SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ken and Nancy's 60th Anniversary

60 Years
6 Children
36 Grandchildren
34 Great Grandchildren
30 Weddings
76 Births
0 Funerals
These are but the cold logistics.  The beauty of the life is in the faces and smiles and the hearts and memories.

This is the life.

Children playing on the floor



Karissa (Ellen's daughter) and Lauren


Keith and Nicole, Joey with Carson and Cameron

 Lisa and Ellen

Brett and Ryan

 If anyone doubted the heartfelt appreciation and sincere feeling of unworthiness for the outpouring of love expressed to Grandma, you needed only to look at her teary eyes throughout the entire evening.  She was overwhelmed.

Grandma and Papa

The "older generation"

Renee (Ellen's daughter)

Opening the book, created by all of the children and grandchildren with their well wishes

Ed and Robin Foster (and Nehemiah) in the foreground with Dana, David, and Claire in the background.

Keira (Joey's daughter) with Elizabeth (the Fosters granddaughter)

 Would this be a true family gathering without a football? Shane and Owen got away with it for as long as they could....or until Grandma caught on.

The youngest grandsons, Gabe and Zach, with Benjamin (Ellen's son)

Dana and David

Kelly's family (minus Marty and Mark)

The original family: Kenny, Kyle, Kevin, Keith, Kelly, and Kennan

With spouses: Cindy, Jodi, Pat, Cindy, and Marty (missing Katie)

Ken and Nancy/Daddy and Mama/Papa and Grandma with almost all of the guests who attended the reception.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bryce and Audrey's Video Montage

I love that couples do these videos  I love the story they tell of their individual lives and families blending into their new life and family together.

I don't love that it makes me cry, but it does.  Every time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

To My Young Adults, thanks for growing up and moving on

I just read a surprising statistic this morning:  according to a Trulia analysis 40% of Americans ages 18 to 34 were living with their parents, siblings, or other relative in 2015.

I am left speechless by this percentage, yet I'm also left with SO many thoughts swirling around this reality.  I choose not to voice most of them, but to consider--gratefully, thankfully, and proudly--the absence of my eight children in that range from the 40%.  (I need to post this soon, because in a few months I'll have one in that range, 18 but with a year of high school to go.)

The upper reaches of the 18 to 34 would be the most likely to have gained independence and you five 26-32 year-olds are all caring for families and, as anyone would hope and expect, self-supporting.  But you next three, you're the "in between" age range.  You're not kids, not parents, not homeowners and maybe not a lot of things--maybe not married, maybe not out of school, and maybe not settled in a career or even your part of the world yet.  You three are voted "most likely to be adults still living at home".  But you're not.

I had two fabulous weekends to remind me how wonderful and very rewarding it is to see your kids turn into grown ups.

The first weekend was with Shane and Claire, (enjoying a girls weekend away with Lisa) and being the recipients of their warm hospitality.  They're juggling a lot--marriage, school, sports, a home, pursuits of medical school, and hosting family with relaxed smiles.  They make their share of sacrifices (imagine Shane's 6'7" frame on a moped in all kinds of weather) but they're working hard, and taking responsibility, and they're shining!

We were able to watch a couple of basketball games, too.  College basketball hasn't ended up being all that Shane had hoped it would be, on a number of levels. Disappointment is hard to take, but it's even harder to watch when it's served to your kids.  The pride, though, in seeing him handle it well, turn it into a positive experience, and grow from that experience has been tremendous.  Even so, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see him flourish in a hard fought win over the number one team in their conference.  Shane played a big role in defending the inside game against two opponents that Lisa and I nicknamed Thing One and Thing Two.  It was a joy to see his huge smile and watch him really enjoy the game he's loved for so long.

The next weekend event was a surprise trip with Keith to Georgia to celebrate Troy's birthday.  It was our first trip to his new home in the southeast and, after he got past the utter shock of his Mom standing at his front door (accomplice Bryce had set up the ruse) he showed us around.  He's made a marvelously practical choice for his living space and needed to give no typical bachelor apologies as he showed us around (OK, maybe one apology).  I love to watch the unfolding of adulthood and see the results of dreams, plans, and trial and error all come together.  Troy's confidence knows no bounds!

