Wednesday, May 31, 2006


"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy that I might sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12

These are my "Rachael verses" and I've been thinking about them the past couple days as my sweet Rachael is at Outdoor School. School is in session till June 23 and this week grades 5 and 6 are in Outdoor School about 3 hours from here. I'm happy that she has this opportunity, but I miss her tremendously. Everywhere I look I see reminders of her and turn a bit melancholy and sentimental. She is such a joy to me and I miss her.

After I lost custody of Stephanie and Christopher, I went into a mournful sadness that I thought I'd never pull out of. We were not planning a baby, but God saw otherwise and Rachael was conceived. The week I found out I was pregnant with her, I read these verses and knew they were for me. I knew God was telling me I wouldn't mourn forever (at least not to that degree).

"Oh Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!," for Rachael.

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Monday, May 29, 2006


Just to share one of the new ventures Hannah is on. This is all her idea and her advertisement. Is it not too sweet?

Hannah’s Dog Walking Services

Hello, my name is Hannah. I am nine years old. I would like to walk your dog for 20-30 minutes a day, Monday to Saturday. My fee is $5 a week.

I am very fond of dogs. I have two dogs that I walk regularly. I would be very proud to walk your dog.

If you would like to respond please call me at

Thank you very much!


My Anniversary

It's been 10 days since I updated. I apologize. Thank you to the hundreds of people who called, wrote, and otherwise, to inquire about my mental, emotional and physical health. (In reality, thanks to you 5 loyal readers.) Many things have transpired over the ensuing days, but time does not permit me to expound at the present. Hopefully I will be able to elaborate in the coming days.

However I do wish to acknowledge that my anniversary came and went last week. 13 years of bledded wiss. "Wedded bliss" seems too strong, given we fought like tigers the first couple years. That alone made the bliss part untrue. But my greatest joys revolve around my delightful husband and our family, so there is an element of truth in the bliss thing. But not enough to claim 13 years of wedded bliss. Therefore, bledded wiss seems much more fitting and truthful.

To celebrate our union, we, with our progeny, went out for a nice dinner. It seemed so appropriate to include them, that is, until we entered the restaurant. At that moment I was fully aware of our foolishness. There was no romance (nor any peaceful) element to the dinner. We left more uptight than when we got there and went for dessert at Dairy Queen. It was a bomb of a night in the romance department, but successful in the family sort of way.

I had this idea of telling how we met and all about the early courtship days, but time simply doesn't permit it this afternoon. But I will say that I love my man very much. He is everything I need in a husband and so much more. He is strong, intelligent (IQ near genius level), funny, patient with me, a wonderful father to the delightful daughters he sired, a hard worker, a consistent source of inspiration to many, and a devoted follower of Jesus. I cannot believe I am so blessed. It seems fitting that I should be single and a nobler woman than I have him for a husband, but God is gracious and I am a beneficiary of his wonderful grace. I am thankful.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

These girls are twins.

These girls are twins. Really they are.

"While very rare, the phenomenon is not unknown, though it does entail a very particular combination of circumstances at the moment of conception. First, both parents must be of mixed race. Second, the twins must be fraternal (each conceived from a separate egg fertilized by separate sperm) as opposed to identical (both conceived from a single egg and sperm). Third, each sperm and egg must carry the genes for a particular skin color (i.e., black/black or white/white). The odds against it are indeed a million to one. " (copied from www.urbanlegends).

The amazing conception happened after two eggs were fertilised at the same time in the womb.
Both Kylie and her partner Remi Horder, 17, are of mixed race. Their mothers are both white and their fathers are black.

According to the Multiple Births Foundation, baby Kian must have inherited the black genes from both sides of the family, whilst Remee inherited the white ones.

The odds against of a mixed race couple having twins of dramatically different colour are a million to one. Skin colour is believed to be determined by up to seven different genes working together. If a woman is of mixed race, her eggs will usually contain a mixture of genes coding for both black and white skin.

