Saturday, January 31, 2009


Teenager received an award this month: the "I CAN" CLUB AWARD OF EXCELLENCE. She was nominated by her teacher in her digital media class. He said, "Teenager does excellent work in Photoshop and is always open to learning new tools and techniques. She is always early to class and ready to learn. She demonstrates an upbeat and positive attitude. Congratulations, Teenager."

The certificate also says, "You have been recognized by your teacher and peers to receive the I CAN CLUB Award of Excellence. Even though academic standing is important and taken into consideration in determining who receives this award, candidates are also evaluated on the basis of dependability, reliability, cooperation, self-motivation, and courtesy. In addition, they must possess the ability to work to their capacity and potential, help their co-workers and serve as role models to other students.

We congratulate you for being chosen as one of those honored students to receive the I CAN CLUB Award of Excellence. We challenge you to explore your full potential in reaching for new heights through your life."

The award was presented at a breakfast hosted by the University, and each of the students received their award as their recommendation comments were read aloud. In addition to the certificate, she received a pen and pencil set, with the "I CAN CLUB" inscription.

Congratulations, Teenager. Your mom and dad are very proud of you!

25 Random Things about Me

This meme has been circulating among some friends, and I thought I'd cross post my response here. Feel free to play along if you'd like to.

1. I was an AFS exchange student to Austria when I was 16.

2. I've played the piano since I was 7; and in high school band, played the tympani and the bells. When I was a senior, my best friend Elaine (now my sister-in-law) and I sat in with the fifth grade band, and learned to play the trombone. It didn't last long -- the director was patient, but when we became a distraction with our giggles . . . he wasn't that patient.

3. I've been married to Father for almost 35 years. We started dating when I was 16, and he was 18. We married a year after I graduated from high school. We thought we were grown up.

4. I joined the Primitive Baptist Church after we were engaged, and I was baptized in a small lake in Nebraska, in January. They cut 7 inches of ice for my baptism, and a 7 year old boy was also baptized that day. My first communion/foot washing service was the day after we were married a few months later. We were on our honeymoon in Colorado. My faith and belief is vitally important to me, but I'm not very talkative about it.

5. Father farmed with his dad the first two years we were married, and we farmed wheat, and raised cows/calves, and a few pigs. During a blizzard, he found a frozen new-born calf, and put it through our front window (onto our sofa), because the doors were blocked with snow. The calf lived a while on our enclosed back porch, but his legs were frozen badly, and eventually he died.

6. I can roller skate, but the ability to ice skate escaped me, no matter how hard I tried.

7. I've always wanted to be a good swimmer, but never could move efficiently through the water.

8. We've been foster parents for 30 years, and have had more than 160 kids in our home. I love foster parenting, and work with the foster parent support group, train prospective foster parents and write home studies.

9. I've been a SAHM all except 2 years, when I was a special ed teacher's aide.

10. We used to have a garden, but now go to the farmer's market when we can, instead. We also appreciate other people's abundance, and our church friends are very generous with their gardens.

11. We have 3 children by birth, 2 by adoption, and one more adoption planned in the next year or so. That will give us children from 6 to 32 years old. We have 5 granddaughters, and one more grandchild on the way.

12. Father and I both grew up in Nebraska, but there are no immediate family members left in that state. We're in Missouri, and our siblings live in Georgia, Arkansas, and Texas.

13. I like to sew, do cross stitch, and bake, but don't do much of any of them any more.

14. The sports we watch are the ones our kids are participating in. We've watched softball, tee ball, baseball (5 kids on 4 teams one summer), soccer, and 11 years of wrestling; and in Special Olympics: softball, soccer, basketball, bowling, and gymnastics.

15. I love southern gospel music! Bill Gaither and friends, Statler Brothers, Cathedrals, and all.

16. I also love singing a cappella from the hymn book with a congregation of believers, or singing with family or guests at home.

