Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer of Service

Has it really been two months since our last post? I believe summer days pass quicker than any other time period. I swear I was just cleaning up my classroom and this week I found myself rearranging desks to try a new classroom layout. School will be here in a matter of a few weeks, but we've been redeeming the time during our time off.

Hannah loves on her favorite horse Prince.

Sam, Nate, Hannah, and Kristina spent their summer volunteering with an organization close to their hearts. I told you in an earlier post that Hannah spent quite a bit of time at the horse stables caring for the horses and working with the handicap children who came for therapy. It can be back breaking work, but her only complaint has been the heat. It has been sweltering here in Central Florida this summer!

Hannah grooming Prince.

Hannah having a heart to heart with Image about where they are and are not going to go.

Hannah returning Prince to his stall.

Kristina was quickly intrigued by Hannah's work at the stables and signed on to help out. I found it interesting that she gravitated towards a horse named Lucky. Contrary to his promising name, Lucky is blind in one eye and takes a little more patience and care than the other horses. Maybe that's what attracted Kristina to him in the first place. I don't know who is more excited to see whom on the days the girls serve at the stables! She is dwarfed by this gentle giant and it tickles me to see them together.

When I showed up with my camera yesterday, Lucky had just peeked out of his stall to give Kristina a kiss.

Walking and talking with her favorite.

Obviously a hug is the finishing touch on Lucky's grooming regiment.

And while she may have her favorite, she shares the love by stopping to have a conversation with Equity . . .

and smooch on miniature horse Marshmallow.

The Horse Whisperer. Who knows what she's telling these guys, but they sure do listen!

In addition to her time at the stables, Kristina is also involved in something close to her heart. Reading! She volunteers twice a week as part of the Teen Library Corps by reshelving books, helping patrons find what they're looking for, and organizing as only our girl can.

Both of the boys wanted to be involved in serving soldiers in some way. I was glad when they settled on the Veterans Hospital here in Orlando. Both boys are hoping to join the military when they finish college, so I thought it would be good for them to see the less than romantic side of the service. They were assigned to the post-op surgery unit where they do everything from transporting patients to clerical work to running errands for doctors and nurses within the unit. They really enjoy ministering to the soldiers and their families. They've learned a lot from soldiers who are happy to share their war stories with two eager boys willing to listen. They've put in over 70 hours each this summer alone. I wish I had photos I could share of the guys on the job, but they work in a restricted surgery unit and patient confidentiality means a camera doesn't make it past those locked doors. Once I caught a glimpse of Nate wheeling a patient downstairs. He was dressed in his scrubs and I barely recognized him! I swear they've changed so much just in the last year. Sometimes I will hear a man's voice in the house and I have a moment of panic thinking someone has broken in . . . only to realize its just one of the boys. Like the summer, their childhood seems to have flown by too!

Josh is already looking at his volunteer options for next year. He spent this summer taking an online course and getting ahead in school. He did volunteer at the Run for Africa 5k last Saturday morning. This was one of the races the boys and I considered running when we heard about it a few months back, but when I realized it was being held in late July I opted out! It was a worthwhile cause though, so we all chipped in to help the organization. All seven of us volunteered at the event and had a blast working the water stations and shouting encouragement to hundreds of runners wilting in the early morning heat. Running is one of things that has fallen off my radar this summer - more about that later.

Okay that's enough for now - though there's lots more to share. Stay tuned!