Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't give up...

There is something wrong with the online store today, of course. Since today I began to promote pre-orders for the books.

But don't give up. HOpefully they'll fix it and you can order one soon.

The Movie Video

Finally, the first release of the movie video.

I have spent the morning trying to make this work and finally it does. So you can check it out.

This isn't going to be the final version of the website promoting it, but I thought I'd get some feedback.

So here goes... The Promotional Movie for the Book

And from there you can preorder one. How cool is that?

Irritating Morning

It's especially irritating when there are not children to blame and things go wrong. Jimmy is the only one home this morning so I suppose I should finish my poem from yesterday

Four growing Fletcher kids as calm as they can be
one went back to her boyfriends, and then there were three.

Three growing Fletcher kids, so quiet I don't know what to do
one went to work at 6 a.m., and then there were two.

Two growing Fletcher kids, the youngest so much fun
he went off to summer school, and then there was one.

One growing Fletcher kid, wandering around the house, lost, lonely, confused. Well, not really. But Jimmy is finding it quite odd to be here by himself and I"m heading off to a meeting, so he will truly be alone.

Monday, June 29, 2009


2 ounces, less than three inches long, but definitely moving around. We could see him/her scratching his/her head. We saw legs kicking and the heart beating.

I'm amazed at the technology.

And most women with 12 kids aren't experiencing their first ultrasound at 45...

but it was very cool. Definitely a baby in there.

See the Poll?

I need a little guidance in regards to the book. As you know, we've been working on it for some time and now it's time to get serious. We had the photo taken for the cover last night and the book is ready for the final reading by Bart. Then I will have a few others read through it for typos and it will be off to the publisher. We are going to self-publish this first book and see how it sells.

I want to unveil the video that I made for it, but I want to offer folks the opportunity to pre-order a book when I do so. SInce we gave people that opportunity last fall and only three people (Yes, three. Three people in this entire world. Three. Anyway...) ordered it, we're considering not offering a hardcover but a paperback instead. However, if nobody is planning to buy that one either, maybe we should only order a few copies.

So, I've created a poll for you to help me get an idea of where we are at with this. If you could respond that would be great.

Let me tell you a bit about the book before you respond. It's called, "Out of Many, One Family: How 2 Adults Claimed 12 Children through Adoption. It's the story about how we acquired our 12 children in 12 years. It's about foster care and the adoption process, more than it is about raising the kids (that will be a sequel). It details our journey from our first foster care visit until the last two moved in and has a "what we learned" section.

Other than my blog readers, friends and family members, the target audience is folks who are in the adoption process and would like to learn how to survive the waiting and the red tape. It's really about what we learned as naive people starting the journey.

As soon as I have 50 responses I will post a link to the book promo movie clip that I've been working on since before Christmas....

So pollers, poll on. (Is pollers a word?)

So based on that description, can you respond to the poll?

And then there were four

Dominyk and Bart just left for camp today and so now there are four children home.

12 growing Fletcher kids taught of God and heaven
one went off to college and then there were eleven

11 growing Fletcher kids, the places they have been
one off to alcohol treatment, and then there were ten.

10 growing Fletcher kids, their pictures in a line
one got arrested, and then there were nine.

9 growing Fletcher kids, not wanting to be late
one went to Grandma's for the summer and then there were eight.

8 growing Fletcher kids, number's about to dive
three went on a missions trip and then there were five.

5 growing Fletcher kids, you're about to hear me roar
One went with dad to church camp and then there were four!

I only spent four minutes on that so if it isn't literary genius, you know why.

Yup, we're down to four kids home today and when Salinda leaves tonight, that will be three.

Plus our newest "son" who is really just a friend of the kids, but who is living here this summer. However, he is at summer school, as is WIlson this morning.

So really, right now I only have 3 kids at home. Salinda is leaving for driver's ed hours in a couple hours.

So here we are. It's nice to have time to sort things out and get started with my day!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Surprise, Surprise

Nobody told us she could PREACH!!! :-)

Well, I can. Have been for years. Just don't do it often any more.

The text was a good one for me for me to preach from. 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. Talks about being enthusiastic and then losing your passion, but needing to finish what you start by giving. I talked about tithing not only money but time and energy, giving your all.

The service was disjointed and so many mistakes, plus attendance was low (I tried to keep it a secret that I was preaching, but word must have gotten out. Smile).

So now it's over, Dominyk, Salinda and I had a nice lunch (Wilson opted to stay home), and the rest of the guys are still gone on another mystery trip. Maybe Bart will blog about that. They went to church in a town about 20 miles from here.

So, to summarize my sermon, each of us is called to give it all we've got -- and when we give we get. Bottom line.

So what are you waiting for?

I've Kept a Secret for a few Days

I didn't want to keep people from coming to church, so i haven't blogged that Bart isn't preaching this morning. In fact, he asked a guest speaker to come and fill in for him. Actually, he asked many, and nobody could.

He is supposed to take six Sundays a year off and the year ends the last Sunday in June. He has only taken two off all year. Every time he planned to he ended up with a baptism or some special event that kept him from taking it off. So this week he was determined to do so. So of course, I couldn't let him preach this Sunday and jokingly offered. He took me seriously, and after some negotiating I agreed to do so.

So this morning he is taking half the kids with him and I am taking those who remain and I will deliver God's message to a group of people who are wondering why in the world I'm standing up there. The Scripture passage is an easy one for me to speak from and it's not like I don't do speaking all the time, but still I get more nervous knowing I am going to directly impact him and his congregation.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

So Quiet

Right now I am steadily working on getting the book into it's final layout format before we do a final printing. If you are following me on Facebook or Twitter, however, you can see that it is an annoying task so I am taking way too many breaks.

Bart took Dominyk and Wilson on a Mystery Trip which I am sure he will blog about later, so I won't spoil that for him or you.

Sadie, Leon and Ricardo left on a missions trip this morning for a week. I miss them already. That just leaves Salinda, Rand, Jimmy and Ivan home and you wouldn't believe how quiet it is.

Originally Ivan, Ricardo and Leon's friend, had said he would probably go back to his mom's while Ricardo and Leon were gone on this trip. But last night he told Salinda, "Naw, I think I'll just stay home and hang out with Rand and Jimmy."

I just saw him do his chore without being told. I charged him a hug for me to log him in to the computer (gotta make sure these teens are getting enough affection)

Sometimes doing foster care or adopting a child unofficially is a lot easier and they are certainly much more grateful.... and no visits from the county or paperwork! Isn't he a doll?