17. Our family vacation to Alaska last year was wonderful, and we'll treasure the memories forever. I wish we could travel every year! Time away from home is usually spent visiting family and attending church meetings, so there aren't any complaints with that, either.

18. I'm a procrastinator and am easily distracted, but can meet the deadlines when necessary.

19. As I've aged, my priorities have changed, and some things I used to think were important no longer seem as important.

20. I used to think only old ladies liked fresh flowers, but now I love them. Does that mean I'm old?

21. I love kids, but do not want pets, and especially not in the house!

22. I love cardinals, and birds always remind me of my mother, who loved watching the birds outside her window.

23. I love this country, and our freedom, but I wish its citizens were more God centered and family oriented.

24. I am moved to tears often by things precious to me.

25. I asked Teenager what should be included in this list, and she said "You sneeze very loudly!" My claim to fame, apparently. ;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Lighter Side of The Fall

There is always a lighter side of everything, and leave it to Whistle to add his perspective. When he saw my very purple bruised knee, he said, "I don't want you to go to Liz's house ever again, because you're an ooold lady -- OLD! Old people don't do that!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

We Need the Prayers of Those We Love

This post is a little after-the-fact, but I want to catch up those who haven't been in touch with us personally, I want to post more often, and this is what's on my mind.

Every night Whistle prays for all his siblings, usually naming them one by one. When Liz and George announced that they were expecting, he added their new baby as well (and now has added Ben and Julie's baby-on-the-way). In the last few weeks, he's been praying for Liz to "have a safe pregnancy, and a safe baby." That is unusual wording, but proved to be prophetic. Also, one of the men in Liz and George's church had a special burden for the babies, and suggested a special prayer meeting for them. This occured on Wednesday evening: specific prayers for the new babies - 3 month old twins, one of whom has a health problem; our granddaughter Charlotte, who arrived early -- the day before the prayer meeting was scheduled; and another who was due later, but also arrived early -- the day after the special prayer meeting. Little did we know then how much we would rely on Whistle's prayers, the prayer meeting, and the prayers of many others.

Early in the morning on Friday, less than 24 hours after they'd been dismissed from the hospital, I was going to enjoy some grandma and baby time. Before we even got to the family room, I fell with Charlotte in my arm (believing I was at the floor when there was actually one more step). Although in falling I broke through the drywall with my face, Charlotte remained cradled in my arm, as we landed on the ceramic tile floor. I'm certain hitting the wall first is what protected us from hitting the floor with more force. I had no warning or even a stumble to try to protect her - it was just God's hand that kept her close to me. I have a few scrapes and bruises but was protected as well. It could have been so much worse --there was a stud close by, an outside corner of the wall a few inches away on one side, and a door jam on the other. Another landing spot would have caused many more injuries, most likely to both of us.

Although we now know that she was unscathed, the next couple of days were spent with her in the children's hospital for observation, and it was an emotionally draining time for all of us. Charlotte is "doing the things babies do," as the neurosurgeon said, and we know this is only by God's grace. We cannot express how thankful we are for God's protection of this tiny little girl as we look back over the circumstances. Liz and George were wonderfully supportive through it all, and I thank God for them and their love. The prayers of our church brethren and friends are surely what kept us all going -- even those prayers that were prayed long before her birth.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Charlotte Noelle

Welcome to the world, little Miss Charlotte!
7 lbs., 7 oz, 19.5"
January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pink and Green for Little Miss York

Tonight we are excited! By this time tomorrow, we expect to be grandparents again - as George and Liz are expecting to have their baby girl sometime tomorrow. Liz has had some elevated blood pressure, so the doctor wants to induce her labor a few days before the due date. We have been praying for the baby and her parents, and tonight Whistle prayed what has become a standard phrase for him, "Help Liz have a safe pregnancy, and a safe baby." Soon Little Miss York will join his list of siblings and cousins that he prays for every night.

