Monday, August 31, 2009

Mama Bear ~ (blame it on my Canadian Roots!)

OK – I’ll admit I’m a mama bear and sometimes I just don’t see straight when I’m ticked off especially when my children are involved. I am direct. I am firm. I communicate. I won’t be a push-over. I like things black and white even though I know things are often grey. I am decisive. I made quick decisions. I have regrets. I move on. I know who I am even when I don’t like myself for choices made, I live with it and try to learn from my moments tapping my more “docile” husband for his introverted view before I blow a gasket – but sometimes I just need to blow my gasket.

So today – this bog is my therapy… it is. My story – my view. Freedom of speech, etc etc. For all you homeschoolers, this ISN’T a feather in your cap. I also need to say I’m proud of our small town school and believe in public education for MOST. That said…I know it isn’t perfect.

Anthony is now a 7th grader. (I just love his freckles!) The BIG school. A regular locker. A sports locker. A boy with ADHD that the system denies him a 504 because he “is learning” and not failing (because of my personality traits above probably!). We attended parent night. They give us papers for each class with expectations. He isn’t the first 7th grader in the school district with ADHD. Organizational skills are his challenge – definitely not mine….but this is his walk now and I can only save him a little or he won’t learn. They tell us that 4 minutes is more than enough time to make it between classes. First week – he gets a tardy. Now he understands them and hopefully won’t let it happen again. He lives in 7th grader fear of getting a tardy now.

He gets behind in computers. I look at the papers and recall her saying “I’ll be here at 7:50 a.m. for any one who gets behind to catch up, because once you are behind it is hard to get caught up. Kids in sports need to use this time because they can’t stay after school.” So I go home and yes, he admits he is a “little” behind. I ask him to go in early the next day. That day I email the teacher to find out if he got caught up – he wasn’t’ in early. Hmmmm. Confront him at home, excuses….didn’t get to the bottom of it. SOOO… the next day I had a client apt in town which allowed me to take Anthony to school. I let him know I was WALKING him to computers so see that he got there. He was embarrassed (heh, I didn’t wear only a bathrobe or anything!). I walked his walk clear from his locker at the north end of the building through the maze and down a hall that he had to walk through of LARGER boys – high school, etc. I WAS INDIMITATED….poor Anthony, hung his head and me trailing behind plugged his way through. So we get to this COMPUTER room at the south end. The time is 7:49 a.m. The room is dark. The room is locked. I tell him we are waiting…..he is jumping out of his skin and wants to leave. We hang to 7:55 a.m. and I allow us to head back to his locker. I left him then, pondering that maybe things aren’t as I always think they are. I learned a few things and I was a little ticked. SO from my Blackberry I emailed the teacher that we came and we left because the room was closed and dark. She said she’d told the kids to have another teacher open the room if she was late. Excuse me?????? You guys give my kid a tardy when he is a little late – what kind of example is this setting for my kid? Double standards are what it is teaching him. That room should be open and computers booted up so when he does show up he can slip into a desk and get to work. I played out this time frame for her:

So let’s play this out by minutes. He gets there at 7:50 the room isn't open, he asks Mr. Parsons to open it, turn on lights, boot up a computer - he now has maybe 10-12 minutes he can actually do work before he has to make it to first hour by 8:15 am to NOT get a tardy clear at the other end of the building and upstairs. Minutes count.

No apology from the teacher just a curt “Thank you for your thoughts.” THOUGHTS…I’m ticked. Sigh….so I won’t send him early. Not through that maze of older boys which could be a recipe for disaster if they decide to pick on him. (Did I mention his 65 lbs and 4'6" only!) Let him get an “F.” I’ve learned there are more important things to learn in life than grades focus only in school. I sure learned when you walk in your kids shoes – the world looks different. Students should be able to give Teachers a tardy or have one erased. Yahhh. OK – I’ve had my say. Phew….feel better? Not really – any teachers reading this out there I’d LOVE your comments.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pay it forward

Monday we signed some “important” papers on Courtney moving her out of the foster phase and into the last 60 days adoption processing phase. Very exciting! While in Wichita signing papers, we had to negotiate the parking system downtown and found a parking spot with a parking meter. We loaded up our maximum 2 hours time and I noticed the handicap person beside us had their time expired – so I threw in a coin giving them a little more than an hour of additional parking. Also, our meeting didn’t take the 2 hours so someone who grabbed our spot quickly after us got a bonus too.