Just Deleted a Blog

If you wanted to read our book and didn't pay for it, but it was something you were going to "get to someday" you're outta luck. I just deleted the blog it was on. Now you'll have to wait for the real thing to come out.

I'm working on the layout today. It's laborious and annoying. I"m on chapter 8 of about 58. Sigh.

He's Been Making Me Cry A Lot Lately

... yup, that husband of mine.

Blogging so articulately and clearly that he makes me cry about stuff I'm part of and witness every day.

Read it here.
Last night when we got to Ricardo's soccer game I was composing the most brilliant blog entry ever in my head. Because something occurred to me and I was quite pleased and was going to share it. But the evening didn't end so well, so I had second thoughts. But now this morning, I'm realizing that the evening wasn't really that bad and so I should probably go ahead and blog it. And now I'm realizing that this entire paragraph was completely and utterly unnecessary. Sorry for wasting your three seconds. And the additional second that it took to read the apology. And the remaining moments it's taken to read the apology for taking time to apologize.


Anyway, we got to the soccer game around 7:20 last night and up until about 8:30 we had had a nearly perfect night. And I stopped to think that maybe even folks who have birthkids couldn't claim the following:

*Every kid in my van thanked me for supper.

*Nobody said a cross word to each other the whole trip up.

*They cleaned up their fast food trash without being told.

*People were being accommodating and cooperative in who got to sit where (this hardly ever happens with us. Where someone sits in the vehicles has always been a huge issue).

*Everyone was polite, respectful and calm.

I had six teenagers with me, ranging in age from 13-17. Five of them were mine, one was a friend. And one was Dominyk and one was Salinda.

Whether it's the fact that they are growing up or just that the planets were aligned, I'm not complaining. I'm realizing that maybe our years of persistence are paying off and that possibly a night like that could earn us a victory in a parenting competition. I was very proud of the kids.

Then after reading Cindy's blog entry today about how hard she has to work, I was again grateful for my kids. Of our 12, 9 of them have been able to do chores, and about 7 of them have not argued much about them. I have to remind them sometimes, and ocassionally threaten, but for the most part they can get them done. This is because I am intensely opposed to me doing much housework and thus I have forced them to do it. And over the years it has become part of the routine (nothing electronic after lunch in the summer until chores are done. Period). And so while deep cleaning doesn't happen as often as it should, the house is not very cluttered and I don't have to do it myself.

Another fun piece of last night was getting to know another adoptive parent. Recently she had become a friend on facebook, and she knew a few of my mutual friends, but we had never had a long conversation. I had mentioned on my facebook that I would be heading to the metro wondering if one of my old college friends might want to hook up. Instead, this fellow adoptive parent who may want to remain anonymous, agreed to come over and watch the game. She is telling beginning to tell her story online and it's fascinating.

We had a good conversation until Dominyk started getting restless and well, let's just say that Utopia turned into reality. But even so, the rest of the night wasn't that bad.

But everyonceandawhile I see progress. And that is encouraging.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Made for TV Movie

Well, it was more like "girls hours out" than "girls day out", but we went and had a great time. I think it was literally the first time the three of us have been out together alone without a fight since they were about 7 and 9 or something. For some reason they would sabotage good times when they were little and then they got to be teens and well, you can imagine how that went. The three of us having hormones lined up at the same time has occurred as often as the vernal equinox and apparently we haven't been in the same place during that event in years.

We went shopping and then for haircuts) followed by lunch. We had good conversations and they were both pleasant. It was fun.

It's really very weird. It's like Salinda has relaxed and is finally just OK. Maybe she was continuing to push us and test us up until the "ultimate" bad thing and now when she sees we still love her she can just let go of all the resentment and anger and just be. She has even spoken words to her father this trip, something she hasn't done in a while. And she's been nice to me.

Another possibility is that right now I'm not asking her to do anything at all. She is only here for 5 or six days so I am not going to worry about chores or all that stuff. She hasn't been breaking any rules and has been very cooperative.

I did ask her about school in the fall and reminded her she wasn't going to drop out and then think she was living here. She laughed and said, "oh, I know THAT, Mom" which made me breath an audible sigh of relief. I was afraid she was thinking that was an option.

When it comes to this situation, I know good and well that I cannot offer any opinions. She has told me before that she will not do anything if it is my idea. So I am continuing to help her process options without leaning toward anything. I'm almost viewing the whole thing like a made for TV movie that I'm not actually in.... just watching it. It helps me to allow her to make her own decisions.

It's her life. It's her baby. She got herself into this and she has to make these decisions right now without me telling her what to do. All I can do is tell her what we will not do. We will not pay for a wedding. We will not sign consent for her to get married (not that she is asking us to). We will not allow her to live at home and not attend high school if she hasn't graduated. WE will make sure she gets to doctor's appointments. We will be supportive. Etc. Etc.

And so who knows what the next several months hold? I sure know I can't control them and I know she never decides anything early, so we will just keep waiting and see what happens.

My Life. A made for TV movie on Lifetime.

I actually miss him

Apparently Tony had an appointment at Jan's Beauty Salon and got his hair bleached blonde. Bart's aunt sent us the picture. Made me miss him.

I know, shocking.

(And I only say that because he's such a pill sometimes. But I've always loved him. Who couldn't? Look at that face.)

Love ya, ton!

Baseball, Sausages, Triple Berry Pie, and Underwear

You remember the commercial, right? If you have no clue what I'm talking about you're probably too young to care if I explained to you about old Chevy ads so I won't bother.

All four of those things have been a part of my life in the past few days. Wednesday night Bart and I snuck away for free pie at Baker's Square (Seriously, free pie with any purchase, even a small coffee). And last night Bart was at baseball games from 5:45 until 10:15... me from 8:15 to 10:15. We have had kids in sports before that couldn't care less if we were there or not, but Leon and WIlson are both convinced that their performance is linked to having a parent there to watch We never knew how fun healthy attachment could be.

Then this morning Bart got up to make breakfast, which he blogged about here, and we had sausage and pancakes or eggs. The girls even got up early to do that.

And as a simple possibly disgusting side note, my sons are afraid of my underwear. They are philosophically opposed to touching it, clean or dirty. And so this summer they have been helping with laundry quite a bit as I have been gone a lot and I woke up this morning to no clean underwear (well, except for this one very uncomfortable pair that cause instant wedgies and are slammed way back in the back of my drawer (I know, I know, too much information). So I had to change the laundry just to make sure I'd have comfortable underwear. It's the irony that kills me. Exactly how many pair of sweaty stained boxers have I touched in my 12.5 years as a parent. Good grief, I changed diapers of a couple of these boys, and they can't pull a pair of my clean panties out of the dryer? :-)

And now that you're just shocked by my inpropriety I'll move on.

