Friday, October 30, 2009

Naomi, Noah, and Daniel. Birthday , Home coming Day and Good news day

Naomi's first 8th birthday dinner at Mexico Joes

Mexi-Joes sombrero

Today is Naomi's 8th birthday. THAT is incredible as I have to stop and wonder where these almost 8 years of HAVING Naomi have flown.

Naomi's referral photo at 3 Naomi and buddy Samren on our way home from Vietnam to Oklahoma
OK, we adopted her in March of 2002 at 5 months while waiting for Noah, 5 who was in Cambodia and who came home October 30 2002.On Naomi's one year birthday .
Early photos of Noah
Noah's Giving and Receiving ceremony Oct 24 ,2002
(Noah and Jael play at Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh the day before we left to bring Noah home)

We adopted Isaac, 7 1/2( Noah's best friend from the orphanage) in February of 2004,and Rachel 6 and Leah 9 in November of 2005 while dh Charlie was in Iraq, sent Esther and Malachi to Cambodia in summer of 2006 for a medical missions internship. During that time we were granted parole status for Leah and Rachel's biological brother and Malachi, still in Cambodia stood as our proxy and completed 8 year old Isaiah's adoption and brought him home. Charlie came home from Iraq the next summer
and left to go back to Iraq three months later and right after that. He came home for Malachi's high school graduation and Caleb and Courtney's wedding ,and left to go back for the rest of his tour. Malachi left for an 8 month mission/teaching internship at BYKOTA Children's Home in Cambodia. God graciously and mercifully guided me through running the family and the farm , home schooling and teaching English as a primary and a secondary language ,and bonding with three new children by myself.

Charlie came home to find that Malachi and Sopheak were beginning to make permanent plans together, Hannah almost engaged, Esther with a serious boyfriend, Jael a gymnastics champion, and 6 much bigger younger children all firmly engaged in activities and interests of their own.
WOW!! How could the time not have flown through all that? And yet there are so many many memories that my mind is blessed with from each of these wonderful children and our whole awesome family! Charlie has been home almost two whole years and during that time, our older sons have all gone and served at least one or more tours of duty themselves.

Naomi's birthday celebration last night was so much fun.Her requested white chili, home made bread ( I dyed it her favorite color : purple)

tossed salad with mandarin oranges, cranberries and nuts in it, and her piece' de resistance' a purple layer cake, iced in whipped cream (never frosting). Not just any white whipped cream, but pink and purple whipped creams...half a cake pink with purple ribboned stripes and half a cake purple with pink ribboned stripes. WHY NOT!!?? A child only turns 8 once.

AND Baby Charlie smiled for the first time today!

Hannah was a bit disappointed that he did it for his Daddy and not for her, but she was awfully proud of that smile nonetheless! AND Jon needed to schedule an employment physical today too This might just be the beginning of the end of his 7 months of unemployment!!! How we pray so!!
God is so good and so faithful to each and every one of us in so many ways; I think that we miss a lot of His faithfulness in the every day busyness which is our lives but I have to remind myself that God's mercies ARE new every morning and His faithfulness is GREAT. He has provided in each of the situations I just glanced over; we have had everything that we have needed and so much more!!
And today also a significant October 30, we got a huge progress report on Daniel with an optimistic outlook for soon-to-be adoption so we may get him home!!
The Daniel much more to be thankful there too!!

Just read for yourselves what a volunteer at his orpahange has to say to the director and to me:
"Dear Patty and Linda,
Here are some new pictures I just took of Daniel today. He is doing very well, perhaps the best he has ever been. Mary is his one if his nannies and she just loves him so much, as you can probably tell. Secret’s weight is good, and he is eating well. Daniel cries as he is bathed and when his clothes are being changed. Despite great care and tenderness from his nannies, it appears that moving around like that just causes him pain. About 6 months ago Daniel would fuss for more than those things. Now he is content except for when he’s bathing or getting his clothes changed. He has not been ill or shown any (noticable) signs of illness in quite some time.
Daniel is only taking a bottle with rice cereal mixed in (8 ounces water, 4 scoops formula, 2 scoops cereal.) He seems content and satisfied with this right now, although he does have his first set of molars in, so when you bring him home he may be interested in trying some solids. Right now he is in size 6 month clothing pretty much exactly. He’s too big for 3-6 months, so go with 6-9, if the sizing is not just “6 months”. He would be in size 2 diapers. I forgot to measure his little foot, but I would guess it is a 2. Get fabric or flexible shoes as his feet and toes curl from his tight muscles. It is VERY hot this time of year, so one piece outfits, would be best ( The normal cotton Onesies (the ones used as undershirts) tend to stretch out pretty bad as they are pulled over his head."
What answers to prayer...............doing better than ever!!!!
Smiling!! The director told me she had never seen Daniel smile before!
And isn't this a beautiful photo of Daniel with his nanny??

