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Families Again
Friday, 1 January 2010
Thursday's Child - Our Own Marcello
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Compassion International

This past year has been an amazing year. One of the things that has been so amazing is how many high school and college classmates I have reconnected with. Kees Boer was one of those classmates. The only thing is, I didn't go to school with him! Although Kees went to the same college as I did, he graduated a few years before me but he's the type of person who likes to make friends with everyone. He has turned out to be a great one. In one of our first chats he revealed that he was an advocate for Compassion International. I was curious so I asked him about it. After some discussion he mentioned that he was looking for a sponsor for a 12 year old boy from Bolivia. It seems that this boy had a sponsor, but for some reason that sponsor had to drop out of the program. He asked if I would be interested and he sent me this:

I said that I would pray about it and talk it over with my wife, but really it was love at first sight. There was something that just drew both Sarah and I too him, so a couple of days later we told Kees that we would sponsor him.

That was the beginning of a great relationship. My whole family loves Marcelo. We write to him weekly, and we have begun to get letters from him as well. Recently he wrote this letter (copied here the same way that we recieved it):

Dear Tim and Sarah and Family,

Hello, I greet all of you very hearty wishing that all of you find well of health. I thank you very much for the letter that you sent me, I am very happy that you write me. Here in school we will soon end our second trimester studies and now I have a lot of work practices to do. I hope that in the United States John Allen and Joshua are doing well in their studies. In the Student Center I learn more of our God's word and of our Jesus' live. I love to be in the Student Center. We are lately learning the book of Revelations. I like the Bolivian history more than the world's history. I don't have drawing classes (in our first letter he had drawn a beautiful picture for us, so we had asked him about art lessons) but I like to draw a lot. When I have time I like to draw animals or people. I know that one of these days we will meet by our God's grace. I will continue praying for all of you. I dismiss with lots of hugs wishing that our Lord blesses you a lot, loves you very much.


In a more recent letter, he said "Please don't stop writing to me." I wrote back and assured him that we wouldn't. Our kids have grown to love Marcelo and we pray for him every day. God has blessed us and I know that our financial support has helped Marcelo and his family. More importantly, though, our letters to each other have been a mutual blessing. Kees says that the letters are almost more beneficial than the money that we send each month. These children crave love and acceptance. It is not difficulty at all to love and accept Marcelo. 

Over Christmas, Compassion International had a program called "Christmas Child". We recieved the profile of another child who was in need of a sponsor. We were to pray over that child for the month of December and try to find a sponsor for them. We recieved the profile of a little girl by the name of Mwemde Mumbe from Kenya and have prayed faithfully for her. We have also talked to people and sent out information on Facebook, Twitter and my blog, but no one has stepped forward to sponsor her. Next week, I am going to write about her in my Thursday's Child segment, but until then won't you pray about supporting her. If you would like, I can send you a profile of her. Sending the profile will not obligate you to sponsor her, it is just a little more information that you can pray over. Nothing would thrill me more than to have to come up with another topic next week because a sponsor for Mwende had been found. If you would like more information on Compassion International, just click on one of the hi-lighted links above. If you would like more information on Mwende, please email me at tink38570@yahoo.com and I can either email or snail mail her profile to you. Believe me, if you sponsor a child with Compassion International, you will not regret it!




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Posted by tink38570 at 10:03 PM CST
Updated: Friday, 1 January 2010 10:52 PM CST
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Thursday, 31 December 2009
The Diaries of a Mad Traveler
Mood:  silly
Topic: Family

Do you remember that old song from Dr. Demento called "They'er Coming to Take Me Away"? It went something like this:

They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa
To the funny farm. 

Well, that's about the way I feel right now after traveling for nearly 14 hours in a car with three children!

It really began yesterday when we left home. We were going to stop by Grandma's to take her Christmas gifts to her, then be on our way. Our plan was to stop after a few hours, get up in the morning, and then finish our trip. Well, the ever cautious weatherman Tim decided to check the weather to see what it was going to be like while traveling. Seeing the rain and snow reports, I quickly checked the times for when the snow was supposed to begin and end on our route. I decided that the best deal would be to leave in the morning and follow the snow. If we left at about 4:00 in the morning, the major weather would be over by the time we got to most places. It worked like a charm. All we had was a little rain and right at the end, a little sleet. Otherwise, they had time to clear the roads before we came through, and the kids still got to see a lot of snow. 

