Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

You are a treasure

I was blessed to speak at a women's event last night. I was going to wear a royal blue shirt; the only new piece of clothing I own (really new, not just new-to-me). But then it came down to 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave and I was thinking it was probably too much work to change out of the clothes I already had on. Except I noticed that Victor had shared his chocolate covered granola bar with the sleeves of my shirt so even though The Good Doctor protested, saying, "You look just fine. Why are you changing?" I went with my first instinct. The royal blue shirt it was.

Why does this matter?

Before the event started, the organizers, decorators, speakers, and worship leaders spent time in prayer. Part of this experience was being prayed over. As soon as I took my turn in the to-be-prayed-over seat, the woman smiled and said, "I found you!" That was a bit odd, was my thought. She continued, "My daughter-in-law was praying for me today, knowing that I'd be praying with all of you. She told me that  she received a message for 'the woman wearing a royal blue shirt.'" At this point I looked around and sure enough, I was the only one wearing a royal blue shirt. No one else had anything even close. In fact, I either missed the memo or am more out of line with fashion laws than I thought because everyone else was wearing fall colors. She went on to give me the prophetic message, the one specifically for the woman in the royal blue shirt. A word that not only encouraged who I am but also showed a glimpse into the next step in my spiritual journey.

And why does this matter?

Because this reminder that God not only knows my name, not only knows what I'm going to wear before I know what I'm going to wear, but cares enough to speak words directly for me, was not just for me. And that reminder led me to pray the same prayer over each woman who was going to be coming to the event that evening. As I prayer walked the building and my room, I prayed that each woman would hear something during the evening that was meant specifically for her. Whether from one of the speakers, in a worship song, a comment from a friend, a word in prayer over her, or even a still, small voice, it was my prayer that each woman went home knowing that she was the treasure in God's great treasure hunt.

Even the woman in the royal blue shirt.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Close your eyes

"Close both eyes; see with the other one...."

Think about that for a moment. Can we do it? Is it even possible to see without judging?

"...Then, we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments, our ceaseless withholding, our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened, and we find ourselves, quite unexpectedly, in a new, expansive location, in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love." (Gregory Boyle, Jesuit priest and founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in his book, Tattoos on the Heart)

Maybe, just maybe, Victor has an advantage over all of us. He will be unable to judge by the color of one's skin, by scars or tattoos, by the over or underdressed.

But being human, he will make judgements based on his own self-determined standards.

It is my prayer, however, that he will grow in love, in that "endless acceptance and infinite love" that Boyle so eloquently illustrates in his many stories working with the members of Los Angeles gangs.

Many have asked me why I haven't written for a while. Others have questioned my vagueness when I do write. Some know and understand that there is so much I cannot say. But truth be told, there is so much I don't know how to say. We have become the students; learning more and more about this idea we so flippantly talk about - love. And seeing firsthand what the lack of love can cause in a person, a family, a community, a culture.

We know we are to love the unlovable, the ones who make it difficult, the ones who push back, the ones who don't look or act or behave the way they should, the ones who say they want nothing to do with this thing called love. But how many of us really do? And then how many of us do it well? How many of us are in it for the long haul? It's so easy to bail. Or want to bail. I do. Several times a day.

Our family has been loved so well for so long. But it was easy. They're good kids. They are mature. They know how to communicate. They know of love and forgiveness. They're leaders. But now we're a little more difficult to love. We are different. We scream. We throw tantrums. We are defiant. We struggle to communicate. We don't always engage. We don't all see the world the way those around us do. We're still lovable, it's just harder. And now, like someone recently, you might be tempted to say to us, "I can't believe that's your child."

Oh yeah, then I guess you don't know me very well.

Part of me wants to apologize for our new normal. To apologize for the way we look, the way we act, and the way we struggle to love back. But the other part of me knows that this is a lesson not just for the King family. It's for all of us who are called to a love that is infinite and full of endless acceptance. A love that isn't focused on the outcome, that doesn't even care what the outcome will be, but simply loves to love like Jesus.

Jesus loved Judas. Think about that. He knew that Judas was not only going to reject Him but ultimately to betray Him to a brutal death. And because Jesus didn't stay in the grave, we are called to the same kind of love. Love that is willing to give all, no matter what.

The Pharisees often wondered among themselves about how Jesus could spend time with the people He did; those people. The answer is simple, He was called to those people. So am I. So are you. So if someone wants to wonder how that could be my child, then you need to get to know me a little better. I'm called to love like Jesus which means stepping out of my comfortable, tidy, and familiar world and into a world that is dark, vulnerable, and hurting. It means learning some new words. It means becoming knowledgeable in disorders and medical lingo. It means prayer like never before and trust that is sweet and hard all at the same time.

I'm not called to the gangs of Los Angeles and you might not be called to open your home but you are called to love. The sweet, hard, endless, accepting love of Jesus. The kind He freely gives to you and me. Period.

Ready to close your eyes and see with the other one? There's a world waiting for you.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Indoor water park

We're in trouble now. The kid who loves water has figured out that he can create his own mini water park - right here in the house.

Who can say no to that kind of joy?

And besides, it's just so normal. Persistence. Getting into trouble. Playing with water. Making messes. He's 2. Why not?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It gets messy

Sometimes calling is messy

But that’s how God found me.
I’ve come through the same messy

And He didn’t give up on me.
He made me new.
He is making me new.

I can do no less.

I choose to get up and face the mess
The ugly
The hard
The exhausting

I choose to allow this to happen in front of my children
Each one of us needs to see the messy and ugly.
We need to do the hard and exhausting and consuming.
We need to learn to trust God with the chaos.