Liz had been looking for a crib set for the baby's room earlier, and when she found one they really liked -- it was a little too pricey. Isn't that how it goes? We decided we could try to duplicate it, and started looking for fabrics. The original set was paisley and stripe, but she decided on these flower prints instead of the paisleys we found. In the end - it's unique, for a special little girl. It was fun to sew again -- I don't get my machine out very often (I even take my mending and hemming to someone else). However, sewing like this is much more fun! I finished it tonight, just in time -- even though it will be a little while before she's in the crib in her room, I'm sure.

Welcome, little one, the world awaits your arrival!!

Left to right, top to bottom: crib skirt, dresser scarf, comforter, bumper pad, sheets, decorative pillows.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Whistle the Water Boy

Last summer at the one-hour-a-day basketball camp for young boys, Whistle won a dribble knock-out challenge. All the boys dribbled basketballs for as long as they could, protecting their own ball while trying to knock the other boys' balls away from them. He wasn't big on hitting other boys' balls away, but was very good at keeping his own protected and bouncing.

His reward for winning was to attend a high school varsity game as water boy, and last night was his special night. He's been so excited all week he could hardly stand it. He woke up every day asking what day it was. On Thursday evening, he repeatedly told me that after school (Friday) he wasn't going to be hungry (so we could skip supper and go on to the game). Thursday night in his prayer, he prayed for his favorite player and hero, our neighbor Adam. [Side note: Adam's mom works at Whistle's school, and eats lunch with him daily because of his feeding issues. She encourages Whistle to eat so he can be strong like Adam, and in his prayer, Whistle also prayed for Adam to "eat healthy food, like pizza."]

On Friday, we realized that the evening schedule was 4 games, and Whistle's game would be late - probably 9 o'clock! For a guy who is drooping at 7 o'clock - that wasn't good news. We tried to get him to nap after school, but he was waaay too excited to even relax. We ate a quick supper, and headed up to the school, because he was certain we were going to miss the game, and we might as well be watching games as be at home being anxious about it. We saw the last half of the JV Boys game and all of the Varsity Girls game, before the Varsity Boys game. He began to get cold feet at the end of the waiting time, but when Father took him around the gym to meet the assistant coach, he was ready and willing to go to the locker room, and didn't look back.

I wondered what the pre-game was like in the locker room, since my only experience is seeing sports movies and videos (and lots of them, since they're Hugger's favorites). We saw the coach peek out to see if it was time, and then the team came running out onto the floor for their warm-up. Right behind them was Whistle - with a water bottle in his hand and a huge smile on his face, running right behind them. He got to mid-gym and stopped, looked around, and saw the assistant coach coming to get him. Oops - he was supposed to be *walking around* the gym floor with the coaches, instead of *running onto* the gym floor with the players! As to the locker room happenings, the coach later commented that "He's quite a little dancer!" and when we got home, Whistle told me that when Adam turned on the country music while they did their stretches, he danced. Some guys would stretch along with them, but not Whistle - he danced to the music!

The game itself was great - except for the final score -- they lost by 3. Whistle followed all the action, cheered, and only at first stood up for the team huddle, just in case they needed him! It was a night he will remember for a long time!

And today -- we went to Hugger's basketball game this morning, and Whistle has been napping for over 3 hours to recover from all the excitement.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Story Bits and Boxing Gloves

Whistle was putting on his pajamas, but trying to talk me out of sending him to bed. He was too tired, and cried when I said he needed to go to bed because he has school tomorrow. I pointed out that when he's crying, I know that he's too tired, and needs to sleep. He said, "When I don't cry, I STILL have to go to bed! It's not FAIR!"

I was showing the kids the pictures from Caitlin's birthday party on this post. Whistle couldn't figure out why he wasn't in the picture, and pointed out that he "was bein' GOOD!" I explained that he couldn't have his picture on the blog because he wasn't adopted yet, and Granddaughter E. said, "I'm ADOPTED???" Everyone in the room laughed, which broke her heart, and she ran away crying. (She's the sensitive one among us, and easily gets her feelings hurt. A common concern from her is "He's making a mad face at me.") After a few minutes, she understood that she wasn't adopted, but I don't think she ever figured out why her comment was so funny to us.

