Sunday, December 30, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

Dear Friends and Family,

In July of 2007, we moved from Michigan to North Carolina and Dave took a position as a staff psychologist at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, NC. Dave provides psychological services to elderly and critically ill veterans in their homes. He has been at his new job for about 6 months and loves it. Dave’s work caring for elderly veterans is very fulfilling.

Moving from our home of 6 years has not been easy. We miss our neighborhood, our friends, and our church. Dave’s parents have let us live with them while we wait for our home in Michigan to sell.

Julie was happy to be able to visit Seattle, Washington and spend some time with her mother this Fall. She was pleased to find her mother doing well. Julie was able to enjoy the beauty of Washington State and visit some childhood friends. Dave, Amanda, and Emily were glad she had a good time, but missed her every minute until she returned.

Emily started Kindergarten and Amanda entered 4th grade. They miss their friends and had a very good school in Michigan. We are very grateful that they have had a good school experience so far here in North Carolina.

After about 4 months of trying various churches, we finally found a church home. We attend Christ Wesleyan Church in Winston Salem, NC. We are enjoying our church, making friends, and finding ways to get involved. We are especially enjoying our Sunday School Class.

Thanks for your friendship. Please call, write, or email us any time. We’d love to stay in touch. God bless you and your loved ones. We hope you sense God’s peace and grace during this Advent season.

Dave, Julie, Amanda, and Emily Spriggs

Amanda and Emily, Christmas 2007

Dave and Julie, Christmas 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Julie’s Midlife Thoughts

Well, ya'all (trying to fit in the southern states) It is official now that I celebrated my 40 something birthday yesterday. I am well on my way to the "middle years" of a human life span. It seems odd how my memories can take me back to when I was twenty something; how much freedom I felt to choose my career, my friends, my lifestyle. The years pass by and you come to realize that you are still the same person but in different circumstances and appearance, too.
Today, I have a supportive and loving husband of 11 years and two happy (most of the time) growing girls and even our pets, Cinnamon and Victoria are great companions.
It seems the simple things in life have more meaning to me as I grow older. There has been difficult times in my life in which it seems unbearable and even painful but through each hardship. I can only hope that I will continue to grow wiser with my decisions, stronger in my character and integrity, and eventually more intimate with our maker, God. My life is shared with those I love and care for and that I am grateful for. It has been a wonderful life thus so far!!
I was able to take a trip to Seattle, WA in September. I visited my 77 year old mother who continues to live in her home of 20 years. She maintains her good health and remains active. She is considering selling her home in the spring time and I will help her find an independent living apartment here in North Carolina, which would be a great for our family. I hope that all things will fall into to place for her to move closer to us.
It has been about 5 months since we moved to North Carolina. I have been trying to find a part-time job to contribute financially to our household. I will be starting very soon at an afterschool tutoring program for about 2 days a week and 5 hours a week. The Brame Institute contracts with the Guilford County public schools for teachers in which I am hired to teach the curriculum provided by Brame for kindergarten or first grade students who are not performing well academically. It is in compliance with the federal law "no child left behind" they provide the funding to the public schools. I am really looking forward to this opportunity.
I have been reading numerous books about homeschooling education. My "mom" heart yearns to build a closer relationship with each of the girls in all aspects of their maturation (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically). Also, another reason is for control- isn't that a strange thought? but as Amanda will enter middle school she will eventally be taught about sex. Who, what, where and when should she be told about that subject? is there any bias toward what our culture says about this issue? also, friends that they will choose, exposure to the arts, time to study, things of this nature can make homeschooling very appealing. I sometimes imagine how we could share our thoughts, build a harmonious relationship between sisters, challenge each others intellect. I don't know the outcome but I will have to keep you posted.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Every year, we have much for which to be thankful. This year, our family had a wonderful Thanksgiving together. Julie prepared the meal at my parents' home. Here are some pictures of us enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner together.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2007 (the adults)

Thanksgiving Dinner 2007 (The Kids)

Amanda and Emily have been taking Dance lessons each Saturday morning. In a couple of weeks, they will have a dance recital.

Amanda and Emily at Dance Lessons

Here are the girls enjoying Halloween a few weeks ago, along with my parents' dog Jack. All three are dressed for the occasion.

Halloween 2007:  Amanda, Emily, and Jack

This year will be over soon. We have had many changes and many blessings in 2007. Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Time Flies…

Summer and now the Fall have really gotten away from me and I haven't made any blog entries for 3 months. I have stayed very busy in my work as a psychologist at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury. I just received my first review and obtained the highest possible rating, which was very encouraging. I am very fulfilled in my work of serving elderly, homebound veterans.

Julie, Amanda, Emily and I were sad to say goodbye to my grandmother, Opal Spriggs, who passed away on September 6, 2007. She had been ill for a long time and was always near loved ones during her last days. Julie and the girls and I would go for walks with her (I would push her in her wheelchair) and we were able to do this just a few days before her death. I was honored to give a eulogy at her funeral and I will attach it as a comment to this entry.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend my college reunion at Olivet Nazarene University for the class of 1992. I had gotten a few emails from friends who were looking forward to going. Julie and I would have enjoyed it, but with our recent move and my lack of accrued vacation hours, the timing wasn't right.