This morning we are having a Girls' Day Out. When the girls were younger we did it more often, but Salinda has hardly been here physically over the last year, or emotionally for the last 3, so it hasn't happened often. Today though they need haircuts and we're going to have lunch and maybe even do a little shopping, which I hate, but today will pretend I don't, even though they know I do.

So in an hour I"ll be off and running..... two beautiful daughters with me ....

Tonight we have an 8:00 game 90 minutes from here. Sigh. I'm way too old for this. It's not right that I have children playing sports that get over after my bedtime.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Overheard at the Coffee Shop by Others

Me: Dominyk, what's your favorite hymn?

Dominyk: The Bear Went Over the Mountain?

Me giving him the look.

Dominyk: What? That's not a hymn?

Me: Sigh.

Scriptures, Secrets, and being Scooped

I was intending to blog this story, though from a different perspective, but Bart got to the computer first this morning and scooped me with this blog entry. You'll have to read it there, but it was great to discover what we did at the park last night.


I've been up, to the Y with Kari, and then spent an hour working on the next book before blogging. Bart and I both have work related business a couple hours from here, so we are going to ride together today, trusting our children to remain unattended for several hours. As Bart mentioned, they've been doing quite well, so I hope it continues.

Apparently yesterday I blogged and got Cindy thinking about James 1 and so she blogged about it, and then I went back and reread it this morning after reading her blog entry, and wow, if it couldn't be a theme chapter for us as adoptive parents! Here is how it begins.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Pure joy. Hmmm.


On Monday a few of the youth from our church met with me and I was taking them home from school. Sadie's friend was with us who knew our secret that really isn't a secret, and in front of the others, said, "So has Salinda picked a boy's name yet?" I had to explain the pregnancy situation to the the kids from the youth group.

Fast forward to yesterday and Salinda arrived home for a few days. On Monday she has an ultrasound and Driver's Ed hours (which really shouldn't be happening on the same day for anyone) and she said she was homesick and wanted to come home for a few days. She came home and slept for a while and then I went up and talked to her. We had a nice conversation.

One of the girls from the youth group was here for the day with Sadie, and she and Sadie came in the room. I was explaining to Salinda what had happened Monday and the girl said, "Oh, it's ok, we all already knew anyway?" I said, "Really, how?" and she responded, 'Something about someone's mom reading a blog or something."

Salinda smiled and said, "Thanks a lot mom." I told her, "you know I blog everything, and I figured it's easier than you having to tell everyone, which you don't want to do." She said she was fine with it. But apparently some people didn't quite get the point of this post but I just went back and re-read it and I am not sure I get the point of it either, so I don't blame you. It wasn't well written at all.

I'm thinking now that everyone probably already knows and is pretending not to. For some reason that strikes me as kind of funny. So now if I know that you know even though you don't know that I know that you know, should I pretend like I don't know that you know and are pretending like you don't know?

Oh my goodness, I crack myself up sometimes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So far, it's been so good

I woke this morning at 4:39, 4 minutes before the alarm was to go off. I shut the alarm off so that I would not awaken my husband. I slipped out of bed to wake up Sadie, our 14 year old daughter, who goes with me.

I dressed in my "workout clothes" (Bart's t-shirt and the pants I wore yesterday), pulled on my shoes, and headed to the kitchen. I got the ice-tea maker ready to brew my tea, tidied the kitchen a bit, and then waited for Kari to pick us up. We went to the Y, worked out, I came home and blogged and started working on email.

My husband called to me at 7:30 to come upstairs. I had been telling him how much I loved the breakfast sandwiches at Panera and he had me describe them to him. This morning he made one that was even better and he had called me up to eat with him. It was very good. Wilson sat with us a few minutes before heading to the bus.

I returned to my desk, all children but Wilson still asleep, my stomach full and happy. Within minutes I received confirmation that my husband had booked plane tickets for Dominyk and I to visit my parents next month.

Salinda is coming home for a few days today, which I must unfortunately report, still causes me some anxiety. But I am basking in these moments of contentment to be married to such an amazing man. He is so good at everything he does and so many of those things are things I hate doing. So with a content stomach and my travel arrangements made (and an itinerary he has started for me, like he always does in my inbox) I am very content.

The day may not end well, but so far it's been so good. It reminds me of a great song that Truth sang years ago
We have come so far, You have been so good.
When I trace the road that we have traveled, I've got to tell you Lord,
I look at where we are, and see where I could have been
I need to say again, You've been so good...
Who would have guessed that we would come so far?

What does James 1:28 say?

I admit that I am totally stealing this idea from Tim and Wendy without asking their permission, but I'm sure they won't mind the link. I feel like I really know them because I've been listening to their podcast for almost 2 years, but actually, I've never spoken to them.

Anyway, I'm a few weeks behind, so this morning I listened to their April 11th broadcast called "A Conversation for Christians." If you are a Christian who gets frustrated with the way other Christians perceive us who are foster and adoptive parents (we must be special or saints because we do this) you should listen to this episode. They talk about how other Christians are compelled to give them all the reasons why they could never be foster or adoptive parents. And Wendy quoted me, though she really didn't quote me because she doesn't know me. But she said, "Who ever said we shouldn't do something just because it's hard?" which, if you are a reader of this blog, you have read many times like in this post or this one.

If you are a Christian foster or adoptive parent, you probably are already familiar with James 1:27. It says,
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Tim, on the podcast, goes on to give many options of what many Christians think James 1:28 must say. I paraphrase of course, but they were things like:

You should do this (take care of orphans) UNLESS you'd get too attached and couldn't handle giving them back;

You should do this (take care of orphans) AFTER things settle down for you;

You should do this (take care of orphans) WHEN you get to a different point in your life;

You should do this (take care of orphans) AS LONG AS they don't have emotional problems.

and I could add several other excuses that I've heard:

You should do this (take care of orphans) ONLY when you're financially secure;

You should do this (take care of orphans) AS SOON AS your birth children are out of school;

You should do this (take care of orphans) IF you feel you could handle the stress;

or even You should do this (take care of orphans) SOME DAY.

THe podcast concludes with a reminder that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.

I'm grateful to Tim and Wendy for going out on a limb to say things to us, the church that need to be said again and again. Wendy did the math, and I believe that she concluded that there were 449 people who call themselves Christians in our country for every orphan in the U.S.

