So this we call to mind, and therefore have hope:
Life in the Hage household has achieved new highs and sunk to new lows. The van, our faithful companion, had 183,839 miles on it when the odometer stopped, months ago. We don't know how much longer we can keep the engine running. The kids are balking at running also - running the vacuum, running the dishwasher, running anything except the hot water. We can no longer get them to clean the house for altruistic reasons and have resorted to paying them! Those that are feeling poor, or aspire to the movies, pitch in - at $5 an hour. Those that have regular jobs and feel that toilets are beneath them, kick back. Life is sweet.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
Lamentations 3:21 - 24
Other news, instead of going to work when all the kids were finally stable enough to stay in school, I began a master's degree in Social Work. Instead of bringing money in I am sending big bucks out. When Paul asked why I couldn't just get a job I replied that none struck me as "fulfilling", or used my "unique talents". Paul's reply? "I didn't know being fulfilled and using my unique talents was the criteria for a job. I thought it was a paycheck!"
Where Paul is winning is in the amount of free time he has acquired. We have both agreed that cutting out the volunteering was an essential component to raising teenagers. Additionally, we have eliminated television - again. It is amazing how much more your kids talk to you, you learn things you wish you didn't know! Paul is much more apt to be found reading these days and the kids are more apt to read or play games with each other.
Paul and I even have more time for each other. We took a week off and went to Baltimore and Virginia, just the two of us. It seems the grayer and wrinklier we get the more in love we are. In the dark what do Liz Taylor and Robert Redford have that we don't?
Rebecca, 20, is back at C.U. It was touch and go there for awhile. However, she made some changes which allow her to play more and study less. This year her major is finding ways to come home weekends to ski. Aerospace engineering is now her minor.
Jonathan, 19, graduated last Spring and decided going away to school was not essential when all life's necessities could be gained by staying at home, at great savings! He is attending our local college while continuing to hold down the fort when I get busy.
Matthew, 17, was off to St. Petersburg, Russia this last summer for five weeks. He visited friends there getting a new appreciation for life in these United States. McDonald's are everywhere and in Amsterdam he was offered a beer to go with his Big Mac! Next project? A Eurail pass.
As usual, Ruben, 17, is at his best on the soccer field and was varsity high scorer and most valuable offensive player. He has discovered that "going with" a girlfriend is what happens before "breaking up" with a girlfriend. In order to avoid the latter you have to avoid the former. Hope for him yet!
James, 16, had another run-in with the law this year. Cost him $600 plus three days in juvenile detention. When I went to get him out he played the tough kid, until we had exited the multi-locked facility. Then, as I strode out in front of him, I heard this small quavering voice from behind, "Mo-o-m, can I have a hug?" There's hope for him!
Job Corps, an apprenticeship program, is going to welcome Robert, 16, on January 4. He can't wait to leave for Anaconda, Montana. He is currently majoring in swearing. While there he will major in something more useful, like construction. He also hopes to get his driver's license and a high school diploma. Hope is riding high in this family!
Rachel is concentrating on "A" grades, and, since her peers "are so immature", visiting Rebecca at CU whenever Rebecca is not visiting at home. Her hope, since at 15 she is only 4'9", is to be able to see over the steering wheel when she goes for her driver's test.
Jesse, 14, back in residential treatment, joins us in hoping he will be home soon.
Amber, has fallen in love with dingle-dangle earrings and "Lee Press-on Nails". Her hope is to sneak enough make-up and jewelry on between home and the school bus that people think she is older than 12.
The Hage version of Peter Pan resides in the form of Corey, 12, who is in semi-permanent foster care. "I'll never grow up" is the refrain which echoes his hope. We are not too worried. Nature has a way of taking care of this particular issue.
In late breaking, heart breaking, news, Erica, 15, has run away from her family and is in a another foster home in Ft. Worth. We pray for her with hope.
So we share with you again, a year filled with our ups and downs. When we are up we think we have little need of hope, or God, But when we're down, hope is all we have.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may also abound in hope." Romans 15:13
Hope Abounds This Merry Christmas!
Paul & Deborah