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daniel update

The Liberian government IS doing what they all "Case Histories" a sort of government generated home study for lack of a better explanation. Its an analysis of the child's situation and approvability for an adoption. Despite the ongoing suspension on adoptions in general, they have agreed to start processing the cases of children who had final adoption decrees when the suspension was imposed in January AND the Special Needs children. YES , it is happening and Case Histories are being completed ! We received word this afternoon that while Daniel's case history has not gotten to its final destination, his case was approved! (this means they agree he is still an abandoned orphan and may be adopted) NEXT STEP I "think" will be his adoption decree, then getting his passport, visa medical appointment set up,getting all necessary docs to the Embassy for review, and I need to find out about a document called an I 600 which is part of the visa issuing process. Its processed differently in different countries and was processed differently before the suspension was imposed. I don't know if that was the "wrong " way or not ,but it was as quick as it was in Vietnam and Cambodia: a one day or so event from filling out, filing , having the interview and then coming back to pick up the approved visa and bringing the child(ren) home In some countries this process requires two trips: one to fill the I 600 out and one to come back for the child(ren) some weeks later. PRAYING this will not be the way it is for Liberia now and that as was suggested to me we maybe ready for me to travel within 6 weeks!
WE ARE PRAISING GOD that Daniel's case IS finally rally moving forward! We are trusting that he is maintaining his status and has not deteriorated too severely in the 7 months since we met him.
I will share more when there is more to share. For tight now THIS IS BIG, but its not a DONE DEAL ...YET! WE will continue to pray that all the next steps are smooth and come without too much delay! REJOICING for news about our sweet Daniel AND for "E" and his new family too! A prayer group friend is leaving tomorrow morning at long last to get her daughters in Haiti; she has been waiting for over 2 years!!! Another friend got word today that her petition to adopt a little boy in Ethiopia has been granted and she became a new mommy again today too. This gives me reason to rejoice for a LOT of families! Thank You Abba Father for all of this great news. WE do give You all the praise!

Praising God for one more answer to prayer!!

The 15 year old boy for whom we've been praying HAS BEEN MATCHED WITH A FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been praying for him so fervently, and just now I called his agency to ask about him, and was told that YES a family is moving forward with his adoption ! PRAISE GOD PRAISE GOD!! PRAISE GOD!!! The thought of this young man with so much potential being "wasted" without the love of a family to stand beside and behind him was breaking my heart. I shared with Susan, the coordinator that we had been praying, that his photo was on our fridge and would she PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell his family that we have been praying FOR THEM?! HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! "E" has a family! I am happy dancing for this young man and praying that God use every minute from the beginning of his adopted life to make up for lost time: being loved, loving, learning, leaning and that God will use him from up out of his beginnings to something special! Teary eyed and satisfied: I think that describes how I feel about this. I prayed, "God in light of all that is going on in and NOT going on in Liberia, are you showing us and yet a different direction...are WE , could we be, "E'S" family? " But no, we were part of the prayer connection. "...If we are the Body, why aren't our hands reaching?" the song asks. Right now I know that we were the part of the Body for "E" were were intended to be! Interstingly enough the kids were just singing "If I had TWO hands doing the same thing...." YES, two hands doing the same thing...KEEP USING US LORD. USE US UP!!!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Your Name" by Paul Baloche

A friend asked about words and chord music for this song for her church worship team earlier today. I had never heard it so I went browsing. What a beautiful song!
Here are the lyrics to read....

"As morning dawns and evening fades
You inspire songs of praise
That rise from earth to touch Your heart
And glorify Your Name
Your Name is a strong and mighty tower
Your Name is a shelter like no other
Your Name let the nations sing it louder
'Cause nothing has the power to save
But Your Name
Verse 2
Jesus in Your Name we pray
Come and fill our hearts today
Lord give us strength to live for You
And glorify Your Name
Your Name is a strong and mighty tower
Your Name is a shelter like no other
Your Name let the nations sing it louder
'Cause nothing has the power to save
But Your Name"
I put this this song in my #1 playlist spot so you may hear it as you read the words, but the video is really beautifully done if you wish to see it and hear it that way too! If you want to watch the video, please scroll to the bottom of this page and mute the playlist.

Friday, October 23, 2009

News? Updates and prayers for a special young man

I don't know that the US State Department is reporting this yet, but here is what I have read from a second very reliable source ...
Update on Adoptions in Liberia

"Praise God for good news!

The following adoptions are being processed by the MOH in Liberia at this time:
1. Adoptions that had court decrees before January 26, 2009.
2. Special needs adoptions.
3. Adoptions of Liberian children by Liberians.
At this time, all other adoptions are still on hold under the moratorium until the Children's bill has been enacted and adoption agencies receive accreditation by the Liberian government. "
We are hoping and praying that this means DANIEL WILL BE COMING HOME SOON!!!! I am guessing that an Octobr home homeing is now solidly out of the question, but early November is better than later some other time, right??? It is not good news for Junior and Diamoh's adoptions at all, and that is so hard to think about from any angle.
MILESTONE AFTERNOON! I got Baby Charlie's camo colored afghan finished for real! Charlie wore it home from our house tonight after he and Hannah, Blake and Mady, AND Esther too, came for barley soup and home baked bread supper. MY photos were not very good so I will try again tomorrow.
I try really hard to wait till November 1 to light up a fire in the wood stove and/ or turn on the furnace, but this global warming thing is just not doing it for me ! This afternoon we started the first fire of the season and I have to tell y' feels marvelous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am continuing to Pray for a young man who needs a family to find him and claim him as their own very soon! he's 15 and will age out for an adoption by age 16 in his country. His agency is very eager to place him in a family..................athletic, loves basketball, good student, kind, did I mention loves basketball................
Please pray for him too? I am sure he is hoping that lots of people are praying and that ONE SPECIAL FAMILY will know they are the object of those prayers. Maybe you know them!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How can so much busyness result in so little to say?