I want to repeat everything that they said here, but that would hardly be fair and then you wouldn't want to listen to the podcast. But there is a lot of good stuff in this episode so if you're a Christian, you should head over there and hear it.

And to answer the question, there is no James 1:28. And I think that is incredibly powerful. The verse doesn't even exist. The chapter ends there, as does the issue as far as James, the writer of the book, was concerned. He defined true religion in verse 27. There are no some days, or ifs, no "as soon as," only, "as long as", when, unless or afters. It's a statement, a verse, and a chapter that ends right there.

There is no James 1:28. Dang, that's powerful.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Late start to the day

I'm regretting my day's late start. Completely my own decision. The kids are all still asleep. In fact, if the lighting wasn't so horrible or if I had a really great camera, which I've been salivating over for weeks and keep denying myself, then I might be able to show you how cute Leon looks right now. Instead I will give you a previously quite blurry version that I doctored up as much as I can. He is sleeping with a red sheet over his window, explaining the strange glow.

And when I took it and decided to post it, I reminded myself of how fortunate I am to have teenagers willing to allow me the privilege of blogging about them. Most of them truly get why I blog and how much it helps other families, and they don't protest. Once and a while one of them won't let me post a picture they don't think is cool enough, but for the most part they are on board.

I have three separate visits to make and an important phone call to fit in between them today, as well, as parenting, and a meeting for church tonight. Wow. What a week I've scheduled for myself.

But enough whining .... hi ho, hi owe, it's off my blog and into the rest of my computer I go....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Be It

Post Adoption Support Services are being cut across the nation. It's a fact. It's annoying. In fact, it is beyond annoying. While I hope that some states are realizing that it is a "pay now or pay later" kind of endeavor and are not cutting support, I know for a fact that several states are cutting valuable programs that have historically helped many adoptive families.

For a while I have been contemplating writing a huge rant about this issue. Because really it is totally unfair. Many of us adopted with the knowledge that certain services would be there and now they aren't. And if that doesn't just irk you, well, it should. I am. Irked. Very very irked.

Because there isn't a viable option for us as adoptive parents. It's not like another situation where you can be dissatisfied with the service and back out or take it back or quit. In every other situation if we feel like someone has not followed through with something we were promised, we can do something drastic about it if we wish without tragically affecting a human life -- a life that certainly does not need to be toyed with by yet another system or adult. I could give you examples in life of how you can quit a job, return a car, sell a house ... all the things we do when we are dissatisfied with an agreement, but in older child adoption we just can't do it. Well, at least we shouldn't.

Many of us when we adopted were told that there were post-adoption support services provided. Now, years later, when we really need them, they are being taken away. Budget cuts are the culprit -- the recession, the economy, etc. But our kids are real, in front of us, and we as parents need post adoption support if we are going to survive raising them.

So you get the picture. We're stuck. We're screwed. We have been dealt a blow. The support group we have attended may be losing funding. The person who ran the support group may have lost their job. The grants for children's parties and picnics or adult groups with day care provided no longer exist.

And so we have a choice. We should advocate to get our services back, I don't agree with that. But maybe that isn't going to work at this point. And so after whining and moaning and complaining now for several months, the words of Muhatma Gandhi, "You must be the change you want to see in the world" have popped into my head and I am ready to move on.

So I offer to you an answer you might no want to hear today. But you and I, we can be post adoption support. Anyone can listen. Anyone can have a cup of coffee with another parent, even if you have to watch your children meltdown together while you do it. And I'm telling you based on my experience, if there is a desire to do so, anyone can carve out a few extra hours a week to lead a support group, send emails, blog, or organize an event.

Somtimes I wonder if we as adoptive parents, myself included, haven't turned into sniveling whiners. But even if we have concluded that the we have been screwed by the system, that doesn't leave us powerless. Even though we are raising children who have been victimized by their years in the system, we do not have to be victimized as well. We can choose to be victors. We can fight back, advocate tirelessly, and rally together to make changes in this world.

And in the meantime, while we are doing all we can to reinstate post-adoption support on a national funding level, we, yes YOU and I, can be the post-adoption support we rally for. It is our chance to truly step forward "be the change."

While Kari and I were coming back from the YMCA this morning, we were talking about this very thing. She mentioned how her mom, 40 years ago, had something to complain about. With long distance phone charges and no internet, they literally had to find another adoptive parent that was local or they were out of luck. But we are so blessed to have each other.

So, if you're willing to join me in being the change in regards to post-adoption support, let me know. If you have an idea or would like to publically make a commitment to do so, please leave a comment. If you are willing to be a listening ear and would like to leave a comment suggesting things you feel you are an "expert on" feel free to do so and you can email me and i'll try to connect you with someone who needs that right now.

Please don't get me wrong. I do think we need to advocate as much as possible for programs to be reinstated. But in the absence of programs, there are still people - creative, resilient, strong, determined people who don't need to stand back and watch "post-adoption support" die because "post-adoption support programs" get cut.

You and I need post-adoption support, there is no doubt about it. But guess what? You and I ARE post adoption support.

Do it.

Be it.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

God's Song for Dominyk

Yesterday on the way to the soccer tournament, Dominyk was the best he has been in years. He was cooperative, calm, etc., and all without meds (we're trying to experiment when there is no school to see if there is a better combination. In fact, he did very well until about 2:45 when the soccer game was over and it was time to go have fun and we realized we had a flat tire. From then on things just kept getting worse and worse.

By the time we got to have supper around 8 p.m. he had nearly pushed me over the edge. I was trying to talk to my mom on the phone and he was so loud. After I hung up i raised my voice and said some things i shouldn't and he just lost it. He was crying and sobbing about how nobody loved him (a common phase of his cycle) but he took it farther than ever before, describing how he wished he had never been born because he was stupid and retarded and he went on and on, working himself up more and more and more with each sob.

I was driving and it was late, so I couldn't do much, but i finally talked him down and mentioned to him that sometimes when I was really sad I would turn on a Christian station and tell myself that the song that was playing was God's special song for me for the day. I turned on the radio and the last few lines of this song, "Wait and See (He's Not Finished with me Yet)". The last line simply repeats itself three times, and that is about all we heard. But it was enough. He understood, and I understood, and we both cried some more. Here are some of the lyrics:

I’ve been trouble since the day that I got here

Trouble till the day that I disappear

That’ll be the day that I finally get it right


There is hope for me yet

Because God won’t forget

All the plans he’s made for me

I have to wait and see

He’s not finished with me yet

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Updates from Everywhere

We got home safely. There was little drama, though re-entry was hard for us facing Dominyk's immediate chanting "I want a pop. Can I have some money? I really want a pop" literally for a full hour before he finally figured out it wasn't going to work and had a meltdown. After that, other than his endless chatter, things went pretty well.

