The Official Blog of Coyote Hill
And He took them in His arms and blessed them... Mark 10:16
And He took them in His arms and blessed them... Mark 10:16
It was “one of those days” for Lance Rainwater, Coyote Hill’s vocational skills instructor and property manager. But 14 year-old Mason*, Lance’s sidekick for the day, declared it “the greatest day ever.”
Lance and Mason had set out after a heavy snow in March, with the intention of moving hay to a pasture for a few of our horses. The task normally wouldn’t take very long.
“Things went wrong from the start,” Lance said, “First, we left the gate open, thinking the horses would stay with the hay.” The horses had a mind of their own, however, and before Lance and Mason could stop them, they had taken off through the gate.
“They took off towards the arena where the rest of the horses were,” Lance said. “We tried to catch up to them but eventually had to hop in the Gator.” However, on their way back to the horses, the Gator got stuck in the snow and the two were forced to find shovels to dig it out.
After the horses were finally back where they belonged, Mason and Lance went back to the tractor to get the second bale of hay. Thinking it would be easier to turn the tractor off while hooking up the large bale, Lance shut off the engine. Upon hooking up the bale, Lance turned the keys to start the tractor – but nothing happened.
After 45 minutes of trying to revive it, Lance called Executive Director Larry McDaniel, hoping he would have some advice. “It took Larry literally five seconds to figure it out,” Lance said. “Larry asked us if the PTO was on. It was. All I had to do was turn it off, and the tractor started.”
“I had been pretty frustrated up to that point,” Lance said. “But when we found out it was simply an operating error, I couldn’t help but smile.”
Now, a few weeks after the event, Lance just laughs and shakes his head whenever he talks about it. “Mason got to do so much that day that he had never done before…digging things out of the snow, running after the horses. To him – it was a great day!”
We’re all proud of Mason’s positive outlook.
–story by Allissa Fisher, MU Service Learning Student
*name changed for sake of confidentiality
For those who agree with the teaching of Disney’s movie “Bambi” about hunters, you may want to skip this post. But then again, if you appreciate the bond of a father teaching his boy a new life skill and the satisfaction of working hard and succeeding in providing food for the family…keep reading!
We gained a 12-year-old boy in the Zimmer Home in September. Dad Charlie Marshman has been working hard at developing a bond with Curt*, like our Home Parents do with all of our children.
“We wanted to try hunting together,” Charlie explains. “Opening morning of deer season, we went out with our pastor. Curt and I didn’t get anything, but our pastor did. We were able to help him through the entire process of field dressing, skinning, processing and getting the meat in the freezer. What a learning experience for Curt!”
Charlie’s wife, Jaimee, shares, “Nearly every day during deer season, Curt and Charlie have been getting up early to go in the woods, and then back out to hunt again after school. They were having fun but hadn’t gotten to shoot at anything. They even went to another place in Columbia and saw, according to Curt, ‘the biggest buck I’ve ever seen!!’ Curt shot at it but said he was shaking so much that he missed.”
Jaimee concludes, “They decided to go out one more time on the Coyote Hill property before the season ended, even though they hadn’t seen anything out here. THREE doe walked right in front of them! Charlie let Curt take the shot – AND HE GOT IT!!! He was so excited, and they will be doing all of the work themselves to get the meat in the freezer. It’s been a great experience for them – doing all of this together.”
We are so thankful for our amazing Home Parents, our wonderful children – and our family of supporters that make life-time memories like this possible.
Before school started, Mom Kayla Kauffman from the Wright Home decided she wanted to treat all the young ladies in her home to a “Girls’ Night.” She got creative and figured out some things that they could do right there at home – including facials and manicures!
Kayla said, “The girls loved the oatmeal masks and painting each others nails, not only because they were able to stay up past their bedtimes, but because they were able to help each other. It was a great lesson in serving others!”
Whether or not you want to include your canine friend, we wanted to include Kayla’s oatmeal mask instructions, so you would be inspired to try your own Girls’ Night with some special young ladies in your life!
Anyone who knows anything about the history of Coyote Hill recognizes the names of Mark and Laurene Zimmer. Even new children that arrive at The Hill soon realize that Zimmer must be something or someone significant. After all, every time they come on the property they travel on Zimmer Lane, and our second home is named The Zimmer Home.
