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This Year's Plans

So, I have plans for this year. Decided not to put them down as resolutions because I tend to let those slide by the second month of the new year. Not this year. First up, life and renter's insurance. Yes, I live with my sister and she has home insurance, but I talked to an insurance agent who said I technically would not be covered if I was not a child or named on their insurance. Besides, I'm trying to catalog everything I have and put values to it so I can decide what I really should keep and what I can live without.

Life insurance I wanted enough to cover my bills and put some in a few bucks in the kids' college funds. Not a lot but I can always raise the amount after I've gotten used to this added expense. Trying to do this in stages so I don't have this overwhelm "Oh Crap" feeling about doing everything.

I still need to start my 401K plan/IRA. Not sure which one, but I know work doesn't have a 401K plan available. Guess I'll go talk to my bank and see what they have. I need to get a fire/waterproof safe to keep my documents. Over this next year I want to scan all of my pictures, my important documents, the kids pictures they bring to me, their progress/report cards, and the pictures my sister's have of their kids onto discs to put into the safe. Figure I'll make three copies so I have one in my safe, one in a safe deposit box (I don't have that yet) and the third I'll give to my sisters. They're own stuff of course.

I just figure this way, if something happens I have things saved, backed up and protected. Hence the detailed inventory for the renter's insurance I'm working on and my list of debts/bills for the life insurance. Putting together all my financial information as well in one place in case my sister has to get it. I know, I know. I'm young. Why bother?

Easy. A lot of my friends are fifteen, twenty, thirty years older if not older than me. I've seen them try to sort the mess their parents left. I don't want something happening to me and leaving to everyone around me to do it. Especially since I have things I want one person to deal with and not another. If I don't have it written, notarized, and in my will someone else will deal with it and I don't want that.

I also, have to do my will, my health directive, my financial power of attorney, as well as my medical power of attorney done. I'm not sure yet, but I think I'll prepay for my cremation. I was thinking of burial, but it's too expensive and where would I go? I don't have a favorite place. I'm thinking "Just Scatter Me". Cheaper that way. We'll see. That's later.

Right now I have to get through birthdays, fund-raising for cheerleading (she's five for Pete's sake), and my temporary nanny job for three kids for two weeks (24/7) while working my normal 10-6 job. I'm just going to use this as my mommy-in-training experience. That's next year's goal. Adoption! We'll see. :)

nanny questions

What Questions should I ask a potential employer?

Here is a list of question put together by the Board of Directors of the National Association of Nannies.

Interview Questions
Is this a live in or live out position?
How many children, and what ages?
What are the hours?
Are the hours flexible or does 8-6 mean 8-6?
Are there other adults living in the home besides the parents?
Will I be expected to work weekends?
Do you travel?
Will I be expected to travel with you?
Will I be expected to stay with the children while you travel?
What is your description of the "ideal nanny"?
Define your idea of the nanny's role in the family.
What are the duties?
Laundry ? (for children)
Who plans the meals, cooks and shops for groceries?
Who purchases the children's clothes, toys, supplies?
Do you work outside the home or out of your home?
If the parents work at home, you need to set up some guidelines for how to handle things when you are there, and they are too.
What religion are they and how do you expect your nanny to participate in the child's Religious teaching?
Is there other household help?
Who supervises them?
Will I be expected to take the children to doctor appointments, music lessons, classes, etc.?
Will I be expected to use my own car?
If yes, who will pay costs for Insurance, maintenance and gas?
How will we handle vacation time?
May I take it at my choice of times, or when you take yours?
Make a point of finding out whether or not you will be paid for unexpected days off. (Example: Grandparents come to town and parents give you the week off)
Explain that this is your profession and your livelihood and that you count on your paycheck to live. Paid Holidays?
Work holidays?
Weekly pay?
Salary or hourly?
Health insurance?
Retirement benefits? IRA?
Childcare related classes and conferences?
If I agree to work x number of hours a week for x amount of pay, do I get paid extra for any time over that amount?
What about pay for 24 hour duty?
What if I am sick?
Do I get sick pay?
What is your back up plan if I am sick?
Do you see this as a long-term position?
Do you anticipate moving in the near future?
Do you have pets?
What are your household rules?
Do the children or the parents have allergies I should be aware of?
Special dietary needs?
What is your discipline philosophy?
What values do you want taught and re-enforced in your children?
I would like to have an opportunity to spend some time with your children before I make my final decision, is that ok with you?
Are you willing to sign a work agreement with me that includes a 90-day trial period?
Communication is very important for nannies and employers. Are you willing to meet with me on a regular basis so that we can discuss how things are going? Will I receive an evaluation from you and raises on a yearly or BI- yearly basis?
This is my job, I am very serious about it, and I count on my paycheck to live. I need full-time work and full time pay.
What is your position on videotaping?

These interview questions were compiled by the Board of Directors of the National Association of Nannies and appear here with their permission.

