Monday, December 30, 2013

Living with Blind Faith

Having an 8 almost 9 month old baby brother who (as far as we know) is completely blind has been bringing new revelations to my life. I feel as though I am learning so much about myself and the world around me through this little boy.

I am learning that I live too much by sight.

When waking up in the morning, I look at my clock to tell me what time it is. I go downstairs and look to see if my mom is there. I look outside to see if the bus is there before leaving my door.

I look before leaping.

In these few examples I have come to the conclusion that I primarily live by sight.

My brother has to (and will have to more as he grows older) reply on someone to dress him. He has to rely on someone to tell him what he is having for dinner. He will need to rely on voices to tell people apart. He will have to memorize the smells and feels of the earth to determine differences of experiences.

My little brother will be at the hands of strangers to lead him to where he had to go through life if he gets lost. He may have a seeing eye dog who will literally lead him through life. He will read with his hands. He may have friends that could take advantage of him. He will rely on my parents and my siblings to teach him about the world and everything in it. He will live by faith.

I see few reasons that he will have an overly difficult time believing in a God he cannot see.
He will be living in a WORLD he cannot see... What is the difference? 

So many times in life I say I want to live in faith. I say things about how I wish I could wake up and trust in the lord to guide my day, but I only do until things get hard and I have doubts. Don't we all? We want to believe in something that sounds ridiculous but then we think through life. We look at the hurt around is. We see the pain and suffering. We see the blind man on the side of the road who has no home. We look at the girl on the corner and know she has no where to go. We look at the hurricanes and destruction in the world and wonder why that could happen.

I look at my little brother and wonder why God would do something so "horrible" to such a beautiful creation. I get angry and wonder why God made his life so difficult taking away one simple sense. I feel as though he crippled Victor with such a simple disability. I look into the future and wonder how he will live on his own.

But then Victor starts laughing (as he so often does). He will smile when he hears my mom's voice. I watch him literally reach out his little hands to feel my hair once he hears me talking. I see him turn toward my dad singing. I watch the wheels turning in his head when we place his hand on my dad's guitar and he feels the music. 

What a smart boy...

I see how blessed this boy is. He knows nothing different than having no sight and he is happy. He is joyful. I don't know if I have ever seen such a happy baby.

I really understand how much Victor has it made.

He will be able to truly live by faith in a way I will never be able to.

I will never have his faith. 
I wasn't born with the gift to feel and hear to his ability.
I wasn't born with the simple trust that he has.
I don't have the opportunity to teach my family so much about faith as an 8 month old baby.

Who really is the disabled child?

- By Mariana Christine 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What Adoption Means To Me -Mariana

What adoption means to me- celebrating Victor's adoption day
Having three adopted siblings brings up so much conversation in my life that most teenagers don't have the pleasure to face and speak on. 
I often get asked about my family. At first people, once they hear how many children we have, either assume we are Mormon, Catholic, or crazy a homeschooled family (possibly guilty of the latter of the three). As I show them a picture of all of us, they then change their posture and tone and don't write me off as some kind of nut case child whose parents have too much time on their hands (or maybe they do, but for different reasons then they initially assume ). To put it very honestly, my friends and strangers alike start asking common questions about adoption. Which is good. I enjoy those questions. 
The typical questions come about in a multitude of ways. Of course i have become quite good at combating these purely curious questions with challenging their ideas of adoption.
Person: "How many are your siblings?"
Me: "all of them."
P: "No, no... I mean how many are..."
M: "how many are adopted? (Smile) three"
P: "Oh, well... Which ones? (Thinking I would assume them "racist" if they assumed the ones who look nothing like me are the adopted ones)" 
M: "The ones with beautiful skin." (this is a new conversation reply I've been using lately. I seriously enjoy it.)
P: "Oh, well... Is it fun having that many siblings?" 
M: "Absolutely. It's also hard... But I'll never be bored. It's certainly hard to do 'nothing' at my house." 
P: "Well, where are they from?" 
M: "My mothers womb, Utah, Kenya, and Harrisburg."
P: "Really? Wow! How did you get them all? Tell me their stories"
This is where the small talk conversations differ from the people who are actually interested. 
I tell them each story.
It's honestly a joy for me every time. Telling how each story is laced with amazing amounts of God's provision and grace. Telling how we truly couldn't have gotten through any of them without family support, friends support, and the love of Jesus. The last one is most important. 
I love hearing how people then share their interests. 
"Yeah... That's amazing. I actually always wanted to adopt. I want to adopt when I'm older."

