Monday, December 6, 2021

Look In His Eyes!!



We are smiling over here in Virginia...

Presley has 5,000 in his grant account!!

Oh yes he does!!

And if you were one of those who gave - thank you so very much!! (If you didn't give yet - please do - the more he has - the better it will be for his future family!!)

Even though we reached our goal, the work is not done.

Because Preslley needs a family.

Please someone SEE that little boy.



Please don't see his diagnoses and get scared off.

We would have missed so much had we based our decisions on words on a piece of paper.

YES the unknown is scary!!

But Please...

Look in his eyes... 

He is worthy of someone taking the risk, jumping the cliff and saying YES.

He has 5,000 in his grant account. That's a HUGE start to what is needed to adopt him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

He Cannot Talk

 He cannot talk.

Three simple words on my little Preslley's profile.

It sounds so final.

The end.

A non-verbal child.


And maybe he is.

Maybe they are right.

But even non-verbal children have a whole lot to say.

Aaron came to us virtually non-verbal.

Yet, I've never seen a child who was able to convince you to give him whatever he wanted without uttering a word.

His eyes spoke paragraphs.

He used his non-verbal mouth to point with his lips at whatever it was he wanted.

He'd focus his eyes on the desired item.

He'd look at us with those pleading eyes and adorable dimples.

Non-verbal my foot.

He could get a piece of candy without saying one word.

He could get anything without saying a word.

Mary came to us virtually non-verbal.

The words she did speak would have made a sailor blush.

Yet she had us so twisted around her little finger without uttering a word that we never knew what hit us.

Non-verbal children can speak volumes.

Non-verbal children notice things. They watch. They see what the rest of us miss. They are patient. They know how to wait. 

They get what they want.

I don't know how.

But I know I have been manipulated more times than I can count by the two most proficient non-verbal children in the world.

My two non-verbals talk up a storm now.

They were non-verbal because of physical reasons. 

There were non-verbal because of developmental reasons.

They were non-verbal because of trauma.

They were non-verbal because no one took the time to talk to them. Ever.

They were non-verbal because no one took the time to listen to them.

They were non-verbal because they were diagnosed non-verbal.

They were non-verbal because it was the one thing they could control.

We never treated them as non-verbal.

We talked to them from day one as if they would one day talk back.

We cherished the simple words they began to speak. 

We gave them time to speak.

We expected them to speak.

We required them to speak.

Simple words.

Good morning.



Baby words.

For one year.

Two years.

Three years.

Neither spoke in more than one to two word sentences for three years.

We of course wondered if they ever would.

We of course worried that they never would.

We of coursed longed for language to blossom out of their lips.

It's still a work in progress.

Little girl has been home four years. 

She never shuts up.

She is now speaking in short sentences. Some of the time. 

She struggles to pronounce words so that we can understand.

But she talks. And talks. And talks.

At night after we tuck her in bed she lays there and talks and talks and talks.

"Go to sleep, Mary!!"

Non-verbal my foot.

Aaron is eleven years home.

He never shuts up.

He still struggles to pronounce two and three syllable words.

Remembering nouns is difficult.

His sentence structure is rough.

But he talks. And talks. And talks.

He loves to chat away with anyone who will listen.

He loves when you listen.

He talks because he now has someone to listen.

He has so much going on inside his head. 

His words don't come close to portraying the intelligence he carries inside of him.

He's a smart young man.

With oh so much to say!

"Preslley cannot talk," say the powers that be.

I doubt it.

I really do.

He possibly is non-verbal because epilepsy has damaged his language centers.

He possibly is non-verbal because trauma has stolen his words.

He possibly is non-verbal because no one has ever talked to him.

He possibly is non-verbal because no one has ever listened to him.

He possibly is non-verbal because he has been diagnosed non-verbal.

He may truly be non-verbal.

But even so... I guarantee he has a whole lot to say.

If you would give him the chance.

Listen to him.

Find the little boy inside the silent eyes.

Please - someone HEAR Preslley.

He may not be able to talk but I guarantee, he has a whole lot to say!

