Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last Post on Lampost

Public service announcements:

#1: I have the best husband ever. More on that later.

#2: This South Texas wind and humidity are brutal to this girl's already confused "Am-I-Straight-Or-Am-I-Wavy" head of hair. Haven't seen a good hair day in days, y'all.

#3: Apparently, when I first started this blog several years ago, the source I used to check the spelling of "Lampost" was not inerrant. Yes, I, with my Bachelor of Arts in English Education, and as a former member of Triton High School's renowned Spell Bowl team, have been living under the dark shadow of a MISSPELLED blog title. Can you even begin to imagine my humiliation? The source I used has scurried away into oblivion, and I'm left with my mouth agape in horror as I face the accusing stares of every other dictionary and spelling resource who did not pass on incorrect information. My sister, who was also a Spell Bowl contestant, noticed, though she failed to red-ink me. She thought I had a good reason for the misspelling. Something quirky and mysterious.

Nope. I just plain old misspelled lamppost. And then didn't notice for years.

I hope we can still be friends.

And this will be my last blog post at A Lampost Flickering. It is time to say good-bye. You can find me in better spirits at A Lamppost Flickering instead. In addition to the gross misspelling incident, Blogger has made new and improved updates, of which my old blog has not been able to partake, so I will enjoy the benefits of a restart. I've imported all my posts and pictures and comments over there in the land of Correct Spelling. Feel free to spell check them as well.

Last announcement, relating to #1 is this:

#4: My husband just gave me the BEST birthday slash anniversary slash Mother's Day present ever. All three of those special days fall within three weeks of one another, and the pressure is on every year round that time. He got an early start this year, and just couldn't wait to present me with his gift.

Okay, so are you ready for me to untie the bow and lift the lid?

A new camera! Oh, and it's not just any ol' picture-taker. It's the one I've been a-pining and a-longing for. I feel like a little kid with a big kid toy. I was so surprised. I may have squealed, "Are you kidding me????" I may have jumped up and down. I may have squeezed the stuffin' out of him. I may still be glowing.

But....oh. I've been playing. And learning. I'm rediscovering the love of photography.

He sooo got it right. I love him for getting me.

So you're now invited to hop on over to Lamppost to see some of today pictures.

Excuse me while I blow out this Lampost for good...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What? It's March? You're Kidding Me.

February has so few days--a whole two or three fewer!--so maybe that's why that mini-month slipped away so quickly. All I know is my head's dizzy from the speed at which the earth is spinning. Our last spring in Texas is here upon us now, and I'm trying hard to savor every mild breeze soaked in delicious sunshine before hot, hot summer, sears its mark, "S" for sizzling, on our backs and foreheads.

So before one more month whizzes past me, I'm unloading on y'all. Here's what you missed:

*We started and finished a season of Upward basketball with Caleb and Gabe. (A quick aside: I can't say enough good things about the Upward program. Our beginner athletes had a great season pushing themselves to do their best, learning basketball fundamentals, and placing God at the center of it all. I'm already looking forward to next year's season.) We're so proud of our boys.

*We celebrated Lily's 5th year being a Fasnacht. What a privilege it is being her momma! As she gets older, she asks to know more details of the story that is hers alone, details that sting and create more questions than they answer. One question she asked that I will share with you: "Why didn't someone else adopt me?"
She and I stared deep in each other's eyes for a frozen-in-time moment. What did she mean? Did she wish she had a different mom? She actually told me that recently. I tried to keep my heart steady as I asked her why she wanted a new mom. "Because I want to meet new people. I already know you." She is a social butterfly, but it's hard to think that she might see me as just a name on her dance card, both sides of which she hopes to fill. "Sweetie, mommies are forever. You can't switch mommies." "Oh. Okay. But I do like to meet new people." And then she went off to play.