They tell me how they want to have kids of their own first, then adopt or visa versa. I hear about people who have family that adopted. I hear people talk about how adoption has made their family/friend's family so much better. I also hear how adoption has been the breaking point of a family. 

Here is what I say or would like to say.
All adoption is different.
All adoption is blessed by God.
All adoption comes with baggage.
All adoption brings out your family's OWN baggage.
All adoption saves lives.
All adoption cares for the uncared for.
All adoption supports the future of this nation.
All adoption brings life.
ALL adoption brings hope.

People often think that adoption is just like having a child of your own, just not your own.  Some assume that it will be a perfect and beautiful thing. Usually, adoptive parents/families walk into adoption with rose colored cheeks...
And then time passes...
The honey moon phase ends...
And things come up they didn't suspect.

ALL adopted children are traumatized to some degree.
Even adopted babies somehow have to deal with the "loss" of their blood mother/father once they grow up. Oftentimes, older children become "stuck" at an age where they last felt "safe" in life. Usually this means the last time they were happy with their biological family or the last time they weren't being abused by someone. Adopted children have to deal with their own family's generational baggage that they may not even know about (why do so many girls out of the foster care system end up pregnant as teenagers?). 

I've seen all of this baggage (and more) come up in my family because of adoption. Scared yet? Want to know why?
The devil hates adoption? Why?
It gives life
It gives hope
It gives love
How repulsive that is to him! 
He loves bringing up the baggage in adopted children's lives. 
He loves seeing the family unit torn apart because of the baggage that comes from adoption. 

But God loves adoption. He blesses it. He loves anything that has to do with orphan care and helping the hopeless. 
So, those who feel called to adopt:

Put on your armor. Place your sword of truth on what you see in adoption.
Truth: Adoption brings life and love!
Why wouldn't God bless it? Why wouldn't the devil want it destroyed? 
It brings so much life! 
So much hope! 
So much joy!

As the day of my brother's official adoption is so near, I am realizing truly what adoption means to ME.

You ready?
A world full of little blessings that are now living with the life you have to show them in Christ.

Q: What could be of an equal challenge... but so worth it? 
A: YOUR calling whatever it may be.
Right now, for my family, it's adoption. It may be for you too. 

Mariana Christine King

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Know What I Like

By HopeAnne King

HopeAnna struggles with reading, even remembering a letter from one day to the next.  One thing that has helped her reading motivation is for her to write stories, and then I make them into photo books.  This is the latest story, based on the book by Norma Simon.  Her answers were very enlightening.

I know what I like.
Do you know what you like?

I like to make cookies.
I like to make letters.
I like to make friends.

I don’t like to make people sad.

I like to touch new people.
I like to touch animals.
I like to touch the petals on roses because they’re really soft.

But I don’t like to touch slobber from Jesse’s mascot head.

I like to be a dancer.
I like to be a kitty cat because I love cats.
I like to be a cheerleader.

But I don’t like to be cranky.

I like to smell roses.
I like to smell food (like Linus).
I like to smell dandelions.

But I don’t like to smell dogs or trashcans.

I like to see movies.
I like to see what I can do for my family.
I like to see flowers grow.

But I don’t like to see boy movies like Star Wars.

I like to hear the birds sing.
I like to hear airplanes.
I like to hear people talking about things that I’ve been doing.

But I don’t like to hear dogs growl at people.

I like to taste cornbread.  Remember when we had it when company came over?
I like to taste ham loaf.  It’s precious.
I like to taste macaroni.

But I don’t like to taste buttermilk.

I like to catch fireflies.  They have lights on the back of their butt.
I like to catch grasshoppers.
I like to catch things from falling.

But I don’t like to catch centipedes and spiders.

I like to try doing things that my teachers say I should do.
I like to try to be patient when I don’t get something my way.
I like to try chicken because I had a chicken leg the other night and it was yummy.

But I don’t like to try things that people force me to do that I can’t do yet.

I like to play Mommy and Daddy because I’m always the Mommy with my doll in bed.
I like to play King and Queen.
I like to play house.

But I don’t like to play school.

I like to go to Chuck E. Cheese because I like the jumping horse.
I like to go to Hershey Park because I like the Carousel.
I like to go to gymnastics at Messiah College.

But I don’t like to go to the McDonald’s that doesn’t have a playground.

