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A Bump on the Road toward Adoption

Gotcha DayMy wife and I have been sharing the last few weeks about our plans to adopt again. We’ve shared our AdoptTogether page and have been blessed by numerous people who have given toward our adoption related expenses. Through a friend in Maryland we had connected with a birth mother who is due in June and were making plans to welcome a little boy into our family. As happens at times with adoption, we have hit a bump in the road. Birth mother has decided to parent.

This is part of the update that Cheryl put on our AdoptTogether page.

As I write, we have learned that our birth momma in Maryland has decided to parent, we continue to pray for her and that precious baby boy. When our adoption failed in 2013, we grieved, much like what we are doing now, but remember how God used that situation to prepare us for Max. We know that God is up to something even better than we could have ever imagined. He simply wants us to trust HIM though this journey. So we wait for the child that God wants to add to our family, and we trust HIS plan through the grief. We will update you as we know more, thanks for walking with our family thought this roller coaster and prayers are appreciated (I, Cheryl, hate roller coasters!).

We know that adoption is not always a smooth road and we were as prepared as we could be for any change of direction that might take place. We learned through adopting our son Max that God sees further and farther than we do, so we continue to trust Him. We have been so encouraged by those who have supported us financially and through their prayer and personal support.

Just a week or so ago I was listening to a podcast and the speaker was talking about worry. This is not a totally accurate quote, but carries what he said in his message: What God originates He orchestrates. So, we continue to trust Him as we continue down the road.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Legend by Eric Blehm

LegendWhen I first heard about Fearless, I was not familiar with Eric Blehm. The back story of the book captured my attention enough that I wanted to read it. When Legend became available, I knew I wanted to check it out.

Before reading Legend, I have to admit I didn’t know a lot about the conflict in Vietnam. I knew some of the history behind it and that having American soldiers fighting in Vietnam was not supported by a lot of folks back at home. My dad, nephew and son had a chance to visit Southeast Asia a few years ago and they shared a little bit about their time there and what they observed. By and large, I only knew the basics about our involvement there. This book was in the very least an education of what many of our soldiers experienced while serving in this conflict.

Legend is the powerful story of Roy Benavidez and his heroic efforts to save fellow soldiers caught in a very dangerous situation. The explanation of his actions kept me engaged in the chapters that unfolded his desire to serve in the US military, the injuries he overcame in one tour of duty and his desire to participate in another tour. It was on this second tour where his heroism was on full display.

One thing that struck me as I was reading about Roy’s heroic actions was that they occurred the year I was born. My birthday fell literally days before the events in this book unfolded. I kept thinking that while I was just beginning my life in a town in Indiana, there were men laying down their lives to promote freedom halfway around the world.

A challenge in reading this book was all the military language that was used. There were names and nicknames and abbreviations for all types of things. While the author explained what a slick was and what SOG stood for, it was easy for me to get lost in the code names. Still, the book portrayed a very vivid picture of what took place in Vietnam.

As with most readers who would pick up this book, I tried to think how I would respond in a similar situation. Would I jump out of a helicopter in enemy territory to try to rescue my fellow soldiers or would I keep my head down and simply try to stay alive long enough to make it home from my tour? Roy’s actions show a man who put others before himself and literally put himself in harm’s way to try to get others to safety.

Legend gave me a renewed appreciation for men like Roy who serve selflessly and count it an honor to do so. What came out through the pages of his book was not just his heroism, but his humility. It’s a good story many would benefit from hearing.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Life Is _____________

life isI had the opportunity to read Jesus Is ____________ about a year ago. Judah Smith’s follow-up Life Is _____________ was a good continuation of what he shared in his previous offering.

Smith uses solid insights, personal stories and doses of humor to reveal from various passages of scripture that Jesus is life. In one chapter he writes these words: “Jesus is always more. More than what? I’ll let you fill in the blank . . . He’s more than bankruptcy. More than sickness. More than sin. More than murder. More than divorce. More than tragedies, tsunamis, wars or famines . . . What are you facing? He’s more.”