I searched the black depths of her eyes, this child that is so mine and so not mine at all, all the while speed-fingering through the note cards in my "Tough Answers to Tough Questions" file. I didn't have a note card for that question. What was she really asking? Was it: "Why didn't anyone else want me?" Or : "Why couldn't it have been someone else?" Or maybe: "Is it possible that someone else could have been my parents?"

I felt such a heart-searing, painful kind of love at that moment. A tight, squeezing, breathless hurting love. I wish I could fully answer that question for her. She doesn't know that she only had two days to find a family before her file was sent back to China, perhaps forever nulling any chance at adoption. But I DON'T WANT her to feel rescued. The last thing she is is a damsel in distress. The only answer I had for her: "Because I'm the mommy God picked out for you. And you're the daughter God picked out for me." It's rock solid truth. And it's the only answer I have for her right now. I'm so, so glad He did, though the hurtful part of that truth is the abandonment and great loss that had to come before God brought us to each other.

And the scary parts of that truth are like holding your child and looking over the edge of a cliff or at a busy road or at an angry, swirling river just on the other side of the footbridge and shuddering. What if I would not have checked that adoption agency's website until after the weekend? What if another family had chosen her first? What if we had thought about the financial battle and medical unknowns and hesitated? What if...we had missed those two days and somewhere in a sterile Chinese orphanage a little seven-year-old jewel, my precious Lily flower, waited day after day for what would never come? Shudder.

And so we celebrated Gotcha Day 2011. We did our usual dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Lily's choice. She took her choosing very seriously, and decided firmly on our old favorite, despite pressure from her brothers (and maybe a little from her mother) to try a new one that recently opened just down the road from us. She glowed with sweet resolve. We also gave her a gift that we had been saving from our trip five years ago, a beautiful tea set that I picked out in Guangzhou at a shop filled ONLY with tea sets. She loves it, much to my great delight.

*And immediately following Gotcha Day is Valentine's Day. Not much to say about that. Just a whole lotta love and card-makin' happened.

(Card-making ideas courtesy of Family Fun magazine, found here and here, with a few modifications.) And we had to drop Rob off at the airport in the morning for his week-long chaplain conference in sunny San Diego. The day of red was a little blue for this lonely heart.

Oh, and I made cupcakes. With funky chocolate hearts. Only they weren't supposed to be funky, but it turns out they had already made up their mind to go the way of funky. I went with it.

*Next on our backwards glance is Gabriel's 10th birthday on March 3rd. TEN. YEARS. OLD. I'm not sure I was ready for that one to hit as hard as it did. But his birthday came like a locomotive and then stayed in town for days. I'm talking parties and outtings and friends and more cake and cupcakes than perhaps all of his last nine birthdays put together. His gift from us was a trip to see the San Antonio Spurs play the Miami Heat with Rob and Caleb. He seemed to enjoy it. And the Spurs won, so it's all good. The heavy celebrating took the sting out of having to say good-bye forever to single digits, because we were birthday hung-over for like a week.

Happy birthday, one last time this year, to my happy Gabe.

I think you're caught up, now that your eyes are burning and your brain is numb.

Oh, and one more tidbit. My sweet sister started her first ever blog, Alphabet Momma, which is the absolute cutest title, considering she is a homeschool teacher and her six kids' names begin with the first six letters of the alphabet, even though abc order and birth order don't quite line up. Which means that they didn't plan it that way, until they discovered that baby six, Baby F, was coming along. Boy, were they happy she was a girl, because cute boy F names are a challenge to come by. Anyhoo. She has challenged me to be a more faithful blogger. I accept that challenge, Alphabet Momma.

And, just for making it all the way to the end, I'm going to give you a hint as to what is coming soon...my very first ever blog giveaway!

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Depraved Indifference"

There's this blog I love to haunt called A Place Called Simplicity.

This woman is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. She has such a heart for the orphaned child, so much so that she has filled her home with former orphans. She homeschools them all, God bless her. And she is a pastor's wife. Let's just say she sets the bar high, high, high for the likes of me. Oh, and she deals with M.S.

I wanna be like her when I grow up.