Thus, whenever Mark and Laurene come for a visit, our Home Parents excitedly announce to all the children that the Zimmers are coming! This happened last week, when the Zimmers brought some friends to The Hill for a visit and a tour. That in itself is not an unusual occurrence – but what happened to me as a result took me by surprise.
The very afternoon that the Zimmers were expected to arrive, I simply stepped into the arena to snap a few photos. Within moments, two young boys turned to me and asked enthusiastically, “Are you Mark Zimmer???”
Well, I must admit – I’d never been asked that question before. It took me a moment before I could reply…
“Do I LOOK like a ‘Mark’?!”
“Well, he is coming for a visit today you know!” and with that, they hurried back to their activity.
I forgave them for mistaking me for a man when I realized how awesome it was that they were SO excited about meeting the Zimmers. They were hoping that just about anybody who walked in would be their highly anticipated guest.
However, I’ve decided that the next time the Zimmers come for a visit, I’ll make sure I wear make-up and a dress before I go to work.
Summertime and family vacations seem to go hand-in-hand. Thus, as a part of providing that “Safe Place to Be a Child,” we love to grant our youth and children the opportunity to create those traditional, summer-time memories. Those memories will undoubtedly be carried with them for a lifetime.
Recently, Tim and Kristi Hughes and their family in the Hubbell Home loaded up and headed out on vacation. When we say “loaded up” – we mean LOADED – with three adults and eleven children in one van! The long road trip to Michigan provided ample time for lots of stories to be told and countless songs to be sung. They stayed with Kristi’s sister and family while there, and after resting up a bit on day one of the trip, they were ready to take the Detroit area by storm on the following days.
Mom Kristi explains, “We enjoyed splash pads and sprayscapes, Mill Race Village (a village of homes built in the 1800’s) The Yankee Air Museum, Turtle Cove water park and a day at the Detroit Zoo. When asked what the very best part of their vacation was, each and every child answered, ‘the zoo!’”
Kristi continues, ‘The kids loved seeing the kangaroos, elephants, tigers and monkeys. The Detroit Zoo is famous for their Arctic Ring of Life. Watching polar bears play with balls was a favorite with our twins. There was also an underground, glass tunnel through the polar bear and seal exhibit where animals could be viewed from underneath! The polar bears tended to lay on top of the tunnel as viewers walked by. The kids were amazed at how close we were to the animals, while seeing them in their natural habitat.”
We can’t mention an amazing vacation like this without once again thanking all of you who support our annual Pancake Breakfast. That one annual fund-raiser continues to provide the majority of the funding for our summer recreation fund. Thank YOU for the part you play in helping provide these life-long, family memories for our children!
One of our Home Parent Moms, Kayla Kauffman, shares what The Wright Home found to do on a recent rainy Monday in June:
Our mornings usually consist of swinging on the swing set, playing kickball or the favorite from our home – SWIMMING. However, the other day we had one of our first rainy days of the summer and it was overcast and dreary all morning.
Thus, we just came up with some activities for the kids to do inside. A generous donor provided the funds to decorate our home, so we went to Hobby Lobby and bought some frames and wall hangings. Our 17-year-old is our resident artist, and she painted two signs to hang up in either hallway; one that says GIRLS and one that says BOYS. The younger children made crafts and painted pictures. Our two-year-old son, Elijah, sat outside and painted a rock.
Playing dress up became the next rainy-day activity. The younger girls dressed up and pretended to be a country singer and a Chinese waitress. They waited on each other and pretended to bring everyone else drinks. It was really cute and a really fun way to interact with all the kids in the house at the same time. –Kayla Kauffman
Yes – summer is a great time for sharing lots of outdoor activities together as a family. However, we do our best to make the most of each and every day, whether or not the weather cooperates!
Occasionally we hear from our youth and children after they’ve left our care. We love these notes of reassurance and encouragement…reminding us why we do what we do. We hope you’ll also be encouraged. It is because of your continued support that we are able to make this kind of difference. As this young lady states – we’re not just changing lives…together, we are literally saving lives. Thank you for helping us rescue these children and give them “A Place to Be a Child.”