To all those who have given to his grant account. Thank you.

You have kindly given $510.00!!

We are $990.00 from reaching our MATCHING goal.

Please help me.

Share him.

Give to him.

Let's make it easy for his Mama and Papa to HEAR him!


Monday, November 1, 2021

A Year Gone By


There's something about looking back.

Looking through pictures. Sharing stories.

Laughing. Crying.

It's a gift to look back. It's a gift to remember the stories - the events - the people.

It's a gift to walk through those moments.

They represent the life we have lived.

The good. The bad. The sad.

It's our story. Our life. Rich. Full. Challenging.


We can sit surrounded by pictures and memories and remember.

Our cups overflow with those memories - the sights, the sounds. All of it.

"Do you remember when?" 

We have shelves filled with albums. My phone overflows with pictures and videos. All around the house are mementos that speak of stories of the past. 

I love looking back. I love seeing pictures of my babes when they were younger. I love chuckling and remembering. I cherish the rips in my heart over those who are gone. 

They signify life. Love. Relationships. 

And then there's Preslley.

A year has gone by.

His album is empty.

He has no new pictures.

Just the same two pictures from a year ago.

He has no memories apart from the dreary day by day life in an orphanage where sameness is the rule.

He has no mementos hanging around his bed.

What is his belongs to everyone. Nothing to call his own.

And saddest of all.

He has no family chasing across the ocean to get him.

I yelled for him a year ago.

I am yelling again this year.

I am a broken record for a little boy living in a broken system.

I am again raising money for his grant account.

I know. Broken record.

I am again trying to raise awareness for him to find a family.

Another broken record.

It's easy to get bored by the sameness of it all.

Julia's yearly cry for the orphans across the ocean.

Julia's yearly plea for donations.

And life goes on.

And it has.

For a little boy lost in a system that doesn't care.

A year gone by.

An empty photo album.


He has a matching grant of 1,500.00.

That's 500 more than what we try to raise each year.

He's worth every penny.

His grant account needs to reach 3378.00 and another 1,622.00 will be added.

The goal is to get his account to 5,000.00.

Help me.

Not just raise money but get him seen.

He has two little pictures in his album.

They are over a year old but it is all we have.

Share them with your neighbors and friends.

Share them with your spouse.

Share them with your heart.

Share them.


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Mary's Make A Wish

Make a Wish...

A dream come true organization.

You make a wish and BOOM - you get your wish.

How cool is that?

I have several boys who wish they could Make a Wish.

But there's a catch.

It's not for everyone.

It's a program for children who are considered terminal. Children who are fighting for their lives.

Children who face a grim future.

It's a program to bring a smile to their faces.

Give them laughter in the midst.

Give them hope.

Make a Wish in the midst of their hard...

Let that Wish bring a bit of Joy.

I didn't ever consider one of my children would make the list.

I didn't ever want one of my children to make that list.

Mary did.

When we were told she qualified I felt like my breath had been knocked out of me.


Not my girl.

She's too tough.

She's too resilient.

She's oh so fragile.

Her roller coaster of seizures keep us constantly on edge.

Just when we think we have them figured out - they change.

Just when we think we have beaten the beast back in one area - it pops up in another area. 

When things are going well, we count our days by how many have passed without status.

When she is tanking, we count our days by how many hours without status.

Up and down.

The seizures have damaged her language centers. They make learning difficult. 

We have had to come to terms with the reality that she's not going to advance in school like our other children.

She has the official 'intellectually disabled' diagnosis.

She is untamed and wild. Parking lots add gray to my hair. She flits here and there - we can never rest when she is out and about.

She is quick to love and quick to rage in anger when she doesn't get her way.

We call her impstress and tyrant and crazy girl.

She says what she thinks and bosses like she owns the world.

She wins hearts with her impish grin. She hugs big and loves her peoples with passion.

We count our blessings over her. 

She doesn't suffer with the 50+ body slamming drops she did a year or so ago. 

Some days the little seizures that plague her all day disappear.

Other days - like yesterday - she begins and ends her day in status. 

