Saturday, January 06, 2018

2017 Family Update

Rear L to R: Jedi Knight, Blondechick, Daughter-in-Love, B22, B19, Chicklet, B26
Front L to R:  B12, Grandpa Rooster, Mama Hen, Papa Rooster, Brother Rooster, Niece Rooster

Since I didn't post much in 2017, I'm overdue for an update! I'll try to keep it from getting too long.... 

In 2016, you recall, we had two weddings. In 2017, we had two more exciting announcements--a granddaughter due in April, and another grandchild due in June!

This summer, Bantam22 and his lovely wife moved into a rental house that is a 3-minute walk from ours. In late 2016, Father Rooster's brother and his daughter, our niece, moved from Chicago to live with Grandpa, a 10-minute walk in the other direction. So we haven't really felt the emptiness one might expect after marrying off two kids; there are more of us than ever, it seems, when we have family get-togethers!

We are thrilled to have Brother Rooster playing guitar and singing with our worship team every Sunday now. Remember when my sidebar used to have a prayer request for a guitar player to help lead worship? He's been helping us out for years now, even when he was driving up from Chicago, but we love having him every week now. 

At church, we have several small groups going that are really exciting. We've been starting to practice Immanuel Prayer with individuals in need of healing and are amazed at how effective it is at connecting them to Jesus. We've been joined by a number of new folks in 2017 and we're excited about the ways our congregation is growing spiritually. We've had several baptisms this year and seen several nominal believers give their lives fully to Christ! Although our church continues to struggle financially, and Father R and I were praying about whether he would have to return to the business world in 2018, someone just recently pledged to cover the deficit each month, allowing Father R to continue to receive the part-time salary we've been depending on. It's just one example of how we've seen God encouraging us at Light of Christ. It's amazing to see how God acts and moves in the lives of various individuals to confirm His plans!

In June, Bantam18 graduated from high school, the enormous public school that we hesitated to send him to as a freshman, coming from homeschooling. But it strengthened his faith, and he had many great experiences there, in music and theater especially. 

As a freshman, he was invited to join the Madrigal Singers, an honor usually reserved for juniors and seniors, so he was able to participate all 4 years in Ye Olde Christmasse Feaste, a 7-course medieval banquet featuring the Madrigal Singers.

He had 4 years with an amazing choir director, recognized as a model director by the Wisconsin State Choral Directors' Association, who invited their choir to perform at their annual conference, with our boy singing a solo.

In theater, B18 capped off his Spotlight/CYT career with wonderful performances as Judas in Godspell and as Fagin in Oliver

His high school theater director cast him in a dream role--John Adams in 1776--in a production that ended up being selected to perform at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, in June. Papa R, myself, B12 and Chicklet went along for the experience, and also for the opportunity to visit Professor Brother's family in Kansas (a wonderful, too-short visit). B18 was really magnificent as John Adams, and it was a fantastic finish to his high school drama career.
He ended up choosing to go to Carthage College, right here in Kenosha, so he could live at home and save on housing costs--and because he received a huge scholarship to study music. So he's developing his lovely baritone voice, honing his keyboarding skills, and studying composition as well. He isn't really planning on music as a career, but we'll see what happens. At least he'll graduate with just a few small loans, and it's great to have him around still, at home and at church.

Chicklet finished her 8th grade year at the Title 1 middle school she attended for two years, which was really quite good for her faith, her character, and her academics overall. She is currently a freshman at the same high school B18 attended, enjoying the same choir director, and navigating the transition well despite its many challenges (which sometimes makes her miss homeschooling). Last year in theater, she was a Cheerleader in High School Musical and Mrs. Sowerberry and the Milkmaid in Oliver.  This past fall, she was a wonderful Grace Farrell in Annie...

...and she is currently rehearsing for her role as Ariel in The Little Mermaid! She loves dancing with the Project Dance team and being on the CYT servant leadership team, HYPE, which has been a wonderful group of spiritually encouraging friends.

B12 continues in his second year at a K-8 charter school where he is a happy, social, 7th grader. He generally chooses soccer over theater, and last spring, his recreational team won the championship for their division, with no small thanks to B12's boundless energy on the field. He was given the Energizer Bunny award by the coaching staff, who said they had never seen the limits of his stamina! He skipped Annie but is in Little Mermaid currently, in several ensemble roles, and he enjoys singing in choirs at church and at school. 

He and big brother B26 have bonded playing Airsoft on the weekends, at a battleground where teams are formed with whoever comes. B26 continues to help out with many chores at home, in addition to working 8-10 hours a week at his stocking job. He also posts sermons on our church website, and he's a big contributor to Halopedia and Destinypedia, websites about the stories of his two favorite videogames.

Blondechick started cosmetology school just before she found out she was pregnant, and she's really enjoying learning the trade! She's looking forward to being a mom, and to moving into a new apartment in February. She'll have 4 months of school to finish after she returns from maternity leave, so she and her husband are thankful that both their mothers live near enough to help babysit. Then she'll have her license and the potential for flexible, part-time income doing something she really enjoys. Lots to be thankful for!

B22 was recently hired as a recruiter by a family friend who thought his charismatic personality was going to waste at Starbucks. It's a good fit for him in so many ways, and a lucky break for a kid that wasn't excited about college. His earning potential is ultimately the same as with a degree, without the student loans! The only downside is the 45+ minute commute to Illinois, but it's worth it.

While I am most excited about all that God is doing in our church context, I am also thankful for the opportunities I have to impact kids and families while teaching drama and directing musicals at CYT. This fall I directed Annie in Kenosha, and it was a joy! I have also been on several teams as assistant director, and I will be AD'ing this spring for James and the Giant Peach. While there are internal voices that cause me sometimes to question this use of my time, I continue to receive confirmation from God that it's exactly where He wants me. It's been a life-giving organization for our family and so many others! I also keep subbing to make ends meet, and while it can be a really discouraging job, I am thankful for the income and the chance to pray, at least, for the students and their regular teachers.

2017 saw us dealing with flooding in our basement three times. The third time we also had water in the attic and running down the wall in Chicklet's bedroom. Thirteen thousand dollars later, we now have a sump pump in the basement, redirected drainage pipes outside, new flashing and cornice stones on the roof, and tuckpointing redone on our chimneys, all over our brick house, and especially on the front porch which was rapidly separating from the rest of the house. 

So all my earnings are going toward those expenses--boo--and we need more tuckpointing done in the spring! But our house continues to be a center of ministry, since our church doesn't have a building, and every week we host groups, meetings and counseling sessions, thankful for the layout that allows separate space for the family during these times. 
Besides our visit to Professor Brother & Family in Kansas, we enjoyed visiting Pilot Brother's family in their newly-built home, on the site of the original Civil War-era house on our family farm. They salvaged and reinstalled doors, windows, hardwood floors, doorknobs, hinges, a slate handpainted fireplace, and the grand curved staircase from the original home. They are keeping chickens in the henhouse pictured in my banner (above)! It's great to have them in the same location as my parents. More reasons to visit Ohio!


Anonymous said...

It's nice to catch up this way since we never cross paths. I'm excited about your growing family. Blessings in 2018!❤Dee Border

Trynsimple said...

It's great to hear this update. I can hear so many answers to prayers from through the years in this post. God is always working!

Matt C. (Washington, DC) said...

Jeanne, thanks for sharing this update! And thanks for sharing your 2017 books read list!

pax tibi,