A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Look at this!!!!

Hi all,
Now, if you know me very well, you know that we live in a house that was Amish built in the 1880's. It was a great deal when we bought it (complete with the 9+ acres) because the house was in such horrible shape. Overall, good structural shape, lousy interior shape. Picture filth, bugs, furniture and tons of stuff. And an entire second story in great need of renovation. Some day I will have the nerve to post the before pictures, but they were truly horrible. We had most of the upstairs redone by professionals in order to get it done as quickly as possible so the kids could move into their rooms without being terrorized by how awful it looked. Seriously.

Well, the downside of the whole thing is that you get tired. Tired of the constant renovations and of things just not being done. This year has been the year of fences and containments for our animals, and fall and winter of a new laundry room door, new plumbing in the bathroom, new tile in the bathroom, and a new paint job (in progress) in the bathroom. Add to that the normals of life: working part time, homeschooling five kids, parenting, being a family and all of that. Needless to say the progress is slow and in fits and starts as time and money allows.

Well, my kitchen counters have not been clear or done since we moved in here - as long as their was room to get stuff done (and things that just didn't seem to have places to go) life went on. Well, today, we made headway!!! Take a look at my gorgeous cupboards, antique scale (thanks to my grandparents), and composting pail. Yay! I feel like our tiny kitchen grew by miles.

And another view:

And the other thing we are trying: a recipe for bread, you make the ingredients for eight loaves of bread, let it rise for about two hours, then put it in the fridge. When you want to make a loaf, you cut out 1/8th, about the size of a grapefruit, and set it out to rise. Then you pop it in the over and "ta-da" fresh bread!!! Our plan is that I pull it when I get up in the AM, set it out to rise when I toss in a load of laundry and while I shower and get ready for work. Then pop it in the oven while I start rousing the kids - they get up to fresh bread and jam or cinnamon sugar, and we have breakfast together before I leave for work!!!

Got to love it. I got the recipe from the most recent edition of Mother Earth News, so check it out!

Well, I hope to send photos of the new bathroom project as we get it just a bit farther - the end is in sight!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

You never know...

I know that many a pastor tells us to study the bible, to read it well. And those same pastors also often tell us not to just open up the bible randomly to expect God to speak to us. But, I tend to disagree. I do tend to believe that often God knows better than I do what I really need on a particular day that He will speak to me in whatever means I will open up to him. And yes, I do believe that if I allow him to do his work, that he can get through to me, before I even know that I need it.

Today was another example of that. In the craziness that life is sometimes, it is easy to view Bible time as a rote thing, even when I don't want to. I have read so much over the years, have heard it over and over in my life, that sometimes you sort of hear it again and think "yep, yeah, this I have heard before, I know this". And it is easy to not hear what you really need to hear, deep down in your soul that day. I struggle with this on a regular basis. I have heard so much, it resounds in my head and I even forget when I first heard most of it. And that is different than having it resound intensely in your soul - though it lives there, some days there are days it really needs to resound.

Today I am in a strange place, a whole different place than my normal life - I am at a continuing education course (I am by trade a speech language pathologist) at a fancy hotel in downtown Chicago. Way different from my usual! No farm animals, me alone in a hotel room at night, no laundry to switch, no cooking, on and on, way from my normal. And feeling very out of place. The course is amazing, and very, very challenging! The pre course preparation was very difficult, and the course has proven to be just as challenging. I am very hopeful that it will add a lot to my ability to help my patients. But, the overall situation is very weird for me. Talk about feeling like a fish out of water!

So, this morning I looked at my Bible on the nightstand, and didn't know where to even start, but wanted to read something this morning, to really start the day off right. And the Bible opened to Isaiah 45:19: I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness. I have not said to Jacob's descendants, "Seek me in vain." I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right. Gather together and come, assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ingnorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it - let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked; Before me every knee will bow; by me everty tongue will swear. They will say of me, "in the Lord alone are deliverance and strength." All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.

I am so glad that we were adopted into the Lord's family, that Christ made this all possible, for us to be joint heirs with Christ, that we are valued and a part of God's creation.

I have been struggling with finding my new roles, maybe it is more of one of those "mid-life" things. I am knowing that I am facing 40 soon, that I am facing life changes that I have mixed feelings about - perhaps no more babies, having teenagers, working part time, considering returning the kids to school or if we are fine with what we are doing, looking at a few more years with my oldest, pondering what impact I will leave behind on the world when I am gone.

I am not satisfied with just traversing this life. You have to understand, there are several reasons for this. For one, I was raised in the faith, raised by wonderful parents who instilled that faith deep inside my soul. And that requires something of me. That requires that I carry on that legacy, not only in my own family (that would be maintaining the status quo) but elsewhere. Second, my dad was an amazing man - and he left this life too early. Somehow, my living on means that I must do something to carry on what he might have done. I don't exactly know what that is, but I know lots of what that isn't. I need to move forward, to try to do something that he would be proud of. I don't know why that is so important to me, but it is. It is deep in my heart. When you watch a man of God live it out from day to day, when you see someone work day in and day out with integrity, honesty and faith, it requires a response from you. It requires that you pull a little deeper from within yourself and pull yourself a little farther. It sets the bar a little higher. I want to know that somehow my kids will feel the same. That God has called them to something a little bit more. I want to see them work to find the strength to do the hard things, whatever that might be for them. If I don't live it out, they won't have a pattern to follow. I wish they had met my dad, that they could have known him, so the only way they will get his message is through me. What if I fail him?

So, what does that mean? I simply don't know. Except some days it means that I mustn't complain about what is hard, about doing what needs to be done, about doing the correct thing. I wish sometimes I could see farther down the road, a clearer path of what is to come. I simply don't know. I don't know what is going to happen in the next year, with the economy, the larger pictures. I just don't know. But, I know that I get up each day, do the daily work, try to show my kids what they need to grow strong and wise, try to be the person I am supposed to be that day, try to see for the next day what needs to be done and accomplished. I know that I need to find a way to have more faith, to walk where God would have me walk. I am not sure I know where that really is some days, and some days it is just enough light for the step I am on. I wish I had answers. I really wish I did. Some days it is just doing the one thing that has to be done that day. To do one more step, to clean one more spot, to fulfill one more task, to love one more child, to learn more, to just try to move on. Some days it is mundane, some days it is a bit more exciting. I just don't understand not trying to take steps forward. I don't know how to do anything else. Some things I so want to change, some things I am totally unable to change. So, when you have this kind of a mindset, right or wrong, what do you do when you are nearly 40? I just don't know. I know that you just move forward day to day. When I was 20 I had vision for where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. What do you do when you have done that, or when you have changed your focus? I don't want it to be about money, about stuff, about comfort. I want something a bit more than that.

So, I go back to the Word. And the Word for today said that God is God. That he speaks the truth, that he has put his words out there for us, that we are to declare what God says. It said that God is our savior, righteous. That we are to turn to him. And I am turning. Trying to turn each and every day. But, is seems like turning to God requires more than just immersing ourselves in the Word, that God asks for action also. It is easy to end up being no earthly good to God. I am very action focused, it is who I am. So, to me, in order to be in God, I also must be in action too. If I hole up in my little corner, read my Bible, rely on God for my needs, but sit with that, then what have I done? I remember watching "The Passion of the Christ" and coming away with the feeling of "what do I do with this?" because to acknowledge all that I had seen and to really viscerally take it in, well, then it required that somehow you must do something. It was not enough to be grateful, to rely on grace. It demanded an answer, a response beyond just emotion and words. I question myself regularly on if I am living that out. I hope so. I hope I raise my kids to question themselves the same way.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How did we get here, and how could we be anywhere else?

Hi all,
I am going to try to put all the rambling thoughts from this evening into words.

First of all, it is amazing what can bring up all that needs to be brought up. I have been in contact with a friend from childhood, who I have rarely had contact with since high school and marriage and all that. Nothing like trying to explain your life to someone who has missed the steps along the way, to really make you evaluate how you will explain all this. So, it has been introspective to say the least.

And then to listen to my 9 year old son, home from Ethiopia not even a year and a half, address his brother in protest " but dude,...". Much giggling from Mommy ensued. It was so priceless that I cannot even begin to express it, the inflections, the 9 year old's indignation (I think that older brother was winning at Life game). I think I spent a good share of the game in giggles. We have had a tougher stretch with the kids lately as we all adjust to the changes in our lives, my work schedule, disappointments and all. It was so delightful to simply play a game (and teach place value again, and again, but maybe it stuck this time), and just enjoy each other. Once again we told the story of how we came to learn about the kids, how it felt to first see them, the heartbreak of the sadness we saw on our visit, as well as the majesty. Once more we all processed it at a different level, yet again. As the English has progressed, we have been able to go into deeper and deeper details, to explain our feelings and God's blessings. I think I can see this continuing for a long time. And the whole evening really mended some fences as we work through all that families work through. It was good to just enjoy each other, even though initially I thought I was too tired to do a game. We had a truly wonderful time.