We rescued her last night in the parking lot at UVA after watching the men play soccer. 

It's a never ending never ending.

She's a Make a Wish child.

She couldn't tell us what she wanted so we wished for a playground for little girl...

A place of adventure and imagination.

A safe place to climb and play without fear of falling.

A place where she can make some fun memories.

We made a Wish for a Little Girl.

And her wish was granted.

Thank you MAKE A WISH!!

Monday, August 2, 2021

A Comedy of Errors

I am an awesome mom. I went to Alaska and bought my kiddos COOL Alaskan shirts!!

Points for me!

Did you know that an airplane uses a pogo stick in the back to keep its balance when it is sitting in dock?

Okay - I am probably not writing that correctly but the captain did say to us that the 'pogo stick' was missing.


On my flight to Georgia after a wonderful experience in Alaska I learned all about pogo sticks. 

I was in ROW EIGHT. Like - the BEST seat behind first class seating. 

I did something on this plane I never ever do -  I paid a bit extra so I could get OFF that plane quickly! 

And after being on that plane for an hour and a half LONGER than was originally promised... due to 'A Comedy of Errors' (the captain's words for why we were so late leaving/arriving)... I REALLY wanted to get off that plane.

But they lost the pogo stick. Or couldn't find it. Or something.

So we could not get off in the normal, orderly, first class seating leaves first and then my row eight a few rows behind them gets to leave. Nope. 

Without that important pogo stick holding down the plane in the back - we had to disembark from the back of the plane to the front. So that the plane wouldn't flip up like a seesaw.

You learn something new every day.

I learned about pogo sticks, and I learned a LOT of patience as I watched the 10,000 people behind me S.L.O.W.L.Y. make their way to the front of the plane... looking for their luggage that had been stashed here and there when they first got on because by the time they boarded, all the overheads above their seats were full. 

So one by one they walked up and down the aisles searching in all the different overhead bins for their lost luggage. I really wish there was such a thing as a GPS tracker on luggage. We could have used it on that plane for all those poor people.

Here is something I noticed... just about everyone in the back of the plane owned black luggage. And none of them had added any special tape or tags to differentiate their luggage from anyone else's luggage. And just about every other piece of luggage in the overhead bins is black. Finding their luggage was a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. Some poor souls had to give up hope until the plane emptied!

It took 45 minutes to finally leave that plane because of a missing pogo stick. 45 very very long minutes.

I wanted off because a certain husband of mine and three of my littlest were meeting me at a restaurant for dinner.

That certain husband had not counted on having to drive his three littles all the way to Georgia from Virginia. He had not counted on setting up for a convention. He was in the middle of FINISHING an 800 page book. He didn't have time for 9 hour van rides!

But my poor helper was sick (NOT COVID) and could not make the trip and so from Alaska I was organizing the troops to get everything packed up, food made for Mary etc. etc. so Rob could bring the materials down so we could sell at the convention.

The greatest part of the week (and Alaska was pretty great) was when I came walking into the restaurant (exceedingly late) to find my family. The cutest part was when Mary saw me. She was shocked, surprised and beyond happy. How her Mama got to that restaurant was beyond her comprehension but her world was righted when I walked in. 

On the plus side of having Rob there, I got to be with my bestest friend in the world at a convention. On the down side, we barely saw each other. I worked hard at talking to customers, speaking and  keeping Mary contained so Rob could FINISH the book. The boys helped me with such great attitudes!! I don't know what we would have done without them! Mary did amazingly well until Saturday afternoon and by that time Rob had finished the lion's share of the work and could take her with him.

Sadly, seizure-wise - Mary had a rough rough time. Driving home was a bit of a nightmare. She kept tanking - seizures and status stacking up on top of her all day. 

By Sunday night we had rescued her six times over a 24 hour period.

We have a call into the neurologist's office as we need to sort out what is going on with her. 

But the book is done in spite of the utter crazy last week.

It is heading to the printers today and the e-book is now available on the website!!

Praise the Lord!

Now we just need to write all the supplements that go with it!