You know what you like and don’t like.
I know what I like and don’t like.
I like being me.
I’m a girl – I like being a girl.

Everyone likes friends,
And we all like to be friends.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Living through loss

By Mariana

I'm not sure why I'm writing this, maybe I felt led to. Maybe I'm writing to help sort through my thoughts. Nevertheless, I wanted to share my thoughts on living through loss.
I heard from my mom that when a child is born and brought to life, and even before their birth, a family dreams about this child's life; they imagine the child growing up, playing sports, dancing ballet, becoming Valedictorian, and student body president. They imagine all the perfect lives their child will touch. They pray about the child's future spouse and the life that will happen because of this new one.
I also heard that when a child is found out to be disabled, something dies. This idea of the perfect child dies. So do a few dreams. So do a few hopes.
I know that it's not only the parents that have to suffer a loss. The siblings have to suffer a loss, too.
I remember how hard this past year has been. I remember when my mom had to leave so that we could bring home a blessing. I remember that temporary loss but I also remember the feeling of victory as we brought home our newest treasure. I remember the days I would sit thinking about how I was going to help raise up my little brother and how proud I was to hear, "He is perfect!" and "I'm amazed at his life! What a miracle!"
I also remember the day I found out that my little treasure, my living miracle, wasn't "perfect" anymore. I feared the worst when my parents didn't answer my texts after promising me they would. I remember how that Wednesday was one of the hardest of my life. Something was lost.
Going through the process of grieving a "dream" can be very similar to grieving a person. Because you are. You just don't fully know this "person" yet, and finding you never will is devastating. I can't imagine how parents go through loss with all their children. Living through the loss of their child's purity, through the loss of innocence, the loss of trust, the loss of control. Because I see it all the same. But I have never gone through such loss with something so little that I cared so much about.
When you give up so much to fight for what you believe in, you imagine a fairy tale ending. Fighting for a, by scientific terms, fetus's life and fighting for the right to say he is a child of God even though he is practically "unborn" is something not every sister thinks she will go through. You don't imagine yourself as a temporary mom as a fifteen year old. You don't think that will happen.
It's just going to be SO HARD for him.
Finding out that life just isn't fair is one of the hardest things of all.
Even though we don't have all the answers yet, it's hard to realize some things. 1. I can't play peekaboo with my brother. 2. He will never see me smiling at him. 3. He won't be able to play sports. 4. He won't be able to see a sunset. 5. He can't see me perform in one of my musicals/plays 6. He will have a harder time playing an instrument. 7. I can't show him a picture of his brother at college. 8. I won't be able to color with him. 9. We can't play hide and go seek. 10. His life, which already wasn't easy since the moment he was born, will be so much harder.
My heart literally aches.
How do you go on with life after something like this? Dear friends, please don't make "retard" jokes, you have no idea. Dear Facebook, stop posting things about abortion, you have no idea.
How do you move on?
You move on with the peace of knowing that this IS perfect. 1. Victor will love music! 2. He can hear me sing 3. He may be the best Christian! The boy won't have to worry about believing in the unseen. His whole life will be him living by faith everyday of the unseen! 4. He can reach so many more people that I will ever be able to. 5. He survived so much in his first six months of life and he can PROVE that he still is a child of the most powerful.
What a testimony this boy will have.
Who am I to doubt the overall plan on this boys life? How can I go on? I can know that through all of this trial, there is so much more than anyone can see yet.
What can I see?
I see a beautiful boy, whom I adore and can't wait to see grow up. I see a family keeping to their calling with adoption and caring for the ignored and left behind. I see parents who instead of growing apart through so much separation and pain, have become stronger in Christ. I see grandparents who didn't "sign up for this" maybe being one of the greatest examples to us all! I see an "imperfect" family, not caring about their insanity and lack of perfection, but moving on and using what they have.
Most importantly? I see that it doesn't matter what I can see or what I cannot see. I just have to love by faith.
How do you live through loss? Faith in the unseen, faith in the plan, and faith in the one who made it so.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Great Surprise

As many of you very well know, over this past weekend I performed the title role in Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. This show came about through many fun experiences and about two months of rehearsals.

About half way through rehearsals is when my mom left.

I have to admit that I was very disappointed that my mom wasn't going to be able to see my show. My mom has never missed a show that I was in (usually because it was professional shows which had two billion performances over about fifty thousand weeks...). It was also very difficult because people were telling me that this was my best vocal performance ever and I worked so hard for this show. I was extremely upset that my mom wouldn't be able to see me perform.

