Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wrapping Up Fall 2014

Thank you to Lauren Miles, Academic Advisor, and her Advisory Group for writing today's blog.

The first-year students: College was a new experience for all of us.  We are learning different Bible verses, like Psalm 90:2 and 1 Chronicles 16:25-26.  We get to do a bunch of activities like Special Olympics, playing games, and hanging out with the 3rd years.  We had to learn how to overcome being homesick and missing our families.  Something they taught us at Shepherds is self-advocacy and talking to staff when there is a problem.  We are really excited to move to the Homes next year and to start our majors in cooking and Horticulture. 

Kitrina summarized the feedback from the rest of the first-year students in Miss Miles' group, Kitrina, Samantha, Karilyn, Richard, Scott, Zachary and Jon. 

The second-year students: We moved to the Homes this year which meant more responsibilities and long walks to class.  We also started our majors, which we are all in Culinary.  Culinary gives us an idea about what we will do after we graduate.  Plus, us 2nd years have learned to taste many new types of food and learn many different ideas to cooking in our new classes.  Sometimes we have homework, probably a little more than last year, but it’s worth it to learn how to cook. 

Micah summarized the feedback from the rest of the second-year students, Joshua and Abby.

The third-year students: This year was different because we didn’t have classes on Monday through Thursday.  We go to our Field Experience and some of us have to get up at 5:30am.  Some Field Experience places are Union Grove High School, Iron Skillet, Shepherds Ministries, and Green Meadows.  At the culinary jobs, they are cooking and cleaning in the kitchen.  The horticulture jobs are involving small animal care and grounds crew.  We all really like our Field Experiences and can’t wait for graduation. 

Nikki summarized the feedback from the rest of the third-year students,  Sharon, Brandyn and Alex.

Miss Miles: Each year provides students different opportunities for growth toward Appropriate Independence.  This fall, each student in my advising group grew in one way or another.  The first-years have gained confidence as they learned to transition into the life of a college student, making the Shepherds College campus their home.  The second-years have exhibited so much joy as they have started their specialty majors and feel they are discovering their purpose.  The third-years have acknowledged an appreciation for the last two years, as they work at their Field Experience, practicing all of the skills they have learned.  It is such a blessing to work with each student and to be a part of teaching them the skills that will encourage their growth toward Appropriate Independence.

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Office: Heavy

Thank you to Cathy Harvey, Administrative Assistant, for writing today's blog.

My supervisor gave me a copy of a book titled “Heavy.”  It’s written by a Christian couple, Kristen and Todd Neva.  Both Tracy Terrill, Executive Director of Shepherds College, and Angela Houk, Dean of Education, worked with this couple in ministry in Milwaukee, so it is a true life story near and dear to their hearts. It is a gentle weaving and unraveling of the emotions, prayers, and conversation between a husband and wife whose husband is currently journeying through ALS, known to many as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is on a clear journey of dying.  He knows it and he and Kristen write about the heart-breaking news and how God ministered to them in this difficult task of knowing (somewhat) when one will perish from this life to enter the next.

In spite of the husband’s step-by-step journey toward death, the book offers hope and stands on solid ground.  Their conversations are searching and honest, and the wife’s journal entries and prayers are raw and human.  The way the book ever so gradually grows their faith and trust in God through this devastating disease whose end is sure, creates a fascinating, though “heavy” page turner.  Although the book ends before the worst is to come, parents of Shepherds College students will find a surprise element in it. 

If your world has gotten heavy, or if you or someone you love is facing an unimaginable loss with life divided between “before” and “after”, pick up a copy of “Heavy” and be uplifted.  But consider this:  you (and I) are on the same journey.  Every day we are all aging and dying and one day closer to eternity.  This book can help us take that reality into our hands and better prepare for it.

Here is what the authors say about the book on their blog site.