The surprise continued when Bryce schemed with the restaurant host to take the place of our wait staff and deliver Troy's dessert.  Troy was in disbelief as an inappropriately friendly "waiter" leaned from behind him over his shoulder with the dessert and announced, in a heavy accent, "Hello my name is Fronk and I have come to serve you the double chococate...."  His laughter was genuine, but it wasn't until Bryce started making up words that he turned around and took a good look at this weird waiter.  There's almost nothing better for a mom than seeing her sons genuinely euphoric to see one another.

Bryce, still a teenager, and absolutely the most likely to be living off his parents had made the four-hour drive from his home in another state where he has settled and is making his own way, figuring out his own life, and planning to share it with his bride in a few months.  He doesn't have things all figured out, but is ambitiously learning where he fits and how to make changes to get where he wants to go.  His trust in God is paramount and the joy of Christ pours from him into the lives of all he touches.

We experienced the combined energy and creativity of these men for an exhausting 24 hours.  We laughed at their antics (following their car), relaxed and played (or watched) games, and got to turn a blind eye as they ran over flower garden chasing a football into prized landscaping at the botanical garden (not our "kids", not our problem!").

Three boys, three states, three states of life, on different paths, but all doing it on their own.  I'm thankful I only have to imagine what it would be like to be the parent of the 40%.

I love you!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Can't We Just Have a Quiet Basketball Season?

Just when I think the dust has settled on the 2015-16 basketball season and we can look forward to a typical basketball season we have a whole new set of events going on.  The news so far this year have been Shane getting his front tooth knocked out while playing the Minnesota Gophers; Owen's knee surgery and missing the first month of basketball; and the pertussis outbreak at the high school that cancelled all games and practices for Owen and Lisa for a solid 16 days.

Can we just settle down for some nice, quiet basketball already?

Friday, March 11, 2016

My Favorite Sports Story Ever

In light of the negative attention that last week's basketball game received, and in honor of Gabe turning 10-years-old this week, I thought I would relive this great memory from football season 2014.

I am not so naive as to think that this is how athletic competitions should end all the time, that it never matters if you win or lose, and that we just need to make everyone feel good.  But I sure am glad that this select group of people on this one particular day came together to make Gabe's day, and in the process, left smiles on the faces of millions of people around the world.  The video shows Gabe (a then 8-year-old, being guided by his older brother, Owen (who was also on the court during the stall game last week) and then chased down by a great group of opposing players (from Mosinee) who just make this the best high school touchdown ever.

Happy Birthday Gabe!!

(I wish I could get the NFL video with commentator breakdown to show up as a full video, but I can't, so here is the link to their piece:

Or, you can see the original footage here:

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Basketball or "Stall Ball"?

March 5, 2016

To:  Wisconsin State Basketball Coaches and the WIAA
Re:  Basketball or “Stall Ball”?

Dear Coaches and Board Members,

I sat through a painful 36-minute “stall ball” game last night.  Even before the end of the blisteringly boring excuse for a game (and while we led by 4 points) I was drafting this letter in my head.  The nauseated feeling that began in the first five minutes of play never went away.  For me, this isn’t about winning and losing.  For the coaches, apparently, that is all it is about.

As for basketball, I am not new to the game.  I played high school basketball in MN, played on a European women’s team while I was an exchange student, and played one year of division 2 college basketball before transferring to a division 1 school where I knew I could not (and did not care to try to) compete.  I stayed involved in athletics by officiating intramural games; and I married an athlete who played high school football, basketball, and baseball and has officiated at upper levels of competition.  We have eleven children; and, our ninth child and seventh son is a now high school athlete.  I have been watching my kids play baseball, soccer, softball, football, and basketball for twenty-two years.  Besides all of the regular season games, I’ve watched them play in all-star games, AAU games, state east-west games,a MN-WI border battle, state tournaments, college football games, and college basketball games.  I estimate that I have sat through at least 1600 games.

In twenty-two years and 1600+ games I have seen only ONE team end the season with a win.  Only ONE team made it to the final championship game and took home the trophy.  That’s only one in almost 200 teams’ seasons, less than 0.5% success.  Learn a lesson coaches, it isn’t just about winning.  If it is, you are a collective group of ultimate failures. 

I haven’t encouraged my kids to play sports so they can “win”.  I’ve encouraged them to play because they enjoy it and to learn very valuable life lessons.  I believe kids should walk away from an athletic experience knowing more about hard work, cooperation, teamwork, handling pressure, submitting to leadership, letting others down, and knowing how to deal with those who’ve let them down.  I believe they should learn the benefits of dedication, giving it everything they have, improving their work ethic, and doing all they can as a team to do to those things together.  I believe these lessons take them into job situations, marriages, families, and community positions better equipped to be leaders. 