A late Christmas gift arrived for Whistle via UPS today. A couple of days before Christmas he decided he wanted boxing gloves. He hadn't really said he wanted anything up to that point -- he was more interested in the festivities of Christmas than what he'd receive. However, the day he thought of the boxing gloves, he received a call from an aunt (birth family), and she asked him what he was asking Santa Claus for. Of course, he told her boxing gloves. She asked me if anyone was getting them for him, and when I told her I didn't know of anyone, she said she'd like to get them for him. Today, a pair of Incredible Hulk Hands arrived, and after initial hesitation because they didn't look like boxing gloves to him -- he had fun hitting my fists to try them out. They have batteries, growl, make deep-voiced comments, etc., and he liked them. He did say he wanted the kind he could punch the wall with, but when we gave him permission to try that - his huge grin, left-right-left punches, and fancy footwork were perfect! Now -- we'll see how much C. and E. appreciate them tomorrow morning!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January - New Beginnings

With a title like New Beginnings, you might be expecting some seriously weighty thoughts for the new year. If so, you may stop reading now. If you expect only a modicum of newness -- stay with me.

One of the things Father and I are involved in is the county-wide foster parent support group. I carry the title of President, and he does the heavy lifting, if you know what I mean: sometimes it's figuratively, and sometimes literally. Today, we (in a very loose sense of the word WE) did some rearranging in the storage facility where we keep our "stuff" for future use. Just after Christmas, we were blessed with a large car-load of new toys that another agency couldn't use, and also with a load of other new toys and clothing from various sources. Our storage was in serious need of rearranging, because what good is it if you can't find what you need when you need it?

Father had salvaged some racks from his work a while back, and we had some boxes of donated clothing stored on them. He decided to use some formica covered boards (also salvaged from work), and placed them between the two racks to increase the storage, and keep things from being piled on the floor. Now we have a huge U shaped shelf, with one side of the U longer than the other.

It's hard to see in the picture above - but the top shelf is actually a 4'x 8' sheet of plywood supported by 2 x 4s, and the lower shelves are 26" deep.

On the right end, we have the school supplies and back-packs that we've begun to gather for our annual school supply picnic. In August, foster families come to eat and play together, and all the kids leave with new backpacks and school supplies for the upcoming school year.

I couldn't resist taking this picture of Father as he sat up high, contemplating what he was going to do next. I told him he reminded me of modeling for a photographer, and since I had a camera in hand . . . .

Next to the school supplies, we were able to pile bags and bags and boxes of the new toys on the top shelf (a lot of surface area - and full to the ceiling) and have lots of room for other things, including several boxes of clothing, and with all the new things put away -- we still have shelf space to spare!

To the uninformed reader/viewer -- this may look like mass disorganization, but I promise you - it's sorted, labeled, and ready for summer, and when it comes time to get ready for Santa next year (which for our group actually means October), we will be ready! The stored toys will be added to other toys and clothing donated through a Foster Care Giving project, and distributed in early December to foster families in the area. For many families - this is a great blessing; and for the children, a brighter Christmas for many -- some who weren't able to celebrate Christmas in their birth homes, because of the multitude of problems they had.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Father for your help with this, and for all you do to help us support the kiddos and their families.
(Don't you think that he's cute in that modeling picture?!)

Happy Birthday, Caitlin!

How could this little girl turn into such a young lady this year?
When did 8 years old become so grown-up?

We celebrated a day early with some friends.
(Sorry Whistle, you know the rules about photos.)

It seems to me she's stretching taller every day.
Her great-great-grandma was 4'10", her great-grandma 5'3",
I'm 5'8", and her mom 6'.
Does that make her at least 6'4" in a few years?

Daddy Time
Happy Birthday, Caitlin! I'm so glad to share this special day with you!