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