I'm struggling to keep up my namoblomo blog post a day in November.  Oops!

We had a wonderful holiday. We rested, we visited we ate and we decorated. We took the whole family to the Christmas tree farm and chopped down a tree.

It smells wonderful and looks festive.

This week will be a wild push. Shega has her Christmas program and her theater performance. Emma has two games. It will be a fun and interesting week.

Here's a link to a CNN article about the Promise Act. I know a few immigrant kids in a similar situation. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/11/28/candiotti.dream.act.cnn?iref=allsearch

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I found myself behind an elderly couple shuffling behind their grocery cart in a very busy grocery store. We were both buying our Thanksgiving groceries. We made our way slowly down two aisles before they turned, apologized and let me pass.

On the way past, the woman told me about the guests they were expecting. She gave me a quick overview of the menu at their house. As a final thought I asked, “Do you know where the canned gravy is?”

She pointed at the aisle where the gravy would be and said, “You’re not going to cheat, are you?”

I replied, “Hey! You’re the one who knows where the canned gravy is!”

She smiled, winked and wished me a happy Thanksgiving while continuing the slow shuffle down the aisle.

I hope they and you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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I found the quote while poking around the Angry Adoptive Mom blog. I really should be cleaning the house in preparation for Thanksgiving guests. The food is ready, but the house could always use a few more hours….days….maybe even months!

The immigration debate and the adoption community

The anti-immigrant tone of the nativist side of the debate hurts adoptees. Xenophobia does not distinguish adoption-based immigration from other family based immigration. Hateful rhetoric citing unauthorized immigration and undocumented foreign nationals creates a hostile environment for any immigrant who may “look illegal”.

Here's a link to the whole article.


I am so thankful for the two immigrants who live in our home. We haven't completed the final step in the journey to citizenship for them. We still need to apply for the Certificate of Citizenship (COC). It's another expense ($600 X 2), it's more paperwork and we just haven't gotten around to it. We will. We know proper documentation for adoptee immigrants is the responsibility of the adoptive parent. We'll get it, I promise!

I pray for all of those other immigrant kids who because of the lack of paperwork can be separated from family and loved ones at any time….whose lives are precariously perched all over America.


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I am a teacher at heart, and there are moments in the classroom when I can hardly hold the joy. When my students and I discover uncharted territory to explore, when the pathway out of a thicket opens up before us, when our experience is illumined by the lightning-life of the mind-then teaching is the finest work I know.

Parker Palmer from The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life



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One more week of http://www.nablopomo.com/

Yesterday was another blog-fail day in my one month quest to blog each day.

I wanted to blog about the amazing church service we attended where Stephanie Fast was the speaker. http://www.stephaniefast.org/

We went to a Katelyn's Fund church service. http://www.katelynsfund.org/

Stephanie Fast brough the message and spoke again after church. Shega was mesmerized by the story of Stephanie Fast's childhood, living for several years of the streets of South Korea. Shega asked questions and talked about the story all day.

Stephanie doesn't know for sure how old she is or when her birthday is. She has faint memories of her Korean mom and her life before she was on her own at about age four. The bulk of the girls' questions had to do with the birthdays and first moms.

Her message is incredibly powerful. I can't do it justice. Head over to her website and poke around a bit.

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Emma has the new Taylor Swift CD "Speak Now".


We listened a lot on our recent road trip to Indiana. Several of the songs keep popping into my head. If it weren't for Emma, I would never listen to Taylor Swift, so it was a new experience for me. One song I liked is titled "Mean".  Here's a link to a pianist playing the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgoS6gEsm0k

Here are some of the lyrics:

You, with your words like knives, and swords and weapons that you use
against me,
You, have knocked me off my feet again, got me feeling like a nothing,
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard calling me out when I'm
You, picking on the weaker man.

Well you can take me down with just one single blow, But you don't
know what you don't know.

Someday, I'll be living in a big ol' city,
And all you're ever gonna be is mean.
Someday, I'll be big enough so that you can't hit me,
And all you're ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?

We've had some mean things happen lately. Unfortunately, my kids have been on both ends of "mean".

One kid has been on the receiving end of mean. It is tricky to comfort a child who has been hurt by the words and actions of other kids. In fact, it incensed me so much it made me want to shake the little hooligans…I mean darlings.

Unfortunately, another one of my kids has been on the dishing side of mean.

May I just say that I think it is just as hard to be the mom of the bully as it is to be the mom of the bullied?

I just pray that they will both learn and grow through these experiences. I hope this mama can be wise enough to bring peace and love any time my kids hurt.

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Got nothin'.

Nothin' to say….

I knew it would happen!


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Love this picture of Emma and Paul. I can't wait for Paul to come home for Thanksgiving. I love that he has his home in Iowa City, but I'm glad he can come "home" to this place too.

This picture is from Justin and Anna's wedding last summer. (Thanks Cami)

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I came home from Bible study with my mind too full to blog.

The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

p 37 You can rebel against God and be alienated from Him either by breaking his rules or by keeping all of them. Careful obedience to God’s law may serve as a strategy for rebelling against God.

With this parable Jesus gives us a much deeper concept of sin.