I dare you to watch this and not be moved to do something.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Newsletter Gone Digital

I think this year gets the award for “Fastest Flier.” Can you believe that it's already Christmas? I feel like it was just last month that I was churning out our 2009 Christmas newsletter, and here I am, at eleven o'clock in the pm, reflecting over the past year and praying over what to share with you for 2010.

We anticipate this being our last Christmas in Corpus Christi, as we expect to be moving to a new duty station next summer. We have been told that we will be moving to Jacksonville, North Carolina some time late next summer or early autumn, but as anyone in the military will tell you, until Rob's orders are in hand, there's just no guarantee when or even where we will rotate.

So we do what we have learned to do: enjoy where we're at while we're here. Bloom where we've been planted.

We have loved our two years in Corpus Christi, TX, and although we look forward to the new adventures that await us, we will all be a little sad to leave our home on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Rob and I have been so blessed this year. We can't begin to list all of the ways that God has tenderly and mightily moved on our behalf. We see His hand of mercy all around us, in the lives of our precious children, in our loving family and friends, in our church family.

Rob's job as a chaplain in the Navy has stretched his faith and increased his desire to know God more. We have loved this ministry.

My job as a homeschooling mom of four fabulous kids has increased my reliance on the God of all wisdom, which He so generously lavishes on all who ask of Him.

2010 saw us:

::serving in the music ministry of our church. Rob plays guitar while I lead the worship.

::taking our first real family vacation in five years to Orlando, FL.

::training for and running the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon in November. (Rob ran the full and I ran the half, and we both did our personal bests!)



We went to Florida to see my best friend Jeremy in May. We swam in a pool, we played hide and seek, we played video games, and we played baseball. Gabe and I watched Jeremy play baseball, and I got to keep track of the innings and points for everyone to see with pride. We also watched a space shuttle launch! My new friend Nick has a new baby brother named Kaleb, pronounced Caleb, and he is about three weeks old.

Merry Christmas! I hope you get everything you want, and if I could give you a present, I would give you a hug! To me, Christmas means joy, because Jesus was born!



This year I got to see my best friend. He lived in Florida, and while we were there, we went to the pool almost every day.

And here's Gabe's gift to you, an original poem, by Gabriel Fasnacht:

Hang up your stocking, put up your tree,

Christmas is almost here for you and me.

This year I'm going to give something to my brothers,

My sister, my dad and my mother.

But why do we have it on this cold month of December?

Why not some time else, like in November?

Well, the 25th is when we celebrate Jesus being born.

December is also when coats have to be worn.

His last line made me laugh, because he doesn't have to wear a coat on many of our South Texas December days.



I love Jesus. He does things for us. This year we

went on trips. And we also took beautiful pictures.

Merry Christmas, family! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

And Lily's gift to you is a verse from a song she sang in the children's choir for Christmas:

Baby in a manger ere the break of day,

Baby in a manger sleeping on the hay,

Hear the angels singing joyful at thy birth:

'Gloria! Gloria! Peace on earth!'”



In school we get to do crafts and we do math. I do not like math, because there's so much work. I like to hear stories.

Christmas means giving presents to all. God's Christmas present to us is: Jesus!

Seth's gift to you is his favorite verse from another song they sang in children's choir:

We got a chance to sing at church. I sang,

I did not live in Bethlehem that Christmas night of Old,

Or travel with the wise men there to bring him gifts of gold.

But I can give a greater gift than any earthly gem,

For all my heart and all my love will be my gift Him.”

From all of us:

We pray your Christmas this year is full of God's gifts for you: hope, peace, joy and love.

With Love,

Rob, Jody, Caleb, Gabe, Lily and Seth

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Evolution of a Camo-Cast

I couldn't talk my all-boy boy into a Christmasy candy-cane cast.

The camo makes him smile. Which makes me smile.

