As I’m writing this post, Dustin, the girls, and I are in the front yard on our fairly busy street. The girls have been riding their scooters for the last couple of hours, and we took a break to eat some takeout on a picnic blanket. It’s been a good evening.
Kristin is currently screaming, “Hello! How’s your day going?” to every single group of people that passes by our home.
It’s a beautiful weather, so she’s had quite a few people to talk with, or perhaps “talk at” is more accurate. Most people just smile, barely acknowledging she’s spoken to them.
So she usually just asks again a little louder, “How’s your day going?”
If they don’t respond, she then proceeds to share about how her day is going. “We love summer!” or “We’re riding our scooters!” or “My cousin gave me this helmet,” were some of her go-tos tonight. She’s an extrovert and just happy to see people.
The last people to pass by were a little more chatty. They’d been by once before, and this time upon their return, she let them know she loved their dog, their shoes, and their shirt.
“You’re so sweet,” they told her.
“Yep,” she replied. “I was born sweet.”
Her joy is contagious, so normally by the time people have finished listening to whatever she has to share, they’re smiling a little bit more. I think she feels satisfied.
As for me, I’m trying to get a hold of everything that’s swirling in my mind. So, I’m writing. Outside of talking Dustin’s ear-off and making unending to-do lists, writing is my way to process the constant deluge of thoughts. It’s not so much a plan as it is a broad outline of expected efforts and outputs. (This is growth for me.) I know this isn’t necessarily the time to be making goals, but I also know that our life requires us to show-up, so here are the areas that seem to need most of my attention. (Of course, this is all subject to change because we’re living through a pandemic, and some days all I want to do is eat cheese and watch Gilmore Girls.)
School – As I’m sure many of you are, we’re basically counting down the days to the end of this school year. The girls have done a pretty good job staying focused even with everything that’s happening in the world, but I’ve found my motivation is fairly unpredictable. Some days, I’m ready to dive in and teach, and other days we play some games, cook together, and call it a day. Our homeschool philosophy has always been pretty flexible as far as curriculum. We’re open to a variety of experiences and learning opportunities, so as we head into the final stretch of the year, we’re giving ourselves, and our girls, lots of grace.
Parenting – Our focus for the last two years in parenting has been this: become a stick-together family. When we’re flourishing and when we’re floundering, our aim is to find some way to actively stay on one another’s team. We get curious. Look for the need behind the behavior. Work on our own emotional regulation, so we can help the girls with theirs. Talk regularly to stay on the same page. This area of life can’t really be compartmentalized. It shows up in the middle of every other aspect of life, especially right now, because there are no good boundaries. Everyone is together all the time. Parents, I see you, and I’m with you. You’re doing such good, good work.
Home Projects – To be completely honest, I’m not as excited about this part of this month. I don’t mind chores or projects in general, but painting, deep cleaning, and home improvement stuff really isn’t my jam. Give me a pile of dirty dishes or a closet to organize, and I’m all set. Ask me to do some yard work, and you’ll hear some grumbling. But alas, being an adult isn’t always fun so projects are on the horizon. Hopefully we’ll be ready to list our home by the end of the month!
Community First! Village – One new addition to the to-do list for this month is getting serious about Dustin’s new role at Community First! Village. While we’re still wondering about our official timeline for our move, we know our next step is to invite our people to partner with us in this mission.
Dustin is looking forward to devoting his time to the Village and aiming to raise enough support to be onsite full-time. We see this ministry as the next step in his pastoral calling (and mine), and while it’s a new place, a new people, and a new way of doing life, there is also a deep sense of continuity with our current life. We have a deep love for God and for people and an ever-increasing commitment to being bringers of justice and good news to everyone.
By committing himself to full-time missional life, Dustin will be able to lean into the areas of ministry where he feels most at home, especially pastoral care and spiritual direction. His gentle, steady presence will be such a fit for this new role, and I’m incredibly excited to see the ways God will continue to move in and through him at CF!V. Just as he’s done over the last decade in local church ministry, Dustin will still be using his gifts to care for people as he helps them connect with God and one another.
We’re excited about the opportunities for him to care for both our new neighbors who were formerly homeless and our fellow missional residents. While those who are centered in society often receive spiritual direction and pastoral care regularly, these types of conversations and spaces aren’t always available to people on the margins. He’s looking forward to creating room for our neighbors to explore spiritual questions & dialogue, to dive into scripture together, and to try out spiritual practices individually and corporately. We know that the main part of Dustin’s role will be providing an attentive, relational, faithful presence. This will mean adapting to the needs that arise, and I’m confident Dustin will do that with grace and peace.
We are honored to be joining such an amazing group of people who call the Village home and we know we will be challenged, encouraged, and loved in ways that we’ve never experienced before. As with any new ministry role, flexibility and sensitivity to God’s leading will be essential, and we’re open to finding our best fit as we continue to get to know this new community.
So, this month, we’re working on a website, talking with potential partners, and praying for this next season. We’re looking forward to continuing to share our journey at the Village and are trusting that God will help us find some partners in this ministry who have hearts for those on the margins.
If you’re interested in learning more about Community First! Village, we’d love to share with you! Leave a comment or send us a message, so we can set up a time to chat.