Meet the Jones' -  Russ Jones, his wife Jennifer, and their children Stacy and Nick. They are your average "Desperate Household":  A church-going family struggling to do everything just right yet falling apart at the seams. Russ is trying to be happy in his dead-end job as a graphic designer for a large technology company. Jennifer has recently returned to the work-force as a Real Estate Agent after being a stay-home-mom for many years. Nick is a brilliant 10 year old and never stops talking about his latest discoveries. Stacy is a 15 year old "modern woman" - anxious to grow up and separate from her parent's old-fashioned ideas, she would much rather be out with her friends than spending time at home with the family.

Sam is Russ' best friend from high school and now also his neighbor. He's a fun-loving single guy just enjoying life but secretly craving a wife and family of his own.

Sandy is an old college friend of Jennifer's. They had a falling out years ago when Jen became a Christian but after a devastating breakup with her live-in fiancé of 8 years, Sandy calls Jen for help and is invited to stay with the Jones' for a while.

Read on and get to know our characters more through their personal journal entries.



/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/russ.jpgSeptember 23, 2007

"I don't know about writing in this silly book. If Jen saw this she would hound me to write every day! I don't think I remember a time when I enjoyed going to work...well, when I was 16 I liked my job. We got to take home a pint of ice cream at the end of each week's work. "31 flavors" seems like such a long time ago.  Life would be so much easier just sloping ice cream..."

September 30, 2007

"I'm not sure about another woman moving into the house. I have a wife, a daughter and now Sandy, my wife's friend who was practically left at the altar. The balance of power has shifted a bit. I'm scared for Nick and I! -Just two vulnerable men in a house full of women! Stacy is so distant right now; I am worried about her. God..."

October 7, 2007

Oh man did I mess up this week! Jen and I got into a big fight over Stacy having a boyfriend; well that was one of many things that came up. I said something horrible, absolutely horrible about Stacy.
When Stacy was young she loved Jesus because I told her He was good. When she was young I was her hero. I was the sparkle in her eye's when I came through the door after work. Now...now I feel like I'm loosing her. I love her so much, I really do. I just don't know how to deal with "big girl" Stacy.
God, please don't let me lose her. Please. I can't hardly bear the thought of her hurting, yet when she is around I get so frustrated with her that I just want to shake her. Please God.

October 14, 2007

Where do I start? I think that God is helping our family. I don't know why, but I don't always think to pray about what goes on with our family. This week Jen and I prayed about Stacy. I feel much more peaceful than last week. Not that life is any easier, but it just felt so right to pray about...India. I still feel afraid some. There just aren't a lot of guarantee's in life. The hardest part of being a father is not allowing my children to make choices on their own. It hurts when I have to watch them choose what could hurt them. I bet God feels the same about me at times.

Sam is really bugging me. He drops by all the time, and at the weirdest times. He still hasn't met Sandy yet. I think it is hilarious that he always seems to miss her!


/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/jen.jpgSeptember 23, 2007

"I really love my new career, but if I don't sell a house soon I think that I may explode! -Praying daily for guidance.  I feel a little guilty not being at home much lately.  Russ has always worked so hard to keep our family going, I really feel it's time I help out some.  But why do I feel so guilty about working? God, did I really hear from you concerning this job?"

September 30, 2007

"Worked late again. I think that Russ is getting really frustrated with me but he tries to hide it...I know him way too well. Sandy moved in. She is hurting so badly over this jerk that she wanted to marry. I am not sure that I can help her, I am so far from perfect, why would she ever ask me to help her?"

October 7, 2007

I think that I am on the verge of selling my first house. I don't feel like I can celebrate though because of the stress in the house. Our pastor said last week in service that we are the example of Christ to our children, ouch. I look at other moms and feel guilty because I don't really want a career. I want to believe that being a stay at home mom, you know, just loving the kids and Russell is enough. But I don't know if I have ever met a mom around here that believes that. It's kind of like work becomes their home and home is work to them. There has got to be more than this busy, never fulfilled life that I have found myself in.

October 14, 2007

I think that Russ is a pretty great guy. In the middle of all of this "India" stuff and the stress of work I have watched Russ get mad, blow it, be impatient, be angry and say things that he regrets. But I have also seen him apologize, cry and humbly pray. I think that is what I admire the most about him; this ability to be human AND Godly. He isn't perfect, but he is humble. Thank you God for such a wonderful man. By the way, I have a house in closing! I don't know, I feel excited, but for some reason it just doesn't mean as much to me as it did last week.


/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/stacy.jpgSeptember 23, 2007

"Dear Diary,
Life's becoming so difficult. I feel such pressure fitting in at school and in youth group. I think that I am eating too much too, I feel fat! Maybe if I lost some weight I would be noticed more by people at school...maybe I would be noticed more by my dad. I had better go to bed; big test in the morning. Good night."

September 30, 2007

"Dear Diary,
I honestly don't care what my father thinks. If I want to go to a friends house, then I am going! If I don't want to eat, then I won't! This is my life and he has no control over it. I miss my dad."

October 7, 2007

Dear Diary,
I feel so sad. My heart feels like a rock. Here is a poem that I wrote tonight:

Daddy

Please
Don't stop trying to walk toward me
Don't stop
Even if I scatter glass on the path
Even if I yell and holler and scream and cry
Please

Please
Find a way to my little girl heart
Find a way
Even if I look like I am not listening
Even if I pout, and roll my eyes
Please

I still need you
to be my prince
to be my friend
to be my
daddy.