And now his arm comes with a bludgeon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dx: Fractured

Don't let Mr. Serious fool you. He's feeling fine. As fine as you can be with a broken arm. He says his arm doesn't hurt right now, and he using it to scroll around on some computer games as I type.

Interesting tidbit: attached to his broken arm is his beloved sucking thumb. With the right cast, we may have stumbled upon a thumb-sucking intervention program. (Is that mean?)

I do, really, feel bad that his arm has been broken for three days. But even the doctor was shocked at Seth's lack of pain...or his super-hero level of pain tolerance. Not sure which. He was laughing and smiling and teasing. I can't hang on to guilt too tightly.

What I Did Today: Play By Play

3:36 a.m. I awoke to a feverish nine-year old tunneling under our comforter from the foot of the bed to the pillow end. He used to do this--as stealthily as possible--as a toddler. I knew something was up, and my Sherlock senses were affirmed when he proceeded to unstealthily leap out of my bed to puke.

6:04 a.m. Gabe finally appeared to sleeping peacefully, this time on the couch with a puke bowl at his side, and I shuffled back to bed.

6:05 until 9:08 a.m. Assylum-worthy dreams reeled through their crickety film projector behind my eyes, one after another. I would have rested better not falling asleep.

9:10 a.m. I prayed a blessing on Rob for leaving me with some coffee, just enough to give me the clarity to brew another pot. Function level: minimum.

9:20 until 11:00 a.m. I turned off the cartoons that kept the kids occupied while I slept in (don't judge!) and got everybody breakfasted and dressed and started with school. Gabe still felt sick, but he listened to a couple of books on tape as he sprawled on the couch. I rebooted the laundry. Showered. Made the bed. Pulled leftover Mexican Turkey Soup out of the fridge for lunch, except that it is too spicy for anyone but Rob and me, so the kids would just have to have pb&j. Old faithful.

11:00 a.m. until about noon: Rob came home for lunch, at his usual time, and enjoyed his warmed up Mexican Turkey Soup, with fresh avocado and cilantro with me. It was fab. (There is a whole stockpot-ful to share; come on over. You'll have to BYOA, though, because we finished up the last avocado today.) Oh, and Rob, upon finishing his soup, took a look at Lily's 2nd loose tooth, and persuaded her to let me pull it out. Pop, out it came with barely a tug.

And before I forget...AGAIN...I'll be right back. I need to make sure the Tooth Angel (Lily says fairies aren't real and therefore it's the Tooth Angel that brings her a dollar) has come. Sit tight...

As it turns out, she just came. Whew, won't Lily be so excited that she wasn't among the last on the Tooth Angel's rounds this time. The Tooth Angel made it here before breakfast, before the very regretful and guilty looking momma finds Lily in her bed sadly holding her tooth instead of a new dollar. Before the momma must assure her that sometimes the Tooth Angel runs a little late and that she should check again after she eats her oatmeal.

Noon until, oh, I can't even remember: Read to Seth and Lily, American history: our freedoms and our country's symbols. And we practiced saying the Pledge of Allegiance. We don't say it every day here, and I realized that my little ones didn't know it. Well, we'll fix that. Then they went off to work on something fun in the back yard, and I decided to melt some old candles and fill up some jars and votives with the melted wax. Surprisingly, I had a stash of wicks for just this purpose. I've probably had these candle wicks for seven or eight years. I can't even remember where or when I got them. They came out of a box that I just recently happened upon. I've never used them before today. Most days, I have no idea why I've hung onto something...and I'm a big sucker for anything crafty that I might be able to craft into something else crafty...but today, I'm glad I didn't give away the wicks, because look what I made:

And what else? Oh, then I made dinner. (Lumpia rolls, fried potatoes and salad.) I worked off the lumpia with a two-mile jog in the dark, my first since the race; I felt pretty good. I showered--again--and then watched Chuck with the hubs. And now we circle back around to where I am, on the couch with my little netbook, updating my blog.

