Thursday, June 30, 2011

You're Invited - Save the Dates!

Two very important dates are coming up and we’re offering an open invitation to anyone who wants to attend one or both. It would mean a lot to our family, and Don especially, to have you attend. So many of you have supported us these last four years – financially, prayerfully, and in countless other ways. God has used your encouragement and love to get us through this adventure. Now that we are ending one journey and beginning another, we hope to share the celebration with you. 

Dons Ordination
Sunday, July 31, 2011
5:00 p.m.
St. John’s Lutheran Church 
4500 Buena Vista Road
Bakersfield, CA  93311 
This is the ceremony when Don will officially become a pastor. It will take place at our home church in Bakersfield. Pastor Dennis Hilken (who married us) will officiate and Pastor Ted Hartman (who confirmed me back in 8th grade) will preach. There will be a dinner reception following (I think we’re having tri-tip!). The church would appreciate having an RSVP if possible, so they can start planning. You can call them at 661-665-7815.
Don’s Installation
Sunday, August 14, 2011
4:00 p.m.?
Faith Lutheran Church
4000 San Juan Avenue
Fair Oaks, CA  95628
This ceremony officially installs (Pastor!) Don as the pastor at Faith Lutheran in Fair Oaks. Our California-Nevada-Hawaii District President, Rev. Dr. Robert Newton, will preside. We don’t know as many details about this one yet...we’ll share as soon as we know!

Please let us know if you have any questions. We are so excited about these wonderful events and hope to see you at one or both!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Faith Lutheran Church, Fair Oaks, CA

I know pretty much everyone has heard about Don's call by now, but here's the official blog post - almost 3 months later! He'll be the sole pastor at Faith Lutheran, in Fair Oaks. Faith was founded in 1940. They have two services on Sunday (though this summer they're experimenting with only one service) with a Sunday School/Bible study hour in between. About 225 people attend one of those two services. They have a school, consisting of a preschool (where Bethie will attend Pre-K), kindergarten, and first grade. We spent a weekend in Fair Oaks last February when Don interviewed. The people were all really nice - we felt so comfortable and welcomed. We're really looking forward to getting to know them all and seeing what God has in store for Don's ministry and our family. 
Call Day, Concordia Seminary, May 4, 2011
Fair Oaks is a really neat community. It's about 15 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento. There are tons of huge, mature trees, rolling hills, and very diverse architecture. It's definitely not the cookie-cutter stucco homes we're used to seeing in the newer developments! Much of the growth took place in the mid-1900s. The downtown area is overrun with wild chickens! We can't wait to show the kids - it's the funniest thing. It's such a popular area that it's hard to find available housing in Fair Oaks proper, so we've been looking at rental houses in nearby Carmichael, Orangevale, and (the winner) Citrus Heights.

The church is in the San Juan Unified school district. It is HUGE. There are at least 42 different schools Hannah could conceivable go to. Don and I started out looking at the 9-10 neighborhood schools that are geographically closest to the church, preferring to live/work/go to school in a fairly small radius. We also got some great advice from people familiar with the district (thanks Sandy and Melissa!) to look at the fundamental and open schools. These are public schools that do not have neighborhood attendance boundaries; admission is through open enrollment, which means that families have to apply to attend. This typically leads to a "better" school, meaning more family involvement, higher test scores, more field trips and enrichment activities, etc. This sounded perfect to us, but we assumed that since open enrollment began in January, we would be out of luck - that Hannah would be at the bottom of a huge waiting list. But because of all the budgetary issues and class size changes, we had reason to believe that there might be spots after all. So one week when my mom was here visiting, Don and I took a day and drove up to Sacramento and visited all 9 (!) of the schools that we thought might be a good fit for Hannah. (We also drove by quite a handful of possible rentals, visited with an admissions clerk at the school district, and had a delicious sushi dinner before returning home.) Besides being flat-out exhausted, we came away with our first choice school - our last visit of the day was at Cambridge Heights Open Elementary. We really liked the principal and everything about the school just seemed to fit. Soon after that visit, we applied for an inter-district transfer to at least get her on the waiting list. To make a long story short, she got in! We are so excited for Hannah to attend Cambridge Heights - and Bethie and Noah probably will too. Some of you know that Hannah has attended a different school every single year since she was two years old, so I am just ecstatic to be able to build a relationship with a school and the families there for many years into the future. God is good!

A short while later, we hauled all three kids back up to Sacramento with us to look at rentals. We got to see the inside of 5 that day and I definitely fell in love with one of them. It was a little more than what we wanted to pay, but it was definitely our favorite. We went back and forth, we prayed, I wrestled with God quite a bit, and Don offered them $100 less on the rent than what they were asking. We didn't think the owners would take it and I had resigned myself to a house that, while less expensive, was definitely not a house I really wanted to live in. But, just as Don was about to send off the application for that house, he got a phone call that the owners accepted the offer! I really am excited - I just love this house. It's a 3/2, almost 1600 square feet and recently renovated. See the next post below for some pictures. And as always, thank you for reading and thank you for your prayers. We love you all!

Pictures of the house

Backyard with new landscaping

Living room. Here, you're standing in the dining room with the kitchen at your back. To the right, there's some built-in storage and a wet bar along the wall along with the hallway to the bedrooms.
Kitchen, looking out to the backyard so I can keep an eye on the kids - score! Notice also the new stainless appliances. Two more reasons to love this kitchen: the garage opens directly into it for easy grocery unloading and there's an indoor laundry room with more built-in storage.