During church the morning of my final show, the church was recognizing a military family and how much they had been supported by the church. They got to skype with him and were able to have an interview onstage.

The entire time I was tearing up and trying so hard not to loose it because I was desperately wanting my mom to be home. I just wanted to tell her I'm so proud of how strong she is and I was wishing the church would skype her in too! Then they had her picture on the screen with little Victor Noah and I was so excited. I thought, "Wouldn't it be wonderful to have her skype in the service as a surprise?!?"

I had no idea.

I wasn't really listening to what Tracy our pastor upfront was saying, until she said, "Cindy is here today so how about you come in!"

she walked into church...

I LOST IT!I was just bawling! I had literally dreamed that she would come home for my last show and it was just too perfect! I just couldn't stop crying, I was so happy to see her.

Apparently just about the whole world knew about the surprise except me. My dad arranged for me to go to a friends house so I wouldn't suspect anything the night before. I was so clueless. (Although I have to admit I was very curious as to why dad didn't really care that the video we took of the show was terrible and he was fine with us just not using it (!!!) )

The last show was really bad. It has to be one of the worst shows I have performed in technically wise, I had five mic changes through the end and the show had to stop twice because of the difficulties. My wig fell off, I got a beautiful bruise from hitting a desk with my thigh, flopped my 15 sec. quick change, forgot a prop, most of which would have been avoided without the microphone issue frazzling everyone (including me).


I sucked up my pride, did a mic check onstage in the middle of a show, and stayed composed long enough to sing my heard out for my mom. Believe me, belting your face off while holding back tears is no easy thing!

If my mom hadn't seen that show, I'm not sure I would have wished to finish it. I needed to be able to glance at her from the corner of my eye during that onstage/mid-show mic check and then think of her as I walked backstage hearing from just about every laughing 12 year old possible, "Did you just do a mic check onstage?!?" "Did you switch mics? "Why did the show stop?"

Don't worry mom, no swearing escaped my lips (even if I had thought many unprintable things) I stayed professional.


It was ALL worth it to see my mom after the show. All the issues were nothing after Mom told me that she was so proud of me.

The gift of her coming for my last show was literally the best gift I have ever recieved. Thanks to all who made such a surprise possible especially to my mom who was able to travel so much... all for me.

I love you Mom!

Mariana Christine

Friday, May 17, 2013

How I Am Like My Mother

How I am like my mother:
I never thought that I would say anything like this.
For those of you who know me, you will understand that I am not like my mom. We don’t look alike. We don’t act alike. We don’t generally have the same interests. We aren’t like those moms and daughters who do everything together. Our personalities are not at all alike.
I am most like my dad. We have a lot in common. We typically are outgoing extroverts. We both have similar interests. Our personalities are very alike. Although I don’t really look like either of my parents, I would say that I mostly resemble my dad because of our blue eyes.
I really would NORMALLY say that I am nothing like my mom.
But, being away from her has made me come aware of her little quirks.
You know how people will say that you end up being just like your parents and you should take note when you are young because when you “grow up” you will become one or both of them? Now, I do.
This experience really has been such a defining point in my life. With my mom gone and being the “fill in” woman of the house, I have certainly reached “that” moment in my life. “That” moment is when people tell you that they have made it to a point in their lives when they are a man or a woman and no longer in the awkward “teenage” years. I’m sure you understand what I mean, its when people tell you that they became a man when they first got their tattoo, or a woman first became a woman when she saw a loved one die, or someone believes they became an adult when they lost their virginity.
You know what I mean. The “that” moment is when someone grew up. Or grew up over a certain amount of time but decided to pinpoint a moment when it all came together. The “climax” moment, if you will. The defining moment in a story.
This is my climax moment. If someone will ever ask me in the future when I became a “woman” or grew up. I think it would have to be this moment right now. “When my mom needed to leave for a few months to take care of my little micro-primee brother in Utah. The time when I needed to step up and try to survive emotionally for my little sisters and not just go and hide in my room all day. To talk to them and tell them they are loved and tell them to be so very proud of our mom for doing the not-so-easy task.
I don’t know if I have the right to “deem” myself a “woman” without... uh.. permission of sorts. But, I think that I have the right to say that I am becoming like my mom already.
I have started to get annoyed when people do things “off” of our calendar without consulting me.
I come home from school and comment on how “this house is a wreck”
I feel the need to be early everywhere.
(the obvious) I started writing blogs to let off steam and unspoken feelings.
I am telling Hope her “truths” when she gets upset or has a meltdown to cool her off and speak against the anger inside of her.
I find myself getting up earlier and just being downstairs in a quiet home till the minions wake up.
I find myself getting angry over unjust situations and feel so much hurt for “The least of these”
I cry while reading books.
I hide in the bathroom (just kidding that is purely my mom’s thing).
I pray so strongly for my family.
All just like my mom.
I love you mom. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be a woman and taking the one given to you.