Hasn't my day been exciting? This is actually the only day this week that I don't have errands to run, and that reminds me, I need to either renew my library books online tonight or turn them in to the library in the morning before it opens to avoid a hefty fine.

Tomorrow will begin, hopefully not with puking, but indeed with a call to the doctor and here's why: Saturday, Seth fell down outside of the chapel and landed on his arm or wrist. He bawled, and he's tough kid. He has a very large bump on his bone, and though he doesn't complain of pain when he moves it throughout his day (and he seems to have full motion) he can't climb up his bunk bed ladder, and he can't hold anything, and he winces when the big bump is touched. The bump has not gotten any smaller since Saturday. We were hoping it was just a goose egg, but now doubts are creeping in. Time to call in the experts.. I will feel A.W.F.U.L. if it turns out to be broken.

And if Gabe is still feeling miserable (his fever never fully broke all day and he ate very little) then we might as well make it a family trip to the doctor.

Add to that tomorrow: speech therapy, children's choir practice, adult choir practice, and Christmas program practice. (In addition to more laundry, more schooling, more meal prep.)

It's going to be a two-pot coffee day, I can tell!

All of this day, all of tomorrow, all of the next day, I'm giving to God. It's His. What a relief that it's not about me, because of me, for me or to me. In that, I can find shiny nuggets of joy and peace, because they are there, let me tell you.

Get your sifter out and shake away the sand and grit and find yours, too.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Dress-up is serious business at my house.

Christmas 2003, Caleb--4, Gabe--2 1/2

It started early on.

Dowagiac, MI, September 2004
Caleb, tenderly aged five, played the part of a little orphan boy our town's reenactment of the Orphan Train Riders, which made its first stop in Dowagiac, MI in 1854. Caleb had one line, "Do you think I could go, too, sir?" He was so dang cute, and even now, I'm haunted by his little voice squeaking that haunting line, and I hear the phantom voices of the thousands of children who needed families. Most of the children who rode the Orphan Train were never adopted.

Christmas Parade of Lights float, Dowagiac, MI 2004
(Please forgive the poor quality of this photo: poorest of lighting and crappy camera. I'm surprised it turned out as well as it did!)
Seth's first role in a play. His role at two months of age? Baby Jesus. Please disregard Mary's out-of-character black gloves. She wasn't prepared for how bitterly cold it is atop a flatbed trailer on a windy, Michigan evening. (BTW, our tiny church's simple float won the Chamber of Commerce award for best float. I sincerely believe it was because of the little red face sticking out of the swaddling clothes. Good job, Seth!)

March 2007, Gabriel's 6th birthday party (Couldn't you just drown in the chocolate pools of his eyes?)

Autumn 2006...maybe.

Lily turns three...so December 2006
And I know she is in a princess dress in this photo, but for the most part, she has always been happiest dressing up in bizarre layers of gloves and armbands and belts and headbands.

Michigan, 2006
These two cuties. Scrumptious, I tell you. How did they grow soooo fast? I thought those days were lasting forevah, and than zip. They were just gone.

And sometimes, it's still fun to play dress up.

Corpus Christi, TX, 2010
All dressed up for the Navy Ball.

And none of these photos are from Halloween. So you can imagine the excitement as we get ready for a time when they are not the only kids in the neighborhood dressed up. What are their disguises this year, you may ask? Well, you'll have to stay tuned until after this weekend!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


"Give us wisdom."

Recently, as our family prayed around the dinner table, three of the kids made this request of God. My heart flooded with love for these precious gems of mine who felt prompted to pray for wisdom before digging into dinner. I don't think they prayed for wisdom because school was a little hard that day, or because they wanted to impress Mom and Dad with grown-up sounding prayers.

They prayed sweetly and earnestly. And God spoke to me through their prayers. At once He reminded me of this precious promise found in James 1:5:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

I lack wisdom. I surely do. And I need to be like my kids, and remember to ask for it before the crisis hits, throughout the common parts of the day--like dinnertime.