Today we are headed to a soccer tournament -- well, some of us are anyway. But before we leave I thought I'd give you some updates. Starting with the top...

I may have failed to mention that our oldest son, Kyle, got pink slipped this spring as a first year teacher. He went a couple months not knowing if he was going to have a job this fall, but he has now been offered a sixth grade position which certainly won't be as fun as 3rd grade, but it's a job. The day he told us he hadn't decided if he was going to accept and we seldom hear from him, but we're assuming he did.

Mike, who is still out of jail apparently, sent me an IM on facebook the other day asking me if I wanted to buy a GPS. I told him we had one. He asked me if I'd be willing to sell it for him on ebay -- new, in the box and everything. I asked him why he couldn't -- said he didn't have a credit card. As I was trying to explain why I wouldn't be interested in helping him out due to several prior arrests for receiving stolen property (his, not mine) he signed off face book and I've not heard from him again. He didn't even finish the conversation. The time that I heard from him before that was when he called the house (which he isn't supposed to do) and I said hello. He said, "Oops, wrong number." I said, "Yeah, right." (Hope it really was him!) I also had one more IM conversation with him where he asked me how I was and when I said fine he said he probably needed to go bed. It was 11:30 a.m. FASD. Gotta love it.

Bart blogged last night about hearing from John. I had talked to his attorney while in Philly and I think I forgot to blog about it. The attorney said he was cringing at the news he had to tell us. I let him know that we were veteran cringers and that we'd be fine. He said that John's hearing had been postponed because he had a secondary investigation going on. Apparently, John and his girlfriend had used her mother's credit card to buy something off the TV. I could tell that the attorney was reluctant to tell us what, but when he did I laughed out loud. I'm sure that wasn't the response he was expecting, but I couldn't help it. My 18 year old son was buying male enhancement pills. So now his hearing is postponed once again while the county attorney does a thorough investigation. The public defender said that they were acting like John and his girlfriend broke into Ft. Knox, but John is acting like it's no big deal. Apparently "credit card fraud" is a big deal. Sigh.

Salinda has been at her boyfriends for the past two weeks but he starts working on Sunday. She says she is homesick and wants to come home early this week -- she has driver's hours on June 29th and an ultrasound appointment, but she wants to come home a few days early. Hearing her say she's homesick feels a bit strange since she has spent the last three years telling me every day she's here how much she hates living in our house. I'm keep holding out hoping that she'll turn out like The Adoption Counselor's #5. If her attitude doesn't change it's going to be a very long well... forever with her.

And we heard last night from Bart's aunt. They are thoroughly enjoying having Tony up there with them. He's working hard and being delightful apparently. It's nice that he can have a chance to have so much attention and that he is making money. Above he was actually doing a volunteer project with Bart's mom and sisters at the church up there. It makes me a tad bit annoyed to know that he obviously CAN be cooperative and appropriate, even delightful, and wish he could do it when I'm around but if he's happy and they are happy, we can't help but be happy.

So those are the five kids not living here. The kids that are living at home this summer are doing well. Rand continues to work part time -- this week he was scheduled for 3 days, but he's barely making enough to pay his car insurance, his student loan, and his cell phone bill. Jimmy keeps trying to get a job, but so far he hasn't been successful. Ricardo is deep into soccer, and Leon is playing baseball. Sadie is working about 10-15 hours a week at McDonald's and whines sometimes, but it's good for her to find out what life is like. Dominhk has lots of PCA coverage this summer, so that helps us. And Wilson is gone right now with his buddy and his dad to the Boundary Waters.

Ivan, Ricardo and Leon's friend, is here almost all the time, but he is asking to move in for the rest of the summer. His mom is moving to her third trailer that they've lived in this summer, and this one is a couple miles out of town and he really doesn't want to live there. He's the youngest of much older brothers and there is nothing to do. I'm sure he's on his own most of the time. So I'm going to have a conversation with him and let him know that he is going to have a day to do dishes and a chore to do every day if he moves in for the summer. I know he'll agree.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Precariously situated

I'm sitting on an airport chair by the in door to check in (because there were no outlets anywhere else and I was out of battery) with my laptop balanced on my suitcase. In a little less than an hour we will be on the shuttle for the last leg of our journey. We missed the last shuttle by a few minutes (we knew we would) so we had a tasty sit down lunch and now Bart is giving the book a final look-over on his laptop and I am getting my email back down to the two that I can't handle until I get home, but which I plan to so that I can be down to zero this weekend, something that hasn't happened since January 24th. I love an empty inbox. And yes, I record things like this. And yes, I know that I write some sentences that are too long and that my lack of editing in this blog probably makes perfectionists cringe.

Do you know what perfectionists do by the way? They take great pains and give them to others. I should know, I married one.

So cringe on, perfectionists.

So here I sit. Looks like the kids survived though the dishwasher and washing machine may not have as Jimmy called about those this afternoon. I called our own personal maintenance man (otherwise known as Kari's husband who says he will look at it. After we have dinner together... I've called ahead to book them.

Of course before we can meet them for supper we have to decide where. Sigh. That could take a long time..... Sometimes perfectionists have a hard time making decisions.

In the Air Again, I'm about to be in the air again

Just finished breakfast at PHL, which is the Philadelphia airport. Slept long and hard after my diligent day yesterday and woke up, packed and headed to the airport. I'll be tweeting my journey again as blogging is oh so difficult from the Iphone (which by the way has new software, finally allowing me to cut and paste. Way cool).

We are heading home, but the trip will take us all the way until 5:15 tonight. Our kids have done very well this week and it is so nice to have the freedom to travel. It's nice to see what good kids many of them are turning out to be.

The majority of our book did come back from the editor this week, so I will be working on that in addition to everything else. I would love to have it done before we go to speak at NACAC in August.

I plan to hit the ground running when I return and spend some good quality time with the kids tonight, then work on the book in the morning before we leave for another Ricardo soccer tournament, the last tournament of the year before districts in July.

We've had a nice time away together. I feel caught up and ready to face work again. We had nice times together and nice times apart this week. And my speaking engagement went very well. Guess I can't ask for much more than that... though I think we could ahve both enjoyed one more day....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And from my articulate husband...

