Our dear dad had his 65th birthday today! We celebrated on Sunday and it was a grand time for us and for him too I think. My sister, Betsy, organized a large-group present… She asked several family & friends to write a note to him with a memory story they shared in the past with Dad. This was the end result…

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It was tons of fun to listen to him read them-all 65… Lots of memories.

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To sum life’s education with Charley as your father… Here are some frequently heard quotes from Dad growing up. (Please don’t be offended by a lack of context or some farmer humor)

“I’ve got a bulletin for ya.” (Similar to ‘I’ve got news for you…’)

“If you eat too much pizza, you’ll get pizza butt.” (Don’t eat too much)

“If you eat like a bird, you’ll look like a bird.” (Don’t eat too little)

“I know.” {everything implied here}

“That’s crap.”

“I’m on a need to know basis.”

“You gotta know where your bread is buttered.” (Know what you are good at)

“Poor people have poor ways.” (Repeated from Great Grandma Clara) [And really there’s lots of wisdom in that]

“It’s just more stuff to dust.” (Meaning home decor or trinkets)

“I’m just resting my eyes.” (Aka napping)

“Come with me, I need your help.” (Every son-in-law should be afraid…)

“Learning by doing” (Evidently this was the 4-H motto during Dad’s childhood)

We love you Dad! Happy birthday! Thanks for all you’ve taught us, but especially for taking us to church to meet Jesus, showing us what a loving marriage & father looks like and teaching us what hard work is & that it’s worth it.

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Today is my momma’s last day of work at dear old Clinton Prairie High School. 36 years working in the same building, with many of the same dedicated staff & with many of the same families, generations really. That’s a long time folks. Most of my friends and probably most people in general have several different jobs, different employers over their working years. So I think it’s pretty outstanding when you come across someone like my mom.

Someone with dedication, compassion, drive, stick-to-it’d-ness, someone who really cares about kids. Cares about their families. Cares about their success. And who isn’t afraid to tell you what she thinks or if you need a swift kick in the rear to get back on the right path. Because sometimes in life, we do need that – for someone to lovingly get our attention and guide us back.

Let me tell you a bit…ok brag a bit… (She’ll be horrified…) about what I remember about mom’s “work.” She worked long & extra unpaid hours on a nearly weekly basis. Being that CPHS is a small school, many times if you want something to happen, something to be better for a place…you have to do it yourself. And she did. She planned, organized special field trips for student groups she was advisor for. She did “extra” jobs like creating/organizing the school’s Prairie Planner which is no small feat to compile with all the various sports & clubs. Who knows how many cookies and brownies the woman has made for faculty & staff meetings/gifts/just because.

I remember lots of times being at home of an evening as a kid & the phone would ring…”Is Mrs. Robinson there?” (Robison, Robinson, Robeson…whatever!!) And it would be a parent with a concern about their child. And even though we were cooking supper or eating it or getting ready to run out the door for some activity, she would pause & patiently listen to them. Engage in thoughtful & caring conversation with them. Or if there was a phone call with a tragic event for one of her students-maybe a fire or an accident or a death…she dropped what she was doing and went. She went to be there & support & help however she could.

Her title was “Guidance Counselor,” but what she was in fact to many kids was “mom at school,” “college & career advisor,” “life coach,” “a listening ear,” “someone who cares.”

So as an alum of Clinton Prairie High School, thank you mom. Thank you for your many years of service to the families and to the students and to the staff at Clinton Prairie.

Love you! Happy retirement day!

Happy birthday to my son, Will. He made me a momma and has taught me more about life in the past 9 years than I knew a little (big) person could possibly do. The Lord has used you in my refining and I in yours and no doubt that will be a continual process for both of us. I love you more than you can know. I pray daily for you the prayer that I prayed over you in my womb-that you would grow to evermore know, love & serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are so many but here are a few of my favorite photos of you in the recent past. You have grown up so much in the past year & soon will be as tall or taller than me.

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Testing. Testing. Is this thing on?

Summer is wrapping up to a close. It’s been lovely, busy, fun, tiring & sunny. And we have obviously taken a break from blogging…

Hoping to do some posts soon as the kids go back to school.

Here are some summertime pictures. Soak up the last bits of your summer!

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Have you heard if the Cupcake Kids? You should go check them out HERE.
They are little people doing big things for God.
Our kids did some work with them recently along with several other cute kiddos we know. (The families in our community group from church.) They had a cupcake sale to benefit the mission Sixty Feet who is doing amazing work in the name of The Lord in Uganda, Africa. You can learn more about their ministry HERE. The quick description is that they work with imprisoned children in Africa. Yep. You read right imprisoned. It’s amazing how I can live my happy little life and things go on in the world that I have no clue about. But then, when I do know, when I find out… What do I do? Do I carry on & ignore the overwhelming & terrible ugliness I feel I can’t change? Do I throw my whole self into fixing the world my way? What can I do? What should I do? I certainly don’t know the answers. So I stop. And I take a couple minutes (early in the morning & short because that’s what I’ve got) & I pray. I pray to the one that knows all. The one that has the plan. And I ask him to convict me. Show me where my part is. And then a group of us, we make some cupcakes because we can. And our kids can. They can help. And they can learn-what it is to serve others for The Lord.
Here are some pictures from our sale yesterday. We plan to do it again Sunday June 8th, 3-5pm in front if South Side school. And if you’d like to buy a virtual cupcake and be part of our sale you can do so HERE.