Thank you God, for reminding me again of all the joys we have, and how grateful I am for each of my children, no matter what we may face with each. Thank you for moments of joy, even when I really don't think I want them.

And thank you so much for our warm house, our snug barns and our lovely furnace, as the first snowstorm of the year is upon us! Listening to the wind whistle through my laundry room makes me sad that the door that was ordered was miskeyed in the computer, and it still doesn't fit. I am grateful that the right sized door will be in soon, but wish it was there now! At least no snow is coming in, just rattling the door and letting in some cold air. I love winter, observed from inside for the most part!!!! That means that knowing that the storm was coming, we worked outside before it set in getting our animals set, getting the grounds cleaned up (anything buried under the snow may just be gone until spring), and getting everyone settled. It was good to know that as the first snowflakes started to fall, that all on our farm were settled in, ready for the storm.
Anyway, goodnight all! Stay snug and warm!

Great quote!

I am only one, but still, I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do what I can.

* Edward Everett Hale

(I found this on someone else's blog and it really spoke to the heart today, so I posted it here, I hope no one minds)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let Thanksgiving begin!!!!!

Whew, what fun! And actually uttered without sarcasm. I am able to sit for a few minutes while the draino is working on the bathtub drain, and everything else is moving along or done.

It has been a long two weeks, work, illness and what not. We are working on paperwork for a homestudy, and that is that. So, after a long couple days working extra so I can be off for three days to visit with my family things are rolling along.

I usually am not an early riser, or rather am a slow riser, usually up and active by 9, up before then but not too active. You know, get my coffee, get a shower, get dressed, get my brain working. It works out quite well that I work early in the morning for my job, I have a half hour drive so it lets me get really going by the time I get to work. Anyway, it has been a long couple days. But, as much as I thought I would normally want to laze in bed a little longer this morning, there were many things to do. Surprisingly, it felt really good to get up, with the house mostly silent (kids slowly getting up), and get some things going. Would you believe that by 10AM I had three pies either done or in the oven (first time I've ever made pie by the way!!!) six loaves of friendship bread done (one loaf makes a good breakfast for everyone!), squash cut and ready to go in the oven, and a roast in the crockpot for lunch. Whey bread was being mixed up and then set to rise, four loaves of that today. The only thing left to do is to make stuffing, but that will most likely be done early in the morning while the kids take care of the animals before we leave for Thanksgiving with my family.

So, maybe that is the miracle of Thanksgiving - I had an absolute ball working with the kids on all of this. They were in and out of the kitchen, some helping with one thing, some with another, sharing stories about the animals outside, things that happened, thoughts. Years and years, I have hated cooking, did it because it needed to be done, but really didn't enjoy it. And now, this last year, I have noticed that I actually like it. Thank goodness I am getting better at it, and more confident with trying more variations, and we now have a couple dishes that I have "created" that the kids even ask for! (They were based on simple recipes that we found, that I added things to or modified with using up something that we needed to use up.) So, anyway, after three interruptions, I may finish this paragraph! That could be another Thanksgiving miracle!!! I had the most enjoyable day, and spent most of it cooking!!!!!

So, the next thing was that I really wanted to get my shower in! But the drain is yet again moving very slowly. Hence the draino. And the wait. We are hoping to watch a short movie this afternoon, but I had better get running if that is to get done!

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate it. We are going to have seven children at my folks house (ages 4 to 14), visiting with cousins and great grandparents (from two sides of the family) and aunts and uncles. I think it will be absolutely delightful! Loud most likely, but wonderful fun!!!!

Happy beginning of the crazy holiday season!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

anyone reading this - help!!!!????

Hi all,
Today has been a bit of a whirlwind, just as I am getting ready to go back to work after being out with strep. Let's just say that the phone rang.

We have been in touch with an adoption agency in IL that specializes in special needs adoption, a place where our hearts are at. We had talked about an infant that was supposed to be due in February - that gave us some time, right? Considering our homestudy isn't current, I am working, and on and on. Well, that baby came last week and thankfully a couple was ready and able to take this baby girl. We truly are glad about that. So, we put it on the back burner, thinking about "when should we start another homestudy, just in case?". And then the phone rang....

There is a baby in IL, born with Treacher-Collins Syndrome, a cranio-facial disorder. The baby is a week old and the parents have decided that they cannot raise the child. The baby won't be released from the hospital for two more weeks or longer. So, our first thing is: could we parent with this issue? Our answer is yes, we have actually even talked about this syndrome, and given that I am a pediatric speech language pathologist, it is right directly up my alley. So that was settled. The second question is can we be ready with a completed homestudy in time to bring the baby home, as finding an appropriate foster placement (that would be at our expense also) would be a challenge. My thing is: if this child is coming to our family, I need that child to come directly from the hospital to our home as I need to see the doctors and have all that info prior to bringing the child home - I believe it will have lifelong implications. So, if a homestudy cannot be done that rapidly or if something else cannot be worked out to make this happen, then our answer should be no. The adoption agency is checking to see if they can use our home as the foster home as we are already foster parents and licensed. Hmmmm. Next step - um, yeah, the funds. We were working towards that, but weren't there. I think this is one of those things you are never prepared for. Figure about $3000 for a homestudy right away (and I am sure they won't cut their fees to rush this, and who could blame them???), and then the agency fees are $13,000. But the good news is that is all there is. At least that is what I am told, that this includes everything. It should. I don't know that there would even be time to apply for grants as most grant agencies require that you apply before the child is placed with you. Not much time there given that the homestudy is required for grant processing and we would basically have the homestudy done and pick up the child, at least in theory.

So, I am plugging my Amazon store (see previous post) and anything you can think of!!!! I am trying to get a button on my blog for donations, but with this economy, I don't expect any. I will try to pull some things together for sales before Christmas (whether it is Usborne or whatever).

If anyone has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it. At this point I just thought I would throw out the need in case anyone's brain was working better and faster than mine. I am still a bit shellshocked and gathering information. At the very least, if we are unable to do this, I think it really pushes us to get a homestudy DONE in case this comes up another time. Most special needs aren't identified prior to birth, so there isn't much warning. And these kiddos are generally hard to place, so things happen rapidly.

So, I am taking a deep breath, and trying to get my head together to logically think this through. One moment. I hate when things are unknown, but God is stretching me!!!!
Thanks for letting me spill my guts!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Down for the count....

Imagine a mom of many's worst nightmare. What would it be?

Hmm, let's think for a minute....

How about an entire houseful of sick kids??? Kids with something contagious?

Yep, that is what is happening here, though it isn't as bad as it could be.

Kiley called me at work this morning to tell me that her throat hurt so badly that she couldn't swallow. Now let me remind/tell you, this is our kiddo with type 1 diabetes. That adds an element of urgency to all medical situations as all illnesses and injuries affect her diabetes control. A diabetic kid who cannot eat is not a good thing.

I had peeked at her throat last night, as it was sore, and it had looked pretty awful, so we were watching it, but this was worse. A quick call to the doctor, and I was leaving work to get the kids in to the doctor. My first thought was step, as that always seems to be going around, though we haven't had it that I can remember in years. I decided to take all the kids - if one has it, most likely more than one has it, the way I figured it, and dragging them in one at a time to a doctor a half hour away from home just didn't make sense. Sure enough, Kiley has a serious case of strep throat. No surprise there. So, to the nurses' surprise, we hauled the other four kids in and did strep tests on them too. The look on their faces when I asked them to do that was priceless!!! LOL. We literally lined them up and got it done while I registered the others - ugh, five co-pays for the same visit. I get it, but jeepers!

Well, only Alex ended up being positive also, but the wonderful doctor decided not to wait for the longer version of the tests to come back and just prescribed antibiotics for all the kids. Yay! Because otherwise you know I would be doing the same thing again in a couple days.

So, everyone is quarantined until the antibiotics have been going for 48 hours. That is what the pediatrician said anyway. I thought it was 24 hours, but need to go by what she says. I called the doctor for those of us adults (the ones that are very outnumbered in our house!) and thankfully, he didn't even want to bother sending me in for a test (it will come up positive most likely anyway as my throat is becoming increasingly raw) and just sent me in for meds for hubby and myself. Whew, that means two less doctor appointments.

So, we are at home. Yay! And not so yay! So far no one has been too crabby, and I am keeping them going on school and what not, and we splurged on a couple movies for some down time. So, hopefully things will improve. I think in larger families, it never just happens to one kid, but I will take this over having them all throwing up or something like that!!!!!