This has been an incredibly busy week and considering that getting my 150 tulip bulbs in the ground was "supposed to" be part of that busyness and WASN'T, that is saying something! School this year is much more time consuming for me, than earlier years, for starters. As more of my children are reading, they are doing more and more school work which has with it a lot more listening time with each ofthem, they have more detailed spelling and language arts lessons, math is BIGGER this year for Leah and Isaac, with three more readers this year, more of the children are doing Bible study curriculum and needing one-on-one help. Its fun to see how they are progressing but wow! they keep this home school mamma on her toes!!!Helping our college kids with papers, projects, proof reading and editing for them has been a new biggie in my schedule too. The bad thing about helping any of my kids with any kind of research is that I LOVE to read and to research. I can spend a lot of time I do not really have, in tracking down a source or quote or finding a detail for or with any one of the kids.Learning is SO fun for me!!
I spent Tuesday at the VA hospital's "Urgent Care" clinic with Gideon after he reinjured his fractured back. PEOPLE, I may well be preaching to the choir to you who read my blog, but let me take this opportunity to remind you that IF the government is allowed to run everyone's health care in a manner close to how they allow the VA to be operated, we are all in deep deep DEEP trouble!!!!!!!!!!!
"That is all I have to say about that", in the words of Forrest Gump.
Got to baby sit Charlie some more this week. He is such a beautiful sweetie!!! He is so close to giving a REAL smile...its coming soon! I have also gotten to get lots done on Charlie's camo-colored afghan this week while waiting at the dentist during check-ups. I am TRULY almost done!!
I'm writing tonight from the Courtyard Hotel next to the Ford Center in OKC. Charlie and I took Naomi and Rachel to an exhibition NBA game between the OKC Thunder and Kings (from somewhere in California, but I forget where,like Sacramento maybe?). We ate out together, that was fun...being at the Ford Center was fun. The game? Not so much. Our Thunder guys were just flat tonight until the second half of the last quarter. Too much too little way too late. We really like basketball, we watch a lot of basketball,we were hoping this game would be a better game than it turned out to be. Oh well, next time maybe?
A lot of busyness, life is great. We are so blessed in so many ways. As life for us is pretty level(uneventful in the out-of-the ordinary-way) right now, I am certainly using that stability as my opprotunity to have more time to pray for others whose lives are not so "uneventful" . Our friends (and former landlord's) son is for the third time looking for a new kidney. Jonathan is 28, maybe 29 and the kidney his brother was able to give to him 3 years ago has been afflicted by a new round of infections. My friend Anita's husband is still waiting for his donor kidney, another friend's mother-in-law is not well and her father-in-law was just diagnosed with aggressive advanced cancer in his throat and other structures.Family and friends are struggling with troubled, attacked or even failing marriages. There is much for me to share in prayer with my friends! As we continue to wait for any news about Daniel's case, we pray for other families who are hung up in this Liberian suspension who have waited for their children even longer than we have. Deep on my heart is a 15 year old boy in Ethiopia who continues to hope for a forever family who will love and adopt him before he ages out to inadoptability at age 16, and a 4 year old Ethiopian boy whose adoption situation disintegrated and who with his own special needs desperately needs his real forever family to find him soon too!! I am itching to get out in my garden to plant all those bulbs because its a GREAT time to get alone with the Lord and fellowship with Him so we can talk about all these things and more. Few people of any age come out to visit with me when I am gardening (they don't want to be put to work digging and weeding so they avoid me when i get the garden gloves out)How many other people have a prayer closet which changes seasons and color schemes throughout the year!!? Barring rain, God and I have an all afternoon date for that great extra time together. I can't wait!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Goats gone wild and other Calico Acres / Smith Soup occurrences: A new Mc Linky to share!

YES that is a goat, eating a tortilla...IN our kitchen! When the sliding deck door got left open and the goats came in, my first response, I have to admit, was not "GET THE GOATS OUT!" but "Get the camera!" This is Brownie, the Toggenburg dairy goat. I have photos of the other three goats who came to dinner with her, but I'll spare you the poor table manners they exhibited .
December 2006 We made it into the Guiness Book of WORLD RECORDS!!! We participated in the largest simultaneous read aloud EVER by reading from Charlotte's Web with millions of other people as part of the release of a new Charlotte's Web movie!!! We did our reading by our pig pen and Jael even read TO the pigs !

It does not snow much around here very often, but when it does, we know what to do!!! Here's Caleb enjoying all that cold and white brightness by getting right into it!

Isaac pretending to kiss a fish during our visit to the Oklahoma Aquarium

And the Bride played .....on the trampoline at her wedding reception!! Who but Hannah, Madyson, and Naomi would go out in wedding finery to the pasture and take a quick bounce in between reception events?