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Aug. 25th, 2011

Certification of Completion in Early Childhood Development: Credits (30)

CFS101AH Art Activities for the Young child 1

CFS101AR Learning with Toys 1

CFS114 Working with Hyperactive Child 1

CFS/ECH176 Child Development (3)

EED276 Global Child Development (3) 3

CFS194AB Early Childhood Program Management:
Human Relations 1

+CFS242 Curriculum Planning for Diversity (3)
EED230 Diversity in Early Childhood Education (3) 3

+CFS282 Mainstreaming the Young Child with a
Disability 1

+CFS284AA/ECH284aa Early Childhood Teaching Internship (2) or
2 Consult with Program Director prior to
enrollment in CFS/ECH284AA 2

EED261 Early Childhood Preschool Internship (1);
must be repeated for total of 2 credits 2

+CFS285AA Family School Interaction: Preschool 1

ECH125 Writing for Early Childhood Professionals 1

ECH238 Computers in Early Childhood 1

+ECH/CFS269 Child Care Seminar 1

ECH270 Observing Young Children 1

ECH271 Arranging the Environment 1

ECH272 Science for the Young Child 1

ECH273 Math for the Young Child 1

ECH275 Literacy Development and the Young Child 1

+ECH277 Language and Literacy for the Bilingual Child 1

ECH279 Early Childhood Curriculum Development 1

ECH280 Food Experiences with Young Children 1

ECH281 Movement/Music for the Young Child 1

ECH282 Dicipline/Guidance with Young Children 1

ECH283 Physical Well-Being for the Young Child 1

ECH287 Professional Development in Early Childhood
Education 1

STO289AA/EDU283AA Using Storytelling in Educational Settings 1

Back Online!!!

Yeah!  I'm finally back online full-time.  Just picked up my computer from Wal-Mart and now have access to the internet anytime I want.  Yes!  It was driving me crazy not being able to just pick up my computer and get online to check email, facebook, livejournal or just surf the web.  Granted, I'm not exactly a blogger, but I do enjoy reading everyone else's and looking up things.  Adoption, foster parenting, news, movies, tv shows, tv shows/movies not yet on DVD as well as how to start a business.  I have three other ladies wanting to do jewelry, accessories, and basically have an online bead thrift store.  I think I will take responsibility for the website.  I have ideas, but I just gotta figure out how to make the a reality. 
Crap.  Lil' brother going to bed.  This is what happens when you share a ten by ten with another person.  Especially one ten years younger than yourself.  I always thought sixteen year olds had more engery than someone of twenty seven who worked all day long on their feet.  Guess I was wrong. lol
Write more later......

Adoption Stuff

Okay, trying to get a list of question a (birth) mother would want to know about the couple she's considering for her child(ren).  If anyone actually reads my thing and has additional questions please feel free to add.  I'm taking questions I've found on many different sites and combining them.  Hopefully to help with adoption profiles for adoptive parents and to give birth mothers a starting point for questions.

Why do you want to adopt?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how badly do you want to adopt?

Who is the driver of wanting this adoption? Will this cause conflict?

Me (definitely)

Me (a little bit more than my spouse)

My spouse/partner (definitely)

My spouse/partner (a little bit more)

Both want to adopt about the same

Will this driver/driven dynamic cause conflict in your relationship?

What age child would you prefer to adopt? (Underline the preferred age, and circle all ages you would be willing to consider.)

Newborn (under six months)

Infant (newborn to 2)

Preschooler (3 to 5)

Primary school (6 to 10)

Middle school (11 to 14)

High school (15 to 18)

How firm are you on the age selected above?

Which of the following disabilities would you be willing to consider in an adoptive child? (Select all that you would consider)

Drug exposed (occasional)


Mild or medically correctable condition

No drugs or alcohol considered

Non-correctable (cerebral palsy, retardation etc.)

Alcohol exposed (occasional)

Alcohol exposed (frequent)

Smoking exposed

Emotional/mental disorders in family

Emotional/mental disorders in child

Premature birth

Multiple birth

Club foot

Cleft pallet or lip

Downs Syndrome

Epilepsy in child

Epilepsy in family


Diabetes in child

Diabetes in family

Conceived through rape

Conceived through incest

Nothing known about father

Nothing known about mother

Sibling group

Which of the following racial heritages would you be willing to consider in an adoptive child? (Select all that apply)

Any Child

Arab/Middle Eastern


African American



Caucasian/African American



Caucasian/Native American

Eastern European/Slavic/Russian

Hispanic or South/Central American


Middle Eastern


Native American (American Indian)

Pacific Islander

Which gender would you prefer in your child?




Would you consider twins?



Do you feel you are stable in your relationship as a couple without having children?

Which friends and family members would you want to tell about your adoption plans? Which would be supportive and which would not?

What level of openness are you willing to consider with birthparents?

