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!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Imitation journey

People who know me know that I believe that every single follower of Jesus has a calling. The word calling can turn some people off as many have this false idea that they need to hear an audible voice from Heaven telling them to step into some grandiose plan in a far-away country. But I don't think that is it at all. Maybe it'd be better if we called it a imitation journey. Let me explain. If we believe that as followers of Jesus, our lives are to reflect Him, then we therefore need to believe that our lives are to imitate His life. All of it. We are mandated to follow His example.

In Luke 4, Jesus told us what He was called to do and in all of the gospels He goes on to model this for us:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, 
because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
vs. 18 - 19

Put very simple, we are called to spend time with our Father and to love Him with all we are, to love everyone, to meet the needs He places in front of us, to live with a loose hand on our possessions, to give generously and even sacrificially, and to be willing to lay down our lives for others.

We are asked to walk into each open door in front of us. We only get that small glimpse into where we are going. So then we are asked to trust.

We will make mistakes. We will get before our Guide on occasion, we will fear, we will fall. But our loving Father knows that. He will pick us up and hold us until we are ready to move on.

For many of us, we'll find that as our hearts break for the needs around us, we are led into a passion for a particular people group, for those captive in similar circumstances. None of us can compare our open doors with anyone else's. My story is my story. Yours is yours. But every good story has a main character with a purpose and she will move mountains to see that purpose fulfilled. Every good story also has conflict. Ours has Satan. But as we press on, every good story has character transformation. And so does yours. So does mine. We grow more like the one we are imitating. And the main character accomplishes what he set out to do, faithfully accomplishing even more than originally planned or expected. In the end, we know that good wins over evil.

You're never too young and you're never too old to imitate Jesus and to walk in His mission.

No matter where you are in your imitation journey, take time to meditate on Isaiah 42: 1 - 9, but personalize it. What doors will God open for your today?

Isaiah 42: 1 - 9, Personalized Version

vs. 1
I am the Lord's servant.
I am chosen and pre-approved.
I am anointed and have the Holy Spirit.
I will bring justice to the nations.

vs. 2
I will have empathy, and love like Jesus loved.
I will be faithful.

vs. 3 - 4
I will not falter or be discouraged.

vs. 6
I am called.
God takes my hand.

vs. 7
I will open blind eyes,
free captives from prison,
bring light to those in
darkness and freedom to those in prison.

vs. 8
All the glory goes to God.

vs. 9
I am in God's plan and
nothing can happen that
He has not ordained.

Want more? Personalize Isaiah 43: 1 - 21 for yourself.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Miracle in me

There's a thought that I've been mulling over in my head for a few days. It came to me on my drive to the beach where I've been spending a few days all. by. myself. And now I can't get it out of my head.

What if the miracle in front of me is not that Victor will be changed, but that I will be changed?

I still strongly believe that we are to ask for a complete healing of Victor's behavior issues and that there is nothing wrong with asking for continued healing of his vision. But what if my prayers have been too narrow? What if God wants to do a miraculous work in my life, too? And the answer is simple. Of course He wants me to be changed. God still has a long way to go with me. I have my own behavior issues; some of which I am aware and some of which He has not revealed to me yet. I have my own vision impairments.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with every-increasing glory, which comes front the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

When I look back at me as a teen-ager or me as a young adult, I know I've come a long way. But oh, what a long way I have to go. Jealous. Judgmental. Impatient. Easily angered. Selfish. Unkind. Discontent.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I remembered a day, a few months ago, when I spent a morning praying through 1 Corinthians 13. I looked back through my journal and found it in August. My stream of consciousness that day looked like this:

Dear Jesus, I want to love like you.
1 Corinthians love.
I need you to take away my impatience.
I need you to take away my need to be right.
I need you to take away my anger.
For nothing is impossible with God.
Behold, I am making all things new.
It needs to start in my home.
I can't just love "the least of these". I also need to love the rich, those who appear to have it all together.
To be a world changer, it has to start with love.
You stop for the one. Every day. All the time. Stop for the one in front of you. Whether that is John, or one of the kids, or the cashier at the grocery store, or...
Love, not jealousy.
See people right where they are.
Forgive. Move on. Give another chance. People can change.