Nothing goofy, wild, or crazy here...jsut one of my favorite photos of Naomi

Jael and Rachel pose for Jael's camera

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, October 18, 2009

this n' that

All righty then.The wood stove has its new coat of black high- heat -withstanding paint on and is ready to be used if I wake up to one more morning of 51 degree temps in my bedroom. There is a nice stack of wood ready for use right next to the stove and the front porch has a great starter stack of wood. I HATE turning the heat on before Nov 1 but the global warming, er, climate change, is pushing me closer to abandoning my " turn -on date"!! Thankfully the electric blanket is working again this year and we don't need to buy a new one. So nice when things KEEP working when you are not so sure they will be! Since I SO love to be warm, and if the sun can't do it for me, the wood stove, thick socks and electric blankets will! Tomorrow is supposed to be 71, an average Okie October temp day and sunny too, so it is my plan to get those remaining 150 tulip bulbs in the ground by sundown!!
It was a great football weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed the games that we were following and the teams we were cheering for. Our Stillwater High School team (for whom my son-on-law Jon's brother David is the Quarter back) had a nice victory. Our OSU Cowboys played a late night game after Homecoming parade and all those fun festivities all weekend and they too won quite nicely against Mizzou. SORRY O.U. about Sam Bradford and his reinjured shoulder. I really like that kid, but the loss of the game?? That's "just business"
I got to baby sit for Charlie Friday night while Hannah took the girls to what OSU calls "Walk Around." Homecoming week is filled with fun , and the Sorority and Frat Houses go all out to decorate their houses in competition against each other. The work is very detailed and ELABORATE.So fun to "walk around" and check out all the work that the college kids have pit into their Homecoming celebration. It is also very crowded and it was COLD. Better for older little girls and not so good for a 4 week old baby boy. This Grammy was just fine staying home spending some time with the Grampa of the family! It was another great night forcrocheting on Charlie's baby-camo colored afghan too. I am ALMOST DONE!!! (Was planning on that flight to Africa for uninterrupted time to do that project...sigh)
I am loving following the Riggs' Family MAKE A WISH trip to Disney world this week Any of you who read my blog may also read WHERE LAUGHTER LIVES already. IF you don't, please take this opportunity to hop over there. You will be SO blessed by this family , with whom we are honored to be face to face friends. Brent's narratives as well as his photos are superb.
Calico Acres Farm is less one buck goat this weekend and I am quite happy about the population decrease. " Aaron " was big enough and it was his time. I hope that the family who will be roasting and grilling and stir frying their Chevon (meat of a young goat) thoroughly enjoys him!!
We continue to trust the Lord for a breakthrough for Daniel's case.....even this week. I know I have said this so many times but if I didn't have HOPE, I'd give up and then where would any of us involved in Daniel's adoption be? God has given me the faith to keep trusting Him throughout this very long period of uncertainty and unfullfilled promises, but in all those events and non-events which I have seen with my human eyes , there is the knowledge that God is not sleeping or blinking and He has it all planned out. I don't see how in my human understanding or why this has taken so long for such a needy child, but things that I also do not see are reasons why God has not opened all the necessary doors just yet. I choise to remind my self that God loved Daniel first and loves him even more than I ever will. My mamma heart and mamma arms long for my baby; God knows when He will have it all ready. My prayer is that this WILL be the week

Thursday, October 15, 2009


If you don' know who Lifesong for Orphans is...go check out Lifesong for Orphans Let me tell you that I think they are AMAZING and they share "makes-you-pound-the-table-and-weep kind of passion that we in Smithsoup do for seeing orphan children come HOME. Lifesong offers adoption loans and grants/matching grants and they are totally founded on real Christian principals. For real, not in name or logo only, its not a phrase or a signature line. This organization of people LOVE JESUS!
Lifesong for Orphans is partnering with Gobena coffee and 100% of the profits are being reinvested in the lives of orphan children through charity programs.

YES!! 100 percent. I have purchased Gobena coffee and it is GOOD STUFF too!!!

So if you are trying to come up with aunique gift for someone- check them out.

( I brought Liberian coffee home as gifts in March, but its gone now, so guess what??)

Helping orphans and drinking, sharing, giving delicous coffee as a gift, does it get any better than that?

A little more of Rachel, the birthday girl

The Official HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY Rachel photo

Esther came for lunch so Rachel opened a couple of her gifts, opting to save the rest for when her Daddy came home. Here's Esther and Rachel


OK, moving away from impassioned poetry and often- confusing math, both of which are definitely parts of life in Smithsoup. We also have LOTS of birthdays! October is home to the celebrations of Isaiah on the 1st, Caleb on the 9th, RACHEL today the 15th and Naomi coming up on the 30th.

Charlie actually met Rachel first, but this is my first photo with her, taken on the day I met her...October 24, 2002.
In Cambodia to complete our then- 5 year old son Noah Rainsey's adoption, he and I were walking on the orphanage grounds together and we came upon two little girls, one with very curly hair and one with short straight hair. The curly -haired girl was pulling the on the straight hair of the other and Little Miss Short Hair was crying and yelling. I got in between the girls, pulled them apart, and of course speaking NO Khmer whatsoever, told them in English this wasn't nice and they needed to be kind to each other. Little Miss Curly Top stopped and softened up a bit but Miss Straight Hair was beyond immediate calming. I picked her up, was immediately aware that she was not potty trained well, and figured she was probably about 2 going on 3 but no older than 3. I discovered from the orphanage director that yes she was about that age, had a brother and a sister and they had been with him for quite a long time. This photo is Noah the cool guy in his brand new sunglasses, me holding the little girl named Narene, and the Curly haired girl, Sony. I told Charlie in a phone call that OH IF we could adopt again, I "knew" who....................HE KNEW TOO. Many other adoptive families had seen and met Narene and had fallen in love with her chubby cheeks and quick smile, but that "sibling group of 3" issue was just too much for most people to give a thought to, especially in a deep hard suspension with only certain families being allowed to proceed..... God had Isaac for us to adopt first, but when USCIS contacted US to say "Your paperwork authorizes you to adopt again in Cambodia. You have not used up the authorization on your 171 H yet, DO YOU WANT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE FINAL PHASE OF THE HUMANITARIAN INITIATIVE on adoptions in Cambodia?" our hearts lept in our chests (well mine probably leapt a bit higher than Charlie's but that's pretty much how we roll) and the process to adopt our SIB THREE began.
We brought Leah Narong and Rachel Narene home in November of 2005. Isaiah came later the next year.. (At the orphanage in Nov 2005, Esther and me with Rachel Narene, Leah Narong, and Isaiah Guhn Kear.)