Kiley has been very lucky and her diabetes hasn't caused us any trouble so far this round of illness, but that doesn't really mean anything as we aren't out of the woods yet. Usually diabetic kids will run really high blood sugars when they are sick, in fact parents of kids with diabetes have actual "sick day protocols" to safely get through these days. I mean it, I have a printout from our doctor of hour by hour how to safely get through them. But, Kiley being Kiley, never really follows the usual. When she is sick, she tends to run low rather than high. Now, that causes more immediate problems but to a certain extent is a bit easier to battle, though it takes much more vigilance. Right now she is running on her low end of normal, not below her parameters, but close. And this makes tonight one night that I am very grateful that we have her on her continuous glucose monitor (CGM). It is a wonderful thing, checks her blood sugars every five minutes and displays it on the screen of what looks like a large pager. But, the best thing is that it alarms when she goes out of range. And when she goes low, it will keep alarming until things improve. So, I will sleep with an ear open, though when I checked on her just a bit ago things were normal and in range. Our doctor asked what we liked about our CGM, because it really does give a ton of info, almost too much to be helpful, though we find that it is extraordinarily helpful. In all honesty that alarm is our greatest asset with it. It is one more safety net. We have worked through dangerous lows, and woke up one night to her screaming in the midst of a low blood sugar seizure. I don't ever want to see that again, and this helps us to have some warning. So, anyway, we hope to sleep, hope that she doesn't do her own unusual thing with blood sugars, at least for tonight anyway. We will take it moment by moment.

So, I took my last dose of antibiotics for tonight, and I am off to bed. What craziness!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And life moves on...

Hi all,
I am going to try to be better about blogging, mostly for my own personal reasons, basically because it does me good!!! LOL! So, I am glad we are a few weeks farther down the road!

And after coming together and trying to figure out where we go from here, well, we don't have a plan as of yet, but we have some possibilities. That is a start. We are keeping our foster care license, but are not actively seeking to take any more kiddos that are not permanent. Too hard on all of us. We so want to finish the journey with our children, each one of them. We just are not able to emotionally disconnect as maybe we should if we were "professionals" at this. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I don't know if I want to be able to do that, or if it means there is something "wrong" with me.

But, we know that we want to continue to expand our family. We are good at parenting. Not so good that other stuff, but good at this, and working through the hard stuff. Chaos does not make us crazy, well not most of the time anyway. And you have to admit that with more kids comes more chaos, though also in some ways much more organization (it is the only way you will survive!!! LOL). But this is what our "calling" is, this is who we are. I know that many folks think we are crazy, but that is OK, what they do would send me to the loony bin (though some swear that is where I live! Again, tongue in cheek!).

So, this last experience really brought us to our knees to try to figure out where we were going in the near term. And that has sent me down the newest quest. I am very busy at Amazon.com. If you don't know me too well, you don't know that I am absolutely book crazy. My two favorite places to go: the library and a bookstore. It could be safely said that I hoard books. I just want to read them all! But, if we want to do another homestudy, or prepare the house for a baby, then there are some things to do! So, I am unloading whatever I can, whatever I inherited that I can bear to part with, whatever I can! I am hoping that not only will I clear out my excess, but that I also will be able to put aside the needed funds!

If you wanted to check out mommyturtle
feel free! I am looking for other ways to raise a bit of extra funds for this purpose, so am being creative! We shall see where God takes this. We have several possible roads we may go down and I am sure God will make it clear. At the moment, I find myself wondering how we would swing it in the short term, but also, I have seen God perform bigger miracles in my recent past. So, to me, that just isn't a good enough reason to not move forward. We serve a big God and he always has a plan.

On to another topic! We are having fun with starters and my kitchen counter that I got pretty much decluttered now has a starter for friendship bread and a starter for injera (Ethiopian flatbread). I am hoping I can get the injera to work as we were all spoiled with wonderful injera brought from San Fransisco last weekend. We ate leftovers most of the week (lots of true Ethiopian food), but the injera didn't make it past day two! When I bake, I bake in such large batches that I should have some to share. Another friend suggested we find a way to sell it to others with a taste for Ethiopian food (most people don't make their own, they either order it online, or go to Milwaukee, Minneapolis or Chicago to get it and freeze it). First I had better make sure I like my recipe and that I can physically make more than these kids of mine can eat! And they eat a lot! But, I love it too, and gladly eat as much as I can when it is warm and fresh. I almost started a sourdough starter too, but decided that this could be suicidal with too much baking to be done in a short time, and time is always short here. So, I'm trying to pace myself, at least a little. We love the friendship bread for breakfast breads and snacks, so I make a ton, and have to admit that I share very little (anyone want a starter?).

So, though this has been a wonderful weekend for me, I am about ready for it to come to a close. We had only one outside event other than church, and dh took our elder daughter to that (the Christmas musical is coming soon, so practices are fast and furious). So, after a long week of running and work and what not, I was HOME!!!!! And would you believe it, the laundry is caught up (that is only momentary you know), the dishes are done (and everyone is nearly done eating so I will have one more round of that yet tonight), and some reorganization was done!!!! The bathroom project is coming along, dh made a house for the barn cats, and I think that covers it! I know I should do more (but lunch for tomorrow is already in the crockpot and bread is rising on the stove to go with lunch tomorrow), so I am looking forward to curling up with a good book, though we may have to go a round or two of Uno before bed - the current passion of everyone. So, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and can enjoy a restful night! After all, tomorrow starts a new day! (I think I'm ready, no, maybe I will try to sleep in, no, can't. Well, maybe I will just be in denial that it is Monday. Yeah, that will work, if I try hard enough? Can I tell my boss that it is still Sunday? Nope, then I won't get paid, oh, yeah, well, it was a thought. So much for that. I think I better head to bed. Ugh.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fun with YouTube

Hi all,
First of all I want to thank anyone who was praying for us this last week or so. It has been a long, emotional week, but I think I am sort of seeing the sunshine. It is hard when our hearts are involved, and our family is all about our kids, every last one of them. I don't understand why things turn out the way they do, but I know that it is never a surprise to God. Sometimes I wish I had a memo, or a crystal ball to tell me how things will work out, but it is all about a faith walk. And some days I walk better than others. I do believe that God understands. I believe that he was OK with me not wanting to talk to him for a few days, in my hurt. He never goes away, even when I am arguing with him. Thank God for that! He loves us no matter what. He is never surprised that we are human, and that we struggle. I still miss our little one, and wish for her return, but it is what it is and I do hope that someday we will see through this glass better than we do now (darkly).

And on to my post today. I was browsing some things on YouTube - I get a daily email from Creation Moments, and it is always quite interesting. Found today that they have some small snippets on YouTube. Here is one for you to see, if you are so interested (and then of course there are links to more that they have out there): Creation Moments . Amazing what you can find out there. I did another search and found a comedian who was great, made some good points, but then went on to use some unfortunate language, so I didn't add it on. Too bad. Isn't it amazing - if we could only clean up the language, it would be perfect. I have been finding that with a fair amount of TV and movies lately - what is up with that? (as one of my boys would say) If only the gratuitous sex and foul language would be taken out, it would be perfectly acceptable. Here is a really funny parody : parody. I can laugh because some of it my kids experienced and some I did!!! Not all, but some, and with the right attitude, it is very funny!

And then on that note, sort of, I look around and realize how much of what we have in this life is truly unnecessary. We may like it, we may find it interesting, but is it really necessary? I am really in a paring down mode right now. Some days we realize that there is simply so much "stuff" around us. It makes me feel claustrophobic with winter coming on. So, today was a big day for getting lots of ducks in a row around here. Small projects we have been putting off, small shelves to be hung, pictures to be put up, summer clothes to be packed up (well, that will continue for a bit, it always is a process before everything finally makes it down to the wash and into storage), pictures to be put in frames, and on and on. But it did clear the decks in a couple areas. And the process will continue. I hope that by Christmas we will see a lot less around here. I have had fun selling books on Amazon (any of you who know me really well, know that this is my total downfall - if there is a book out there on anything I am remotely interested in, it will eventually end up here). It is fun to see piles of books I have read or used (or simply let take up space here) go out while a bit of cash comes in for them! Whoo-hoo! Makes the letting go easier! And we have discovered Tradingpost and FreeCycle, which are wonderful too! Last week I delivered a variety of items that basically took up the back end of our van! and I got a bit of money for them! I used that to get a couple small items for the kids for Christmas - a good thing when I start early!

Anyway, I think I have jumbled around a ton yet tonight! What a crazy post. I do know that our family is facing sort of a crossroads. We want to really recover, and get a view for what our family purpose is. It is really important to me that we have a direction, and a purpose, rather than get caught up in just surviving day to day. I know there are moments that this is the best that we can do, but I don't want us to stay in that mode. I know that God has a purpose and plan for us, that there are things that we do well. At the moment we are sort of trying to find our way back, but I know that we will. I cannot yet see through the fog, but it is lifting a little. Thank goodness for that.

Well, I am off to bed, the kids have now come down for the last time - out of the five kids we know that there will be three trips down the stairs, though it is different ones, different times, but always three. The third just headed up again, so we should be set! So, I am headed for a relaxing bubble bath and then we gear up for another day! Bless you all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Maybe I was too vague in that last post to make any sense.