Mariana Christine 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Oh dear, Mother's Day...

Ooooooooooh Mother's Day. I knew this day was going to be hard. Having the world around you celebrate Mother's Day when you are temporarily lacking a mother at home is one of the most painful things... I can't imagine what it's like for my mom in Utah.

This morning during Church, seeing all the smiling faces or mothers hugging their daughters just made it seem like the devil was taunting me. I seriously was becoming slightly angry at people who were saying sappy things or, even worse, not treating their mothers the way they should have.

I'll put it to you like this. Think (back) to when you were a ''lonely hearted" teenager who was surrounded with dating friends who wouldn't shut up about their relationships. OR think of it as if y ou and a significant other had just cutt off your ties and everyone was celebrating their "one month" dating anniversary....

That kind of annoyance but feeling as if you wanted to be them was where I was this morning.

I did feel so much better at the end of Church when so many people began to support me. Someone going through a very different yet similar situation comforted me and honestly, that was such a Jesus blessing. We began to talk about how her parent and my parent were both off away and "fighting" for our families. We also both have no idea whenour parent would be coming home.

One a lighter note and with all this being said, and as I was scrolling through Facebook... I realized that every other daughter is saying why they love thir mother on some social media site instead of in person so I guess I'm not very out of place having to do the same thing.

So, here is why I am thankful for my mom:
(insert eye roll here...)


Her sacrifices that she has made for all of us. For pushing me to be my best at what I accomplish. For her amazing modeling of what an educated, respected, and completly insain woman of God looks like. I'm also so amazed of her beauty and authority she carries with her. I am also so blessed at how wonderful of a cook she is (thank you Mennonite herritage). I could go on for days.

Mom, I am so proud if you.
I love you so much.

Mariana Christine

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ye (me) of Little Faith

Today was the first day without mom. 
Today was the first Sunday without mom
Today was out first concert without mom.

THAT was the hardest one.

I never realized how much mom and dad carry the concert together. They talk in between songs and such. We did fine, but It was not our best concert. Especially with all the bickering that usually occurs with this family, but no mom to keep it below the insanity level. By the beginning of out concert, we were about ready to leave or blow up at everyone. I know I was. 

But then we got back into our "grove" of playing and enjoyed the whoops and hollers we received from the church audience. We cooled down a lot and started to enjoy ourselves. It almost seemed normal. 

Then Eden stepped up to talk about who she is and what she loves to do, and then shared about our adoption. This little eight year old shared about the kind of faith she had and it floored me. She spoke well beyond her years... Leaving behind the bickering (mostly encouraged by her) at the beginning and throughout the morning. 

She shared about how she was taking the constant roller coaster of the adoption process very hard and she wanted a baby. She spoke of how she chose the date April 20th for us to be matched with a child and then shared about how we were matched. 

Then it seemed like she was done and dad began to spoke. He charged the audience with a mission to open their lives to others and find their own mission. 

Eden never went to sit down.

He kept talking. 

She stood there. 

Finally she butted in and said these words, "I just wanted to say that I have now chosen May 28th to pray for my mom to come home." then she stepped away from her microphone. 


Incase you aren't aware, it is so rare for primee babies to come before their original birth date. Victor Noah King was supposed to be born at the end of July. Coming home in the end of May is extremely illogical. I guess we forgot to tell her that. Thank God.

At the time, I found myself thinking "oh, how cute... She doesn't know how crazy this is" 
Then I thought more...
Eden has such a wonderful gift of prayer. This gift brought us a baby. Who am I to put a limit on God and say that mom won't come home when Eden prays she will. Logic isn't exactly something running freely in our home. Here is my list of illogical things right now:

-seven children, now eight
-mom leaving the family for an unscheduled amount of time
-family staying strong
-dad as a pastor with that amount of children previously stated.
-dad graduating
-Andrew graduating
-Victor staying healthy at 28 weeks gestation 
-tons of people gathering amazing support for our family

Which of these things are at all logical? 
Yeah, none.