Sunday, July 25, 2021

Consider the Years

 Alaska isn't a state where we have had a huge following.

An order here or there through the years is about all we have ever mustered. 

But word of mouth is powerful and when one mom in that far away state stumbled upon our curriculum and used it she couldn't keep it to herself.

She shared it with a friend who happened to be head of a homeschool co-op. That group had just left a popular homeschool program and was looking for another option.

Two and two makes for crazy.

I got a call one day in early May asking me if I would be willing to come out to Alaska and share about BiblioPlan. They wanted to put together a convention and fly me out and have me speak.

I laughed out loud.

Next year, right?? Sure - next year when we aren't in the middle of finishing a massive re-write of our Ancients high school book. Next year when we aren't writing around the clock trying to get that book and all its supplements on the market by August 1st. Next year when my traveling schedule is not a mishmash of nutty because of all the Covid changes. Next year when we can breathe again.

They weren't laughing.

Will you come? 

I gave a tentative maybe. I mean - what are the chances of them pulling together a convention in that short of time anyway? There was no way it was going to happen.

Oh me. Oh my.

I leave tomorrow for Alaska.

They pulled it together. I am crossing the country to go speak to a group of excited homeschooling families and other school choice families in Anchorage, Alaska. I will be meeting privately with the co-op about BiblioPlan on Monday night at a picnic and for two days to the greater Alaskan community, sharing about homeschooling and special needs and other sundry stuff. They have pulled together an assortment of speakers and it should be a great two days.

They put me in a hotel that has room views over the lake where I can watch the planes land on the water. 

After I leave that unbelievable experience,  I will fly straight to Georgia for another convention.

Then home.

We are one week from putting our newest book out.

It's a rewrite of the first full book we wrote and it is unbelievable. I can say that because Rob did the majority of the rewrite. I am so proud of him and this newest book.

It's a re-write with a brand new series title.

Consider the Years; History for High Schoolers.

Our younger series title is Remember the Days.

"Remember the Days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you."

We have one week to get it out in e-book format. The print version will come out at the end of September.

It's been crazy hard and we are weary. Losing Rob's mom this past week added a layer of grief on top of the stress.

And leaving is never ever easy with little girl.

She had a ROUGH night last night. As we rescued her twice in an hour, I questioned for the umpteenth time how I could leave when she is such a crazy roller coaster.

It's the hardest part.

I'm her Mama and I struggle the entire time I'm gone. I spend my days whispering prayers of protection. 

So please, prayer Warriors, pray for my girlie as I cross the country. 

Pray too for John and Aaron as they are doing the long drive to Georgia to meet me there (with my trusty helper, Adrienne, and her son). They have become amazing BiblioPlan convention workers. 

Thankfully, they love traveling, they love working the conventions and I love having them beside me.

Win. Win. Win.

It's a crazy week. 

Thank you for praying!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Farewell, Gran!


This morning Rob's mom went to be with the Lord.

All my kids loved her dearly.

She was a precious part of our family. 

We haven't seen her much in the last year and a half which has left a huge hole in our daily lives and a whole lot of sadness.

Sadly, Rob didn't get to say goodbye in person. The kids and I were traveling and he waited until we returned home before he set off this morning. She passed away before he could give her one last kiss and sing to her. 

Thankfully, we grieve knowing that her story is not over.

For that we cling.

We love you, Mom! You were a class act!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

An Audience of One

It was one of those moments when crumbling to the floor was not the appropriate response but it was truly what I wanted to do.

I had spent hours and hours preparing my speeches and creating the PowerPoints to go with them. I had prayed over them and worked through them and finalized them and was ready to go. 

Yes, I was nervous. I had never given a speech with cameras everywhere and multiple faces staring at me from 8 different computer monitors. I was speaking live to thousands of moms and dads all over the country who were watching from their living rooms. The stage was impressive, the entire set up was awe inspiring. I was humbled and excited.

A few hours before I was to go on for my first speech, I was waiting in our hotel room with John and Mary and our aide, watching one of the speakers who was ahead of me. It was raining outside but we were cozy and happy and it was peaceful in our room. 