My prayer for today is that [my] love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that [I] may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1: 9 - 11

God, fill me with the Holy Spirit so people would know that the Fruit of the Spirit in me could only come from you.

"To change the world, we must change our hearts." David Z. Nowell in Dirty Faith

It will take a miracle!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I won't be overwhelmed

Three mornings in a row I woke up with these words singing in my head...

God I look to You, I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like you do*

After three days, I decided it was time to do something about it. So I sat down and listened to the whole song. And again, this time with eyes closed, head bowed, and my breathing slow and steady.

Then I sat with my open journal and breathed a simple prayer, Holy Spirit, speak to me. These were the words that came pouring out of my pen. Maybe they aren't just for me today.

"Look to me. Nothing in your life is a surprise to me. Nothing in Victor's life is a surprise to me. Not his diagnosis. Not his blindness. Not his behavior challenges; not his head banging or biting or scratching or spitting. Not his regression with toilet training. Nothing. Do you hear that? Really hear that? Nothing. You want to see things like I do? See that. See that I have a plan. See that I have the whole world in my hands yet I have a plan for Victor's life. I promised you months before he was here that he would be victorious. My plan for him hasn't changed. You confirm it each time you say his name. Believe it. Have confidence in me. Trust me. Look to me and I will give you peace."

I will love You, Lord, my strength
I will love You, Lord, my shield
I will love You, Lord, my rock
Forever all my days I will love You, God

We often think of strength in physical terms and my God is certainly that but calling Him my Strength also means:

  • He has the emotional and mental qualities to withstand distressing or difficult situations and can transfer those qualities to me
  • He is able to stand in the midst of great pressure and can hold me up in these times.
  • He has power and influence and I can call upon His power in my time of need.
  • His strengths, His good and beneficial character, are a source of mental and emotional support for me.
As my shield, God provides protection against attacks by the enemy to wear me down and to bring me down.  And as my rock, He is Someone who is also reliable.

And I can rejoice in who He is and who He is refining me to be.

Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Forever all my days

*from God I Look to You, Bethel Music

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Worse than a hair in your chicken...

I may not be raising a houseful of future chefs but I do like to humor myself every now and then into thinking that at the very least they will all be able to put a complete meal on the table, preferably one that did not originate in a box. So, to harken us closer to that goal, every 15 year old in the house is given "planning and preparing a week's worth of meals" as one of their missions to accomplish. Not completing any of the mission within 365 days means a delay in being driven to PennDOT for that coveted permit test. This doesn't mean that I approve of their total meal plan but usually we can come to some sort of compromise in favorite meals vs. varied and healthy. Example: This week's child tried to get 3 chicken meals by me before being vetoed. So, tonight's Buffalo Chicken Tacos is more on the favorite side. That's okay. As long as you make it correctly. And as long as we're not having chicken again tomorrow night.

And then this.

I will not embarrass the poor child by giving away names. That would be rude and unconscionable.

I will, however, tell you that the directions were simple: Put the chicken in the crockpot. Cover with 1 cup Ranch dressing and 1 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce. Cube 16 oz. of cream cheese and put the cubes on top of the chicken and sauce mixture. I will admit to not supervising sufficiently as I thought the directions were self-explanatory.

However, I have learned my lesson. Next time, I will add "After removing the white juice-soaking pad from the bottom of the chicken," in front of the part about putting the chicken in the crockpot. And tonight, when said child comes home from school, we will discuss the difference between cubes and bricks.

(Lest you think that our children only help in the kitchen one week of their lives, let me assure you that there are a lot of sous-chefs in our house. In fact, every night of the week each child is either helping to prepare the meal or to clean up the meal. This means that there is often a fight to see who can ask first to help prepare so that they don't have to help clean up. On the other hand, some children have chosen not to help on a regular basis. And as you have seen, that is a good thing.)

