Friday, August 28, 2009

This just in: Buy a piece of art

Lavendar of France

I read in the local paper that there is a 12 year old girl (insert Helen Reddy roar here) --Alyssa Frazier--that was selected to represent Missouri at a leadership academy in October in Washington DC. She is selling her artwork as a fundraiser to get the money she needs to go.

Please visit her website:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Voters for the St Pius Manute Bol School project

The ladies from the St Pius School who have been raising money the last year for the Manute Bol School project (our former RYLA students) won the True Hero Contest for $1000 from the internet. :) Thanks to everyone who voted for them. of June, they had helped raised over $80,000. Half way there, ladies.

Thanks everyone who voted. I know the ladies appreciate it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Aunty Genie will be a Great Mom

When Uncle Brian met Genie, the entire Popper family
felt like we had won a lottery. Not just the kind of
lottery you win with pull-tabs at the bingo parlor
ran by Pat and her husband, but the REAL
lottery. Power Ball Lottery.
When I saw how much Genie loved my brother, it
made me want to cry. I was so happy for him.
One of the quotes I will never forget is
"The best gift a father can give his children
is to love their mother." It goes both ways.
This is one lucky baby.
(No crying Mom)
Genie will be great mother because she already
does cool mothery things. Like love children
she didn't bore herself.
Speaking of cool motherly things, she will
take those kids to a donut shop just to see a giant
Homer Simpson. Even if her nephew is
wearing a mohawk.
Aunty Genie will be a great mother because she
is so stinkin' smart! She has a graduate degree.
She runs an environmental education center to help
kids learn to love nature. She believes in
that kind of investment in the future.
Genie will be a great mother because she knows how to
love things that some people might consider unlovable
because of their imperfections. Like a lab
with black spots.
Aunty Genie will be a great mother
because she is beautiful. Every kid
wants to believe their mother is beautiful.
And she is. We love her, and consider
it some heavenly gift that she decided
to spend her life with the Poppers. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why Uncle Brian will be a Great Dad

Uncle Brian and Aunty Genie are going to have a baby.
My only brother.
I am an Aunt already...13 times.
I am a Great Aunt already...6 times.
But this is feeling all warm fuzzy different.
Uncle Brian will be a great dad because he sits
in the giant clam shell every time the kiddies
come to town. And I quote--
"I am only doing this until you are 21."
Maybe it is because I knew him when
he was this size
...and still had hair. "Red" hair.
He will be a great dad because he knows
how to make really good matchbox car sounds.
He will be a great dad because he doesn't mind
kiddies lounging all over him....

or his it is known.

He will be a great dad because
he has cool work boots.
This is the girl when she was about
two in Uncle Brian's boots.
She now owns her own pair.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A great quote

Write something worth reading or
do something worth writing--
Ben Franklin

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?


There. I said it. If you know me, you already know it. Val loves the public school system.

Do you hear what I hear?

There is a wonderful sound right this second at my kitchen table. The sound of Ms. VanBallas educating my boy. Ms. VanBallas, our tutor from the spring has willingly returned to us. We are so happy.

She is sipping her daily Diet Pepsi. She is enjoying the medieval coins, rocks from every country, and the chocolate buttons from the Cadbury plant we brought her from the UK. She is smiling, laughing with the boy, wowing at the size of the fatty cattys and she is investing in a child that she didn't bear. She has already been investing in 120 others earlier today, and still has a little left for my boy. Thanks be to God.

I am so sick of hearing the people saying they are going to home school because public education isn't getting it done. These same people who were SCHOOLED by public education are now going to educate because the education isn't good enough for their child. That public education is broken.

Some of my best best friends on this planet are or have been teachers. They aren't broken.

An imperfect system? Sure. Imperfect people? Sure.

Last week, the boy and I met with four team teachers, his school nurse, school counselor, vice-principal, and Ms. VanBallas. Plus me. There were 9 adults sitting at that table, with their juice and doughnuts we brought, and were completely investing in the success of my boy. That doesn't include the team at the hospital that is right in there with us. I was sure to point out to the boy that all these people were there in his best interest. On his side. On his team.

If you know the boy, he got a sheepish grin and was a little embarrassed at the attention. But he loved it.

For all the negative press, stories of abuse, academic neglect, and the failure of public education, I wanted to state for public record that there is some really great things going on with education. Just ask me. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pictures that make me happy today

Right by the high school--the Girl's first day of her
senior year

Us, Tallants, and Allisons at the temple --
the first time our immediate family has ever been
all together there. Very tender. :)
This is my new favorite. Love the color
shade diversity

Friday, August 14, 2009

When life gives you animals--shoot them (No Brian, it isn't what you think)

Sometimes when you are so focused on a certain goal
(like using the new camera to shoot a picture of a
beautiful blue flower in the yard)
God seems to send a little window dressing along
to make the picture that much sweeter.
Thanks yellow bug for the surprise cameo. :)
Somestime we only see the bars of the cages that hold
us back. However, sometimes God seems to have
an ability to move those bars that obstruct our view
so that we can get that clear shot.
And sometimes the bars add interest int he background.
Sometimes you don't think the shot will work out
because it is too dark. However, light always wins
over the dark and a little flash can go a long way.

Speaking of light, Rudy our photo teacher would be very

proud of me for using natural window light.

