Kidney Talks

When my kidneys first started shutting down, we hoped it was a temporary situation. But eventually I was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. Above all, I want God to heal me. Now we’re in talks to get me a kidney transplant. Curtis and I drove to Lansing at the crack of dawn one car day in February to an all morning seminar. I look good until you start talking about immuno-suppresants. The nephrologist, or kidney doctor on the transplant team warned that the drug I’d have to take every day after a transplant to keep my body from attacking my new kidney could lower my immunities and invite the cancer to return. I’ve had cancer and I’ve had kidney disease, and let me tell you, cancer is worse! It is, in fact, the cause of my kidney disease. So I was no longer interested in a transplant, after that information. But that’s not the end of the story. My oncologist is confident I could fight any return of the cancer, and preserve the new kidney in the bargain. We will let you know the committee’s decision when we find out.

So that’s it for February! If you have any news you’d like to add, please contact me at See you in March!

The End of Basketball Season

There weren’t many practices in February. We were snowed in from some, and Esteban was sick for one. Esteban’s team had their last home game this month, and he scored 12 of his team’s 16 points. The team had  a two day state meet in Mt Pleasant shortly after that game. All the Kalamazoo homeschool basketball teams went to the meet, and Esteban stayed with his friends and their grandparents for the weekend. The boys fought hard and lost their first game 17-20. They didn’t come as close in their consolation game, the next day. Esteban is now preparing to train for next season.

Alphabet Praise

For an explanation of Alphabet Praise, click here.


Father, You are alright.

You shine bright.

Your Son is Christ.

Your creation delights!

Everything that should cause fright

is the idea of losing You.

Gird our loins,

help us fight

iniquity and sin, 

may justice prevail!

May we kill licentiousness

by the power of Your might.

May Your light defeat the endless night

Overflow us with purity, 

quell our fears, make us right

May we be beautiful in Thy sight

May we hold Christ very tight

Until we view our robes of white

extending past yonder zephyrs

The Project

I have struggled with poor organization and housekeeping skills forever. By my birthday, enough was enough. It was time to finally face my problems and gain control of the house. Starting on my birthday, we were getting the house clean and orderly, and that was our top priority. We quickly reached the limits of our trash removal system. Our washing machine started acting up. But we also found a bunch of lost treasures. And I finally started recording a place for everything, instead of trying to keep it in my head, or arranging it on the fly. It has been emotional for me. But the overwhelming feeling? Relief.

Morning Time in February

 More snow this month meant more morning time. Imani recorded more chords and singing on our hymn at the beginning of the month. By the end of the month, we did a streamlined version of morning time, just praying and reading C. S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian. I started ranking the narrations by the end of the month, and this did get the kids to pay more attention to the story. Prince Caspian starts slow, but it is picking up steam now. 

Imani Shoots a Video

(Not to be confused with the children’s youtube channel).

Imani has been busy at Worship Arts. She made a chapel worship team, where she invited friends who don’t currently do worship arts to come and play and see what it’s like. At least one of them is sure to return next season! She’s done some travel worship events, including accompanying her leader to lead worship at a Sunday service. 

She also recently recorded a music video. Imani is the lead singer in the video, singing a song called Sinking Deep. The video was released on Facebook. Video production is another field they are preparing children for in Worship Arts. We are thrilled with this program! Imani was asked to do the video the day before they shot it. She learned the song the day of shooting.

The Cars

We were down to one car for most of January and February. But Curtis and Xay were diligently working on the cars. It was bitterly cold, but they kept the garage warm with a kerosene heater. Xay was able to get his car running even after the shop told him they couldn’t. It was such a relief to have two cars again. Curtis got the Mercedes running and then the fan flew to bits, narrowly missing denting the hood!  So it  still needs a little work. 

The Accord, the one car we’ve depended on this winter, had a few issues with the heat. Curtis took an afternoon to flush the radiator, and now it’s purring like a kitten. Two down, two to go…

More Snow + Sledding!

February began as January ended, and we were blanketed and snowed in again. One big difference, thank goodness, was in the temperature. It never dipped into the single digits and below again. This meant that it was warm enough for sledding! Chanya and I walked to our neighborhood sledding hill, a 1.2 mile walk, mostly downhill. We like to sled on this hill at a middle school. When we drive, we could either park in the parking lot, and trudge through a large snowy field, or park at the bottom of the hill and walk up it. We prefer parking at the bottom of the hill, but the man who lives next door to the school really discourages this. Since we were walking, we just avoided his yard and were ok. We had a new sled and I couldn’t remember where I’d bought it. Now I remember that I got it at MC Sporting Goods, right before they went out of business. The snow was deep and the school was deserted. Chanya and I had invited her friend Gracie to join us. Usually when we go sledding, there are lots of other people there, blazing trails down the hill, etc. This day, it was just Chanya and me for a while. A few years ago I’d made sure everyone had enough gear to go sledding together, so we were bundled

up properly. Last year I thought my sledding days were over. But the snow was so deep that the sled moved slowly and surely down the hill. I thought I could handle a ride down the hill. Our old sled dumped you out on the way down the hill, or veered in some crazy turn at the foot of the hill. This sled moved straight, and slow. The ride was smooth. I went down again. Then I was out of breath and decided to watch. For every picture or video I took, my hand was freezing. 

Another family came and sledded briefly, then Gracie came. Chanya and Gracie were up and down the hill over and over. They took turns carrying the sled, and I stood up and watched them for a half hour. (It’s too cold to sit in the snow, even in snow pants!) When Gracie’s mom Denise came to pick her up, I asked for a ride home. It was a nice cold jolt to the system to go sledding. Hopefully we’ll get out there again before the season’s over.

What is Protocol?

So there’s another aspect of our homeschool curriculum that I’d forgotten to mention last month. Our high school students get dressed up and go out to a fancy restaurant and then attend a cultural event. This event is called protocol, and its purpose it to train our children in manners, and well, protocol. Over the years, the children have seen Shakespeare, symphony concerts and movies, and the ballet. This year was Esteban’s first year to go to protocol. At 24 students, it was also our biggest group yet. They ate at a castle that is near our house. The castle is a bed and breakfast hotel, and it hosts tours, parties, and dinners. The cultural event this year was the Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber. The dinner at the castle was also Phantom themed, and the children each got a mask to wear in honor of the show. The kids had a great time.


Rumor Mill

Rumor has it that Nicholas had fun at his birthday party. It was a cold, snowy day, and school was canceled all around the party, but Nicky’s party prevailed. He just turned 10, and he invited his friends and cousin Chanya to join him at 
It’s a building full of trampolines. The kids get special non-slip socks and jump for an hour. My kids are usually too pooped to jump for a solid hour. Nicky didn’t seem to have that problem! Katie and Jessie also joined in on the jumping. It looked like they were having fun! After the jumping, the kids had cake in the back room and gave Nicky his presents. Do you have any activities that happened in January that you’d like to share? Please email them to me at Thank you! Talk to you in February.