Coyote Hill was the best time of my life, with amazing people…people who give their lives to help children. Many foster kids feel like foster homes are bit like jail, but while at Coyote Hill, I went to water parks, concerts and places that blew my mind. Before coming to Coyote Hill, I had never been to a concert or a hotel. While at Coyote Hill, my Home Parent Mom took me to a Christian concert, and all I could do was cry because I was so thankful for how she was helping me.
The people at Coyote Hill are so kind and understanding. They changed my life and taught me to be a better person. I don’t know how I can ever thank these people that literally saved my life. The direction my life was going before I came to Coyote Hill…I just don’t think I would have made it to adulthood. So, I am very thankful for all of you, and the way you are changing kids’ lives every day. God bless each of you!
–15 year-old former resident
“Recently, I listened to a radio broadcast about parenting. One of the many points that stuck out to me was that sometimes parents have to love their kids enough to let them go and let them take chances. It is so easy to want to protect and shield our kids from danger, whatever form it may take. Here at Coyote Hill, that often looks like Home Parents who have a very hard time letting children leave to return to a parent, guardian or move on to an adoptive family. However, as the broadcast explained, we want our children to grow into strong men and women who can stand up for what is right. Hopefully, you as a parent (as well as our Home Parents) have laid a strong foundation ahead of time, allowing children to learn and grow and take small chances along the way. Throughout the parenting journey, parents have to maintain a visual picture of holding their children with open hands – realizing it is the Lord who is truly holding them. The radio host concluded (and I strongly agreed) that it takes courageous parents to raise courageous children.
Parenting is probably one of the toughest jobs God ever designed. But that is just it…God designed it! He gives us some words of wisdom throughout his Word like “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Sometimes I wish He’d written a detailed parenting manual, but then I am reminded that no matter how much teaching and preaching and time we put into our children, God will still be more active and in control of their lives than we could ever be!
When your parenting days seem long and tiring – just remember that your parenting years are short. Yes, you may get tired of carrying that toddler everywhere, or answering yet another homework question; but one day, you’ll answer her final algebra question or carry that little boy for the last time. Enjoy each moment while you can, and pray for the strength to courageously let your children go someday, in God’s timing.”
Yet one evening during the week, he walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table with his Bible and notebook in hand. Most of the children were already in bed, but being one of the older boys, Joel* was allowed to stay up a little bit later. Instead of playing video games or watching TV like other nights, Joel began reading out loud stories about Jesus. He was never asked to get his Bible or even be reminded that it might be a good choice. Joel took the initiative and continued to soak up the knowledge gained. He asked questions to the adults in the room and truly engaged with the material.
During a later conversation, Joel admitted that he would like to grow up and be a Baptist. With further clarification, Joel was able to say what he meant was that he wanted to be a Pastor! Since coming to Coyote Hill, he has been a part of a God-focused house, which has taught him how to incorporate faith in all aspects of his life. The principles and values he is learning at Coyote Hill have really made an impact on him and his future.
On another weeknight at The Hill, Jasmine* had just changed into her pajamas before bedtime. However, there was still a little time for her to play in the playroom with her younger brother before lights out. Jasmine bypassed the dolls, the blocks and the books to stand up on a wooden stool. After she was proudly standing high on her stool, she brought from behind her back a Bible. Jasmine then proceeded to open the Bible and begin to preach to the large crowd before her. (Of course the only other person in the room was her brother, but Jasmine didn’t mind; she felt like she had important things to share about Jesus.) After she finished preaching, Jasmine walked out of the play room and asked when her next Bible study group was, because she was excited to go. She was told that she would be going the following evening. Jasmine flashed a big smile, turned around, and said “Ok I’m ready for bed now.”
If you’ve ever wondered if sending kids to church, praying with them and completing devotionals with them really matters; these are just a snapshot of the stories that take place at Coyote Hill every day.
–Story contributed by: Crystal Rodenbaugh, Intern
If you’d like more information about how our Home Parents are teaching our children about Bible, please feel free to contact any of them here.
*Name changed for sake of confidentiality.