Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I find myself taking time to reflect as today would have been my grandmother's 100 birthday. She passed away in May of last year at the ripe age of 99.  Her's was a life that began in poverty as the baby and 13th child of a Georgia dirt farmer.  It was a life of hard work at home, on their own farm and picking cotton with her brother and sister's for the families income.

Their home was a simple one lacking any amenities or conveniences, including indoor plumbing. Still her reflections of life were happy ones.  She grew up and married a young country doctor. Together they had two daughter's, my mother and her younger sister. Life was good until it threw them a curve. An influenza outbreak caused my grandfather to spend long hours for days on end tending his patients with endless housecalls.  He eventually contracted the flu himself, but set aside his own needs to treat those in his charge.  Coming home one day, exhausted he laid down to nap and never woke up. The endearing note made by my grandmother in my mothers baby book reflects this event  stating, "The angels came and took daddy to be with Jesus 6 days before my 2cd birthday".

At 26 she was a widow with two young girls to raise.  They went to live with her sister Mil and her husband.  They lovingly helped raise her girls as she had to be away in training to become a nurse and then for the first years traveling the counties of South Carolina as a public nurse. She married again when my mother was 8, and eventually had a boy and girl.  Life would continue as she raised her family, worked as a school nurse, volunteered her time in a variety of civic activities and faithfully attended Grace Baptist Church until her strength to travel there failed only a few months before she passed from this life. She loved and cared for the man I knew as Granddaddy until his death 7 years before her own.

As I reflect over all that she saw and experienced in the world during her lifetime and her personal story, I marvel at the strength of character and her many qualities.  She was an active person who continued walking for exercise even when that meant using her walker and carrying her oxygen bottle in the halls  of the living facility she eventually moved to. She regularly visited with others who weren't as mobile as she was. An avid reader she finally resigned herself to listening to books after the lack of oxygen from her failing heart caused her not to be able to maintain concentration.

Her most enduring quality though was the faith she placed in her Lord and Savior Jesus.  She leaned on Him to see her through the trials and help her know the direction she needed to live each day. It is such a comfort knowing that when all was said and done here and she slipped off the frail body that carried her in this world and took up her new body free of limitations that it's this same Savior she trusted and loved, in whose arms she was welcomed home.

On the radar screen of the world, Granny's life was barely a blip.  To her family whose very existence depended on her and to those she cared for or befriended, she meant the world.  It is amazing the ripple effects a life can have, for good or not.  As I reflect on and celebrate my grandmother's life I take note of the qualities I especially want to incorporate in my own life.

In Galations, Paul uses the analogy of life as a race, that he was determined to finish strong in and encouraged his readers to do the same. His encouragement is to trust in and lean on the very one my grandmother too garnered her strength from.  Jesus her solid rock.  It's an example I gladly hold fast to and teach my children to rely on for their lives.   Granny Clara's life was one well lived and her race was one that stayed the course and finished strong.  For me an inspiration worthy of reflection.

Posted with love, from a very grateful grand daughter - Lynda

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Signs of Spring????

As we continue work around the property getting projects done, we noticed that some of our fruit trees (pear and apples) have blossomed and some even had some small fruit! Spring is still almost two months away but the weather around here has been anything but our typical winter.

Kevin & Cameron installed the last of the outdoor street lights, this one behind the barn in the pool area near the top of the water slide. We have needed a light badly back there since if we go to use the hot tub at night we would have to take a flash light - that will no longer be necessary.

Amber and Eddie safely made it home today from there trip to Israel, they had a great time and will be joining us for dinner on Monday to share their stories and photos. They brought home some gifts for each of us including some rocks that Kevin had asked for - these would be the rocks that didn't cry out as Jesus talked about! : ) (Luke 19:40 “I tell you,” he replied (Jesus), “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Scars Vs Wounds

We recently watched the video Kung Fu Panda 2 that Kevin received from the kids as part of a Christmas present.  In the movie the adoption of the character Po is presented when he has a flashback of his birthmom.  He confronts his dad Mr. Ping, a goose and is told he was found in a box of radishes behind his restaurant and how Mr. Ping came to the decision to raise this hungry baby Panda who was now alone and how it made his world sweeter for the choice.


With all of our children joining our family through adoption I was moved as they went through the story of Po as the Dragon Warrior, and Po's search for "who he was". Each of our kids has their own story and arrival in our lives.  I've shared Cameron's in the post "Do you believe in Miracles?" and how he literally was an answer to prayer and how his birth mother lived with us for 5 1/2 months prior to his birth.