My cousin introduced me to geocaching and we went a few times this Summer. Here is a good picture of Amanda and Emily having fun with their cousin, Autumn, on 8-11-2007.

Amanda, Emily, and Autumn

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dave’s first day at his new job…

Today was my first day working as a staff psychologist at the Salisbury VA Medical Center.  I worked at the facility before from 2000-01, but was a pre-doctoral intern at the time.  I still know a number of co-workers at the facility (especially in the psychology department) and am thrilled to be joining such a great team of people.

For the next week or so, I won't really get to do any work as a psychologist.  I will be filling out forms and going through orientation.  I was fingerprinted today and was sworn in as a federal employee.  I am really looking forward to getting past the orientation to the actual work of serving veterans.

During orientation, some of the class asked some questions about safety issues with violent patients.  Someone brought up the shooting that happened several years ago at this facility.  The shooting happened one week before I started my internship (I was already living in Salisbury), so I was familiar with the incident.  While accidents can happen when serving individuals with special needs, such events are very rare.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jason and Grace coming to visit

Dave, Jason and the girls

Julie and the girls

One of Amanda's close friends from Spring Arbor, Michigan is Grace Archer.  Grace's mother was very busy taking a college course, so her father, Jason, thought it would be fun to take Grace on a trip to see us.  They broke up the 13 hour drive and stopped to see some friends on the way.  They arrived to see us on 7-19-07 and left on 7-21-07.

 The girls had a great time together.  We spent the day on Friday at an amusement park just south of Charlotte called "Carowinds".  Later that night, the girls went the premier of the new Harry Potter book at Barnes and Noble.

It was great to see Jason and Grace.  We were very touched that they drove all the way from Michigan to come and visit us.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New North Carolinians

We arrived in High Point, North Carolina, on Monday, 7/9/07.  It was about a 13 hour drive and we broke it up over two days.  We will be living with Dave's parents while we wait for our house in Spring Arbor, MI to sell.

Julie and Amanda are a little homesick for our friends in Spring Arbor, but we are all adjusting to the move.  Dave will be starting his new job at the Salisbury VA Medical Center in about a week.  We enjoyed attending the Shady Grove Weslyan Church today.  We are going to carefully try several churches before making a decision on which church we will attend.

Amanda attended a three day horse camp from 7/11 to 7/13.  She is pictured here with her favorite horse "Tony."  She had a great time and learned a lot about horses and riding.  She went to the camp the day after we arrived.

It has been a good first week in North Carolina.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dinner with Friends…Saying Goodbye

We only have a few more days until we move from Spring Arbor, Michigan to North Carolina, and are looking forward to getting settled.  At the same time, we know we will miss our community and our friends.  We are glad we have had opportunities over the past several weeks to visit with friends.

This evening, our family enjoyed dinner with our friends Jim and Marvelle Vannest at their home.  The power was out, but Marvelle prepared a wonderful meal for us in spite of this challenge.  Marvelle served on the board at Eden Family Counseling and has been a big encouragment to me in my work here in Spring Arbor.  We are hoping to stay in touch with our friends in Spring Arbor, and may come to visit from time to time as we celebrate Christmas each year in Lansing, MI.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Brent and Dave Enjoying Another Breakfast in Spring Arbor

Breakfast for Brent and Dave

Brent Smith and I and enjoyed a "last Breakfast" together this morning.  We met once per week for breakfast from 2001-2005 and about once per month 2006 to now.  Brent is a psychologist in Michigan and provided supervision for me while I was completing my independent license.  Brent has been a great friend and help to me in my work as a psychologist in Spring Arbor.  I have appreciated all that I have learned from him and will miss our meetings at the Spring Arbor Cafe.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Trip to the Zoo

Today, we enjoyed a trip to the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan with the Buratoavich family.  Our two daughters have been friends with Mike and Carolyn's 3 daughters for about 5 years.  It was a lot of fun today.

Three Dodos
Mike and Dave and the bird make...three Dodos!

 I have always found the history of the Dodo Bird interesting and sad.

Five Friends
Five Friends

The girls had a great time today!














While we saw many interesting animals, the giant tortoise was especially interesting.  Some of the animals were difficult to photograph because they were moving quickly or were behind glass.  The Tamarin was very cute and fun to see, but unfortunately I could not get a good picture the small primate.

It was a great time for us all and we are glad to have good friends like Mike and Carolyn. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Family Bike Ride

One of our favorite family activities is biking.  Our home in Michigan has been a good place for riding because we live near trails.  Here are some pictures of today's ride from start to finish.

Amanda Getting Ready to Ride

Amanda Getting Ready to Ride

Julie and Emily Getting Ready

Julie and Emily getting ready to go

Getting our bikes ready to ride takes almost as long as the ride itself!

Julie and Amanda Avoiding the Mud

Here are Julie and Amanda avoiding the mud!

Home Stretch

We are in the home stretch now.