Order comes to the messy
Beauty comes from the ugly
One more breath comes in the hard and exhausting and consuming
And life
Slowly but surely
Comes from the chaos.

A messy, ugly, hard, exhausting, consuming, chaotic world
Needs me.
Needs you.

It matters to this one.

And one day, we will all be beautiful.
And know we are beautiful.
We will shine with beauty
As we fully know the One who is Beauty
Who created Beauty 
And draws us, beautifully, to Himself.

Reflecting on Gungor's Beautiful Things this morning. 

Thank you for walking with us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I've been thinking a lot about calling lately because sometimes living out your calling is really, really hard. And that's okay.

And that's what I've been thinking about.

When I read a book, I want a story about a character who does something, who accomplishes something, or makes a difference. But that story would not be very exciting if it didn't involve chaos, struggle, and the unknown. And the protagonist would not mature or change if he or she did not have to go through the struggle.

The same is true of our calling. It gives us purpose and it's how we make a difference in this world. But it always involves something beyond ourselves, something that forces us to lean on the One who called us. And when we step back and take a look, we can see that something new was born in us as well, an internal change that is necessary for the next steps we are called to take.

The fight was hard. The struggle was intense and the wait seemed long. It's still hard. But God does not waste the wait or the fight or the struggle.

A good friend suggested we find a project for the wait to show that we were fighting hard. We took pictures along the way and sent them along so she could see the progress and know we were working to bring her home.

Since blue and flowers are favorites, we incorporated both, drawing our own flowered designs on some of the patches.

And then the mountains moved even before we expected and she was here before the project was finished but no one was complaining.

In the end, the project was just as much for us as it was for her. A little bit of ourselves to welcome a new family member, to show we cared, to say, "You matter."

But something else was very close to my heart during this process, a reminder that was right there always threatening to bubble over in emotion and that was this: What about the ones who have no one to fight for them? So many hurting people in our world. A few have someone to care, someone to fight for them. But how many others do not? But if we each lived out our calling, would there be someone to fight for each of the others? I think so because it matters to this one, and that one, that one, and each and every one.

For whom are you called to fight? To be a voice? To make a difference?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We've been busy

Thanks to my faithful reading audience, I am often alerted to the fact that I have not posted in a few days or, as is the current case, "quite some time." This was gracefully revealed to me this past Sunday at which time I vowed to go home and immediately post. It didn't happen. I have another caring friend who will even go as far as to tell me the exact date of my last post. It was Aug. 11, 2015 for those who weren't paying attention.

I have several excuses.

We sent a child back to college.

We sent another off to his freshman year.

We were getting a bunch of kids ready for high school, and another ready for 5th grade.

I was working on lesson plans for a 3rd grader.

I was being bossed around by a very angry, very verbal, very tantrum-driven visually impaired 2 year old.

That should be excuse enough but if you need one more....

Oh yeah, we added another family member.

But you're right. None of these excuses should have kept me from my computer so here's more of what we've been up to.

Eden and HopeAnne chose well for their summer project this year, as least in my book. They each chose sewing and I was happy to jump into this project with them.

First we did some crafts learning to hand sew buttons and seams.

Then the girls made pillows.

And pillow cases.

And finally, skirts from thrift shop shirts.

My little fashionista decided to make a shrug from the left-over part of the shirt. Not bad.

We had planned on one more project, pillowcase dresses for Dress a Girl Around the World but time ran away from us. We may still try to complete a few dresses this week but it may have to wait for another time.

Oh, and I was able to squeeze in one more Quilt of Many Textures for someone who wanted to give it to a friend who just found out her child is visually impaired.

All in a day's (or summer's) work.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

David danced, Moses freed

Don't judge me, but one of my favorite scenes from a movie occurred in Footloose (you knew it would be Footloose, didn't you?), when Ren addressed the town council, attempting to convince them to allow a high school dance.

Ren: [addressing the town council, reading from his notes in the Bible] "From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. They danced in prayer... or so that their crops would be plentiful... or so their hunt would be good. And they danced to stay physically fit... and show their community spirit. And they danced to celebrate." And that is the dancing we're talking about. Aren't we told in Psalm 149 "Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song. Let them praise His name in the dance"? And it was King David - King David, who we read about in Samuel - and what did David do? What did David do?
[paging frantically through Bible]
Ren: What *did* David do?
[audience laughs]
Ren: "David danced before the Lord with all his might... leaping and dancing before the Lord."
[smacks table in front of Reverend Moore]
Ren: *Leaping* and *dancing*.
[stands up straight]
Ren: Ecclesiastes assures us... that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh... and a time to weep. A time to mourn... and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It's the way it was in the beginning. It's the way it's always been. It's the way it should be now.

Brilliant. He knew his audience. He spoke their language. He was so passive aggressive. Ya gotta love it.

I'm pretty certain that if there is ever a sequel, we will see a much older Kevin Bacon addressing the jury, just as eloquent, always speaking to his audience, verbalizing with words they understand. Because I'm sure he grew up to be a lawyer.

After this weekend of research and note taking and expert finding, I'm pretty certain I missed my calling and I, too, was supposed to be a lawyer. I've done my research and we're ready.

Can't you hear it now:

Cindy: [addressing the group] And what did Moses do? What did Moses do? What *did* Moses do?

[group laughs]

Cindy: Moses said, "Let my people go."

Yeah, something like that.

If you think about us today, we ask for your prayers. We ask for favor, divine favor. We ask that light and love and forgiveness would ooze from our being. We ask for the wisdom of Solomon. We ask that chains would be broken and mountains would be moved.

And we ask for the right words at the right time, in language our audience will understand.

And what did Daniel do? What did Daniel do? What *did* Daniel do?

Daniel prayed.

Because it matters to this one.