Today Rachel gave me a hug and said " I don't FEEL ten!" When I asked her if she wanted to just stay 9 for another year then, she quickly refused my offer! There is too much birthday to celebrate for that! She aksed for "anything but hambugers or hot dogs " for her special dinner, and then narrowed her choice to Spaghetti with meat balls, salad, and cake: a pink cake with pink AND yellow whipped cream. How could one choose to turn down a birthday which will be celebrated like THAT??!!!When she is pretty sure that some new blue jeans, pajamas and some play clothes and boots for her Barbie will be waiting to be opened after Daddy gets home from work, it promises to be a fun day.
Father God how we thank You for blessing us with Rachel! In what looked like a more than impossible situation, You moved hearts , opened closed doors, even procured for us an invitation to start an adoption when that was for all intents and purposes, not a door even to be knocked upon, much less opened before our very eyes! You have blessed us with this precious spunky loving child and blessed her with family who is committed to her and to her bio sibs as well, You have shown her that she needs You as her God, led her to salvation through her prayer of repentence and acceptance of Jesus as her personal Savior. As I watch her grow and learn, I am amazed at how far she has come in these almost 4 years. I praise You God for putting those chidlren on our hearts, for directing us as You did and keeping Rachel, Leah, and Isaiah for our family and then working miracles to get them here. Pleae keep my heart open and tender to my children, especially today I pray this for my relationship with Rachel. Keep me aware of needs, hurts, the desire to "just talk"; keep me alert to situations where I need to MAKE the opportunities and add to and build the relationship. Help me to be, to be more and more, the Mom my daughter, and my other children need for me to be. Most of all, keep me fresh in my walk with You , Father so that every day I am able to live Your love to my family...NOT JUST some Godly talky-talk, but Father, I want to LIVE the life You have called me to and I don't want Your truths to be secreted away. I want to shine for You even in the most mundane parts of life so that my daughter, all my children will see YOU and want for themselves, the faith walk kind of life You have blessed their Dad and me with!

Rachel with Isaiah at the lake this summer

After the Locks of Love hair cut!

Car Wash fund raiser Rachel is a GREAT advertiser!

Noah teaches Rachel how to drive a golf cart

Rachel with a camel at the fair several months after she came home

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Decrease me Decrease me, ( better video than before)

I changed the video from what I had put up before to this one. I like it much better with a visual and without the echo. Please turn off my Playlist volume and be blessed by this powerful acknowledgement of God in the poetic praise and prayer of Amena Brown...


home school math with Isaac, brother of the chemistry dreaming sister

Ok so 13 year old Isaac asked me WHY neg x neg= pos............ we know it IS, but WHY??? My initial answer was "COZ THAT'S THE RULE!!" Not quite enough of an answer for Isaac so,
here is what we came to agree upon..

"Minus times minus results in a plus,
The reason for this, we needn't discuss."
- Ogden Nash


Why is a negative times a negative a positive?
People have suggested many ways of picturing what is going on when a negative number is multiplied by a negative number. It's not easy to do, however, and there doesn't seem to be a visualization that works for everyone.

A Mathematical Explanation

If we can agree that a negative number is just a positive number multiplied by -1, then we can always write the product of two negative numbers this way:

(-a)(-b) = (-1)(a)(-1)(b) = (-1)(-1)ab
For example,

-2 * -3 = (-1)(2)(-1)(3)

= (-1)(-1)(2)(3)

= (-1)(-1) * 6
So the real question is,

(-1)(-1) = ?
and the answer is that the following convention has been adopted:

(-1)(-1) = +1
This convention has been adopted for the simple reason that any other convention would cause something to break.

For example, if we adopted the convention that (-1)(-1) = -1, the distributive property of multiplication wouldn't work for negative numbers:

(-1)(1 + -1) = (-1)(1) + (-1)(-1)

(-1)(0) = -1 + -1

0 = -2
As Sherlock Holmes observed, "When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Since everything except +1 can be excluded as impossible, it follows that, however improbable it seems, (-1)(-1) = +1.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jael makes me smile!

I am not an early morning person, but taking Jael to the high school strips me of any option . This morning as we drove, she told me about a dream she had last night in which she was a Wedding Planner. Jael is planning to be a large animal veterinarian, just as an aside...this is not a true life goal. In her Wedding Planning business however, she wanted to be assured that the couples for whom she planned weddings were truly compatible and would stay married. HOW, in her dream, did she accomplish this? By balancing the chemical equations for the partners in the prosepctive couple. Oh no, not grading chemistry papers and deeming two students have "passed". Oh NO! She was analyzing their individual personal body chemistry equations!! Sweet thing, Jael lamented, "Mom, I am even doing chemistry IN MY DREAMS!" I guess that is why she's an "A" student? It made for a funny conversation on the way to school in an otherwise dreary, gray, and rainy early morning! I love you Jael Shamar. You are a special treasure from God, one of my many special treasures from God, each precious in your own unique and wonderful way!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Grand Baby Charlie, his video debut

4 weeks old in the Going hunting outfit Hannah's friend Colleen brought him last week when she and fiance Cody came up to visit from our "original home" in Louisiana. We are pretty sure he is the most wonderful baby around


Malachi has more fun in his own skin than most people ever realize they can have and he just turned 21. He has always been that way; able to find the good side of something, or the humorous side. When his almost officially announced fiance' aka girl friend Sopheak was here from Cambodia for the summer, she got him into a game of Barbies with little sister Naomi. He is pretty animated so the photos are not all as clear as they would be if he were NOT that fun-in-his-own-skin-kind of guy. To give you a smile, to share one of my smiley-feel good moments , here's Malachi, all 6'3" or 4" inches of him, playing Barbies !!

MckLinky Blog Hop

A prayer request, answered
FROM TRACY KLICKA , through Caring Bridge.........................
Monday, October 12, 2009 2:32 PM, EDT


Dear praying friends,

There is a part of me that would have liked to keep this news to ourselves for a little while. Chris' journey toward home has been very public, which has been a blessing to us through your intercession and words of love and encouragement. Yet, at this moment, while his loss is so fresh, I had hoped to savor his last moments with us and his passing all to ourselves, but such is not the case.

