The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holidays = Busy

The holiday season at our house left me breathless and quite tired. The day after Christmas found my 15 minute nap turning into an hour and a movie watching evening with my children into another nap. Fully recovered now, we are back in school and trying to get a little routine going again.

Thanksgiving was a grand time with the Grandma from the land of twinkle and Shine (Las Vegas). I have diligently searched my hard drive and can not find the pictures that we took from that day. My best guess is that I will find them after I finish this post. Oh well. Everyone was as busy as bees preparing for the dinner. Grandma was a great recipe reader!

On the heels of saying Goodbye to Grandma we headed into Christmas preparations. For anyone who receives the family Christmas letter -- my cards were late. Way late. I mailed them on Christmas Eve. It is because of the Letter. I always write a Letter. This time I wrote the Letter. I didn't like it. I wrote it again -- not quite satisfied I read to as many people in the house as I could corral to sit still. Everyone said Hmmm. Jerome said "something's missing". Finally, I wrote the Letter. Done. Three drafts put me seriously behind.

Of course we started the cakes:

Every year our family delivers cheesecakes to as many friends as we possibly can. What a neat thing this year -- my girls baked the greatest share. Between the 4 of us we baked 17 cheesecakes. Two for our dinner and 15 for delivery.

The youngers were geared up for the trip. We had the blessing of cousin Joanne who spent the night and got to go on the delivery trip!

The tribe is ready to roll out with the cheesecakes.

Now here's the real trick. Jerome had to load up 9 kids, 15 cheesecakes and a box of cookies. All he needed were eight tiny reindeer.

He did it! and they were off.

Christmas day was a lot of fun. Jerome cooked some great ribs.

Since we take the children on the Great Googeg shopping trip to pick out their favorite gifts -- Mom and Dad kept their gift giving far more practical. What touched my heart the most was how the kids were very creative and a lot of homemade gifts were given. Jerome had the boys in the barn for some very long days and few late nights to make a special gift for Mama:

The holidays were busy and fun and tiring and occasionally difficult -- but it was special. We spent days remembering that Christ indeed came and came for each one of us. He took off his glory and came to be a tiny, humble baby. We also spent time just being thankful for our family.

My little songbird asked me to spend a couple of extra minutes sitting on her bed to talk tonight. I sat down and she said: "In this family we talk. We talk and laugh and smile and share."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It is amazing how family traditions build up. Here we have hit the holidays and I haven't updated the blog since early November. We have been running in this house. A lot of it to fulfill great things that we consider traditions for this season. Traditions often keep us busier than we are used too.

I am thinking more about our traditions as a family since we are adding our little songbird and preacher man to the mix. It is an interesting thing to see what you have "always done" through the eyes of new ones.

We have cheesecakes we bake for friends, the Jesse Tree, New ornaments and Santa pictures to name a few. Here's the thing about new eyes -- they want to know the why. Why are you baking? Why so many -- when can we eat it? I keep telling them this is our season for giving -- I hope I can get enough done for us to have one, but these we are working on for others. Santa they got -- but we took the picture today and now they want to know if Christmas is tomorrow!

We kicked off our season with a full production of The Messiah at a beautiful Mennonite church in Indiana. Songbird thought the lady had a pretty big violin -- I whispered "No sweetie, that's a Cello." She was exasperated and said, "That ain't no Jello!"

We also have all survived the big Googeg family shopping trip. We give our kids money each year to buy what they really want for Christmas. Living in such a small town limits our shopping opportunities. On that day we take them to Cincinnati -- to any store they ask for and we WAIT patiently for everyone to do their thing. It may sound crass to be looking forward to shopping, but we are all together hanging out and listening to everyone's interests and likes. At the end of it all we eat a good dinner -- at a real restaurant. A funny tradition I wasn't sure our new little ones would get -- picking out their own special toy or two and wrapping it themselves for Christmas -- but they went right along with the flow and had a great day.

We participated in our family night program at church:

The anticipation was building in the car. Unfortunately, I had a new camera and couldn't figure out all the settings, so I don't have many pictures from this night.

Even that night has traditions -- even a new one:

Wokelle's first year at this church Mrs. C sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with him. She would like to sing it with him every year... she told him when she called him up to the stage.

Sometimes it is just hard to sit still that long.

I am still working on Christmas cards (I know!) and my wrapping is not done, but in the midst of traditions life has stepped in too.

The men in our family have built a new bunk bed for two of our ladies.