Most of the Biblical accounts that Smith uses are probably not new to those who have grown up in church. He brings a new perspective that is refreshing for those who have familiarity with the passages, but writes in a way that communicates with a reader who might be new to these verses. Smith also writes with a practicality that is helpful to the reader. He brings the person of Jesus into our current culture and context.

As an example, he writes about one of the most well-known verses in scripture – John 3:16. Then he asks this question that puts that verse in a new light: “God loves the whole world? This doesn’t make sense. This is crazy. What about bad people? What about indifferent people? What about those who mock him to his face, who flaunt evil and flout his commands?” It gives a new filter through which to think about God’s love.

Probably one of the most powerful moments of the book for me was what Smith shared about his daughter’s birth. He writes about his dad’s battle with cancer and how one day God told him that Smith and his wife would have a third child, a girl, who they were to name Grace. When she was just a day old, they took Grace to church. Smith felt a strong urge to go hold his newborn daughter and took her to a room off stage. That moment, as he looked at his little girl, it was a reminder to him that even though life doesn’t always go the way we want (his dad lost his battle with cancer), God is good and loving and sustains us. He gives us grace to sustain us.

Life Is __________ is an encouraging book that points people to the love of God and how it has the power to change our lives. This book would be a good resource for personal reading and for small group discussion.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Thorntown to Celebrate 100 Year Old Basketball Championship

Cliff Woody (from left), Gordon Wait, David White, Martha Randel, Florence Emma Peery and Cliff Beesley surround the trophy for the 1915 Indiana state basketball champions of Thorntown High School at the town’s Public Library, 124 N. Market St. (Photo: Kyle Neddenriep / The Star)

Cliff Woody (from left), Gordon Wait, David White, Martha Randel, Florence Emma Peery and Cliff Beesley surround the trophy for the 1915 Indiana state basketball champions of Thorntown High School at the town’s Public Library, 124 N. Market St. (Photo: Kyle Neddenriep / The Star)

A link came across Twitter today that caught my attention. My grandparents lived for many years (not sure how many) in the little town of Thorntown, Indiana. Most of my memories of Thanksgiving and some Christmases are at the house they lived in on Locust Place. They are both buried at the cemetery in town.

So, it was kind of surprising to see a link to an article titled “100 years after winning boys state basketball championship, Thorntown’s ready to party.” The article gives the story of the boys championship that happened in 1915. The article talks about where they played some of their games and gives some of the scores. The final score of the championship game was 33-10. Not a very high scoring affair.

Having a connection to Thorntown made the article interesting for me. For anyone who likes basketball, especially the mystique that comes with Indiana high school basketball, you’ll enjoy this article. It is kind of reminiscent of the movie Hoosiers.

One of my favorite family pictures is of my grandpa after his high school team beat their rivals New Albany. The article just reminded of my grandparents and the town where they lived.

You can read the article on the Indy Star website.

Here’s the text from the article for your reading pleasure:

THORNTOWN — Why would a community go out of its way to honor a high school basketball state championship team from 100 years ago?

“Pride,” said Florence Emma Peery, a 1946 Thorntown graduate and former teacher at the school. “It’s the one thing we have in a small town. It’s the thing we can be proud of.”

Thorntown, a community of 1,500 in Boone County, hasn’t had its own high school since the last senior class graduated in 1974. But back in the early portion of the 20th century, Thorntown was part of the “Cradle of Indiana Basketball.” The first eight high school state champions came from a 30-mile radius — Crawfordsville in 1911, Lebanon in 1912, ’17 and ’18, Wingate in 1913 and ’14, Thorntown in 1915 and Lafayette Jeff in 1916.