Edited to add: If it's true that you learn something new everyday, this child is going to reach the week's quota by the end of this meal. After being set straight on cubes vs. bricks and chicken juice pads, this child also learned that lettuce does not grow in tiny little taco-ready pieces. Who knew that they were big leaves and if you wanted smaller pieces you needed to cut or tear them?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cajons, timpani, and gongs

It started out as an attempt to take a photo for my parents, to thank them for the soft and adorable shirt/jacket they found for Victor in Italy.
First, he gave me his thinking face while he explored 
(one of his favorite words) the pumpkin.

I AM smiling!

Still smiling, Mom...

But wait, Mom, this feels like it could be...

A drum!

Yeah, a drum, like a cajon...

Let me tell you all about it, Mom. 

Drums are the best, Mom.

I should have known since this is the only room he wanted to explore yesterday at the "petting zoo" following Isaac's orchestra concert at Messiah College. Want to get Victor started in conversation, just mention timpani or the gong and he'll go on and on and on...

Friday, October 14, 2016

This one

With this one ...

There's never been a dull moment.

He's creative and full of life.

He has always done life a little differently

He is adventurous

and takes risks.

If it's fun, he'll be right in the middle.

Or maybe even leading.

And that is exactly where his Heavenly Father wants him.

Happy 20th, Jesse Glenn King!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Note: This post is not for purveyors of purity. If you are a person who believes that bathroom talk belongs in, well, the bathroom, then this post is not for you. Tune in tomorrow instead. Or the day after, when we'll have another positive October birthday post. But for today, well, sometimes there's just no other way to say it...

Mothers of young children, keep reading, it is most likely that you talk about bodily functions quite freely without a second thought. Even at the dinner table.

It was a foregone conclusion that Victor was going to get suspended or expelled from pretty school sooner or later. That's just the kind of child he is. And you don't expect pretty schools to put up with spitting, yelling, disobedience, and head banging forever. However, I don't think we expected poop to be the cause of his suspension.

Note: Suspension is a strong word and it is my word of choice for the purposes of my sanity (laughter is the best medicine, right?). This post is in no way meant to disparage the teachers of Victor's wonderful pretty school. Quite the opposite; I do hope they all receive large bonuses at Christmas and wage raises next fall. They should be nominated for sainthood. All because of Mr. Victor and his optimistic parents.

But one person can only deal with so much poop from one person. In fact, they shouldn't have to deal with any poop from any persons. And Victor complied. For the first three weeks. Then it was 1 accident. No big deal. We all have accidents once or twice when we're three (I think). And then it was 3 times out of 4 days last week. So when he started out this week with another round of poop on Day 1, we got a phone call. It was the Good Doctor's day off so he was just hanging out close by between drop off and pick up. Pick up came early on Monday.

And the Good Doctor, in all of his wisdom, came up with a great plan (you will see the sarcasm dripping as you continue reading): We will keep Victor home each morning until he poops. Once poop is present, I am to pop him in the van and portage the pipsqueak to pretty school. Pronto.

As I see it, there is just one minor problem with this plan, so minor, I am fearful to even mention it. But I will. You can't force poop. Unless Victor's pooping is as predictable as the tides, how am I supposed to get him to poop by 8:30? Or even by 10:30 which is my unofficial cut-off time because why leave for pretty school when there is just an hour left to go? I did ask Victor if he could poop on demand and he told me quite plainly that he doesn't poop on the band. See? Like I said. You can't schedule poop.

So I just started the day yesterday without mascara. It wasn't worth it.

So yesterday morning came and went and - no poop. It didn't seem to matter that by the time the morning ended, he had been promised Elmo's World, a lollipop, an extra granola bar and some of my chai if he produced poop. No poop = no pretty school. In fact the whole of yesterday came and went and - no poop.

And here we sit. Pretty school has been in session for 15 minutes and instead of sitting in Circle Time with his friends, he's sitting in The Funny Farm Academy with HopeAnne and me.

Pray for poop, friends. Before 10:30.

And then again tomorrow. Please and thank you.