Friday, September 30, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

I started a Bible Study called "Jonah. Life Interrupted". God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and Jonah ran from God. (That's the abridged version, lol). Of course we are asked what we think our Nineveh is. I struggle with this. It usually takes me the entire study to figure out what is keeping me from God and obedience.

Yesterday, I was praying and two things came to mind: Season and Go Quiet. Hmm. I read my Jonah and then logged on to email. I receive the Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion for the day. I usually delete the Girlfriends in God because I can't see the title. The Proverbs 31 Ministries will give me a title and I decide if I want to read it or delete it. Yesterday, I deleted about 5 emails and read the Girlfriends in God.

From my journal. The email read:

"Waiting in silence for God to show up".

My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from Him." Psalm 62:5


There was another line that said "season of silence". Funny I thought. I had just wrote in my journal and here these words are again.

Last night I realized that in the last ten days I have been looking back. A year ago, where were we in our marriage? I've been thinking about old friendships over the last fifteen years. I have been thinking about my co-teacher and classroom last year. And I have been thinking about my Bible Study friends.

Then something happened that kind of jolted me out of my slumber and made me realize that God is telling me to keep moving forward.

I was able to attend the evening bible study because of the Jewish holiday. Curtis meets with the doctors on Thursdays so I have Daniel while Amanda is at dance. I would not put Daniel through babysitting at the church so we drop Amanda off and go home.

I was thinking how disappointed I would be because I would miss this study, when the opportunity to go to the Wednesday morning class arose. As long as we have enough staff, I clock out, go to Bible Study and then clock back in. I am gone about 90 minutes.

But I longed to join the evening group. There are ladies in that class that I don't see during the week. That was our only time together because they do not go to Living HOPE. My heart was looking back at last year.

Anyway...I left Curtis and Daniel at home and took Amanda early to dance. I was able to get there just on time. However, the minute I arrived, I felt that I was not to be there. Can't explain it in words, really. Just a feeling.

Then again, I felt "unwelcome" (my feelings not anything I can explain!). As I drove to dance class, I prayed and cried out to the LORD. And He said, "stop looking back". When Amanda got in to the car, she was complaining about how class was different this year. Her partner is no longer there. There are only three of them from the original class that started eight years ago...complain, complain, complain.

I told her my story. I said that if I was "welcomed" (now I was but my heart felt otherwise)I would try to kill myself to get there on Thursdays. I would be angry that Daddy always has a meeting on the same nights as MY bible study. And I would be resentful towards Daniel because I would be "stuck" with him. But God has another plan for that time. I will have one-on-one time with Daniel. Or I will spend it with Daddy and Daniel. Or I might just sit in the parking lot in the car for the 90 minutes and pray.

God in His sovereignty knows my heart. He has confirmed this over the last ten days with my longing for the way "things" were. They are in the past. They are memories. KEEP MOVING FORWARD and set my eyes on Him!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Second Impression


Wednesday was my team meeting with the eighth grade teachers. I didn't sleep much the night before. I woke feeling sick. I sent an email out to my prayer warriors:

I have been wrestling with all of the fear, disappointment and heartache that we have gone through in the last eight years. I am going over and over in my head how this meeting will play out. I know His grace is sufficient. I know I need to trust in Him with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding. But still, I am approaching Nineveh and I just want to run. I tell Amanda all the time, we need to be asking what does the Bible say about this topic and what would Jesus do. Now I need to just hear my own words.

Then I went to work. On Wednesdays, I clock in at 8 am and then clock out around 9 to go to Bible study until 11. I asked for prayer and then sat and cried on two of the ladies shoulders. I love these ladies!

From about 11:30 to 12:30 I covered a couple of classes and assisted. Then I left to come home, change and have the Big D. Twice.

I arrived at the middle school ten minutes early. I looked up a verse in my car before going in.

"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

OK God. You will go first and you won't leave me. (Exhale).

The meeting started with a question from the support specialist. She asked if the issue was Amanda completing her homework. That launched me in to my description of Amanda. I said she can complete the work but getting it from my house to their classroom is another issue. I talked about how sweet Amanda was, using my molasses analogy. I told them that she was three weeks early and has and never will be early again. I told them that at the end of the year she will have driven them crazy and they will be bidding her farewell. Most of the time the teachers laughed at my comments. I think that was a good sign.

The social studies teacher is amazing. He said that he grades on ability not whether she can bring a pencil to class or bring an assignment to class. The English teacher disagreed. The two of them almost got in to a fist fight. That's when I suggested we move on and cross that bridge if we come to it.

The 504 Plan requests seemed so silly when they talked about what goes on in their class. They said that if she missed three assignments they would be contacting me. They said they meet and discuss patterns of behavior of their students. So if Amanda was doing poorly in science, the teacher would see if she was also doing poorly in another class. They would be looking for red flags.

At the end of the meeting the English teacher stayed behind to talk to me. She apologized if she came off as offensive. She said her son has ADHD so she understands my struggles. She said he went to college and excelled. I was so relieved because my first impression of her was not a positive one.