Similarly, a man of mixed race will have a variety of different genes in his sperm. When these eggs and sperm come together, they will create a baby of mixed race.

But, very occasionally, the egg or sperm might contain genes coding for one skin colour. If both the egg and sperm contain all white genes, the baby will be white. And if both contain just the versions necessary for black skin, the baby will be black.

For a mixed-race couple, the odds of either of these scenarios is around 100 to one. But both scenarios can occur at the same time if the woman conceives non-identical twins, another 100 to one chance.

This involves two eggs being fertilised by two sperm at the same time, which also has odds of around 100 to one.

If a sperm containing all-white genes fuses with a similar egg and a sperm coding for purely black skin fuses with a similar egg, two babies of dramatically different colours will be born.
The odds of this happening a million to one.

(all of this was copied from the London Daily Mail)

Isn't this amazing?

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's Hot

Summer isn't officially here but practically it is. We had our first outdoor swimming time of the season and it was GREAT. Here are some pictures of our day.

Deborah (almost 7)

Hannah (almost 10)

Rachael (nearly 11)

3 Special Girls

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Frodo's Manhood

Frodo will soon be neutered (May 29). Tonight when Hannah prayed she asked God to "help Frodo not to be too sad when he loses his manhood." I thought that was cute enough to share.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thoughts from Mother's Day

Since Mother's Day, I've been meditating on mothers who influenced the way I approach mothering and I must say it's been eye-opening even for me. Have I never thought about this before?

Like everyone, I presume, my own mom influenced me the most. She had a no nonsense approach to mothering. On Saturday morning, she would don Daddy's brown leather belt around her neck and when she wore that particular "necklace," we knew to walk the line. Mama intended the house to get clean and that neck adornment kept us acutely aware of the task at hand.

Now on Saturday mornings, I hear myself barking orders like my mom did. And often enough, I see my girls roll their eyes like I did 30 years ago. Occasionally, I'll even hear myself ask that horribly insane question, "Do you want me to spank you?" (That question surely tops the pile on stupid questions. Do we imagine our kids saying, "Yes, I think that a spanking is in order. I haven't been listening like I should Mom. You sit down and rest while I go find a good strong paddle.")?

Mama had a "mature" way of looking at bad behavior. Once while driving through a parking lot, as we slowed for a speed bump, we observed less than 20 feet from us, a couple involved in illicit activity. Mama sat up perfectly straight as if she was thinking, "surely better posture will correct my vision." As we gawked, the couple continued their groping right in front of us. Shocked, Mama droned, "Well I do declare." (That was a standard expression of my youth, yet I was in my 20's before I realized she wasn't saying, "I duty claire.")

Regularly I hear myself say all those strange cliches and expressions I grew up with and I say them just like my mom did. "What in the cotton pickin' Sam Hill is goin' on in here?" "Well, forever more." Yes, my mom heavily influenced my verbal mothering style.

Gay Heath was the pastor's wife in the church I grew up in. From six-years-old, I observed her style of mothering. She had a more no-nonsense approach to mothering than my own mom. She was a big-time disciplinarian. It wasn't a bit unusual for her to shake, spank, rebuke whatever child (her child or grandchild usually) was near her. Toddlers were expected to sit quietly in church and when she was in charge, they did, or else they left the sanctuary for toddler reckoning. From her I saw that spankings work very well to accomplish needed adjustments in one's behavior or attitude. Back then, it wasn't even on the radar that "kids will be kids" or that spankings were wrong. I grew up with a fine repetroire of Bible verses that taught physical discipline.

When I was in grade 8, I left Hatfield School and joined the ranks at Noonday Christian Academy. There I came into relationship with women who mothered in ways that were foreign to me. So as not to slander anyone, I will call this woman, let's say, Doris. For the most part, I didn't like nor respect Doris. Matter of fact, my face is contorting in anguish as I think about her right at this moment.

