Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jonathan turns 8!

July 15, 2009 - a surprise birthday party for Jonathan, only he was still in China. Our friends surprised us with a birthday party on Jonathan's birthday. It was bittersweet as the guest of honor was not there, but it was so sweet that our friends remembered the specialness of the day and celebrated with us. It would be approximately 4 more months until we would travel to China to bring Jonathan home.  Thank you- Laura, Gwen, Denise and Amy for that special day! 

 Thankfully, we were able to work with an agency in China to send Jonathan a birthday cake and care package to let him know we were thinking about him.

July 5, 2010- Jonathan's 4th birthday- his first birthday celebration as a Shafer!
Fast forward 4 years and today we celebrate Jonathan's 8th birthday.  He loves watermelon, legos and Bubbles the dog.  He is constantly amazing people with his speed and strength.  What many would consider a disability does not get in Jonathan's way of living a fun, fast paced energetic life.  He rarely sits still but will crash at bedtime.  He gives the best hugs and is constantly telling me I am a good mom :) He has begun to ask some questions and make some comments about his life in China.  We do our best to answer his questions and to honor and respect his birthparents and China.  We will be forever grateful for the privilege it is to be his Mom and Dad.

His day began with breakfast in bed, minus Amanda who is at camp.  His dinner request- take out Chinese food! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Time for a change... an update from Jeremy

This morning I came into work and my wall clock had stopped.  It made me laugh.  It seemed so appropriate, and also a little ominous.

Today's a big day.  Today - June, 30, 2014 - is my last day as a full time employee in the Computer Services Department at Temple University.

That's a big deal because this department has been a kind of home for me for 16 years.  That's longer than I've been a father!

Today I will bring one longish chapter of my life to a close, and tomorrow, July 1, I'll begin another one.  On July 1, 2014 I will officially become full time faculty in the Fox School of Business at Temple University.  So, while I'm still at Temple, I'll be on a decidedly different career path.

I can't help but think about what's implied here.  Obviously I didn't like my old job, and I love the new one.  I'm leaving the bad for the good.  It's simple.

No.  Not right.

Because really the job I had was pretty good.  I'm leaving a good thing.  In fact, I'd say that I'm leaving a great thing.  But, I'm still leaving.  I'm choosing to leave. Why?

The reasoning behind any big career change has a lot of different facets.  I could explain my choice here from any number of different angles.  There's an emotional angle to it all - and were I to write about that I'd explore my need for a sense of autonomy, competence, and connectedness in my work.

If I were to describe this decision from a financial point of view, I'd be writing about the delicate balance between risk and reward.  I'd have to write about giving up a bit of financial security in exchange for opportunity. 

And if I were writing from a spiritual point of view, I'd writing about passion and calling.  That sense of calling has been and still is super-important for me, and has held a prominent place in my thoughts these past few months.  But it is hard to explain.  How do you explain God's prompting and a long, slow, journey of self-discovery?  That's not a blog post, it's a book!

Instead of any of these other facets, I can simply explain this life-choice of mine with one word: Time.

That's a picture of Ben, my Ben, when he was less than a year old.  He's nine now.  I remember when he was tiny.  I remember when we were "just" a "little" family of Kim, me and four children.

And then of course, there was this guy....

And this one...

How much even these youngest two have grown!

This past weekend we celebrated Cousin Andrew Wissmann's High School graduation, and caught up a bit with Cousin Lauren McManus as she had just returned from an 8 week study-abroad program in Europe.  I remember when those two were toddlers.

I look at my own children, and I realize that there High School and College years are not far off.  And then what?  Jobs? Weddings? Grandchildren??

Time marches on.  I don't want to miss these days.

So, I'm changing careers.  I'm trading out the job I have now for another where I can have somewhat flexible hours in the school year, and extremely flexible hours over the summer. 

It's not perfect.  Nothing is this side of heaven.  It's not easy.  But it’s got some flexibility; more than I have now.  And that is worth a whole lot to me.

It's worth a lot because time is one thing I can't buy more of and, unlike the clock on my office wall, it won't stand still.


"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." -- Psalm 90:12

Friday, June 13, 2014

4 Months in Pictures

Blame it on facebook, blame it on lack of time, but whatever the reason our blog has been neglected.  I am going to attempt to do some catching up as there are some big changes coming to the Shafer household in the next few months.  (no, we are not adopting)  This post is specifically for our favorite Aunt Beky, a missionary in Africa, who looks forward to our blog posts. 

So here it is ~ February through May in pictures.
 Amanda turned 15 on February 14th.  She and Tyler shared a birthday celebration. 
 Everyone was Happy, Happy, Happy!
Ben and Aunt Suzy gave the combined celebration a thumbs up!

 Winter turned to spring and Easter arrived.  
We did a combined Easter Celebration and Leo turns 4 party at Aunt Peg's house. 
 Sibling Silliness

 Amanda is our cake decorator.  She decorated Leo's Elmo cake!
April 24th, Leo became a heart hero
as he had surgery to close his ASD. 
The surgery went well and he was released from 
the hospital 5 days later, April 29th. He was 
home to celebrate his 4th birthday on the 30th.
 Unfortunately, he was readmitted May 15th 
with fluid around the heart.  He was finally released 
4 days later.  The last month has been difficult as Leo
has had ongoing health issues that include an ambulance ride 
and a few seizures. Thankfully, today he had more testing and 
his cardiologist declared him heart healthy.  We are thankful
that Leo has been fever free for over a week and is back to 
his pre-surgery self.

 Ben turned 9 on May 20th!  He enjoyed his traditional 
breakfast in bed.  Thankfully, Leo was discharged a day before 
Ben's birthday so we were all under one roof to celebrate.
 Coolest Spiderman cake ever decorated by the best big sister.
June 7th all of us along with Mom-mom and Aunt Suzy, participated
in Bethany Christian Services 5k run/walk.  Jeremy, Amanda and Tyler ran in 
the 5k and the rest of us walked. 

I promise another blog post soon with more details about some of the changes coming our way and how God has been faithful to us through the last 2 months.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tyler is a Teenager

We woke Tyler up for his traditional breakfast in bed.
Amanda had already left for school.
Tyler is one of the smartest, most sensitive young men I know.  He really is growing into an incredible, Godly man.  He has a heart for those in need and especially the orphan.  He has on more then one occasion given his entire savings to a ministry in Africa.  We look at him in wonder and amazement as he is often wiser then his age.  We can take no credit for how well he is turning out.  God is definitely at work in his life.  He really is so much like his dad- thus his awesomeness. 
Lego builder, Milkshake drinker, Awesome big brother
Proud to call him our son.