I am not certain what happened last year. But I certainly learned my lesson. The key to a successful year is communication with the teachers. There are some parents who never meet their child's teachers. Those are the students who just do well. But I believe that we have so much to offer to each other. I love building relationships.

I left the building thinking "this was the best 45 minutes that I have spent in the last EIGHT years." I have probably had about three meetings a year, if not more. I have probably had about TWENTY FOUR meetings for my daughter.

(Oh and did I mention that no one seemed bothered to go the extra mile for my child because it was in their contract?)

I feel so blessed with the fact that my daughter has needed extra help. I have had people praying for us for years. I have met some wonderful educators. I have been blessed with my bible study ladies and friends (especially Ellen and Allison). I know that this rain will help someone else in their struggle.

I KNOW that this year will be Amanda's best year EVER!

Friday, September 16, 2011

First Impression

I met the 8th grade teachers last night. First I had to cross the picket line but that didn't bother me. I think the teachers were more uncomfortable than the parents. The police were positioned at the front door of the middle school.

Really? If I am going to put on my ugly face, it's not going to be in front of hundreds of people!

I was impressed with each teacher's presentation. I don't know if they just sounded good but my first impression was that these are sincere teachers.

They have been teaching for many years.

The science teacher has an autistic son.

The Social Studies teacher has 24 years of teaching middle school. He is Amanda's favorite. I have to say he is mine too. He sends and email each day outlining what they did in class, what they need to review and what is coming up in the next few days. I shared that with a friend and her response was "Oh well, he isn't married." LOL. Well, he IS married AND the father of FIVE. He is fifty years old and the youngest is seven. Wow, where does he find the time to do all the extras that are not in his contract.

Am I for the teachers? Yes. Am I for the parents? Yes. Am I for the students? Yes. Really, why can't all of those answers be yes. I just want the contract issues resolved peacefully.

I have to tell you that I was having anxiety last night. If it wasn't for Amanda walking me to my classes, I am not sure I would have made it. (She is one of the "ambassadors"). Actually, she wrote the wrong room down for the very last class and that is the one that she was not there to escort me. I was a little turned around. LOL. I was having flash backs of "those" days. It was like a bad dream. I couldn't remember my locker combination! My class roster was all mixed up! HELP!!! Do you ever have those dreams.

I meet with the team on Wednesday to discuss Amanda's 504 Plan.

So, I would like to ask that you start praying for me and the teachers. I prayed this morning that God will give me the right words, that I will be firm enough but not come off as abrasive. I prayed that they will hear my words with soft hearts.

Amanda is not in need of special education. She can do the work. She is in need of accommodations and modifications to help her get organized...EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING SKILLS. Please pray that they can process that, understand her needs and work with us this year! Thank you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The ABC's of Friendship

From the book "A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life" by Lysa TeuKeurst.

Accept Each Other
Believe in Each Other
Cry with Each Other
Defend Each Other
Exemplify Jesus in Relating to Each Other
Forgive Each Other
Get Together with Each Other
Hold Each Other Up
Inspire Each Other
Journey Through Life Together
Know the Details of Each Other's Everyday Life
Laugh with Each Other
Make Each Other Stronger
Notice Each Other's Needs
Open Up to Each Other
Point Each Other to Christ
Quiet Each Other's Restless Heart
Respect Each Other's Differences
Spur Each Other On to Godliness
Team Up with Each Other
Understand Each Other
Value Each Other
Withstand Trials Together
XYZ...eXamine Your Zest

I love the word "zest," which means "to add spice to." That's exactly what our friendships do. They enhance our lives and bring out a unique flavor. They also help preserve us and the godly heritage we're committed to. They add zip and zing during times of rejoicing, and they cry salty tears during times of sorrow. Just as a good pot of stew becomes great when the right spices are added, so are our lives made better with friends.

Happy Birthday, to my friend, Lisa. It seems like yesterday we were having mini chocolate donuts shaped like a 20 and skim milk in the Art House. Wow, where did 24 years go?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Be still. Listen. Administer mercy

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Routine

MORNINGS

I wake at 5 am or whenever my love decides to wake me.

I shower and get dressed.

I have quiet time which either consists of a Bible study, reading the Bible or prayer.

I wake Amanda at 6 and she comes down.

I check emails and listen to music for 15 minutes while Amanda is snoozing on the couch. I cut facebook out because it was too time consuming. (However, I will post this on FB for anyone who doesn't read this. They might be wondering where I am. LOL)

At 6:15, Amanda takes her medicine, gets dressed and we listen to a Keys for Kids devotion.

When she is finished she gets breakfast and we listen to music.

At 7 am I wake Daniel.

For the next half hour it is pretty laid back. Daniel is sleepy and grumpy. He eats breakfast at "morning care". I eat around 7 and put things in the car. Amanda brushes her teeth, hair and applies mascara (yes, she is thirteen!).

If she is walking, she leaves at 7:15. If I drive her, we leave about 7:25. Then I arrive at work around 7:40.

So far, this has worked for us.

