Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Boat..

The boat..
Every 12 yr old boy wants a boat. Mine have been begging for a boat for months. The question remained. What would you do with a boat?! Finally one day much to their great joy, a friend asked if they could find a boat for their pond. This was big stuff. Momma agreed they could look into getting boat. A small boat.

The boys had seen a boat at a local junkyard. A little orange boat. They just knew it was the perfect boat. So Momma agreed to take them to talk to the guy at the junkyard. They faced their fears and walked hesitantly into the office. They asked for and were given permission to have the boat. FREE of cost.

They made arrangements to stop by later to pick up the boat. A couple days later, the neighbor, we shall call him, Mr. N, took them to get the boat. The excitement was high. They were finally getting a boat. They had cleaned out the garage and prepped a spot for it.

They left with Mr. N in his big truck. (I will add: we don't know Mr. N really well. His wife babysits occassionally and is a friend of Momma) Now this is where the story gets a little sketchy...
The 2 boys, both 12 yrs old went into the office at the junkyard, asking to pick up their little orange boat. After much discussion and no one really knowing what they were doing, they were informed that the orange boat had been taken by the Boss's son. 
 But.... there was good news. They could have the big blue boat. It had a trailer and everything! Mr. N and the guy from the junkyard quickly hooked the trailer before the boys could think twice.
The boys were silent on the way home, at one point one mentioned that maybe his momma would not like this big boat.

They pulled into the driveway. Momma came to the door, her eyes got big, and she scrambled to figure out what she was seeing.  She looked at Mr. N and exclaimed "That is the wrong boat!!" Mr. N dropped the boat in the middle of the driveway, waved merrily  and drove off. 

By this time the boys were feeling a little sick to their stomachs. They looked hesitantly at their mother. Would she blow a fuse?

Meanwhile Momma was just trying to grasp what had transpired and how there came to be a big blue boat on a trailer sitting on her driveway.

First question:
Mom: Where do you intend to use that boat?
Boys: The local lake
Mom: how will you get it there? Do you have a title for it? Does it run?!
Boys: we will figure it out!! The trailer must be worth something. We can do soemthing with it.
Mom: excuse me for a second while I go take a time out and pray before reacting..

After about 10 minutes in the bathroom, Momma had a full out giggling fit because it was just so absolutely beyond crazy. There was a giant blue boat sitting on the driveway, they couldn't even move it out of the way. It was completely gutted. It was almost half the length of the friend's pond.
There was a lesson to be learned here. The boys realized they had made a big mistake. Mom realized that this was an excellent oppurtunity for learning a valuable life lesson. But they needed a plan. they couldn't sell it cause they had no title. They couldn't keep it because well despite all the boys pleas, it wasn't practical. It couldn't stay on their front driveway cause the landlord would not appreciate that.

So Momma called the junkyard and asked if the boat could be returned. They said it could be and offered some lame story about how the other boat had been claimed by someone else. The boys had to go back to Mr. N and ask him to return the boat to the junkyard.

Mr. N was a very busy man and Momma was very concerned that he would wait weeks to return the boat. She giggled every time she looked at that monster. The boys got angry everytime they looked at it. Their dreams were washed down the drain. If only they had a dad. He would surely allow them to keep such a treasure.

Several days later, a young neighbor boy (we shall call him B) was helping the boys work on their wood projects. Momma knew that B loved adventures. So she offered the boat to him. For free! He could not believe his good fortune. Now, Momma expected B's parents to laugh and refuse to let him have the boat.
but... God was looking out for Momma, who was mortified by the boat sitting on her driveway. 30 minutes after B left and the family was eating dinner, they heard a tractor putt putting up the road, it stopped at their driveway.

B and his father hopped off the tractor and examined the boat. Mr. B looked at momma and said "B says you have a free boat and he can have it, is that true?" Momma with great delight said yes!! yes!! please please take the boat!!

Mr. B discussed with Little B. Maybe they could scrap some of the copper etc on the boat. Maybe they could make a clubhouse. Surely they could sell the trailer for some cash. They were so delighted to have the boat. Mr. B told Little B, we must take it out back tho so Mom don't see it.

They took that boat and drove it home behind their tractor. The boys followed in glee. They were going to help B make a clubhouse out of the boat. They ran off to enlist the help of some other neighbor boys. 

There was some question of who had the biggest grin when that boat went down the road. Mr. B who liked his free boat. The boys who did not have to get rid of their boat AND got a clubhouse out of the deal. Momma who was so unbelievably happy to have that boat off her hands. 


Many years ago, in another lifetime I worked in a woodshop.
I helped build picnic tables, swings and other wooden items. I was only 14-15 yr old. I cut, I measured, I used various tools. I actually enjoyed working with wood.