Then with Amber who arrived at almost 8 years of age from Russia, we had a mountain of learning to do in overcoming the wounds of an abusive start in life, removal from this home and then the time in a very dismal orphanage that was extremely short on finances and so food was a huge issue for her. We spent years trying to find ways to deal with extreme reactive attachment disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. While we acknowledge it was years of real challenges for our family and for Amber to overcome the layers of hurt to see victory, God was good at putting people and sometimes programs in our path to aid us in seeing Amber arrive at the incredible young woman she is today, with an ability to love and receive love. And triumphing over a diagnosis by a panel of specialists who said she could never achieve this as she was too mired in layers of self preservation walls she wouldn't let go of.   

Hannah's adoption journey began after I (Lynda) had a clear vision of a little Asian girl on Mother's Day of 2005, and knew there was another daughter that was waiting to be in my family and the amazingly fast trek the Lord took us on to bring her home within 7 months of this vision. At 18 months Hannah was such a joyful addition to our family.  And adjusted so quickly to life in our family.  I remember one day when she was almost 3. Kevin had walked out the front door and she'd seen Cameron and Amber leave a bit earlier. She stood looking after Kevin's departure and didn't realize I was still there in the kitchen right behind her. I heard this terrible panickly wail come from her as she screamed "I'm all alone!!!".  I rushed across the room and scooped her now sobbing little body up and reassured her we would never leave her alone.  This experience made me realize that though she may not have had a clear memory of being left at 2 months in front of a large department  store where she was sure to be found quickly. She did have issues of abandonment that were displayed with the panic and fear she displayed that day. Hannah is my questioner and though she has desire to know, there is also a certain fear associated. Our family has always been open with adoption facts, but we have learned to temper the info with what each child is really asking at that moment and needs to learn from you at this point in time. It's a delicate balance of being honest, but also not overwhelming with information the child isn't asking at this particular point.                                                                 

With Lauren's arrival in our family a year ago, we have had to deal again with the issue of reactive attachment disorder. Life skills that served her in her 6 years of orphanage life, but do not blend in a family situation.  Overcoming health issues that have been a lifelong challenge for her and a whole other set of fears associated with medical treatments as a result of her many hospitilizations throughout her young life.  Lauren is still very much in an adjustment stage still with finding her place as a member of a family unit and hasn't had any revelations really beyond the moment except for the occasions she looks at the photo album sent with her, or a rare memory she specifically relogates to "China".  Lauren has learned very much to live in the now moment as a means of dealing with her lifes circumstances. It will be interesting as time goes on to see how perspective changes for her.         

In the movie the character Po has another chance save China as his role as the Dragon Warrior, but he also has the  chance to come to terms with "who he is".  And he does this as he also confronts the issue of scars vs wounds and bringing all to a place that he is at peace with. Each person adopted or not can deal with the issue of "who am I", but sometimes that reality is more at the forefront when there is an awareness of blending life experiences. As a parent I desire to see all my children attain their sense of self and a joy for the life we've been blessed to share with them. I also seek to nurture the gifts and talents unique to each one.  It gives me a whole other appreciation of being adopted by our Heavenly Father and the delight He has when we can boldly cry out to Him with open arms "Abba" or daddy.



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Let There Be Light!

Kevin & Cameron finished the installation of the street light behind the house next to the driveway that leads to the barn.  Work today included running the conduit, pulling the new wiring, and installing a switch in the receptacle box to control power to the lights.

Picture of the girls (Hannah and Lauren) playing together in Lauren's room.

Some photos that Amber sent from Israel.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Projects and Israel

Our projects around the house and property continue.  Lynda is busy re-painting the kitchen cabinets and installing new hardware. Kevin and Cameron installed an old concrete lamp post that we purchased a few years back. We installed two in the front of the property which are high pressure sodium lights but needed to rebuild the last two lights making them regular 120v systems to run fluorescent lights. Today they cemented in one on the driveway back to the barn.  The other one will go back in the pool area behind the barn. Kevin & Cameron also got to use the cement mixer we have for the first time.

Amber and Eddie safely made it to Israel the other day and sent a few pictures.  We have also been seeing posts from some of the other members of their church tour group. They seem to be having a great time visiting sites that until now they have only read about.

You can see the backs of
Amber (red hoodie) & Eddie (w/backpack) here.

And just two cute pictures taken today of Cameron and Hannah - of course Bea got jealous and had to join them! : )

Monday, January 16, 2012


Well as the saying goes, "when life hands you lemons - make lemonade!"  That is what we are doing, last week Lynda noticed a cold feeling and something wrong with the way the floor felt near the stove area in the kitchen.  Turns out that the valve for the refrigerator water supply was leaking! The water was causing damage and warping to some of the flooring (lemons).  So we are taking the opportunity to do some work on the kitchen by repainting and updating cabinets, adding some cabinets in a corner that needs them, and of course laying new flooring (lemonade!)

Pulling up the flooring.
Daddy's little helper - Bea had to be in the middle of everything that Kevin was doing.

