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 with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Redemption running

One of the first parenting books I read "way back when" was Dobson's book, The Hurried Child.  Maybe not a typical first book for parents but as a teacher I had observed the trend of overly busy children who were not only stressed but involved in activities that they didn't even enjoy or want to do. We made the decision that we would be careful in choosing activities for our children so that they were not over-involved nor would they be forced to participate in activities that they did not enjoy.  Of course we didn't realize that this family policy would be essential for our survival as we do plenty of running around with just one activity per child.  And yes, there have been exceptions at times.  For the most part, we have kept to this policy.

Part of determining which activities to choose for each child has been the desire to see each of them excel in the areas where they are most gifted.  Every one of us likes to feel good about ourselves and receive praise for a job done well.  No one likes to sit on the bench every game, fail at a task over and over, or feel unskilled at a task.  Our job as parents is to help our children find their God-given gifts, to help them hone those skills, and to find ways to use them for the Lord.

So when we noticed that this girl was built like a runner and also enjoyed running, we began to look for opportunities for her.  She enjoys running with her older brothers.  The oldest two have each taken her on runs where they let her set the pace and the distance.  She has gone a mile or more on these trips and ends with energy to spare.  We knew she was physically ready for a race but didn't know if she was emotionally ready.  I heard about the Healthy Kids Running Series and decided to give it a try.  I liked their laid-back approach with an emphasis on being healthy rather than winning.  We signed her up.

And she ran.

And she won. (See it here)

She ran with the legs God gave her.  She ran with the speed God gave her.

And she made me cry.

This is redemption.  This child who struggles with identity.  This child who struggles academically.  This child who struggles with anger.  This child who struggles with new situations claimed this new situation for herself.  She used her gifts and flourished.

The mother of another participant came up to me and said, "That's not fair.  She won by a lot.  She should run with the kids older than her."

No, you don't understand.

It's not about winning but this win did more for this little girl than you can imagine.

These are the moments I wish I could share with her birth mother.  We lost contact with her a year ago. I would love to be able to send these pictures and thank her.  Thank her for giving her daughter life.  Thank her for making the tough decision to voluntarily relinquish her rights.  Thank her for the beautiful letter six years ago gifting HopeAnne to us and us to HopeAnne.  I would love to show her that Hope is thriving.  I would love to show her how Hope is serving others.  I would love to ask her if this is a skill Hope received from her.  Maybe someday.

For now, we are thanking God for this daughter of ours.  We are thanking Him for the unique gifts that are packed into this beautiful, strong, fast girl of ours.  And we are asking Him to show her how she can use this talent to shine His light to others.  Because isn't that why we're here?


  1. Wow, just wow! Beautifully written reflection! I totally saw with the eyes of faith the talent God has given her when I saw the videos of her running - she is gifted and I pray God will use this in her life to give her confidence, and opportunity for His glory to shine!

  2. Cindy, that was beautiful. It was a great reminder to keep everything we do in life centered on Christ and sharing it with others. Thank you.

    Please tell HopeAnne congratulations!! Love and miss you and little Victor.

  3. Check out Girls on the Run!! It is a program for 3rd-5th grade girls, it is FAR more than a running program. It is a program that helps each girl find what makes them "UNIQUE" and embrace it!! Yes, there is running involved, but more as a fitness measure (they finish with a 5K race)! I know she is to young for it at the moment, but something that I think (just from what you said above) she could benefit from!! It is currently at ALL Mechanicsburg schools (there is a program for elementary and middle school girls). I'm the coach at Northside and would love to give you more information when the time comes, or if you have any questions!!


    1. Oh, great... I have a line of students stretching out my office door who weren't there 2 minutes ago and I'm all teared up. Pull it together, Jacqui. :) Beautifully written, Cindy. Thanks for sharing this.

      Congratulations, HopeAnn!

    2. Jacqui, So good to hear from you!

      And I will most certainly be checking out Girls on the Run in a few years (that is, if I can remember that long).

  4. I want to cry. Hearing a proud daddy shouting encouragement to his precious girl...beautiful!