By the Pond
Julie, Amanda, and Emily

We take a quick stop by the pond behind our home.  We were suprised to find that it is full of fish.

Dave and the Girls
Dave and the Girls

It was a fun ride!  We will look forward to new adventures on our bikes after we move to North Carolina.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How Many Things Does a Family Need?

Trying to Get Rid of Our Things

As we have been preparing to move, we have been packing, sorting, and trying to get rid of some of our things.  We had a moving sale yesterday and were fortunate to be able to receive money to get our junk hauled off!  We still have a lot more which we will probably donate to Goodwill.

We don't need so many things.  Not only could these resources help someone else in need, but it is a big challenge to store and move it all.  It reminds me of Leo Tolstoy's famous short story, How Much Land Does a Man Need?  The story was written over 100 years ago, so is part of public domain and can be read here:

How Much Land Does A Man Need?

The short story is part of an anthology, so you will need to skip down a bit to read it.

Father’s Day, 2007

Dave, Amanda, and Emily

Today has been an interesting Father's Day, and it isn't even 12pm!  Julie took a picture of Amanda and Emily and me about 30 minutes ago.  I love my girls and they always give me a happy Father's Day.

I am thankful for my two grandfathers and other men who have helped father me.  I'm especially thankful for my father who is also my friend.  We have lived in different states for the past 6 years, but next year, I will probably be able to celebrate Father's Day with him.  He will be coming to help our family move to North Carolina in a couple more weeks.

 This was an especially interesting Father's Day because church was cancelled at the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church due to a bomb threat!  Here is the local news report.  To our knoweledge, no one was harmed, but we don't know much about the situation.  I will look forward to reading what the news has to report.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Amanda and Emily Enjoying a Frosty Boy

Amanda and Emily at Frosty Boy 

Amanda, Emily, and Dave enjoyed going to a favorite spot in Spring Arbor this evening. We always enjoy an ice-cream treat at the Frosty Boy of Spring Arbor, Michigan during the Summer. Our trips to Frosty Boy are numbered, but I don't think there is any danger that we will be giving up ice-cream treats any time soon. I'm sure we will find another ice-cream stand in North Carolina and several more months of warm weather to enjoy it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dave’s New Job

I will be working as a staff psychologist at the Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, NC.  I don't have an exact start date yet, but I will probably begin working in either July or August, 2007.  I completed my pre-doctorate internship at this facility and know many of the psychologists with whom I will be working. 

The VA  is a great work environment and I am looking forward to starting. My position will focus on providing services to elderly and critically ill veterans in their homes as part of the Home Based Primary Care team. The treatment team  includes a nursing-practitioner, a social worker, and several other health care professionals. I will care for people in a 40 mile radius from the hospital.    My position will also include work at the hospital providing outpatient services, supervision of psychology interns, and other related duties.

In addition to doing work I will love, another benefit of this position will be more time with my family.  I will have a predictable schedule of 8am to 4:30pm with no evening, weekend, or on call hours.  My family will have a big improvement in medical insurance for which we are very thankful.

Eden Family Counseling (EFC)

EFC All Staff
The Eden Family Counseling Team in 2006 -- A great group to work with!

I have provided counseling to the Spring Arbor community since 2001. It has been very fulfilling work and I am grateful that the leaders at the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church allowed me this opportunity. My clients came primarily from the church and Spring Arbor University, but I have had many from outside of Spring Arbor as well.

In 2006, we made a significant shift by operating as a non-profit counseling center (while maintaining the same location in the church). This has been a wonderful opportunity. Our service providers expanded from 1 licensed counselor (me) and 3 interns to 5 licensed counselors and 3 interns. We provided approximately 3x the number of counseling services. It has been wonderful to work with this team. The most common issues for which our team provided treatment included:

  • Adjustment issues for college students

  • Problems in mood (primarily for adults, but also children)

  • Addiction Issues for adults

  • Relationship problems among people of various ages

There were a number of other presenting issues as well, but those four issues were the most common.

Eden Family Counseling's board plans to resume services by Fall of 2007. I am hopeful the counseling center will open and be successful, because the service is very much needed. Our biggest challenge was funding. We found that many of the people we served were not insured and unable to afford customary fees for counseling.

My primary reason for seeking other employment was because serving the poor and elderly is my top interest and I found a position at a VA Medical Center that is a perfect fit. This position will enable me to live near my parents and will provide a more predictable schedule that will lead to more time with my family. Even though moving to this new position was obviously the best fit for me and my family, I am sad to say goodbye to Spring Arbor after the past several years of investment in this work. I will be in prayer that God will bless the counseling efforts in Spring Arbor in the future.

Monday, June 11, 2007

selling our home

Spriggs Home in Spring Arbor

We placed our home for sale on 5/29/07. Although the market is difficult in Michigan, we are optimistic that our home will sell in a reasonable time frame. We have enjoyed our community and will miss our friends and home.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Move to North Carolina

We have recently decided to move from our home of nearly 6 years to North Carolina. We anticipate that we will move from Spring Arbor, Michigan to North Carolina the last week of June, 2007.

We will miss our friends and family in Michigan and hope you will stay in contact with us.