It was a real team effort.

And it turned out sweet.

Much more woodworking is happening in that old barn. I think we will know the full story on December the 25th.

I have been having some pain in my knee -- just in time for all that shopping. Today I found out that I have a dislocated kneecap. The Dr. keeps asking me if I can remember injuring it -- Nope -- lots of activity in this house... must have went right by me. So somewhere in the middle of it all I will get to do physical therapy.

As our children keep asking "Why" I hope I am getting Christ through to them. Traditions tie us together and serve as markers for us, but should never replace the worship of Christ.

"Why Mommy?" Because Jesus was born for you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Every November we head off to a local nursing home for our kids' piano recital. This year was an extra special recital. Riane is a senior and this is her last. She has been taking lessons since she was 5 years old. She started out working with me and then a teacher I found in Sidney. After we moved, I found Mrs. F. This is one fantastic teacher -- her prices are reasonable and she works 45 minutes with each student. She is somewhere in her 80's and she is tough, but kind. Riane and Mrs. F have formed a great bond over the last 9 years and it is sad to see it come to a close.

Here they are warming up for the recital.

This year we were at a new nursing home, with a beautiful interior and a lovely baby grand.

Mrs. F teaches more than Riane -- Mary has been taking lessons.

 I took the above shot just to see her dress. Mary has grown up!

She had a duet with Riane.

Adela, has started learning.

And Ricky.....
Ricky played a solo, but in this picture you can see all three: Mary, Adela and Ricky playing a trio together. There were a little nervous about getting all their counting right and ending together. But they pulled it off fantastically. Now that's a family in harmony.

Nope -- this guitar player belongs here. Braydon took lessons from Mrs. F as long as we required him. Then he informed her that he was switching to guitar. She didn't take it lightly and he had to politely argue his case with her. She finally said that if he learned anything good enough he could play at the recital. She had to hear him play the song once before he could be added to the program,but he did it -- and he taught himself.
She was happy with his playing and has already been offering him guitar pieces that she has run across.  As for Braydon, he was very proud of his listing in the program former student, now plays guitar.

Riane played Brahms Rhapsody. I could hardly believe that this was the little girl that tinkered away on our ancient old upright 12 years ago. Who would have thought? This is a thundering piece that tried my patience during practice at the house, but rocked my socks at the recital.

The seniors traditionally exchange gifts with Mrs. F. She gave them a lovely musical picture frame.

Riane gave her a picture she had cross stitched herself and had Dad frame for her. She wanted the gift to be personal.

Here's a little better picture of it:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Monday, November 7, 2011


Things we have actually said in our house this week:

• Ya' know ... it's one of those things... he was just talking to your face.

• I have been living in ignorance.

• You are worse than yourself.

• Take off your tiara and get your hands dirty.

• You have to have humor to be a Mom.

• Dexter's licking my lunch chore.

• Wait... Mom says I have a problem.

• Unscented is my favorite scent.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


No more training wheels.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seat Assignments

We have a Ford Excursion as our family car. It seats 9. We have a conversion van as a second vehicle. It seats 7. There are now 10 people in our family. As we went into this last adoption we knew that we could potentially have a seating problem. However, we did not know if we would have one or two children. So we could not make a purchase until we knew for sure. One more child would still fit in our SUV. When we received the news that Songbird and Preacher Man would be joining our family we had to make a decision. A new car was out of our budget so we decided to buy an extra seat for our SUV. I had never heard of one before, but it is made by a company called Little Passenger Seats.

Since each one is custom made -- we had to wait about 10 weeks. We have been driving two cars when the whole family travels together. Two cars to Kings Island in September and two cars to church every single week.

Finally, a rather plain box showed up on our porch.

I was doing the happy dance all day.

A little work from Jerome and Braydon:

And... it was in!

Made to exactly match the interior of our car and it has headrests and seat belts.

The three were very excited to try out their new place.


They're in! Now our car seats 12.

The great thing is they can not open this door by themselves from the inside. So they must wait for a parent or older sibling to let them out. They cannot just get excited and jump out into a parking lot unattended. I worry about these things.

Ahhh. and the Lord's timing is so good, because this is the current state of our second vehicle:

New fuel pump coming soon.

Just a side note: This was completely my own opinion on having purchased  a Little Passengers Seat -- I did not receive any compensation. But I am very happy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up

This is a post that I originally wrote to be posted on -- on their Front Porch. Unfortunately they are discontinuing their blog and so I will post it here for your perusal.

