Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hosting Anna

For those of you who don't know yet, this is an exciting announcement: We are getting a fourth child! But only temporarily. :)

A couple of years ago, my precious friend Shannon called me, excited. She and her family were hosting an orphan from Latvia for a summer. She explained that participating orphanages choose children they feel have great potential, and the hosting organization then interviews those children, takes their pictures and posts a brief introduction to each child. Interested families can sign up to see the photolisting and choose a child or sibling group to come spend several weeks with their family, either over Christmas or summer break. The idea is that the children will be able to see the inner workings of a family, and especially that they will be given an opportunity to understand the love of God.

Ever since Shannon told me about hosting, I have wanted to try it, but we haven't been able to, although several of my other friends have done it as well since then, and had wonderful experiences. So when my beloved, saintly husband finally agreed a couple of weeks ago to try it, I was thrilled!

We chose a 13-year-old girl from Ukraine. Her name is Anna. She is reportedly a little shy (good luck blending in with this cavorting family), but obedient, responsible, loves people and is a favorite in her orphanage. She will be coming to stay with our family for 3 1/2 weeks over Christmas, returning to her orphanage in January.

Please join us in praying that Anna will see Jesus in our family this Christmas! And if you feel impressed to give, we would so appreciate any donation! You can donate to our fundraiser here:

Hosting Anna (Alan and Nicole Parker)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hamster hope of the resurrection.

Our dear hamster Daisy, who joined our family over two years ago, has finally kicked the bucket. It's a mercy to her (I've lost count of how many narrow escapes she's had with the cat and dog), but of course there had to be due process in the household.

Anaya discovered her cold little body during worship, which is a customary time for someone to pop open the cage and play with her. "Mommy!" Daisy's dead!" she cried, holding up the still form. Everyone rushed to her side.

"Yes, she's dead," I agreed, after a brief examination. "I'm sorry." There was a brief outburst of grief from Anaya, while four other sober little faces gazed down toward the furry little body, stroking her and taking turns holding her. It appeared that Daisy had gone to her eternal rest mid-stride, her one good eye still wide open (she lost the other one during one of her many narrow escapes, this one in the dog's jaws) and her mouth still full.

We resumed worship, with Seth holding Daisy, alternately peering into her little face and trying vainly to warm her up. (I decided to let him grieve his own way and let it go.) Jonathan got busy folding and decorating a paper coffin, while Hannah drew a picture to go on top of the coffin. Anaya busied herself writing the program, and announced after worship that she would be doing the funeral sermon.


We gathered outside beside the front flower bed, our customary graveyard for the assortment of birds, shrews, hamsters, baby rabbits and other flora and fauna that needs burying around here (mostly due to Zinnia's sharp teeth). Everyone took turns digging the grave, yanking weeds, and examining worms, bugs and slugs in the vicinity. (One worm made it down the back of Hannah's shirt, via Jonathan's hands--so much for reverent sorrow.)

Anaya solemnly instructed everyone to drop a pinch of the violets Hannah had thoughtfully gathered, and then the little paper coffin was lowered and more violets sprinkled. The program Anaya had written out was carefully followed, until she laid it in the tomb, announcing that Hannah was to return the dirt to the hole while I inscribed the gravestone. I wrote what seemed most appropriate to me: "Daisy: Finally at Peace."

When the grave was filled, and the stone had been lugged over and put in place (it's wise to cover graves with stones in this yard), everyone assembled in a motley crowd around the hole, following Anaya's orders. "Oh! We need the other animals!" she shouted suddenly, dashing into the house despite my protests. "It's not often that a funeral has someone in attendance who really wishes they could have eaten the deceased," I muttered to Hannah, who was still chortling with me over this phenomenon when Anaya emerged from the house with the reluctant cat in her arms.

Zulu thoughtfully sat down for the final prayer. "I'm folding her hands," Hannah announced, trying vainly to get Zulu's paws to cross. Skyler offered the final prayer, finishing with an appeal that no more of our animals die, and that we all get to heaven soon. He beamed at me from his position beside the dog after prayer, assuring me, "I closed Zulu's eyes."

So, despite my lack of credentials, it appears I can successfully preside over hamster funerals, at least. But if anyone hears me talking about getting another one, just do the world a favor and report me to PETA.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Male headship according to Seth

"Mommy, am I the head of the house now?" Seth asked me Friday.

"You mean because Daddy's gone this weekend? No, I'm the head of the house because I'm the mommy," I responded.

"But," he said mischievously, "I'm the oldest boy here."

"True," I smirked. "So why would you want to be the head of the house?"

"Because then I could do whatever I wanted, and people would obey me?" Clearly someone was not very confident of his authority, but was having fun with the thought.

"Well, it's true I obey Daddy. But do you know what it means when Daddy is the head of me? It means that he has to be like Jesus, and look for the lowest place and be a servant. Were you saying you wanted to do that?"

He giggled. "No! I just want to get kisses!"

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Snake hips

All of my children are built like fence posts, but Skyler is particularly well-known for his "plumber pants." We laugh as we watch him scurry around at top speed, reaching down every few paces to yank his pants back up to his waist.

Yesterday I sent Skyler to get dressed for church (always a perilous proposition without guidance). Sure enough, when I checked on him, he was wearing a beige-and-green shirt and gray pants. The pants revealed bare ankles a full inch above his feet.

"Sweetie, those pants are way too small for you," I pointed out, deciding to ignore the other fashion faux pas for the moment.

"Oh, good!" he burst out. "I wondered why they were so tight!" He pulled up his shirt to show me how they fit his waist. "I had to unbutton them just to pull them up!"