On Saturday at the Thorntown Elementary School, the alumni association will celebrate the accomplishments of the 1915 team at its annual banquet. It’s been a long time coming, according to many of the alums, who hope to eventually raise money to put signs outside of town to honor the championship. There are also plans for the downtown merchants in Thorntown to dress up their businesses in the blue and white of the school’s colors this weekend, as well as invite graduates of the rival schools near Thorntown. There will be displays available for viewing beginning at 9 a.m. and a buffet lunch served at noon.

“The whole town has kind of embraced the idea,” said Martha (Maiden) Randel, a 1965 Thorntown graduate who has played a major role in coordinating the event. “That championship (in 1915) is kind of our one claim to fame in basketball.”

Fifteen years after Thorntown won the title, the Thorntown Centurian recalled the aftermath of the championship. “Thorntown had one of its greatest celebrations of its first century when the boys came home. Every business closed its doors and the citizenship gave vent to its enthusiasm. This began with a big street parade of the school children, citizens and visitors headed by a band of volunteer musicians.”

As with many schools at the time, Thorntown in 1914-15 did not have its own gym. Previous Thorntown teams had played games in the opera house downtown, but local historian David White and others believe Thorntown played most of its home games in 1914-15 on the third floor of the grade school, in a large room that was also used as a science lab.

“There was an independent team called the Thorntown Americans that played at the opera house,” White said. “But that court had posts in the middle of the floor, so people didn’t really like to play there.”

The 1915 postseason was the first with a sectional round. Thorntown, coached by a young Chet Hill (who would later go on to Martinsville, Lebanon and Kokomo and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame), won the sectional at Lebanon by avenging a regular-season loss to the host and knocking off Rossville in the championship.

Thorntown was one of 14 teams to advance to the state tournament in Bloomington. Thorntown won 46-20 over Hartford City and avenged a 14-point loss to Rochester, winning 17-14. In the final four, Thorntown defeated Manual 30-16 and blew out Montmorenci 33-10 in the championship. Al Smith, a senior, was the star of the seven-player team.

Thorntown, later nicknamed the “Kewaskees” in the late 1920s, went back to the final four in 1919 — played that season at Purdue — and lost to Bloomington in a semifinal. Thorntown star Walter Cross, named the Gimbel (Trester) Award winner in 1919, was the grandfather of former Park Tudor coach and current UCLA assistant Ed Schilling.

Thorntown never again reached such great heights in basketball, though the teams were successful and the passion ran high. Thorntown won sectionals in 1944, 1957 and 1960. Part of the legacy of the 1915 team was that it became immediately apparent that the community needed a larger gym than a third-floor science lab could offer. The following season, a gym was built-in the space between the elementary and high school buildings (all of which are now gone).

“The ceiling was low,” said Marvin White, a 1943 Thorntown graduate. “If you shot it too high, the ball might hit the rafters. We had an old hardwood floor and in the wintertime when it was freezing it would get a little uneven. The Thorntown players knew you had to pass the ball in that gym instead of dribble. I remember a team from Sheridan came over to play us and the coach swore after the game he’d never come back to play us in that gym.”

Thorntown built a new, modern gym in 1954. For the gym’s dedication, Milan — fresh off its famous state championship win that spring — made a visit for a game.

“To me, the Thorntown Kewaskees were kind of like the Boston Celtics or New York Yankees,” said Gordon Wait, a 1963 graduate who followed the teams closely. “For a lot of teams, even if you were having a lousy season, if you could beat Thorntown it was a good season.”

But by 1974, Thorntown had gone the way of many small towns and lost its school to consolidation, in its case into Western Boone. Even after 40 years without a graduating class, Thorntown is still proud of his basketball heritage. Larry Campbell, a 1958 graduate and former player, was a part of a float in 2010 that honored 100 years of high school basketball in Indiana. With him that day was the trophy created in 1915 by coach Hill, which featured half of the basketball from the sectional title and half of the basketball from the state championship game.

To Campbell and other Thorntown graduates, the 1915 championship is worth celebrating — even 100 years later.

“It exemplifies the best of Indiana high school basketball,” he said.

Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Adoption Fundraising Continues & We Are So Grateful

Gotcha DayA couple of weeks ago I posted about our Adopt Together fundraising page. We also had a friend send out some letters on our behalf to help with our efforts. We also have a former student of mine who is doing a Thirty-One party for us. Through it all Cheryl and I have been humbled by those who have joined us in this next stage of our lives. We have received gifts from family, friends, a few “back in the day” friends and even some people who have joined us anonymously. Currently we are nearly 50% of the way toward our goal. Again, we are so grateful for those who have decided to partner with us.

Currently, we have received enough to pay for the renewal of our home study, to send the necessary fees to our attorney in Ohio and our attorney in Maryland. We had no idea what the response would be and we are blown away.

We are using the website Adopt Together and are so appreciative of that form of communication and safe place for people to give. This video gives a little bit of the back story of Adopt Together.

AdoptTogether “Meet The Family” from AdoptTogether on Vimeo.

For those who want to be a part of this, there are two ways you can be involved.

1.) Our Adopt Together Page. Again, Adopt Together is a non-profit group and they provide grants to families who want to adopt. The gifts that are given are tax-deductible. You can click on the image below to go to our page.
Adopt Together screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2). Our Thirty-One Event. If you like Thirty-One products or want to buy something as a gift, check out the party This one closes on April 20 so it is concluding in just a few days. Click the image to go there.
Thirty-One page

 

 

 

 

 

We are again so thankful for those who are a part of this adoption journey.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Max’s Gotcha Day!

IMG_3480Today is the day we celebrate the official entrance of Max into our family. This day last year we gathered with family and friends to sit in a Warren County, OH, court room before a judge to finalize Max’s adoption. While we met him just two days after his birth and had him in our custody shortly after that, it was finally official and legal on April 22, 2014.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since that transpired. Much has happened since that day and, as with everyone who reads this post, life has moved on.

The picture at the top of the page is Max on his Gotcha Day. Today he is walking, repeating a lot of words (some easier to understand than others) and constantly wanting to go outside. One of his most repeated words at this stage in his life is “Go!”

We are grateful for Max and look forward to how he will continue to grow, continue to change our family and influence those around him.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Undone – a Compelling Memoir

undoneI first heard about Undone from my wife. She is a friend of the author, Michele Cushatt, having attended college with her and now being Facebook friends. I wasn’t planning to read the book because I put it in the category of a “chick book.” I know there are movies that guys refer to as “chick flicks” so I kind of put this memoir into that category – a book for women written by a women. My wife started reading it and kept talking about how much she enjoyed it, so I decided to get a copy. I’m glad I did.

The subtitle of the book is “a story of making peace with an unexpected life.” Not only is Cushatt a gifted writer (she has a way with words), but part of her story had similarities to where my wife and I have been. She writes about the pain of divorce, an ongoing battle with cancer and managing a family with a biological child, two step-sons and three foster children. While I have never struggled with cancer, I related to enduring divorce and experiencing blended families and adoption.

Cushatt writes with an honesty that keeps the reader turning the pages. She shares the lessons she’s learned, the struggles she has add and how she handled adversity – including the good, bad and ugly.

I appreciated her humor that is sprinkled throughout her book. In discussing her diagnosis of cancer and the responses she received from people. This example reveals her sense of humor and she related this response from one person – “And my personal favorite: ‘My friend was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer as you. He died a few months ago.’ Thank you. Super helpful.” Now that’s funny!

This is potentially my favorite quote of the book from a powerful chapter. In chapter 16 she tells about going to Christmas Eve service with her three “littles.” You have to read the chapter to appreciate all that is going on, but as she brings the story to an end, she writes these words that she shared with a friend: “Just because something is hard doesn’t mean we’re not called to it. And just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not good.”

Undone was a compelling read and as I read it, I know the Cushatt’s story is not over. If your life has ever taken an unexpected twist, you will appreciate the words this book contains.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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