So why not add one more:
-mom coming home by May 28th

Who am I to say that it can't happen? 

Even if it doesn't happen or, at least, now how we imagine, we now have a little girl who's prayer life is becoming greater and a church that this morning heard our message for the first time and has chosen to pray along with her. 

So I choose to be just as crazy and illogical as her. 
Why not? What do I have to lose? 

How about you?

Mariana Christine 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Big Sister Again!

Wow! The way that our lives have changed in the past week has been miraculous! I have been so blessed and so amazed by the little kisses from God showing us that, yes, as crazy and "duggerish" we may seem, we are doing the right thing by saying "yes" to bringing in my newest little brother Victor Noah King.

Going through school today having many people say a variety of things in relation to this adoption has been exhilarating! the fact that the circumstances are so ridiculous is almost even more exciting to me. I'm sure my parents are stressed (not saying I am not) but I'm so excited.

I also understand how insane we may look. I mean, we were insane without the newest circumstances.

I also know that we are going to have to get over that. I know of some wonderful people in the bible who were... To say the least... "Crazy". For example:

Ruth- she was shunned for being a Moabite woman in circumstances extremely crazy. She didn't HAVE to stay with her mother but she did because she knew what Gods calling was on her life. she was known as "that" woman. I'm sure we can often be "that" family.

Moses- I mean... We all know he wanted his people to be let go! We have heard it all before. But he was disliked by his own people! They were upset because he was bringing even harder situations onto their life. He was CRAZY. He was going up against the PHAROH! I mean... Would you? But again... He knew his calling.

John The Baptist- I just like pointing our that he ate bugs. He was crazy. We are not eating bugs. Are we still crazy?

To restate my point. We ARE crazy. Not bug eating crazy... Still crazy, but that's okay.

No family with eight children, seven children at home with issues of their own, should (in normal situations) be staying with their dad for an unknown amount of months until their mother can come home from Utah with their newest sibbling. No family would welcome the spiritual attacks and battles that come along with adoption. No family would welcome the chaos that is GOING to happen in our family with this happening. No family would be content with relying on others to provide for them for awhile. No family would understand that they aren't going to be perfect. 

We aren't going to be perfect. We arent perfect now.  We are a mess. We are chaos. We are struggling. We are praying everyday for the next to work out with all of our activities and messes. 

But that is OKAY. 

I thank Jesus that we aren't perfect. That just allows more room for God to show us how much we cannot do this on our own and how much we now HAVE to rely on him. 

Everyone in this family has to rely on God in our own ways right now. It's difficult for me to think that because of how little and tiny my 1 lb. baby brother is, I will not be able to see him till at least the end of May, maybe June, maybe later. As much as I tear up and struggle over that, I know that God will bless me with this little boy for the rest of my life and he jus needs to heal with my mom in the hospital for now. 

So, this is my point of view right now. I am awaiting the time away from my mom with slight anxiety just thinking of my little siblings and how I will need to stand up for them. I am terrified. But I know that that place is where Jesus works best...

Mariana Christine 

Monday, March 25, 2013


By Eden

If you are thinking of growing a plant and you want a fast growing and an easy plant a sunflower is the best for you.  It is very easy to grow and it grows in about 13 - 15 weeks.  It starts as a seed, one small simple seed.  Then the side of the seed opens up and a little root comes out.  Next the little root makes its way to the top of the soil.  A couple days later a little stem pops out and two leaves grow on it.  The process is halfway done.  Next it grows taller and taller and more leaves grow.  Soon the head will grow.  Now look at what you've got, one big and beautiful sunflower!!

Sunflowers can grow in many different colors.  Some gardeners grow sunflowers that have a red stripe in the middle and they are called ornamental sunflowers.  Some sunflowers are just plain yellow and some are red and white.  Some are red.  Sunflowers only come in warm colors.

Did you ever look closely at a sunflower?  If you did you must have seen that there are many little seeds.  When the sunflower dies, the seeds fall and then in the spring the seeds grow into more.  When you see a sunflower again, look very closely at the seeds.

Sunflowers are great farm plants.  A lot of farmers grow them.  The reason why they're popular is because, if you plant on sunflower one year you get many the very next year.  You can grow a whole field in three years.  That's why they are popular.