None of our children are being removed, none of our five that are either birth children or adopted. We are not under any kind of investigation by social services or anything. It isn't that.

We have a child in our care, not one of our five, and she is being returned. Again. This is our second time round caring for this child (who we love like our own)and it is just a huge roller coaster. She is wonderful, a part of our family, and absolute blessing. We are sad, so sad as having her back really made us feel like that missing part of our family was back. It was, she is a part of our family, whether she lives here or not. So, no we aren't losing one of our kids, but yes we are. We aren't losing one that is legally ours, but one that is a child of our hearts. And it is very scary again to have her sent into the unknown, and certainly a situation that has always been "shaky". So part of me is wanting to be happy that there are some wrongs being righted, but another part of me is so jealous of our time with this little one. I am also so grateful for being able to know that she is growing and a delight. At some point I will be able to view this time as a gift, but at this point it is just very, very painful. I cannot imagine not hearing her little voice again, but that will be come. It is today, and tomorrow and the next few weeks that will be the most difficult. I wish so much that there was another answer. But it is out of our hands.

Please just pray. I don't know if my heart has anything left to bleed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Prayers needed

Hi all,
Could I ask for prayers for our family? I cannot share the details, but some folks are aware at this point after seeing us this weekend. Things have changed, after we were thrown for a loop (but a good one) on Friday morning. Now they are changing again, but not in a good way. There is nothing we can do, this is one of those things that is out of our hands, but for us, as a family that treasures children and welcomes more, we are devastated. Tomorrow will be a hard day, and tonight we need to treasure every second we have. I know that this is vague and confusing, but it isn't something I am at liberty to discuss. Just that there are seven of us who are confused and hurting.

Personally, I am so wounded, that I cannot imagine how we are going to get through this. I cannot imagine taking a leap or opening up to such pain again.

So, today we breathe in and out, make dinner and enjoy all six kids. Tomorrow we do a hard thing and then just try to keep going. All I know how to do is to keep breathing. I don't really want to very much, but that is what must be done. So, we breathe in and out, make meals, do laundry, wash dishes and whatever else must be done. We have gone through this before, it just seems the utmost of cruelty that we are going through it again.

So, tonight I will kiss all the little heads goodnight and thank God for each one of them, for tonight. And tomorrow will be what it will be.

I don't know how to get through, but we will.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This photo is from the concert that I blogged about a couple days ago or so. The worship night at Christ the Rock Church - anyway, someone just posted this picture on Facebook and emailed it to us. I thought it was awesome!

Now I really am headed to bed. Two kids have been down already, which generally means that we have almost hit our quota of "one last thing before I sleep" from the kids. We usually get at least a couple of them coming down for something, so I don't even try to head to bed until we have gone through this routine. There could be more kids coming down yet, but I doubt it. We have put in some busy days, and it sure wears them out!

Angels and airplanes

We are so excited about the concert you are seeing advertised above!! It is a FREE concert!!! Absolutely free! They do pass a bucket, but there is no obligation - and they have a nice little coffee bar there! Steve was just on the phone with the band leader and they are adding more songs, and it is great because most of them he has been dying to sing anyway!!! For ages! So, this is a great big band concert, brass and all, with great vocals and wonderful praise and worship music. We had so much fun at the last two performances, the kids are counting down the days!

And airplanes... A dear friend left for Ethiopia this afternoon to bring home her little girl that she has adopted. Little S. is one year old and we are all so excited to finally meet her. The miracle of adoption will never get old, just as the miracle of birth never will. I keep thinking of where they are now, over what part of the ocean (actually, they might still be in Washington DC yet. I remember those flights, I was so nervous and excited and overwhelmed that there was no way to sleep, or at least get any real rest. How do you rest when you know that you are headed to the other side of the world to a child who will call you "Mom" who you have never met!!!! I don't know that I can ever put into words all the myriad of feelings that that trip entailed! I hope someday I can put our story into words and that they will truly express the miracles God has done!

Speaking of miracles, you should see the first floor of my house! We have a social worker from the State coming, as we are starting the homestudy process for adoption through the state of WI. Which means we would be adopting out of foster care, if things really do happen. To say we are hesitant going into it would be an understatement. We have been foster parents for six years, so we know a bit how the system works, and have had two potential adoptive placements fall through after we had grown to love the child. So, we have said that we would be obedient, because we do feel that God has placed before families the need to reach to the orphan, helpless and needy. You take that as you want to, but this is our personal belief for our own family. Plus, in all honesty, we love having a larger family, and generally, the more the merrier.

Anyway, since neither one of us can bring ourselves to consider fundraising and what not for international adoption again, we have decided that this is a step we will take. If God presents us with more steps to take, we will do so, but one step at a time. And this is the first one. So, anyway, the social worker is coming tomorrow afternoon.

Generally this wouldn't be a huge freak out time. We have gotten used to it. But, you have to understand, we have been doing a lot of harvesting. And I mean a lot! My entire dining room table (remember, it seats seven of us) was piled high on top with gourds, squash and pie pumpkins. Now, that wasn't so bad, but the entire underside was also filled to overflowing with the same! We must have upwards of 20 acorn squash, 30 or more pie pumpkins (and we have already cooked down 8 - can we say "pumpkin pie"?), and various and sundry other edible squash. And that doesn't even cover the four laundry baskets full of apples that were picked on Sunday that were also in the dining room, awaiting canning and what not.

Not a great time to have a total stranger coming over to meet you. What kind of impression would that make?? "Well, yes, we like to stock up, and well, you know, we will get it all cooked down in the next week or two, and what can be stored will, but really, how does one household absorb the quantity of produce that has come in the door in the last few days?" Ummm, not so much. And really, yes, we do have chickens out there on the lawn for eggs, and yes, some of those goats out there are our milk producers. And the sheep, well, their wool is in the basement, awaiting processing. Yeah, like enough people don't think I am nuts already. Did I mention we don't sleep much?

So, today was the huge "figure out how we were really going to store this quantity of food" day, and straighten things up (like we normally would in general if there weren't 500 pounds of produce sitting right in the way). We had plans, and thanks be to God, it all worked. We have been collecting pallets, they make great enclosures of fence fixers for the escape artist goats, so we love to have a pile around. They also, as it turns out, can be used to make the most wonderful storage shelving for our old basement! Four pallets later, and some very good shelving structure we have shelving to store all this in our always cool basement (as in cold, not as in fashionable). Everyone pitched in and the gourds/squash/pumpkins were all transported and sorted into appropriate spots on the shelves. And all the canning we have already done has been moved down there also (where do you store 11 quarts of pickles, 9 quarts of apple butter (so far), unknown quarts of tomato sauce, and whatever else we got done already?).

And then we could find everything that went hiding in the great harvest! You know what, one advantage of a large family is that when everyone pitches in, a lot gets done in a short time. So, we can find the table again - hooray as picnicking is getting really old, and the house is very restful. And when I cannot stand the thought of dealing with another gourd or apple or whatever, they can simply stay in the basement until I am ready to deal with them!!! Whoo-hoo!

I know the social worker will have no idea of everything we pulled off, and I really don't want to let her know, it would be too easy for her to think we are crazy, and enough people do that already. Part of me wants to crow about what we accomplished, and the rest of me knows enough to be silent - except for here! Ha! When we really make a difference like this, it gets us all fired up to do something else big. Can we say new henhouse? LOL! Maybe not this weekend, I still have all that produce to process!

So, here is to angels, airplanes, adoption, and the blessings of autumn. And let's hope the kids don't get tired of squash anytime soon. Really. I'm not kidding. What all can you put squash in? I'm thinking anything I can, no, not really. But maybe. I will have to take a photo of our overflowing abundance just so someone will believe me.

Anyway, if you could send up some prayers for my friend Anna and her trip and all, I would appreciate it. We know another family anticipating traveling soon, and send up prayers for them too. And come see the show! It will be awesome! And we will all be there!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The videos WORK!!!

After a few tries at converting a DVD to a YouTube-compatible video, they are up!

Frosty the Bluesman:

Souled Out Holy Shoes:

Saved and Free:

Thanks for your patience, and for not making fun of Steve!

Can you tell we are new to this?

Yes, the YouTube video seems to have no sound. It isn't your computer - sorry! We were so bleary last night that it never occurred to us that the sound might not have gone through. So, Steve is working on fixing that as we speak! I will post again when we have it working. I guess there is a learning curve!! LOL!

Frosty the Bluesman!!!!