If there was anything fun going on, you could bet she would be against it. She was so dreadfully serious about everything, that I equated her with about the same esteem as hemorrhoids. I was quite adept at laughing, but in her presence laughing seemed about as appropriate as premarital sex. I could write volumes about her being a wet blanket. (Several years ago I had a writing assignment where I had to write a letter -unmailed of course- to an antagonist in my life. I chose Doris. I'm getting terribly distracted here. This is supposed to be about mothers, not prudes. However there's a prude article dying to leave my fingertips as I type this.)

Back to mothers; From Doris, I learned how to create mountains out of mole hills. As much as I disliked her, she taught me that everything was an opportunity to lecture on something serious. Lord how I abhorred those lectures and so badly wanted to encourage her to go poop out the broom stick lodged up her derriere. (Oh my, did I say that? Man, I think I have unresolved issues coming to the fore.) Back to mothering: If there was a child looking at a flower, Doris would join the poor child and begin to teach a lesson. She would pick the flower and dissect it, lecturing all the time about how God created the flower with such intelligent design. "See this is the pistil, where the seeds are born. Not unlike the human ovaries."

Well, guess what. As much as I hated the lectures, I admired that she knew all that stuff and could recall it at will. Now I find myself making learning opportunities out of daily experiences. I sure hope I don't turn kids off like Doris did me. Clearly she was an influence in mothering too.

In this new school environment, I also encountered Phyllis Murphy, Gwen Wright, and Ann Hatley. They were committed, nurturing mothers that I greatly admired. I wanted to be like them. Back then I didn't call any of them by their first names, but for simplicity I will now. Gwen had a belly laugh that I loved and she was so nurturing and gentle with her girls. Phyllis and Ann approached mothering with intelligence, seriousness, nurture, gentleness, and smiles. All these women stressed healthful lifestyles. They were my first exposure to health food, balanced diets, millet and lentils. They more than influenced me in mothering, they modeled the marriage of mothering and spirituality. In ways, I was awed by them. I am thankful for all their influences.

Lastly, my sisters Diane and Stacie mentored me too. They modeled "reading the experts." From them I learned about James Dobson, Gary Smalley, and other writers that taught on parenting. Those books I read were priceless in teaching me parenting principles and childrearing skills. I'm very thankful Diane and Stacie imparted that to me.

All these women played a role in who I am today, particularly as a mother.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Day in the River Valley

3 goofy girls.

My girls on the trail.

Here comes Hannah!

Delightful Deborah.

This is where we spent the day.

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Friday, May 12, 2006


To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Another Daddy Story

A couple days ago I wrote about my dad and have since thought of another way I'm like him. With Daddy, finances and privacy go hand in hand; they are one and the same. Growing up, we, his family, weren't free to ask him how many cows he had. His response was always the same: "Asking a man how many cows he has is just the same as asking him how much money he's got in the bank."

The problem with this mentality is that not everyone understands it and therefore freely ask personal questions. One such incident happened with my next door neighbor.

Rennie was a realtor who lived next door to Kent and me. When Daddy was thinking about selling his farm, I passed Rennie's name to Daddy and Daddy's name and phone number to Rennie. They agreed to meeting to discuss Daddy listing his place with Rennie.

After their meeting, I asked Rennie how it went. Rennie was clearly perplexed by their conversation. "Well, did he list?," I inquired. "Nope," Rennie responded still seeming in a fog regarding their meeting. "Is he gonna list?," I questioned further. "I doubt it," Rennie replied.

There was no question in my mind that something "weird" had happened when they were together and I was determined to find out what it was. I continued questioning. Finally, in a tone that hinted of confusion and frustration, Rennie told me some of their conversation.

Everything was going well. They were walking the farm, Daddy bragging matter-of-factly and Rennie, in turn, complimenting where appropriate. As they stood on a hill overlooking a pasture of cows, Rennie innocently asked, "So Curt, how many cows you got?"