It is always great fun to see what young children are going to say when you ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I have gotten the funniest answers from my children like one young guy who thought he might like to be a police dog, or a child of a friend who decided after a funeral that he would like to be a grave digger. However, we usually keep asking the question into the teen years so that we can help our children get focused, streamline their studies and plan for college. After reading our unit study on the life of William Borden, I realized that we have been focused on getting the wrong answer.

According to our study book, William Borden was asked the infamous question by his mother when he was six years old. His response was, “I want to be an honest man when I grow up, and true and loving and kind and faithful.” (Wisdom Booklet 40 Published 2006 Advanced Training International). His answer was about the kind of man he wanted to be and not about his vocation. How often have we prompted our children to tell us what they want to do instead of what they want to be?

I know for myself that I can get sidetracked by the planning needed for after graduation. Where do you want to college? We have to know whether they offer your major. What is your major? What do you want to do? Even those waters are pretty murky. I have a child that expressed an interest in nursing. Well, OR nurse? ER nurse? OB nurse? Even before that they are levels of nursing with different degrees. Nursing schools don’t always offer all of them. What do you want to do? Trying to be leading in the right direction I did begin to ask, “How will you serve Christ with this?” I didn’t even think enough at the time to ask “Do you feel led of the Lord?”

It is more than serving Christ with what we do; it is what we are going to be. This is character training. Don’t I want my young men to be men of God? That requires that they learn to be obedient (first time), honest, compassionate and willing to stand for their Savior at all costs. It also means to stand up for others when they are given the opportunity. For my girls, don’t I want them to be young ladies? The list would be pretty much the same: obedience, honesty, compassionate and willing to stand firm in their faith. I want them to learn to walk out of step with the world and in step with Christ.

Most of us start this pretty young, by teaching our little guys to be obey Mom and Dad and tell the truth. Then, we keep saying, “when you grow up…” 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” That means right now – no matter the age “be thou an example”. I have started calling my boys “my mighty men” and my girls “young ladies of virtue”. I want them to know that is what they are right now. To be honest, it is a messy business. They don’t always get it right. They aren’t always obedient, or truth-tellers or compassionate with each other. When I look at myself, I see that I have some years on them, and for me it is still a messy business. As we are told in Philippians 2:12, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” So, we are all working it out – no matter the age.

As I approach the launching of my teenagers, I am changing my emphasis from majors and vocations to the kind of man or woman that Christ is asking them to become. I am urging them to keep “working out their salvation” and let the Lord lead their steps. I counsel them to be faithful and diligent to “…Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33). Finally, I have stopped asking “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, and I have started asking: “What is the Lord calling you to do for Him?”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

You are Gifted

I have spent most of my life saying that I am not gifted or talented. I don't have anything to offer. I was so excited to see that my kids -- all of them have gifts that I have long thought were so cool. They are very musical, artistic, well-spoken kids (I may be a little biased!)

Here's an example:

Riane took some old postcards from Yap and an old picture I was given in Argentina and came up with a nice display.

. . .old dried stuff from the creek for her windowsill.

And it is not just Riane ... they all have interesting things.

Then I listened to a sermon by John Piper: "We Were Eager to Share With You Our Own Souls" . He was telling us that we have the gift of the Holy Spirit -- we always have The Gift to share. We ought to be seeking ways to give instead of saying "I'm not gifted." Even saying we have much to learn and heading off to Bible Studies -- are we giving or just receiving?

Please go and listen to this message for yourself. I have to tell you that I turned it on while I was mopping the kitchen floor. Not only was I was mopping, I was constantly redirecting "Go around, I am cleaning the floor." "It will be dry in a minute, just wait." "What do you need, I am mopping the floor." So, I may have missed essential parts of the message or even misrepresented.

I will say this, since I have the Holy Spirit, I am guessing that is the message he had for me that day.

You are gifted, now go share it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Then and Now

This weekend the kids were messing around with an old video camera and found a memory card. We looked at the pictures on that and couldn't believe it -- they were taken about 9 years ago. I vaguely remember Jerome using the video camera to take some still shots on this new "memory card thing" and I couldn't figure out what we would ever do with them. At the time we had no way to do anything with it. What a blessing it was this week.

Adela then:

Adela Now:

Ricky Then:

Ricky Now:

Braydon Then:

Braydon Now:

Riane  Then:

Riane Now:



The WHOLE tribe then:

The WHOLE tribe now:

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Psalm 127:3