Completely open adoption

Open adoption with reasonable boundaries

Exchanging letters and photos only

Completely confidential adoption

Would you be willing to comply with specific birth family requests regarding child rearing (such as religious instruction, name or schooling)?



15. Where would you be willing to go to adopt? (Select all that apply)

Only in our state

Neighboring states

Anywhere in US


How much time will you take off work during and after the adoption?

How much money would you be willing to spend on an adoption?

How much economic hardship would that cause?

When and how do you feel children should be told they're adopted?

As early as possible / preschool

Mid- to late-childhood

As adults

Only when they ask

Only when they find out


Not sure

Would you support/assist your child if he/she wanted to find, contact or have a relationship with his/her birthparents?



Don't know

Many adoptive parents have 'dry runs' before they actually adopt. How would you handle an adoption that matched with you but did not end up placing?

22. Will you or your spouse (partner) change your workload outside the home after the adoption?

Yes, I will stay at home with the child

Yes, my spouse will stay at home with the child

I will reduce my work load to part time

My spouse will reduce his/her work load to part time

Will remain the same

Already stay-at-home

23. What do you feel you could contribute to a child?

24. What aspects of childrearing are so important to you that you would find it difficult to compromise (such as discipline, religion, schooling, stay-at-home parenting, etc.)?

25. Are you ready to love an adopted child as much as one you gave birth to biologically?



I think so

I don't know

26. Would you prefer to continue with infertility treatment before seriously pursuing adoption? If so, why?

27. Deep down do you feel like you are being forced to adopt if you want to have children, adoption as a means to build a family is "second best," or that adoption is your "last resort" if you want to be able to have children?
(If you answered yes to any of these points, there is a very good chance that you have some significant unresolved issues relating to infertility that you might find beneficial to address and resolve prior to adopting.)

28. What is the ideal adoption situation for you?

29. Ideally, how many children would you like?

30. How long are you willing to wait to adopt?

Up to six months

Six months to 1 year

1 year to 2 years

2 to 3 years

However long it takes

Valuable Writing Tips for Adoptive Family Profiles from Social Workers



Christian Family Services, Inc.

Transracial-Transcultural Adoption Questionnaire

Prospective adoptive parents who desire to adopt transracially or transculturally should complete this questionnaire. Each parent should complete his or her own questionnaire.

It is designed to encourage the prospective adoptive parent to think and pray about the issues faced in transracial or transcultural adoptions.

The prospective adoptive parent should be honest and detailed in his or her answers. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.

Name: _________________________________________ Date: __________________


Why do you want to adopt a child of a minority race or a child of mixed racial heritage? Please specifically describe the heritage of the child you want to adopt.

Do you know of any transracial or transcultural adoptions? How has the family’s community responded to them? How have you responded to them?

Do you know persons who are of mixed racial heritage? What issues have they faced? How have you responded to them?

Are any members of your immediate or extended family of other races? How has your family responded to them? How have you responded to them?

5. Is your immediate and extended family aware of your plans to adopt transracially or transculturally? What was their reaction? What problems will it cause?

How might the addition of a child from another race or culture affect your choices of housing, schools, etc.?

How will you deal with criticism of friends or relatives?

How will you feel when you are stared at in public with your child? How will you respond to questions?

When the child becomes old enough to understand, how will you assure your child of his or her place in the family, in spite of his or her different appearance? How will you help your child be comfortable about being adopted?





What are your feelings and impressions about the race of the child you want to adopt?





Have you been a victim of prejudice for any reason? How have you dealt with it?





How would you handle remarks or comments from strangers, relatives, or friends that your child is bi-racial because the father or mother had extra-marital activities?

How do you respond to insults or negative opinions of other people?

How will you respond to the prejudice that may be shown toward your child or your entire family?

How will you give your child a sense of pride in his/her biological heritage?

How do you plan to find friends of the racial or cultural background of the child you wish to adopt?

What do you know of your child’s cultural heritage? How will you learn more? How do you plan to share that heritage with your child?

What issues do you anticipate might become problems in the lives of your child and family as your child grows? Think of your child at age 5 years (beginning school); at age 12 years (puberty); at age 16 years (dating); at age 21 years (marriage).

What are your concerns about adopting transracially or transculturally?





1. What were your motivations for adopting?
2. Who or what facilitated your adoption?
3. Were you given any information about the birth parents medical or family backgrounds?
4. How long did the adoption process take?
5. How did you prepare for the adoption?

6. At what age was your child adopted?

7. What difficulties did you encounter with your child during the first few months in this country?

8. What kind of personality does your child have?

9. Where did you find your post adoption support?
10. Does your child see a therapist, psychologist, counselor?

11. Does your child have any health problems? If so, did it effect your adoption?

12. Have you ever discussed your child’s adoption with him/her?

13. What do you think is the hardest thing about adopting?

14. Is there anything about the adoption you would change?

15. Would you adopt again?

16. What are some words of advice you would give to people looking to adopt?


3.) What state do the prospective adoptive parents live in?