So with great sadness and with a joy that we can barely contain, we announce that our husband/father Chris has gone home to be with the Lord. He slept peacefully lsat night, though his breathing was shallow and very rapid. Then this morning when the hospice nurse came to check him over, she commented specifically how low his blood pressure had gotten and that with the mottling around his knees and ankles, grayer skin tone and coldness in his face, that he didn't have much time left with us.

I had been sitting with Chris this morning telling him about Megan and her wedding dress and how kind God was to let all us girls be together when she found it. I told him I had so hoped he could see her in her dress before he went Home, and as I was talking two little tears trickled down his cheeks. I know he would have loved to see her! I know, too, he so wanted to be able to communicate with us at the end. It broke my heart to see his sadness. I imagine, though, too, that his tears were mingled with joy for Megan's future with Brendan.

After Anna (the hospice nurse) took Chris' vitals a second time, his blood pressure having dropped some more, she recommended that I get our kids down to see and talk to their dad.

I called them all from whereever they all were around the house, and when the last child came, Bethany announced, "Hey, Dad, we're all here. We love you!" Chris took one more breath and was gone.

I know to try and describe our sadness--the longing and aching in our hearts right now--would be impossible, so I won't try. I will share a picture the Lord gave within minutes after Chris' departure.

I saw him with his old western boots and jeans on (like he used to wear at Grove City College when he would run over to see me at my dorm--he was a senior and I was a freshman when we met there), running at top speed in Heaven. I pictured a huge smile (the one I love best) on his face and fellow saints yelling out greetings of welcome to him, some even asking him to stop and visit with them, and heard his reply, "I've got to run for the Lord up here. I'm making up for lost time down on Earth. I'm praising God and have to use my legs to do it. Stop me in about 100 years, and we'll sit down and have a nice long visit!"

Two days before God brought Chris home the Lord gave me this short verse to encourage me:

"No longer cloaked in frail humanity,
His spirit soars to gain Celestial joys,
Unimpeded by death's dark night
And free from the weight of sin's alloys.

My beloved sings! The object of his song
Is the One who bled and died for him,
No sweeter name did e'er he speak
Or treasure in his inner man."

Thank you, for both grieving AND rejoicing with us, and for your continued prayers for us these next weeks and months!

Looking forward to that day, when we too, shall see our beloved Jesus face to face,
Tracy, for Chris (one last time) and the whole Klickaclan

Sunday, October 11, 2009


on my heart and from my lips tonight:
Daniel, his adoption being processed, progress on his case, that God would sustain him in his condition until we can actually get him home and start his medical and surgical care, his whole orphanage and staff, the loss of another child, comfort in this time of sadness and grieving
Junior and Diamoh: thankful that they are in school. praying that they will try hard and do well, praying for their whole orphanage and staff, the school which is providing an education to our children
Health and wellness for all the children remaining in both facilities, enough food to eat, enough money coming in to continue feeding the staff and children
Trusting God for those who are ministering to the children in other various ways, and ministering to the people of Liberia.
Praying for our young friend Abby, whose 4 1/2 year old body continues to war with cancer. Her Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World is this week and I am so praying that she is strong enough to go and have the best time imaginable! Princess Jasmine will be so blessed to meet sweet Abby and her wonderful family!
I am praising God for the birth of a friend's miracle baby nephew named Malachi O this week, and for our new Great -niece born this evening: "Maeve Marie". I am rejoicing that my own grandson Charlie is doing so well, and that our oldest son is once again safe in his own home with his wife and children around him.
Committing to God our friends' son Jonathan who is in ICU at Johns Hopkins hospital with severe infection and possible/probable rejection of his second (sibling) donated kidney
Standing beside the Klicka family as Chris, the dad, known to many through Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) who is in hospice care in Colorado, far from the family home in Virginia, with many family members at his bedside as he and they prepare for his Homecoming. His Advanced -stage Multiple Sclerosis has slowly crept in to more and more of his body; he is on no life support to prolong the face to face meeting he awaits with his Lord and Savior; nothing that medicine can do for him now will do anything but prolong life, but not improve his condition or heal/cure him. The testimony of Chris and his family as they share their last days and hours together is what a life lived in faith should look like. In its sadness is a joy and a dignity, a peace and an ongoing purpose. I see God being glorified in each of these people and I am only reading emails when they come. I met Chris at a Home School conference years ago. The MS was slowing him down some; he walked with a cane, but he spoke eloquently and passionately, knowledgeably and encouragingly. He would not know me, but I am so very thankful for the years of service he gave for home schooling protections and privileges . I am thankful that I can join with so many others in prayer for him and thankful that I too can ask others to pray for Chris Klicka and his family.
AS I pray for these and other people and situations with which I am familiar, I am so aware that we serve a mighty God, a loving and just God, gracious and merciful, A God who we may boldly approach and call "Abba Father" (essentially "Daddy God".) We can know that He hears those who love Him and seek His face. We can always know beyond a doubt that He did not leave us alone when He returned to His Father, but that He sent His Holy spirit as a helper and comforter; He gave us His Word, the Scriptures, and they are LIFE and TRUTH. The "Stuff" in our lives may not look like we "think" it should but as we commit our ways to the Lord and in all those ways acknowledge Him, He does direct our paths and they are the paths which He has ordained for each of us......we will have peace, we will experience joy and recognize God's mercies as he blesses us with them, fresh and new every morning! Even in the sadness of knowing that their time with Chris is short, the Klicka family is living in that heavenly peace and joy. Day by day as we wait for our precious and very brain damaged and needy baby to be released through adoption from Liberia, as we pray through the ongoing suspension on adoptions which has our other two children prevented from coming HOME, as we pray over our son (yes, only one son now ) who is serving in Iraq, we can joyfully sing praises to our God and thoroughly know "It is Well" !