Sometimes the best moments in life don't involve

any words at all. :)

Taking a field trip to Nebraska tomorrow to the temple. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When life gives you dust--draw pictures

One of my most favorite things about living in the "States"
is that most of the roads are paved. Even the obscure ones,
way out in the middle of no where. I always notice pavement.

Growing up in Alaska, we didn't have many paved roads.
Sure, most of the main street ones were,
but generally, life in my mind
was defined by how hard packed the dirt had become
or who had to walk into their properties during spring thaw
or "break-up" because their roads had become impassible
to drive from snow, water, and mud.
Folks Missourians would call "country" had the walk-in
types of roads. I lived by maintained gravel roads, and
Mr. Fun lived on pavement. Of course. :)
With so many gravely roads, there is the the by-product
of dirt and dust. I didn't realize how much dust there
was in AK until moving to the Lower 48.
The cars are soooo clean here. Strange.
I got the dust picture from some forward email.
I like his attitude.

For another random thought, I am cleaning out my
photo files, and found these two of the catties. They are
turning one on Friday, and I thought you would enjoy a
little glimpse of them. This is Sparta. He likes to lay
flat on his back and sleep. Being a novice cat owner,
that seems to be a weird position to me.

This is Smoke. He can be a good sport.
Lets The Boy do anything to him. :)
As much as the catties annoy me,
they had been a true blessing of love and fun
for The Boy. Live-in Besties as
The Girl would say. :)
Happy Birthday Catties.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wannt Take A Field Trip: A hot summer-y follow up

Just in case you have nothing more pressing to do than to follow the
"birthing" of a new non-profit, then today is your lucky day.

"It Wont Happen To Me" (IWHTM) had it's Missouri coming out party
last night in the booming metropolis of Smithville, Mo.
Popular 5,000 give or take a few. We had everything you would
want in a small town party. And let me state for the record:
it was hot. And I am not talking about the activities.
Although, those were great.

Naturally, we had the Star Spangled Banner
(the mid-west version of an opening prayer)
and Old Glory.

We had our sleeping dogs

There was ice cream on the square in an old fashioned
candy store--Nellie's (check it out on the web--named
after the death of another friend who died from cancer--
started by her family--same cancer Mr. Fun had
almost two years ago).
Of course, where there is ice cream, there
are children (and one Dave Tallant)
I told Lori the trade/display booth
ancient chinese secret (I am chinese you know)
Where there are Dum-Dums, there are kids.
Where there are kids, there are parents.
Parents with teen drivers. :)
Here is our was WINNNNNNDy but everything
remained in tact. Love the banner stand.
Thanks Tom A. It worked like a dream.

Lori and Tom had their game ON! They did
such a fantastic job of talking with folks,
networking, and getting right in there.
I am really proud of them.
I, on the other hand, functioned more
as sweaty window dressing.
When I say hot, I mean hot.
I mean as "hot as
(as the mormons say)
'h-e-double toothpicks'" .
Next stop--IWHTM Walkathon.
Saturday, September 19th, at 10 am.
Macken Park, North Kansas City, MO.
for registration information and forms
(they should be posted soon--if not already)
or get a hold of me or Lori
for forms or to make a donation.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: It Won't Happen To Me

Great Kansas City Chapter
For those of you who don't know, our church friend's lost their 17-year old daughter Megan in a wreckless teen driving accident in December and they are painfully making their way towards the new definition of their everyday life.
They have met a group from Georgia that has a non-profit group called "It Won't Happen To Me" that specializes is educating teens about making smart driving decisions.
Did you know that THE NUMBER ONE cause of teen deaths from ages 15-19 years is wreckless teen driving. It isn't what you think. It isn't all about drugs or alcohol. Actually, less than 25% of these accidents involve drugs or alcohol. The other 75% are related to speed, inexperience, and distracted (ie texting) driving. In Megan's case, she was a passenger of a car driven by another youth who was "hill jumping/hopping", something I have learned is quite common here in the hilliness of Missouri.
Lori and Tom, Megan's parents, have decided to do something in their new life that they haven't done before. They have started a chapter of this group here for the Kansas City area, the FIRST chapter outside the Atlanta area in the entire United States. Groundbreakers. Advocates. Brave....those are words you could use to describe this work. Don't say it to Lori. She is sick of hearing how brave she is.
These parents feel like this is a way they can make sense of Megan's death. Her death has led them to a place where they can help educate and make aware other kids whose deaths can be prevented. They feel her spirit in this work. They feel God's spirit leading them. They have asked me to come along and help. It is my priviledge to do so.
This Friday night from 6-9pm we will have our coming out party (first public appearance) at the Smithville Town Square for a safety fair. Stop by. Get a Dum-Dum sucker. See our banner we spent 16 man hours making. :)
Free up your morning on Saturday September 19th at 10 am for our first fundraiser...."In Memory Of..." The monies we are using to get started is Megan's savings that she was saving for her senior isn't much and we need more to get the program going. That is why we are having a fundraiser. It is all tax deducatable--any donation that we receive. Save the date. More information forthcoming.

If you want to read more, go to the web site. Drive carefully.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Go Val Go!

See Val drive Bobert's scooter

See Val smile.

Go Val Go!
(Thanks Bobert)