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!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Called

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.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Here comes Victor

A recent conversation in our house:

Eden: Victor, say the magic word. (pause, no answer) What's the magic word?
Victor: Use your cane.

We may have created a little cane using monster.

So we should be receiving orientation and mobility training. We're on a waiting list and should get a call this summer. As in this summer. The one that is mostly over (sorry, kids). It's a governmental agency. No other explanation necessary, right?

That is why I took matters into my own hands. I found an excellent book, Independent Movement and Travel in Blind Children by Joseph Cutter. I read it. I highly recommend it...if you happen to be the parent of a visually impaired child who is waiting on bureaucracy to teach your child to walk independently.

And now Victor uses his cane daily at home. We've taken it out on occasion as well but we need to warn people to protect their head and their crotch. That whole, "Keep it on the ground, Victor!" thing seems a little hard to grasp. If you do see him with his cane, he will likely be looking for "piggies" and if he finds your toes, look out, success usually comes with one final pound to the toes.

 And yes, I am well aware that this is not the proper way to hold a cane. It doesn't have to be. He's 2. That's what the book said, anyway. The author argues (against many other experts in his field) against waiting until the child is old enough to hold it properly. His philosophy is that a child needs to learn independence as early as possible and to begin to understand both the auditory and textual clues he will learn from the tapping of the cane. And we all know Victor is good at tapping. I mean, banging.

We also teach functionality and resourcefulness. If you can't find your cane, you just use whatever else is around. Kitchen utensils, Tack strips that lose their stickiness and fall off the wall, etc.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

*Hacked* Why My Parents are my Heroes

Hello Dear Blog world,

My name is Mariana and I happen to be the 3rd child sprouting up in this Funny Farm. I felt inspired to hack into my mom's blog and express something that has been building up inside for awhile now.

Due to the fact that my mother doesn't know I am posting this, there may be serious spelling/grammatical errors that won't be corrected.

Why My Parents Are My Heroes:

My parents laid down their sign and got their hands dirty.

I recall a not-so-long-ago time when my mom and dad decided to venture into the unknown world of serious premature care for a baby born at 25 weeks gestation (a fetus some might say). They decided to take a leap of faith and pursue the crazy decision to love this child, even if it meant sacrificing so much, as my mom left for 11 weeks to live with him in Utah.

That was crazy.

I remember when my brother came to live with us after experiencing one of the hardest situations a child can endure (losing his biological mother). My parents knew that taking an "older child" was going to be hard. They knew perfectly well that it was not going to be easy but they chose to take a leap of faith and love my brother and give him the same opportunities that every child deserves.

That was also crazy.

I barely remember when my youngest sister came into our family. I was 8 or 9 I believe... but I remember my dad holding her. Having this girl come into a family where she had the opportunity to have a loving father who would ask:
 "*insert sister's name* Why are you special?"
and then her three year old reply would be:
 "Because I'm adopted!"

Adoption and orphan care has dramatically changed my family.

As my parents, even now, continue the fight to help protect and be the voice for those who don't have one, I am just amazed by how crazy they are. But dear Church, dear people, dear Americans, why aren't we all crazy?

In light of the media craze over abortion, and these horrifying videos of babies in a mess in a petri dish, so many people (including myself) have found it easy to speak out against it! Of course that seems the best thing to do... but you know what amazes me?

My parents...

Through all of this they aren't speaking out in words, they are speaking out in actions.

They are fighting!

No one can say that all "Pro-Life"ers don't care about the mother and the baby. My Parents have done the crazy thing and supported these mothers, they have loved them, they have thanked them, they have financially supported them, and prayed for them. They keep fighting. Even Today.

My parents are my Heroes.

Actions speak louder than words and they are SO LOUD.

I encourage anyone who wants to speak out about anything they consider an injustice to follow in my parents' example. They teach us (as kids) to help the oppressed and are leading by example.

My parents are my Heroes.

Please pray for our family as we continue to fight together for the care of orphans.