Until the lightning struck and our room went dark. 

Our room went dark.

I was scheduled to speak in a little over an hour and the hotel just lost electricity.

I grabbed my computer and my phone and John and I ran. 

Backup lighting lit our way through the halls. The hotel generators were working, and when we arrived in the studio they reassured me that all would be well. 

The computers needed to reboot, but once they did everything would be fine.

So we sat and prayed along with others who were sitting and praying.

And when the computers came on-line, the speaker ahead of me began.

All was well. The schedule was a bit off but we could adjust.

I listened to her and felt peaceful. 

Until everything crashed just as I was to go on. The generators, the internet.

It was a disaster.

I sat there. Shocked. Watching the men as they brainstormed and discussed what to do.

The leaders approached me. Would I be willing to do my speech without an audience. They would tape it. 

I wanted to crumble to the floor. All the hours. All the time. All the work. Talking to empty monitors is not the same as talking to a live audience. My speech was written for a live audience. 

Yes. I was willing. If that was the only option. I was willing. But. If I could have an audience of only one it would be better. I only asked for one. One live person.

It was stupid of me to say that. How ridiculous a request. 

Either you have no audience or a full audience. Right?

Asking for one was absurd. 

But in the moment - at that time - it's what I requested and it was what I prayed. Lord - let me speak to at least one.

We waited. We prayed. We prayed some more. The electricity came back on. The internet was restored.

They set up my computer and turned on my PowerPoint. Those 9 monitors in front of me - they each had to re-boot. 

We waited. And waited.

Finally one booted. One monitor.

It came on. Crippled. A screenful of names but every face blanked out except one.

One person in the top left corner was live.

She was looking at me in anticipation and I gave my speech to her. The one. She was the perfect audience. She nodded and responded. She laughed at my jokes and reacted to my stories. For 27 minutes I shared my heart with her. 

When I broke for a break they told me I actually had a decent sized audience. I just hadn't been able to see them. They brought another monitor up and it was filled with faces. Smiling faces of people who had been listening. People who had heard. People who appreciated what I had to say.

I cried when it was over.

Not a crumbling to the floor in despair cry but one of grateful praise. I made a ridiculous request and asked for an audience of one and God answered. He gave me one person in the top left screen of a crippled monitor who received what I had to share with joy and enthusiasm.

He's that kind of God.

A God who hears and responds.

It was a surreal experience and one I will never ever forget.

An absurd request heard by a Loving God.


What a difference a year makes.

Last year we were home, home home.

This year is one of travel.

In the last few months I have traveled to South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Pennsylvania (Aaron to Shriners), Norfolk, Virginia (where I spoke to an audience of one) and this morning I fly to Texas and then Colorado.

Between July and August I am going more than I am coming...

Thankfully, the kids have been able to go on a few of the trips and will go on more in the coming months. It's harder with them tagging along in so many ways, but I like having them with me. 

Poor Rob is stuck at home writing and writing and writing. He's barely able to come up for air.

We are SO CLOSE to finishing a total upgrade of our Ancient book for high schoolers. It's going from 350 pages to 800 pages. It is going to be stupendous. We just need to drag through the next few months and then we are going to celebrate with some restful quiet.

Mary continues to ride the seizure roller coaster. She has amazing days and then she tanks. 

In Norfolk she tanked three times. It would be easy to despair when it happens but we just remind ourselves that she is so much better now than a year ago or two years ago. Her body slamming to the floor seizures are rare and she has many days at home when she can run carefree without the helmet.

Leaving her is the hardest part.

Each night Rob tucks her in beside me around 11 pm. I know her breathing. I understand her movements. I can react when she starts to tank. 

We have monitors and she wears a seizure watch but for me - having her tucked in beside me is the most peaceful.

I feel lost when she is not breathing keto-breath next to me. 

All I can do when I am gone is whisper prayers to a God who knows my girl. 

And rest in the knowledge that the same God who answers absurd prayers for an audience of one will watch over and keep my girl while I am gone.