4.) What religion are the prospective adoptive parents?

6.) Do the prospective adoptive parents have any other children?

7.) If they do have children, are they biological, or adopted?

8.) If adopted, why can the prospective adoptive parents not have biological children of there own?

9.) If they can have biological children, why do the prospective adoptive parents want to adopt?

10.) If the prospective adoptive parents are unable to have children of there own, what steps have they already tried?

11.) How do the prospective adoptive parents family and friends feel about them adopting children?

12.) What kind of adoption are the prospective adoptive parents looking for? (open, semi open, etc)

13.) What if any compromises are the prospective adoptive parents willing to make?

14.) How does the prospective adoptive parents feel about your friends and family being involved in your decision making?

15.) Do the prospective adoptive parents have any pets?

16.) What kind of schools do the prospective adoptive parents want to enroll their “your” child in? (private / public)

17.) How did the prospective adoptive parents meet?

18.) How long did the prospective adoptive parents date before they were married?

19.) How long have the prospective adoptive parents been married?

20.) What number marriage is this for the prospective adoptive father / What number marriage is this for the prospective adoptive mother?

21.) Are their any diseases that run in the prospective adoptive mom or adoptive dad's families?

22.) Are their any mental problems that run in the prospective adoptive fathers’ family / Are their any mental problems in the prospective adoptive mothers’ family?

23.) Is the prospective adoptive parents willing to financially procure for you during the duration of your pregnancy?

24.) How big is the extended family of the prospective adoptive parents?

25.) What do the prospective adoptive parents do for holidays?

26.) What are the hobbies of the prospective adoptive father / What are the hobbies of the prospective adoptive mother?

27.) How much contact do the prospective adoptive parents want before the child is born?

28.) Do the prospective adoptive parents want to be in the delivery room with you when the baby is born? (If you are comfortable with this)

29.) Are the prospective adoptive parents willing to give you the type of contact you want after the birth of the baby? (Such as visits, pictures, videos, letters, etc)

Why do you want to adopt a baby?

Have you adopted before?

Do you have any experience with children?

What do your families think about you adopting a baby?

Will you tell the child that he is adopted? When and how?

What will you tell the child about me? About his birthfather?

Was open adoption your first choice?

What are your religious beliefs?

What are your beliefs about education?

What forms of discipline will you use with the child?

Are you willing to maintain contact with me/us as your child grows up?

What type of contact?

How often?

why are you interested in adopting?

how long have you been married?

what makes your marriage successful?

what kind of contact would you like to have with the birth mother?

what type of relationship do you have with your extended family?

how many children do you have/are you planning to have?

what future do you see for your adopted child?

what is your educational background?

what is your occupation?

are you both planning to work after adopting?

where do you live?

are you planning on moving in the future?

what are your religious beliefs?

how do you handle conflict?

what are your views regarding discipline?

what makes you good parents?

First, ask them if they are OK if you record your conversations. Whether you do record them, or not, it would be interesting to know if they are OK with it.

Then, ask them how they plan on disciplining, educating and raising your child. I would ask them how many kids they are planning on adopting and if they are planning on having any biological children.

Ask them why they are adopting. If they answer that they cannot have biological children, ask if they have received any counseling regarding this and if they have completely accepted the fact that they are not meant to be biological parents.

Ask them if they would prefer an open, semi open, or closed adoption. If they are wanting an open or semi open, ask if they are willing to sign papers stating they will stick to your agreement. Also, ask them if they know if it's legally binding in your state. Then, find out for yourself.

Ask if they are prepared for you to change your mind at the last minute and how they would handle that, if you did.

Ask if they are willing to pay for a separate attorney, representing only you.

Ask if they are willing to pay for pre and post birth counseling for you.

When asking these questions, pay attention to more than just the answer, but also HOW they answer. If the answers seem rehearsed or over explained, dig deeper. I would even ask non-adoption and easy to answer quesitons, just to see how they answer those, compared to the difficult questions.

Tell them that they need to be honest with you, even if what they have to say may be difficult to hear. Then, do the same in return for them.

Learn the difference between doubt in your decision about adoption vs doubt in a couple. No couple is going to be perfect, but if every couple you meet or talk to 'just isn't the one', look into why you are feeling that way. It's likely because you are doubting your decision to place your child for adoption. Please don't ignore your feelings and shut those feelings out, especially since you think you may have found a good family. If they are as good as you hope and think they are, they would understand if you want to parent your child. And, if they don't understand, then you don't want them to parent your child anyway. Be honest with them, AND yourself.

BTW, I would also take notes, writing down their answers. Then, if you 'like' anyone, ask them some of the same questions at a later date, compare what they say then, to what they said earlier. Unless there is a good reason to change their answer, the answers should be consistant, not with specific wording, but with meaning.

Remember, only YOU can determine if the answers are acceptable to YOU.

Good luck, in whatever you decide to do!