Hi all,
After all the fun last night, Steve was so wound up that it took him a while to be settled down enough to sleep - lots of adrenaline. Anyway, he was going through the DVD we had made from the last Swingin' Angels performance and decided to try to put something on YouTube. Took a little bit, he got it all figured out, and got it posted. Now a disclaimer, the video quality isn't great, there is a point where his head gets cut off in the frame, but you get a feel for the fun this big band has! The kids love this song and I do too. We laughed all the way through it and he pulled it off with such "attitude"! LOL! So, here is our first try at YouTube:

Let me know if this doesn't work, but it should and I will check back and try to get it fixed if it doesn't work. Have fun! And come see them at the Cup in October if you are so interested!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A few things...

Hi all,
In my bleary, tired mind, it had appeared that I haven't blogged much lately (though I have several that I read pretty much every day), and maybe now was the time to do it. So, please forgive me if this isn't the most logical one that I have ever done, though generally they all seem to ramble however I am feeling that particular day - isn't that what this is kind of for?

First of all, we had the coolest night. Steve was singing with Swingin' Angels at Christ the Rock Church in Neenah. This group just rocks - it a big band style worship band. There are 18 people in the band, and most of them are all brass! Talk about fun! They do a lot of Denver and the Mile High Orchestra stuff, which Steve has been singing for years and just loves. Tonight it was more of a worship lineup and another singer did the Denver stuff. But wow, it was just wonderful. And it was perfect timing for me, as I have been wrestling with God over a few issues lately (wait, no, me, being opinionated and expressing it?? Notice the heavy sarcasm). I had reached a point the other day where I just asked God for peace with whatever the outcome in one of the situations was to be. Just peace with it as we walked that road, again. And I have to say, it has lessened some of my obsessiveness with said situation (wait, me, let go of something, instead of hanging on like a tiny bull terrier??? Again, heavy sarcasm). Needless to say, I tend to be tenacious (or as my mom might say, stubborn as all get out). So, for me it was huge to have some of that burden released. Not to say that it leaves my mind much, but at least the intensity isn't there. So, for that I am grateful.

Anyway, the focus on the night was straight worship, and I didn't realize how much I needed that. And the plus being that I got to see my hunky husband singing away, well that just really topped it off. He is amazing, and I love it when he really gets to show his gifts, it is just amazing. The only thing that tops that is when Kiley got up with him (and a couple other kids - but I really wasn't watching them, I mean it was my kid) to help lead a Wednesday night worship. Maybe that makes it sound more impressive than it was, but get this, there was the four adult worship leaders (and the band) and then four kids, three of whom were from the kids' worship team. Kiley isn't on said team because she hasn't really expressed an interest, though for every drama and choir performance she tries out and has had a couple solos and dramatic parts (imagine that, those of you who know Kiley - her in a dramatic part - again, heavy sarcasm, maybe I shouldn't blog when I'm tired). Anyway point being, Kiley ended up standing next to her dad on the platform as they helped lead worship. I don't think there were many people quite as emotional as I was that night - by the way, I did get a video camera, so have it on tape! It was a crystal moment for me as a mom, especially given that Kiley can be the most trying of the kids, as well as very amazing.

So, it was a great night, and I really felt like maybe I set some things to rest. If you ever want to see Swingin' Angels perform, they will be at the Cup 'O Joy in Green Bay on Friday, October 24th at 7:00 (but get there early if you want a seat). And Steve will be doing some of the best Denver songs - we are hoping he will be singing the "Frosty the Bluesman" song - a take on Frosty the Snowman that is absolutely hysterical. I guarantee that our whole crew will be there!

I am finding that life has an interesting way of taking you places you never thought you would be. I am going to throw this out there for anyone who might be a young married couple and thinking about this: we made the decision nearly nine years ago that we were done having children. Yeah, we have since changed our minds. At that point we had said that if we changed our minds, that we would foster and or adopt. Well we have done both, and it was far from easy to do either. Whether we could do either again is open for consideration, but some debate given the size of our family. And it is hard, from a financial spot (don't have $20,000 lying around) and an emotional spot (losing a child who has been with us for quite some time, to never see again, is more painful that one can even imagine, and it isn't the same as a death, the child could still be in harms way or missing you, or whatever). So, while we know that we could RAISE another child, our options to do so, even for a child who needed us, isn't simple or certain. We had realized a few years ago that maybe we hadn't looked at the whole picture the right way. In our culture (to quote someone who I always forget, so I apologize for not being able to give you the author) we have some things backward: The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing, but in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings - Steve got it - it is by Doug Phillips at Vision Forum. So, we rejected blessings that we might have had, or might not have had, and now, a few years down the road, life is different than when we made that decision, and we wish we could take it all back. There is no way to know ahead of time where life will take you. Should we mess with God's hand? Did we by the vasectomy? Some folks would say yes, some would say no. We came to believe that we had interfered in something where God knew better. Now, this may be way out on a limb, but I know that we have struggled with loving being parents, loving having a houseful, and wanting more children, whether they were children of our bodies or children of our heart. Would the me of today have done what we did then - no. But there are lots of things in life that I would change too, so that is neither here nor there. But I guess what I would counsel the younger me (and anyone who would care to want to know what I thought on this subject) that permenant sterilization, because it is permanent, is not the only option, or necessarily the right one. Had we waited just a bit longer, even a year after our youngest was born (instead of one month) we would never have done what we did. And now, we really feel that we have interfered in God's plan for us. The consequence is that while we so desperately want another child, it may not happen. We did (be prepared to gasp if you don't already know) travel to a doctor who specializes in reversals, and Steve got a reversal (he is an amazing man, and no, I didn't ask him to). That was more than six months ago. It has been a long six months and I agonize each and every month. And I worry about my age and if we can any more and on and on. So, anyway, this may be more information than you want to know, but I just really had a need to share, maybe with someone out there - please don't do something permanent. You may find that God had a different plan. What we know today (about ourselves, our desires, etc) may be different in two years, three years, or even less, or maybe longer. I am not some crazy nut, but I know our experience, and I cannot take it back. I know of too many men and women who have come to regret that decision. It is interesting when the topic comes up how many folks share that hidden pain.

On that note, I got my first "condolences" of the rude sort. I was in the dentist office - they know very well how many kids we have as they see all of us, and I usually have to bring everyone when we go - getting my check up. Well, they wanted to do x-rays and I told them no, that there was a chance I could be pregnant. They asked if it was my first (dentist must have had brain freeze at the moment) and I said, no this would be number six. To which he replied that then he didn't know if congratulations were in order or condolences. My response was a somewhat incoherent something or other to the effect that we would be thrilled to find out we were expecting. What a dope! Me and him - where are the good comebacks when you need them!!! So, whatever. Just imagine me running around town with all the kids and a big belly! LOL! Like we don't attract enough attention as it is!!! (And just so you know, the jury is still out on the whole pregnancy thing. How you can be three days to a week and a half late - I got fed up with all the counting last month, so sort of lost track - anyhow, how that can be true and the pregnancy test read negative I don't know. I know it is still wishful thinking that maybe I am really pregnant, and not just weird, and have faulty tests. Whatever. Breathe in and out, I will find out soon enough, I guess. I just try not to obsess. Hah!)

Oh, and also, if you could just send up some prayers, we have had another event occur that we have been waiting for for years, it is good stuff, but some relationship building is going on, all very good, but we would really appreciate all prayers for this early stage in this. Rejoice with us, we may or may not share, but it is all good!

Well, I hope you all had a good night. Please pray for the folks in the path of this hurricane, and I have a special unspoken request for someone dear to me, if you could just send it up, God knows. Life can be hard, I don't get it, I know God is in it, but sometimes it is hard to see.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Check this out!

Hi all,
I have a few blogs that I follow quite a bit, and one of them is by Tom Davis, the author of "Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds" (by the way, an absolutely phenomenal book if you have not read it. It will challenge you and remind you of what God called us for. I cannot begin to praise it enough. I will be reading it over and over, and over again.). Anyway, on Tom's blog he discussed adoption, in a most interesting way. He really brought up a lot that we struggled with as we adopted our sons, and as I tried to deal with everything I saw over there, the overwhelming need, and all those left behind that I just didn't know how to help. Anyway, I highly recommend you read this post, and he has a follow up one. Of course I couldn't resist commenting on both of them, you will recognize me! But also, read through all the comments, because there are so many good ones, and I found many people struggling with the same things I have struggled with. Is adoption the best answer?
And the second blog post is: Part 2.
For all of us who have adopted, who are in process, or who have ever considered it, we have not only opened our homes and hearts, but have forever linked ourselves with something that is beyond us - another country, culture, people, social issues, need, and the overwhelming love our Lord has for everyone, but most especially for the "least of these".
Love to you all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rooster, get out of my van!!!

Chock that up for another thing I never in a million years expected to say!! LOL!

Only in my world would I be chasing a chicken out of my van! Unreal. You have to understand, out here in the boonies, it is very expensive to have garbage pickup, so we don't do it. But as we all know, garbage does occur. So, we load up the van, and do a "dump run". Well, today was the day. It usually ends up being once a month, but in this case, we had lots from construction projects, cleaning out the garage (we are still cleaning out from what was here when we moved in nearly two years ago), and general stuff. So, it was time for a mongo run!

