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!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Victor-isms: The finale (for this year)

 On this last day of 2022, enjoy a few Victor-isms chosen just for you...

Our nighttime ritual of read-aloud has always been a favorite part of the day for me, through every combination of children and ages and all sorts of wonderful books. Tonight, Victor had a request that was a first in all of those 27 years. When I had finished reading for the evening, he asked for one more chapter. I told him that I was really and truly finished. He said, “Well, how about just one page then? Like a trailer?”


A new insult/accusation from my favorite 9 year from hard places had me doing my best not to noticeably laugh. Just imagine hearing the following when you don’t give the elementary-aged child exactly what he wants, “Cyn-thi-a, you are curdling my tofu!” It was, in the mixed-up land of trauma, a most amusing insult so I was sure to tell him it was a horrific thing to say and I never want to hear that again, a sure-fire way, of course, to receive the same accusation again soon. Stay tuned.

P.S. He did later confess that he plagiarized this insult from a story he had listened to. But still...he didn't have to repeat it!


Victor: this snowman will need new batteries soon.
Dad: Why is that Victor?
Victor: Because he sings an F# F# F# instead of G# G# G#…

When visiting with Isaac and Rachel...
Isaac: Okay, Victor, we would like to be alone for a little bit.
Victor: Don't take it too far.
After Isaac and Rachel got over their shock that they were getting purity advice from a 9 year old, a little questioning revealed that Victor's comment was actually in reference to not antagonizing him by *secretly* (but loudly) talking about the Christmas gifts that he really wanted but which they didn't really get for him.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Back in time

It's not every day that your daughter sends you pictures of herself that look more like your ancestors than your descendants. 

I told her she's wearing too much jewelry, but other than that, her Heritage/Immigrant Day at school look turned out pretty well. She's sporting her great grandmother's covering, her great great grandmother's cape dress, and a King ancestor's shawl. 

Comfy, ja?

Sunday, December 18, 2022

At least the wicked witch is dead

In my defense, I was simply trying to move the house a little farther from the table edge so that the dogs wouldn't get it when I let them into the kitchen in the morning. 

At first, it just shifted off its foundation. So I added some legs and shoes and sent my apology to HopeAnne...

Ummm...HopeAnne...I'm really sorry, but it appears that a tornado touched down during the night and removed your house from its foundation. The good news is that it appears as if it took care of that old wicked witch of the west when it touched down. You can expect the Lollipop Guild to come your way soon because they are delirious with happiness.

P.S. Don't forget to grab the ruby red slippers. You might be able to get home to Kansas.

She wasn't impressed. Especially when I realized my original move hadn't really moved the house far enough from the edge. 


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Megan's turn

The October birthdays are coming to an end, but only because the month is coming to an end. Oct. 9 (two of them), 14, 29... So today we celebrate Megan, masterful Megan. I'm so glad Jesse wrestled over the re-writing of "Call Me, Maybe" and invited you to "Homecoming, Maybe" all those years ago. 3 years of marriage and the testimony of your lives and your relationship has grown exponentially.

You are a master at all you set out to do.

A master at teaching, a master at schooling, a master at designing your new house and making it into a home, a master at letting your light shine so others are drawn to Christ through your love and care.

I hope your day was great and it's always extra-special when a teacher has a weekend birthday!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

A life well lived

I have been asked to share reflections, from all of us, on the life and legacy of Bertha/Bert/Aunt Bert/Mom/Mother/Grandmom/MomMom/Grammy/Honeybun/Great Grandmom/Great Grammy/Great Great Grandmom (I hope I got them all)...

Bertha was not a fan of her name. She didn't like that it was often paired with the word "Big" and was associated with larger-than-life things nick-named Big Bertha such as a large military gun during World War 1, a large steam locomotive, fictional comic characters, a cow from the Guinness Book of World Records, and the world's largest bass drum. Even a piece of my middle school's gymnastics apparatus was nicknamed Big Bertha by my PE teacher.