I'd ask to see a copy of their home study. I'd ask for a copy of their driver's license and a written authorization to see a report every 2 years, so that way, you always know where they are. I'd ask them to take a lie detector test to see if they have plans of actually honoring open adoption.

I'd want to meet them in person, see their house and where the baby will live. I'd want to meet their extended family, to know how the baby will be treated by them. I'd want to stay with them at least a week to see if they hear little noises in the night and respond like parents need to. I'd see that they don't argue, and that they're not trying to put on a happy face in front of me.

I'd want to know how they plan to educate the baby, and their goals for their own futures, and if they plan to spend a lot of time with the baby, or are they work-a-holics who spend too much time away from home. Do they have enough mechanical sense to know how to put a tricycle together on Christmas Eve night after the child goes to sleep. I'd want to know if they were religious, and how much so (would they force the child to get on his knees and pray 10 times a day or what???). I'd want to know if the child would have grandparents nearby, their childcare plans, and what type of school they'll go to. I'd want them to have similar likes and dislikes as I do, so that way, the child would have things in common with me later on in life.

I'd also want the adoptive parents to ask me what I wanted in the relationship.

- Ask them each to tell you a little bit about them, highlights of their life and what their families are like
- Why they have chosen adoption to build their family
- What do they think is important in raising a child
- How does their extended family feel about the idea of them adopting
- What sort of contact are they willing to commit to if you were to chose them
- Why they want to be parents
- How have they gotten ready to be parents
- What do they like to do for fun
- What do they like most about each other
- What are they most proud of
- If they could change one thing about themselves what would it be
-What their home, neighborhood and community are like





I found this poem.  I want to get the prayers for all service branches.

1st one...

A Creed for Those Who Have Suffered

I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.


Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and we were in Iraq
Our tour already started, there was no turning back
Our weapons were slung, across the middle of our backs
Waiting for the moment, our enemy would attack

The Soldiers were on guard duty or asleep in their racks
With dreams of shorten tour lengths and an earlier flight back
Me in my ACUs and my buddies are too
Stuck in this hellhole, with nothing but time to do

Insurgents had presents, which they planned to deliver
Presents of destruction, of which cause a whole body shiver
Our families were home, awaiting words from their loved ones
Sending care packages and letters, leaving no Soldier without one

As we go through our tour, and we start looking back
We hope and we pray that we get out of Iraq
VIPs often visit and proclaim their support
Bring us all home then..back to our Fort

The sirens were sounding, of an incoming threat
Our bodies conditioned and starting to sweat
The medics are awakened, to be ready for the hurt
The all clear is sounding, just another alert

As choppers they flew, and disappeared into the night
We say Merry Christmas to all, we must continue our fight!


Submitted by and used with permission of the author,
© 1SG Mike Seitz, Iraq 2007

The Forgotten Dog's Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

With no thought of the dog filling their head

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap

Knew he was cold, but didn't care about that

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter

Away to the window I flew like a flash

Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear

But Santa Claus - with eyes full of tears

He un-chained the dog, once so lively and quick

Last year's Christmas present, now painfully thin and sick

More rapid than eagles he called the dog's name

And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!


To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Let's find this dog a home where he'll be loved by all."

I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year

For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear

The gift of a dog is not just for the season

We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons

In our haste to think of the kids a gift

There was one important thing that we missed

A dog should be family, and cared for the same

You don't give a gift, then put it on a chain

And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight

"You weren't given a gift! You were given a life!"

Author Unknown


Fireman’s Prayer

When I am called to duty, God
whenever flames may rage,
Give me the strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.

Help me to embrace a little child
Before it’s too late,
Or some older person
from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling
and give the best in me,
To guard my neighbor
And protect his property.

And if according to Your will
I have to lose my life,
Please bless with Your protecting hand
My children and my wife

History of the Fireman's Prayer

While most accounts of the Firemen’s Prayer conclude with Author Unknown, the world renowned poem was written by Firefighter A.W. “Smokey” Linn. As a young firefighter in 1958 Linn and his crew responded to a fire in which three children were trapped behind security bars and died in the fire.

The only way he could find to ease the pain of such a tragedy was to sit down and put his thoughts on paper. The phrase, “enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout”, sends a chill up a firefighter’s spine as you imagine what he experienced on that fateful night. It was a particularly tough time for him as he had young children around the same age.

His granddaughter, Penny McGlachlin said that back then there were no grief counselors to help the firefighters. Penny believes this was an actual prayer from him, to god for the sake of his own family, the other fireman, and the families of the children.

Smokey joined the Wichita, Kansas Fire Department in 1947 after returning from World War 2. He retired in 1975 and became president of the local chapter of the Good Sam Camping Club. He passed away March 31, 2004 of complications following surgery.

The Fireman’s Prayer was originally published in a book called, “A Celebration of Poets” in 1958. The last copyright of the book was 1998. It is the family’s desire that the credit for the Firemen’s Prayer go to the author, A.W. Smokey Linn.