The kids helped pull out the last two rows of seats in our van ("the monster" as the kids have dubbed my fifteen passenger van - hey, it seats lots of kids, and can pull a horse trailer!!!), and we loaded it full of gross stinky stuff, old decrepit and moldy suitcases, construction debris, general garbage, and what not. We had one old garbage can that has been here since before we moved here, and has always been full (the contents are probably about three and a half years old - I simply don't want to know what is in it, not a chance, no way). It took courage to haul that huge thing out and get it in the van, it has never before fit in one of our dump runs!!! But, now all the clutter from in front of my garage/rabbitry is gone!!!

Amazingly, I only had one child volunteer to come with me for this nasty - I mean, good - trip. We rode with all the windows wide open, and still didn't want to breathe. Why garbage can accumulate such a stink, I only somewhat understand, but it was truly awful. By the time it was all out and weighed, it came to about 500 pounds!!! Glad to have it gone. Ugh.

Would you believe that in the great "clean out" from the front of the garage, we discovered another spot where another hen has been hiding her eggs? Sure enough, a big red hen is sitting on 12 eggs! The little stinker! But after our summer with the fox, it is lovely to think that these sneaky hens are replenishing our flock! And for free, with the exception that we don't have the lovely eggs to eat.

Anyway, the rooster. Well, after we got back from the dump run, the van still smelled bad. Thank goodness for vinyl floors. I took bleach and water to all the garbage cans, left all the windows and doors open on the van, and then wiped down the cargo area with bleach and water! Of course, while I am on my hands and knees in the back, what do I hear but some clucking. From near my head. I look up and am nearly eye to eye with our big black striped rooster. Thank goodness he is pleasant, and just surprising to find yourself eye to eye with. The kids thought it was quite hilarious to hear mom scolding a rooster from inside the van!!! They helped me get the rooster out, then chase down the barn cats that also crawled inside!

And after all the cleaning, all is sterile and smells so much better now! Whew. Amazing what you can get done if you have to! And to evict the rooster to! Who would have ever thought that I would be doing some of this? Not that I am complaining, it is just amazing to me sometimes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Homeschooling requests

As we prepare to start our homeschooling year, this came in!

From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's
Insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals,
Would We admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization Means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do In fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the Planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets To socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of Options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just To annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

9 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and- spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

10 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

11 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

12 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

13 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

14 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

15 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's Some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

16 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

17 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

18 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

19 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

20 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

21 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

22 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

23 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, be quiet!

Now, can I find a list like this for large families????

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How do you score???

Funny, funny! Who'd a thunk it? Take a look at this!


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Monday, June 30, 2008

A close encounter of the stripey kind!

Whew, well, I am just having to get this out before my heartrate comes down too much.

Oldest daughter came downstairs, saying she was hearing the chickens outside. Now, first of all, the eleven year old is supposed to be asleep at 10PM, and second of all, chickens go to sleep at dark and are absolutely quiet all night unless something gets at them. They are not night owls by any stretch. In fact, we teach them where we want them to roost by waiting until dark, then going around the barns, fences and other areas, sneaking up on sleeping chickens, grabbing them and carrying them into the henhouse. Typically it doesn't take more than a couple times of doing this for them to just go to the henhouse on their own before they start their nighttime snoozes.

Anyway, for them to be making noise, clucking and fussing in the dark is a very bad thing. Means something is out there. And given that we have lost nearly 30 birds this spring and summer, it may be that the predator is back! Grrrrr!!!! We have sighted a fox, so figured that the fox was back. Maybe this time we could get it. Of course, being the reformed city slickers that we are, we don't even own a gun. What I would give for one to get that varmint that keeps eating my lovely ladies!!

Well, hubby and I go charging out of the house, armed with flashlights and preparing to grab sticks or rocks and go after that thing. Well, I found the ducks out walking around, with a chicken, out by the trough. Not normal for this time of night. Then proceeded to hear the clucking and generally discomfort coming from the henhouse. I went charging in, thinking that I would find that red bandit in there after my hens, when I probably emitted the most idiotic sound I have ever made, as I backpedaled right out the door again, with a skunk in the beam of my flashlight, trying to find a way to climb up to get at a hen on a roost. It would have been hysterical if it wasn't so frustrating. How the heck do you get a skunk out of there without getting sprayed yourself?? Imagine for yourself Steve and I going back and forth through the door, trying to get the skunk out, convince to go, and not get really stinky in the process. It ended up involving rock throwing, herding the thing, and it finally snuck out while we were searching for a very, very LONG stick to push it around with.

The good news is that the skunk is gone and no one stinks. And none of my hens were eaten tonight, unlike last night when the skunk got one of my favorite banties, Midnight. And we think we may have found the holes that it got in, and got them closed up. But, this is only temporary. It is like the Terminator, "it will be back". So, tomorrow we will have to find some other ways to barricade the rascal out of the henhouse, and then sneak around at night and make sure that all the hens are locked away in the henhouse. Bummer.

It is too bad that there wasn't a video camera on two grown people hesitantly chasing this thing that was actually smaller than our cats (yeah, where were those barn cats and why didn't they scare it off? maybe they are too smart). Lots of squealing, yelling, using the most long distance methods of chasing off the thing. I should be terribly embarrassed. All I could think was that I really didn't want to get sprayed, not really just because it stinks (though I am sure it does), but mostly because I am tired and really just want to go to sleep, and messing with a shower and tomato juice would really not be on my top ten of things to do yet tonight. Isn't that sad?

Well, it is gone now. What an insane thing. Close encounters of the stripey (and smelly) kind.
Goodnight, and let's all pray for sleeping skunks, sleeping chickens, and hopefully a sleeping me soon. Morning comes very early!
May your night smell good!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ways to directly help!

I am one of those people who just cannot stand the fact that I cannot seem to do things for those who really need help. I find it so totally frustrating that there are people out there for whom we so want to help, but it is nearly impossible to get help to them. If anyone knows of particular and local things, please let me know, as I am generally really stuck on this subject. But, on the other hand, there are a few really amazing people that have channels to get help directly where it is needed.

Check out this blog: feeding party

Or this:

hiv to home.

Of course I have an intrinsic interest in Ethiopia, but I am always on the lookout for good ways to serve. The world is too big, and the needs are too great, but we can somehow make a difference for a few. Wish I had a million dollars to fund towards something really amazing, but I just don't. Oh, well, I will do what I can with what I have!

Enjoy browsing and let God lead, even if it is just telling others about what others are doing. Spread the word, spread the word.

Love ya!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A great quote...

To end the day on a more positive note, found this quote and just loved it:

"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."~Anonymous~

Never thought I'd be trying to say this

Today was a landmark day, a day when I was ushered into a view of the world that I did not ever want to have. Today was the day my youngest son was called a "n****r" on the soccer field by some grandpa. What had he done to deserve that? I guess be born black, be good at soccer, and be running by the man as he was playing the game with his team. I was so upset that I could not leave the kids playing the game in the well capable hands of friends (who also have a child on the team) while I ran one of the older kids to his soccer practice. I just couldn't stand to not be there if something else happened. I just had to be there.

We were prepared for this by our adoption agencies, by tons of books that we have read, but when it actually happens, you just kick into stunned mode and then mama bear mode. The two are not a good combination. Do you want to go over and punch that guy? Do you just try to get a coherent thought in your frozen brain?

I am afraid that my response was basically stupid where I said "That is MY SON you are talking about!". Thankfully other spectators heard it, and jumped in in outrage. Shortly the man moved way, way, WAY away from the sidelines. Unfortunately, the man should have been ejected from the field, but the coaches and referees also seemed to have the same problem I did, and it passed. I go between being irate, and being just numb, and then enormously sad.

Thank the Lord, the child in question did not appear to hear the phrase. Or if he did, he hasn't said anything as of yet. I will be watching and listening carefully. I am not sure that he would even know the word, and may just assume it is an English word he didn't know. I don't know how we will address this in the future. At this point we are going to work on pat phrases that we can give to stupid or awful comments. We need to have something we don't have to think about in that awful moment.

Why is it that people feel the need to be racist? And to say it to a child? I just don't get it. Why would you call a nine year old boy that?

Okay, I am just a muddle of a ton of emotions and cannot seem to put them into words at all. Where in the world does this make sense. I have to say, I am really looking forward to hearing how the league is going to handle this. I am on the email link and phone link so expect to hear soon. My wonderful friend (who also has adopted children from Ethiopia, and was there at the game, and much more intimidating than I was) called the league president before I was even back from another child's soccer practice.

Where in the world does racism against children make sense? I hope not here.