Lord, I lack wisdom, and because I know that you are generous, I ask for You to bless me with wisdom. I also ask for godly wisdom for every precious soul reading this today. Give us the knowledge of God in Christ and protect us from depravity of mind. Amen.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Back-to-School Post, And It's as Wordy as the School Day is Long

School's been going on strong from my four little scholars for the past three weeks.

This is the first year in six years of homeschooling that we "officially" started school before Labor Day. What was the difference this year? I don't know. Often the seat of my pants flies before me, and I just follow along.

Actually, the local public schools started on the 23rd, two of our close homeschooling family friends decided to start up, and it's just too bloomin' hot here right now to do much else.

I don't have any cute pictures of them climbing on the bus or dressed up with their oversized backpacks and squeaky new shoes.

But perhaps a few candids from inside our classroom might stir-up some nostalgic back-to-school feelings.

So this is what it looked like in front of my chair for the three weeks prior to school:

Every year our school changes flavor a little bit to match our family. Or because something we did last year didn't quite work, or because one kid has this weakness, or because another kid as that strength. Or because our family has this schedule. Homeschool brings new, glorious meaning to the Individualized Education that public school routinely fails to deliver. It's hard enough in my class with one teacher and four kids, absolutely impossible with one teacher and 30 kids. This is not to say that every family should homeschool their kids. This is what God has asked us to do at this time, and we humbly and prayerfully accept the monumental task of laying a rock solid spiritual and academic foundation for our precious kids so that they can be the best at who God created them to be. I am NOT critical of those families who choose to the public education system for their families. My husband and I are both products of the public school system, and we're okay...sometimes!

This is the first year that all four kids are doing school together at the same time, Seth in Kindergarten, Lily in first grade, Gabe in fourth and Caleb in fifth. In case you're wondering, we use the classical approach, with a large smattering of Charlotte Mason thrown in for fun. (Well, I think it's fun anyway.)

And back to the tour. Here's our main classroom, with students:

I would LOVE to have a school room, but for now, the dining room table is it. I do love seeing all four kids hard at work, together. Our dining room has ditched the normal dining-roomness, and has become the backdrop for this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

(which is our verictal timeline of the Medieval Age using the AMAZING resources found on the yahoo group Hannah's Homeschool Helps . Love her stuff, which correlates perfectly with the history component we are using.)

And in our classroom, you will see a whole lotta this:

Who knew our dining room could hold so much stuff? There is a downside to this arrangement. Do I have any volunteers to be my classroom aid who cleans up the dining room each afternoon so that we can use it for dinner? Anyone? Anyone?

Seth's very first day of Kindergarten:

What a cute little student he is! And I couldn't resist one picture of his busy feet, momentarily stilled in study:

Let the awwwwwww's commence.

And because our week is filled with appointments for speech therapy and doctor's visits...mostly for Lily, we're gettin' pretty good at schoolin' on the go.

In the car:

and various waiting rooms:

This is only a sampling of our school, and a small one, though if you've made it this far in today's post, you may be shaking your head in disagreement.

But really, my favorite classroom exists outside these four walls.

Take the ocean. We are blessed to be live ten minutes from the Gulf of Mexico. You can read stories and poems and articles about the ocean. You can watch documentaries about it on the Discovery Channel. But a week of reading and watching will not give you nearly as many clear lessons as standing on the sandy shore and feeling the cool water lap your ankles and the waves steal away the sand right from beneath your feet. And in what book can you taste the salt from the water and hear the rhythm of the waves as they stir up wonder and awe along with sand and hermit crabs. Can you imagine Jesus walking right on top of those waves? And then commanding them to be still...and they obeyed? God is...BIG. And He cares for you and me. And he has orchestrated the details of history and created order and beauty. That's worth spending a lifetime studying.

And I hope to plant those seeds of wonder and love of learning in my kids hearts that they can take with them far into childhood and adulthood so that they will never stop learning and loving the God who created it all.

So that's our school. For now. Time to prepare lessons for tomorrow...