Lord I ask for courage

Courage to face and
Conquer my own fears...

Courage to take me
Where others will not go...

I ask for strength

Strength of body to protect others
And strength of spirit to lead others...

I ask for dedication

Dedication to my job, to do it well
Dedication to my community
To keep it safe...

Give me Lord, concern
For others who trust me
And compassion for those who need me...

And please Lord

Through it all
Be at my side...

--Author Unknown



Teachers Prayer

God grant me wisdom, creativity and love.

With wisdom, I may look to the future
and see the effect that my teaching will
have on these children and thus adapt my
methods to fit the needs of each one.

With creativity, I can prepare new and interesting
projects that can challenge my students and expand
their minds to set higher goals and dream loftier dreams.

With love, I can praise my students for jobs well done 
and encourage them to get up and go when they fall.


A Child's Bill of Rights
I have a right to live rather than exist.

I have a right to personhood rather than being an object of possession.

I have a right to equality with every other human being regardless of age.

I have a right to be respected with regard to my own worth.

I have a right to be uniquely myself with my own identity.

I have a right to speak my thoughts and feelings, and to be heard.

I have a right to ask "why" and to receive answers.

I have a right to receive discipline without hollering, discounts and putdowns.

I have a right to be encouraged to grow to maturity at my own pace.

I have a right to be free from physical harm at the hands of resentful people.

I have a right to be loved for being me.

I have a right, with valid guidance, to think for myself, and make decisions.

I have a right to be responsible for myself.

I have a right to feel joy, happiness, sorrow, bereavement and pain.

I have a right to be a winner.

I have a right to care and be cared for, to nurture and be nurtured, to give and to receive.

I have a right to form my own convictions, beliefs and standards.

I have a right to know and experience personal freedom.

I have a right to my own body, mind and soul, and to use them in a sharing experience.

I have a right to recognize and accept the rights of others regarding their Bill of Rights.
c)1975 Fred M. Fariss


Foster Child Bill of Rights

Download this document in these format:


The Department of Children and Families recognizes the following rights of children and youth in foster care. These rights are intended to guide the Department and its providers in the delivery of care and services to foster youth with the commitment to permanency, safety and well being. This Bill of Rights was developed by the Department’s Youth Advisory Board.

Every Foster Child

  • Shall be treated with respect by DCF staff, foster parents and providers without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and/or disability.

  • Shall have family and relatives explored first as potential placement providers.

  • Shall have reasonable access to a caseworker who makes case plan decisions. Reasonable access shall include the social worker and supervisor’s office telephone numbers and email addresses as well as, a minimum, monthly visits by social worker.

  • Shall participate in the development and review of the service plan and have input into changes to the plan that affect permanence, safety, stability or well being. Youth age 14 and older should also be presented with the service plan for their review and signature.

  • Shall be informed in a manner appropriate to age and level of understanding of the reason(s) the Department of Children and Families became involved with his/her family and why he/she is in care.

  • Shall be included in the Foster Care Review meeting, Permanency Hearing and Lead Agency Team meeting if age 14 and older, unless documented by court order or service plan that participation would be detrimental to the youth. If the youth is unable to attend in person, he/she Shall have the right to submit a written statement to be considered at the meeting.

  • Shall be provided with information about a foster family or program and, whenever possible,Shall have an opportunity to meet the foster parent or program staff before placement occurs.

  • Shall live with a family and in placement settings that provide a safe and nurturing environment while supporting permanency, and well being, including encouraging youth’s goals, interests, social and school activities.

  • Shall have involvement as appropriate with family members and should participate in the development of visitation plans.

  • Shall receive support from social worker, foster family/provider in maintaining positive contact with significant people (relatives, teachers, friends and community supports) including assistance with contact information and visitation.

  • Shall be treated as a family member and, whenever possible, be included in a foster family’s activities, holidays and rituals and be able to freely discuss reason(s) with social worker and foster family if choosing to not participate.

  • Shall have access to medical, dental, vision, mental and behavioral health services regularly and more often as needed.

  • Shall have access to information contained in medical, dental, and educational records held by DCF as well as personal documents such as social security card, birth certificate, green card, etc. When youth leave DCF, they Shall be given copies of medical, dental and educational records held by DCF and original social security card, birth certificate, and green card.

  • Shall have the opportunity to have private conversations with social worker on a regular basis. Foster youth should also be made aware of the process for contacting the supervisor and attorney regarding any questions or concerns.

  • Shall be informed of the names and phone numbers of assigned attorneys and be aware that they can contact their attorneys and
    that there is a process to request a change of attorneys.

  • Shall have access to personal possessions, personal space and privacy with allowance for safety.  Shall receive assistance in acquiring life skills, education, training and career guidance to accomplish personal goals and prepare for the future and be informed of the post-secondary educational and employment supports available to youth in care through the Department.