The middle part of our journey was rather uneventful, but the beginning and end were doozies!  It all began with strange squeaking noises coming from our roof top carrier. We thought it needed to be tightened, so we stopped and I did my best to tie it off. It then happened again, and we tried to analyze what it could be. It hadn't been like that the day before. What could be different? When she told me she had put the skateboards up top, Sarah and I realized what it was right away. After some adjusting, no more squeaking!

Later, after a  stop at McDonalds for breakfast, the kids settled down for naps. After a few pleasant quiet miles, we were awakened by a cough and then a spew. Yep! Jacob had awakened from a dead sleep and gotten sick all over himself. And, there was absolutely no place to stop. Sarah tried to clean him up the best she could until we finally found a rest stop. Must have been something he ate, because he's been fine since.

Luckily the middle part of the day was uneventful. The boys stayed to themselves and did their own thing. They either read, slept or watched videos. Sarah and I traded out driving until she got a grand headache and began to see double. Then I took over for the rest of the trip.

And, the new GPS that Sarah got for me worked great. A little too great at times! We knew how to get to my sister's house. We have been there plenty of times before. But, when we set the GPS, it set a completely different route. So, the minute we deviated off of it's route, it began barking orders and directions at us! "Take the next exit and turn around", "Take exit 3 in 3/4 miles". Finally we had to shut it off. Finally we got to a point where there was no turning back, even for the GPS, and it reset itself to our route!

Now, I love Washington DC. I've been there lots of times, and love the history, the museums, the government buildings, the works! But, I hate to travel through or around it! Today, I was once again, reminded why! It took us over and hour to get 16 miles! And, needless to say, the kids were beginning to get antsy again. Finally, after a stop for gas, restroom, and snacks, they settled down - for an hour.

After the hour guess what happened? Yep, you guessed it! They all had to use the restroom. We were only and hour away from my sister's house by  this time, traffic was heavy, it had begun to rain and sleet, and I didn't know where an easy to find gas station was. 

Finally, after a little yelling - both on my part and the kid's part, we convinced them to wait until we got here, and we did. Now we are safe and sound and bedded down for the night at Aunt Carols! But tomorrow?  Well I can tell you that tomorrow they're:

Coming to take me away ho ho, he he, ha ha. To the funny farm!

PS. For those of you who were looking for my new Thursday's Child Compassion International post, it will be here tomorrow. I was just too exhausted to think too much tonight!


This is the next day, and I must have been exhausted. So much so that I made tons of errors! They are all now corrected. Thanks for overlooking them!


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:41 PM CST
Updated: Friday, 1 January 2010 3:50 PM CST
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Wednesday, 30 December 2009
I'm Doing It Again! Please, Someone Stop Me Before It's Too Late!
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: General

Please, someone, stop me before I become a blogaholic! There has to be a support group for people like me. Yes, I'm doing it again! I'm signing up for NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month - again in January.

Some of you probably noticed that this badge has the word "Best" in the middle of it. NaBloPoMo has a theme every month. You don't have to follow this theme but some participants do use it to get ideas for a post or two. I haven't used any of the themes yet, but I'm going to try to use this month's theme somewhat during January. I'm already thinking of a post or two, or maybe even a discussion starter...mmm...who knows! Keep checking back to see what I might think up next. This is going to be fun!

For any of you bloggers who might want to participate in NaBloPoMo, the URL is www.nablopomo.com . The homepage has a welcome section that tells you how to register and get started. I have really enjoyed it.



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Posted by tink38570 at 7:51 PM CST
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Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Tuesday's Toolbox - This Week's Tool? - A Car!
Mood:  cool
Topic: Blog Carnivals!

I know, I'm breaking the rules again. I really need to watch out, or Susan isn't going to let me contribute to Tuesday's Toolbox anymore. But, a car is an object commonly found in some homes - in the garage. And, besides, my mind is on the long trip we are making tomorrow from our house in TN to my sister's house in NJ so using the car as a teaching tool seemed appropriate.

Actually, I'm going to focus more on the trip and not the car.  I love to travel. Maybe not long trips as much anymore, especially with 3 boys ranging from 3-13 in the back seats of the van. My family has always enjoyed seeing new places and we have always tried to use our trips - even just the rides in the car - as a teaching tool. Here are a few hints for making travel a little more pleasurable with kids.