Sunflower seeds can be used for many different things.  Sunflower seeds can be crushed into sunflower oil, which can be used for cooking.  You can also eat sunflower seeds.  Some people cut a hole in an apple and stuff it with sunflower seeds, peanut butter and raisins for a snack.  So now you can make a sunflower seed snack.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Family, a poem

By Mariana

Covered with love
Connected by faith
Coated in peace

Always beside each other
Faithful till the end
Kind and respectful

Constantly fighting
Usually upset
Pushing and shouting

All different colors
All different cultures
Beautifully mixed

Perfect with flaws
Beautiful and plain
Awkwardly poised

Here to bring love
Happy to be joy
Filled with honor

Often is rushed
Usually behind
Sometimes is slow

Helps the hopeless
We spread joy 
We give rest

Understands their differences
realizes their hurt
Chooses light

Each his own person
Each his own life
Each work together

Plays together
Stays together
Prays together

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Childhood Career

A Childhood Career
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
             This question is most likely one of the single most annoying questions I am asked often. It seems as if it is a very average and normal question. When a child is asked this, their typical response might include a very long planned out summary of how they will be president, make video games, be a doctor, be a nurse, become a teacher, or several other responses. What is my response you may ask?
            I’ll give you my response. Better yet, I’ll also give you the typical response I normally receive after I have so generously given off pieces of my personal and private information.
             “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
             “I want to be exactly what I am right now. I want to continue being a professional actress. Of course, I will be out of school by the time you are referring but I will be doing exactly what I love and am doing currently. I will be furthering my career.”
             “… Oh. Career?”
Yes, It seems almost impossible that a “young” woman in this age has already started her “career” and has a very sizable resume. I have heard it all before.
           I am not so much annoyed at the fact that adults are very “interested” (nosey) in our nation’s youth and what they aspire to be but I find myself very annoyed that they ask what we are going to BE. They don’t ask who we ARE. They don’t think it possible to have a job at age 9 because not many kids can. The also don’t seem to believe that children at our age have the possibility to have developed an actual identity. According to society, I am abnormal I suppose.
My name is Mariana King and I am a professional actress.
(Insert eye roll here.)
I was born in a town north of Philadelphia near Souderton PA. That doesn’t really matter. What matters is what happened after we moved from our family and took the “rebellious” path of stepping out of the conservative Mennonite area and moved to another decently sized town, Mechanicsburg. Here, dancing and the arts are not (to oversimplify things because Mennonite’s are rather conservative) frowned upon.
It is here where my parents discovered my passion, after my first actual appearance in front of an audience (my Great-Aunt Shirley’s basement). I lit up and my parents did the best thing for me that they could’ve ever done. They had me audition for a musical at the prime age of eight years old. I was spunky, I had fire, and I shocked directors. That may have been one of the best opportunities they gave to me.
I went on to audition for many professional shows and, as of last count, am about to perform in my twentieth show in five years.
One of my most fond memories of those thrilling early years in my career would have to be after my opening night of my very first professional show. I remember it extremely well. I have a rather accurate and abnormal memory of my younger years.
We were driving home from the theatre (my brother, dad, and I). I was looking out the window and it was late. I think it would have most likely around ten o’clock or so because it was opening night. I was looking for constellations because, in my nine-year-old mind, I had too much adrenaline in my veins and had way too much excitement in me for the twenty-minute ride home after such a thrilling evening.
I remember finding the big and little dipper.
My spirits were high and I was over the top with excitement as I blurted out,
“This is the best night of my life!”
That is the only dialogue I remember having in that car ride and I will admittedly say how abnormal it is for me to be lacking in anything related to dialogue. I was so happy I was speechless.
I do remember my simple and very innocent question to my dad. I asked,
“Have you ever been so happy you could cry?” I said, full of experience because I was of course tearing up at my pure happiness at performing for one of the first “real” times.
“Yes.” My dad replied. “I can remember when I was in the hospital next to your mom and the doctor told me that ‘It was a girl!’ That was one of my happiest moments and I cried.”
I of course, lost it.
I cried.
I probably crashed from the adrenaline rush and my exhaustion and fell asleep after that conversation. I tend to do that. Maybe I talked with my six-year-old brother at the time who was also performing with me (although I’m not really sure he knew what he was doing…). I was most likely bossing him around and telling him that he did something wrong onstage or he needed to clean up his costumes faster. I would also tend to do that very often. But I honestly don’t remember any more.
I do remember the feeling.
Pure joy.
I try to duplicate that feeling as often as I can.

