But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22 September is a month that is well loved. The images of apples, football cheers, leaves, rosy cheeks and new school supplies. As excited as every parent is to see their children hop on the bus, there is also the anxiety that comes with the new school year. This week we have tryouts for a new season of sports mixed in with orientations for 7 of the 8, football games and the start of skating lessons! It is a week of juggling and re booting homework systems in the midst of frantic schedules. We are happy, we are full and we are moving...quickly. The pace of September concerns me. I want to grab it by its jersey and tackle the month down to the ground, stop the play! Let us savor this gift of season change and new starts. Along with the happy excitement comes the nagging anxiety. The kids have new friends and old friends coming together on fields, courts, classroom and at recess. It is a challenge to include close friends and welcome new faces. As an adult it is a time of year I am mindful to plan coffee dates, walks, dinners and slots on the calendar that are focused times of re charge and connection. Over the summer is family time, we are immersed in each other. It is blessed and necessary just as the unfolding into the community that naturally occurs when Fall descends is as equally important. This month I hope to savor the weather, connect with new and old friends and walk along side my children as they do the same. To find time daily for prayer and laughter, to allow workouts and coffee to be necessary, not a luxury. Anxiety comes in waves as our family leaves the house for their own interactions, adventures and challenges. Hopefully our awkward prayers will be received with mercy. It is a goal to be an example of good humor and love as we all navigate this month of exciting change and new challenges.
Today as we celebrate Veterans day, I wanted to talk to the kids about both what it means to serve and how we can help our troops. Having family serve in the military can be a source of fear and pride. The kids do not have immediate family abroad but have heard from their Grandfathers and family friends about both war and leadership serving in the armed forces. We made a list of what WE could do from home. ~The kids' school has a program to send care packages to the troops. Shop, Ship and Share has lists of helpful things to buy and send to the troops. We got beef jerky, sunflower seeds and baby wipes for the kids to bring in to school for the program. Many locations participate, google to find locally! http://www.minnesotanationalguard.org/press_room/e-zine/articles/index.php?item=4518 ~ http://www.operationgratitude.com Check out for more ideas and programs happening to support our troops. ~Sending Halloween Candy to the troops, google the closest locations. We found a
We welcomed eight children into our home between March 2020 and today, we have had twenty five children placed as foster children since 2015, and an additional five as respite placements. These numbers look so bland on paper. Thirty children have been part of our daily living in the last six years, we have nine of our own children. In putting some thoughts on paper about what these numbers mean, it boils down to acceptance and hard work. If anyone is new to the Otis family speak, "our own" is a loaded term. We have five biological children and four adopted children. Early on one of our sons told us the power of the question "which ones are your own?" And the fact that I answered without hesitation all those years ago, "they are all our children" from birth or adoption, feeling fully accepted and claimed has become the way we walk in this family. This does not take away the respect and open conversation about birth families, first families and sacrifice. F
Finding out our family of ten is going to be at home together for the foreseeable future lead us to brainstorm some structure. This schedule allows kids ranging baby to senior in high school some level of routine. We have a clear plastic tote for phones for the two hour afternoon slot in the kitchen. Our daily and weekly chores are not changing. Over the summer we are much more relaxed. For our family, accustomed to athletics, faith formation, and being on the go, this will be a challenge. We are doing our best to meet it head on with: ~ 1 Hour Outside activity (at least, can combine another requirement such as chores) ~ 1 Hour Reading without a screen, can be a book, comic, printed out article. ~ 1 Hour Fitness, this can be walking the dog, weights, running, list choice: ~ 1 Hour childcare slot, or playing with one of the youngest three ~ 30 min MATH related time, online games, worksheets, watch Kahn academy, Youtube ~Help the household r