I want my kids to be leaders, but not without integrity.  Leadership without integrity is what most people call “politics”.  What we all despise about “politics” is the blatant maneuvering to position oneself for personal gain and victory.  We link it with a lack of integrity.
That’s what I feel is happening with high school basketball.  We were witness to this kind of basketball three times this season.  Sitting and watching a team hold the ball for 7 straight minutes is not a game.  Watching a team dribble in circles and pass for minutes on end, waiting to draw a foul, is frustratingly pointless for players and fans alike.  But the fact that it’s frustrating for the fans is not a reason to change strategies.  Three real reasons to stop engaging in the “stall ball” stategy are:  1) it violates the integrity of the game,  2) it undermines real sportmanship, and  3) the reason for competing in a team sport in the first place is seriously violated by such behavior.  This kind of basketball is the making of a sports blooper segment, not an athletic event.

Coaches, when it comes to your “stall ball”, even the players hate it.  They want to play.  They joined the team because they like to play.  I hear first hand what is said by our team’s players and by the opposition.  They hate it.  We’ve taught them too well to respect authority and do what you tell them to do.  They do it because you make them do it; but, THEY HATE IT.  Ask them, I’m sure you’ll find that the vast majority don’t mind losing as much as they  mind not playing

As a parent, one of the most frustrating things I’ve had to do is create what seem like obvious rules.  (I’m guessing that the WIAA committees feel the same way.) I wrongly thought that basic, overriding principles of life would be enough to direct my children.   Then they got old enough to bend the rules, push the boundaries, and come to me saying, “But you didn’t say not to…”  And so the need for specific rules and precise language arose.  I would prefer that my kids exercise personal discretion and integrity to do what is right.  As much as possible, I still challenge them to make mature and honest choices without a defined list of rules.  When it comes to basketball we’ve had sons share with us how, in games, they tried to ‘get into players heads’ to mess them up, “accidentally” tap a ball away before inbounding to take time off the clock, or quietly taunt someone to anger them and get them to retaliate and foul.  We have heartily denounced those behaviors.  Whether they’re legal or just something they can get away with doesn’t matter, it’s bad sportsmanship and lacks integrity.

We want this generation to grow up and make society better, not more self-serving.  While “stall ball” is within the rules of Wisconsin high school basketball, everyone who has had to pay $4, maybe drive 1-2 hours (or more) and then sit through what doesn’t even resemble the game that drives the kids to want to play in the first place, knows first hand that the integrity of the game, and high school athletcs, has been violated. 

It’s true, “No one said you can’t do that.” But they should. Shame on all of you.  (After some consideration, I feel that this was in inappropriate comment.  I apologize.)


Cindy White

Added Note:
Please understand, this is not simply about one game, one team, or one coach.  I wrote most of this letter a month ago following another frustrating stall ball game.  I wish we had stalled and lost so that you would know this is not sour grapes!

Here is an excerpt from a comment that may help express the purpose of this letter:
The debate about this is not new, a shot clock was first implemented in professional basketball in 1954 and the NCAA came on board in the mid 1980s. Everyone understands that 36 minutes of stalling is not basketball. The high schools have been reluctant to go to the shot clock because of the costs, training, and management and because it could potentially hurt younger players who need more time to implement the basic fundamentals of the game. 

The National Federation of High School Association, on its website states, "Currently, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington, New York, California, North Dakota and South Dakota utilize the shot clock for either boys or girls or both. Since there currently is no allowance for a shot clock under NFHS rules, these states forfeit opportunity for service on the Basketball Rules Committee."

Unless the NFHS changes the rules, I believe its time for Wisconsin to join those eight states and use the shot clock. You can have your 1980s basketball. I"m ready to move forward.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Time Vacuum--The Next Generation

As a follow-up to the Time Vacuum post, I am posting the video of the sons performing in their fathers' footsteps. I think perhaps Chet inherited Uncle Kyle's dance moves. This video was taken in 1998 at Camp Nicolet, having moved from Camp Algonquin where the original version was performed.

From left to right--Jared, Kip, Keith, Marty, Chet, Kaleb, and Joey (sons of Kyle, Kenny, Keith, and Marty)