Fast forward, I am now the widowed mother of 2 preteen, homeschooled boys... they need useful things to occupy their time. They need to learn many valuable life skills. So... I am using those skills that God gave me and I bought them some tools. I taught them to measure, cut, and build things. 

God has blessed me with a son who has a natural ability to build things. Between his natural skills and my abilities we have made these goat milking stands from a couple pieces of lumber we purchased. 

 We spend approx 1-2 hours every afternoon working on these stands. There is a lot of sweat, some frustration and a lot of hard work in these goat stands. Our next goal is to make a hay rack for our animals.

The irony of how God works. Many years ago, I lived in another state, in a culture where I could not even imagine being a single mom of 6 kids. I was young and full of dreams, but even in my wildest dreams I could not dream up that I would need these skills many years later to teach my young boys how to build things. Everything in life has a purpose and everything you do is part of God's grand plan.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


This a sensitive and touchy subject. I probably shouldn't even write about it... But here goes.

Many years ago, we (M and I) attended a wonderful church that really supported us well. They did "the hands and feet of Jesus" well during our cancer journey. Soon after M's death and the start of my fostering journey I felt led to move on.. which turned out to be a God thing as that church went through a very tumultuous time. I was glad to not be caught in the storm.  But it resulted in a lot of distrust of church leadership and management for me.

The kids and I visited several churches. It was not a big deal, I had 2 or 3 kids. They were little, people were welcoming.

We started attending a Mega Church in the area. They had an amazing children's ministry. My kids learned so much. We were at church, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week. We were involved in many ministries and I made some awesome new friends. (who ended up convincing me to homeschool)
After a number of years, pretty much everyone we knew left the church. We decided to search out new options.

I am telling you, it was the most unique experience. Apparently most churches in this area are not used to seeing a white momma with 5 little black people and wheelchair show up. We visited a number of churches where no one would talk to us or acknowledge us.
One Sunday morning in particular stands out to me. I had dressed all the kids, drug them out the door by 9 am. No small feat. As usual the church was not terribly handicapped friendly. But we managed to park the wheelchair in the aisle, to the displeasure of some people around us.  We intentionally arrived early so we could find a good spot. There were many young families milling around us chatting happily. We were noticed but not acknowledged.  We sat quietly in our pews until church started. As they sang a hymn that we had sung at both our wedding and M's funeral, I cried. My kids were mortified. We managed to survive the rest of the service without further drama and made a quiet exit afterwards without ever talking to anyone.

Another memorable Sunday. We live within walking distance of a little country church pastored by the older couple (80s) that lives next door to us.  We walked to church. There were maybe 3 adults under the age of 60. All I could think was this must be Heaven's Waiting Room. There were no children in attendance. MAny people came up to us  and welcomed us. They were so kind. Suddenly the Pastor who had been kneeling up front praying, got up and came straight to me and says loudly "why doesn't your husband come to church with you?!" I informed him that my husband was already in the presence of the Lord. He returned to his little kneeling pillow and kneeled for prayer. Soon he comes back again and had another weird question for me. Soon church starts. First they sing a song, then the Pastor makes announcements, then him and the Sunday school teacher have a discussion (over the pulpit) on  whether they should have a Sunday School class for my kids, beings as they are the only kids in attendance. (They were truly just so thrilled to have the kids there) Finally they made a decision and took the kids to the basement for class. By this time, I am shaking with giggles. Without a doubt the Pastor has dementia or some other age related illness. The comments, the order of the service, the pews filled with dear old ladies and men, it was just all to much for me. I could hardly control the giggles. We have never gone back, but the people are sweet and dear and as kind as could be.

We found a church that was amazingly friendly and the people were super kind,. We attend this church for a couple of years. They were truly amazing at serving and loving on people,  until we discovered that what we believed did not align with what the church stood for...

We decided to move on. We were not looking for confrontation or drama. We simply want to live as the Bible guides us, this was not well received.

Our exit created a host of issues. So much so we decided to take a break from attending church anywhere.

We started listening to Tony Evans online, having our own praise and worship time. The kids really like this and I benefited greatly from listening to solid Bible based teaching.

We have since visited several churches.  I am suffering from the trauma of our previous experiences. I am also looking for a very traditional but not legalistic church that is not afraid to be set apart from the world.

This is where it gets real.. if you don't want to be offended, skip this part. :)

We find 2 reactions when we attend church in our area. The charismatic churches will welcome us, they will love on us, they will be kind and welcoming. But they are often not prepared to tell you where they stand on the Bible and will talk about grace. It's all grace and love and acceptance and no "be different from the world". (love and grace is great!! but God is a just and jealous God)

The conservative churches will take one look at my not so little, not so traditional family and will pull their children closer and avoid eye contact. They will not speak to us or welcome us.

Now let's talk about special needs. So many churches make you take the wheelchair up the back steps, out the back way and often don't have accomadations for wheelchairs. People are uncomfortable and will stay far away from the wheelchair. It is often a barrier in any environment that prevents us from connecting to people.