  • Shall be informed that DCF provides clothing, birthday and holiday payments to foster parents and placement providers for youth in placement.



Dec. 9th, 2010

  Okay, so deciding to adopt a soldier or two right before Christmas may not be the smartest idea, but oh well.  I'm trying to adopt a soldier so I waI was putting together a list of things that I need to send.  My goal is to eventually have enough stuff to send a big shipment after the holidays (less traffic) as a late Christmas.  I'm just wondering if there are other lists or things that aren't on my list that might make a difference.


 Travel size hand wipes

 Hand santizers

 Toothbrushes (not the soft bristles)


 Shampoos, deordorant, lotions

 Soap,small travel size (Irish Spring is very popular as is Dove)

 Shaving creams (not aerosol)

 Disposable razors

 Battery-operated razors

 Toilet paper (unfolded and put into zip-loc bags)

 Kleenex (travel size packets)

 Eyeglass wipes

 Baby Wipes


 Personal care items:

 Sun block,with aloe vera

 Throat lozenges,cough drops

 Gum, mints

 Eye drops (Visine is the best)

 Blistex,chap stick,Vaseline ,carmex


 cough medicine


 jock itch spray

 boot liners,insoles

 Lotrimin AF for athletes foot

 foot powder,

 baby powder

 personal communication items

 envelopes, paper, pens,

 pads for writing paper

 and pre addressed envelopes makes it easier for the “trooper” to respond

 notebooks (small size to keep in BDU’s)

 disposable cameras

(It makes it so much easier if you include a self address postcard with your name and address on it, so that the “trooper” can just fill out and return to you. So at least you know they received the package).


 Other needs

 Batteries (AA, AAA)

 Duck tape (military green,tan,black

 Super glue, electrical tape

 Small flashlight with red lens

 Zip lock bags are great, the large sizes.

 Bungee cords

 Sunglasses, goggle-type sunglasses



 Socks, white or black

 Underwear (boxers)

 Grean, white t-shirts


 Drink items:

 Coffee, teas

 Hot cocoa mix

 Cappachino mixes

 Presweetened drink mix packets

 Tang drink mix

 Gatorade powder packets


 Candy/ goodies/ sweets:


 Homemade cookies are a huge hit.


 Peanut butter



 These all travel very well.

 Sugar cookies, cakes do not.


 Store boughts cookies :


 Oreos/ peanut butter “nutter butters”, Mrs Fields cookies, Lorna Doone cookies

 Candy bars , M&M peanuts are very popular

 Reeses pieces are also

 Rice krispy treats



Trailmix, granola bars, cashews, power bars, protein bars, nutrional bars, breakfast bars, pop tarts, granola bars, Pringles, cheetos, Doritos, peanut butter crackers, peanut butter and cheese crackers

 Velveeta cheese, the large bar

 Any canned cheese dips or salsas

 Sunflowers seeks in small bags

 Ritz crackers

 Peanut butter in plastic jars

 Jams and jellys in plastic jars

 Spoons, knifes,

 Bread, whole wheat (as it doesn’t mold as fast)


 Microwave foods:



 Microwave deserts

 Campbell microwave soups with pop lids


 Other favorite items:
         beef jerky,slim jims

 Beaf summer sausage (with Ritz crackers is a great favorite)

 Canned ravioli,spaghetti

 Tuna lunch meal kits.tuna in a pouch,canned tuna with creackers

 Canned sardines,smoked oysters,smoked clams

 Fruit cups


 Reading items:


 Paperback books





 Sugar packets

 Fast food packets

All the fast food restaurants have condiments of flavored sauces. And get them and ship. They love them to put on some of their foods or MRE’s to make them taste better



 Fun items:




 Music cd’

 DVD movies and video game cd’s for laptop computers

 Board games

 Hand held games


 Its important to send soaps in baggie box. As the soaps will overwhelm the food if not in baggie....thank you.

Also send small stuffed animals/toys/candy for soldiers to pass out to the local children

Adoption both International and Foster Care

          For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to adopt.  Even in elementary school I would play with younger children and babies and think to myself, "I want a little boy just like him."  Of course, living in a very small town wasn't exactly condusive, I think the word is, to admitting I want to adopt trans-racially and internationally.  But for as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to adopt sibling groups from the U.S. foster care system, Africa, and Vietnam.  I know there are a small number countries that will work with single white women in Africa.

          Right now, where I am at in my search, I believe, I will go with Americans For African Adoptions.  I like the price, the programs, and the time frame for adopting from Ethiopia.  I would love to adopt from Uganda, but would need to have a job that would allow telecommunication and some really good internet service, as Uganda only allows adoption to families who live with the adopted child in Uganda for three years.  I don't know the requirements one would have re-entering the U.S. with a child from Uganda.  I would gladly do it if I was positive the paperwork wouldn't get screwed up.  