“We read to know we are not alone,” the character, C.S. Lewis, said in the movie Shadowlands. In June of 2010, Todd was diagnosed with ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neuro-muscular disease that results in total paralysis and eventual death, usually in three to five years. In our grief, we were comforted by books written by others who face grief and disability. In addition to reading, we wrote of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences during the year after the diagnosis. Kristin wrote in her journal and we both blogged.
Out of character from our normally reserved, private lives, we decided to turn our writings into a book with the hope that others will know that they are not alone. The book Heavy follows the gut-wrenching first year after the diagnosis. And we continue to blog on this site with the prayer that you will be comforted.
~ Todd and Kristin Neva
Todd Neva received a BS in Business and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. He worked in marketing research, finance and manufacturing for sixteen years before becoming disabled.
Kristin Neva graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in youth ministry. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, she was a full-time urban youth worker at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
Todd and Kristin were married in 2003 and have two children, Sara and Isaac. They live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

You can also continue to follow their journey on their website at

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Year & Another Journey

Thank you to Micah Muma, 2nd year Shepherds College student, for writing today's blog.

Another year and another journey up ahead, stored up ready to show itself. I look back, and I can see that being a 2nd year has such a different method than the 1st year – different struggles. Now, all the responsibilities are on us in Home B – doing the grocery list with the group, making sure we don’t stay up too late at night, getting up for class in time. I know I have more ways to prove to myself that I can do this and graduate.

 I remember when I had instantly wanted to become a 2nd year - when I heard there was more freedom. But it was only half true. Yes, I had more privileges and such, but I wasn’t going to be totally free and be able to not do anything. As I started my 2nd year, I knew it would be a little better and a bit more of an uphill challenge. 

Challenges came and gave me struggles – it was hard doing my chores and homework instead of playing around! - and I knew it wouldn’t be long until I was going to fail at certain areas like in relationships and trying to move on in specific areas. My parents almost pulled the plug, and I knew I had to do better or else it would’ve been a waste of time for them as well as me. 

My challenges aren’t easy nor are they a memory I’d love to keep. So I moved on, as best as I could. I thank God for all His wonders and His grace and patience with me. I throw all my problems towards God as if he’ll take them away, and I’m usually better the very next day. 

Every day, my classes roll on, and I’m starting to do well. Culinary Class so far has been my favorite. All the amazing dishes have my parents wanting me to cook for them which makes perfect sense, so it looks like I’ll be busy cooking even after my Christmas break. Our Chef, she’s amazing and has given me so many ideas. I long to one day work on a cruise ship, yet I have to work hard to achieve my dreams and goals. 

So, as I said, another year and another unexpected journey up ahead. I pray every day to stay strong to my true self and my life. I can now see myself one day graduating and saying, “I made it.”

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

(Semi)Wordless Wednesday

If you’re engaged in social media, and since you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you are, you may be familiar with Facebook’s Wordless Wednesdays. This is a day when some individuals and organizations decide to post a picture that “says it all” without using any words.

Now, that’s all well and good, but I’m a writer who loves to read. I like words, so Wordless Wednesdays are not really my cup of tea.

But every once in a while, I come across a picture that really speaks to me and I’ve decided that, rather than simply posting it in the ‘Stroll around Campus’ photo album on facebook and risk it getting hidden with all the other photos, I would highlight it in an occasional (Semi)Wordless Wednesday post for you to enjoy as well. It won’t always be the clearest picture, but I hope it will inspire emotions and thoughts that will help you understand the story of Shepherds College. That’s the “wordless” part. 

Sometimes the “semi” part will come from you. I want to hear the word or phrase that came to mind when you first saw the picture. It will help feed my word-loving soul. Please post your thoughts in either the blog or facebook comments.

Sometimes, the “semi” part will come from me if I feel the picture needs to be put into context. 

I saw this photo op from down the hallway and rushed up to it praying the whole way, “God, please don’t let them move. Keep them still, don’t let them move.” They didn’t move.

Here is today’s picture:

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