By Mariana

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crimes and Friends

Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook by Mary Amato is a wonderful book to read together with family and friends.  It's about mysteries, friends, crimes, and poems.  You might think that friends and poems don't really go together with crimes and mysteries but the author does a great combination.

I like the end of the book where it talks about how the author chose the character's names according to famous people.  The main character is named after Edgar Allan Poe.  Also, the poems that the "robber" leaves are based on actual poems that are written.

Isaac would give this book 9 crime investigation notebooks out of 10.  Eden says she'd give the author a 9 for the book, but a 10 for creativity.

Book recommendation by Isaac and Eden

Monday, March 18, 2013

Prayer Circles

We are reading a book called Draw The Circle by Mark Batterson.  He is a pastor in Washington D.C. We are using it for the forty days before Easter. It talks about prayer and has a lot of stories to relate to.  A saying in the book that I liked was, "You can't never always sometimes tell," which means anything could happen.  I liked it because in prayer anything could happen.

by Isaac

Draw The Circle by Mark Batterson is a great prayer devotional.   The devotional really challenged me in praying. The book also encouraged me in my faith by retelling other stories of strong faith that started from a prayer. The book really showed me the importance of praying and how much it can help others and you.

by Shoun

This is a great book for devotions.  We do it together every morning before school.  It has a lot of stories and ways to pray and ways to honor God.  There was one way that he said to pray, and it was to thank God for things that God wants to happen like it's already happened.  I think you'll like this book.

by Eden

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Eden's Poetry Project

I Just Met a Man Named Sue

I just met a man named Sue
He had a dog named Lou
They'd play in the sun and run, run, run,
He loved his dog named Lou.

Me and My Gerbils

Gerbils are fun and these are mine.
Day by day I love them
I love my pets!!!!!!!!!!!

Photos and Poetry By Eden King
Grade 2

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

End of a Unit

We have finished our poetry unit.  Here are my final projects:

I forgot to do writing
It was very depriving
I went to the bottom of the floor
And all I wanted to do was snore
I stayed up all night
And dreamt of a kite
Of dynamite
So the moral of the story
Is read more of the story
Or else mua hahahaha

A pencil is a sword
A wooden hilt and pointy
A paper is a victim waiting
For the pencil.

By Isaac King

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Flying the Dragon

I like having time with my three siblings and my mom to read books.  The last book we read was called Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi.  It's about a girl named Skye.  She was half Japanese and half American and her Japanese cousin came over to America.  Her cousin loved flying kites.  Their grandfather makes kites and her cousin then would fly them.  My favorite part of the book was at the end.  If you like flying kites, it's a good book for you to read.  It's also about Skye had to learn Japanese and her cousin had to learn English.

by Eden, Grade 2

Read-aloud for our family is every day of the week, not weekends.  We read a book at around 1:00 and this time it was Flying the Dragon which is a book about a girl named Sorano (Skye) who finds out that her father's brother and father are coming to America.  They are also bringing her uncle's little son, Hiroshi.  When Hiroshi gets here he feels mad because he wants to go back to Japan with his grandfather who is sick with cancer.  Hiroshi's hobby is flying kites with his grandfather.  One day Sorano finds out about Hiroshi's hobby and wants to fly kites as well.

The book is not just about kites.  The author wanted to show us that it's hard for people coming from other countries to figure out new languages.  It's about friendship.  It's about sadness and life and death.

I would give the book 4 Dragon-shaped kites out of 5 Dragon-shaped kites for enjoyability.

by Isaac, Grade 6

I like to draw when Mom reads.  We read Flying the Dragon.  I liked the kite flying parts.

by HopeAnne, Grade K

Friday, February 1, 2013


We were going through our school and we ended with poetry.  Our assignment for the day was to make a limerick.  We went online and found some limericks.  One of my favorites goes like this:

There was a young man from Japan
Whose limericks never would scan.
When asked why this was,
He replied "It's because
I always try to fit as many syllables into the last line as ever I possibly can."

I hope you get a good laugh out of it.

And then it was my turn:

There was an old man with kazoos,
Who got struck down with the flus.
He never got over
He now lives with Grover
The sorry old man with the blues.

By Isaac King

McDonald's has only one fry
And everyone wanted to buy
They auctioned it away
So it wouldn't decay
So now some old guy has the fry.

By Isaac King