          I keep appraised of the current cost by getting on Americans For African Adoptions (AFAA) website every six months or so since I was 18.  The program for one child runs roughly $10,725 with INS forms, air fare for escorting a child, the child's (under 12 yrs) air fare, application to adopt, the Ethiopia program itself, and the African Artifacts the director picks up for the child to remind him of his/her past and heritage.  That does not include foster care for said child.  You have the choice of foster care in a AFAA run home, the country's orphanage, or having a living relative care for the child if possible.  That cost varies upon if the child still uses formula or not.  ($200/$175 per month)  This covers food, clothing, basic medical and school for your child.  You need to make a plan to cover 3 to 6 months of foster care before your child comes home.

         You can also adopt siblings or additional child(ren) at one time.  The additional cost is $3,750 for each additional child.  INS does not require additional fee if children are siblings, but if not, there is a $525 additional fee per child.  For me it would cost more, as I want to fly over and spend time there before the adoption if final.

          I haven't checked into Vietnam lately.  The last time I did it was costing roughly $17,000 for the total adoption, but I would want to spend two weeks in country exploring, taking pictures, picking up different things, getting recipes for meals, and learning about the culture to share with my child the same way I would Africa.

Total Cost I Want Put Aside or Fund-raising For African Adoption:  (plan 2 kids) 

Airfare:  $750 x 2
Airfare: $1,600
INS: $525
Ethiopia: $7,500
Application: $250
Additional Child: $3,750
Artifacts: $100 x 2
Foster Care: $300 x 6
Program Total to Raise:  $17,125*

Looking at it, all I really need to come up with if I start the process at the beginning of the year is $7,125 for the adoption because of the $10,000 tax credit.  That right there would go into two college funds for the kids.
 (*I didn't include the "vacation costs" there would be before the adoptions are final.)

What AFAA needs:

Financial Records

  1. last 3 years tax returns
  2. last 3 yrs W-2's
  3. current bank letters with balances of each account
  4. current bank letter
  5. current employment verification
Legal Residence
  1. U.S. citizen here or abroad
  2. 21-60 years old
  3. no more than 43 yr age difference between oldest parent and child
  4. 25 yrs old if single
  5. 2 yrs min. marriage, if so
Other Information
  1. Criminal history clearance on police letterhead with full name, address, and date
  2. State child abuse registry
  3. applicants' health statement from physician
  4. home-study
  5. AFAA application
  6. birth certificates
  7. pictures of all immediate family and main rooms and exterior of home
  8. autobiography for each parent
  9. 3 reference letters...no family
  10. letter to African country explaining why you want to adopt from their country
  11. proof of medical insurance for child adopting
  12. power of attorney to finalize adoption
Be prepared to make copies of EVERYTHING.  I'm including the website for anyone who wants more information about African adoptions.


Writer's Block: Unplugged

For how much money would you be willing to spend a whole week away from the Internet, TV, and mobile phones? Would you suffer withdrawal pains?

I would be willing to spend a whole week away from Internet, TV, and mobile phones for $10,000.  Just enough to pay the repairs on the van, pay off the title loan, pay three things on my credit report and put some into savings. 

I don't think I'd suffer withdrawls because I would just make sure I had half a dozen notebooks, a package of graph paper, a measuring tape, pencils, pens, pencil sharpener, and about twenty books along with a radio and a camera.  I would take the time to work on my floor plans for a few houses, business complexes, apartments, schools and hotels.  I would also, spend time making myself work on my stories that have been in the works the past thirteen years or so. 

When I get bored or stuck I'll just read or take pictures of things.  I would love to learn more on photography.

Girls Night Out

Since when did a fun night out with the girls meant leaving the kids (nieces and nephews) home with the husbands (brothers-in-law) and go to a Chinese restaurant.  My sisters and sister-in-law picked me up from work for my sister-in-law's birthday dinner.  Just girls.  We spent about an hour trying to find the place.  It was hilarious.  They hadn't been in three years and wasn't sure which city or even what name to look under.  (It ended up being in "Phoenix", but could have easily been Tempe or Ahwatukee as well.)  The joys of living in a large city on the edge of "suburbs".)
Hong Kong Gourmet was good.  I'm easy.  Sweet and Sour chicken (without sauce, I know), ketchup (I know I'm ruining it), and sweet biscuits.  So I'm not much for trying new things, but my sisters all ate alot.  You wouldn't think that having one speak nothing but English, one who understand a little Spanish, one who can speak Spanglish (or Amsy..inside joke) and one who speaks only Spanish would be awkward, but we had so much fun.  Cutting up and laughing.  We managed to close the place down.  Granted it was only 9:30, but we got no calls during the three hours we were gone asking us how much longer.  Usually in takes only thirty minutes before we get called "Where are you?  What's taking so long?  Can't you hear these kids?"  hahaha
One of these days I will have that.  A husband at home with the kids watching boxing while I have dinner with the girls away from the kids and husbands.