Meet the Family -  Russ, his wife Jennifer, and their children Stacy and Nick. They are your average family trying to live for God in an imperfect world.  Russ is struggling to find balance with work and family. Jennifer is a stay-home-mom. Nick is a brilliant 11 year old and never stops talking about his latest discoveries. Stacy is a 16 year old "modern woman" - anxious to grow up and desperate for the freedoms of an adult.

Susan (Grandma) is Russ' Mother who recently moved in to the XX home.  She is trying to fit in to a home where she is no longer "in charge" and feels more like a burden than a help.  She is a scripture-quoting Grandma who doesn't hesitate to say how she feels, even when there is noone there to hear it.  Now that she is widowed she finds herself alone and more dependant than ever.

Robyn is Russ' prodigal sister.  She has been struggling with her own demons of addiction for many years and has almost completely lost touch with her family.  Racked with guilt and years of silence, she has finally made contact with Russ. She is desperate to reconnect with her family in this early stage of sobriety.

Sam is Russ' best friend from high school and also his neighbor. He's a fun-loving single guy who has observed Russ and Jenn's family from a distance.  He is longing for his own chaotic love story.

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

/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/russ.jpgOctober 6, 2008

Jen has me writing in this silly journal again.  Um... Well, here goes nothing.

My Mom is living with us.  My prodigal sister, who I haven't talked to in two years wants back in my life.  In the midst of this turn of events, my project deadline is right around the corner and I can't get to my files because there are boxes EVERYWHERE!  I got caught talking to God on the front porch and my toe is good! 

October 13, 2008

Hi. Wow, I actually like Jen's suggestion to write in this journal thingy. I need some kind of an outlet. I just feel so much stress right now. God, I need you so desperately. I really want this stress to push me toward You instead of away from You. Frankly, my mom is driving me crazy. She has so much stuff. On top of it she isn't feeling the best, every time she has a doctors appointment I feel guilty because I can't take her. I need You God. Tell You what, I'll meet up with you in the front yard tonight...we need to talk.

October 20, 2008

I want to keep this short, I'm just writing because Jen thinks its good for me...(broccoli is good for me too but I don't eat it every day!) I am busy, I am spent. My mom is in the hospital, Jen is a little jumpy because of all of the changes, my sister, well, she's my sister, enough said. But what is cool, in the middle of it I feel this place of peace. We are going to make it, and make it together!  If this would have happened last year, our family would have split apart. We are different, wow, our family has grown!

/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/jen.jpgOctober 6, 2008

The house is pretty much in total chaos right now. Russ' mom recently moved in with us and her belongings are scattered around everywhere. Russ pretty much stays stressed because he has to work in the middle of all of the mess and chaos. Now, on top of that, his sister is back in the picture. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. I know if we can just keep our focus on God, everything will work out, but boy is it tough right now!

October 13, 2008

Where to start...I have this little feeling that I am the one holding the family together right now. Susan is living with us now. She is sweet, I love her. But please, does she have to quote so many scriptures. For heaven sake, she preaches at the people on the TV set, telling them to get some clothes on. She is quite a lady. I hope that when I am Susan's age that there will be people in my life that will love me through the difficult stages of getting older. Help me God to honor her the way that she should be honored without giving into her little games that she plays.

October 20, 2008

Susan isn't talking back to the TV this week. Well, she isn't around. She ended up in the hospital with a minor heart attack. I feel scared. I am struggling to know how to trust God. I am so thankful for Russ. His little meetings with God in the front yard are paying off. Don't get me wrong, this is a high stress time for me.  But knowing that Russ (and I'm trying) is connecting with God makes me feel secure, scared but secure. I guess that I could opt for a life that is safe,like riding a merry go round. Round and round we go, but how boring. I opt for a life that has risks and takes chances and really lives. Kind of like a roller coaster. So, am I having a hard time right now, yes. I feel like I am on the top of the hill, ready to plummet to the bottom. But I know that God will bring me back to a level place and the hill wont last forever. I guess that is what one would call "trust in God."

/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/stacy.jpgOctober 6, 2008

Dear Journal,

So lifes a rollercoaster for me at the moment. I mean, my folks aren't all that bad, but its like... they hesitate to trust me or something. I don't understand. I'm almost an adult. I have a license. I always pick up Nick from school. Why do they have to be so strict with me? I hate it. And to make matters more weird, Grandma's living with us now. Mom sure doesn't like it. And I'm sure Dad doesn't feel that comfortable about it either. I'm happy Grandma's with us. It just bothers me that my parents always argue about who needs to take her where, and who needs to do this and that. Its so annoying. My house is so not the place for me. I think I'm gonna go for a drive.

October 13, 2008

Dear Journal,

I love driving! I think that I might be addicted to it though. I feel so free!! I love being able to get away for a while, I just don't understand why mom and dad wont let me stay out as long as I want. They also think it necessary for me to pay for my own gas. And get this, they want me to call if I am going to be late. I am 16 years old. My parents are so old fashioned.  Hey, just between you and me...there is this guy that I like at church! His name is Noah. He is so cute! He is only 20 years old. I don't think that dad will mind him being a couple of years older than me...I don't think.

October 20, 2008

Dear Journal,

Noah is a jerk! I can't believe that I fell for someone like him. I like Steve, he is in my grade at school...he's so cute! But then, so is Jed at church, and he has a cute name too! I don't know. Maybe dad is right. Maybe I should just cool it and concentrate on my studies. No, what does dad know. Well, I think I might call Jonathan now.

/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/nick.jpg

October 6, 2008

Sharks are so cool. They are the rulers of the deep.  No one messes with a shark. I wish I could be homeschooled.  There is this kid at school that has been bugging me because I am into sharks.  I want to talk to Dad about it, but he is too busy.  Sharks dont need anyone. 