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Remember a little over a month ago when several of you gave donations on my birthday for special baby bottles? Bottles that would help feed special babies with cleft palate/lip and babies that had surgeries to repair these issues. And these babies also happen to live across the world…in China. And these babies, children without mommas or papas… They received the bottles! And my friend Karen took them along with some other supplies… Here’s a picture of the highly specialized bottles in their packaging along with other supplies Karen took with her to the Healing Home in Shanghai. They are the group of yellow/white/clear bags in the far right of the picture.

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Without your help, so many bottles would not have been sent. I am so thankful for you. For your giving. For Karen’s obedience in going to share Christ’s love through her skill set as a Speech and Language Pathologist. Without her, we wouldn’t have known there was a need. Without you, the need would not have been filled.

Here’s a picture of the front of the Healing Home.

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And here’s one of Karen working her magic with one little kiddo there.

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I was struck by her pictures from her trip. You know, that they are just children. Like my children. They smile, they laugh, they play. And yet they are not like my children. They do not have a mom or dad that will love them forever or read them a story at night or listen to their prayers or give them unconditional love for always. No. No they don’t. They are VERY WELL taken care of. Karen can attest to that. But isn’t it different?… To “babysit” or care for another person-young or old-we can do our best most professional work…but in the end..? Family. Family is different.

Lord, thank you for creating the family. Thank you for desiring a relationship with us & teaching us about relationships through our families. Help us to know how we can fulfill your call on our lives to speak the truth in love in our families & to the world.
Amen.
XO

So, I got the (*crazy*) idea to make cupcakes like I saw online for the kids’ classes for Earth Day. Because what lesson isn’t learned better with food?! (Do you speak my language?…)

There was a lil learning curve so I thought I’d share what I learned.

Make a cake mix (white or yellow). Divide the batter into approximately 1/3 & 2/3 parts in separate bowls. Mix a lot of green food coloring into the 1/3 & lots of blue into the 2/3.

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Put paper cupcake liners into muffin pan. Put a spoonful (maybe a good tablespoon?) of green batter in the bottom of each. Then with the small tip of the spoon, smear about 3 places around each cupcake up the sides of the paper. Like this:

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Then plop in a larger (I used my metal serving spoon) glop of blue batter in. Then again with your smaller spoon, put a smeary dab of green on top. Like this:

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After completely cooled, (bake as per box directions) put a small cloud of white icing on top. Then you can print, punch & tape onto toothpicks lil educational Earth Day decorations if you feel the need. The end result was fun. And all the kids’ tongues were a lovely hue. They loved it. :)

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(Mostly for our moms) I wanted to share the pictures from the last week in regards to Holy Week & Easter.

We again attended the Easter egg hunt event hosted by Dr & Mrs Noland (East Tennessee State University president)
at their residence. Here are some pictures…

Posing with “Buccy” the ETSU mascot.

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Face painting…(a pirate, a dog & a butterfly)

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Lots of eggs in the hunt…

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Fritz helped me plant some early seeds in the garden.

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Fritz’s preschool class’ Easter party…

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Preparing pierogies for Good Friday… Just like Jen taught me. (More on that perhaps another day)

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Our family’s Good Friday supper…
(Filled with firsts for this cook & my crew of eaters-Grilled shrimp, crab cakes, grilled asparagus, pierogies & chocolate chip hot cross buns)

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The table & mantle decor…

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Easter dinner…
Ham, noodles & mashed taters with rosemary, corn, garlic potato rolls & malted milk candy cake, with a cotton candy nest.

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My little sweeties…

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The neighborhood pancake breakfast & egg hunt…

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And all this to celebrate & remind ourselves of the glorious awesomeness of our Savior.
John 3:16
Deuteronomy 11:19

We received an email that today our dossier was logged into the system in China. So today is our official log-in date. This date is important because it opens us up to a whole list of kiddos that are only available to families that have their info logged in and it sort of puts you in “line” for being matched to a kiddo.

So now we wait again. Wait for a match. Pray for God’s wisdom & discernment in the process and for his provision at his appointed time.

(PS-just re-read this and it sounds very calm and boring. BUT we are actually super excited by this news and a little surprised by the speed of it’s coming! Praise The Lord for the adventures he takes us on!)

On another note, today our family volunteered at Joy Prom. Our church’s special event for people with special needs-Based on the verse from Luke 4:12-14:
He said to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

We really were blessed as we volunteered in the “paparazzi” or greeting committee. Here’s a few pics from our time there…

Getting ready…

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Shaking hands…

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Taking pictures…

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Giving High Fives…

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We got an email today stating our dossier has been delivered to the proper authorities in China!
Woohoo!
They anticipate that our information should be logged into “the system” within the coming 3 weeks. When it is logged in, that’s when we’ll receive our next email. Then we’ll wait our turn in the (unknown length of time) line for a match.

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