October 14, 2007

Dear Diary, So much has happened this week. Amien, the guy that I like, hasn't been around much. My parents want to meet him, but I'm not sure I like him anymore. He isn't anything like my dad...

I overheard my parents praying for me this week. Wow, it was really cool. I stayed home tonight and played a game with Nick. He is an idiot, but he can be fun at times.


/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/nick.jpgSeptember 23, 2007

"My mom says that I should try to journal. Sounds weird to me, but I guess I could write about penguins! I love penguins!! I love everything about them, and I enjoy watching them on the educational channel, (is that weird?) Besides penguins life is OK, I guess. Mom and dad work too much though, and when they are home they seem kind of moody. Adults are weird. Nothing like penguins. Heck, I bet penguins don't fight like Stacy and I. Maybe I should move to Antarctica. More tomorrow."

September 30, 2007

"Again, this is kind of stupid to be writing in some book that no one will ever see until I die. Maybe they will publish it and make me famous and go on and on about how I loved penguins! Dad was talking with Stacy tonight; didn't sound like a Disney movie. I think that dad might be a little bit prejudice about some of the guys that Stacy is hanging out with. My dad is pretty perfect, this must just be really weird for him. Oh, and I love penguins."

October 7, 2007

I'm kinda liking writing in this book. I guess it's sorta cool, (for a weird family like ours!) There's a kid at school that is bugging me. He thinks he's really cool. Today he called me a faggot. I was going to tell dad but he was kinda busy with mom and India. I wonder what dad would do if someone called him a name like that? My dad is so great, but I bet that he would slug any one that called him that kind of a name. I'm really embarrassed and don't want to tell my dad. But I bet he would know what to do. Penguins don't call each other names; how cool is that?!

October 14, 2007

Hi. I was looking on a new web site about penguins today. It is amazing what the man goes through while he is holding his wife's egg all winter, waiting for it to hatch. While he is hanging with the other men in the freezing cold the wife leaves and hunts for food all winter. It is just amazing! I guess being a parent is a lot of work. I can't imagine being a better parent than my mom and dad. The cool thing about us is that we have God helping us. I wonder if the penguins feel God helping them?


/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/sam.jpgSeptember 23, 2007

"Beautiful day today! Took a walk in the park by my house -- lots of time to think. I was really having a great time with God on my walk, just praising Him and loving Him. Then I thought about the thing that has haunted me since college. Why can't I just forgive myself? I love God so much, but I have this big weight hanging on my neck and I don't know how to let go of it. Help me God, I love You too much to stop trying to make sense of my life."

September 30, 2007

"OK, third day in a row that I have had a dream about her. I should talk with Russ about this. Nobody knows what I went through when I was 18 though, I don't know if I can trust even Russ, my best friend. I just want to let go of my past, but how. And then there's this chick named Sandy living with Russ. I haven't met her yet but I hope that she is hot!"

October 7, 2007

I'ts late. I was so busy today. Sometimes when I am alone I feel really lonely. But for some reason I feel covered and protected. I feel loved! God is really helping me to see myself through His eyes. I'ts as if all of these years I have been looking at everything, (including women) through glasses of shame. So, whatever is happening, I think I like it. Goodnight.

October 14, 2007

Had a tough day today.  I feel like I am all alone sometimes.  This Sunday the pastor was sharing about God's forgiveness.  He said that when we make mistakes, God forgives us but sometimes the shame that we take on keeps us from forgiving ourselves.  I am going to pray about that.  Well, I have to go...I am going to drop by Russ and Jen's house before the movie...maybe I will finally meet Sandy.


/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/sandy.jpgSeptember 23, 2007

"I can't even get out of bed. I feel horrible. I feel lost. I see very little to be happy about, except that I have gotten in contact with my old college friend Jennifer. She seems so happy. Me- I just want to die."

September 30, 2007

"That jerk! I wasted 8 years on him and he goes out and finds the first hussy he can find. He just threw it all away, like I meant nothing to him at all. JERK, JERK, JERK! I am not sure that Jennifer understands, she seems to live in such a different world than me. She is so perfect, how could she ever understand what I am going through?"

October 7, 2007

Russ and Jen have been so good to let me stay with them for a while. I don't know, there is just something about them that I really like. Oh, I have seen some huge fights while I have been here, but even in their fights there just seems to be this thing...an aura or something. I know Jen got religion in college, but this feels different than religion. Even when there is tension here it still feels better than what I grew up with. Um, then there's this Sam guy that Russ keeps telling me about. I am not sure that this mystery man really exists, but I kind of want to meet him. What am I saying?

October 14, 2007

I'm really mourning James today. I am mourning myself also. I feel like in my emptiness maybe I have been hanging all of my hopes and worth on James. I don't know if he ever was "best" for me. Being here has made me question so many things in my life. I feel like I have wasted so much time. I feel like I am searching for something that I can't quite put my finger on. I feel like there is a place inside of me that can only be filled by something that I have not yet come in contact with. All I know is that being here with Russ and Jen feels like part of the puzzle.


Check back each week for more journal entries...