Friday, October 9, 2009


I am so thankful that our oldest son Joshua arrives home from his latest tour in Iraq, in plenty of time to celebrate his 13th wedding anniversary with Diana! I am so thankful that while as a civilian contractor he is not in "quite as much" danger as the "actual soldiers", he was kept safe from harm on this tour. There have been many contractors who have not been so safe and who did not come home safe and sound.
I praise You God for protecting my son for what all You still have ahead of him to accomplish and to for what you still have for him to hear from You.

!Joshua and Caleb together in Mosul earlier this year

Happy birthday Caleb! I know this isn't the first birthday he, my husband, or any of our three oldest sons have spent away from home and in the war zones of the Middle East, but I am hoping that it is the last. My prayers continue to be for Caleb's safety and well -being and for God to grow Caleb's faith deeper and stronger through this latest tour of duty and the very many MANY hardships it has brought with it. God is so able and so willing, when WE EACH lay our lives before His throne in surrender. I continue to pray that this will ultimately be a time of spiritual victory for Caleb. I am so painfully aware that his struggles have very little to do with being in a war zone.Its as if that is "just" the background for the many other things God is working on in his life, and yet he must be so ever aware of all the background details as he processes all the foreground details as well. How thankful I am that we prayerfully and publicly dedicated each of our children to the Lord when they were babies ,and that we have contiued to pray for and with them over the years. Those years of nurturing and insulating, teaching, and praying have set a course of peace for all of us. As the mom and wife of soldiers (and yes uniform or not Joshua IS also a soldier) I have God's absolute peace about the geographical locations of my family members. They were in God's hands every moment they were "safe" in the USA and they are every bit as "safe" in Iraq, or where ever God places them. For me to worry over them now would be to take back every prayer of dedication and every word spoken and taught that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but power , love, and a sound mind" or that God's "Perfect love casts out fear" . the verses flow from my mind like flood waters....."fear not, do not be terrified, for I the Lord Your God am with you........." and yes I have peace. My "default verse" stands as an ongoing prayer for my children.."ALL your children shall be taught of the Lord and GREAT will be the peace of your children..."
Have peace today Caleb. I can't give you any "thing" which would have much lasting meaning right now, but I can pray blessings of peace over you and
OH YES that is what I am doing today to mark the wonderful, amazing, 45 minute labor and Spartan Village, Michigan State University housing home birth of Caleb Christian , 26 years ago at 10 PM CST. Thank you so much Father that I have been blessed to be the mom to this terrific baby, little boy, young man, grown man.

And one more thing to be thankful for: Caleb was able to call and talk for a good long while, on his ultra clear connection which does not cut out or echo or have a 3-6 second delay! SO good to talk to my son, I'm sure it was good for him to be able to touch base with home! Word is he may actually be home for Christmas!! We are READY!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The God Chasers

by Tommy Tenney is a book I read several years back, but God lead me back to it today. Tenney wrote some amazing truths, and he quoted some amazing passages of scripture and from other Godly authors as well, to include my favorite, AW Tozer. He prefaces his book by saying that a "true God chaser is not happy with just past truth, he must have present truth. God chasers don't want to just study from moldy pages of what God has done, they're anxious to see what God is doing." Another quote which just jumped out at me tonight, a little while ago, is "True repentance is an awesome flesh-death sight to behold...too much for some to stomach...." .......... "How long has it been since you laid aside everything that ever occupied you and ran down the road of repentance to pursue God?" "When you pursue God with all your heart, soul ,and body, He will turn to meet you and you will come out of it ruined for the world."
That's what I want pursue God with all that I am, to be totally caught up in Himself, in a 2 Chronicles 7:14 "IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" kind of way. I want to be seeking God's FACE...............not His hands for what He might do to me, for me, for those I love, etc etc...I want to seek God's face so that I may know Him better, die more and more to myself, lay aside truly everything that has ever occupied me, heart, soul, and body!

Health Care reform may have very far reaching fingers

PLEASE read this article for yourself and check the information out if you are not sure its accurate. This isn't just a pro-life cause, it forces people to fund and perform abortions against their core beliefs! The current health care reform proposals in Congress represent one of the single greatest legislative threats to the family we have seen in many years. The current plan will be the largest expansion of abortion rights and abortion funding since Roe v. Wade ...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

To God Alone.......

I heard this song on the radio a while back , didn't hear the artist's name, but was pretty sure I knew who it was. I was right, and this song is one of my favorites to listen to right now. There is SO much good music, from groups like Michaels' Chair to what is it , Thousand Foot Krutch, David Crowder Band, Kim Walker, to Aaron Shust, SCC, Chris Tomlin, Lincoln Brewster..... Its exciting to have so much really good music and such talented artists from which to choose. If you turn off my playlist volume, you can hear this song and praise God with me for His gift of music to His people!


