As always, there are lots of changes going on in our family. We have recently said "goodbye" to our foster boys. They were part of our family for 14 months. For a short while, we thought they were going to be adoptable, but a cousin with whom they lived before was able to take them back, and she adores them. This was a difficult change for all of us, and especially for the girls. They lost their playmates - 'brothers' whom they loved for the year. Hosanna cried all morning about 5 days after they left. Jubilee cried as well but understood more. We can say that it was a good lesson in loving and serving those in a time of need.
Around the time that we both heard that the boys would be moved, we also found out that we were expecting a new Young! This is such a wonderful gift from God. Samantha is ending the first trimester this month and we hope she will be less handicapped by the sickness and weakness she has experience since mid-November. Some days she would try to clean the kitchen and then be sick and wiped out the rest of the day.
The little Young is due August 7th, so we have another summer baby. When we told the children, Jubilee cried tears of joy, and Hosanna pointed out that God has really answered our prayers. We are thrilled for this new member of our family. Jeff is very hopeful for a boy, and thankful that the girls will be able to help Samantha so much, being that they'll be 5 & 7 around the time of the birth.
Jeff has been working as a substitute teacher all over the county. From high school math, middle school special education, to elementary P.E., he has learned how to adapt and teach just about anything! He has also been working one-on-one with clients with challenges and disabilities. This has been a learning curve, but also a rewarding time. With all the different teaching experiences in this past year, including group home work with at-risk youth, public school and one-on-one clients, Jeff has decided to pursue a Master's degree in education. Possibly a general education program, but he is also interested in a Special Education degree to work with those with learning and behavioral issues. One option is an online program through the local university that starts this summer, taking up to 3 years, including pre-requisite classes. Other options are being prayed about.
Samantha: I have especially enjoyed teaching Jubilee how to read and work with her on homeschool assignments. It seems almost like a miracle that I have taught our daughter to read. Hosanna and I enjoy sitting together on the couch and learning numbers and letters with a doodle board. (This is a magnetic, quickly erasable board that's clearly readable.) I used the "cuddle approach" when teaching her and she enjoys every minute of it. :)
We sold most of our chickens at the onset of winter, as they don't lay eggs through the cold months without extra lighting, but eat just as much food. We also had little market for eggs without the time to pursue it.
Our two sheep have grown up and our lamb has become a ram. We have personal experience on why they were given the name "Ram." He has taken to the girls very dearly - and they run for dear life with great fear! We have moved them into the lower pasture/garden. Jeff's hope is that the ewe will become pregnant and we can sell Firefly the Ram/Lamb.
With so many changes, God has been faithful to provide and bring peace. It has been such a comfort to rely on the Lord through job changes, court decisions in foster care, and pregnancy sickness. He certainly stands by us through it all. The Lord helps us to love each other and draw close to one another through the blessings and trials. He is faithful! And we are so glad to be His!