Steve and I took a few moments to have a luncheon date at a fun restaurant to celebrate. When exiting the restaurant with my leftovers (I had visions of a great lunch at work the next day) a homeless man asked for them – without hesitating – we handed them over to him. He was grateful and thanked us.

Living in small town Kansas – we don’t experience these things on a daily basis. Going to the “big city” (while it is NO New York) is always fun to eat someplace different and shop at places we don’t have locally. It is harder to find ways to do those simple acts of kindness – reminded me that just saying “thank you” on a more regular basis to those around me and finding ways to smile or be friendly to people in my “busy life” path can make a difference too.

I’m not writing about this to “toot” my own horn – but just to share that I received a reminder that sometimes, those simple acts of “paying it forward” can make a difference in lives around us. Jesus paid it forward for all of us! So….go and pay it forward… with kindness.  I need this reminder - this has been a tough week...another post at another time on that!

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossions 3:12

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

This bridge we cross when coming "home" to Kansas this summer - I've been across this bridge many times.  It reflects my mood today - along with Michael W Smith on this link - just click and listen.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Jim with my kiddos.
Jim with us siblings. Me, Jim, Carl and Gary.
Talked to Jim last night. His left side continues to weaken. He isn't as able to walk well, so the wheelchair is more apart of his life right now for mobility. He was eating nachos. He isn't in pain, which is a good thing. He told me his wife wouldn't let him renew his passport. I told him for where he is going his passport is already packed - in his heart. He is fighting this thing called cancer well, with two surgeries behind him and living each day to the fullest of his capabilities.
My brother and sister-in-law continue to be a testimony of awesome faith in God, commitment in marriage to deal with the tough stuff that comes their way, yet logic in their reality to cope and make the best of every day.
Still missing them miles away.....but savoring the memories of time together; like these pics of August as the month soon slips away. Wish we could come eat nachos and have some Tim Hortons! Maybe the next time we come....
Is your heart in the right place? Do you have your passport packed away in your heart so that you are ready to travel to Heaven when God calls you?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Day of School

Life doesn't stop here we are on the first day of school. Courtney had her outfit picked out since the weekend! New shoes, backpacks full of fresh school supplies, the excitement in the air is thick....nervous but excited.
See my baby below (all my children are babies!) going off to Jr High....see how BIG the school building is! Yikes it will eat him alive.....this was harder than leaving ANYONE at Kindergarden...the lump is still in my throat! AND he is playing football against his mothers desires....he has been SOOOO happy every day this week after football practise it is like "cheer down boy." They grow up fast....Sophia had to get in the action - she likes to say "cheese" now.

Day end and we all survived....see how Day 2 goes!

No homework yet so life is good!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ella 8/31/96 to 8/17/09

When God had made the earth and sky,
the flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals
the fish, the birds and bees.
And when at last He'd finished
not one was quite the same.
He said I'll walk this world of mine
and give each one a name.
And so He travelled far and wide
and everywhere He went,
a little creature followed Him
until its strength was spent.
When all were named upon the earth
and in the Sky and Sea,
the little creature said "Dear Lord,
there's no name left for me."
Kindly the Father said to her
"I've left you to the end.
I've turned my own name back to front
And called you DOG, my friend."
Our home is sad without our Ella, it has been a rough day....we'd adopted her and loved her many years. Peace to you Ella.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lone Prairie Church

I love this church. It sits now on the Manitoba prairie between the 4 lane highway en route to my folks place. Instead of tearing it down in the progress of a twin highway, they went around it. I was glad they didn’t tear it down. A cemetery sits by it as well, which is probably what saved the church. Steve indulged me with stopping this time so I could check out the outhouse – yup, fully equipped one-holer with TP in a baggy. With the Red River flooding its banks this church suffered in spring 09. Its water damaged walls show the evidence of a hard life for the wood that holds it together. Birds still find refuge in the church eaves appropriately. The droppings by the door serve as a warning for the unsuspecting. I was thrilled to find the church unlocked. It felt sacred to stand in awe of the water stained walls with swags of white cloth honouring the sanctuary, making it seem aethereal.

A lone prairie church – sustaining life.
Babies being dedicated happened here.
Weddings happened here.
Funerals happened here.
Life happened here.

For some odd reason, this church gives me hope, yet gives me sadness at the same time.