Rennie, without a hint of humor said, "Valerie, when I asked him how many cows he had, he turned on me like I'd just asked to sleep with his wife."

I roared with laughter. That so adequately described Daddy's reaction to personal questions.

That happened 20 years ago. Daddy never listed his farm. It was entirely too invasive.

I'm not as secretive as Daddy regarding finances, but I can understand where he's coming from and I have never in my life asked another farmer how many cows he has. :-)

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Thursday, May 11, 2006


There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today?" So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "H-M-M, " she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today?" So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "YEAH!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is Everything!!!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006


My Dad with his most recent great-granddaughter, Jocelyn.

I hope I have been missed. Did you even notice I wasn't around? I've been trying to figure out where I've been, but I haven't any answers yet. When I figure out what is going on in my life, I will be sure to let you know.

Meanwhile, May 8, my dad's birthday, came and went. I had a visit with him on the phone. Our visit was cut short when my Deborah began screaming because she burnt her toe on the kitchen stove burner. Doesn't that beg the question, "How does a 6-year-old burn her toe on the stove burner?" It was quite innocuous and she is now fine, yet much wiser.

Every year Gordon gives me a new calendar at Christmas. Sometime between Christmas and New Year, I fill in all the important days; birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, etc. Three years ago when I got to May 8, I had to take a breather. I was alarmed and saddened as I wrote, "Daddy's 70th birthday, (1933)." 70 seemed decades older than 69 and I stared through tears at what I'd just written. It seemed I was staring at my parents' mortality and I grieved.

My dad turned 73 this week. As far as I know, he's healthy and hopefully will be around for years. My dad is an odd person; always has been and probably always will be. Rich Mullins said, "Until you come to terms with your heritage, you'll never be at peace with yourself." I think that is probably true. For many years I distanced myself from my dad because of his oddities, but I have forgiven him of hurts and learned to overlook some of the weirdnesses that make him who he is. Now I'm able to smile at most of his weird ideas and perceptions.

Last year I had surgery and my incision didn't heal properly. He was mildly alarmed when he learned that a nurse was coming to my house everyday to flush and dress my wound. In keeping with his strange ideas, he said, "You need to make a salve of spit and cayenne pepper to rub on it. That'll make it get well."

Smiling to myself, I said, "You think that will fix it?" He responded, "You betcha."

This weekend I had an ear infection. When I told him about it he said the regular, "I'll tell you what will fix that." I was sure his potion would involve either cayenne or ginger, as most of his home remedies do. Prepared for something weird, I wasn't prepared enough. "You need to put a teaspoon of pee in your ear," he told me like a true snake healer.

I told him I thought that was gross and he told me that I was the one with the earache and if I didn't want to get well, that was my problem. He was mildly offended with my reaction and I smiled that he thought I was the one with weird ideas.

With all his strange ideas, he imparted to us an appreciation for humor. Between him and my mom we got both barrels unloaded on us. I'm glad for that.

Daddy was a chicken farmer. Once while driving past a chicken farm, everyone in the car complained of the stench. Funny how everyone else's chickens smelled worse than ours. When we hushed our insults about the smell, Daddy added in his monotone way, "Smells like money to me."

One Sunday afternoon, Daddy, Mama, Stacie and I visited friends near Zafra Oklahoma. We left their house way too late to get to Sunday evening church on time. Because we were in a hurry, Mama took the driver's seat. Daddy drove too slow for Mama's liking any day, much more so when we were running late. Mama had us nearly airborne on those dirt hills. Daddy was gripping the dashboard with white knuckles. When we reached the highway, it seemed like a milestone. Stacie asked "What time is it now?"

Ashen and still gripping the dash, Daddy responded, "same time it was when we left."

From Daddy I inherited my sentimentalism, fascination with cemeteries, collection interests, sympathy for the grieving, and probably my love for animals too. I'm thankful for those gifts although I like to think I express these traits differently than he.

I love my dad and I'm glad God restored my relationship with him.

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