A great quote

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

- St. Francis of Assisi

Today for me that means putting the last of the huge hay delivery in the barn and closing off that area so rain (and horses) don't get into it. Ugh. We have been doing this for three days now, but today will be done. And then our wonderful friends who do the delivery with a huge, huge trailer let us know that the next shipment will be ready next week (we are stocking up as hay is available as the farmers are cutting and getting it put up). Good news and bad news. I think this means another 200 bales, this time they will be even heavier than the ones we just put up. These ranged up to 50 pounds and a few that were 70. Ugh. Good news, better quality and the growing season progresses, but... And that means the center section of another one of our outbuildings needs to be emptied - it literally hasn't been emptied since the 1950s or earlier (we have found items with dates on them buried under stuff in there. Most of it is junk, wood for the bonfire, crushed hobnailed boots, and things I just don't have a clue what they are. Yay, because I have been wanting to do this, bummer because it means it has to be done NOW, and what am I going to do with all this stuff???? I don't want to throw away or burn something that is of value, like the weird hand carved cover for some sort of barrel, that is who knows how old. So, I can't just have the kids go throw stuff out (plus, the way things are piled I don't want them climbing around in it!!!), so I have to be hands on out there - means no making of mozzarella cheese today!

On the up side, my cheesemaking kit came two days ago!!!! I am dying to get going as so far I have only been able to make cream cheese, more like a ricotta. Steve and I finally bit the bullet and got a kit to teach us how. I figure when I get good at this, then I can expand into more cheeses! But at least get some of the milk out of the refrigerator and into a more useful form than cat food! Our two goats are going great guns, and will only increase from here, so I need to be prepared. And we love cheese, so it is a good thing! Anyway, did you see that the date of arrival of the cheesemaking kit was the same day as the arrival of 300 bales of hay???? Hmmm. Not enough hours in the days! What is the old saying "make hay while the sun shines"? Well, we aren't making hay, but rain on my hay pile would be tragic! (It then molds and then the horses cannot have it - it gives all sorts of health problems. At least the goats could eat it, but still!!!)

So, if you could spare a prayer for all our muscles that we aren't used to using at quite this extreme level, it would be greatly appreciated!!!! LOL!

Have a great day, and keep doing what needs to be done, then what is possible and before you know it, the impossible is done!

Friday, June 20, 2008

We are so blessed!

Don't have a ton of time this AM, kids are up and moving, getting them on track and the day underway takes my time and attention, no matter how I try to make them more independent. Not to mention that we had one of our fun "diabetes mornings", so I am basically letting the kids veg a little (totally breaking the no TV before chores are done) as my stress comes down, and Kiley starts to feel better - she needs to take some time to physically feel better after a significant AM low. The joys of diabetes, even with excellent control, at least with kids! I am so glad that we are in a position where we can flex our days to deal with this. I think I would lose my mind if I had someone outside looking over my shoulder so I had to constantly explain to them why I managed it the way I did. I end up explaining a lot anyway, and that generally doesn't bother me, but when a stranger gives disapproving looks or rude whatever while I am managing a medical crisis, or calming down after one, that is frustrating. I just want to scream at them "you have no idea what we are dealing with here, and I don't have time to tell you, because if I do, one of us will be calling an ambulance, so leave me alone and let me take care of it, and don't look at me like I am some sort of horrible person". Okay, that was my vent, thank you very much for letting me empty my brain out. Whew, now it is gone.

Anyway, this post was supposed to be about telling you about this posting on another blog - from a medical missionary in Ethiopia. It makes a lot of things make sense, what I saw in Ethiopia, and my boys' viewpoints of some things!!! LOL!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Insight into Ethiopia

Check out this blog posting from a medical missionary in Ethiopia: owlhaven ethiopia

It reminds me so much of what we saw in Ethiopia - if you go down, I commented on there too. Just in case you were interested.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

I would encourage you to take less than ten minutes and watch this video.

It is so amazing and wonderful. A reminder that wherever we are, or have been, God can wants to bless us! He wants us restored to him, he loves us, no matter what.

What has God called us to?

You know, I never thought I would have something to say that I wanted to say to a ton of people, that I would ever desire to get up in front of however many people would listen to me, and speak my mind.

But, I really want to. First watch this YouTube video.

Okay, now here it is. Anyone who has listened to me before, and there may actually be very few, but it lets me get my mind together and speak what is on my heart. So, here it goes.

I want to speak out on the plight of the orphan. Around the world, here in the US, everywhere. I so desperately would open my home to another child, and another and another. I have lived it. I have fostered, lost children as they return, mended from the hurt, carry the scars. And it has brought me more and more steps towards all orphans, of all kinds, of all ages. I have done all the documents, been background checked so many times it is a joke, have clearance from homeland security (yeah, like a simple passionate housewife and mother is a security risk, but I have it!!!), have filled out piles and piles of documents (I HATE paperwork by the way, so if I can do it, anyone can - and thanks to my friends who stood alongside me as I did it and grumbled and kept me going when I thought I couldn't do one more thing), I have gotten so many things notarized I consider the notary at my bank a dear friend, I have gotten a passport (kicking and screaming all the way, there was no way I was leaving my children at home and going to another country), and actually got on a plane and left the US to go to Ethiopia for about a week. ...... And I would do it again in a heartbeat. I know that I have forgotten some of the pain, some of the agony, the awful wait, the fear that it wouldn't really happen, the worries and all of that. I shouldn't say that I have forgotten, but I have moved on. I have my two sons home and they have so integrated into the family and we are so blessed by them, I would do it in a heartbeat. I sit and hold my friend's hand as she struggles and cries with their very difficult adoption, and I would still go that road. I know the costs (and the miracle of provision) and I would do it again.

Here is part of the reason why: Christ adopted me. No questions, no what ifs, no counting of the cost. I watched the Passion of the Christ in the theatre with my husband and spent the entire bawling, as did that big huge guy next to me (dear hubby by the way). We sat and looked at each other after it ended, just shaken, as had to say, "What do we do with this?". It was the viceral reaction to what we had finally had brought home to us, what Christ did for us, what his message is, that we had to let it change our lives. Even more than we had allowed God to do before. We had to look at what we could do for those that God called us to. I continue to feel that.

And over and over, Christ speaks about the widow, the orphan, the fatherless. There were many verses quoted in the video you watched. I will at some point go back and quote them again. But at this point I have to empty my head to try to make my message and thoughts clear. If I don't somehow spill it out, well, it just won't.

Christ calls us to the "least of these" and says nothing about the cost to us. He does promise to bless us as we follow him. He is also very clear that we are to "take up our cross and follow him". We are to reach out to those who need us.

The orphan, there are so many, it is easy to look away. We live a life of ease, even when we have our worries. The fact that you are reading this, means that you have more than 95% of the world or more. I won't get started on that one, save that for later.

But, we need to reach out, to not count the cost, to be God's hands and feet. That is the message of the Gospel. Can I tell you how many people look strange at me with my rainbow of a pile of kids getting out of my "monster van" (as the kids call it). And I only have five kids. There is more to do. If I share with someone that I desire to adopt a child with special needs - oh, my goodness!!!! People have asked me if my children were exchange students, visiting for the summer, or whatever. I proudly introduce my sons and daughters.

God's heart is for adoption. He adopted us into his family, with our imperfections and all that meant that we didn't deserve it. Let me tell you, I never deserved to be adopted by the Creator of the Universe. And I am so grateful. God loves me. Just for me. And he loves you too. And the child on the other side of the world who needs you.

I have never in my life known that I was following God in the most profound way, as when we worked to adopt our sons. We did what was impossible - not because we did it, but because He did it. I saw more miracles in that ten months than I have ever seen or heard of in my entire life. God brought it about. Simply how we came to know of our children was a miracle (if you want to read that whole story it is still at www.caringbridge.org/visit/ethiopia2greenbay - go to the beginning of the journal and move forward). And I see the miracle every day. We are blessed. Our sons came to us at 8 and 12 and we could have all sorts of fun issues, but they are typical kids - fully kids with all that this means, but God has had such a hand on them! And if it had not gone that well, it still would have been a gift of God.

God desires us to be fully involved, not lukewarm (he says he will throw that out). I don't know what God has in mind for my family, where he is going to take us, but I hope to just be listening close enough to follow.

I will try to not be so emotional and have a better put together thought process for the next one!

Friday, June 6, 2008

A must read about abortion

Now, as most of you (if not all of you) who read my blog know, I love tons of kids! I would have many more in our household if we could, and we may yet. So, we have what many people consider a large family - five kids! Gasp! No biggie - okay, sometimes the laundry is, but really, how stressed can you get about that. Or if you do, like I do some days (like today, when the rain moved in and I had to pull all three loads in off the clothesline to finish drying in my horribly inefficient dryer), well, you have to step back and decide that it is crazy to let it make you nuts. So, I try to make a joke of it, enlist help of the kids, and just have a sense of humor. And to be grateful - at least it means that we have clothes to wear, family members to clothe and health enough that we are able to dirty clothes in activities.