But God is in the business of redeeming things, and when we look at the life of Bertha Moyer, I think we would all agree that the legacy she left was indeed larger than life, just as her name has come to be known.

Grandmom commented on several occasions that she thought there was something wrong with the traditional memorial service. Why, she asked, do we wait until someone has passed on to gather together to speak kindly of them? Wouldn't that be better done in their presence? I know that there were suggestions and jokes about having a mock funeral where we would come together to tell Bertha how much shew as appreciated, but no one had the nerve to actually plan it. Instead, we were all encouraged to write words of affirmation to her in celebration of her 100th birthday. I had the pleasure of compiling these remembrances into a book and they do, indeed, speak of the larger-than-life legacy that Bertha Moyer left to us. Here are 7 themes from those letters, values she taught us, and the legacy we now have the joy of continuing:

Always look nice...and don't forget to accessorize.
Many who sent her cards and letters remarked on this attribute. In these remembrances she was described as "beautiful, classy, neat, sophisticated, fresh and clean even after cleaning all day, wearing fashionable clothes and accessories of jewelry, knowing what clothes look nice and what goes together." She taught her children that even if you didn't have a lot, you could look nice and keep your house clean. Of course, it didn't hurt that she never looked her age. Apparently when I was born, and she came the the hospital to visit, the nurses would not let her off the elevator, insisting that only grandparents were allowed on the maternity floor at that time. Even in these last months at Rockhill, she always wanted her hair done neatly, to wear a nice blouse and sweater, and to finish it off with a pin or necklace. More importantly she was known as a beautiful person whose inside matched the outside.

Laugh until you cry.
One person described her laugh as "distinct, infectious, warm, and comforting." How many times did we watch her laugh until she cried and probably peed her pants? I won't name names, but I am certain that even this part of her legacy has been passed down through the generations represented here. She loved a good joke or story and didn't mind laughing at herself. One of her favorite stories was of the time she thought she was locked alone in the back of a car in the stifling heat of Florida, panicking and trying to signal for help, only to find out later that she could have gotten out on her own. One letter writer remarked that her ability to have a good laugh about herself said so much about who she was.

Family is important.
Family was for playing games, going to craft shows, creating something together, eating out, vacationing, and just sitting around talking (and laughing). She was an important part of Easters, Thanksgivings, Christmases, and many other holidays and celebrations. I think she even surprised herself at how many showers, weddings, and births she was still able to celebrate in the last few years. She was attending weddings of her great grandchildren and was part of more than one 5 generation photo after the births of her great great grandchildren. Her family alone made this Bertha larger-than-life. Many of us remember Friday nights spent with Mom/MomMom. The sons and daughters-in-law never felt like in-laws, but were welcomed quickly and easily. Most of us know if the infamous squabble between her three sons-in-law, always vying for first place in her eyes. She loved that. She also cherished time with her brothers and sisters and their spouses.

Hobbies are for sharing love.
After retiring, Bertha told people that she had to go back to work to "support her habit." When I would describe her apartment in our Souderton home, I'd tell people that she had a two bedroom apartment, one bedroom for her and one for her crafting, needlework, and quilting.

Most if not all of us here have works of art in our homes that were created by Grandmom's habit. We've received crocheted purses, ponchos, afghans, pot holders, toys, and more. I've always loved the retelling of how she followed a woman around on the boardwalk of Ocean City, trying to surreptitiously copy down the pattern of the other woman's crocheted sweater. Since infancy we've slept under quilts that she made. Doilies keep our dressers neat. And her famous crocheted names. She kept a list of every single one she made and in the end, there are 500 crocheted names in frames and trays all over the United States. Many of her children and grandchildren are carrying on her legacy of quilting, crocheting, and crafting, and there is at least one great grandchild who learned a lot about crocheting from this special woman. She is remembered as saying, "Those who are wrapped in a quilt are wrapped in love." May we all carry on her legacy by sharing love through sharing the works of our hands.