.... a blog post about his day and the criminal justice system.

Beyond What I Had Thought Was Humanly Possible

I started my day at 8:15 this morning. I had 110 emails in my box. I now have 2. Those two I can't do anything about until I get home.

I finished case notes for 3 families today. My goal was one.

I have blogged more than once, done some things for church, and generally just kicked butt. I'm tired, but it feels so much better going home on top of things.

And yeah, I know you smart alecs think that leaving a comment to fill my inbox is funny, but go ahead. Those are easy to deal with and fun.

Hope everyone has had as productive of a day as I have. Now, tonight, Bart and I may have a nice dinner together. If he can stay awake after his very full day of walking around every historical site in Philadelphia....


Sometimes it happens like that. Most of the time it doesn't. But sometimes it does.

I got an email about a little girl and when I read her profile I sighed. Severe RAD, residential placements, big challenges. Beautiful little girl with a horrible past and issues that were nothing but little. I was not feeling hopeful.

The exact same day I got an email from Lisa who was telling me she was ready to adopt again. When I read her blog and her daughter's blog I immediately knew that Lisa needed to be this child's mom.

I wish that between that moment and the day that she came home (this week!) it was all smooth. It wasn't. But eventually it happened.

Sometimes you just know. And I love it when a plan comes together.

The Long Awaited Rant #2 That Didn't Exactly Remain a Rant

I am convinced, lately, that there is a new guaranteed way to improve the disruption rate. The solution: Don't ever place kids. If you never place them, they won't disrupt.

Before I begin, I must make 1,001 disclaimers. The information I am about to present is solely my opinion. It does not represent the feelings of any agency I work with, anyone I am affiliated with, my husband, my parents, my children or even my friends or acquaintances. I say that just in case I offend someone...

I have thought long and hard about how to approach a topic about ICPC. Now obviously, I am a complete idiot to suggest anything negative at all about an office that has so much influence. The office of ICPC has the power to say no to any placement coming into their state. Maybe this is why so people are afraid to even mention them in a public arena. What if I were to need their approval? (which I will soon, on several of my cases). Will this poison them towards me and have them make it more difficult?

I hope that my comments today will not be seen as derisive but simply as my attempt to understand the process and why ICPC offices deny placements. And, before I do, I must state that our state ICPC office has never denied a placement that I have requested, so I am not speaking of my state specifically but of all states across the country and the possible motivations when denying placements.

It is my understanding that ICPC was set up to ensure that paperwork was done correctly and that medical assistance could be properly applied. I do not know that it was ever intended to be a judgment call as to the appropriateness of a placement, but that is what it has become in many states. So, why DO states deny requests for placement?

I don't really know, to tell you the truth, but let me throw out some possible reasons.

1) Bias and opinions of ICPC administrators. The bias can be against single parents, same sex couples, parents with no experience, parents with "too much experience" (large families), transracial adoption, parents who live in the inner city, parents who live in the country, etc. etc. etc. It is very difficult to keep personal opinion out of a job and I am sure that even the best ICPC administrators have this challenge.

2) The idea of dumping. When a lot of children from one state end up going to another state, people sometimes refer to this as dumping children. I don't see it that way at all. Some states have an more children than families, some states have more children than families. I look at it like an import/export situation. It is like suggestion that Columbia or Brazil stop dumping their coffee into the U.S. or that Idaho stop dumping it's potatoes into Minnesota. Children are a gift, and should be received as such. I have done many interjurisdictional placements and in none of these situations did I feel like caseworkers were intentionally trying to "dump" children into another state. And I must say, that Texas dumped Leon and Wilson into Minnesota, Minnesota will be eternally grateful as they will both be outstanding citizens.

3) The desire to save one's own states families for the children living in that state. I understand this phenomenon. However, the challenge is this: In states where there are more families than children, rumor starts to get around that there are no waiting children. Families wait too long and there is too much competition for a small number of children, and thus they get frustrated. States would be better off if they would free their families to adopt from other states and thus have a successful adoption story to share with families who are considering joining the adoption journey.

4) $$$. Receiving children with physical or mental disabilities is, in the long run, going to cost the receiving state Medical Assistance dollars. Though few would openly admit that this is a reason it definitely comes into play.

5) Trying to predict the future. Offering the final stamp of approval on a placement can be a daunting task. But I believe that by this point, a good decision should have already been made. It is almost insulting for someone who has neither met the family nor the child to second guess the joint decision of those who have. However, I know that these people also receive a lot of heat when a placement goes "bad."

I have made my share of risky placements... and many of them have turned out better than expected. I have also made my share of "no brainer" placements, that appeared perfect, that have resulted in disasters. There is absolutely no way to determine by reading paperwork which families will remain in tact and which will disrupt.

6) And, finally, there are politics involved. And since I hate politics, I won't even bother to try and unravel how all that works, but they do exist.

If you are really interested in this topic, you can read A REPORT TO CONGRESS ON INTERJURISDICTIONAL ADOPTION OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE. Ironically, they came to some of the same conclusions I did.

Finally, I must say that I have a lot of respect for people in these very difficult jobs. I have come to learn that if we patiently work together we can assure that the ICPC system is a check and balance that will allow all of us to make better placement decisions. However, it is not a perfect system and improvements can always be made.

I guess this didn't really turn into a rant. Funny how sometimes when we feel like we want to rant, our conclusions after we explain it on paper aren't quite as harsh as our initial feelings on the subject...

Doing Things Successfully

Bart and I are spending a week away together. But ironically we will spend today apart.

There are few things Bart enjoys more than exploring and seeing things. He is a wonderful tourist and loves to spend his time sightseeing. There is nothing I enjoy less. I try to make myself appear enthusiastic but then he thinks I'm mocking him. So usually it's better for me not to even try.

We had originally intended to spend part of today on a bus tour that cost $50, but I am so behind with work that a day completely free to catch up so that I can return home less burdened instead of more so seemed like an incredible idea. I asked him if it was worth the $50 to have me along if it meant nothing to me, and he admitted that it wasn't.

So he is off to walk around in the rain checking out things erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Oh wait, that didn't sound quite right.

Reminds me ... yesterday, when I was speaking, I made a bit of a mistake. It was unintentional ... it just came out wrong. When we talking about sexual acting out, I meant to talk about a child masturbating excessively but it came out "masturbating successfully." Bart laughed so hard and he is not going to let me forget about it...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Times that I Spend with My Best Friends

Twenty six years ago, when I was 19 and a strange combination of naive and arrogant, which I suppose many 19 year olds demonstrate, I met an "old man" who was about the age I am now. He was to become the president of the college I was attending and little did I know that he was going to change my life.