What else should I talk about?  I love!

October 13, 2008

Sharks are cool,

So am I

I got hit in the eye.

Mom was busy

So was Dad

When they find out

They're gonna be mad!

Im a shark

I'll bite back

He had better run

from my attack!

Hmm, I'm a poet and didn't know it!


October 20, 2008

Sharks are tough, but then so are Ninja's! Dad taught me some really cool moves yesterday. I can't wait to learn some more from him, he is such a cool dad! Dad was really understanding about the black eye. I don't really know what to do if that guy bugs me again. But I have a really really hecka great teacher that will show me. Thank you God for my pops!

/files/Sermon Notes/Desperate_Households/sam.jpgOctober 6, 2008

Oh my has been so long since I took the time to write...

Dear Diary (how stupid)!

I've got my eye on this chic at church.  I have a feeling she thinks I'm hot.  Stacy wants to take me shopping for some new clothes.  She says I'm old-fashioned...not trendy enough.  Whatever that means.  Hey, I think I still have it.  Russ told me yesterday that his sister paid him a visit.  That had to be uncomfortable.  But it's good that they are trying although honestly, I dont trust her.

October 13, 2008

Um, dear Diary (here we go again),

Really, what's wrong with my phone? What, chicks don't dig big phones? Nick was making fun of my phone. A phone is a phone, right? I'm still cool, I think. Russ and his family annoy me at times but, seriously, I don't know what I would do if they ever moved away. Here I am a single man trying to live out my love for God, wanting to get married, desperate not to mess up somehow. Russ and Jen have been like an anchor to me. I just don't think married people (I used that word like they are from another country!) really get older single people like me. It is so easy to shut us out because they don't relate to us anymore. Not true with the Jones family. I feel like I am a Jones. They ARE my family. Wow, I think I just got in touch with my tender side...hmm, do cool people do that?

October 20, 2008

Dear (maybe I should name you) Tracy, no, Judy, no, Jackie...uh, lets just stick to Diary...

Dear Diary,

I had a great talk with Robyn the other day. She seems to be doing really great. She is staying sober and clean but she just feels so bad about all that she has put Russ and his family through that she doesn't show up that much. It must be so hard to live with regret. I forget that I had a lot of regret about my broken marriage. It was Russ and his family that really brought me through all of that stuff and helped me to accept God's forgiveness. I hope that Robyn doesn't stay away too long, I think that she will find that same kind of healing with Russ' family if she can just walk through the door.

/files/Sermon Notes/Susan.jpg

October 6, 2008

I took a walk in the park this morning just enjoying "the beautiful day that the Lord has made", with so many thoughts flooding my mind -

The new situation I find myself in now - living with my son and his wife and family...I don't understand why they fuss so much.  All the doctor appointments coming up...will my son ever have the time to take me?  All my stuff with very little space for it.  Will we all get along?  Is this going to work and how will it work? 

I'll probably just have to take this "One day at a time"

October 13, 2008

How do I say this without "quenching the Spirit". I don't feel that I have a place here anymore. I feel more alone than I think I ever have. I just, I guess I feel like I don't fit. Russ and his family are so wonderful to me, but they are so busy. They have their own lives. Poor Russ, I have really put him out.  God, I know that You must have a purpose in me being here. I just don't get it. I want to "walk out my Salvation" and be faithful to Your plan for my life. It is just not easy.  I wept and wept the other night when I was going through my things. I was looking at old pictures that Robyn and Russ had drawn for me when they were small. I am broken inside from the pain I feel for Robyn. I wish that I at least knew that she was OK. I wish that she knew, I just, I wish that she knew how very much I love her.

October 19, 2008

I don't feel good today. I feel tired and heavy and sad. Maybe I should tell Russ, I just don't want to put him out again.

/files/Sermon Notes/Robyn.jpg

October 6, 2008

Why does everything in life have to be so difficult right now? It seems like just getting out of bed some mornings can be the hardest thing.

Recovery, I'm learning, is a long road. Taking a moral inventory of my own life is not something I enjoy. I guess I'm the one responsible for where I'm at, although it's hard to ignore some things about my childhood.

Another difficult thing, seeing family. Russ and I had a chat yesterday in person for the first time in two years. I haven't seen mom in eight now. She is living with baby Russ now and even though she wasn't there it was awkward to be sitting there surrounded by her stuff. Like the old chair that she used to rock us in. I wonder why she's kept that thing? So anyway, the talk with Russ went okay, It was just difficult. Humbling I guess you could say. Russ seems to never change. He still just wants everyone to act peaceful and get along, just like when we were kids. I love my little bro. It's just, well like I said, everything just seems hard right now. 

October 13, 2008

I saw Russ again today. He is so desperate for me to not make waves. I know he loves me, but I really really feel like he is punishing me. I don't quite know how to deal with him. I would be a complete idiot to not think that I really mess up my family with my addictions but I need a break from him. Russ wanted me to go to church with him last week. I just couldn't. I can't take the judgmental looks and staring. Actually, I am afraid to. If I go to church I am saying I'm better, because no one in church struggles with addictions. I am not better. I am trying, but I am not better. So, I stay away.

October 20, 2008

Getting together with Rita this week. She is an old friend. I am sure that if "big brother Russ" knew he wouldn't be happy with me. I know that she is still using and I know that she has been a bad influence on me, but I feel great right now. I will just go out and have fun and drink water or something. My sponsor can't expect me to not have fun, right? I really need to get my mind off of things anyway. I am supposed to meet with Mom for the first time in 6 years. I am not sure that I want to. I am afraid that she will preach at me and quote some verse from the Bible to me. I feel judged just thinking about it. Whatever...I will write when I get back tonight.

Check back each week for more journal entries...