Genesis 27:17
After waking from a dream in which he was taken into heaven, Jacob declared that the place where he had laid his head was the "house of God; this is the gate of heaven." He then built a pillar there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Canada ~ and back…

We did a whirlwind trip to Canada to visit family; take in my BFF’s wedding and let my family meet Courtney! Was quick – but very good. Jim is losing mobility – that is hard, yet he remains SOOO upbeat. Touching – he gave us siblings letters he’d written to each of us. Was hard. His goal is to make it to Christmas, yet he said he thought that was the last time we’d see him alive…..hard. God holds him gently in his hands – the blessing is he doesn’t have pain. My heart aches and yet I think how fortunate I am to have Jim as a brother all my life! I think of Courtney who like a band-aid has had her birth family ripped from her and I know the pain and memories don’t fade fast. While her situation is different it holds the same pain as I remember the night she told me her heart was broken in a million pieces….I feel the same way when Jim talks about his end of life. I know her heart is healing slowly as mine will. I am grateful to God for all the hugs and time we’ve had to say the words “I love you.” Take each day and say those words to the ones around you as we know not what God has planned for tomorrow.

Canola fields (aka rape see, mustard seed) bloomed all over – this view from my parent’s front yard….love it. Dad is doing amazingly better that we thought given his spring brush with death. He enjoys his golf cart and putzing around the farm in it.
He took the grandkids “frog” hunting by the pond and full ditches… did my brother Gary and anyone who’d go with them! Muddy shoes and socks are the price to pay for supreme happiness in the hippity hoppy critters they caught. There is no explaining the therapy of catching frogs at Grandpa and Grandma’s farm……hours could be billed for the best therapist in the world, but the simply act of catching frogs to put in a 5 gallon bucket frees the heart, mind and soul more than you know – so next time you are feeling low – go catch a frog or two – works best if you take a friend or relative along!

**Thanks Uncle Gary for the frog catching outings!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

60 years is nothing to sneeze about!

~The Belknap Family~
60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration - Aug 2, 2009

33 of us (all but one rebel grandson!) from CA to TX to Calgary AB to NE to KY to OK and of course KS gathered to celebrate 60 years of marriage for Mom & Dad B. Was a festive weekend. Thanks for all the work. food and effort everyone put into making this a memorable weekend for Mom & Dad Belknap!
"The love of a family is life's greatest blessing."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Sophia!

**Quilt - family tradition to get a quilt from Grandma B for your 2nd Birthday and one when you graduate from high school. Very cool - she loved her "blankie!"

Panning for Gold

We enjoyed “Ghost Town” and panned for gold after touring the museum. My hubby was “obsessed” with this activity….must be a man “hunt” thing – but he really got into it. The kiddos (hence Soph playing in rocks) were DONE, DONE, DONE, but NOT DAD!!!! (He gets the same way with seashells or sharks teeth on beaches in the Gulf of Mexico FL coast.) Didn’t help that the folks who left as we got there found a small “pebble” sized nugget. Toolman Tim grunt – hunt hunt hunt!

Made me think of how in life we all are panning for gold, searching for that one shiny spec that makes us feel victorious, fulfilled, euphorically happy for the moment. Like a needle in the haystack thing. I’m hoping your spec of gold that gives you those feelings is our one and only, Jesus Christ. Sometimes seeking him in the rocks and sand is hard too, as we miss the obvious. But he is there. We simply need to seek him. If we throw him out with the rest of the rocks, sand, pebbles and water – he patiently waits for us to seek him again. Always solid gold – waiting for us to find him, accept him and so be fulfilled as no one or nothing else can do. Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Exodus 20:23

Monday, August 3, 2009

Aiken Drum

There was a man lived in the moon,
Lived in the moon, lived in the moon
There was a man lived in the moon,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And he played upon a ladle,a ladle, a ladle
And he played upon a ladle,
and his name was Aiken Drum.
And his hat was made of good cream cheese,
of good cream cheese, of good cream cheese,
And his hat was made of good cream cheese
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And his coat was made of good roast beef,
of good roast beef, of good roast beef,
And his coat was made of good roast beef,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And his buttons made of penny loaves,
of penny loaves, of penny loaves,
And his buttons made of penny loaves,
And his name was Aiken Drum.

And his breeches made of haggis bags
of haggis bags, of haggis bags
And his breeches made of haggis bags,
and his name was Aiken Drum.

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