Friday, February 26, 2010

What a week!

What a week it has been! In addition to the busy schedules our families keep, we had some significant news and events here at Hope Alive.

To start the week off, one of our resident moms announced that her name was at the top of the City of Frederick subsidized housing list. She struggled with the decision she needed to make – whether to take the housing opportunity at a very affordable rent or to remain at Hope Alive to accomplish her remaining goals to ensure her future success. After feedback from the staff and weighing the pros and cons, she made the wise and difficult decision to postpone her graduation from the Hope Alive program and decline the housing opportunity she knew she wasn’t ready for. She’s accomplished so much in her six month residency at Hope Alive, but has more goals she wants to achieve!

On Wednesday morning, one of our two-year olds jumped off the bed and hit his head on the bed frame leaving an inch-long cut. His mom rushed him off to the emergency room while other mothers got her two older children breakfast and off to school. This little one braved the ER procedures to receive 3 stitches on the back of his head. I think his mother was more upset than he was!

Later that same day, one of our 8 year-olds asked if the staff could pray for her friend’s mother as she was facing surgery the next day. This young child had already asked the other moms in the house to pray for her friend’s mom too. It’s wonderful to see such a tender young heart interceding for the needs of others.

On Thursday morning, one of our resident moms called from the Frederick County court house to announce the judge is scheduling her for graduation from the drug court program and asked if she would provide her testimony to the court next month about how her life has changed. She’s ecstatic – and rightly so – that she has successfully completed four years in drug court and is now able to publicly celebrate her sobriety and life change!

And last night the emergency room had a second visit this week from Hope Alive residents. One of our moms went to the hospital late last night with an acute and extremely painful medical emergency. She was treated, released, and returned to Hope Alive about midnight thanks to the committed and attentive moms and staff caring for her.

And to end the week, one of our resident moms gave me a copy of a thank you note she wrote to a local foundation that provided a college scholarship for her full tuition this semester. In her letter expressing her gratitude for their generosity, she wrote “I hope to achieve many different goals, one being receiving my R.N. and two becoming a productive member of society.” She shared with the donors that she wants to show her children that “they can do anything that they want to in life.”

What a week. We have much to celebrate and much to be thankful for - for achievements, for successes, for sobriety, for healing, for tender hearts, and as always for God’s divine provision! Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The big dig

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had enough snow this winter. What we’re left with after this second blizzard – as Fox 5 news is calling it – is The Big Dig. In an attempt to change my attitude about this latest storm, I started to think about the positives … my family and our Hope Alive families are all safe, we didn’t lose power, and we stayed warm and had plenty of food on hand.

As I thought about what else God wanted me to learn from this experience, He showed me that our resident families’ lives are similar to these snow storms. Like the blizzard conditions we saw on Wednesday, our families come to Hope Alive overwhelmed and barely able to survive their day to day struggles. Much like the mounting snow, they feel trapped, desperate and hopeless. With The Big Dig that’s required after the storm, resident families regain stability in their lives as each mom and child bravely addresses their complex issues and plows forward toward healing and recovery. They begin to believe that the storms they’ve experienced will come to an end and they find freedom from despair and hope once again. Then like the sunshine after the storm that melts the ice and snow, their lives are brighter and the pathway becomes clear with their destination in sight.

I am so proud of our resident moms and children – especially this week. Despite being confined under one roof together for days, our families had an exceptionally peaceful time together. The moms initiated art projects with the children for the upcoming Visions for Hope event in April. They worked in teams to clear the snow from the sidewalks and cars and to care for all the children. And a houseful of children actually got along – imagine that! Today they are all thrilled to get outside and have some fun!

Special thanks to Philip Millison of P&M Transmissions in Sabillasville for plowing the Hope Alive driveway and parking lot from last weekend’s storm and his work the last 3 days to clear the six foot drifts.

Until next week ... stay safe and warm ... and happy digging!

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Help for Haiti

Last night, 13 of our resident moms and children gathered in the dining room to put together hygiene kits for Haiti. One of our volunteers – Miss Dawn – who comes every Wednesday evening purchased all the required items for the kits. The moms and children worked together “assembly-line” fashion filling the Ziploc bags with towels, soap, toothbrushes, band aids, and other basic hygiene supplies. Both moms and children felt so proud that they were able to help others. It was an especially important project as one of our resident moms is originally from Haiti and still has family and friends living there (see my previous blogs).

After the assembly was completed, Miss Dawn put all 40 or so hygiene kits in a pile and gathered everyone around to pray over them. The sweetest prayer was from one of our 8 year-olds who asked God to keep the people safe.

Like everyone else, we’re preparing for the snow storm – stocking up on groceries, filling extra tubs with water in case the power goes out (so we can flush toilets), and having enough activities to keep energetic children busy. (Remember we don’t have TV at Hope Alive!) Keep our families in your thoughts and prayers – several moms and children are recuperating from illnesses and we’re praying they get well and stay well!

Enjoy the snow and stay safe and warm. Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director