Love and pray for others.
Those prayers started by her bedside, kneeling in prayer. As a nurse at Rockhill, she is remembered for her care, dedication, kindness, compassion, and love. Many of us remember that every birthday, annniversary, and milestone was remembered with a carefully selected card, always signed with "Love and Prayers." One grandchild remembered, "Everywhere I lived, it seems a card from you found me." Some of us know we are only here today because of the love and prayers of this faithful woman of God.

You can do hard things.
One friend remembered, "She worked hard, never complained, and did what she knew had to be done as she raised her family, basically by herself." We know that Grandmom did not have an easy life, yet she pressed on, accomplishing much for her family and for herself. And she did this at a time when being a single mother in her circumstances was much less common than it is today. Her obituary reads, "Overcoming numerous obstacles, she graduated from the Philadelphia School of Nursing in 1958 as a practical nurse. She later pursued other courses to enhance her skills in elder care." She did hard things and in doing so, she became an inspiration to many. Several of her grandchildren have described her as a trailblazer and while she would have laughed off the suggestion with the signature wave of her hand and turned head, she leaves a legacy of strong men, and especially strong women, who can do hard things, too.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow.
Grandmom lived her Christian life "demonstrating joy, perseverance, faithfulness, and strength." She set a good example of "trusting Jesus through thick and thin."

Through the difficulty of raising six children by herself she knew that because He lives she could face tomorrow.

When the church wasn't there for her as it should have been she knew that because He lives she could face tomorrow.

As she pushed her way through nursing school and served as charge nurse she believed that because He lives she could face tomorrow.

When Clyde died, she believed that because He lives she could face tomorrow. She chose this song for his funeral service and it will forevermore remind me of her and her faith.

As arthritis and aging kept her from some of her favorite hobbies and activities, she still knew that because He lives she could face tomorrow.

But even a legacy, a beautiful woman inside and out who never seemed to age, will eventually succumb to the sickness, weakness, and death that is found on this side of Heaven. If you visited Grandmom at Rockhill, you know that she has had one wish, and one wish only these last months - to see Jesus. When my husband, son, and I visited a few days before she died, she was in bed and not reacting to much. John sang I'll Fly Away: "Just a few more weary days and then I'll fly away to a land where joy shall never end, I'll fly away..." John leaned down to repeat, "Just a few more wary days, Grandmom." She nodded. With a strong heart that refused to give up, those few days turned into just a few more, but...

Because He lives, she is home with Jesus where joy shall never end. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow without Bertha/Bert/Aunt Bert/Mom/Mother/Grandmom/MomMom/Grammy/Honeybun/Great Grandmom/Great Grammy/Great Great Grandmom. With her legacy of Love and Prayers, we can carry on her larger-than-life legacy, just because He lives.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Happy birthday, Jesse

Happy birthday, Jesse!

To my son who always had a gleam in his eye and mischief in his smile.

To the one who knew he was a middle child even before he was the middle child and even though he quickly lost that role, several times over, kept up the middle child position with excellence.

May your middle schoolers treat you with kindness and respect today with just the right amount of good, clean, appropriate birthday pranks and may you have a great evening of continued birthday celebrations with your wife and whatever else you have planned, with whomever it is planned.

Love you and I enjoy watching the amazing young man that is Jesse.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

2 for one

When they were younger, I had to do two separate posts for their birthdays. We took turns celebrating one before the other, because everything had to be fair, right? But when you are 18 and 22, I think we have turned a corner. I hope. So...

Happy birthday Shoun and Eden! Or Eden and Shoun - whichever you prefer.

Such maturity from both of you. Just think back to 2010 when you became siblings. So much excitement at first, to share a birthday. Then reality. 4 years apart. Ages apart in experience, maturity, trust, and ability to love and forgive. 

I couldn't be more proud of who you are today, Eden and Shoun. Your character and godliness are world-changing. Keep following the path God has for you. I love you!