********************************************************************************

Homework has to come first. I have been looking in back packs, signing agenda books, looking on the Home Access system. I am trying to keep up. I also am EXHAUSTED. I have been in the Good Grape room. These children would normally be Patient Plums, my first classroom. But things have been shifted and changed. Also, the room that the "Good Grapes" are in is the Apple room or three year old room. I was so confused the first day. It took me a while to realize these children were only two and not three. LOL. I have been with them all week. I am falling in love. We have ten boys and two girls. I feel pretty old crawling around the floor. My back was killing me every night when I went to bed.

May God bless all of the ladies who have chosen to have a child in their forties! I have SIX and the co-teacher has six! (She is a grandmother). Doesn't there just seem to be something not right with those daycare laws?!

Anyway, being back to work is great. I love it. I have missed it. But I am pooped by 8 pm. I try to give my children that last little ounce of energy at bed time. It doesn't always happen.

They have to be upstairs by 8:30. Lights out by 9 pm.

I make dinner. I make lunches. I do laundry. Whatever needs to be done. Last night we started a scrabble game. Then we started watching a 9/11 program and telling our children what that was. I was in tears. They went to bed very confused with lots of questions. They will see and hear much more about that tragic day this weekend.

I try to get to bed by 9. But 10 pm is my latest!

So there you have it. Not too structured is it? Am I a type A or a type B personality?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Scrapbooking Reilly






(I was scrapbooking the First Day of School pictures. Not the cat, by the way).

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Story Of Dash



For several months, Amanda would look on adoption sites for a kitten. We thought we would adopt from Bingos Foundation. But we found another shelter called CATS Bridge to Rescue.

We chose TWO tuxedo kittens that were named Tuxie and Pepsi Baby. But when Amanda and I actually visited the rescue, we didn't remember what the ones we chose looked like. So we selected two other tuxedo kittens.

Then we went to Canada for five days. When we returned, I had all kinds of reservations as to why we shouldn't adopt. I had a horrible feeling that the kittens and Reilly would just not adjust. I googled introducing adult cats to kittens. Nothing positive was found. I thought about the kittens getting Reilly sick or Reilly getting the kittens sick. Oh, I was feeling sick.

But Sandy from CATS Bridge was so kind and understanding. She was very reassuring that things would work out. I spoke to the children and I said we could pick ONE kitten and we prayed it would work out.

When we arrived on July 18th, the two kittens that Amanda and I chose looked not so good. We saw another cage with three tuxedo kittens. Daniel wanted the smallest one. I said we should get the medium one. So he agreed.

Happy Early Birthday, Daniel! Daniel decided to call the kitten Baby until he thought of another name. By the end of the night, he was named Dash (because we were watching The Incredibles).



Dash was so affectionate. He just wanted to lean against you. He loved his pillow pet and would do a silly little dance on it before settling in.




Reilly was not too fond of her little brother. She would sniff him and hiss. Then it moved on to just sniffing him and walking away. Once in a while, they would smack each other. Yes, Dash would smack her back.







But he was so little, just two and a quarter pounds. Dash would get very excited when I opened his Fancy Feast but then he would only eat a few bites. It was taking him 24 hours to eat an entire can.



One day, I decided to check out the CATS Bridge website and there he was! It was Tuxie. We did adopt the cat that I originally chose. We were meant to have this little guy.

Over the last six weeks, we have built a relationship with Sandy and Margaret. We have met Marlene, Judy, Shirley, and Lynn. We have fallen in love with these ladies and their big hearts for cats. I told Amanda that if our kitten was healthy, we would have just gone there, gotten shots and left. But because he as sick, we are now volunteering.

Can you believe it? ME, volunteering at an animal shelter.

We have volunteered twice. We have chosen Friday nights as our regular night. We love it there!

On Tuesday (August 30), Curtis and I made the decision that Dash needed to go back to the shelter. He had several issues. He was not eating. He was having diarrhea. He was not gaining weight. He was defecating outside of the litter box. Something was wrong with our kitten. I was so sad. I called Sandy and Margaret and cried on their shoulders. After school, Amanda and I took Dash back to CATS Bridge. It was so sad to leave him there. But we promised him that we would be back on Friday to see him.

He would open his mouth and nothing would come out. "You didn't say anything", we would tell him.

Today we went to volunteer. The two ladies that were there didn't know where he was. They thought maybe Margaret took him home. We stayed and cleaned out food cans to recycle. We swept the floor. We scooped the poop (wait a minute, "we" ha ha). I scooped the poop. I washed the dishes. The children played with the kittens and cats.

When I got home, I called Sandy to let her know what we had done. She said she didn't know anything about Dash but she would call me back. When she called me back she told me that Dash passed away last night. I was so shocked. We were all crushed. Amanda told Daniel and the two of them hugged and cried in the other room. I was so sad for them, for Daniel since this was his birthday present.

We know that God is sovereign. We do not question why things happen the way they did. We accept that a door has been opened and we are blessed by our new favorite place to spend free time. Dash had a home for six weeks. He was loved to death by anyone who met him. He has a special place in our hearts, that silly little kitten.

We will get another kitten. CATS Bridge is a wonderful organization. They will replace him. They want everyone to be happy. We are happy to know that we will give another little kitten a new home in the next couple of months.

And that's the story of Dash. Short but sweet.