mind-blowing perk. Because of them, and perhaps because of some of the maturity one is bestowed by turning 30, I feel able to dream bigger. I am in a season of thinking of things and doing them. I spent many years coming up with ideas and berating myself into inaction because I never thought I could actually succeed and follow through on anything great. I felt I had a great calling, but was stumped by my fear of failure. Well, I've taken on a heap of huge projects recently, and stopped early in the process of most of them: bought a website, started planning to write a book, and I don't know what else. But practicing failure was just what I needed, and when we hit 2012, it was clear: Manhattan needed 24/7 prayer and worship to accomplish all that God has for this city. So that's been my primary focus, with adoption right in the wings, just waiting and hoping for God to open the doors so we can take the plunge. Of course at the moment, with every room in our house full, that won't work. But I feel it will be soon. Or I hope.
My Dream Job:
I think I found my dream job. And Tracie Loux, is pretty much doing it. I didn't know I had a dream job until I found her. Tracie and her husband John have three birth kiddos and four adopted. Tracie works for an adoption agency called Hannah's Dream. And Tracie's sister-in-law, Renee, is also an adoptive parent, and works with the Orphan Justice Center, who is sponsoring a local program called Safe Families for Children. Safe Families works with churches and families to provide a network of homes for children whose families are temporarily unable to care for them. In a way, it's a preventative measure to keep kids out of foster care or provide care for a family who doesn't have local support and needs a place for children to go while getting medical care, deploying, etc. I love this program! They don't have one in KS yet, but they're in the early stages of talking about how this could work within our child welfare system. I'm hoping to stay in the conversation on this program and it's movement west into Kansas. (I'm sure Sam Brownback would be excited to see the churches working to support families, as churches are meant to do, rather than the government trying to manage this deeply intimate and personal role.)
I'm just dreaming now. But if I could do anything, I would quit my job and run an adoption agency and pregnancy resource center, like Life Choice, who I volunteer with now. And I would run the Safe Families network for our region. And I would adopt. Adopt kiddos from the states and across the world. I would spend time fundraising through creative ways to support these organizations and our adoptions, and I would love on our adopted kiddos and help their little hearts get healed. This is what I would do if I could do anything.
Dreaming is wonderful. Dreaming when you know that anything (with God) is possible is far better. I love knowing that God and I can come up with a great idea and actually make it happen. The people and the resources and the education and training and funding and everything we need to do whatever we think of is all right there. We just pray and agree with God for what He already wants to do and watch the thing materialize.
[Much thanks to the men and women who sowed into this city and our lives in prayer and who, in their lifetimes, never saw the breakthrough. But we get to live in it now. Thank you to you all.]