Celebration Stillwater, 2009

Our weekend was amazing! A large group of churches in our city plan an event of celebration every year at this time, aptly titled, "Celebration Stillwater" and it is a week-long outreach to the city with the love of Jesus. This year it began with a church wide rally /service last Sunday night. We all went as a family and thoroughly enjoyed being a part!! We have friends at a number of churches in town and its always fun getting to see them all at once, not just at a birthday party here or there or at Walmart. Sports camps every night for the children hosted by athletes from the university, cheeer leading camps were a part of the week's activities, a lot of behind the scenes preparation and prayer led by an amazing man named Terry Carpenter who has a vision for our city ablaze with the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. Although we should want to do "random acts of kindness" every day, and its really not "random" if a day is titled "Random Acts of Kindness Day", part of Celebration Stillwater is a Random Acts of Kindness day. This includes ideas like church groups going to laundry mats and paying for people's laundry loads, and even offering to tend and fold for people as well. ( I personally am not embarrassed by the undies of others, but I have a friend who I discovered one year, IS! ;-) ) Auto repair and service shops have donated free oil changes and check ups, several beauty shops donated $5 of every haircut they did on Kindness Day..things like that. I gave away goat milk to my customers all week last week. It was fun to be part of those kinds of unexpected blessings to people. Saturday was the Big Event and lasted all day long. We had signed up to help , and it turned out that what we did for the day was no stretch out of our ordinary day after all. A BIG favorite is always horse rides for the children who attend the Big Event. We and a neighbor brought our horses over. Gideon's employer has horses too. There were two teams of horse rides going on all day, with about 7 horses in each team. There were enough horses to keep the stream of children riding gleefully and to pull a horse out of the rotation every so often for a needed grass munch and a break. The volunteers got some break time too, but Charlie estimated that he walked at LEAST 50 miles of park turf! There was so much for people to participate in beside horse rides ! Booths from hair salons for free hair cuts to children 15 years and under, health and dental screening booths, a prayer booth where people could write down requests and keep going, or stay and be prayed with , a radio station booth with sign-ups for giveaways, a fire truck for kids to walk through and examine, hourly give away drawings for everything from a flat sceeen tv or bicycle to sidewalk chalk drawing kits, a church praise team played music off an on all day, the crisis pregnancy center, domestic violence acency, the Gideon Bible folks among many others had booths set up to share information. Huge blow -up attractions drew kids all day..big slides, "rock climbing " walls, SO MUCH FUN to be had!!!! There was also free food and beverage all day ( a lot of ladies baked a lot of cookies, a lot of people wrapped a lot of cookies, teens pouring drinks was another all day activity, the big smoker grills were kept busy all day with hots dogs cooking and lots of volunteers stayed just as busy wrapping those hot dogs and keeping up with the thousands of people who came by for food) Volunteers kept up with registration all day so people could get a bracelet ( needed numbers for the give away drawings) and gathering information to follow up on the participants next week. Every hour when a drawing was about to start, someone gave a short gospel message ................ At the outset a request for 700 volunteers was the targeted goal. I bet if that number was reached, every single one was busy all day!
What I saw was God's people just loving on our community, not propmoting A church or A denomination, but promoting the love of God. It was awesome to be a part of and we were blessed to be a part of it. It is my prayer that Stillwater will not just see God's love poured out, but receive it...................recognize personal needs and then respond to that need for redemption and salvation..........and THEN get into a Bible believing/teaching church ! I will be praying with thousands for good follow up next week. We can truly celebrate in Stillwater if people come to know Jesus as a result of the activities of last week!!!
By the time we all got home on Saturday night, we were pretty exhausted, especially Charlie (and our neighbor Lori) who had to make two trailer runs to get the horses to and from the park and who had to fix a flat tire on the trailer before he and Lori could bring the horses back home after 6 hours of park trail rides. He was a happy camper to find his supper on the table waiting for him when he got home, and needless to say, he crashed hard. I helped all day too, , but not nearly to the extent that Charlie did. BUT after he was done playing , I still had dinner to cook for our monthly after church shared dinner, cakes to bake and decorate, (this month I did 3 pumpkin shaped cakes and decorated jack-o-lantern faces with chocolate chips on them,) had Sunday School lesson to tweak and music to pray over and get ready to share in the morning. By the time I finally called it a day, it had been a very long day!
With friends in from out of town, birthdays to celebrate too, and Baby Charlie to love on, Sunday was a great day !
I love my life! I am so thankful to God for all He has done and is doing in our lives as a family and what I know HE is still accomplishing in me personally as His child!

Friday, October 2, 2009


We are believing that the time of break through for Daniel is going to be soon. Thank you all for your continued prayer support for Daniel and for us as we have waited and continue to wait for this miracle siutation to open up! A friend was going to travel with me but that plan needed to be changed. I am sure I will be fine going solo, BUT.... I have another friend who might be able to come along..............maybe. I will be praying about that possible detail along with so many others. Oh sweet baby...........know that Mommy is ready to jump the first available plane!!!!!!!

Photo Essay: Sukkot in Jerusalem - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Photo Essay: Sukkot in Jerusalem - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Isaiah!!

Isaiah Guhn Kear Paul Smith, aka "Isaiah Cool"

For a year I worked on the adoption of Leah and Rachel, having been told that Isaiah was no longer "there" This photo sent to me, (the week before we traveled to bring the girls home) by a friend proved that he WAS still very much at the orphanage and a whole extra year of fighting governments to be allowd to adopt Isaiah with his sisters began. I call this the photo which stopped my world. God was faithful and that's how we are able to celebrate Isaiah Guhn Kear's birthday in the USA , permanently united, and reunited with his biological sisters as well as with his other Smith family sibs!

This is the first time I ever saw Isaiah; he is with his sisters. This is April 2002 and I had NO idea that when I saw this photo and then later met these children that they were already set aside by God to be our children!!! He is the boy in the left corner . Leah is the older of the children in the photo: she's the girl in the center and the next little girl over is our Rachel!

Malachi, working in Cambodia, stands in as our proxy and completes Isaiah's adoption !

Getting finger printed at his Giving and Receiving ceremony July 21, 2006

Isaiah singing praises to Jesus, still in Cambodia, at BYKOTA children's home

My sweet youngest son turns 11 today. His favorite color is orange (whether that has anything to do with being in Stilwlater where virtually EVERYTHING is orange or has orange as a focal color thanks to OSU's orange and black school colors, I do not know) but his favorite birthday gift is his orange Lamborghini remote control car, which sadly does not WORK and must be returned. He asked for chocolate cake with orange icing , an orange shirt and a few otehr items, but GUMBO and anything orange are the important details of the day.