As a sophomore, I met him during one of his first weeks on campus and he was able to very accurately explain to me the frustrations I was currently facing. He said, "I can imagine that you are eager to out there and change the world. You probably feel that stuffing envelopes in a campus office while you attend classes is uneventful and boring. But remember this: Moses spent 40 years kicking around sand in the dessert before he was ready for God to use him." These were the first of a multitude of one-liners that he used to change my life.

I found out soon after I got to know Dr. Mills that he and I shared the same personality profile. This was important to me as I had recently been told that with my personality I would not amount to much and seeing that he was so much like me and had achieved the presidency was encouraging. "Velvet Hammer" was the nickname given to our personality type and he quickly pointed out that while he might be a velvet hammer, I was a velvet slush hammer. He would say to me, "Miss Flye, YOU are a raging hurricane while I, I am a gentle autumn rain."

We have had more than 100 significant discussions in my life and they have molded and shaped me into the person I am today. During my senior year, his son and I were taking the same class and since he had some issues with reading comprehension, I offered to read aloud our collateral reading. Thus I got to know his son and his wife quite well over that year. We shared many excellent times together. His wife prepared me for my first interview for a real job by taking me shopping for a "business suit" and helping me get ready for the trip out East. They hosted my parents for dinner the day after my college graduation. They were the last people I saw as I drove away.

Three years later I came back to work for Dr. Mills and began some of the best four years of my life. He pushed me, argued with me, challenged me, made me think, and somehow convinced me that I could be better than I had ever previously imagined. He taught me phrases like, "If God wants to do something great, He starts with a problem. If he wants to do something incredible, He begins with an impossibility." He instilled in me faith, determination, hope and courage. He made me believe in myself and in a great big God.

His daughter Heather played volleyball for me when I coached (I know, don't even think about fainting over the fact that I coached a college sport) and we had great times together, even though we only won one game that season.

Dr. Mills and I travelled together -- breath-taking trips, not necessarily because of the scenery but because of his driving! He convinced a waitress once that I was out on leave from a mental institution without me knowing it. He played tricks on me that had friends and strangers alike doubled over with laughter. And every time something funny happened between us, he could tell the story later like nobody else, again and again, to a new audience each time and the story got funnier with every telling.

My four years as the Dean of Students passed by and I was off to Mexico to work as an educational consultant. I could sense his prayers for me from afar and every time I returned to campus he and his wife, Bonnie, were more than willing to let me stay at the house and enjoy their company as well as their pool.

Soon after I moved to Minnesota I received the news that Stephen, their son who I had helped with a class so many years before, had died tragically. I received a call from Dr. Mills the week between Stephen's death and his funeral and walked through that time with them.

At our wedding, Bart and I had Paul and Bonnie be our host and hostess. If you were there you remember him taking his job very seriously, directing people to the reception in the same way that he forged college basketball teams to victory as a coach. Having them there made our day even more special.

In 2001 Bart and I were privileged to attend the World Methodist Council Meeting in Brighton, England. Paul and Bonnie were in attendance and we had a wonderful meal together. Hours passed where we laughed until we cried. Paul and I shared story after story, and threw jab after jab, with our better halves listened and occasionally joined in.

By 2003 we had nine children and Paul and Bonnie invited us to come share time with them on Seabrook Island, their new home in South Carolina. Paul took on the challenge of directing my crew with enthusiasm and the kids still talk about our time with them in their home and on the beach. Four days later, tired and sunburned, we left with many memories.

Within a year of when we left, Bonnie received the news that she had cancer which she battled for a long time, finally passing away in January of last year. During those years she and I had multiple instant message conversations where she would type until she was too tired and needed to rest. A paragraph in her eulogy describes her well:
All through her married life her energy went into her children but she also contributed to students at each of the colleges/universities she and Paul served. She assisted students with their studies and study habits. She gave them confidence and always shined as a spiritual model. Her love of Scripture and her devotion to the Lord was evidenced all throughout her life in everything she did. She was a spiritual inspiration.
I was one of those students.

It didn't seem possible that Bonnie could be gone. I think that I secretly felt that if I were to see Paul again, I would miss her way more than I had previously. But knowing that I couldn't pass up a chance to see him, I called him and asked if he would have time to meet with us while we were in Philly this week.

Not only did he agree to meet with us, he agreed to drive to us, a 2 hour trip one way. And we had a marvelous time together. Being with him reminded me again of the many things he had taught me: That no matter what, God is on the throne.... that we can move on and be victors instead of victims, that there is a purpose and a plan and that we ARE strong enough to keep going. Sure, I missed Bonnie more, but it felt great to talk about her, to honor her memory, and to reminisce

After two and a half hours it was time for him to leave. As we visited I was shocked by how little he had changed. He's 71 now and doesn't seem a day older than he did 26 years ago. If any of you know him, know that he is exactly as you would expect him to do. The same attitude, the same mannerisms, the same zest for life, the same sense of humor, the same man.

There is not one other person who has more directly impacted my life. There is no one else I trust as implicitly to be a role model and mentor to me. He knows me. He understands me. He always has.

The interesting thing about Paul Mills is that I'm not the only one who feels this way about him. There are so many others who have a similar story about the way he impacted their lives.

I'm sure that many of you haven't read this far and are annoyed by me using so much blog space for this story, but the point of the post is this: Each of us owe our successes to those who have gone before us and it is our job to pass on to those who come behind us the same legacy of faithfulness. And so, after an amazing day yesterday, I honor Dr. Mills (who will most likely never read this) the words to "Find Us Faithful." Because I know that above all else, he expects me to pass it on.

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.

Tired but Fulfilled

I left the hotel at 7:30 this morning. I just got back at 6:45 tonight. I spent from 7:30 to 9 and from 4:30 to 6 in traffic. Fortunately, Bart came along and did the driving.

The presentation today was a lot of fun. The audience, though smaller than I had anticipated, was following me and quite engaged. It was a joy to interact with them and, as always, I learned some things along the way. It was fun to meet someone I had been emailing for 5 years and to see another person that I hadn't seen in years. I also may have another opportunity to come back, which is always great to hear.

I'm not a fancy person, not pretentious, certainly not perfect in any way, but I think I'm real, and for some reasons people respond to real. And it is a joy to connect with workers who truly are committed to the idea that children grow up better in families and are committed to finding the best ways to make sure placements are successful.