  • Maps - A few years ago I decided to buy my oldest his own pocket atlas to use while traveling. He loved it! He learned to follow the road signs and find where we were on his map. He learned directions, states, and general map reading skills. Soon my middle boy got into the act and we had to buy him one as well.
  • The License Plate Game - Even when I was young we used to play games in the car. Oh, not board games, although they do make travel board games now, but special travel games. One of our favorites is the license plate game. At the start of the trip, we all guess to see how many different state's license plates we will see along the way. The kids have to reason and think about how long the trip is, what season it is (is it a heavy traveling season or not) and what time of day we are traveling. We then begin to watch for license plates. Someone keeps a running total of what states have been seen. At the end, we count up the states spotted and see who came closest. A different variation is to allow each child to keep his own list and see who spotted the most. You can even provide blank maps and crayons and have them color in each state as they see it.
  • Hanky-Panky - No, we don't allow any funny business to go on in our car! It's a rhyming game. Someone starts by trying to think of two words that have the same amount of syllables and that rhyme. Let's say FAT and CAT. They wouldn't say the two words, but would give a clue like "a heavy set feline". Then they would say what kind of words they were - two one syllable words would be a "hank pank". Two syllable words would be a "hanky panky". Three - a "hankity pankity" etc. (don't worry it won't go much further than a hankity pankity). Whoever can guess the two words first gets to guess the next two rhyming words.
  • Travel Bingo - you can buy these at truck stop stores, or you can make your own. I was just introduced to a website called "Mom's Mini Van" that has a lot of printable travel games that you can print for free including Travel Bingo. Just click on the hi-lighted link above. Travel Bingo teaches you to pay attention, and it helps with visual perception. All you do is look for various objects and check off the matching picture on your bingo board. The first one to get five in a row wins. "Mom's Mini Van" has a lot of other ideas as well. Another similar site is Carschooling. It gives you a lot of ideas on learning while traveling.
  • Audio Books - are also excellent ideas. We have downloaded these on mp3 players, and bought/borrowed books on CD to play for the whole family. I have also read a book to the kids while traveling (obviously Sarah was driving at the time Smile). Allowing your kids to bring two or three books each is also helpful.
  • Don't forget to site-see a little along the way as well. We frequently pack picnic lunches and then stop at a visitors center to ask where a good picnicking place is. One time we picnicked at a really neat free botanical garden. They even had there own dog by the name of "Uda" (Uda Dog - get it?). You never know what adventurous historical or educational spot that you might find along the way. We will often then allow our kids to buy a small educational item from the gift shop that will keep there attention for a little while after we get back on the road. If you have time, the scenic route is also enjoyable.

Although traveling can still be somewhat of a challenge for us, we have still had a lot of memorable times on trips. A car can really be a learning tool if you prepare and use some creative thinking. 

PS - Don't forget to click on the Tuesday's Toolbox banner at the top of my post to visit the Tuesday Toolbox host blog and read all of the other submissions.


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Posted by tink38570 at 11:08 PM CST
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Monday, 28 December 2009
Men's Monday Meme - Question 2 - My Answer
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Men's Monday Meme

Men's Monday Meme
Let me remind you of the question before I answer:

What are your favorite things about the holiday season and your least favorite things?

When I was younger I loved everything about the holiday season. I loved the hustle and bustle. The busyness.  The festivities. The music. The whole works. As I've gotten older, I still like a number of those things, but I must be getting...well...older! I still like to shop for presents, but I don't like to do it as much. I still like the festivities, but maybe not quite as many. I still like the music, but perhaps they can begin the continuous radio renditions a little later than the day after Halloween (I'm exaggerating, but not by much).

I guess my very favorite thing about the holiday season is remembering what the real reason for Christmas is - celebrating Christ's birth. I could - and often do - get caught up in the gifts and the shopping and the glitter, but when I slow down to really think of what Christ did over 2000 years ago, it is really awe inspiring. He left his perfect home in Heaven to come to this sinful world only to go through troubles and trials and die on a cross. But he chose to be be born, die, and come back to life for our sins. So that we would have a chance to go to Heaven and spend eternity with Him. We can have that chance if we choose to believe that we are sinners and in need of a Savior. And if we believe that He died on the cross for us and accept His free gift of eternal life. 

My second favorite would have to be getting together with family. I have fond memories of visits with and by family over the years. Family is special. Family traditions are special. 

There is really not much that I dislike about the holiday season. Unless, of course, it's too much hustle and bustle and too many Christmas songs. I also dislike the political correctness of the season. There is much to be said about the so called separation of church and state and the inclusion of everyone during this time of year, but I will save that for another post. Suffice it to say that I think our country has gone a little overboard on some things when it comes to the real reason for the season (or the exclusion of the real reason). 

It's surprising that some of the things that I love about the holidays are also some of the things that I dislike. Ah, well, isn't that the way it is with most things in life?

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:53 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 28 December 2009 10:57 PM CST
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