Being the single mom of 6 black kids, there is often a judgement. Many people make assumptions and are shocked when they find out my background and history.

We have been attending a church, here and there for the past year. It is small. It is very traditional. The people have been incredibly kind to us. They have a young adult with special needs and as a result they are very comfortable with Nesiah. Her noises and flailing arms are not shocking to them. Many people will talk to her and tell me all about this other kid in church. For once the wheelchair has become a conversation starter.
But.. church is hard. I don't want to get connected, despite needing it. My kids hate the church because it does not have a "fun" Children's Ministry. My 2 yr old refuses to sit quietly. Nesiah is loud. I find that I spend my time trying to keep the 2 littles quiet, trying to limit the distractions. I get very little out of the messages.

So based on my personal experience in this community with churches on every corner. I have come to the conclusion that there is something out there for everyone and having so many options is not good for me.

I have noticed many churches that no longer preach the Word of God as the Ultimate Truth. Many churches have become social clubs, and there are two kinds. The clique kind where the in people are in and everyone else is out. The love everyone, where everyone is welcome (As it should be) and they will do adjust their belief in order to grow their club (throwing out the Bible)

So many churches are desperate to grow. They are more concerned with numbers then they are with teaching Truth.

So many churches have people who have attended for years, they attended wiht their grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, classmates, generations and generations. They don't welcome outsiders. They don't welcome "different".

Ultimately in the world we live in, we must seek to live by scripture, the whole scripture. We must be willing to be set apart, to be different, to stand strong in the important things. The word of God is never changing. When we are black and white in a gray world, we will pay a price.

Does your church follow the WHOLE bible and believe God's Word to be the ultimate Truth? Do they stand strong even if that means lower numbers?
Does your church welcome different people, those who are outcasts in society? Do you bypass the fatherless, the broken, at your door to serve in Prisons and in foreign missions? Does your church minister in your community? Do you invite AND WELCOME your neighbors to church?

Friday, September 2, 2016


 This week has been insanely busy.. The fine line of balancing what I need to do with what I want to do with what I committed to doing..

We are thoroughly enjoying our KONOS unit study. I feel like it is an excellent way to reach these two kiddoes. Bubbie is also at an age where he can hang out and we use him in our science experiments.

On Monday we started our day off at 6 am, right into our school schedule. Then we canned 70 quarts of tomatoes, ketchup, barbecue sauce, tomatoe soup and salsa. It was a crazy busy exhausting day. But the kids really worked hard and were quite proud of our final products. 

On Tuesday's the kids "work/volunteer" at a local horse farm where Nesiah rides. They cleaned spider webs, spread manure piles and pulled weeds while Nesiah rode. We came home and  cleaned up from our mess  on Mondya and I finally gathered my gumption and drove to the local lumber supply place to get some lumber so the boys could build some wood projects we promised a friend. 

 The trip to the lumber store was quite unpleasant and left me cranky. But I got what we needed in lumber. We borrowed a saw from the neighbor kiddo who ended up staying to help. I taught the boys how to measure, cut and assemble their wood products. Long blog post coming on that one...
Meanwhile the girls were busy cooking. Elizabeth made peach pie and Fayth made some Bubbie safe pizza pockets with my sourdough bread mix. 

Wednesday we had to take food to the shelter. The girls wanted to go out for lunch, so I got a sitter for 3 of the kiddoes, left Lee at home with a good book. The girls and I enjoyed our lunch at Pizza Hut then stopped by Good Will. We came home and I helped the boys work on their wood project. 

On Thursday we had school then I took ALL SIX kids with me to see Nesiah's specialist. We had planned to work some more on the wood projects but this momma was JUST DONE!! 

Today we had school then we ran a bunch of errands. The local hardware guy had ordered a saw for me, the boys wanted a pile of scrap wood to practice their cutting skills.. so we had to run out to get those things. 

Elizabeth and I tackled our latest project. CRASHPAD!
We got free foam ends from a local store. I taught Elizabeth how to sew the edges of a bedsheet together to make a giant cover. We then stuff the foam ends, an old bean bag, a big giant throw pillow and a comforter into our homemade cover. The kids had a total blast jumping into this thing!! It is extremely comfy to lay on. It was meant to be Nesiah's crash pad and comfy spot, for her birthday... I am not sure that is going to happen. lol

This week has been crazy insane. Way to busy. The thing I find with 4 preteens is that they each like their little projects. they can do many things, but so often I need to be the brains of the projects. By the end fo the week, with school and projects, my poor brain is just simply. tired.

I do see such huge benefits from teaching my kids multiple skills. They are at the stage where they believe they can do anything with a little help from me and google. I am thankful for all the skills I have learned over the years, skills that serve me well as I work on single parenting..