Kitchen cabinets before the makeover.

Mom and her baby (Bea).

 Update on Cameron's school:

Well unfortunately we are seeing again that the once awesome college system of California has become a memory.  The number of students competing for the now limited number of courses means there is not much available for new students who do not get early registration. So Cameron does not have to sit idle or take courses that will do nothing towards gaining a degree at the local college, he will instead be taking a set of courses on Basic Electronics, something he has always been interested in and Kevin can help him with. Hopefully, he will be able to get some on-line or summer courses and work his way up on the list for early registration.

That's all for now, once we have the kitchen completed we will post some before and after pictures.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Looking Forward

We (Kevin & Lynda) are continuing in our fasting and praying for our family and for this new year. Doing well on our reading and spending time seeking direction and thinking on where we will be in the future.  We are looking at moving from California when Kevin retires we are looking at some places in Oklahoma, some of the criteria is lots of land (100-acres would be nice), being able to hunt on the land, being a homeschool friendly state, low tax state, and close to urban areas for airports and medical facilities. Any suggestions????

Today Cameron went to the local Junior College and completed his assessment tests for determining where he will start with his college level Math and English - although he gets nervous taking test, he did well and will be starting the Spring semester in about 2-weeks.

On the home front Lynda has started planting seeds peat pots for our garden in the greenhouse.  We are looking at having as much of our fruits and vegetables grown here on our property as possible. We also still have several plants growing in our aquaponics test bed, a nice poblano chile plant, lettuce, and some herbs.

Cleaning up and clearing out will continue this weekend as we work around the property.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Ways of Thinking?

The days have been bright and sunny lately and we've been taking full advantage as we continue our cleaning up and clearing out. It will take awhile. It's amazing how much you can accumulate in 10 years of living in a location

Kevin and I have done a lot of talking and planning these last few weeks and determined in addition to the physical cleaning up and clearing out around home and property it was time to do the same personally with attitudes, ideas and emotions. Plus to physically get our bodies in line with the changes we  are seeking to make mentally. To jumpstart this we've been doing quite a bit of reading to inspire these changes.  

Kevin's currently reading The Fasting Edge by Jentezen Franklin and I (Lynda) just finished The Power of Spoken Blessings by Bill Gothard and am now starting Fear Fighters by Jentezen Franklin. The idea is to give ourselves a fresh start this year too, the same as we're trying to make our home and property more efficient and productive, we realized we'd fallen into routines, habits and attitudes that aren't always serving the best good for ourselves or others, or where we feel we're are to move in the future.

2010 was such a busy year of change with all the plans and busy work for accomplishing Lauren's adoption and preparing our home for her arrival. Plus the activity to prepare for Amber and Eddies
wedding, then the regular activities of homeschooling finishing up for Cameron to graduate and Hannah to complete 1st grade and start 2cd. All kept us very busy and now that we have the luxury of taking time to really be able to reorganize, we're seeking what the next steps for our family should be.

It's actually an exciting time for really seeking the direction the Lord would have us move in future days and make the most of our current life and activities. Blog entries over the next few months will reflect the direction we get in the next few weeks.  So how about you are you being led in new directions or have you been given a sense it's time to change?  We stated in another post we're not big on making resolutions, but there are definately times to review, reflect and maybe make course corrections and this seems to be one of those seasons for our family.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 - Cleaning Up, Clearing Out, and Debt Free!

The title states our plan for the year.  We have continued on our process of getting debt free and have been sticking to our budget, even for Christmas!  In just a few months only the mortgage will remain and that will be paid off soon after.

As part of the cleaning up and clearing out we have been adding shelving and getting the barn and shed cleaned out. The shed (12 x 24 building) will soon become a small changing and guest room off the pool area. We will then continue on our plans for finishing off the second story of the barn (24 x 36 space) by adding a 3/4 bath and finishing the walls and ceiling.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Well 2012 has started off with the typical Southern California heat wave, yesterday we had a daytime high of 84-degrees and a night time low of 35-degees.  Great weather to spend some time outside getting projects done and letting the kids have some fun.  Today we traveled up to Lynda's parents house for the day and enjoyed our time together and then dinner with Lynda's sister Anna and our niece Clara and nephew Jared.

Kevin & Cameron putting together the shop press, which we will use in the process of pressing olives for olive oil.  We have 6 mature olive trees on the property which are decedents of the olive trees that were planted in the area in the 1800's to supply oil and olives to the Southern California missions.

Cameron chasing the girls with his radio controlled Humvee - the girls love riding around in Hannah's jeep.

Hannah entertaining herself on the 2-hour ride to visit Baba and Grandpa - Lynda's parents.  Kevin, Hannah, and Hank (Grandpa).