Anyway, before I digress into silliness, back to the topic. I have a few blogs that I follow, that are inspiring to me, get me thinking, let me reach out, or just give me an excuse to sit for a couple minutes with a cup of coffee!!!!

I have found a new blog that I really like, and I found this post today (get this, I had been up for basically most of the last two nights with my daughter's diabetes struggles, snatching sleep in between her continuous blood glucose monitor alarming at me and then dealing with the issue, got her up to go babysit at a nearby friend's house at the ungodly hour of 7AM - God, could we have made mornings easier?, and then began my chores of laundry and getting the other kids going, followed by moving horses to another pasture, chasing down boys to chase down goat escape artists, and cutting really long grass around the house! I keep thinking it must be lunchtime, but nope, not yet.). It was very well written and had a great deal of resources and I would highly recommend you check it out.

I was just so torn up reading it, not just because I am so sad about abortion in general, but because I have several rather personal reasons to feel that way.

My eldest child was unexpected and I was unwed and in a bad situation when I discovered I was pregnant with him. My sin, my failing, and now I has subjected someone else to this! Well, I truly know that God used this to slap me upside the head and get me back on track and I quite often admit that my son probably saved my life, at the very least gave me motivation to make a better life! At that point, several folks, in very kind ways, discussed abortion with me. I know where they were coming from and their hearts. They did have good intentions. But I look back and think "what if I had done that?". I look at my lovely boy and know that I would have murdered him, and never gotten to know him. I knew at the time that it wasn't an option, I would not abort this child, and that I would get my act together, and get back with God. And God blessed that. Reason one.

We have been foster parents and though we still mourn for those children that we love that have moved on, for better or worse, and I know that they live. I think of my little E, her portrait still hangs on the wall, after two years of her being gone, and will never come down. As much as it pains me that I miss her, I am so grateful that her mother gave her life. In fact, her birthmother and I had a conversation in which she advocated that we still be able to be in E's life after she returned to her birthfather, as "you are her mother" (yes, coming from her birthmother!!!!). We looked at each other and she said that I did the job, and I responded that she blessed E with life. It still rings as one of the most surreal moments of my life. So, for those kids, that while they may be "unwanted" or in tough situations, they deserve life. There are families who will love them as we love E, people that strongly desire to care for them and help them have happy lives. What may be a bad situation today, may be a good one in a year. And how many amazing people have come from tough backgrounds and used that for good, to be extraordinary people? So many! How do you decide that something is "too hard"? How do we claim that right to decide this?

Next. Two of my children were adopted from a difficult situation, orphaned internationally and seemingly without hope. And they are the most lively, living in the moment kids. We are so very blessed to have them in our lives, to have them as our children. I am so glad that their mothers gave them life, and that we were able to continue that life, and that I know that they will grow up and go on to have a chance for good lives (they get to choose how they live it out, I will do my best to prepare them for it).

Another. I have one child with a chronic medical condition, one that can always place her life at risk, one that could very well shorten or affect her life. We battle it constantly. But with the wonderful miracles of modern medicine, she can live with this. A hundred years ago she would have been dead years ago. Now she will go on to have a full life, however always needing to address this issue. What if someone decided that a child living with diabetes was too hard? Would you chose to abort that child? It is hard. But it is lovely. How do you decide what is too hard? God has given us what he has for a reason. There is nothing too hard with God. He may only provide moment to moment, or day to day, but if you can work with him, it can be done. I have seen both my daughter and our family affect other folks as they watch us live with this and deal with this. We have a lot to offer, a lot of encouragement, a lot of practical things we can do. Would I choose for her to not have this disease? In a heartbeat! Would I sacrifice anything I could, including myself if I thought I could rid her of this? Without even having to think twice about it! But, what are we to learn through this, what is God teaching us, what is he strengthening her to do? I know that he has a purpose, and I know that he will use this for his glory, and I know that he does not have plans for our harm, but for our good, and I know that he loves my child so much more than I even do. So, yes, as the parent of a child with "issues", I would never choose to not have her here, or to save her from what she deals with (by aborting her instead).

And. We hope to be blessed with more natural children, but that will be up to God. If he chooses to allow me to conceive again, it will be entirely through his grace, and I have learned to accept that. But, folks will ask us: but what if another has this disease? Or: given your age, aren't you worried about the risks of birth defects? (By the way, I am 38) Personally, as much as I want a healthy baby, does that mean I would turn away a sick or "imperfect" one? Not at all. Again, God is soveriegn and has reasons. I know that we don't even want to do prenatal testing unless it is for something that we could do something about prior to birth, something that doctors could fix or whatever. I do not want to know if my child would have Down Syndrome or something else. There is nothing that I could do about that, and I want to welcome a child, not a syndrome. We still try to say that our child is a "child with diabetes rather than a diabetic child". If testing could show something that medication could help, or prenatal surgery could help - then I am all for it. Of course I would want to do that. But otherwise, nope. I will take what I am given, whatever it is (kinda feel like I am tempting fate or something by saying that publicly). I know that if I start rounding out, people will comment, we will get more stares, and I am sure someone will ask if we are done yet. They do already. NOPE. If God moves, he moves. That is it.

And another reason. I have been intensely following a little boy in Vietnam with special needs. He is four, and in a situation where he certainly isn't getting the care that would allow him to have the best life that he can. If you don't know, the situation with adoptions in Vietnam is precarious. At this point, it is unlikely that any children will be adopted out of there after September first. The window is closing for this young child (if you have any interest in him, contact me and I will get you in touch with the adoption agency!!!!). I don't know why, but from the moment I saw his face, I was so drawn to him. My heart just reached out to him, broke for him. And then to see his video, and scream at the screen - no, don't hold him like that, it makes it worse!! NO, please don't tie him into that chair where he will develop more abnormal movement patterns and spend his days!!! Please, let me show you how to hold him so he can get breath better, please let me hold him so he can get control of his trunk muscles and then maybe get his hands out of those fists. I can see just what I know needs to be done to help him move. And even with all that being done wrong for him, he has a huge smile, eyes that shine out at you, and is so smiley and interactive with people. AGGGHHHH!!!! I know what could be done for him here, what options he would have, and that no one could tell how far he might come with help. But he won't get that there. Anyway. In my heart, he feels like my son, but it isn't only my decision to make. I cannot do it alone. There are realities - like $1500 for another homestudy, $480 to immigration, and then travel (he is a promise child, so there are no agency fees). I don't have those funds today, but I fully believe that God could move things so that was available. He did with our other sons. Each time I think that the clock has run out, or that there is no way that something could happen, it does. But at this point, it isn't just my decision to make. Would there be mobility issues? Maybe. Would that be a problem in our two story house? Probably eventually, though could be managed while he is small. He also may do very well and it would be a moot point. Would our family and friends think we were nuts? Oh, most definitely! I am sure there would be many concerned conversations with the best of intentions. There are people who don't talk with us now because of the children we already adopted (different race, country, more kids, etc). Some in our church community would be less than helpful - I know that the preschool Sunday schools would not be a place that this child could go given certain issues. And I know that I can deal with that. It would raise people's hackles for us to have a "new" child and deal with a stroller or wheelchair on top of "what we already have". I get that. I know that it is more. That this child would exponentially add to the family. I also know that being stretched isn't a bad thing. It is too easy to look at the ones that look perfect or healthy, but leave behind those that don't. Sorry, but I am at a frustrating period and don't see an answer. And maybe God's answer is that my heart is opened, that it is stirred up. Okay, I get that too. But is this child any less valuable than those that aren't so challenging? Doesn't he deserve a family that can love him for who he is and what God made him to be? I have struggled with this situation for months and haven't seen a whole lot of progress, or at least not at the final stumbling block. But, each child deserves life. This child may not be perfect, but does that mean he has less value? Our society values the pretty, the cute, the athletic, the smart. That isn't what Christ calls us to do (a great read is by Tom Davis "Red Letters". Don't read it unless you want to be challenged and brought back to exactly what Christ said).

So, those are my personal reasons that abortion makes me sad. I would gladly take any of those "unwanted" home and raise them as my own. And to see them not given a chance at life.... It is murder plain and simple, done for convenience. We need to step up and help. Next time you see the unwed mom at church, doing her best to forge a better way, don't look down your nose at her, but smile. I have been on the receiving end of that look - condemned for my sins, flogged with them, even as Christ promised me that they were as far as the east is from the west, and as I tried to do the right thing. Help our the foster/adoptive families you know, help out the single mom, help someone. Ask the youth pastor if he/she knows any families that would be blessed by your son's outgrown clothes that you have no one to pass them to. Be nice. that is it.

I dunno, I think I just blew out all my possible steam for the day. Read the blog. Think about what you can do. Bless someone, somehow. Now, I am tired. I think I will make lunch, hug my kids, fold my laundry, read with the kids, and try to move on. I have wrung out all my sadness and angst for the day. Sorry I wasn't more entertaining.