You can avoid Jesus as Savior by keeping all of the moral laws.  If you do that then you have “rights”  God owes you answered prayers and a good life and a ticket to heaven when you die.

p 44 There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course, and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good.

I don't want to avoid Jesus as Savior. I don't want to be my own Savior.

I'm feeling convicted today. It's a good place to be.

I know I need a Savior.

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Thomas finished the seventh and last Harry Potter book tonight. He read some but not all of the series last year. He decided to begin again and to finish all seven before the premier of the new movie.

He began with book one in Sept and finished book seven tonight.

He is excited, but a bit sad to finish.

Harry Potter is loved by all four of our older kids. Joe and Thomas were good readers before Harry, but wouldn't have called themselves habitual readers. Now all four older kids read all of the time.

Emma is upstairs right now, trying to re-read book 7 before Friday.  Gotta love it when reading is an emergency!

I hope the little girls are made readers by Harry or another similarly captivating series.

Thanks Harry. We are grateful for your hand in the cultivation of a reading habit in this house and many others all over the world.

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Shega loves to mess around with markers and colors. She enjoys art and I love to find the things she's worked on around the house. I found this last summer. I'm not sure where the words came from. She may have heard something like this on the Disney channel. Feel free to enlighten me if you know the source.

I do know where the spelling came from. Here's the translated version, just in case you aren't as practiced as I am in reading kid spelling.

Shega's Poem

Here I am once again

feeling lost but now and

then weaving in to let

it go and you don't know

where you are now you

are lost in the moment as

you disappear appear you

don't have to be a kid to put your

dream in action

Not a fantasy

just remember me

when I make it



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Have you ever looked back on a short period of your life and thought, "Wow! A lot has happened?"

I feel like like the overdrive is on in our lives and I can't turn it off. I keep dreaming of a living the slow life that one would imagine for a family living out on the prairie.

So then…what's up?

We'll start with the lowlights.

Steve's mom Sharon had a terrible summer. She was diagnosed with cancer in the spring and she had a tough summer. We're glad she is doing much better now. Things are definitely looking up there.

Thomas has been sick. He's not dangerously sick, just chronically sick. We've been spending much time and worry over his health. School has been stressful and he has missed a lot.  If you think of it, put both Sharon and Thomas on your prayer list.

Now some highlights!

We love having Joe and Kendra back in the USA!  They live just 20 miles from away. Kendra is working as an ELL teacher and Joe as a translator in a public health clinic. Joe is looking at grad schools offering a degree in public health.

Baby Lucy is amazing! She is very smart and acts much older than her 8 weeks. She looks around and loves to smile. She hates to be held like a babyand already has her own little personality.  It is both weird and fabulous to have a granddaughter.

Paul bought a cool little house in Iowa City. He is working on the lawn and truly making this house his home. It has been fun to see him become a home owner. 

Emma is a senior and is choosing a college. Scary but true! One recent November she was the smartest, cutest baby girl around!  I can't believe that was eighteen Novembers ago.

Shega is doing well in third grade. She is funny and cute and has lots of friends. She is at a birthday party today. One o'clock could not come soon enough for her today.

Megan is in preschool. She'll be in kindergarten next year and I'm sure soon after that I'll be college shopping with her. Time flies when you're having fun.

Both Steve and I are blessed with good jobs and busy professional lives. When things are going smoothly it is very possible to enjoy a pace of life that is manageable and enjoyable. However, when there's a glitch in the plans (like sick kid, travel or extra job responsibilities), the scramble can be overwhelming.

This post is way too long.  I'll stop now!

Teach us to number our days aright,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps 90:12


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There's a small patch of lawn out in the middle of a corn field near here. A small shed sits on the lawn. There used to be an apple tree, but it blew over several years ago. There are no other buildings or trees on the lawn.

A very thin, very tan older gentleman takes care of the lawn. He uses a push mower and keeps the lawn short.

He wears a Speedo….a black Speedo.

Whenever I see him, I call my friend to tell her Speedo Man is out.  If she happens to be out and about and sees him, she returns the favor. We are alternately amazed and appalled. We are oddly facinated by his ritual, dedication and of course his wardrobe. We speculate about how often he has to replace the Speedo and whether or not it will stay put on that tiny hiny.

Today was a rainy cold day in Iowa. I didn't expect to see Speedo Man out mowing his patch of lawn. However, I also didn't expect to see what I did.

Speedo Man's garage was gone. The footings were removed and the grass is plowed. There will be no need for mowing next year.

I will miss you Speedo Man.

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Happy Veterans Day. To all who served or are serving in the US armed service, "Thank you"!

My Dad and two of his brothers served in World War II. Dad was in the air force, or the army air corps as it was called then. He flew 30 missions over Germany as a navigator bombadeer.

Uncle Art served in the army. He landed in France on D-Day and marched all the way through France to Germany.

Uncle Pete served in a tank. He was deployed in north Africa and Italy.

Here's a newspaper article from when they were away. I can't imagine how worried their parents and siblings must have been.

Unfortunately, Uncle Pete passed away a number of years ago, but I am still privileged to hear Dad and Uncle Art share stories of that time.

Many blessings on Veterans Day to both of you.

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