So though today was a long busy day and I'm really tired, it was worth it. Now I just have to keep myself awake to do all the things that I'd like to do before I got to sleep...

Running out of Time

Have to leave for my presentation in 15 minutes, and I'm only half dressed. I also need to put on makeup which, if you knew me, you know is a less than monthly event. Bart and I are both going to work together to present to a group of over 100 social workers from Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey today. Should be great.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Could it be that I'm wrong?

Bart and I had quite an adventure tonight. It started out with my desire to see Delaware, a state I had never been in, and my need for pantyhose by tomorrow morning. I had my trusty Iphone, but it was being really weird.

I told it that I wanted to go to Wilmington, Delaware and it was telling me exactly how I needed to get here. I was very confused as to it's time estimation -- going 28 miles was going to take me about 5 hours with traffic. "Exactly how bad can Philly traffic be?" I asked myself. The route was unusual as well. No interstates, no highways even, just very interesting neighborhoods where I'm not sure anyone could feel really safe. Mile after mile of traffic lights and small stores and interesting people. A couple hours into the 28 mile trip I realized that I had had the Iphone set to the walking map because of our walk to dinner last night. The minute I set it onto driving mode, we were on the interstate and to our destination very quickly.

And the whole time I was thinking the phone was wrong. Unfortunately, it was just doing exactly what I was telling it to do. Sigh.

I have more to blog about the day, but my presentation isn't quite finished for tomorrow and i'm feeling quite tired. Let me see if I can get that finished up and maybe I"ll be back to blog a bit more.

Waking Up a Bit Confused

I woke up around 6:45 this morning, feeling like it was 5:45, and decided I would lie down for a few minutes. I woke again and looked at my watch. 8:00. Not too bad. I looked around. No husband.

Amazingly enough, it was really 9:00 (I had forgotten to change my watch) and he had gotten up, showered, and was off exploring. He had sent me an email saying he didn't want to wake me and that he would be back soon.

I am now attempting to get some hours in for work. I didn't take the whole week off, so I need to keep plugging away when I can and get the hours in. I speak tomorrow.

Today we are meeting one of my favorite people in the world for lunch. I'll blog more about that later.

I've enjoyed tweeting (posting things on twitter). It keeps things moving when I'm bored...

So far we have heard that everything is going well at home and we're really glad our kids are doing so well right now that we could get away. I'm very proud of them.

OK, enough disjointed thoughts. I have a headache.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Safe in Philly, Full and Content

Most of our day was fairly uneventful, though the rental car place was incredibly annoying. We came to the hotel and immediately looked to find this Italian place where we had some really really good pizza. Now Bart is off buying tums and I'm back in the hotel letting you know about our day.

The picture above was taken out our window. Bart thinks that's maybe why we got such a great deal on the room. it's an amazingly nice room though and I'm looking forward to relaxation. I started a novel on the plane that I'm eager to finish and we have a bit of leftover pizza. Bart has promised chocolate from the drug store.
May not sound like much to some, but I can't think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary. I just did a tribute to him on his birthday last week, and next week is Father's day, but I certainly did it well last year, the year before, and of course back in 2006, and even in 2005.

After all that, there isn't a whole lot left to say, except that each year is better than the one before.

And as we were eating tonight I asked Bart, 'If someone would have told you 13 years ago today that in 13 years we'd be taking some time away from our 12 children ages 10-22, what would you have said?" He said he didn't know.

i think I know what I would ahve done. I think I would have thought a bit and said, "Really? Cool!"

at the airport

Blogging is so cumbersome from my phone. You can follow my day on twitter. Name is maeflye there. Go.

Two Quick PHotos

Last night we had our sunday worship in the park and it was awesome. We had an "old fashioned church picnic" and we had a lot of great people participating in lots of fun things. One of the best parts of it is that people take pictures for me and then I get to keep them. And sometimes they are of my kids and then I actually have good pics (since I can't take them)

Aren't these cute?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Off to the City of Brotherly Love

We're heading out this morning and fortunately have adult coverage here all the time, which makes me able to relax. The saddest piece is that the only fear I have for the safety of my children and possessions is from our own kids who don't live here any more. I doubt that a stranger is going to happen upon our home, but there is a possibility that if John is released or Mike knows we are out of town they might be here to see what they could steal. And even though both of them would look hurt and saddened by the fact that I was worried about this, they have both done it -- Mike many more times than John, but they both have "borrowed" things from their siblings that don't get returned.

This is our anniversary so I will need to blog about that later today ... maybe from the airport or from the hotel when we arrive. But for now, bon voyage. (Is it appropriate for me to say that to you? I don't think so. Oh well).

Bon Voyage to me.

Evidence on Facebook

Today's sermon was about sowing seeds. It got me thinking not only about my present, but about my past. I have dedicated my life, personally and professionally, to working with people. And so I have attempted to spend my life scattering seeds of kindness in people's lives. I've gotten to know them, given them advice, encouraged them, and hoped to make a difference, but I'm not always privileged to know if what I've done mattered.

That is one of the reasons why I enjoy facebook. At this point I have about 550 friends and most of them I have known at some point in my "Real LIfe." They have been high school or college friends or acquaintances or students who I worked with as a hall director or Dean of Students. They were people's lives that i had hoped to positively impact.

It is so fun for me to see all of the great things these people are doing to change the world. They are raising great kids. Some of them have grandkids already. They are teachers, pastors, lawyers, missionaries, photographers, doctors, businessmen and women, students, etc. who are making a difference in their worlds. It Is a huge blessing for me to even pretend like I had a small part in forming them into the people they are today.

When I think back to 20 years ago I had many young adults in my office who were 18 or 19 and really struggling to make good decisions. I was frustrated by their choices, irritated that they didn't listen to good sound advice, and saddened by the way it appeared things would turn out for them. Some of them have had difficult roads as a result of those choices, but most of them have been able to survive those choices and become role models for the generation after them.

And that reminds me to continue to scatter my seed today. It may seem as though, especially with some of my children, my seed is falling on such hard ground that it will never be absorbed. But I have to keep reminding myself that my only job is to scatter the seed. The harvest is none of my business.

So thanks, facebook friends, for letting me be part of your lives at some point over the last 40 years. To see how you've "turned out" is an encouragement to me that maybe something I said in the past made sense to you. Or, maybe I had nothing to do with it, but i can at least pretend.

So for another day, I'm going to sow some seeds. Maybe I'll have evidence in 20 years that it mattered, and maybe I won't, but that's not the point. The point is in planting those seeds today.